Assumption of Command

27 April 2005

Best Buy is having PR Problems

Best Buy has never really upset me to the point of never going back to one of their stores, But it seems a bunch of people around the blogosphere have had some bad experiences.

First I saw this story. A man was arrested because Best Buy did not know that a 2 dollar bill was legal tender:

Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills:
A man trying to pay a fee using $2 bills was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail after clerks at a Best Buy store questioned the currency's legitimacy and called police.

According to an account in the Baltimore Sun, 57-year-old Mike Bolesta was shocked to find himself taken to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, Md., where he was handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service was called to weigh in on the case.
(Via Dude, Where's The Beach? - My Hitchhikers Guide To The World)

I thought this was a bit funny. I like hearing about stupid things like that, but that I found out about this:

Musings of The GeekWithA.45 (Language Alert!)
For adamantly refusing to sell me a radio unless I gave them my name and address.
The manager/bouncer says nothing, and makes no move to unlock the register. He's waiting to see if I'm going to crack. I don't crack. I hand him the radio, saying, "I don't need this product from you."

A line has been crossed. BestBuy has lost a customer, the manager knows it, and doesn't care enough to try to do anything about it. He takes the radio and walks, without a word.
This kind of stuff really ticks me off. I stopped going to Radio Shack because of stunts like this. I don't need to give out my info for a simple purchase. The whole thing is funny.

This in turn led me to this from Lileks:
At the checkout counter the clerk asked for my phone number. “Why?” I said. I hate this new wrinkle. I just hate it. I hate the fact that I can’t buy a frickin’ candy bar without a procedure that rivals a mortgage application. I’m always interested in the rationale they give.

“We need the phone number before we can let the merchandise leave the store,” the clerk said. Practiced response, right out of the employee handbook. Fine. Let me say no, and let the burly boys tackle me as I try to leave with my paid merchandise. Sir! I need an area code sir! Then she said “This DVD player has a two or a four year extended warranty. Which one would you like today?”

This isn’t upselling; this is deceit. “Which one” doesn’t include the option of “neither,” of course. And then she offered me a free 8-week subscription to a magazine, so they could have my address as well as my phone number. Jaysus! Let me buy the fargin’ thing and let me go! You want a stool sample too? Here!

A fellow Milblogger, who I read as often as I can because he knows how funny a pee bottle can be, SF Alpha Geek also has an experience to share:

And the worst retailer in the world is . . .
After we had finished reconciling the receipt with the purchases, the guy at the door said "Hey, it looks like one of the DVDs must not have gotten deactivated. You'll have to go back to the cashier and get her to run it through again." I looked back at the cashier, and at the line of three or four people waiting to check out, and told Mr. Assistant Security Manager guy , "Hey, we just went through all my stuff. Why do I need to have the things deactivated?" "I'm sorry sir", he told me,"It's Best Buy policy that all security devices have to be deactivated before you leave the store." "And you can't just do that here?" "No," he replied, "our policy is that security devices have to be deactivated by the cashier."

I am going to think long and hard about going to a Best Buy when I get home.