For once, it’s easy to understand a situation from Best Buy’s point of view. They used to sell $4.99 replacement plans for relatively cheap earbuds––those costing $10 or less. Pithecanthropus thought this was a great idea, given the longevity of a cheap pair. Especially if you have a string-loving cat in the house. But Best Buy has wised up and is no longer offering replacement plans for earbuds that cost $30 or less. That makes sense, but makes Pithecanthropus sad.
Since I’ve had smartphones, going on two years, a good pair of earbuds
has been one of my most necessary appurtenances. And when I say
“good”, I mean any brand and model that can be expected to last more
than a couple of months. I have been getting acceptable results from
various brands–Sony, JVC, Ecko, and particularly Altec
Lansing–paying anywhere from $15 to $10 a pop. The sound quality is
acceptable as I’m not an audiophile; moreover, much of what I listen
to is current affairs and news from streaming radio stations.
Since I don’t expect such inexpensive earbuds to last forever, I’ve
always opted in for the two-year replacement plan at a modest
additional cost of $4.99.
So today, I discovered that my current pair of buds would not work
through my right-angle adapters. By testing the adapters with a couple
of ancient and frayed headphones, I determined that the problem wasn’t
the adapters that were at fault, so I decided it was time for a
replacement. Off I went to Best Buy–and I did get my replacement
earbuds sure enough. But then I was informed that I could no longer
continue the replacement coverage, because it was no longer being
offered for any buds priced less than $30. In fairness, the store gave
me a refund for the $4.99–and then some, More than once, I’ve gotten
the distinct impression that the employees who handle exchanges and
refunds tend to err in the customer’s favor. But this does not float
my boat at all. I didn’t want the $4.99 back–I wanted the replacement
protection! I have two playful cats at home. They adore strings and
wires, and one nip from either of them can end my listening pleasure.
So what do I do about this? I already know. I’ll have to upgrade to
slightly more expensive earbuds. It isn’t a huge deal. But after all
this, the replacement buds I got today still don’t work in my
right-angle adapters. Which further means I can’t use the leather case
to carry the phone while I’m listening. Oh well, I hear leather phone
carriers are considered dorkish, anyhow….