Best Buy Minimum Wage Monkeys Can’t Compete With Fry’s

What do you get when you staff your electronics superstore with pimply and gangly minimum wage monkeys? The sort of apathetic customer service that causes even those with monk-like patience to snap the rigid palm of their hand into the base of a Best Buy’s employee’s nose over and over and over again until blood starts ejaculating from their ears.

Reader Morgan W. didn’t quite go that far, but he offers an interesting comparison between the helpful, enthusiastic and informed service he received at Fry’s and what he got when he asked a dazed zit on the Best Buy floors for the exact same service.

Morgan’s email is after the jump:

I thought I might interest you in a tale of the bad customer service I received at a Best Buy this weekend. I’d decided to get a new graphics card and an extra gig of ram so that I could actually keep playing new games on my four year old computer. Normally I like to buy electronics online, but I’d been given a gift certificate to Frys and another to Best Buy for Christmas and it seemed about time to use them; I could get the graphics card at one, the ram at the other, use up both my gift certificates, and since the two stores are located about a quarter mile from each other, it’d be one convenient trip. I educated myself on what was compatible with my computer and set out. Should be simple, right?

Frys was easy; I asked one person where the graphics cards were, got told exactly where they were, found them, and went on my way. One to Best Buy!

Heartened by my easy victory at Frys, I went towards the computer section and asked the first employee I ran across where to find ram.

I was pointed in a vague direction before he turned around and started typing into a computer terminal. Ok, he was probably already dealing with another customer, I can deal with that. I walked where he pointed, looked around, discovered no ram. Found another employee, got pointed in another direction- different from where I was first pointed- and then the employee took off in the direction he’d been walking when I flagged him down. Clearly he, too, was too busy for me. I wander in my new direction and still have no luck. I wander back and ask a new employee; he takes me to an aisle I’ve been down, points along it and says that all computer internals were there. I double check to see if I missed it last time, but find no ram; hard drives and graphics cards, yes, ram, no.

Finally, I stop a four employee, explain that I’ve been pointed in vague directions several times and had no luck, and ask that he please TAKE ME to the ram and point directly to it so I can make sure it’s not somehow me overlooking it every time. He takes me to the ram which, to be fair, was in the vague direction the first employee pointed me in (but not the second or third) and I discover why I haven’t noticed it- it’s not on an aisle, it’s in an orange cage that’s kind of hidden by the customer service desk. A locked orange cage. An orange cage that I would have needed the assistance of an employee to open and retrieve my ram-to-be.

I still can’t decide what bugs me more about this- that half the employees I asked, all of which seemed to be working in the computer electronics section of the store, didn’t actually know where the ram was, or that none, including the ones that did know where it was, thought to inform me that I’d need an employee’s assistance to get what I was looking for; the first three employees were apparently hoping not to be the nearest when I finally found the cage so that they would not have to go fetch keys so that I could finally give their company some money.

Thanks for the opportunity to rant; keep up the great work on your site.