The Most Alarmingly Typical Best Buy TV Buying Experience Ever

Reader David wrote in describing the level of customer service he got while spending $1,300 at Best Buy. It’s about what you’d expect. But… shouldn’t it be better? According to David, the salesperson didn’t know basic information, like how many inputs the TV had, tried to harass him into buying a $150 Monster Cable, and then made up some nonsense about the percentage of that particular model TV that came back for repair.

David writes:

A little bit of background before I dive into my recent best buy experience. I am 22 years old and have recently got a new job, so in celebration of my first pay check I went out this last weekend and bought a LCD tv from Best Buy. I did my research for weeks before and had my tv narrowed down and all that was left was to go and get it, which was this last Friday. After standing in front of the home theater department and confirming my selection I waited for a salesman. Eventually one came over and our conversation went as followed:

Him: Hows it going, can I help you?
Me: Yeah, I would like one of those right there. (Pointing at the TV)
Him: Don’t we all.
Me: No seriously, I want one of those TV’s (Again pointing at the TV).
Him: Alright, can I ask why?
Me: Well, (Not that it mattered why I wanted the TV – I had made up my mind and just wanted to bring it home. No warranty, just give it to me) I had it between these two and I finally picked this one because I think that the picture looks better.
Him: (Looking at the difference between the two TV’s) Oh yeah, that picture is pretty horrible.

I went through the motions and asked him a couple of questions some friends had mentioned to ask. I asked him to put it on the default settings, to which he replied “All of the TV’s are on default settings, we don’t have enough time to change the settings around for all them on the wall. They go right out of the box and on the wall.”

I asked him to put it on the cable instead of whatever looped DVD was playing, and he said “The live feed is a much lesser quality picture, they would look the same there.” I asked him other things about the TV’s like number of inputs and outputs, and every request or question I never got a strait answer or what I was looking to see.

There were even a few times that he mentioned he would go check his specs sheet and could tell me, but never did. However my mind was still made up and I stuck to my original choice.

He then spent the majority of our time together trying to sell me the service plan and a calibration of the TV (two services which combined was about half the price of the TV). I refused them both and he asked if there was anything else that I needed.

I knew that there was a deal going, buy the TV and a Blu-ray player is on sale. After I told him that I wanted to get the Blu-ray player he told me that he wasn’t aware of the deal, so we walked back to the wall display where I showed him the bright yellow card that said the offer.

I went over and picked up the Blu-ray player and I asked if I needed any specific cables to go with it. He tried selling me on a Monster cable for $125 and told me that I would regret it if I did anything less. So once I made up my mind on a cable that was about half the price he continued to tell me how I made a bad choice.

I then mentioned how I wanted to make sure I had the right cables for my Wii, to which he said they were in the gaming department. With no assistance I went over and found what I needed and came back to the home theater department to see my TV at the register.

So, now that its check-out time he had one more shot to sell me on a service plan. The salesman that had no clue about the specs of this TV somehow knew that “40% of these TV’s come back to the store for repairs”, and that if I “dont get the service plan I might as well hook a car battery up to it.” I was aware of my “risks” and politely said no again. He wheeled it to the front and that was the last time I saw him, no thanks – no have a nice day – nothing – he didn’t even come outside, instead someone else put it into the trunk of my car.

Consumerist – I know its not the most horrifying Best Buy story out there, but is it worth my time to send a letter to Best Buy. I understand that I am only 22 years old and they probably get a lot of people wasting their time, but considering that I walked out of there with a receipt for close to $1,300 the customer service could have been a little bit better.

We’re pretty sure that from Best Buy’s perspective, the salesperson did everything right except get you to buy that service plan and calibration.

Still, we’re sure they don’t want you to be unhappy, and would probably not like to hear that the salesperson didn’t know very much about the TV or was unfamiliar with the DVD player promotion. We suggest you do let them know that you were disappointed in your experience.

As far as the calibration service goes, here’s some stuff our sister-publication, Consumer Reports, put together. It looks like you can pretty much do this yourself — either using a DVD or just by following these tips.

CR says:

For the ultimate fine-tuning, consider a professional calibration—but be prepared to pay hundreds of dollars for the expert touch. In most cases, we don’t think it’s worth it.

Good job sticking to your guns.

How to fine-tune your HDTV [Consumer Reports]
(Photo:Timothy J Silverman)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mxx says:

    He tried selling me on a Monster cable for $125 and told me that I would regret it if I did anything less. So once I made up my mind on a cable that was about half the price he continued to tell me how I made a bad choice.

    wait, HE BOUGHT $60 HDMI CABLE????????????
    he says he did his research and yet he bought $60 cable????
    can you please tell me the address of this guy so i can personally go and smack him for buying that cable?

    • ApupnamedShamus says:


      I was going to say the exact same thing. How does anyone on this site have the balls to say that he spent $60 for an HDMI cable at Best Buy? No wonder the BB employee treated him like crap.

    • BinaryTB says:

      @Mxx: I know, it’s like after all that research he would’ve heard of monoprice about a few hundred times.

    • FDCPAGuy says:

      Plus he did his research but didn’t know the inputs the TV had? Sounds like the OPs research was not too extensive.

      • sakanagai says:

        @FDCPAGuy: Actually, when I go to buy consumer electronics at a store like Best Buy, I’ll usually ask some questions I already know the answers to so that I can gauge the competence of the employee. If they can’t answer a simple question (or proceed to use sane means to do so), I start looking for someone else.

        • FDCPAGuy says:

          Ok so you like being a jerk then and proving people incompetent? If you know the answers don’t try to belittle people by trying to prove they’re stupid. I’m sure no one does this to you at your work. What saddens me is it seems like you or the OP might get some sick type of enjoyment out of it.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            @FDCPAGuy: I don’t see it that way at all. If I’m in a store and I have questions that I haven’t been able to find the answer for online, I would like to find the most competent person out there. It makes sense to gauge how knowledgeable someone is by asking them questions, answers for which you already have. It’s also a way of measuring trustworthiness. The guy the OP worked with at Best Buy was a jerk. He was rude, and nothing he said was truthful, and he tried to upsell him on the cable. We get it – upselling is part of the job. But he didn’t just upsell, he badgered the customer and insisted that he was making a terrible decision. I like to think that if I make a terrible decision, it’s not because

          • BlackMage66652 says:

            @FDCPAGuy: Actually, I like the idea of testing the employee. If they fail to answer a couple basic questions or don’t go find out, then they’re obviously not a reliable source of info for actual questions.

          • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

            @FDCPAGuy: Shady mechanics must love you.

          • sakanagai says:

            @FDCPAGuy: I’d rather be an inquisitive dick than an amicable sap. It’s not like if someone gets the answer wrong I’ll shout to the entire store that the guy is a moron. Heck, even if they can’t answer it, a good employee will find someone who does or at least volunteer to look it up. I usually decline assistance (or say I’m just looking) and try to find someone else. Yeah, the guy loses a sale, but if I buy something based on false information, I will return it and that looks worse for the employee that no sale at all.

            It’s not some kind of game for me, either. Consumer electronic purchases tend to be expensive an I want to make sure I get accurate information. Blindly accepting the word of a salesman only leads to more Consumerist posts.

    • Sockatume says:

      @Mxx: That’s the whole point of a $125 cable. Few people are stupid enough to buy it, but it makes it seem like the equally absurd $60 cable is cheap or reasonable.

    • c_c says:

      @Mxx: Haha w/ the comments down yesterday I had wanted to say this too.

      Seriously, if you’ve done any minimal amount of research on the internet about HDTV’s you’d know not to pay more than $5 for 6′ HDMI cable.

      The Best Buy salesman definitely succeeded on that front; flash the criminally overpriced $125 cable, to make the slightly less criminally overpriced $60 cable look like a deal.

    • Razor512 says:

      @Mxx: I got my self a 6 foot HDMI cable for $3 including shipping from

      it has been a year and they still work perfectly, I don’t know if it is possible to get the picture clearer since if I hook it up to a laptop with HDMI output, everything is 100% clear

      monster cable generally uses a SLIGHTLY more quality cable covering (to make it handle bending and other abuse a little better but none of that extra stuff is worth their high price. there have also been many benchmarks showing monster cable performing exactly the same as the cheapest HDMI cable

      no matter how cheap, if a cable is rated at a certain specification then it will perform at it.

      • Razor512 says:

        @Razor512: forgot to add, if you go with cheap cables be sure to look at where they are coming from, the bottom of the line ones are generally the knockoffs that come from china and are usually sold on ebay, you can get them often for well under $1 including shipping

        I have used them and they give good picture, no difference compared to any other cable, but the connectors are cheaply made, I have a 12 foot one that I won on a ebay auction for 31 cents, free shipping, I use it for my 40 inch LCD HDTV, it connects from my fios STB to the tv, I uses a little bit of glue on the weak points to make sure it doesn’t break.

        my $3 cable is for the laptop since I disconnect and reconnect it a lot and the connectors are well made

    • zwizer25 says:


      Exactly what I was thinking when I read the article.

      I spent probably a grand total of $20 at Monoprice for 4 or 5 HDMI cables of differing lengths and the Wii composite cables and nobody would ever be able to tell the difference.

      And he acts like $60 for one HDMI cable is a great deal and he is really sticking it to Best Buy – they probably made like $59 of profit from him right there.

    • awer25 says:

      @Mxx: Even if you want the Monster cable, you can get their highest, craziest $250 HDMI cable, the M1000, for $20 on eBay brand new. Yep, $20. Shipped. I even bought one for my PS3 just ’cause it was $20. Now when I am browsing Best Buy for a TV and they want to sell me a $120 HDMI cable I can tell them I already have one and it’s better lol.

  2. Fabuloso says:

    it just sucks that i think i could be such a better sales man then this guy if i got the chance but best buy didn’t hire me when i applied, instead they got that jerk who could care less. i would love to trade my sitting around all day looking for a job for his job and apparent apathy for the customer experience.

  3. MsAnthropy says:

    Sounds exactly like every trip to Best Buy that I’ve ever had (and there haven’t been many, I learned my lesson fast), to be honest.

    I don’t get why, when you’re standing there trying to spend money at their store, sales assistants will try to convince you that the expensive item you’re about to purchase is a piece of crap that’s absolutely guaranteed to stop functioning 10 seconds after the manufacturer’s warranty runs out. I experienced this most recently at Lowe’s. We bought a washer and dryer there, after some fairly extensive research, and the salesguy was waxing lyrical about how we’d be morons not to buy the $$$$$ extended warranty, because he’s seen soooooo many of these lemonlike machines returned with all manner of problems and defects. Funny how a furrowed brow and concerned expression and “well now you put it like that, I’m having second thoughts about buying it if it’s THAT bad…!” always seems to result in a complete about-face.

    Are there really customers out there who will be persuaded by the “what you are about to buy, sir/madam, is a piece of complete and utter shit!” argument that they need to shell out for extended warranties?

  4. iblamehistory says:

    Strangely opposite and yet equally as soul crushing as my experience last Black Friday.

    Went in with 2 different televisions in mind. #1 choice, and #2 choice. Waited in line outside, then inside. The line inside took a couple hours, but we waited. They had it set up so that the higher end televisions were kept in the back and when you got to the front of the line, you’d tell them what to get you. Choice #1 was in the back. While snaking through the line, we passed choice #2, out and ready to be picked up off the shelf.

    Got to the front of the line, and we were told that they might be out of the one we wanted, and that they were almost sure they were, but they’d check. We were told to wait a few steps ahead of the front of the line while someone checked, meanwhile they continued with the customers behind us. This is fine. That is, until we have been standing there for 20 minutes, ignored, and people way behind us were being served without a hitch.

    A couple employees asked what we were waiting for, and we just got “oh” when we told them. Then someone who looked like they had a little more power in the store asked another employee what tv we wanted, and this started a group of whispering, and–get this–a guy looking at us and shaking his head. Nobody had the nerve to say to us “sorry, we checked, and as we suspected, we are out of that model.” Which was ALL we were waiting for. We were hoping that would be followed up with “but if there’s another television you’d like, I will get it for you.” Because there WAS another television that we had in mind, and al this line waiting was, after all, so employees could calmly go retrieve televisions for those who waited.

    My husband finally bolted upstream through the line to grab that second choice off of the shelf, come back though the line, and finally pay for it. Something that we could have done and been done with 10 minutes after the store opened. We waited in line to be served in the way they were serving everyone, but since they were out of the specific tv we wanted, BEST BUY of all places decides that we probably won’t want anything else, and therefore we are absolutely ignored? We were even physically in the way of their activities, but we stood there because we were asked specifically to stand there. This means that they had to TRY to ignore us.

    A guy saw my pissed off husband holding the tv and was just like “uh… can I grab you guys some cables or anything?” and I think we just glared at him, and he walked away.

    fwiw we’re still very happy with the tv we ended up with. It’s a 1080p 32″ LG, which is as big as we wanted to go (and fits perfectly with the makeshift Ikea shelf that later bought). We were desperately wanting one last year, though, because I had just learned that the fancypants flat screens don’t emit the high pitched noise that drives me insane, like CRT sets do. Very happy with the television, not so much with our experience. We’re also young (we were 22/23 last year) and really used to getting shafted in various places. Boy, are people SHOCKED when the useless children escalate complaints as high as possible. We only let this one go because it was about 8 am on Black Friday, and I was in the midst of a very bad but non-contagious “lower digestive” illness ;)

  5. seanhcalgary says:

    For the life of me I don’t know why anyone would buy any piece of technology without researching it on the internet first.

    In this day and age there is no excuse to go into a store and still have to ask questions of the sales staff. By the time you enter the store you should need someone to grab you a box from the back and ring you out.

    • milrtime83 says:

      @seanhcalgary: I would be willing to bet more than half the people that walk into BB looking for a TV don’t have any idea what they want other than maybe the size.

      The most common question from my brief time working there few years ago was “What’s the difference between LCD and Plasma?”

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @seanhcalgary: This completely baffles me as well.

      Prior to actually buying my TV I spent a couple of weeks researching models and what features they had. When I got my choices narrowed down to one or two that I liked I spent some more time reading various forums and seeing what actual owners thought of the sets.

      After I found the one I wanted, I checked Circuit City, Best Buy, and H. H. Gregg to find out which store had the item available to buy in-store. I chose in-store because I think it’s less hassle to return things to a physical store rather than packing the thing back up, paying for shipping, and waiting for my return to arrive via UPS.

      I walked into the store knowing exactly what I wanted and what features the TV had. I found a salesperson, pointed to the TV I wanted, said that I wanted that TV and that I don’t need any extended warranty or cables, paid for it, and walked out. Total time in store: About 15 minutes.

    • madog says:

      @seanhcalgary: This is partly why customer service is so bad in the first place. If businesses always expected customers to know everything when they come in the store, why bother spending the time and money training employees properly?

      You’re either going to get some person who’s just there to sell products like this BB employee, or have someone who actually knows what they are talking about. The only training that employee got was, “Do whatever you can to sell the service plan and Monster cables.”

  6. zibplipperman says:

    I looked at stoves at Best Buy and the young “salesperson” had no clue as to what he was selling. You’d think Best Buy would have training videos or something.

    • katia802 says:

      @zibplipperman: Okay, maybe i’m just a complainer, (very possible according to hubby). If i go into a store looking to spend hundreds of dollars on something and I get the crappy salesperson treatment, I immediately ask for a manager. I then inform him/her that I would have been happy to spend X amount of dollars in your store, but as you didn’t bother to train your salespeople I’ll go find some other competing store to spend my money at. Do this enough times and perhaps the message will get through that customer service is an important part of keeping people going into brick and moarter stores instead of going online to buy.

  7. Sockatume says:

    I should point out that you should absolutely never buy a TV based on what the picture looks like in the store. They’re put up with default settings right out of the box, but those defaults are in “Shop Mode” (many TVs prompt you to choose that or Home Mode on first boot) which makes a complete dog’s dinner of it. Not to mention that the lighting in Best Buy’s probably pretty far off your actual viewing experience.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      @Sockatume: Beyond that, the TV sets out in the general TV section all have displays that look like crap. About the only thing you will be able to tell is the difference in contrasts.

      The feed is split so many times, it looks like a standard definition signal. Over a bad antenna. Made out of a wire coat hanger.

      The stuff in the Magnolia home theater area all have beautiful signals. But I’ve never bought anything out of that section.

      I’ve done my research before hitting the store, and I just need a warm body to get the box.

      There is very little I’ve ever asked of Best Buy:

      – Have the price in the store match the advertised price, or the price on your site.

      – Don’t hide items at the such and such counter. If you won’t hold ’em, don’t hide ’em.

      – Don’t pawn the upsell off on me

      – Don’t spout technobabble when I decline the upsell

      – Get that big heavy box and haul it up to the register and out to my car, please.

      Other than that, my experience at BB is much better when I don’t have to actually talk to anyone who works there.

  8. coren says:


    I decided to get in on a “before Black Friday” deal and picked up a 500 dollar Insignia tv. I spent a good 15 minutes on the phone asking questions, then they offered (without me asking) to hold one for me even though they had six left on the floor and more in the back. Checkout was painless, they offered the extended plan once, made a note that if I could find my reward zone coupon and gift cards they’d be happy to do a return rebuy even if the item had gone up in price. They wouldn’t even let me help carry the thing out of the store, which I was more than happy to do.

    It was almost like they wanted me to have a good experience or something.

    • PTB315 says:

      @coren: I went in knowing what I wanted because I had researched it on and printed out pages so that I could check exact product numbers and confirm I was getting what I wanted.

      The woman who assisted me was very different from this article’s experience, she asked me about cables and I told her Amazon was selling HDMI cables for about 10 bucks a pop and she agreed that was far better than Monster’s pricing. She offered the 4 year service plan and explained it very clearly to me, so I went with it.

      She was helpful, and knowledgeable, but if she didn’t know something she didn’t try to bullshit me. She admitted she wasn’t sure and went and checked. I was happy by the end of it all and had the entertainment center I wanted.

  9. Buffet says:

    I’d have just punched him in the face.

  10. DovS says:

    I think, when the cashier claimed that “40% of these TV’s come back to the store for repairs,” I would have lost my patience and said, “Oh, really? I guess I had better not buy it then.” Then I would walk out and buy the TV at some store that didn’t have incompetent salesclerks who don’t realize that, if they’re so obviously incompetent, they undermine any confidence I might have in their upsell pitch.

  11. Ouze says:

    Well, what incentive does best buy have to do better?

    At the end of the day, you bought the TV anyway.

    Why serve them steak when they’ll eat shit?

    • jeffbone says:

      @Ouze: “Why serve them steak when they’ll eat shit?”

      Well said. That sounds like it could be the mission statement for any of the top ten WCIA finalists. Maybe the crew here would consider engraving that statement on the Golden Poo award.

  12. nocturnaljames says:

    Cables & Warranties are where they rake in the huge dough, so they try to push those as hard as they can. Buying a $125 monster cable is about the worst buying decision anyone can possibly make on anything. I used to work in an electronic store similar to best buy, so I can have some sympathy for the seller. They are expected to know everything about every model, but they get no training, and probably make minimum wage. Then of course the managers put high pressure to sell overpriced cables and warranties the customer doesn’t really need, and not to provide good service. That said this salesman was very annoying and condescending when he clearly didn’t know what he was talking about in the first place.

  13. FogNoggin says:

    A few weeks ago I bought a 50″ TV from Best Buy and was braced to deal with the BBB, Best Buy B***s**t. I wasn’t upsold ANYTHING. I pointed at the TV, the nice clerk checked to see that it was in stock, I paid, walked to the exit to find my TV waiting for me and the nice security clerk helped be load it into my van. All as it should be in a polite society.

    After all I’ve read about Best Buy, I felt as though I had gotten away with some sort heist.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @FogNoggin: This is how our experiences were when buying two TVs from BB. We did our research, stopped into the store, found a salesgirl (luckily enough, the same one always seemed to be there whenever we came in), pointed at the wall saying “Give me that one, please” and had it loaded up for us. She did ask my fiance if he needed cables, but he replied “No, I bought some at Monoprice already,” to which she laughed and replied (sans sarcasm) “That was a smart idea.” When we came in 3 months later to buy the second TV she remembered us and didn’t try to upsell me on a thing.
      Interestingly enough, when I was looking at washers/dryers by myself the salesman tried to push me to the ultra-sexy, super-expensive LG ones. When I returned later with my fiance, the (different) salesman was super cool, and even advised us that the extended warranty wasn’t worth the money since we had picked out a very sturdy model.

    • meadandale says:


      I had exactly the same experience several years ago when I bought my plasma. The model I wanted was the priors years model that they were closing out. I found out which store still had one in stock, walked in was at the register in less than 5 minutes.

      Actually, the guy ringing me up was quite pleasant. Didn’t try to upsell anything and he actually arranged for the SD to HD upgrade on my cable plan with my cable provider (and the swap of an SD DVR with an HD DVR).

      I was in and out in about 15 minutes with the box waiting by the front door. It was pretty damn painless.

      Maybe it’s because I’m an older, fat grumpy SOB and people are afraid to try that crap with me? *shrug*

    • the_deliverator says:

      @FogNoggin: I recently had a pleasant experience at Best Buy as well! My parents’s CRT broke, and they wanted a decent, not huge HD LCD. I did some research, found the one they should by, went in with them. Found the salesguy, pointed to my iphone with the one i wanted on the best buy website and asked him to get it. They didn’t have it, so they sold me the next pricier one (it had an extra HDMI port, which apparently adds $80) for the price of the one they didn’t have in stock. no cable upsell, nothing. My parents then proceeded to mock me for complaining about Best Buy crappiness.

  14. CharlesFarley says:

    Can someone tell me what the story is with selling “calibration” services on a new out of the box TV? I would expect it to be in tip-top condition and working perfectly to spec if I bought it new?

    What is the “scam”?

    • geekzapoppin says:

      @CharlesFarley: As has been mentioned above me, television manufacturers, for the most part, have default setting that are made to make the potential buyer say, “Wow! What a bright picture!” They know these televisions will be on store sales floors, usually under bright fluorescent lighting, and right next to twenty other televisions. The human eye is naturally drawn to bright, shiny things.

      The trouble with this is that these settings aren’t going to give you an accurate representation of the picture that was intended by the content creators. This is mostly an issue when watching films, where color, texture, brightness, etc. are carefully adjusted to exacting standards before ending up on DVD, Blu-ray, etc. By doing your best to make your television match the same standards as the content producers’ monitors, you are able to get a picture that matches the intentions of the program creators. Of course, if you’re watching ACCORDING TO JIM all the time and don’t ever watch, say, a Kubrick film. It might seem to be a waste to bother with calibrating your set. In such a case, I’d say you’re right. You’ll still want to dial down the contrast and artificial sharpening. It may look strange at first, but you’ll quickly adjust to it and find that the image is far-more-natural than when you use default settings.

      If you have a large enough set that has the potential of displaying a great picture and you have the money, then, by all means, hire an ISF Certified Technician. You won’t be disappointed. If, like me, you want as good a picture as you can get, but can’t afford ISF calibration, there are DVDs and Blu-Ray discs such as Digital Video Essentials or the Avia 2 Guide to Home Theater which are great for guiding you through making adjustments to your television using the basic controls on your television, without having to navigate arcane service menus. While not providing as good a result as a more in-depth calibration, the results are still well worth the time and effort. These discs are readily-available online, through Netflix, or sometimes even at your local library.

      • AndyMan1 says:

        @geekzapoppin: You don’t even need to buy another disk, assuming you have even a meager sized video collection.

        Dig around for a THX certified DVD or Blu-ray disk (Indiana Jones IV is one, for example) and then jump through the menu settings, you’ll find a calibration option. A few minutes with that, and you should be calibrated well enough for most people.

    • marsneedsrabbits says:

      As far as I know, all Pixar & Lucasfilm DVDs have a calibration section. If you own any of them (Toy Story, Star Wars, etc) find it and give it a try.

      Here is an Engadget article explaining the process using Pixar’s Monsters, Inc with screen shots and everything:


  15. qwerty001984 says:

    This story is from a moron.
    He said he paid $62 for an HDMI cable.

  16. TheFuzz53 says:

    You still got ripped off paying $60 for an HDMI cable.

    is your friend. That same cable is about $8 here.

  17. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    don’t go to Best Buy to hear about technology. Its best to find out online, and go there to get the right product. For Example..

    I wanted a Sony XBR9 TV. I went there and all of them suggested Samsung (who pays them big $$$ to market). I took the Samsung home and it sucked (W series, claimed 240hz but seriously lacked). I took it back and got my XBR9. Wang_Chung is now happe :-)

  18. reimero says:

    When we bought our TV earlier this year (also at Best Buy), our experience was nothing like that. I, too, came in with a very, very narrow list of TVs and criteria, and my wife (fiancee at the time) and I settled on one particular model. The salesperson gave us the rundown on everything, tried the obligatory service plan and HDMI cable upsells (but wasn’t very pushy about it) and seemed quite happy to make a (rather large) sale. I did humor him enough to go over and look at the cables before stating that I really didn’t want to drop another $40 on an HDMI cable. All in all, the whole process was fairly un-painful, beyond the research and cost-calculating.

    Also, once we got home, I hopped on Amazon and picked up a few HDMI cables and some optical audio cables (since we also picked up a receiver and some speakers, because the financing was right and we calculated we could afford it easily.) Total cost of the cables on Amazon was somewhere in the $15 range, including shipping. And those HDMI cables are working just fine.

  19. arimer says:

    Does Best Buy work on Spiffs? At compusa if I could get you to buy the expensive Monster cables that was a 30 dollar SPiff in my pocket. One time they actually ran a contest that if you could sell the most monster cables out of all the stores you got a trip or something fancy like that.

  20. dwarftoad says:

    Sounds like the salesman wasn’t really that interested in selling you a TV. Why reward them for such a lousy sales job? Go somewhere else where they, I don’t know, are interested in answering your questions and selling you the TV you want?

  21. AliceMaz says:

    We bought a 46″ Sony Bravia tv with Blu-Ray player on the same sale last weekend from Best Buy. $1034 for a BEAUTIFUL tv and blu-ray player just made our year!

    I always knew that part of what I loved about my husband was that he was in retail all through college and knows how to get around bull-$h1t.

    We didn’t look anyone in the eye and bolted for the TV dept upon arrival, looked at all the Bravias that were for sale (we weren’t sure what size would be best for our living room and wanted to see in person).

    Once we knew which one we wanted, we found a sales person who was already getting someone’s order to pull from the backroom and added our TV to his list to avoid the sales pitch.

    While we waited for the TV, we found the Blu-Ray included in the sale (weird sale… the cheap players all over the sales floor weren’t the ones in the deal, the sale one was actually the better one that was hidden in the aisles) and laughed at the prices on all the Monster Cable sets.

    The only glitch we encountered was we got roped into purchasing at the Magnolia counter in the back and had to wait for about 15 minutes (!!!) just to find someone to ring us up!

  22. adamwade says:


    Even $60 HDMI are a rip-off!

    Why? Because it’s a purely DIGITAL signal. It’s not like analog where cable quality did matter because of interference and signal degredation.

    HDMI cables either work…or they don’t. There is no difference in quality – your TV gets the signal, or it doesn’t.

    So buy $10 ones off the Internet – or if you need one in a brick & mortar, get the cheapies at Wal-Mart for $22 bucks. It makes no difference whatsoever.

    When I see people being scammed into spending $100+ for a frickin’ cable I feel like it’s almost criminal for stores to try to get away with lying about their quality like that.

  23. PhilFR says:

    I think the moral here is “Don’t shop at Best Buy.” Honestly, you’ll get vastly superior service from Crutchfield, and it’s hard to shake a stick at NewEgg if you just know what you want.

  24. laffmakr says:

    I am still amazed at how many people accept this type of treatment at any store. Circuit City lost about $3000 of my money over the years for this exact same bullshit.

    Two stupid and flip answers from a salesperson qualify for a discussion with a manager. If the salesperson is still involved at that point, a trip to the front door is required.

    I’m sure there are other retailers in the area that would match Best Buy’s price.

  25. johnrhoward says:

    If you paid $60 for a cable, then I think you did make a bad choice.

  26. vastrightwing says:

    Salesperson: Hello, if you just give $50 cash, I’ll tell you everything you want to know, I’ll demo the TV properly, I won’t push you to buy Monster (please don’t sue me) cables, I’ll ring your sale up without giving you a hard sell on the warranty and I’ll put the set into your car. One problem is that this scenario should be normal operating procedure at B.B. (without having to pay extra), but sadly will never be.

    • Hawkins says:

      @vastrightwing: What an interesting experiment. Next time I have to buy something expensive, I’ll try that.

      How do you maintain control, though?

      Maybe something like:

      Hello. I want to buy a thousand-dollar-plus device today. I do not with to be patronized, pushed, up-sold, or lied to.

      I understand that your job is to do all these things.

      So here’s the deal: I will pay you $50 cash to disobey your instructions, and treat me respectfully, tell me the whole truth, and load my car.

      Here’s $20 now. The remaining $30 is yours at the conclusion of the transaction, in the parking lot.

      Surely you’d save more than $50, if, for example, you didn’t know what a ripoff the cables were.

      I’m trying this.

  27. allnitecp says:

    Here’s an analogy for you: Best Buy is to Monster Cables as Radio Shack is to Batteries.

    Its just that Monster Cables cost 100 times more than a pack of batteries.

    • TheMonkeyKing says:

      Agreement on the cables. Monoprice online has the price for cables and their support is excellent.

      I haven’t shopped at best buy in a long time. The last time I was there, I was accused of being a thief, trying to rip off the store. (Picking up a set of speakers that was offered by buying an AV stereo was the most humiliating shopping experience of my life.)

  28. Truthie says:

    I remember when I was buying a 27″ tube TV like 10 years ago that the salesbot guy at Best Buy gave me the same line about how 40% of these TVs are returned.

    I looked him in the eye and just said “Really? Because if that’s true I am not going to buy such a poorly made product in the first place.” He shut right up after that.

  29. Kricket says:

    on the scale rating my most recent best buy experiences – i would rank this one as pretty typical – not too bad for us people who have done their research and are somewhat “in the know” – but it terrifies me to think that my parents might walk into some best buy and think they are being “educated” on technology by some 19 year old kid who’s only looking to sell the most psp’s that weekend (performance service plans – not the handheld)

  30. npage148 says:

    I’m tired of the Monster Cable bitching. So what he bought a 60$ cable, I know he could have gotten it at monoprice for 14 cents. He wanted it now so we could use his TV (Cue bitching about poor planning). It’s less than 5% of total cost of the TV. I’d gladly pay that to use my TV when I got home

    • Fist-o™ says:

      @npage148: Patience is a virtue, and you are a fool.

      After waiting for so many weeks to get a TV, and you can’t wait another day to watch TV, then I guess you deserve to be separated from your money.

      If you were my child I’d give you much more of an earful. But since this is the internet and the sole purpose of this post is to boost my own ego, I’ll stop now. :D

  31. lupodwdm says:

    Companies like Best Buy wonder why their sales figures are so poor; this is a great example of it. I rarely go to any of these stores anymore since the people they have there are such idiots and will flat out lie to your face. I have had more than one experience where the sales person there would argue with me and tell me that I am wrong when I contradict some stupid thing they have said to me. It does not matter when I tell them I have been a member of the ISF for 15 years and I worked as a broadcast engineer for 20 so I know more than a little bit about audio and video.

    One of my favorite best buy experiences; I was in the Best Buy in Rockaway, NJ about a year ago. I was bored and I was wandering through the “Magnolia” room of home theater components. There was a nice young couple looking at some speakers. As I was in there I heard the husband say that they mostly listen to rock and dance music and wanted speakers with a lot of bass. The sales person walked them over to the $1500 ea. electrostatic speakers and told them that these would be perfect. I kept quiet and listened to the sales person spout some of the most creative BS I have ever heard.

    “Electrostatic speakers are known for their incredible bass”

    “They have very deep bass because of all the surface area of the film inside”

    “You will not need a sub woofer since they play down to 10hz.” (I loved that one. 10hz huh? Wow, I guess I should have come to best buy first before dropping $2.5k on my sub that only plays down to 22hz)

    “These speakers will literally last forever” not sure where he got that one from.

    etc, etc, etc.

    As they were ready to buy I just could not keep quiet anymore. I would have felt bad watching these people spend $3k + on speakers that were quite literally the exact opposite of what they needed. Long story short I politely informed them about the true performance of the speakers they were looking at and said how electrostats are wonderful speakers for some types of music but would be horrible for what they wanted to listen too.

    I even went to the manufactures web site on my iphone and showed them the frequency response of the speakers. They were so angry at being lied to they went to the manager about what the sales person said and then left. I in turn walked out of the store a few minutes later only to hear someone yelling at me as I waled out. The sales person actually followed me outside yelling at me about costing him a sale. I pointed out to him how he was flat out lying to them about the speakers and he told me it was none of my business and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. He then made a vague threat that I should watch my back around this store from now on.

    It just makes me sick how 90% of the sales people at these stores will pray on customers that don’t know any better.

    The good thing is eventually stores like Best Buy will either wake up and get better sales people or simply go out of business like circuit city. (Which was one of the worst when it came to idiot sales people.)

  32. Android8675 says:

    Geez freaking idiot, 40% of the TVs don’t come back to the store, if your TV is bad BBY will send someone to your house to fix it (usually takes 2-3 times, but it’s cheaper for them to send someone to your house than to ship it to the svc center).

    Also the 1yr Mfg warranty is covered by best buy, so at least for the first year, if you have any problems, call 800-Geek-Squ and have them send someone to your house to fix the TV.


    TVs out of the box are calibrated for electronic show room floors, meaning TONS of BLUE, very bright, lots of bloom. You’re a dumb ass if you don’t either calibrate the TV yourself or have someone help you do it.

  33. Edjamacator says:

    Wait a second….so the guy does a lot of “research,” sure of his knowledge, and he does the following:

    Shops at Best Buy
    Buys $60 cables
    Expects something different from a Best Buy salesman?

    Yeah, he did a lot of research alright. Probably a whole five minutes on Best Buy’s site.

    • Jnetty says:


      I like Best Buy, buy there all the time and never had a problem. But yes i do my research. I’ll look online for better price, shipping. If BB is almost the same i’ll buy it at the store. But I will only go to the store for physical research. I always buy it online and pick up at the store, that way I’m not hassle by their stupid sales people.

  34. robotrousers says:

    Oh man. My brother and I went to BB to pick up a PS3. He almost ditched the sale, cuz the girl at the checkout was really pushing the warranty. “Are you sure? These things break all the time. Really? Are you certain?” The worst part is when they start to talk to you like you’re an idiot for refusing. That’s when my brother said “you wanna sell me this or not? Cuz I can go somewhere else.” Then she acted all hurt and whiny. Ugh. I don’t buy any big ticket items at BB anymore. Don’t really care if they know why or not. They can kiss my ass.

  35. koath says:

    I remember when I bought my Sony Bravia 40″ LCD that I knew more about the TVs then the salesmen. I also had one try to sell me the Monster HDMI cable. I told him the why I didn’t need to spend that type of money on a cable and the differences between analog and digital signals. He didn’t have much to say after that.

    I also got Best Buy to price match the tv from an online ad from another store which was an extra 10% off. In addition I signed up for the credit card (yes I know not a great idea) but it had an extra 6 months of 0% interest compared to the other store.

    I really felt like I stuck it to them.

  36. YardanCabaret says:

    I’ve got a better one. I had actually already bought a TV off their website for in store pickup. Everything went without a hitch. Two weeks later I get an e-mail asking me to rate the TV. I go to rate it and notice that the 1080p version (I had got the 720p version) was now only a few dollars more. I call and ask if I can exchange the one I bought off the website and picked up in stores for the 1080p version. Everyone I talked to said yes. So I bring in the TV explain my situation again and again confirmed that it is possible to exchange something I bought online for in store pickup with something in store. Go grab the new TV off the floor and head back up to the front. After fiddling on the POS for a second the CSR hands me a receipt stapled to my old receipt saying the money will be back on my card in 72 hours and how did I want to pay for the new one. My jaw dropped and I asked what she didn’t understand about an exchange. I was then told, by the same employee that had confirmed it was possible not 10 minutes before, that you can’t exchange stuff bought online for in store pickup with in store stuff; I have to return it first. I asked how he (not the teller, her manager who had been right there for the whole exchange and was one of the employees who had confirmed I could make the exchange) had not known this a second ago but now was speaking as if this is well known company policy. I then mentioned that this was extremely shitty to do to a customer who had already given them money and was trying to give them more. For this comment I was yelled at called names and ordered from the store. Basically they threw the money I had already spent there in my face, insulted me and my intelligence and then demanded that I get out.

    I took my returned money added the same amount on top and went elsewhere to get a way better TV. I have never been back and I have no intention of ever shopping there again.

    On another note, I scoured the website and there is no mention of this anywhere in any of the return materials. In fact everything points to it being entirely possible to do what I was trying to do. It looks as if the employee messed up and did a return instead of an exchange and instead of apologizing and making it right they blamed the system and attacked me.

  37. JGKojak says:

    This is why Best Buy, somehow someday, is going the way of Circuit City.

  38. delphi_ote says:

    My Best Buy hobby:

    Wen one of these idiots try to sell me the extended warranty by telling me the product is prone to breaking, I say “Oh, so it’s crap? Thanks for warning me. I’m not going to buy it anymore.”

    Then you watch their head explode while they try to convince you to buy it AND that it’s going to break.

  39. Portalis says:

    Two words: “BUY ONLINE”! don’t buy from these places, I can not stand dealing with best buy people either, but besides the people, the prices there are a total rip. is a good place to start.

  40. masterasia says:

    I just hate Best Buy. I walk in there once in a while when I’m at the Mall of America and laugh at their prices. But they do have some good deals once in a while. I bought some computer cases a year ago. It was an Antec NSK 6580B for $40 and the a very nice Dynex case for $30.

    Here’s what I do when I walk in.
    Go to the computer hard ware section and blurt out
    “I can get this off Newegg for half the price”, “$60 for a 1 gig stick or ram?!? This is preposterous!!!”, and my favorite, “Let’s see what game I can download off torrent sites later?”

  41. farker says:

    Wow. Shoppingfail. $60 for an HDMI Cable? I sure hope it was 50 feet long, but I suspect it was more in the neighborhood of 6 or 10!

    After the first time that snotty sales associate sassed me, I would’ve turned on my heel and left to go order the same TV from Amazon or Fry’s.

  42. Tvhargon says:

    Oh, yeah, my wife once bought a tv there, and they sold her over $1000 WORTH OF CABLES!!! I took them back, got on monoprice and got the same cables for $30.

  43. nstonep says:

    They don’t make commission right? His manager must’ve been up his ass all day.

    Usually best buy employees run and hide whenever they see a customer not hassel you.

  44. KCChiefsFan says:


    Not to mention that he ended up buying the TV from them anyway. If I get bad customer service from a place BEFORE I’m a paying customer, it is easy to imagine what the customer service is going to be like after they already have my money. I bought my last TV from Amazon, and I don’t regret it in the slightest.

    As for the price of the cables, as others have mentioned, monoprice is the way to go. They’ve got every type of cable known to man, and at absolutely rock bottom prices. Intelligent people think marketing doesn’t work, but I’ve told relatives about monoprice only to have “I don’t want those cheap Chinese cables” thrown back in my face. Cheap Chinese cables? What cables aren’t made in China! A friend of mine worked at an electronics store, and the price he paid (inventory plus five percent or something like that) on cables was never higher than 5 dollars, and that is for the name brands. People are suckers.

  45. pyehac says:

    Personally, I’d just order the product online, and request an instore pickup.

  46. jenjen says:

    I think for the COMPLETE Consumerist Best Buy experience story we would find the OP getting home, opening the box and finding a box of cement bricks.

  47. BillyDee_CT says:

    Perhaps I have a different prospective on it all, but I would have just walked out and went to a different retailer. I _might_ have come back to tell a manager about the experience, but then again it was Best Buy. I’ve only ever made two purchases there in my life – a flip-type camera and a blank digital tape for an upgraded video camera. I remember when customer service was something to take pride in – I guess badgering a customer is the credo of Best Buy. I would have went to WalMart over Best Buy any day!

  48. MrWhistler says:

    I had a very similar experience with a similarly priced TV. The salesman seemed put off that I knew what I wanted and when I said I wanted it he said he had to “check if it was in stock.” 15 minutes of standing around later, I found him shooting the breeze with a guy about the new LED TVs. I finally harangued him into taking my money and got the eff outta there. I took the time to respond to the survey on the receipt and ended up with a email and phone call from the store manager saying sorry. Small victories.

  49. hornet21 says:

    This isn’t surprising. Why would you step into a discount store and expect excellent service? You came for the price, and you got it.

  50. jrgman says:

    On one occasion, Best Buy sold me a television, then wheeled me out a “display model” and offered me a 10% discount, after the sale had been made. When I refused, they had me go through checkout again and process a “return”…and then took 3 days to process it, so I couldn’t go elsewhere and buy another TV until the charge had been cleared.

    On another occasion, I decided on a model and asked to see an HD signal on the TV. The salesperson said that the coax cable that was connected to the TV was “digital coax”, and therefore an HD signal :(

    He, of course, pushed the warranty on me, but not overly, and didn’t claim any failure rates. However, any attempts to use any of the 2 reward zone cards I had resulted in their inability to find any record of me having such a card.

  51. PBallRaven says:

    Two experiences have kept me from ever setting foot in a BB ever again:

    1: Needed a router for our office, so went to BB and used my company
    credit card. A few months later, my very conservative boss calls me
    into his office and asks me why the hell am I getting these trashy
    magazines sent to our work address? He shows me issues of “Stuff” and
    “Blender”. Seems BB signed me up for them when I bought the router.

    2: Buying a TV for my mom. Had paid for it and pulled the truck up
    in front of the store where a employee was waiting with the TV. Got out
    of the truck and stepped up on the curb, and my left hamstring muscle
    snapped. I went down like a lead balloon and the employee took off like
    a French border guard with track shoes. If a co-worker of mine had not
    just happened to walk up and help me out I’d probably still be laying
    on the sidewalk…

  52. Ghost703 says:

    I unfortunately worked at best buy for two years. I know how their business works, and how it’s all about meeting/exceeding sales numbers. I may be mistaken, but the two items that Best Buy takes an immediate loss on when selling them are laptops, and TV’s. When Best Buy buys a laptop or TV from a vendor, they are buying it for almost the exact same price as the consumer buys it for. If you go in and buy a 1300 TV, then best buy breaks even. I understand in simple terms you think “I bought 1300 dollars with of merchandise, I should at least get a thanks.” However you just brought their numbers down, by not purchasing any of the extras. In reality, they don’t care about your 1300 purchase, as they saw none of the 1300 dollars. Instead they took a loss by purchasing the shipping/handling on top of the vendor priced TV. I’m glad I don’t work in that hell hole anymore.

  53. apetra says:

    I don’t understand why consumers still go to Best Buy. I simply had enough of their crap and quit shopping there years ago. There are always other alternatives.

  54. flavious27 says:

    Buy the TV on-line, pick it up at the store, save yourself the sales pitch.

  55. Mock says:

    I think, when the cashier claimed that “40% of these TV’s come back to the store for repairs,” I would have lost my patience and said, “Oh, really? I guess I had better not buy it then.”

    I’ve heard tell that this is not a calamity for them, they can just keep the set and sell it to some sucker with the extended warranty and with the $120 monster cable. That more than makes up for your loss of sale.

  56. legalguy says:

    Yesterday I decided I had a need for a cheap external drive just to load some things onto a netbook. Didn’t need to record – just play a cd or dvd. Pretty basic.
    Looked online at Best Buy – because they are just around the corner. Spotted a cheap one made by Targus. $59.99. Called the store and asked if they had them in stock. I was assured they did. Found typical employee and asked where I might find this item. He laughed and said that Targus does not make any kind of drives. They only make laptop accessories like cases and mice, etc. I explained I saw it online and that an employee assured me they had them at the store. He searched for a couple minutes and then asked another employee. They too scoffed at the idea that Targus made such a device. Using one of the in-store computers I looked it up online and then, leaving it on the screen, went and found the clerk. I told him I had a question regarding the computer I was using. He quickly came to look – it was a very expensive computer. I pointed to the Targus drive and asked him where in the store I might find it. He pointed a couple aisles away and said, “It’s over there on that aisle.” Yep – it was. I picked it up and on the way to pay “thanked” him for all the wonderful service he had provided.

  57. jordypants says:

    Oh my, you’re all fools!

    What terrible humans you are being so uneducated. Do you not realize how the process of retail works?

    Look, this asshat above thinks he was doing Best Buy some justice by spending his precious green cotton slips in their store. False. Retail DOES NOT work that way I’m afraid.

    Let me enlighten you ignorant sheep. When you waltz into a retail store understand that you are not the kings and queens and that your hard earned money IS NOT valued like it was when Sam Walton was alive. Today, companies purchase products from MANUFACTURERS at a wholesale premium and that product is then distributed. In this case, Best Buy likely paid around $1200 for that specific television given the average markup amount across the board. In comes you, the idiot consumer fiendiously drooling from the wallet attempting to garner some sort of hierarchy over these billion dollar industries and waltz over to said department, point at a product YOU KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT and claim you “want” it. You’re NOT DOING ANYTHING to help Best Buy by purchasing this product. You’re giving them about a ~$80-$100 margin increase overall. YOU ARE NOT SPENDING $1300 in Best Buy. You are utilizing Best Buy’s facility that harbors products sent from a distribution center to countless stores so you’re conveniently able to waltz in under a false impression of importance and claim you’re doing Best Buy a huge injustice by NOT buying that TV because your service was bad. Doesn’t mean a thing, I’m afraid. That employee selling you that product is a human. They’re, in this case, smarter than you are when it comes to that product. You are the low man on the totem pole in this scenario. Your money means nothing unless you buy a warranty on the product, services to have the product setup, installed, etc etc, and all the proper accessories to enjoy it to it’s fullest. You’re an idiot if you think your high dollar margin purchases in a retail store mean anything to that business and their superiors. Sam Walton died years ago. Deal with it. The retail of the 60’s is gone. Customer service is something you earn by showing your loyalty to a company. If you want good service, listen to the person explaining it to you. If you don’t want a warranty or accessories on your product, use it with limited features and when it breaks (inevitable, you should all be bitching to the manufacturers) you can gladly waltz it back into the store only to be denied because you’re too unintelligent to sit down and understand what it means to buy just a product from a retail store. The revenue and profit comes from you spending more money on those warranties, accessories, and installation/setup services. If you don’t buy those with the product, you’re meaningless to the company and can therefor deal with your own inadequacies.

  58. Wolfbird says:

    “Best Buy, your customer service is terrible! I was really disappointed and you should clean up your act! I’m still going to purchase items from you, despite your bad business practices, but you should know that I am not happy!”

    Ultimately, what incentive are we giving crappy companies to stop misbehaving?

  59. IntheKnow says:

    I question the use of the term “salesperson” for this guy. Mistake: disparaging any product. Mistake: lack of product knowledge. Mistake: failure to make a trustworthy relationship. Mistake: selling by fear. Mistake: making an assinine statement about reliability as if you even know what an engineer, statistician or tech specialist does. Mistake: emphasizing an extended warranty rather than the product. Mistake: lying abou the need for calibration.
    Result: If BB had any integrity, they would fire this person. Since BB has no integrity, I recommend – after you do your research – buy online at one of many reputable etailers such as Amazon.. If you have time, even write a letter to Brad Anderson at BB corporate.