I Did It. I Got One.
What did I get? A laptop. Of course, it wasn't easy. I researched it for a while, read reviews, then the real work started. It should be easy for a person to go into a brick and mortar retail establishment, like Best Buy, for a specific item and purchase it, right? Well, it's easy if you can get a clerk to wait on you. I perused the laptops for an hour. And? Not once did anyone ever even acknowledge me. [Frustrated doesn't even cover it.]
Then one of the three clerks [none of whom were waiting on anyone], finally walked by, and as if I and my possible computer shopping needs were an afterthought, he asked, "Are you all right, ma'am?" He didn't even slow down as he was walking by. In fact, when I replied that I'd like to buy the particular laptop I was standing in front of, he had to retrace his steps back to me. [Gee. I hope I wasn't interrupting anything important.]
His reply was, "Lemme see if we have any in stock."
"How do you know?"
"I checked your inventory online."
"Well, lemme go check."
And as I was standing so very patiently awaiting for the ultra-busy Best Buy Wonder Boy clerk to come back with my laptop in hand, an elderly woman entered the department. Now this? This was bad. The other 2 clerks who up until now had been doing nothing of huge importance that I could tell bombarded the lady. They hounded her. Oops, I mean they followed her to every laptop extolling the virtues of every device. Then one of the clerks said, "Come here. Lemme show you this better one. [In case you didn't know, 'better' is code for more expensive.]
"But that one is so much more expensive!"
Then the other used car salesman [Oops. I mean sales clerk.] piped up, "But the other one you were looking at was an i5. But this one? This one is an iiiiiiiiiiii7." [No. I'm not having keyboard issues. That's how he said it. Iiiiiiiiiiiii.]
"But the price is so much more."
"This i7 is the best one, and it's not even the highest. The highest is an i9."
"I don't know..."
Now here? I almost said something. Seriously? An i9?
You know how the media got all caught up in the there's-gonna-be-an-iPhone5-I-wonder-what-it's-gonna-look-like frenzy? Then it turned out it wasn't called an iPhone 5, but an iPhone 4S. The media sometimes thinks it's so all-knowing, but they're not. Well, the same kind of thing happened with the new Intel processor. Rumor was that it was going to be called the i9, but it was called an i7. And today there is a first generation and a second generation, but they're both an i7. There is no i9.
And? The terrible thing is that they never ~not once~ asked her the most important question of all, "What are you going to use the laptop for?" If you are not a professional photographer, not a gamer, not a CAD guru, nor any other technological wonder, you probably don't need an i7 processor in your laptop. I know 'cause I did my homework before going shopping. Basically, it comes down to how and what you're going to use the compute for. I mean, was she just going to use it for email, Facebook, and photos of grandchildren? Or perhaps genealogy research?
The laptop they were trying to talk her into cost $1200 with an 2nd generation i7 processor in it. [Okay. I had looked at it while waiting to be waited on by the ultra-busy Best Buy Wonder Boy clerk. So sue me.]
'Bout this time the ultra-busy Best Buy Wonder Boy clerk came sauntering back with my laptop in hand. "Guess what! I found one." [Will wonders never cease?]
"So, are you going to need wifi?"
"You already have it?"
"Well, you're probably going to need some help setting this computer up."
"Are you sure? I mean, it can get complicated, especially when hooking it up to the wifi."
"No thank you. I can get it done."
"Yeah. I'm good." [Now? I'm getting perturbed, but I'm in a rush to get to my daughter's basketball tournament. But seriously? This laptop comes with wireless wifi capabilities. It automatically connects to an available network. You know, like the iPhone that I had in hand that I had been constantly checking since I entered the department?]
"Well what about the extended warranty? We have two service plans..."
"Nope. I'm good."
We settled on the brand of virus protection that it came with. [I had a choice. Of course come to find out, the one I picked out isn't compatible with Firefox 8.0. Of course.] So then he escorted me over to the Geek Squad counter. Apparently the computer sales clerks aren't allowed to ring up purchases any more [even if they're ultra-busy Best Buy Wonder Boys], but the Geek Squad Wonder Boy can.
"Ma'am, [insert the name of super bored Geek Squad Wonder Boy] will be completing your purchase," and off the ultra-busy Best Buy Wonder Boy clerk went to do whatever it is that he does when he's not waiting on anyone.
No 'thank you'. No 'have a nice day'. [Big sigh.]
So, as the super bored Geek Squad Wonder Boy was ringing up my $800 laptop, he gave me the full court press for the service plans. To which I emphatically said, "No". ['Cause I love dashing their dreams of an extra spiff. I used to work retail. I've seen what's behind the curtain. Money-making service plans. That's what.]
But then I had a question for the super bored Geek Squad Wonder Boy. "I have a 2yo hardly-been-used netbook and the power jack has become loose. Can y'all fix that?"
"If it's not under warranty and it's a netbook, then the whole motherboard would need to be replaced which would cost the same amount as a new netbook. So you might as well buy a new one."
"Really? Because I researched it online and found many step-by-step instructions on how to resolder the jack onto the motherboard of the same particular brand and model of netbook. You just have to have the right tools and order some power jacks which aren't expensive and available online. So I guess I'll have to do it myself." [Which I didn't want to do which was why I was asking...]
He had nothing to say. And? No 'thank you. No 'have a nice day.' So I left with my laptop that I just recently named Umber because she's a bold and luscious umber brown in color. And Umber is happy she doesn't have to put up with the ultra-busy Best Buy Wonder Boy and the super bored Geek Squad Wonder Boy anymore. She told me so.
Yep, sounds just like a trip I made to help 'new old friend' with a TV/DVD player purchase. Not the same store but close enough. Run all over the map with a deal on til Sunday at 5PM, special pocket-hijacking extra warranty plan with a 30% discount that was really only a discount on the $20 cable. ("Oops, sorry I wasn't clearer about that") and misinformation about LED vs. LCD while the store manager watched the performance from a comfortable distance. Yes, it's always good to do some research first or in between the circus and when you start forking over your money. I hope your purchase turns out to be exactly what you want.
11/13/2011 07:46:16 pm
I think it's this kind of attitude that has probably caused the Best Buy UK disaster.
11/13/2011 09:57:11 pm
Hey Caroline -- how pathetic. Just wanted to leave you a note to say, NEVER take a computer to Best Buy for service; they are notorious for bad service and non-accountability. No matter what you bring it in for, they swear they will not destroy your hard drive, then they do, and the old data or hard drive is NEVER made available to you (oh, we're not sure what happened to that). I am a regular reader of the Consumerist Blog - now a part of Consumer Reports - which has so many horror stories they probably don't even print them anymore. Better get the soldering iron out on your own!!!
You're not the only one that knows what's behind the curtain. It's quite comical to see them try to convince my network engineer hubby that we need help getting the lovely new set-up, well, set up. We say no a lot. I respect that they have a job to do, but sometimes you have to just giggle. Glad you like Umber!
11/13/2011 11:59:56 pm
This attitude must be in Best Buy's basic training program. I got the same "you look way to dumb to hook this up" routine when I bought a wireless router years ago. When I got home had it working within just a few minutes I really wanted to call him.
11/14/2011 12:00:37 am
Hilarious! This is why we order our computers online! Best Buy's service is getting bad and usually you can find a better computer cheaper on web sites like NewEgg, TigerDirect, etc. And my IT hubby can usually help me find a good one. Unfortunately this one he got me is too big, so I'll need to put my foot down next time. (I think I have a 19" and should've stuck with 17". It doesn't fit on my TV tray as well and leave room for my pile of pens and my smart phone.
11/14/2011 12:51:48 am
Great post and you nailed the "experience" in every sense with your accurate description.
11/14/2011 01:12:47 am
In their stores, Best Buy has always had bad service. Now online, I've had no problems with them.
11/14/2011 01:59:01 am
I love how computer geeks think women cannot POSSIBLY know anything about computers! Your experience is not unlike many I have had. Love the option to buy online so I don't have to deal with them.
11/14/2011 02:48:42 am
Ok. I'm curious now. What is Umber's make and model. I am in the market again!
11/14/2011 04:09:58 am
11/14/2011 06:40:56 am
Our local Best Buy employees have two modes. If you're looking for something and need help, they go into "let's hide" mode and disappear into thin air. Seriously, I went one time and couldn't find a clerk so I went to the register to have them call someone. Even the cashier had disappeared.
11/14/2011 07:10:30 am
I was told the same thing about replacing the motherboard when I bent the jack (I tripped over the cord) on my Dell by a guy at a local computer repair shop. I, too, looked it up online and knew about soldering, etc. but I don't know how to fix it myself :( I ended up buying a docking station (suggested by the guy at Dell) so I could at least charge the battery (was in the middle of writing my master's thesis and was desperate), but I had to carry that clunky thing around with me. I bought a Toshiba at Best Buy but my experience with the clerks there varies every time I go in (which isn't often as I usually buy online). Now the jack on my Toshiba is loose!
11/16/2011 07:53:35 am
Wow, I'd look for a local computer repair shop. One that is NOT a chain. They can probably use the business, and it is probably run by a guy/gal who is a real expert. We found a great local guy, and he has saved us through several problems for very reasonable prices.
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