Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Almighty Buck News

Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn Resigns After $1.7 Billion Loss 513

Posted by timothy
from the sir-we-don't-mind-the-losses-we-hate-your-ties dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn has resigned amid the big-box retailer's major financial problems. The announcement comes two weeks after Best Buy announced a $1.7 billion loss for its fiscal fourth quarter. Best Buy is trying to avoid the same fate as Circuit City, which went out of business in 2009, but the future looks grim." The article provides a reason not to trust middle-management: the company claims it had "no disagreements with Dunn about operations, financial controls, policies or procedures." Best Buy may not be Shangri La, but in many rural and semi-rural parts of the U.S., it's the nearest and best place to actually find a wide selection of electronics.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn Resigns After $1.7 Billion Loss

Comments Filter:
  • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:26AM (#39631505)
    ...but I only buy sale items. We bought an Epson 8350 video projector when it was $100 less than any other competitor that I could find, and have really liked it. But, again, I don't buy cell phones from them, and it's not common for me to buy computer parts from them anymore either. They probably can't survive as a big-box store when many customers are looking for a discount-boutique experience as far as the occasional big purchase is concerned.
    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:25PM (#39632515)

      My problem with Best Buy is that it's such a painful experience to shop there.

      The last time I was in the store, I was there on release day to buy a Kindle Fire. The saleskid made two strong attempts to persuade me to buy $200 beats headphones, like the ones he was wearing around the store, to compliment my $200 tablet. Then of course you have to contend with the hard sell on the warranty and any number of other add-ons. And heaven help you if you're buying a large electronic device, especially if you aren't all that tech savy. They sent my parents out of the store with $200 of tack on Monster nonsense. Basically, taking advantage of old people.

      Best Buy needs to make their shopping experience not akin to a trip to the dentist. Stop with the aggressive push for add-ons. Stop with the gun to the head warranty pushes. (You can buy an extended warranty on a CD, did you know that?) Work on customer service. Fire the disinterested teenagers. Reward knowledgeable stales staff. Develop knowledgeable sales staff.

      Basically, stop being what most people think Best Buy is. Start being what Amazon is - an easy, convenient, stress-free shopping experience.

      • by schnell (163007) <<me> <at> <schnell.net>> on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:50PM (#39632969) Homepage

        Best Buy needs to make their shopping experience not akin to a trip to the dentist. Stop with the aggressive push for add-ons. Stop with the gun to the head warranty pushes ... Fire the disinterested teenagers. Reward knowledgeable stales staff ... Start being what Amazon is - an easy, convenient, stress-free shopping experience.

        Not to defend Best Buy here, but these things are not necessarily compatible with cheap prices in a big-box physical retail environment. For example, all the stores I visit with cheap prices try to upsell the high-margin junk so they can make money. All the stores I shop that have knowledgeable sales people and good customer service - think Nordstrom's - aren't cheap. Amazon has cheap prices and no pushy come-ons but they also don't have to pay for retail space and sales employees. It seems that you can have physical stores, good customer experience or cheap prices but not all three.

        • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:59PM (#39633129)

          If you aren't willing to pay decent (commissioned) sales staff, why have a sales staff at all?

          Why not just be like Target, and have few or no salespeople? It's not like the staff at Best Buy are helpful or knowledgeable, they are one of the primary reasons people avoid the store.

          • by justinlindh (1016121) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:16PM (#39633455)

            Best Buy is strictly non-commissioned. I worked there for a year when I was in high school at a store opening, and they made sure that the first thing we said to shoppers, with exuberant pride, was "Just so you know, everybody at Best Buy is not working on commission so we're only going to sell you what you need and never what you don't!". What we didn't say, which is actually the truth, is "... but we do need to give you the hard sell on product service plans (fancy words for extended warranties) or we'll get fired, and that guy hovering over there is our manager who is only listening to how well we can sell one to you". If you worked in the home theater department (I was in PC home/office), add high margin cabling to that.

            Those of us who weren't naive knew we were being screwed. The only reward for pushing these products was job security and it's all so we could emphatically tell customers a lie: that we wouldn't try to sell them things they don't need.

            This was 13 years ago, too... back when Best Buy was a much better place. I'm sure it's only gotten worse in recent years.

            • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:54PM (#39634109) Journal

              If you worked in the home theater department (I was in PC home/office), add high margin cabling to that.

              And here is why I don't shop at Best Buy. It's not that the sales people were trying to sell me a high end cable. It is the fact that there is no HDMI cables in the entire store for less than $30. Sorry, but I will not spend $30 on any cable, for anything, ever! I don't need gold plated HDMI cables for my less than 40 inch TV.

            • by Creepy (93888) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @02:13PM (#39634479) Journal

              Although I've never worked for Best Buy, I've known people that did, and you are correct - non-commissioned and trained to try to sell high margin products with the discount products, and that has been consistent for years.

                But trouble has been brewing for a while - CD and DVD sales moving to streaming or download, games for PC and recently consoles moving to the same, a lack of high cost, high margin PC computers (nothing over about $800 except Apples) has to hurt (for instance, nothing like Alienware), extremely expensive computer components for PC customizers, etc. The stores that branched out into music gear probably moved in the right direction, but all of the ones I know of that did built their stores next door to a Guitar Center, which is a stick-the-pistol-in-your-mouth-and-pull-it kind of move because Guitar Center has a high customer loyalty. Best Buy still can compete - when I bought my TV, it was the same price at Best Buy as it was on New Egg, and if people need installation (which I didn't), it is a perfect place for a profit. Same with installing car stereos, starters and such, and appliances, phones, cameras (though they lack high cost, high margin), and music players still seem to be a core business, so I imagine they are very profitable.

                  Really, Best Buy needs to refocus, and maybe even go upscale - competing against Walmart and the Internet is a lose-lose prospect, but Alienware has ridiculous margins for Dell, and Best Buy could easily create a premium brand computer with similar specs and sell it for less by licensing from, say, ASUS. There is a reason I buy computers at Microcenter (or online, and by computer I mean laptops because I buy computers as boxes of parts) and not Best Buy - they actually sell high end graphics at reasonably close to other online retailer prices (and who doesn't want it that day?). The only premium thing I've ever seen at Best Buy was phones (and overpriced phone cases - they want $35 for something I can get online for $5 - and I'm not shitting you - 7x markup, same exact product manufacturer and component #).

              • by justinlindh (1016121) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @02:32PM (#39634817)

                One of the primary reasons that Best Buy tries to push their extended warranties so hard is because the margin on PC sales are extremely slim. The stores barely make a profit at all off of the sale of a computer, now more than ever. The only decent profit margins are on the higher end gaming computers, or Apple.

                When I worked at Best Buy ('99), it was during the emergence of the "e-Machine". If you don't remember those, they were ultra cheap computers ($300 - $700 at a time when the average desktop price was still around $1k). They packed the computers with adware and useless garbage in order to sell at a low price. They also usually had an underpowered processor (usually a Pentium Celeron). We, employees, were told that the store didn't make any money on these computers, so selling add-ons (warranties, MSN subscriptions) were vital. I actually believe them on this point. The problem is, nobody wants to pay a few hundred dollars for a warranty on a $300 computer.

                To compound problems, a good slice of our customer base was parents and grandmothers who only want to casually browse the Internet and occasionally e-mail their children/grandchildren. It's nearly impossible to tell these people that they should spend $900 instead of the $300 and be able to sleep at night with a good conscience. So, we found ourselves in a position where we'd sell the cheaper computers with a near impossible warranty attachment rate.

                It's even worse these days. You can easily find a great computer for under $500 (without the adware) that will satisfy nearly all consumers needs. The PC gamer enthusiast already builds his own PC's or knows where to buy them online, and does. As the profit margins on computers shrinks even more, the need to attach add-ons increases. Balancing that with customer satisfaction quickly becomes an impossible task. I do agree, though, that it would be smart for Best Buy to offer premium brand computers though it's simply not what most retail consumers are looking for (I think they mostly do "built to order" kiosks for those... at least, they used to).

              • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @02:35PM (#39634883)

                The stores that branched out into music gear probably moved in the right direction, but all of the ones I know of that did built their stores next door to a Guitar Center, which is a stick-the-pistol-in-your-mouth-and-pull-it kind of move because Guitar Center has a high customer loyalty.

                I have never heard anyone say they were loyal to Guitar Center.

                Among all the guitar players I know (including me) they are a necessary evil. They hammered local shops and beat a lot of them out of business. Their prices are not great. Locally, they are partnered with an outfit for their repair services that does not have a good reputation.

                On the plus side, their sales staff actually is relatively knowledgeable, and guitars and amps are things that you really want to try out in person first. Best Buy doesn't have either advantage.

                In the music area of the local best buy, there's usually one employee and no customers, a pretty limited selection, and it's rare that any price breaks are available. I can't see myself buying anything there.

                • by dgatwood (11270)

                  You know why GC has knowledgeable staff, right? They offer deep discounts on merchandise to employees. Thus, most of the people they hire are musicians who are working to make enough money to buy the gear that they want.

                  Best Buy could ostensibly do something similar, but because their product offering is not particularly specialized, it would be somewhat harder. Also, even if you cut Best Buy's prices in half on many products, it would still be about what they cost at Fry's or Wal-Mart every day (particu

          • by Kagato (116051) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:53PM (#39634099)

            The problem isn't that they aren't commissioned, it's that you can't fire anyone. A buddy of mine was a "turn-around" guy for another retailer. He got hired by BB a couple years ago. Problem is you can't turn around the stores because you're not allowed to fire the weak and the lame from the store. If anything the number of poor sales people actually inflates because those who are good at sales eventually move on with their career. All management can do is move the chairs around on the titanic.

          • There's this myth that you can pay your sales staff like crap if you treat them nice enough. It stems from people comparing $100k/year salesmen to $30k/year salesmen. Yes, you can give a $100k/yr salesman a better work environment for very, very little money, and you'll get more out of him than if you gave him another $20k/year. The same is not true for the $30k/yr guy. It's because there's a world of difference between 100k and 30k. Scott Adams made a joke about it in one of the Dilbert books, the differen
        • by JDG1980 (2438906)

          Not to defend Best Buy here, but these things are not necessarily compatible with cheap prices in a big-box physical retail environment. For example, all the stores I visit with cheap prices try to upsell the high-margin junk so they can make money.

          Not sure how they manage it, but my local Fry's usually has electronics prices competitive with Newegg and other online suppliers, and they don't use the same hard-sell tactics Best Buy does.

      • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:05PM (#39633235) Journal

        Tell their execs to go to an Apple store and ask themselves why many people like going there. The experience of dealing with store employees does not feel like I've walked onto a used car lot with a sales guy waiting to eat my lunch.

        • The only reason why Apple stores are popular, is because their product is at the centre of the popular culture zeitgeist at the moment.

          Their staff are generally ignorant, pretentious, and the product is vastly overpriced (if you're talking about their PC equipment or co-branded peripherals sold in store).

          Give Apple stores 5 years. They'll be sad depressing retail channels eventually as well. There's only so many ipads and iphones you can sell --even with 3 year planned obsolesence cycles.
  • Customer Service (Score:5, Informative)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:27AM (#39631507)

    Their customer service is bad. Their sales clerks are trained to be pushy. Their prices are just so-so.
    No big surprise.

    • Re:Customer Service (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:32AM (#39631587)

      The clerks aren't just pushy - they actively lie to customers. Telling a lie to get money out of someone is fraud. I, for one, don't appreciate it.

    • Re:Customer Service (Score:5, Informative)

      by mx+b (2078162) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:32AM (#39631589)
      I don't know if it was just the local branch or if its nationwide policy, but I know 1st-hand and 2nd-hand (people that worked there, etc.) that the managers were incredibly pushy on the sales reps to essentially harass customers and find out how much money they had, then upsell as much as possible. Especially for people obviously not knowledgeable on the topic. If you didn't push the more expensive version or the extended warranty or whatever, the managers came down hard on you. Terrible environment. I refuse to ever shop there again.
      • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:36AM (#39631653)
        This is common in all retail. Managers are under pressure from the people above, and many have their salaries tied in to sales from their store.

        One of the best techniques I've found for getting rid of salespeople is to first ask them highly technical questions that I know they can't answer about their products, and if they still persist, I tell them to leave me alone while I shop or else I will leave the store without buying anything. That latter almost always works.

        Only sales people that I've had trouble with past that generally are car salesmen, who've even tried the technique of blocking the exit driveway with staff so I couldn't drive off. I saw their block, and raised them a 4x4 through the hedge row. Shoulda seen the looks on their faces...
        • "Only sales people that I've had trouble with past that generally are car salesmen, who've even tried the technique of blocking the exit driveway with staff so I couldn't drive off. I saw their block, and raised them a 4x4 through the hedge row. Shoulda seen the looks on their faces...
          --"

          so you decided to be nice and not call the cops to report being held hostage??

        • by million_monkeys (2480792) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:47AM (#39631839)

          Only sales people that I've had trouble with past that generally are car salesmen, who've even tried the technique of blocking the exit driveway with staff so I couldn't drive off. I saw their block, and raised them a 4x4 through the hedge row. Shoulda seen the looks on their faces...

          +1 awesomeness. I have little sympathy for dealerships with staff that pull tricks to prevent you from leaving.

          • Re:Customer Service (Score:4, Informative)

            by v1 (525388) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:25PM (#39632523) Homepage Journal

            I have little sympathy for dealerships with staff that pull tricks to prevent you from leaving.

            Then you must really hate casinos. They downright hide the exits, as well as making sure there isn't a clock in sight, so you have less chance to realize how much time you've spent in there already. Try it sometime, try to find a visible clock anywhere, in any casino. Or for that matter try to recognize where the exits are from almost anywhere on the floor. I still have no idea how that gets past fire regulation...

        • by schlesinm (934723) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:58AM (#39632039) Homepage

          Only sales people that I've had trouble with past that generally are car salesmen, who've even tried the technique of blocking the exit driveway with staff so I couldn't drive off. I saw their block, and raised them a 4x4 through the hedge row. Shoulda seen the looks on their faces...

          Car salesmen do tend to get upset when you drive their car off the lot without paying for it.

      • If you didn't push the more expensive version or the extended warranty or whatever, the managers came down hard on you.

        It's Best Buy credit card applications now. All the usefulness of an extended warranty for your Monster-brand dryer cord, with the added "fuck you" bonus of dinging your credit score!

      • Re:Customer Service (Score:4, Informative)

        by ArhcAngel (247594) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:27PM (#39632549)
        You're lucky you never tried to buy anything there with $2 bills [slashdot.org] or pick up anything you ordered from bestbuy.com [geek.com] or you could have been posting from the prison library.
      • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:59PM (#39633137) Homepage

        This all sounds exactly like what was going down at Circuit City before they went under.

        • This all sounds exactly like what was going down at Circuit City before they went under.

          And exactly why I got out of Circuit City as soon as things started turning into that at my store. The only thing CC had going for them was good customer service and when they decided to throw that out the window, it was only a matter of time.

    • by b5bartender (2175066) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:48AM (#39631855)
      Who would have thought a sales team comprised of smug college kids would make for poor customer service?
    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      Their sales clerks are trained to be pushy.

      If you think that's bad, you should have tried walking into a Circuit City back in the day. It was like walking into the middle of "28 Days Later" wearing flashing strobe lights.

      • the last time I ever set foot in a CC was when I went there to buy a hard to get CD. I was standing at the counter for five minutes with the CD in one hand and cash in the other. When no-one showed up to take my money, I put the CD onto the counter and left.
  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lxs (131946) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:27AM (#39631515)

    How much of a bonus does he get for leaving?
    Just curious.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:31AM (#39631573) Homepage Journal

      To be fair, he started as a $5.15/hr minimum wage employee at one of their stores and worked his way up the ladder through literally every department before being named CEO. There are many CEO salaries and pensions to guffaw at, but this guy deserved at least half of what he gets.

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:45AM (#39631795)

        He got $10 million in compensation in 2010, and he's still on the board of Dick's Sporting Goods. So he's not suffering at all.

        http://people.forbes.com/profile/brian-j-dunn/11391

        While I appreciate the romantic notion of a company's CEO starting off at the bottom and working his way to the top, I wonder if, in this case, Dunn brought the worst of his experiences to the top with him instead of the best. It seems that the higher he went, the more the company got in trouble. This is a company that really needs an outsider to go in, define what Best Buy is going to be in this new retail world and how it will succeed, and get everyone in the company involved in that direction.

        As timothy says, "Best Buy may not be Shangri La, but in many rural and semi-rural parts of the U.S., it's the nearest and best place to actually find a wide selection of electronics." That's great for Best Buy, but that can't be the driver for this company to stay in business. They've got to fix the problems they have, and fast, because everyone else is eating their lunch. Other than take up space, there's nothing they do better than anyone else.

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by localman57 (1340533) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:05PM (#39632187)

          "Best Buy may not be Shangri La, but in many rural and semi-rural parts of the U.S., it's the nearest and best place to actually find a wide selection of electronics."

          As Yoda says, "that is why you fail". The fact is, there's almost no middle anymore. Bottom of the barrel electronics have gotten good enough that low end buyer buy almost exclusively on price. High end buyers have the awareness and ability to comparison shop online for yet a wider selection at better prices. Best Buy loses the first group to Wal-Mart, and the second to the internet. And the in-between isn't big enough to make any money on.

          • by Hadlock (143607)

            Agreed; it's really hard to find quality electronics in meatspace stores these days. Whatever is on shelves now, is 6+ months old tech and not at all competitively priced against the bleeding edge tech you can find on amazon, newegg and elsewhere. It's really hard to buy a camera in a store, when if you go online you can see actual "raw" images of the camera right on your screen. At any one time there's only maybe 2-3 models of laptops in each category (netbook, laptop, desktop replacement) actually worth b

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drsquare (530038) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:55AM (#39632003)

        Just because he dedicated his career to working his way up a greasy pole doesn't mean he's worth millions of dollars. The corporate world is full of sharp-elbowed ladder-climbers who don't really do anything other than angle for promotions and line their own pockets.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      He gets free warranties. So, nothing.
  • Only choice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:27AM (#39631527)

    If it weren't for online retailers, Best Buy would be my only choice for computer hardware other than a few small vendors (which cost even more than Best Buy). Thank the silicon gods for NewEgg and Tiger Direct.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Microcenter shall rise!

      But then it will turn just as evil. A lack of competition turns all companies evil, eventually.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      Just a few years ago, I had a CompUSA and Circuit City too. Now Best Buy is pretty much it in my city. It's overpriced and the selection is a joke compared to CompUSA, but at least there is one local place I can still go if I absolutely need a new hard drive TODAY.

    • by poity (465672) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:02PM (#39633185)

      Since people are already using brick and mortar stores as showrooms to try before buying online, maybe that's what BB needs to embrace in order to survive. Stop holding vast inventory, trade in big stores for smaller spaces that focus on social events centered around technology, and affiliate themselves with online merchants rather than fight them to their inevitable death. Imagine a place where you get to experience the future high tech house/bar/coffee shop/office. It's slicker than an Apple store, and everything you touch is a product you can buy. Snap a barcode with your phone and you're taken to a BB site where you can post your reaction/experience to facebook along with a link to buy (with BB taking commission). Couple hundred clicks/likes and you get a discount to any of their authorized affiliates.

      *inb4 crappy 5 minute ideas get ripped apart :)

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:28AM (#39631529)

    The days of the big box electronics retailer are dead.

    I can't say I'm too surprised, nor am I very broken up about it, either. I haven't had a very good shopping experience there since the early 2000's and haven't even stepped foot in one in over a year.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      Indeed. in my opinion it's insane to think they could continue operating the same way with the prevelance of online shopping. The only way to survive would be to focus on the things they have as an advantage over the online shops .. but none seem to manage that.

      I still buy stuff from them occasionally (and from futureshop, which I guess is owned by them or something.. but they compete with each other here?). I live in Canada, which means ordering just about anything is minimum 1 week shipping.. most of the

  • by SashaMan (263632) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:28AM (#39631531)

    Why can't people in rural or semi-rural parts of the US just use Amazon like everyone else in the US?

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:33AM (#39631609)

      I am from one of the more rural parts of the US. There's a few issues with Amazon:
      1) Most users aren't comfortable buying parts online - they want a salesman to tell them exactly what to buy
      2) Rural FedEx/UPS/USPS drivers tend to be much more careless with handling packages - probably due to having much longer routes through places with no cell service and no intersections to use as points of reference for directions. It's also much more common for rural houses to not display house numbers... or even have them in the first place.
      3) I can drive to Best Buy and buy a replacement part and have it installed the same day. Gas will probably cost around $5-$7 for the round trip. Buying stuff online will often cost the same for basic ground shipping (free shipping is usually very slow) and then you have to wait several days for it.

      Amazon/NewEgg/Tiger/ZZF/etc are great if you know you need something in advance and the carrier can actually find you, but they're not the solution to every problem.

      • I live in a rural area. The 2 day shipping, the liberal return policy, and the much, much better selection compared to a big box store, made an Amazon Prime a no brainer. I only shop Best Buy now when I want some big ticket item and can get 36 months no interest.

    • Why can't people in rural or semi-rural parts of the US just use Amazon like everyone else in the US?

      Exactly. FedEx will deliver anywhere.

      Best Buy lost me years ago, deliberately [slashdot.org]. Pity, as they used to be one of my favorite stores.

      • I refuse to buy from anyone that only ships via FedEx. Will pay more for UPS or USPS.
        In rainy or snowy weather, UPS will put the package in a plastic bag to protect it if you're not home. FedEx tried hiding a 24" monitor in a puddle under my muddy welcome mat.
        If UPS requires a signature, they'll leave a tag on your door you can sign and then they'll deliver the next day even if you're still not home. FedEx does the same, but scribbles out the signature part so you get to drive 45 minutes to the fourth-close

      • by g0bshiTe (596213)

        FedEx will deliver anywhere

        Except a residence on Saturday.

      • by futuresheep (531366) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:55AM (#39631995) Journal

        That depends. Standard FedEx will deliver anywhere, but Standard FedEx is actually owned by FedEx. FedEx GROUND is franchised out and can be very hit and miss. My house is 60 miles from the nearest FedEx Ground depot. They've lied so many times about attempting delivery that I actively avoid any company that uses FedEx Ground for shipping now.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      I'm Canadian, but it's the same problem. Getting something shipped from newegg or tigerdirect (and even most Canadian companies!) tends to take a minimum of a week (even with express shipping). Most of the time that's no problem.. but sometimes you need/want something that day.. so you pay the higher price and put up with the annoying pushy sales people.

      Also there are things that you do want to play with/look at in person a bit before buying.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:29AM (#39631555) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure I'm spoken to a Best Buy employee once without them lying to me. My most recent purchase was a new 3D TV. I made the purchase at Best Buy because they had the lowest price, despite how much I normally despise that store. The employee was insisting that I needed to buy high-end HDMI cables as well (despite the fact that digital cables don't have signal degradation in the way that analog cables can) and he insisted I needed a new 3D BluRay player. I told him I had a PS3 and he was adamant that PS3's couldn't play 3D BluRays, so I had to buy a new one. I pointed to his demo unit which was using a PS3 to play 3D BluRays.

    I also know people who have worked at Best Buy in the past who admitted it is official company policy to lie to customers. They are trained to claim to own whatever item a customer is looking at, so they can recommend it.

    Given Best Buy's business practices, frankly I expect them to fail over time.

    Small electronics sales will likely move to Amazon, and people will just buy TVs and large items elsewhere (department stores, Walmart, Target, etc).

  • by SashaMan (263632) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:30AM (#39631561)

    You say "The article provides a reason not to trust middle-management".

    I don't think you know what middle management means. Sure, this is a reason not to trust corporate PR, but I think it should kind of go without saying that you should never trust corporate PR, as regardless of the truth of the situation, it is their JOB to say things that are "best" for the company.

  • Even with that gargantuan loss, I'll bet he still has a huge golden parachute in his contract.
    American CEO's - the only job where you can lose billions and still get stupid rich for doing it!

  • The internet has fundamentally and forever changed the way we do business. It stands to reason that big-box retailers are going to suffer as a result of changing shopping environment. I rarely visit a store to buy electronics. Instead, I make the purchase online.
  • So my boss gave me a gift certificate to Best Buy last year for $25. I needed a keyboard/mouse for another computer so figured I'd go use the gift card.

    The cheapest combo was in the $45 dollar range and it was a real piece of shit. It cost me around the same amount with a gift certificate as it would have cost me to pick it up at Fry's.

    I see no reason to ever go back to Best Buy.

  • by jaymzter (452402) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:33AM (#39631597) Homepage

    And yet Fry's Electronics is still going strong, has a great selection, and is really the only big box electronics store I'll go into.

    Yes, they have a small army working the floor, just like BB, but unlike BB they aren't obnoxious or constantly harassing you*.

    Here's what BB should do: Look at what Fry's is doing, and DO THAT!

    *I understand from previous /. stories that this behavior is mostly the fault of the management, so apologies to the conscientious BB employees.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I went in looking for an ethernet card (pretty basic, right?) and the salesdroid informed me they hadn't stocked "wired networking stuff (sniff!) since October" and the manager standing right there just went "yup" and didn't seem to think it was a problem.

    I went across the street to Staples to get the same card as the BB website for $9 cheaper.

  • Best Buy has themselves to blame for developing a reputation of over-priced products and unknowledgeable, pushy salespeople. But their latest attempts at reformatting their stores is, I think, the only strategy in which brick-and-mortar can survive. It is the model pioneered by Apple Stores. Everybody knows that brick-and-mortar stores have turned into showrooms for online purchases. Best Buy's latest layout tries to take advantage of the new retail reality by filling the showroom with a variety of devi
  • Best Buy may not be Shangri La, but in many rural and semi-rural parts of the U.S., it's the nearest and best place to actually find a wide selection of electronics.

    So was Circuit City at one time.

  • by slack_justyb (862874) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:44AM (#39631775)
    1. Your employees are jerks. I hate talking to them, they are not people friendly. Every time I go to BestBuy, I cannot count the number of times where an employee follows me all around the store and asks what I think about whatever it is that I'm currently looking at. I wouldn't mind that so much but then when I finally find whatever it is that I came for, no one is within a 100 mile radius of me?! WTF?!

    2. My ears hurt after leaving your store. I think it might be the employee that is trying to sell dude over there a new 346" HDTV that has said HDTV set to where the volume has to rival any 747 that might also want to take off in your store. Literally I travel to BestBuy with earplugs.

    3. Your prices suck. That is all there is to that.

    4. I feel bad for coming to your store. I hate to keep beating on the employee gong, but when I go to the local BestBuy, employees look so soulless and that in turn makes me feel bad for coming to your store in the first place. No one is happy to be in a BestBuy. I can't put my finger on it exactly but it just seems so, loud, dull, and annoying at BestBuy.

    5. I miss CompuUSA and for some reason or another, I always go into BestBuy looking for computer parts first, until I realize, oh yeah the selection is pathetic at best. Of course, people say that I could just jump on the Internet and ask them to ship whatever to the store, but if I get on the Internet, I'm not surfing over to BestBuy.

    6. Yeah that whole Amazon.com and them not collecting sales tax, yeah that's a big problem for BestBuy. I have no idea how they get away with it but I've seen lot of friends head to BestBuy to look at the product, yank out phone, and order the exact same thing from Amazon. They like it because it is usually free shipping and by paying no sales tax, they usually save about $5.00 to $20.00. (Local sales tax being 10%)

    I've got no idea how BestBuy can turn the tide, but it sucks to walk into a BestBuy. It's not a very happy experience.
    • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:08PM (#39632255)

      No one is happy to be in a BestBuy.

      From first hand research, kids absolutely love best buy because its full of dvds and video games. I have no idea how to leverage this into adulthood... maybe sell pr0n dvds and adult toys (although I don't want the legendarily pushy salesguys rambling on about how Monster AA batteries give better vibrations)? Also the next generation of "steam" "red box" and "netflix" users are going to devastate them even with the kids. When the majority of kids think Barney comes from netflix instead of best buy, they're toast.

      Maybe if they were an adult toy store... not XXX rated like a /.er would assume but something like pay a buck or two to get in, and play all you want with brand new electronics, nothing in packages, play all you want until you get tired, and then QR codes freaking everywhere to order items online from amazon, maybe a kickback affiliate percentage... Heck there's no reason Best Buy has to do this, an enterprising /.er could do it today...

  • Awhile back, I went around town trying to find a PCI wireless NIC card.
    I went to radio shack and bewildered their employees, as if I was speaking some foreign language.
    I went to Best Buy and they told me I didn't need that silly thing, and tried to sell me this shitty looking USB adapter.
    Finally, I found what I was looking for at Fry's, and the employees there weren't huge dicks/morons.
    Guess which store got my business?
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      I think people here are over selling Fry's because they are so much better than the alternatives. Fry's have plenty of clueless employees that will just make stuff up. They also have a lot of crap, and broken merchandise on the shelves. The difference is that Fry's runs their stores more like grocery stores. If some tries to sell you on something and you tell them to go away, they generally will. While a lot of the stuff on their shelves is junk, their inventory is so huge that the non-junk still dwarf
  • I wonder how much longer until they are bought out by Amazon. They'd probably sell off the retail operations to the highest bidder (I'd speculate Target), and go nuts with the bestbuy.com domain name et al' circuitcity.com

    Most likely, this will happen at a bankruptcy auction. Even though BB's # are slipping, they're still pretty substantial. Of course, so are RIM's....

  • That's too bad... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thescreg (1854974) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:02PM (#39632125)
    I worked for Best Buy from 1999 to 2001. They were a pretty good company back then. The only thing they really pushed us to sell was the extended warranties... excuse me, protection plans. I really enjoyed working for the company. I stayed in touch with my former co-workers that stayed on with them for many years after I left. According to them, Best Buy's policies got worse and they became a pretty bad company to work for. They got super high pressure with everything. I actually interviewed with them again in 2009 but ended up turning down the job offer. I didn't like what the company had become.
  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:10PM (#39632285)

    Actually, if you've been into a BB lately, you might have noticed that at least 70% of the floorspace is taken up selling what you might call "hardcopy media". Stuff like movies, music, and electroic games. All things that are increasingly being purchased online these days.

    For a while I had hope for them when they starting reserving a good chunk of space for selling actual equipment for musicians. That seems to have been a fad though.

    They still are my favorite place to shop for computer games (yeah, I'm old-school that way), but they've countered that by shrinking their selection down to about a shelf or two. :-(

    If they honestly don't see any problems with their current operations, policies, or procedures, I don't see how they can expect anything other than more of the same decline.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:22PM (#39632465) Homepage

    Unfortunately, this seems to be the way things are going. There will be one or two "retailers" left on the Internet which will be in unassailable positions because of heavy discounting on freight and committments from suppliers. Buying anything locally will be an option fondly remembered by grandparents and a concept utterly foreign to the next generation.

    Why will there be only two? Well, Amazon ships with UPS and UPS charges them so little based on volume that they can make money offering free 2-day shipping. Should some new player come along they aren't going to get discounts like that until they have a huge volume, which means their prices will be higher, meaning they aren't going to get that huge volume. Same thing with suppliers: if you buy 1,000 TVs from Samsung they give you a different price than if you buy 100. If you sell 1000 a week you are going to be buying a huge number - maybe more like 10,000 at a time - and get such a better price that they new start-up can't ever get that good a price.

    So what do we have now? A monopoly. Mostly driven by the Internet and the way shipping works in the US. Best Buy had their own fleet of truck for distribution so their costs were quite different than using UPS or FedEx. The idea that some new startup can come along - as Best Buy did - is pretty much gone. The market is closed to new entrants. Would there be room for two such distributors? Maybe not - we might end up with only Amazon as the big retailer in the US and WalMart for low-end stuff. We can all see that the small independent seller is doomed if they haven't already closed up shop now. WalMart put those folks out of business a long time ago.

    You can certainly say that Best Buy failed in providing customer service, but we are seeing a passing of a lifestyle. We are also seeing an interesting phenomenon whereby more and more things in people's daily lives are being supplied through a single source. Did you know there is only one factory in the US making glass bottles? If one can do it, why have more, right? Except it is a single point of failure and there are many substances that a glass bottle is required for. If that one factory has a fire or some other accident the entire US is without glass bottles for perhaps a very long time. With retailers being eliminated we are focusing more and more on online retailers and two shipping companies - of which there will only be one in the end. When it is only Amazon and FedEx (far more diversified then UPS and therefore the more likely one to survive), what happens if there is a strike against FedEx? Well, it means people stop getting stuff. When it is WalMart and Amazon alone and everyone is getting food, clothes and everything else through these channels what does it mean?

    One big thing it means is that if the buyer at WalMart doesn't like some supplier, their stuff isn't getting sold in the US. It means decisions that consumers get to make today are then made by the buyers for the retailers that are left. If the buyer doesn't choose it, the consumer can't choose it. Period.

    Oh, you think "the long tail" will solve this problem. Not really. There will be only a few retailers because the dynamics of an online store are quite different from opening a little shop on Main Street. It is already pretty much impossible for an upstart to compete with Amazon today and it isn't going to get any better. Which means if Amazon doesn't strike a deal with a supplier - on Amazon's terms - their stuff doesn't get sold. Manufacturers are ill-suited to sell things directly, so that isn't really an option. Neither is Amazon going to take on a new product that completes with an existing high-volume product unless they get a really good deal - why trade dollars for pennies? This puts Amazon in control of what brands of toothpase you get to choose from - you will not have the option of going to a different store.

    Pretty sad, isn't it. At least it isn't the government making these decisions for us.

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre

Working...