Best Buy Hoards Black Friday Doorbuster Laptops For Employees And Their Girlfriends?

One of Best Buy’s Black Friday deals was a $229 laptop. Each store was supposed to have 15. A complaint letter posted over at alleges that a New Orleans Best Buy hoarded the most laptops for the employees and passed out only a few vouchers. At one point, an employee’s girlfriend in line threw a hissy-fit because she didn’t get a voucher and her boyfriend snuck over and palmed her a voucher, skipping over the other customers in line. Shame shame shame, Best Buy. Yet another reason we hate Black Friday, the stores can’t even abide by the rules of the in-store promotions that are designed to lure more people inside than will ever get the deal and then offload otherwise unsellable crap.

Best Buy Employees Hoarded Black Friday Laptops? []


Edit Your Comment

  1. Skiffer says:

    Who do you have to sleep with around here for a $229 laptop!?!?!?

  2. Amarain824 says:

    That’s what you get for being a dumbass and standing on a long ass line. Buy it on ebay and save yourself the hassle.

  3. headon says:

    Was she hot

  4. Takkun says:


    I nominate this for Consumerist Comment of the Year.

  5. bigat says:

    I did it for the nookie.

  6. mexifelio says:

    I’m pretty sure she’ll have a some palming of her own to do once he gets out of work.

  7. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    @Skiffer: Nice.

    @mexifelio: I’m guessing this calls for oral.

  8. kpfeif says:

    Wow. Corruption at Best Buy….in New Orleans. Shocking.

  9. Coder4Life says:

    This happens at any retail store. but shouldn’t happen in the way it’s described above. they should nto have handed out only 14 vouchers instead of 15 so everyone doesn’t know what happened.

  10. deserthiker says:

    You couldn’t pay me $229 to take one of the those craptops that BB was selling on Black Friday. I don’t know why people would wait outside for hours to buy junk.

  11. xtol7 says:

    There are very few actual Black Friday deals at stores–it’s almost straight bait and switch. I’ve seen so much shady dealing that even people that camp out overnight get stiffed of the supposed deals. Fictitious deals, underhanded actions by both employees and customers–all do a good job at keeping me out of the stores. Welcome to Black Friday backlash.

  12. SpdRacer says:

    Actually the fine print of the ad said a minimum of, not only. But anyone with a clue knows that they would only stock the minimum. As for a $229 laptop, you get what you pay for.

  13. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    It happens everywhere. I know people at Target and Walmart can claim the Black Friday deals before it even happens.

  14. Android8675 says:

    Had a similar problem at my store, but for the most part everyone got something up until 9pm, we made a lot of deals on “non-deal” notebooks. Some were even better than the sales deals. Better computers as well.

    BF was a nightmare this year compared to last year, and just like last year the deals while appearing cheap weren’t really that great a deal. I’d expect the $229 notebooks have a lifespan of less than a year. Vista with 512 ram = teh sux.

    The $199 desktop with monitor/printer and a gig of ram was a better deal.

  15. ideagirl says:

    I heard similar shenanigans were going on at the BB in Visalia, CA this year. I wasn’t there, just heard the stories.

  16. nursetim says:

    It’s stories like this that makes me glad I have to be to work at 6:00 am on Friday so I can miss all of that.

  17. pineappletattoo says:

    I worked at Toys “R” Us during the Cabbage Patch Dolls craze (1984). We had a waiting list of over 100 people, but managers could buy a case of dolls a day. All us assistant managers supplemented our meager salaries by having a Doll concession out in the parking lot. Retail is a nasty place.

  18. invaderzim says:

    I find this hard to believe… if anyone… I mean anyone in line spotted someone doing this the entire place would go crazy.

  19. LTS! says:

    You want the loot? Get in the trenches.. put yourself through retail sales hell and also angry customer hell and you too can have a $229 notebook before everyone else.

  20. smitty1123 says:

    Whaaa? You mean to tell me that a store that sells an $8 HDMI cable for $100 might try and screw over it’s customers?!? I am shocked and outraged!

  21. freshyill says:

    @pineappletattoo: I seem to recall my aunt buying my sisters’ dolls out of the back of a truck., so your story checks out. I bet it happened pretty much everywhere.

  22. pineappletattoo says:

    @freshyill: I was at the Culver City (Southern CA) store. Folks were shelling out $100 for $29.95 dolls. This was, of course, before ebay.

  23. cobaltthorium says:

    Why is anyone surprised? Retail sucks. I went back to my old Source by Circuit City last Christmas to work. We got a shipment with 3 wiis. That was it, and fuck if I took one. Do I feel bad about it? No. Retail’s shitty: Long hours, no breaks, whiny customers, and next to no perks.

    Now, if every store was supposed to have at last x laptops, maybe that’s a little low, but I can’t really blame them. Best Buy doesn’t care who buys them, plus people still come into the store in order to get them, so corporate doesn’t care.

  24. XTC46 says:

    The way I see it is the employees are typically customers before employee’s. There is no reason they shouldn’t have the same chance to get a good deal. I agree that an employee should not be able to apply their discount to huge sale items, but to disqualify them completely is wrong. I work for CompUSA and while I agree that employees have a huge advantage over customers in getting things, it should just be considered a benefit of working there. I keep my job there for the discount and to watch the business accounts of my regular clients (I work in the business sales department) I make sure my clients from my primary job are taken care of, I get a discount on gadgets Id buy anyway, and I get a substantial increase in my annual income. Everyone wins and everyone else could do the same thing if they chose to do so.

    Every time a manager has told me “no you can’t buy this because you are an employee” I pull up my business account and place an order with my business discount applied. Had he just let me buy it in the first place I would have paid full retail (since I think its fair t not give discounts on launch items)

    If best buy really broke their own rules and gave fewer vouchers out then its a problem, but as long as they met the minimum I see no problem with it.

  25. gingerCE says:

    I actually think it’s okay to let employees get first dibs on specials or at least had them have a separate promotion for them and their family. However so as not to get the public riled up, they should’ve set those aside or promised employees they could buy the product after black friday at that price, letting the people in line get the first batch of laptops.

    However, I could see maybe spending $200 on a laptop for a kid/teen but I would never want to use that cheap a laptop for myself. I also prefers Macs.

  26. dirtymoney says:

    I await the retail employee workers who will post here saying that this is a normal & acceptable practice. I seem to recall another post somewhere on this site where several employees admitted to taking & hiding “in high demand” items so THEY can get it at the end of the day when they clock out & go home. Think it was referring to wiis & particular video game. IMO taking merchandise for yourself that was made available for the customers WHILE on the job is wrong. Either buy it off the clock or have someone else come in to buy it. Customers should ALWAYS have first crack.

  27. seenarva says:

    I went to best buy looking for the $899 panasonic lcd tv. I was told they sold out within 20 minutes. I arrived 5 hours after the store opening, so I pretty much expected that.

    However, I approached a woman at the counter in the television department and asked if I could order one at that price. She started putting my information into the system and said, “yeah, you can order it at that price and pick it up.” I went ahead and added on the $119 TomTom gps to my order.

    Pretty messed up how people were waiting in line for hours to get the “door buster” deals. All I had to do was ask and my TV will be ready to pick up tomorrow!!

  28. dirtymoney says:


    Lordy! While I was typing my post 2 of the posters I was talking about posted about it.

  29. dirtymoney says:

    SOrry to post so many times, but I have to STRONGLY dissagree with the employees who post & say they have “first dibbs” on store items over the customers. The problem with employees doing this is that they will often buy up ALL the high demand items to sell elsewhere. How is this in ANY way fair to customers?

  30. BugMeNot2 says:

    I’ve got to stick up for my local Best Buy (Charleston, SC). They did a great job with their Black Friday event. I was less than ten people back from the door, so I was there from the start to see how it all went down. They handed out far more vouchers than the minimums from the ads, and seemed pretty well prepared for the line that was wrapped around the store. I even got some help finding some random GB Advance game for my nephew.

    I picked up the 229 laptop and a TomTom. The laptop took a couple hours to get cleaned up enough to run smoothly, but at worst, i’ve got a $200 15″ portable DVD player.

    And it’s less like standing in line and more like tailgating…

  31. Indecision says:

    @xtol7: “There are very few actual Black Friday deals at stores–it’s almost straight bait and switch.”


    I worked for Best Buy for four years, and I worked four Black Fridays, in three different stores, across two different states.

    Not once did I see anything, at any point (not just Black Friday) that could be described as “bait and switch.”

    Every Black Friday, all of the advertised specials were delivered to the store during the week prior. Items with minimum quantities were held to ensure we’d have enough, and anything that was accidentally sold early or delayed in shipping, we made a substitution (and the substitutions were always fair, usually better).

    Employees wanting to buy any of doorbuster deals had to wait in line with everyone else. If they were working the morning shift and had to be working when the doors opened, then too bad.

    Which is not to say that shit doesn’t happen — sure it does. But it’s the exception, not the rule. The only reason you think otherwise is because “Store has Black Friday sale and everything’s OK” isn’t a good headline.

  32. gorckat says:

    re CompUSA and discounts-
    Had he just let me buy it in the first place I would have paid full retail (since I think its fair t not give discounts on launch items)

    I used to keep an eye out D67/8 books and get em for a penny before the Ops Mgr got his hands on em :P

  33. bearslovetacos says:

    I worked at Toys R Us for a few years and saw this pretty much every week. Managers would crack open the new shipments and get what they wanted before anything went on the floor.

    Mostly it was star wars figures that got resold on ebay later.

  34. Phildawg says:

    man you got a lot of disgruntled retail workers on here who think hording discount items for customers is okay!

    No it is not! You don’t need the fookin 229 laptop, you already great the hdtv for 40% off, car systems for 40-80% off, home theater setups for 50-70% off, and you get the cables for 95% off, wtf?

    You don’t want to work retail? Don’t work there! Saying your job sucks is not an excuse to essentially steal deals away from customers. Customers are the ones who get jacked in the @$$ year around by the retail giant paying their high prices. You whine about the few items that you over cost discount doesn’t give you a HUGE savings on and say you deserve those too! No you don’t!

    You might think about getting an education and a higher paying job where you won’t need to feel like you need to steal deals from customers because your life is such a waste!

  35. bossco says:

    There should be a company policy in place for these knd of things, and any employee not abiding should be disciplined or terminated, especially on a day lack Black Friday.

  36. BugMeNot2 says:

    i was thinking the same thing when i talked to an employee waiting in line. they have the best employee discounts

  37. Geekybiker says:

    I think its typically policy that employees arent supposed to buy these items ahead of when the customers can. However hiding stuff is a pretty common practice and I think most of the time management just looks the other way.

  38. Maulleigh says:

    Isn’t that what happened during communism? It was supposed to be equal for all, except the guys at the top who felt they were worth a little extra?

    Yeah, that worked out really well.

  39. mandarin says:

    Why is everyone so surprised?

  40. UpsetPanda says:

    Are employees allowed to buy (for themselves) or sell to friends high-demand products like the Wii? The store I went to only had a few, and it occurred to me that if the employees were allowed to buy or sell to friends, then searching for a high-demand item like the Wii could be moot in some areas.

  41. mobbo says:

    I work at Best Buy and was there this past Black Friday. Our store had more than the minimum in the ads. All products were shipped to our store the week before and locked up. At 3am on Friday our staff started handing out vouchers. All vouchers were numbered and corresponded to the numbers on the laptop boxes. Not one customer without a voucher was allowed to get a doorbuster laptop.

    However, we did have about 12 laptops left over (none of the $229 Toshiba’s) that were not picked up. At 9am, we released those for sale. There were employees’ family and friends that waited until 9:00am for that release.

    Our Black Friday was run very smooth and we had great complements from the people who waited in line from as early as 7am on Thanksgiving that our operation was superb. Our store practiced a dry-run the previous weekend just to be sure all went well.

  42. Munsoned says:

    I see this as a store-by-store issue, not an overall Best Buy issue. Some stores are clearly better-managed than others.

    Employee sales can’t hold up a store–stores need to cater to the public even if it means short-ending the employees on a case-by-case basis. Employees get discounts the rest of the year; they should not be allowed to horde limited quantity items or use up “doorbusters” intended for the general public.

    Letting employees get away with stuff like this simply because they are also “customers” is pretty short-sighted from a management perspective. The managers need to manage the staff–that’s what they’re paid for. I wonder how much heat the managers feel from corporate when the sales figures start to fall off once local consumers figure out the shenanigans and refuse to shop there any more?

  43. Munsoned says:

    …meant “hoard”, not “horde” (which customers probably would have turned into if they had caught on to this–I also doubt this story is true).

  44. 12monkeys says:

    The same thing happened at the Best Buy in Visalia California 2 years ago.The manager ended up making a list of the people who were passed over in line assuring them that they would get the spesial price.When a friend of mine called and asked about the laptops she was told that the sale was over and that there was NO way we were going to pay the ad price.Long story short after a few well placed emails and phone calls,we both wen down a few days later and picked up our COMPLIMENTARY laptop.

  45. XTC46 says:

    I agree that employee’s shouldn’t be able to get them AHEAD of customers as in before the sales start, but to say employees shouldn’t be able to buy high demand items is stupid. We are customers too. We have had managers threaten to fire employees who waited outside the store in line all night for the 360 on their day off, and I think THAT is ridiculous. Don’t allow the discount if you want, but its just not fair that because we are employees we are no longer considered a valuable customer.

  46. XTC46 says:

    @12monkeys: unless your friend is very very well connected in a large company or in the community and could make Best Buys life hell, there is no way they gave you 2 laptops.

  47. Phildawg says:

    @xtc46: you are not valuable customers… lol you would have to lose your entire discount privileges to make that step up… it’s not like best buy is the only place that gets stuff, why didn’t you camp out somewhere else for the 360? because after you got the 360, which has no discount, you loaded up on the 30-50% off accessories! w00t!

    go whine to people who are uninformed.

  48. Phildawg says:

    and honestly, if you did get it somewhere else, it would still be okay to come get the accessories from your store… it’s just people aren’t very likely to buy a 360 from EB then run to best buy to pickup their extra controllers, memory cards, and games.

    Face it, by you buying that 360 with no discount at best buy, you just cost them the opportunity to rape some sucker for 200-300 dollars in highly profitable accessories or maybe one of those ‘bundle’ deals best buy is famous for utilizing!

  49. chartrule says:

    I agree with XTC46

    (re. 12monkeys)

    I can’t see them giving 2 free laptops.

  50. Mr. Gunn says:

    Maybe if they didn’t pay and treat their employees like crap, the employees wouldn’t feel the need to steal the best promotions to sell them on ebay.

    /12 monkeys is a liar

  51. ludwigk says:

    I didn’t do any doorbuster deals, but when I went to Best Buy for the ‘regular’ BF deals, they were a horrendously unorganized mess. NONE of the black friday deals were listed in store with updated signage. There were no flyers available to check on what the deals were. So there was basically no way to see what was on sale, so I didn’t buy anything.

  52. RvLeshrac says:


    “Market-bearing price” – I see plenty of people buying $30 USB A-B cables for printers when they could buy them at Wal-Mart for $8 and change.

    A store can charge as much as they want for whatever they want. You can choose to go somewhere else.

    (Doesn’t apply to things like gas, of course [I know someone will mention anti-gouging laws], because you logically can’t allow people to charge ridiculous amounts of money for things people are often required to purchase. If only we’d add medicine to this protected category.)

  53. RvLeshrac says:


    I hate to toot our own horn, actually, but the chain at which I work has been handling BF and Christmas sales well for this and last year.

    Commissioned salespeople, so the big-ticket items (televisions) have a percentage of coupons handed out at the door in the morning, with a few held for the afternoon sales crew. Customers are asked to return the coupons if they decide not to purchase, so that they’ll be available for others.

    X of an item will be in the store, with Y items held to handle the number of defective returns (that way, you don’t have to wait a week to replace that TV if the tuner is out or it has a big cluster of dead pixels in the center of the screen).

    Employees are allowed to purchase items – if they stand in line like everyone else. Anyone caught stashing merch or coupons is subject to immediate termination. If you’re interested in purchasing something, you’re expected to ask for the morning off, switch with someone, or hope that there is something left at the end of your shift.

    People are allowed into the store only a few at a time when the doors open, so that huge crowds don’t build at the registers. Large lines are queued and people are directed to certain registers.

    It works out well for everyone involved. While day-to-day ops can be a stretch during busy times, the entire store is expected to work the holiday sales.

    While I’m at it, anyone notice that Wal-Mart has 50 registers at every store, yet there are only 2 open at any given time?

  54. JayDeEm says:

    Things sure have changed for the worse since I left retail 10 or so years ago. The store I worked at was a very high-volume store to begin with, but in the 2 weeks building up to ‘Black Friday’ we started getting the big shipments to build up inventory. The warehouse would literally be overflowing with stock, with additional product heading to the sales floor (this was back before the days of self-service).

    While we would occasionally run out of certain popular items, most ad pieces had plenty of stock to carry us through BF without a problem. No long lines, no vouchers, just plenty of inventory with lots more on the way. As for employees hoarding the good deals, this never really happened at our store. The employee discount was just as good or better is most cases. I guess it’s different game now.

  55. ExtraCelestial says:

    if youre dating a guy that works at best buy the least they can do is give you a cheap notebook

    last year they ran out of a flatscreen my sister had a ticket for and they gave her one twice as nice.

  56. ExtraCelestial says:


    lol yes. they specifically put out a commercial claiming that all lanes (or maybe just “more” lanes?) will now be open for the holidays

  57. backbroken says:

    I work at the IRS and let me tell you, it sucks. So why should I pay taxes? Everyone else in my office cheats their taxes, and if I happen to have a few connections that can make evidence say, disappear, then why shouldn’t I use that to my advantage?
    I work for the police and let me tell you, it sucks. So why shouldn’t I make a little extra ‘protection’ money for myself? Everyone else is doing it and nobody is getting hurt. These shop owners are still making money. Sure, extortion is illegal, but if my sargeant is going to look the other way, why shouldn’t I take advantage?
    I work retail and let me tell you, it sucks. So why shouldn’t I take advantage of my position? There’s nothing wrong with keeping some of the black friday deals for myself. It’s not stopping anyone from getting that laptop if they really want it. Just look me up on ebay and you can still have it slightly below retail. Besides, everyone else in my store is doing it.

  58. Beerad says:

    @backbroken: Well, to be fair, in Situation A you have a moderate salary, government benefits, and probably investment in a career. In Situation B your very job description includes honor, integrity, and upholding the law. In Situation C you have a minimum-wage job, little to no future with the employer, and the chance to be fired by Skippy the assistant manager if he’s upset because he got a bad parking space that morning.

    I’m not excusing or justifying the behavior, but it’s not exactly surprising. There’s a reason Situations A and B are a lot less common than Situation C (or their respective equivalents).

  59. 12monkeys says:

    @Mr. Gunn: @chartrule: @xtc46:
    Well since it would be hard to prove unless you were to ask Brad Anderson himself about the month of Christmas cards he received at home 2 or 3 at a time explaining what happened,just going to have to take my word for it .And Mr. Gunn its not nice to call people liars so you can go F@#! yourself

  60. Trick says:

    I guess I am guilty of this… the better half’s sister works for a audio/video store. Once a year they have awesome sales on their TV and such…

    Because the sister is the accountant, she called the day before the sale, told us about a $7300 73″ Mitsubishi DLP set that will be sold for $1700. We went down that day and purchased it… one day in advance.

    It was a great deal indeed!

  61. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    @smitty1123: No kidding. I thought it was funny that BB was advertising line-in cables for like 20 bucks this week and it was like some generic brand. I was like ummm why not go to Wal-Mart and pay 4.47 for the same dang thing. LOL.

  62. anm801 says:

    Best Buy was hording Xbox 360 systems in Lansing, Michigan on the same day!!! Sick of that store!
    I was a cash paying customer and they admitting to having 25 systems in stock, but couldn’t sell them until the weekend following black Friday!