Best Buy would rather not show you that laptop, thanks

The Toshiba Portégé R700, with which I’m rather taken, was due to make its way into Best Buy stores today, and I had hotly anticipated the chance to see if its vitals—the all-important quartet of keyboard, screen, touchpad, and build quality—match up to its impressive specs. I checked the online listing at Best Buy’s website today and confirmed availability at my local store. What’s more, I was pleasantly surprised to see R705 (the consumer version of the R700) listed at $799, not $899 as originally announced. That was all the encouragement I needed to hop into car and head down to my local store.

Unfortunately, what came next was a too-typical retail experience with high-tech products. An eager blue-shirt greeted me as I entered the computer section of the store and asked if he could help with anything. I inquired about the Portege R705, and I might as well have been asking to purchase a set of leather riding chaps or an alchemy supply kit, so foreign was my request to him. Further, the R705 was nowhere in sight among the display models. Soon, the "computer guy" was summoned, and after looking at the same Best Buy website I’d consulted, he pledged to dig out an R705 for me.

Time passed, and I fiddled around with various consumer laptops, confirming the consistent awfulness of their keyboards. (Man, what is it with that?) Eventually, the computer guy returned without a laptop, explaining that he had two R705s in the back and that his inventory person was helping look for them. He could still pull one out for me if I wanted. At this point, I felt compelled to tip my hand. I wanted to look at the R705 before a purchase would happen. Could I open the box and have a look at one?

The computer guy’s answer was essentially "No." He had no plans to put the laptop on display until the other, similar Toshiba had sold out. Besides, he told me, the one out there now is pretty much the same thing, pointing to a glossed-out 13.3" Satellite with an Athlon Neo processor—a super-sized netbook, essentially—as a sort of consolation prize. I guess the look on my face gave me away quickly, since he followed up with: isn’t it? I tried to explain that no, these were entirely different classes of systems the best I could, but one never knows how well one’s words are being received in these situations. He was unmoved on the question of opening a box, so I retreated to the next line of questioning: when would the R705 go on display? One week? Two? His answer was something to the effect that, definitely, it’d be out there in a month. And so I left. Dunno if I’ll go back in a month or not, but I doubt it.

I’m pretty sure nothing of this sort could have possibly happened at the Apple store I visited on Saturday, which was teeming with people and fully stocked with iPad and iPhone 4 demo units, despite both being new and essentially sold out. If it had, I expect Steve Jobs would have personally flown to Kansas City on an RDF cloud and severed the throat of the store manager with the blunt edge of an iPad in a swift, compact motion.

Comments closed
    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    I shop at retail for one reason only: To get something I need that day. It’s very strange living in Portland how there are no big-box stores anywhere downtown that can fulfill this need for tech items on a moments notice.

    I’ve often thought of opening a tech store for “higher end” equipment like SAS drives, controllers, 24″+ high end displays, pretty much a FRY’s but for the luxury/high-end seeking geek. Only the best of the best, like Saks might carry for Paris Hilton or whomever the kids idolize these daysg{<.<}g

    • LoneWolf15
    • 9 years ago

    The biggest difference between buying at Best Buy and somewhere else is that going to Best Buy gives a customer the chance to see and inspect the product to determine if it is indeed what they want to purchase.

    By taking that out of the equation, the store became the same as an online retailer in this case, albeit with slightly faster shipping (I don’t count “customer service” as an option, since I haven’t gotten a lot of it at Best Buy, and Scott’s experience is just another example of that). Since they generally can’t compete on price vs. an online retailer, they basically removed the biggest of two advantages they have over their online competitors, making it silly even to buy there.

    I worked in retail for a long time when I was a bit younger. If I had a customer come in and know exactly what they wanted like Scott did, I would have accommodated him, with the knowledge that it was likely they were a serious buyer. You tend to get the feel for people if you do it long enough to tell who’s just tire-kicking and who is genuinely interested.

    • babouts
    • 9 years ago

    To be fair, I visited a Best Buy on the north side of Columbus Ohio 6/29. Found said device as a demo: 2 others in stock had already been sold by my arrival, but I just wanted a quick look anyway. Would have liked an Asus UL30 for comparison. They were (honestly) helpful, and the box looked great!! They offered to scour other local stores for one to transfer in. I’m not quite ready to buy (still wanna see the ASUS), but this looks pretty spiffy.

    • clone
    • 9 years ago

    competition is one thing…. but really Apple VS an online website VS BestBuy….. they aren’t competing directly their is cost in all things vastly different.

    for instance if you have any issues with this device you want to take it back… you don’t want to box it and ship it back to the e-tailer you just want to either take it back for a full refund or you want a direct replacement that instant…what is that worth to you?

    that is why local retailer is better if the price is “close” enough.

    mention of a fully informed staff with full knowledge of every product on the shelf costs money as well with the comparison that Apple can do it…. Apple also has a limited lineup and everything equivalent costs more compared to at BestBuy….. yes you are paying for the “features” just like you pay for every feature at the Apple store including the dedicated employees.

    features cost money… it why buying local is great so long as the price penalty isn’t too high… not cheaper than online but close “enough” because the ability to return and or exchange is far far nicer than dealing with getting an RMA authorization then repacking the item and shipping it back more often than not at your expense.

    I found this blog post a little …… almost like a setup to be honest “here let’s watch BestBuy fail my test”…… it’s not like the online retailer was going to ship him a laptop to “look” at…. they would show some photo’s and he’d order it after he went to Best Buy and “looked at it for free preferably opening the box fondling it then expecting BestBuy to repackage it and well who cares if they sell it as new or as a demo later because ppl are annoyed that the package was already opened and aren’t sure if it is refurbished…..

    customers like new.

    as for the Apple store…. yep you can wax up and down on the demo devices all you want but then again most everything at Apple costs significantly more.

    p.s. while you mention you were “pleasantly” surprised at the price I didn’t get the impression you were going to buy that day…. more just to wax, also I don’t care in the least about BestBuy and personally find them a little pricy…..I worked retail and getting a sale isn’t about the best price it’s about soothing the customer in a way making he / she feel they are getting a great deal….. price doesn’t have that much to do with it.

    • ludi
    • 9 years ago

    Uh, you know, Damage, Best Buy /[

      • swaaye
      • 9 years ago

      My local store has a 30 day no questions asked, no restocking fee policy even on notebooks. How about that? If you’re a reward zone premier member it’s 45 days. I have used this return policy for a few notebooks and it kicks ass, frankly. No shipping nonsense and no convincing them that there’s really a problem.

      I don’t have any problem with BB. Their in-store prices are high but that’s understandable IMO due to the brick and mortar nature of their business. If you want prices more competitive with Neweggland, their web site is priced for online competition but you can do store pickup for many things.

    • thesmileman
    • 9 years ago

    This is a better experience than I got when I went to Fry’s to look for a monitor on sale several years ago. I couldn’t find it on display so I asked on of the employees if it was out. He said “No” then kept working. I then asked if I could see one and he said, “Look, you don’t want it. Its a piece of $#!t anyway”, and then he just walked away. I asked a manager and he couldn’t care less than his employee said that and wouldn’t let me see it.

    Oh well I guess. Fry’s service does suck but I used to go there for the deals. Now I could care less and just buy more expensive stuff that I have seen online. I have started to realize that sometimes cheap really does mean cheap.

    • VILLAIN_xx
    • 9 years ago

    Front page for this? Scott, you seemed so surprised! Everyone I know gets treated as doodoo there.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve got to pay respect to post #37 by harmisajedi.

    People expect too much and expect to pay to little at pretty much every single computer store out there except the apple store.

    OEM Windows computers are made like cheap crap and sold for next to no profit and still we want B&M stores to bend over backwards. What’s in it for them? You “might” buy the product that won’t make them a dime to sell? Heck, they we’re already taking a loss just devoting the labor to go in the back and look for the product for you.

    Eventually, Best Buy will fail or radically change. Music sales? dead. Computer sales? dead. Those are not going to make any traditional stores any money any more.

      • paulWTAMU
      • 9 years ago

      gotta agree. When I worked retail people would ask all the damn time to look at something in the package (photo paper, electronics, pens and pencils…anything). If it’s opened and they don’t buy it you have to sell it as is open box for a significant loss.

    • MarkD
    • 9 years ago

    I think they’ve got it under control now, but BB had, according to my son-in-law who once worked there, a real problem with folks who would want to see something, then come back and demand an open box price for it later. Guess who pays for that?

    Having said that, the only laptop I’d ever buy without touching one would be a Thinkpad. The feel of the laptop keyboard is a dealmaker or dealbreaker for me. If I try one out at BB, I’m not going to go and buy it online to save a few bucks. They provide a valuable service which I’m willing to pay for. I think it’s the ethical way to do business.

    • Joel H.
    • 9 years ago

    I disagree with both of you. When I visit a big box retailer, I expect the people there to know something. At the very least, I expect them to be able to give me what I want.

    The entire point of going to a store in person is to see a product before you buy it.This is doubly important with a laptop. Put another way, if I went to a discount Chevy dealership, I’d expect to be able to see, drive, and rummage around in the potential car of my choice. I’d expect the same from a high-end Lexus dealer. The fact that one car is more expensive makes no difference.

    If expecting knowledgeable customer support staff is ‘self-important’, then by all means, sign me up.

      • SubSeven
      • 9 years ago

      Ever heard of a reply button?

    • internetsandman
    • 9 years ago

    If you’re an actual enthusiast and you walk into Best Buy or any of those other big chain electronics stores expecting good service and knowledgeable employees, you are severely delusional on some level of your consciousness.

    There was a case I remember seeing on the news about a laptop who’s BIOS had been adjusted purposefully and simply to make it unable to boot, and they took it into various outlets to see how much time and money it would take to get it booting again, and how much the employees really knew about the systems. Turns out (shockingly enough) that not only did they know nothing about the system, nor did they even venture into the BIOS, they were going to charge three digit figures and take the laptop away for several weeks, all for something as simple as a switch in the BIOS

      • travbrad
      • 9 years ago

      That reminds of someones computer I “fixed” recently. They had installed some sort of video/windows update that made their monitor sleep as soon as windows booted. They called Geek Squad and were told it would take a couple weeks and $100+ to fix it.

      I hit F8, chose “last good configuration” and it that completely fixed the problem.

        • clone
        • 9 years ago

        their is a minimum fee to look at a system…… why offer the service without one.

        Geek Squad has to survive on it’s own and has to make money….. I remember dealing with a local retailer who wanted to charge for going into MSconfig and disabling startup apps that were whoring ram.

        I got annoyed with him but after I left I thought about it and accepted that he has to pay bills like anyone else and why give it away never to see the green.

          • jinjuku
          • 9 years ago

          This story was years old where they disabled the floppy in BIOS. They took the machine around to several stores.

          Geek Squad said it was a several hundred dollar repair. They took it to several local mom and pop shops and Micro Center. If I remember correctly some of the Mom and Pops charged their normal bench fee and enabled the floppy in BIOS. Micro Center simply powered the laptop up in front of the customer, went into BIOS, and handed it back sans service fee.

    • the
    • 9 years ago

    Ah, what Best Buy store was this? If it is the store off of 119th and Strang Line, I can personally vouche for how bad the service is there.

    Also did you try Microcenter or Nebraska Furniture Mart for that particular laptop?

    • oldog
    • 9 years ago

    I do recall an interview with Balmer where he stated that one of the main reasons that MS wanted to open retail stores was so that people could actually try out MS OS computers that were not available at Best Buy (actually mentioned by name).

    Damage, I get you’re having a problem getting to see the new Toshiba but good luck getting your hands on say an ASUS portable before buying it.

    Read a review, buy it, and pray.

    • BestBuyWill
    • 9 years ago

    Important!!

    The majority of laptops that we sell are sold so close to cost (and often below cost) that it simply is easier to say “no opening items until you buy” than to deal with people who decide to try and not buy, forcing us to sell the item as an “open box” item. Then we have to mark down the item and lose more money. If we have two of a new laptop then why would we put one on display? Then we could only sell one! Talk about lost money. Nope, it is much better to sell the two to people who are willing to buy them out of the box.

      • fyo
      • 9 years ago

      l[

    • simonsez
    • 9 years ago

    Funny, I had a very similar experience tonight. I actually went in a week and a half ago on a Friday night and saw the R705, which I thought was really awesome (it was light and played HD youtube flawlessly). They were sold out, so I decided to do some research online (very little info was out), and then headed back in tonight.

    I walked in to the same place it had been before. No R705, instead a really glossy Toshiba plastic looking thing. I waited around for a few minutes before some guy in a “geek squad” shirt talking into his ear piece acknowledged me. “Hey, do you guys have the R705? It was here last time I was in here”. “Sold out”, he said, and he walked away talking on his head set.

    Awesome.

    • dogchainx
    • 9 years ago

    Best Buy, where we lie our asses off to keep you in the store for another 10 minutes. Something similar happened to me. I walked in and asked to see the FLIP cameras. They had 4 to look on display. However, they weren’t charged. I asked if they could plug in a power adapter and the guy replied “Well, we don’t usually do that”. I asked why not, since they are on display and the cameras next to them were plugged in. “We just do it for the cameras”. The FLIP had this little display with red buttons and a little tv screen of a movie playing, which had power. But none of the “demo” units were powered. Another blue-shirt idiot joined in on the conversation. His comment was “Yeah, we don’t have them plugged in” and left it at that. What the hell? Does Best Buy NOT want my money? I told both of them that they lost a sale, and they said “sorry”. Idiots…real IDIOTS. The only reason to buy from Best Buy is…well, I don’t know. IS there a reason anymore?

      • PrecambrianRabbit
      • 9 years ago

      This is something that eternally annoys me about shopping at Best Buy (or most other electronics stores) is that the stuff on display often isn’t charged, won’t turn on, doesn’t work, is horribly crippled. The cellphone section is the worst. I really wanted to try out an Android phone and I found exactly one that could actually be used out of a whole line. Apple does it right. You can use all the stuff in the store, you can surf the internet a bit, you can really feel what it’s like to use the device. That helps sell the product.

      And since I’m ranting tonight (procrastination, sigh), don’t you feel a little silly telling BB underlings, “You just lost a sale!” I mean, it’s what, a $120 camera? They store probably does $100K in sales a day. Not saying they shouldn’t have plugged the camera in for you, but really, it’s a little ridiculous to get high and mighty over 0.1% of the day’s budget…

        • dogchainx
        • 9 years ago

        I said it knowing their response. I got satisfaction knowing I could predict their careless attitude to a potential customer. They could not care less if they sell a product or not. The managers are almost as worse as their “underlings”.

          • HisDivineShadow
          • 9 years ago

          It comforts me to know that this is how the downward slide of every behemoth begins. Best Buy is living off the fact they have few competitors that meet them head on in many regions now. They managed to outlast Circuit City and CompUSA.

          But clueless employees making up excuses about why their company is always ripping the customers off at every turn on cables, throwing away sales because the employees don’t care, managers who don’t care enough to get employees that care, and a corporate hq that is content to let customers be given bad experience after bad experience with only an excuse of, “Well it happens when you’re as big as us” will inevitably lead to change. Either collapse or upheaval. Getting a PM at Best Buy now is like having a root canal.

          I honestly can’t wait until a truly viable BBY competitor emerges around here. Right now, all we have is HHGregg and they’re worse than BBY, if you can believe it…

          Lord help me, I miss Circuit City…

            • PrecambrianRabbit
            • 9 years ago

            Unfortunately Best Buy’s competition right now is coming from Wal-Mart, and the tactics are similar: prices, prices, prices. So much of the stuff in Best Buy is priced to the point where they can’t make a profit off anything except the crap that consumers don’t notice they’re buying, or that they need right this second (cough, USB cables, cough). Laptops are a particular offender in this category, because they’re treated as a loss leader.

            This situation isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it means lower prices for consumers (HDTVs got _much_ cheaper after Wal-Mart got in the game), but it does mean that there’s less competition to provide good service. I know some people at Best Buy who do try to provide great service, but I doubt they’re the majority. The problem is there’s almost no competition on the high end; boutique electronic shops were scraping by before the recession hit, and now a lot of them aren’t left standing.

        • indeego
        • 9 years ago

        Dangerous attitude for a store to take. Especially retail, where the whole point is personalized service.

        Look at Circuit Cityg{<.<}g

          • PrecambrianRabbit
          • 9 years ago

          I agree with you that the right attitude for the *store employees* is to do everything they can to give the customer a good experience. The employees in question here were pretty much doing their job wrong, and I would have trained them better.

          My point is that it’s ridiculous for a *customer* to act like God’s gift to Best Buy because they’re buying a $100 camera. Show another human being some respect. Ask for a manager, or just shake your head with incredulity, walk out, and do business elsewhere. It’s amazing how behaving like an entitled jerk rarely gets you better service (and here I’m overstating my opinion of the OPs actions, I mostly just thought it was a little silly and would get him made fun of by the employees later, not that he should care ๐Ÿ™‚

    • PenGun
    • 9 years ago

    Never get upset. After a certain point just ask to see his boss. Then if that does not work ask to see _his_ boss. If you have gone that far might as well pull a few chains.

    • adisor19
    • 9 years ago

    LMAO

    Scott, my hat’s off to you on the best closing line i’ve ever had the pleasure of reading on this site ๐Ÿ™‚

    Well done Sir !

    Adi

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    I dont think Apple Store is comparable to them.. Apple Store sells only gadget and pc… also some accessories maybe… i dont think it’s possible for such large store such as BestBuy to educate it’s worker with knowledge of every product they have.. and i guess the computer guy only responsible for checking warranty or demo for certain product…

    I do feel sorry for you tho… it happens to everyone…

    • FireGryphon
    • 9 years ago

    It seems reasonable to deduce that stores like Best Buy cater to a crowd less adept at technology (and therefore demanding of it) than the average TR gerbil. It’s much the same way that someone who’s really into guitar probably won’t shop at Guitar Center, but choose a custom shop he trusts. GC is probably better for guitarists than BB is for tech, but it’s the same idea.

    I’m disappointed by BB, but only in the sense that whenever I go in there, it isn’t a wonderland of tech that caters to me, the enthusiast. How many stores do that, though? BB is good as a homogenized tech store for the masses. I usually hit up Micro Center if I need for a part.

      • LaChupacabra
      • 9 years ago

      +1 for reasonablity!

        • HisDivineShadow
        • 9 years ago

        Its reasonable to expect a store to do what is *reasonable* to satisfy you. Its reasonable for a customer to want a demo of a unit he is thinking about purchasing. You act like that open box unit he would be inspecting would not have either 1) been bought by him or 2) become the inevitable demo unit.

        They had nothing to lose by letting him inspect said product, but (it would seem) a lot to lose. Look at the negativity in this thread. You and a select few are defending BBY against a sea of customers who’ve had the same negative experiences I’ve had. Perhaps you should be less concerned with what seems reasonable to you and more concerned with the mob growing outside BBY’s doors…

    • streagle27
    • 9 years ago

    All the sales rep had to do was find the unit in the back (it should have been on a display/shelf, even if in the box), and let a customer see it.

    Said customer would probably have purchased it.

    If that is too hard a thing to do, I’d suggest BB revamp their business model and hire rocket scientists to be their sales reps.

    One would hope that the rocket scientists would realize the primary goal is to help sell the stock, and not get in the way of sales.

    Anything else, is b.s.

    Apparently, this company (as well as others I could name), get in the way of their own sales, and profit.

    How hard is it to bring the product out, or give the customer the right order at the drive-thru?

    It ain’t gonna get sold sitting in the back! How much worse when it’s found and it’s STILL not brought out for some b.s. reason?

    Wow. Incredible.

    It brings to mind Joe Pesci’s one-liner in “Lethal Weapon” about getting f*##ed at the drive-thru”, but it’s already been done.

    I guess this time, it happened at BB.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    Buy from Amazon, best return policy around. Not sure on their restock fee for computers (if they include some kind of ‘sfotware’ that may be a hithc) but I’ve never paid a restocking fee even if I just returned something because I wasn’t satisfied noted with ‘didn’t like it’ in the comments.

    And yeah retail drones suck nowadays.With no incentive to care because of hourly wage what do you expect?

    • Wintermane
    • 9 years ago

    Scott… you pay for all those demo units.. You pay every cent.

    You pay for the display case the carpeting the uniforms hell you even pay for the can of new computer scent they sprizt on the demo uinits each day to make em smell right even after 500 grumby handed nincompoops with bad hygene and worse manners grope the demo units.

    If you cant handle the fact that a low volume product that is one of 5 zillion being sold this year and only 2 were in that store doesnt warrent a display model at that time.. Tough noogies.

    • blitzy
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe your lust for the R700 was shall we say, a little too obvious

    • SecretMaster
    • 9 years ago

    Ha! In regards to your original post on this laptop, evidently you are out of your league!

    • nerdrage
    • 9 years ago

    No offense, but is this the first time you’ve ever been to Best Buy? It’s a discount big-box retailer, not a full-service electronics boutique. I don’t think your experience warrants calling them out on the front page. It’s like posting that you went to Walmart and got bad service — that’s par for the course… you’re there for the price, not the service.

    Just sayin’.

      • xtalentx
      • 9 years ago

      I complete agree with you. Scott appears to have some self important air about him in this matter. The laptop he was looking for will probably only sell a few units per store. Most people who look to purchase it will already have a good idea of what it’s all about and won’t need a demo unit.

      As for the idiots making the Apple comparison. Apple only sells a handful of products. So it’s much easier for them to have them all on display. Best Buy sells thousands of products. It’s nearly impossible to have everything on display at all times. Scott – you need a reality check on this one…

      • StuffMaster
      • 9 years ago

      Discount? Really? Never heard that one, and I doubt it’s true.

      • link626
      • 9 years ago

      almost everything at BB is retail price. Not at a discount.

      i refuse to believe BB is selling pc’s at a negative margin, as one of the posts here mentions.

        • bthylafh
        • 9 years ago

        You’re unfamiliar with the concept of “loss leaders”? The idea is to price something just a bit under cost to attract people to come in and buy the item, and hopefully some other items that are profitable, such as cables. That’s a long-standing retail tradition, at least in the USA.

        They probably don’t loss-lead all of their computers, but maybe anything that’s marked as on sale is.

      • Synchromesh
      • 9 years ago

      Discount retailer my ass. They’re not Fry’s and their prices are always among the highest out of every store around here. I won’t even mention online prices. They also position themselves far above Walmart.

      So I see absolutely no reason why Scott should’ve expected less service from them than any other similar-type store. If I got same type of service it would upset me too.

    • shank15217
    • 9 years ago

    Why didn’t’ you just buy the laptop and if it didn’t’ meet your expectations just return it for a full refund? I don’t think BB has a restocking fee.

      • eitje
      • 9 years ago

      it’s 15%, i think, for non-defective products.

        • Entroper
        • 9 years ago

        There is no restocking fee on most items in the store, but for laptops and digital cameras, it’s 15%, and you only get 14 days rather than 30. This is to prevent people “borrowing” these items to go on vacation and then returning them.

    • harmisajedi
    • 9 years ago

    upfront disclosure: i work for bby corporate field support.

    not making excuses but rather explaining what happened & why it happened. i understand your experience has been frustrating, and it could’ve been better, but part of it has to do with unrealistic expectations, and the fact that apple stores are being used as a point of comparison ought to be a dead give-away. here’s a few things we have to do that apple doesn’t have to:

    * manage relationships with 5+ cross-brand industry suppliers
    * manage relationships with 40+ computing space vendors (including apple)
    * manage multibillion-dollar inventory levels with product cycles of about 3 months across 1200+ stores of different sizes & completely different customer bases
    * sell computers at negative margins
    * complete with regional, cut-throat competitors (fry’s, hhgreg) as well as national chains (costco, walmart) which leverage cap-turn business models for
    * respond to local market price changes on a day-by-day basis
    * train tens of thousands of people to provide decent if not expert advice
    …….and so on.

    given all of the above, and the fact that most inventory management decisions are taken at the store level, does what happened begin to make more sense?

    expecting bargain-basement pricing as well as a premium experience in the world of retail is a recipe for disappointment. you’re ok with paying an enormous price premium for apple products, but did you offer to pay $100 extra for the toshiba if you decided to buy it, if you got to play around with it? no? why not?

    once again: the experience you got is pretty bad, and i have to apologize for it–hopefully it won’t sour you on the company overall. we’re constrained by certain parameters that dictate profitability (including is & isn’t displayed, as well as inventory availability.) as chupacabra posted, i’d walk away from the situation thinking that multiple people tried to be as helpful as possible, even though the overall impression may not have been stellar.

    • LaChupacabra
    • 9 years ago

    I ran a computer department at a Best Buy for a while, and there is probably many many reasonable explanations for why this happened. The staff hadn’t been trained on the new models yet (they usually are in store a week or two before they are put on the floor), also in most cases when the model numbers are that close his suggestion that they are the same thing is completely factual. Not saying the behavior is excusable, but what I am saying is that this would be a bit like you, if you were a medical researcher, who had spent the last 10 years studying every facet of the interactions, dosages, side effects etc of a new type of steroid coming out. Then going into your local pharmacy on the first day that steroid is released to the market and being disappointed the pharmacy tech behind the counter couldn’t have a high-level conversation about the product, but instead just followed the typical recommendations that generically accompany steroids.

    After working retail for years I have a great appreciation for the amount of ridiculousness the employees put up with on a daily basis. The only thing to take from this story is that you had two or three people, who looked for the product you were interested in, but couldn’t help you on it that day. If you go back in two to three weeks, I bet it would be a completely different story. And might make for some good investigative journalism =)

      • shank15217
      • 9 years ago

      Well, how does Apple manage to train their store employees on the new product at launch? It cant be impossible, I swear, Apple is whooping every retailer’s a** because of silly stuff like this. The funny thing is BB is ready to sell you Apple stuff as well even though the Apple store across the street is taking away all their Apple AND non-Apple customers… what a disgrace.

        • LaChupacabra
        • 9 years ago

        Simple. The same way that Bose manages the same thing. Their product release cycles are yearly and are only one vendor. If Best Buy only carried products by Toshiba it would be a lot easier. Unfortunately for the retailers they get very little say on when and how new product is released (although larger retailers certainly do get a say). You can’t compare Best Buy’s business model with Apple’s. Think of Best Buy as a grocery store and Apple’s retail locations as a farmers market. Farmer’s markets are sold without distribution, directly to the consumers. Best Buy has to deal with hundreds of different business, with dozens of different business models. It’s a giant crazy situation that requires a massive amount of people to orchestrate. It’s apples (ha!) and oranges.

      • tesla120
      • 9 years ago

      he wasn’t asking for a full run down of the computer, he wanted to look at it.

      and seriously, if you work in best buy, you should be able to look at any random laptop and give the customer the gist of the machine based solely on the processor, ram, storage space and graphics card. thats all the public really cares about because thats all they really understand.

      the crappy other computer on display could have actually been pretty much the same when it comes to looks and all exterior components, but the proper response should have been “you want me to take 10 seconds out of my time in order to possibly make an $800 sale today? sure.”

      make the customer happy.

        • LaChupacabra
        • 9 years ago

        I’m not going to argue my point after reading the way you’re ranting like a lunatic about how awful retail is, instead, let me give you a situation.

        You are between 16 and 22, which is what a lot of people who work retail are. You are probably making 7 to 8 dollars an hour depending on how many – years – you have worked there, you have spent the last few years of your life dealing with customers who are never satisfied, and who ALWAYS think you are trying to rip them off. When in comes a customer.

        This guy is consistently on the attack, laying the guilt on thick saying he wants to purchase locally, but he will only do it if you can beat the price of an out of state competitor. The guy is so oblivious to the fact the only thing he cares about is price you can actually see him not listen to you when you try to explain to him that running a store, with employee payroll, lights, bills, taxes, shipping, delivery etc etc can cost multiple thousands of dollars per day, all without saying “if I match the price of the out of state competitor the store will literally loose money.” Hoping that maybe, indeed, this person does want the money to stay in their community. All the while knowing the only thing you have to look forward too is driving home to your tiny apartment, in your rusted out car, to maybe cram a few hours of studying in before you have to do the same thing all over again the next day.

        Then he does it. A move you see probably once a week. He gets a smart phone out and shows you the price, which you know is already lower somewhere else. “No, sir. I’m sorry, but we cannot match that price.” And then, in shock and disbelief at the audacity of people, this guy orders the product, right in front of you, with a smug look of satisfaction at his ability to stick it to the “man.”

        I can’t tell you how many times something like this has happened, and I can honestly say that it is absolutely shameful for anyone claiming to be an adult to treat anyone with that kind of disrespect.

          • tesla120
          • 9 years ago

          I have worked retail, and if I had the power to price match knowing that the store would still turn a profit I would. its called “competition” its this thing that our economic system is based on.

          best buy is already overpriced on a lot of things, not only higher than internet sites, but also higher than other bigbox stores. if best buy cant match a price of another store without going under, than they need to look at their expenses.

          if more and more people walked in with smartphones and did exactly what you described maybe they would stop and think about all the money they are losing to competition.

            • Pizzapotamus
            • 9 years ago

            Hell Best Buy is overpriced compared to their own website, look up price online, see if it’s in stock, go to store, hey it’s more expensive!

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            Buy it online and do store pickup.

          • clone
          • 9 years ago

          I agree that BestBuy while they could do better should get a pass on this one.

      • Pettytheft
      • 9 years ago

      Coming from the medical field your comparison is off. A pharmacist who gets a new drug on his shelf will know about it before it hits the market typically. He can’t give prescriptions for things he doesn’t know about. A tech would always be able to have someone with some knowledge to refer to. If not there is always at least a book or some sort of reference where you could compare the difference between the items.

      The problem is that they staff people with no knowledge their products at all. There is no incentive for the employees to learn either.

        • MikeimusPrime
        • 9 years ago

        /[

          • tesla120
          • 9 years ago

          I don’t think its about the expense, the job they list is a set wage per hour. its not like a career where you are salaried and would be worth more if you had a bunch of certifications.

          walk around best buy some time and look at all the employees.

          the majority are good looking girls who know absolutely nothing about technology and younger men who know enough to make a sale. they don’t want their employees to understand the technology, too many of my friends who are big techies get turned down for jobs at best buy. personally, I don’t think its a coincidence, I think its their policy.

          another anecdote: I was looking for a new gigabit router, one that I could spoof the MAC address on. but of course they dont just print that right on the box, so when I drove past i just decided to window shop and get some ideas of products I should research.

          im in the networking section and this really good looking blond comes up to me and asks me if I have any questions….

          Me: well, yes, but I doubt you would be able to answer it, its fairly technical.

          Her: what is it? I might know…

          Me: heh… I need a router, gigabit, that I can spoof the MAC address on.

          Her: well thats easy, they all will work with a Mac….

          Me: *facepalm*

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    I love how their in store prices tend to “accidentally” be higher than what the website says. I won’t even go in there just to look around anymore.

      • BestBuyWill
      • 9 years ago

      “I love how their in store prices tend to “accidentally” be higher than what th website says. I won’t even go in there just to look around anymore”

      The prices never are “accidentally” different. Bestbuy.com is a separate yet related company which sets their own deals and specials according to the industry and inventory. They lower prices because there is less overhead in an online retailer.the store is more convenient but the cost of building advertising employees and inventory nationwide cuts profitability drastically.

      Besides, best buy has long had an exceptional price-match guarantee with their online website, so its a moot point anyway.

      -I’ve spent time in Operations and Geek Squad for some time with best buy.

      -moto Droid Verizon

        • HisDivineShadow
        • 9 years ago

        Hahahahaha, their price match guarantee that they rarely obey. I’ve had PM’s denied because they included gift cards (even though the policy explicitly has that possibility COVERED), had PM’s denied because the other sale MENTIONED the other company’s rewards program (but was not exclusive to), had PM’s denied because they couldn’t be bothered to verify stock at the store. Their PM guarantee ain’t worth the bricks it’s painted on.

    • Hirokuzu
    • 9 years ago

    “computer guy” indeed… Protege vs. a Satellite?

    He should at least know that they LOOK totally different.

    • ybf
    • 9 years ago

    Of course it couldn’t happen at the Apple store.

    At the Apple store they have stock from one company, price it at that company’s price, and don’t allow competition from anyone.

    When a new model comes in, it’s the first new model in months if not years, and the company is sure to have timed its introduction so that there is no need for them to continue to push older products just to make a buck before they go obsolete. They have been obsolete long enough not to be making the bucks fast enough already.

    The question is: if Circuit City were still around, would you now be getting this sort of behavior from Best Buy? And I think it’s a question best answered by the FTC.

      • XaiaX
      • 9 years ago

      /[

    • Welch
    • 9 years ago

    Ahhh. BB….. Full of Fail.

    • Coran Fixx
    • 9 years ago

    Independence BB store seemed friendly enough when I bought my gateway but that was a couple years back.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    Best Buy is also known as Worst Buy and Best Lie. I think those names are rather fitting.

      • axeman
      • 9 years ago

      you forgot best borrow

        • HisDivineShadow
        • 9 years ago

        I think Chuck has it right calling them, “Buy More,” even if Buy More’s stores were initially based on CompUSA.

        For a brief time, they were a pretty decent best buy, but in time they became Best Borrow. Here recently, they went through Worst Buy into straight-up Best Lie. Of course, they’re still Worst Buy, too, but the lying their employees and management engage in has really gotten out of hand. They barely seem to follow their own policies any more.

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    You know, maybe if you complain enough, Best Buy and Toshiba might just send you a notebook to keep you quiet or have you do a review on.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      Why do you think he’s complaining in plain sight? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Its smart, but its not exactly subtle!

    • Thresher
    • 9 years ago

    Not that shopping at BB has ever been a gratifying experience, but their service has declined and their prices seem to have increased since Circuit City closed shop. They used to have several computers on sale at once back when they had competition, now you’re lucky if they have one a week.

    They are still partially competitive in TVs because there are so many other vendors that still have a storefront. But not PCs. They are just about the only place where you can fondle a laptop before you buy it in most towns.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    What you should have done is said bluntly to the guy,

    “listen, if you keep this box back there where nobody can see it, nobody will buy it. Or, you can open it up, and let me check it out, then put it back in the box on the off chance i really don’t like it, and then put it up on display like you were planning to do in a month, and have it collect dust in the meantime. I sure as hell am not buying that “similar” laptop which is taking up the display space”

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      Seconded. Just bluntly explain that the guys actions are guaranteeing no sale. He should at least take a chance opening one up and worst case you’ve helped pick out which one will be the display model.

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      Dude knew the stakes and chose not to accommodate me. Not looking for a life-coach here. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • ShadowTiger
        • 9 years ago

        Just because your not looking for coaches doesn’t mean that we are not looking for clients… its a tough economy remember?

          • Damage
          • 9 years ago

          haha… true enough, I guess.

            • nstuff
            • 9 years ago

            The guy could probably care less if you bought it, but if you tracked down a manager, it’s possible they would have wanted your business enough to make you happy. Or not. You never know sometimes.

    • quarantined
    • 9 years ago

    That’s one thing that always sucks about buying a laptop. It’s pretty much essential to get your hands on one before purchasing it which makes hunting down a retailer with a display model another hassle. Yeah, I’d try another BB or find another retailer.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      Which is why it’s interesting that Dell is now selling laptops through Fry’s.

        • Xylker
        • 9 years ago

        In the event that you read AdAge you will see Erin Mulligan Nelson elaborating on Client Reinvention, Best Value Solutions and E-Dell…

        The channel falls broadly into CR and BVS. From Dell’s perspective, the cost to ship say 300,000 units into retail in fixed configs is far less than letting something like 42 million possible combinations slosh around on the web-site and have to test all those for compatibility.

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    I think this is a situation where you definitely should have escalated. You could have pointed out how different the systems are just by comparing the words on the box to the words on their placcard for the old system.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t think the box was ever seen, but Damage or the employee. There’s no proof it’s actually even “in the back.” (Either that, or they have a terrible inventory management system)

        • Zyphos
        • 9 years ago

        Oh, they have a terrible inventory management system, no matter what happened with Damage.

        I walk in, use their customer kiosk to locate an item, saying it’s in the warehouse. So I walk over to an associate to order it. They look up the SKU and tell me it’s no longer stocked and has been deleted. I walk them over to the kiosk and show them the SKU on the kiosk. They shrug and tell me that the system that drives the kiosks are prone to that.

        If the item/SKU is gone, I can handle it. Having a customer facing device be out of sync seems like asking for trouble, or at least a bad customer experience.

        –edited for grammar.

    • rhysl
    • 9 years ago

    I bet they didnt even have that laptop out the back .. !

    Cant you order from the net ?

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Try going to another Best Buy. It could have been that the General Manager set the rule of “no open boxes” or perhaps the employee was just having an off day. Who knows.

    Try again. If the same thing happens again then it’s probably a corporate policy.

      • jdcope
      • 9 years ago

      Pretty much corporate policy in general. Best Buy is a terrible place to buy anything.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Best place for appliances, when you factor in 10% Vault discount and BB Rewards.

    • WillBach
    • 9 years ago

    “If it had, I expect Steve Jobs would have personally flown to Kansas City on an RDF cloud and severed the throat of the store manager with the blunt edge of an iPad in a swift, compact motion.”

    There’s an app for that.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    YEAH BESTBUY IS NOT! Sorry you guys are in kansas, I’m in chicago and alot of online retailers have outlets here where you can get your hands on the reasonably priced product.

    • Jason_Fox
    • 9 years ago

    You obviously forgot to wear you “Why yes, I do run The Tech Report.” shirt.

      • axeman
      • 9 years ago

      I’m sure the blue shirt didn’t know what the Tech Report is, since the didn’t know the difference between an ultraportable and overgrown netbook.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Doesn’t matter; they still pissed off the wrong guy.

        Any chance you could post the name of this blueshirt dude?

          • Mr.Lif
          • 9 years ago

          You’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking, right?

          Gerbil rush, kekeke?

            • CasbahBoy
            • 9 years ago

            Like a goon rush, only less people. I’m game!

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe you should have washed your hands first before asking to hold it.

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    You can only behead an Apple employee if you hold the iPad just right, if you don’t it will drop from your hands.

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