Best Buy Employee Reveals 3 Common Mistakes Customers Make When Picking Up Big-Screen TVs

Consumerist reader “A” works at Best Buy and sees a lot of customers buying large TVs. He also sees many of those TV-buying customers making the same mistakes when it comes time to take that new set home.

So in the interest of helping shoppers out before they commit these errors, A sent us the following tips:

1. BRING THE RIGHT CAR
This is especially true for plasma TVs, explains A, as these sets need to be shipped standing upright if you don’t want to risk damaging the glass.

“Best Buy cannot be held liable if you drove 70 miles to our store and you don’t want free delivery on your 51″ plasma because you thought for sure it would fit in your Ford Escape and you want it right now so you lay it flat on its side,” says A.

In terms of all flat-screens, A says that he’s found that most sedans and SUVs can fit up to 43″ TVs across the back seat without a problem. Sets in the 50″ to 55″ range will likely not fit across any rear seats and probably won’t fit in the back of smaller SUVs, at least standing upright.

“Bigger SUVs are also crap shoots,” says A, “because sometimes the trunk doesn’t open high enough.”

He says that anything above 60″ will probably require a pickup truck or a box truck.

“Don’t get angry at me because you brought the wrong car,” explains A. “Though you are justified to be angry if the sales associate forgot to tell you that plasma TVs have to be transported standing up.”

2. DON’T BRING THE FAMILY
That new TV might fit in your back seat if you didn’t bring your kids to the store.

“I can’t tell you how many times someone brought the right vehicle, but decided to bring the kids, grandkids and their best friend’s uncle along for the ride in their minivan,” says A, “leaving only about a foot of usable room in the trunk.”

Rather than bringing the family, bring an empty vehicle, preferably with folding rear seats.

And, requests A, please know how to actually fold those seats down so that you’re not wasting time at the store trying to figure it out.

“I’m always surprised when people don’t know how to fold their sets down,” explains A, who says that lots of customers mistakenly think the baby seat anchor is some sort of release switch.

3. TIPS ARE APPRECIATED BY NOT EXPECTED.
There was a time when it was a more common practice to tip store employees who helped you load things into your vehicle, but that day seems to have passed.

“It’s definitely from a generation of time gone by,” says A about tipping, “but one I enjoy.”

He explains that he and his coworkers have been told to only accept a tip if the customer insists multiple times, though A. admits he has broken that rule on a few occasions, but only when the store has been very busy or when the order requires multiple trips out to the vehicle.

One huge mistake that some customers make, says A., is when they say they would tip but explain that “the smallest bill I have is a $100 bill.”

“In that case, don’t even bother bringing up the topic,” says A. “You just bought a new TV, I know you’re not poor. You’re not impressing me with talks of hundred dollar bills.”

Do you have inside information gleaned from years of working in retail that you feel like consumers should know? Shoot us an e-mail at tips@consumerist.com