Why do I even bother with Best Buy?

There was a time (probably 15 years ago) when Best Buy was just that - the best place to get deals on stuff. Amy and I lived there in the early 90s.

Best Buy went out of vogue for me about 10 years ago when they moved away from being a discount electronics store and opted to be more like Sears. More profitable for them, I'm sure, but that took away the whole reason I shopped there - great deals. Still, I end up there from time to time, and each time pretty much assures me a measure of disappointment. And their bait-and-switch lawsuit a few years back certainly didn't surprise me.

I remember the time I had a camcorder and in my hands and I had asked a salesperson for a digital camea, but the salesperson would not shut up about their extended warranty. Instead of getting me the item I was ready to purchase, he insisted on knowing why I didn't want an extended rip-off, er, warranty. I ended up walking out of the store.

I have plenty more Best Buy stories, and today's story is pretty tame by comparison, but it doesn't grok the question... what are they thinking?

So I am looking for a present for, um, Amy. Yeah, it's a present for Amy. Electronics. For Amy. Got it? Maybe she'll believe it when she opens it. It's for her. Really, it is. Honest. So I wasn't happy with the price on Amazon, but if that was the best price I could find I was going to order it and have it here by Christmas. I mean, I didn't want Amy to be disappointed.

So I start shopping around online and find out Best Buy is having a sale on it. $20 cheaper than MSRP. Cool. Can I do in-store pickup? Yes? Cool, better yet. Amy will have her present by Christmas. Really, it truly is for her.

So I order it online, and I get a confirmation email this morning stating yes they have it and it will be waiting for me. Just show up with my receipt. Cool, what could be easier?

Argh. Damn Best Buy. So they do have a line for online pickup. One that isn't moving. For 15 minutes. And it finally occurred to me (yes, it really did take 15 minutes for the light bulb to go off) "WTF am I doing in this stupid line when I can get the damn item off the shelf?"

So I tell Spencer I have an idea and we get out of line, I am sure to the joy of the now 10 or so people behind me that apparently also ordered online. I wander over to an aisle, take a look and the huge pallet of items and think "wow no wonder its on sale." And I also note they are selling for MSRP in the store (remember, Best Buy no longer has good deals). So I pick and item up, and shop around a little. I find a movie for Spencer, tell him no we aren't buying any video games today, and finally head to the checkout. I am the next person in line, look back at the online pickup line, and note that it still hasn't moved. Fun.

So I get to the register, and ask whether they match their online prices. Good, they do. Then I tell them I've already made a purchase online and can I just go home. No, to do that I have to go wait in the online pickup line. No thank you, just ring me up please, and I'll cancel my other order.

So, I get my item, at the price I wanted, and if I didn't waste my time with online pickup, I would have been in and out in no time. And now I'm taught don't bother ordering online from Best Buy :)

It still leaves me scratching my head why they are ok with such a had experience for online pickup. I guess they figure they have your money, why bother ensuring a good experience?

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