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Best Buy Decides all customers are not welcome

 
 
Psych-O-Delic Voodoo Thunder Pig
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      11-09-2004

> While I can understand the frustration about returning items to buy at
> returned item discounts, but people that apply for rebates?? Or buying
> only loss leaders?
>
>


I can sympathize with some of their problems, many of them could easily be
solved. However, at their Salem, Oregon store, they do as much as possible
to drive away ALL customers, not just the bad ones. I go there maybe once
every couple of months for specific needs (and to avoid Circuit City
whenever possible).

Here are some of the things I've noticed at Best Buy in the last year:

1. Numerous checkout stands, but almost never more than about 2 registers
open, regardless of the length of lines.

2. One checkout line open on one visit, with about 8 people in line.
Instead of hustling them through the line, the clerk at the register was
having a customer fill out rebate forms! This went on for at least 5
minutes with nobody getting to pay for their purchase. I finally dropped
the 2 DVD's I'd picked up on the counter and told them I didn't have time to
wait like this.

3. Usually there appear to be 12-16 employees on the floor. However, the
majority of them are standing around in groups of 2-3, joking and chatting.
Try to find one in the area where you want to purchase something, let alone
one who knows anything. If you do find one it's "I'll have to find somebody
else to help you" then you never see them again. The camera and cell phone
areas seldom have any sales help around.

4. Try getting an answer to a question. I bought a 32" TV for my mother a
couple of weeks ago. Although I had measured carefully, mom was a bit
paranoid, so she asked the young lady at the register if she could return it
if it didn't fit in her entertainment stand. The answer? "Um, yeah, I'm
pretty sure you can". Fabulous! I could just see myself at the "Customer
Service" counter the next day: "Well, Cindy said she was, um, pretty sure I
could return it".

If they want their customers to be a better class, they need to pick up
their staff quality quite a few notches too. If they don't want customers
just to buy loss leaders, advertise them like "Shrek 2 DVD $9.99 with any
$20 purchase" or something like that--problem solved. Basically I consider
the store completely self-service--don't count on any employees to know
anything or help you in any way. They should just go all the way and put in
a self-service checkout stand like Home Depot and some grocery stores have,
and be done with it. At least to my knowledge they don't go out of their
way to lie to you and misinform you to move merchandise, like Circuit City.
I think they just aren't smart enough to pull it off.





 
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LASERandDVDfan
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      11-09-2004
>Usually there appear to be 12-16 employees on the floor. However, the
>majority of them are standing around in groups of 2-3, joking and chatting.
>Try to find one in the area where you want to purchase something, let alone
>one who knows anything.


Well, this is what happens when you have no commission for the workers. There
is no incentive to go out of your way to help the customer. - Reinhart
 
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Justin
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      11-09-2004
LASERandDVDfan wrote on [09 Nov 2004 04:48:38 GMT]:
>>Usually there appear to be 12-16 employees on the floor. However, the
>>majority of them are standing around in groups of 2-3, joking and chatting.
>>Try to find one in the area where you want to purchase something, let alone
>>one who knows anything.

>
> Well, this is what happens when you have no commission for the workers. There
> is no incentive to go out of your way to help the customer. - Reinhart


And when you have commission you get hounded by the sales staff and lied
to.
 
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Justin
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      11-09-2004
Psych-O-Delic Voodoo Thunder Pig wrote on [Tue, 09 Nov 2004 04:15:42 GMT]:
> If they want their customers to be a better class, they need to pick up
> their staff quality quite a few notches too.


Hah! How many stores actually have people that know what they're talking
about anymore?

Big box stores that is.
 
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LASERandDVDfan
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      11-09-2004
>And when you have commission you get hounded by the sales staff and lied
>to.


Well, that's true, too.

This is why I'd never want to work in retail. To me, either way, you're going
to get screwed.

But, that's what happens when most people try to work in America I suppose.
Not a knock on the country, but that's what it seems what with lower healthcare
standards and shipping off jobs to India. - Reinhart
 
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Kevin
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      11-09-2004
LASERandDVDfan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >And when you have commission you get hounded by the sales staff and lied
> >to.


> Well, that's true, too.


> This is why I'd never want to work in retail. To me, either way, you're going
> to get screwed.


Agreed.

You know, I truly think I would make a better salesman than the guys I often
see in those stores. Not necessarily for any reason other than I know a loot
of stuff because I'm an impulsive buyer and a gadget geek (not a good
combination, btw).

The other day I was in looking at the new iMac G5 and a family came in
looking at buying a PowerBook. The salesguy was next to clueless. They
asked him questions like if they could use MSN Messenger to do webcam chats
from the Mac to their Windows friends. The salesguy was stammering "Uh,
you should be able to do that, I think so..." and I stood quietly behind him
shaking my head in big exaggerated motions... because I know from experience
that they can't. (Microsoft cripped the Mac version of MSN Messenger, I'll
give you three guesses why...)

From that point on the salesguy included me in the conversation as I was his
technical consultant, so to speak. They'd ask him a question, he'd answer
to his best ability and then turn to me and say "What about you, do you
have any experience with that?" I was able to help him answer a lot of
questions and make the sale.. which was a nice feeling to be able to help.

I've done this before, helping people with digital cameras and other stuff..
and I am in need of a part-time job... so I figure, why not? But the
places that give commissions wouldn't like me because I would want to give
the customers lots of space, not get in the way, not upsell, not be afraid
to recommend better ways to save money, not be afraid to say "Hey, don't
buy that now, they're about to release a new version with better specs
for less money, just wait three weeks".

I have a friend who worked at Best Buy, and he got so turned off working with
annoying customers that he quit, but was pretty close to being fired for
arguing with customers wanting to do stupid things.

The industry's just so cut-throat that people like me, who might actually
give a crap, would be way overshadowed by the other drones who just want
to push sales no matter what.



 
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Sound Junkie
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      11-09-2004
On Mon, 8 Nov 2004 13:11:29 -0800, "Mike Kohary" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>In the retail world, this type of strategy is largely unprecedented, but
>it's been happening in other areas of business for a long time. "The
>customer is always right," is the mantra we often hear, but the dirty little
>secret is that the mantra isn't true.


Well, it's true after all, yet not every retailer realizes that.

>Sometimes, customers are just plain
>wrong and overly demanding. Just because a consumer wants to buy something,
>doesn't then entitle them to the world, which unfortunately many customers
>believe.


"Some" doesn't mean "all". For the overhead $$ I'm payng when shopping
at stores I am entitled to flexibility. Whatever it takes. If I want
to return -- I will, no matter what. Their policy says that I have a
privilege to do so. It doesn't say how many times I can return
merchandise before I get banned from the store.

>Some customers just aren't worth the hassle. In my own business (I'm a
>photographer), I've turned away clients who cost me more in time and energy
>than they're worth. If I can service 3 other clients in the time it takes
>me to service one ornery, picky client, then it's not worth it to me to
>retain that single client. I let them down easy, to be sure, but I'd rather
>let someone else deal with them.


Looks like you tend to belong to the worst breed of the service
providers/retailers, who ultimately shift any problems on their
customers' shoulders. Not good. "I'd rather do a mediocre or even
shitty job for the same amount of $$, rather than take any extra
effort." Picky customers are not always jerks, but you rather
consider them as such to makes an excuse.

>Here's another good example of this principle at work (though the specific
>story is an urban legend, the philosophy behind it is not):
>
>http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/bethune.asp
>
>In my opinion, a good business goes out of its way to satisfy customers, but
>only to a reasonable extent.


Sorry, but this is plain bull. Look at Amazon.com vs. Best Buy. No
matter how many years I shopped there, I had no wish to take any
advantage of them. Why? Because I have a great deal of respect for
such a type of business, who stand behind their word and make *every*
attempt to resolve any possible problem. On the other hand, Best Buy
and such always make their living by using deception, fine print,
sleazy marketing and minimum investment in order to maximize profit.
When I'm being lied to everytime I go there, of course, I will take
from them whatever I can. Simply they don't deserve anything better.

>It does not necessarily believe that the
>customer is always right, because some customers are simply wrong. Some
>people are unreasonable jerks, and nothing you can do will satisfy them -
>trying to do so mostly hurts your business in the end. It's best to try and
>recognize those customers and then jettison them, employing as much damage
>control as possible.


The example described is rather an exception - being rude is off
limits. But if your customer plainly demands more than you'd expect
from him on average, or takes your deceptive promises literally, you
need to stand behind your reputation and do whatever it takes to
satisfy him. Once you're off that track - you're off my radar. Shame
on you!

>Best Buy, as a retailer, is breaking new ground in their business niche.
>For my part, I think it's about damned time.


Yes, yes, whatever...
 
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LASERandDVDfan
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      11-09-2004
>You know, I truly think I would make a better salesman than the guys I often
>see in those stores. Not necessarily for any reason other than I know a loot
>of stuff because I'm an impulsive buyer and a gadget geek (not a good
>combination, btw).


Sometimes, I think that way about myself.

However, if you work as a sales person, you're not expected to inform the
customer. You're expected to make the customer go for the buy and keep him
from thinking about the purchase.

>(Microsoft cripped the Mac version of MSN Messenger, I'll
>give you three guesses why...)


Windows, Windows, and, well, Windows. ;-p

The three guesses have turned to three of the same answer to show how
monopolistic Windows is. However, a good chunk of the world runs on it, so it
turns out to be a necessary evil, despite the fact that MacOS X and Linux are
superior in quite a few ways.

Heck, I'm using a computer with XP Pro installed, but I've not had too many
troubles as I do housekeeping on it, including accessing the Windows Update
database weekly.

But, I still wished I had a G5. Best thing for A/V work.

Thank god for annoyances.org. - Reinhart
 
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M.B.
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      11-09-2004
I used to work at Best Buy a little over 4 years ago. I was there for a
year and a half and for the first year I worked in the computer/Home
Office department. Shortly before I left they started pushing the $400
rebate if you signed up with MSN for dialup for 3 years. They've since
abandoned that and are now pushing those magazine subscriptions.

RE: magazine subscriptions
If you don't know that you're going to be automatically signed up once
the free period is through, then you're a fool. That's true regardless
of where you get those free issues; be it Best Buy or in another magazine.

By the time I finished with Best Buy I was ready to move on. I quit
because they weren't willing to work with me when I needed to go out of
town for further education. I was sick of selling the PSP's
(Performance Service Plans, i.e. warranties). They pushed us hard to
sell those things as well as the accessories. Their largest profit
margin is on the PSP's and the accessories (whether you really needed
them or not). I tell you, we really pushed that stuff hard. We pushed
it so hard that if you didn't know any better you would swear we were on
commission. I can certainly assure you that we never got a single penny
on that stuff. OTOH, if we did well as a department or store by hitting
our numbers the supervisors and managers sure as hell benefited.

I can attest to the common problem with not being able to find a
salesperson in the department you're browsing. The problem is that they
often had you running around the store doing other things. I worked in
the appliance department the last six months and was always in the
warehouse taking care of delivery issues and other problems.

So when you need someone and they're not in their department that other
sales person you find is probably trying to find that employee.

RE: check out lines
That's been a problem for ages and it doesn't seem to be one that
they're willing to bite the bullet and adequately solve by hiring more
checkers. So what's their solution? Oh why not pull the understaffed
sales persons from their departments and have them run up and check
people out. Or what generally happens is just as the one poster
mentioned, the lines just get long and you're in line forever.

Some employees are up to date with the merchandise that they sell. But
that is indeed an exception. The problem is that the company doesn't
really care to adequately train you. They only care if you sell the
PSP's and accessories. As long as you know how to sell those items, you
were fine with everything else.

I'm not proud to admit this, but there were a number of occasions when
someone came in to purchase a big ticket item and refused to buy the
PSP. Because our numbers were based on percentages of the PSP
applicable item to the actual cost of the PSP a big ticket item without
a PSP would hurt our numbers. e.g. $2000 computer with a $200 PSP was
10%. A $2000 computer withOUT a PSP would obviously hurt the numbers.
Anyways, a number of times we would lie to the customers and say we were
out of stock of that said item. The managers knew we would do this and
while they never completely came out and endorsed this practice, they
were certainly glad when it did.

Best Buy has a lot of potential. And the only reason why they're so
successful, IMO, is because they're the only game in town in most
places. Most people seem to loathe to shop at Circuit City because of
their history of bad customer service. If Best Buy wants to remain
competitive they're going to have to work really hard on their customer
service. And perhaps instead of giving managers bonuses for everything
imaginable they should hire more employees and train them better. I
doubt that will happen, but that's the only reason to shop at a brick
and mortar store these days. Ok, that and convenience. But it's
becoming too easy to shop online these days.
 
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Tarkus
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      11-09-2004
On 11/8/2004 9:51:47 PM, Justin wrote:

> LASERandDVDfan wrote on [09 Nov 2004 04:48:38 GMT]:
>>> Usually there appear to be 12-16 employees on the floor. However,
>>> the majority of them are standing around in groups of 2-3, joking
>>> and chatting. Try to find one in the area where you want to purchase
>>> something, let alone one who knows anything.

>>
>> Well, this is what happens when you have no commission for the
>> workers. There is no incentive to go out of your way to help the
>> customer. - Reinhart

>
> And when you have commission you get hounded by the sales staff and
> lied to.


Bingo. I hate stores with commissioned sales staff.
--
"I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish!
Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycocks.
This shark, swallow you whole. No shakin', no tenderizin', down you go."
 
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