Best Buy: “Oh Yeah, Tetris Breaks All The Time.”

Here at Gawker Tower (actually, a giant disused school bus turned vertically that was used by local teens for sex parties until the smell got too bad), we really love the circle jerk. So it was nice when our geeky, mouth-breathing colleagues over at Kotaku took time out of their busy schedule of writing about video games and wondering what it might be like to touch the soft mound of a woman’s breast while she was conscious to pass on a reader email, indicating a new protection plan scam from our buddies at Best Buy.

Phil H. writes:

    Today I bought Tetris DS at my local Best Buy, and they tried to sell me the 2-year protection plan or whatever it is. I refused the coverage, but I was surprised that it was offered. I’ve never received the protection spiel from a cashier when buying software… only hardware ( (I haven’t shopped at Best Buy in a while, so I have no idea if it s a recent development). After my refusal, the cashier tried to scare me by telling me “we get a lot of these things returned. I just want you to know that.” I’m mostly convinced that she was full of crap, but I’m just one DS owner… I’ve been playing video games for more than 25 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a cartridge or disc go bad on me. I had been led to believe that Flash memory is more durable than the old GBA cartridges.

So now Best Buy is pressuring customers to buy 2 year protection plans on $30 games? And games based on flash media? I’ve seen Nintendo games propelled out of cannons that still worked after you blew into the cartridge slot a few times.


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    Its very unfortunate that stores now consider these warranties their only significant stream of revenue. Still, nothing surprises me about these things. That cashier probably didn’t even know what it was she was offering coverage on. She just blurts out the same thing she says to everybody.

    That being said, the only ‘extended warranty’ that I was more than happy to spend a ton of money on was AppleCare for my Powerbook. Their level of service is second to none and worth every penny.

  2. Scott says:

    Yikes. Who wrote this article? My four-year-old nephew has a better grasp of grammar and punctuation.

    As for extended warranties, I don’t think I ever bought one. Maybe I’ve just been fortunate, or maybe I spend an extraordinary amount of time researching the products I buy, but I’ve never had need for one–even in retrospect. Rather than spending additional money for an extended warranty on a suspect product, wouldn’t it be a better decision to just buy a higher-quality product from a more reputable company?

  3. Paul D says:

    I crap you negative:

    Over the 4th of July weekend I was going to interview my grandmother,
    get her to tell her life story. And I was going to use my laptop and a
    simple 1/8″ microphone. But I forgot my microphone at home (200 miles
    away), so I had to run to the local Best Buy to get the cheapest one
    they had. I was offered a protection plan on a $9.99 microphone.

  4. J. Gov says:

    No kidding. I’ve washed my fiance’s GBA cartridges (several times!) and they still work; neither of us has a DS yet but I can’t imagine them being very flimsy.

  5. EarhornJones says:

    That’s nothing! I bought a 1GB SD Card at Best Buy last month, and not only did they try to pressure me into a warranty, but then they insisted that I should have the Geek Squad “install” it. Apparently they install devices that are manufactured as removable storage now. I wonder if they could install a DVD in my stereo.

  6. billhelm says:

    Funny, I had the same thing offered to me for buying the exact same game a week ago. I chalked it up to the Best Buy I was buying from being new.

    The cashiers are just going with prompts from the register…

  7. LTS! says:

    You have to figure that as customers demand lower prices and the margins shrink these stores need to do something to try and augment their income. Of course the entire idea is a farce but you can’t blame them for trying anything to increase their revenue.

    Of course I would write a letter to Nintendo and let them know that Best Buy is slandering their product by saying it breaks all the time. I am sure at a high corporate level there would be some angst to know that their product is being sold as faulty.

    Of course for a true test you could ask for the store manager at Best Buy and let him know that because this cashier just told you these things break all the time you have decided to rethink your purchase and that now he’ll have no sale. (go buy it at a competitor where they aren’t so full of it).

  8. ModerateSnark says:

    LTS!: That gives me an idea for a hidden camera video or secret audio recording. Take 5 or 6 items up to the register, and as you are told an item is prone to failure and needs an extended warranty, change your mind and decide not to buy. Repeat for all items. Place recording on internet. Become famous like Vinny Ferrari.

  9. Marcus says:

    As a former Best Buy employee, let me throw this out there: customers suck, frequently.

    While BBY will certainly make money off of these “replacement plans,” the original impetus for something like this was actually customer complaints. We frequently had complaints that customers could buy a service plan on a camera or something, but were still out 60 bucks when their kid scratched the video game that they just –had– to play. So, it appears (after I left) that BBY has made it possible to have the piece of mind of knowing that when you scratch your Godfather DVD in a fit of mafioso rage, you can procure a new one.

    But, I agree–a DS game? Wow. I guess they’re counting on… who knows?

    Keep in mind, though they seem like the great Satan, I’ve gotten about…. 700 bucks of new/free merchandise from service/replacement plans. I’m on my 4th iPod–I’ve purchased 2. If you’re smart, and you know how the system can help you, PSPs (on stuff like cameras, portable media, car audio–NOT TVs, NOT PCs, certainly NOT printers) can be a really profitable idea.

  10. TedSez says:

    What actually happens is that those cheap Russian Tetris blocks get chipped at the edges when they drop on top of each other. Eventually, they don’t fit together anymore, and that’s when you have to buy new ones. No, really!

  11. Falconfire says:

    Marcus its called, you tell the customer they are a idiot.

    I mean honestly stores in the past never replaced a video or a tape when they demagnatized or ripped, why is a CD any different.

    Its pure money plain and simple, they are doing it not to make the customers happy, but to gouge the idiots who would actually bring back a game or a DVD.

  12. Marcus says:


    I know this is the Consumerist, after all, but a general distaste for the notion of capitalism is not a prerequisite to be a smart consumer.

    Keep in mind, I work at a Web Design company now–I’m much better paid, work is better, and I’d never go back to Best Buy. However, give a company a little credit. You shop at Best Buy why–because they have low prices, right? Well, they have to make money somewhere. And, if they can offer a service that will be purchased because there is a (albeit slight) demand, then they ought to supply that service, if it is profitable. In this case, it not only is profitable, but it enables them to make some customers very happy, by replacing maimed discs.

    I will not stand up for the CSR’s blantant lie of “we get a lot of these returned.” I did resort to that method, when I was in a bad mood and just wanted to look good for the management, but this shouldn’t be the norm. I was blessed to work in some of the best BBY’s as far as knowledge and skill of staff goes, so I am a bit biased–my BBY wasn’t a house of poorly-educated pushers, we all actually knew our stuff.

    That said– any questions about the internal Best Buy mechanisms?

  13. Juancho says:

    Marcus, you bring out some interesting points. I have questions!

    BB may be squeezing at the margins with CDs/DVDs and other stuff (especially in the first week of release), but I thought they were just using those as loss leaders to get folks to make profitable purchases like electronics, appliances, and car audio. The protection plans/extended warranties were pure profit makers.

    “Keep in mind, though they seem like the great Satan, I’ve gotten about…. 700 bucks of new/free merchandise from service/replacement plans. I’m on my 4th iPod–I’ve purchased 2. If you’re smart, and you know how the system can help you, PSPs (on stuff like cameras, portable media, car audio–NOT TVs, NOT PCs, certainly NOT printers) can be a really profitable idea.”

    Ok, so how can the system help you…how are you using it?

    And while I’ve never made a major purchase at BB, my parents have, and they’ve bought the extended warranty and had good experiences. My father had a made-to-order Compaq laptop that he purchased there in 2003. After a year, everything went to hell on it. Drivers stopped working, the memory became corrupted…it was in and out of the Geek Squad shop and back to Compaq several times. BB finally gave up and gave him credit towards a new machine earlier this year, but at least they tried to fix the problem. He’s since bought a cheap HP desktop and a cheap Insignia TV (in HD, no less) with the warranty plans.