Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

29 August 2005

Best Buy, and My Birthday

So, Saturday was my birthday and I had a lovely time. Anna did all sorts of fun stuff for me including an office renovation (documented here on Flickr).

One thing we did was take a gift that I got from a relative back to Best Buy. It’s a DVD of Rushmore, and I wanted the special edition one with all the commentary and extras. The version I got was just the basic movie (Listen up hollywood: widescreen isn’t a special feature).

So, I get to Best Buy and I don’t have a receipt. But I figure since it was a gift, and it’s still shrink wrapped, they’ll let me exchange it for an equal or more expensive DVD. So we go picked out a different DVD and brought it to the counter. The guy rattled off the policy about needing a receipt. I told him there’s no way I can get the receipt, it’s in another time zone. He said “well your relative should have sent you the receipt”. I started to get grumpy. I explained to him that by me coming here and buying a more expensive DVD, Best Buy is making more profit off of me than they did before. It’s in their best interest to process the exchange. He did some more rattling off of the policy. His eyes at this point are glazed over. I told him he should be nicer to the people who come into their store. He should apologize and say that yeah, he can see why that would be frustrating. All he’s telling me that he’s a corporate monkey and can’t do anything to help me. We were late for our movie and the rest of my birthday events. I just didn’t have it in my heart to yell at a manager too.

Here’s what really gets me about this situation. Best Buy absolutely doesn’t care about my experience in the store. They don’t care what this guy says to me, they just want me to be happy with my gift and never come back. They also don’t care what I say about them to my friends.

Having recently worked in retail, I can say that this is very very bad business. Apple’s in-store return policy was very forgiving. Apple employees want people to walk away very happy. Tell me this, when have you seen an ad for the Apple Retail Stores? And yet they made tons of profit last year. They’re a wild success. And it’s all word of mouth. People have a great experience and they come back. And they tell their friends. How hard is that to understand for Best Buy?

My take on it is that Best Buy cares more about a few pennies than it does people. The sad thing is that I’m afraid it will never come back to bite them. If Wal-Mart is any indication, they’ll just keep making money. And if this article is any indication, they want customers like me out of there, so they can focus on ripping off the less-educated customers.

My suggestion: stay as far away from Best Buy as you can.