Rant: Why Best Buy is the Worst Retailer
While I do loathe the commercialized version of the holiday season, I must admit that I do take advantage of some of the deals. However, I’ve come to find out that when jumping upon a deal at Best Buy, you may be making up for it if there’s ever a problem with the item. Also, do NOT trust the website when it says a store has a certain item in stock. Not only that, but don’t trust the actual POS system in said store if it too indicates an item is available. I will break down three separate experiences I had this season.
Planet Earth: the Complete Series & Frozen Planet/Life Best Buy Exclusive:
When the weekly ad proclaimed the Planet Earth blu-ray set was on sale for $19.99 I was at the Best Buy across the street from me when they opened to ensure I got a copy. Besides, I’m up way before they open anyway.
I get there and can’t find any copies on the shelf or “sale” tags where they should be. I asked for help finding the series and was told none were on hand. You’d think that if an item was going on sale a retailer would ensure it was stocked, especially on the day the sale was being advertised.
I came home and checked the site online to see if I could find any stores that had it in stock. To my surprise, even though it shows up in the weekly ad, there is no listing for the blu-ray set anywhere on the site, making it impossible to check stores or order it. However, I did find that stores typically stocked the Best Buy exclusive Frozen Planet/Life set.
The next day, right before leaving, I checked online to see if the Lynnwood store had the Frozen Planet/Life set. The site said it did. I arrived when the store opened (very few customers were around). The movie section was a mess and an employee was bringing stuff out of the back. I asked her if she could help me find the item; that the site indicated it was in stock. She said the place was a mess and she had nothing in back, even though she was stocking the shelves from items in the back :/.
I decided to ask another employee who wasn’t so busy. He checked the POS system and confirmed there was a copy in stock. He spent quite a bit of time perusing the shelves with me and agreed that the store was a mess and organization of products was abysmal. Some documentaries were in the actual documentary/special interest section, some in the TV dramas section, some on sale shelves, some in the drama section, and some in the family section. He apologized and said it was probably stolen or somewhere else in the store it shouldn’t be. I decided to go to the Everett store.
At the Everett store the POS system said they had Planet Earth as well as Frozen Planet/Life. However, it took a while for the guy to even look up Planet Earth, as it couldn’t be found by searching on the company website. He had to view the online ad and type in the ISBN number. Unfortunately, even though the two items were supposed to be in stock, no one in the store could find them.
I ended up ordering Planet Earth from Amazon. As for Frozen Planet/Life, I’ll just have to wait until the local store stocks it. It’s a Best Buy exclusive so one should assume the stores would always have copies on hand. Nope. The holidays are over, deliveries have been made, and Best Buy still does not stock their own exclusive products in their stores.
BBC High Definition Natural History Collection 2:
I saw this blu-ray beauty on the shelf at the local Best Buy for $45. Unfortunately, a few days later I found out the second disc of South Pacific didn’t work. I wanted to exchange it so I went back to the Best Buy to do so. However, they had no more copies. The next day I went to the Everett store where they indeed did have two copies to choose from, even though the website didn’t indicate that copies were available. I grabbed a copy and got in the Customer Service line. It was quite long, as expected. What I didn’t expect was for the line to barely be moving as only one representative was at the station. This was two days after Christmas, so they should have known they’d need more people at the counter.
After a while a second representative showed up and the line started moving. When I got up to the counter I explained the issue and said that I wanted to just exchange out the defective disc as I had already watched the rest in the set and knew they worked. I also said I would like to check the replacement disc to make sure it worked. She said I could do that after I’ve already purchased the replacement set. Purchased? You see, exchanging an item at Best Buy is quite a process. They’ll scan your ID O_O, scan the receipt, issue a refund for the item in the form of store credit (which takes away the Reward Zone points), then make you purchase the item again using the credit (which puts the points back on if you have them scan the Reward Zone card, but now it’ll be longer until they register). They typically open the item as well before handing it to you.
Once the transaction was complete we switched out the discs and she directed me to another area where an employee could check the disc. At one point I did ask if she could check if there were any copies of Firefly (more on this later) in the store. She said one was in stock, but she had no idea where it would be found.
I waited at the counter for a while five before a Geek Squad member finally asked how he could help me. I had him play the disc in their player, which I was satisfied to see worked fine. When I got the disc back I noticed a tiny scratch on it. At this point, while now having a scratched new disc irritated me, I decided to let it go so I could just get the hell out of there. Although, I did check the shelves for any copies of Firefly, which could not be found.
Firefly: The Complete Series:
I purchased a copy of this for $17.99 a few weeks ago. It sat unopened on my shelf for a week before I decided to watch it, but when I picked it up I heard a noise from within. I shook the case a bit and, unsurprisingly, there was the unmistakable sound of a loose disc. I knew it would be completely scratched by now so instead of opening it, I decided to go to Best Buy and exchange it. However, when I went to do that they only had one copy left (in a section it wasn’t supposed to be in) and it too had a loose disc. I thought to myself, it’s a very popular item on sale, they’ll restock it soon enough. So I decided to keep my copy and come back at a later date.
A few times while out I checked the shelves for copies of the set, but no luck. Yesterday I noticed they now had a sale advertisement on the shelf again (even though it’s remained on sale all this time), so I thought that must mean if they don’t have copies now they’ll be getting some in shortly. I wanted to inquire about possible deliveries, but there were no employees to be found. I looked down all the movie and music aisles and found no one. Absolutely no one was on the floor anywhere near the entertainment section for over five minutes (this is typical of the Northgate store. Also typical is if someone is browsing in the laptops section a different employee will approach every minute). What I did find were boxes and products blocking two aisles and a family section that looked like the aftermath of a bomb. I actually had to push some boxes and displays out of the way to make it to the drama and horror sections, as well as to exit one of the aisles.
I finally tracked down an employee in the games section who checked into the availability of the set. She said none were available and none were on order. So, again, they had an item on sale that they didn’t stock, even after weeks had passed. She did tell me that I could bring in the defective item and they’d order it so I can exchange it.
What they did was issue a refund (taking away the Reward Zone points that had been accumulated for the purchase) and ordered it online using my credit card. They could not re-apply the points because my card has to be scanned*.
This morning I found Firefly online much cheaper so went to cancel the unshipped order. On the website the option to cancel was not available. When I clicked the “why?” link it directed me to a page that was unavailable. I thought, It’s Sunday, there’s no way this is going out before tomorrow. I can at least send an e-mail requesting a cancellation. The website has a contact section. In that section is a phone number and a link to contact by e-mail. When clicking the e-mail it leads to a FAQ page, with no e-mail addresses anywhere. A search online showed other blogs mentioning that Best Buy no longer allows e-mail correspondence; yet, still has the contact via e-mail link.
I guess, at this point, instead of trying to save them shipping costs I’ll feel a sense of satisfaction when I return the item to the store for a refund knowing they’ve lost money by shipping the item out. Still, it in no way makes up for the inconvenience I’ve endured thus far.
*My Reward Zone membership was a gift from my mom about a decade ago. However, when the membership was purchased, the employee put her name on it. When filling out information online, one cannot change the name on a Reward Zone account. She and I have both contacted Best Buy and they will not change the name for us or transfer the points to another card. Therefore, if I order something online it will not accept my Reward Zone ID, as it’s my mother’s name associated with it. Only if I go to the store and have them scan the card when I make a purchase will I get points. After purchasing something online I could take it into the store, return it, and re-buy it so they can scan the card, but that is just one more big inconvenience*