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Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Best Buy Closing 50 Stores 407

An anonymous reader tips news that electronics retailer Best Buy will be closing 50 of its big-box stores across the U.S. this year, and laying off hundreds of corporate workers besides. The company plans to start testing new types of outlets as it tries to adapt to the changing face of retail sales. From the article: "Best Buy shares were off 7.7% at $24.56 on Thursday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange. Also Thursday, Best Buy reported a $1.7 billion loss for its fourth quarter ended March 3. ... Consumers armed with mobile phones are increasingly using stores as showrooms to check out merchandise they later purchase for less online, a trend greatly benefiting Internet retailers such as Inc. that aren't encumbered by the costs of running physical locations and in many cases don't have to collect sales tax. Meanwhile Apple Inc.'s phones and tablets, showcased in its own namesake stores, have eroded the status of specialty chains as the one-stop shop for the latest in gadgetry. In response, Best Buy said it will launch large-scale tests of what it calls new 'connected store' formats in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., as well as San Antonio. The stores, which will emphasize services such as technology support and wireless connections, will feature large new hubs at their center to assist shoppers, as well as reconfigured checkout lanes and new areas to accelerate the pickup of items purchased earlier online."
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Best Buy Closing 50 Stores

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:08PM (#39526343) Homepage

    If any retail chain deserves to fail it is Best Buy.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:11PM (#39526401)

      If any retail chain deserves to fail it is Best Buy.

      That's what you said about Circuit City, CompUSA, Borders, Tower Records, Sam Goody...

      • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pauldmartin ( 2005952 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:12PM (#39526429)
        Yes, and they all deserved to fail (with the possible exception of CompUSA). Now it's Best Buy's turn...
        • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Wain13001 ( 1119071 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:33PM (#39526799)

          No no, CompUSA deserved it too. As a former CompUSA employee, I guarantee you, they were the devil just as much as the others. When we started selling 6-10' USB cables for $39.99 so we could more easily convince people to buy our Printer warranty kit for $49.99 that *came with a free cable* I quit.

          • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

            by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:54PM (#39527201)

            As another former CompUSA employee, I have to agree. Towards the end, just before the liquidation, the emphasis on TAP (their extended warranty program) reached almost hysterical levels. I suspect it was due to the fact that it was the highest margin thing we sold in the store (most people never even used the warranty they'd bought), but I wonder if the higher-ups, since they knew that we were going to be folding soon, wanted to soak up as much extra cash before they announced they were liquidating as possible. I do remember about 2-3 months before liquidation we were told to ship large amounts of store inventory (brand new shit, at least a dozen pallets worth from our store) down to some bizarre redistribution center in Mexico. We joked that it was some sort of Mexican drug trafficking scheme or something, but then when we got word that the liquidation was going down, it made sense, Carlos Slim was probably hiding it down there so it wouldn't get sucked up in the bankruptcy.

            Of course, we employees heard after it hit the news. Not that we didn't suspect, given that Christmas was right around the corner and we'd gotten shit for Christmas freight compared to other years, but we didn't officially find out until, I shit you not, a bunch of security guards showed up to make sure us employees weren't going to start looting the place. We didn't even know why the hell they were even there for like an hour until finally the word filtered down from corporate and we found out we were all out of a job.

            Honestly, though, after that it was a fucking blast. Nobody gave a shit about anything anymore, so everybody was chill in a way I'd never experienced in that place (after all the ranting about TAP and Sirius and XM and Tech Labor and all that shit they were constantly on our ass to push), and it was like a carnival for a couple months. Got a ton of shit pretty damn cheap, too, our liquidator representative was pretty fucking cool. Cleaning up fixtures netted all sorts of buried treasure, AOL disks, ancient computer parts, sales brochures for Windows was kinda fun for a computer enthusiast.

            Anyway, c'est la vie. Best Buy was just hanging on anyway. The days of the big box electronics retailer are over. It's all Walmart and Amazon now. Don't know if that's a good thing or not...

            • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @06:27PM (#39529487)

              That's funny, because I remember Circuit City really started pushing their extended warranty before they went out of business. And I swear these days Best Buy will try to offer you a warranty on their snack food if you let them.

              I think we may have discovered a new Chapter 11 leading indicator...

            • by quetwo ( 1203948 )

              The funny thing is, when CompUSA bought ComputerCity, it was almost the same deal. Stock holders meeting was going on, all of a sudden a bunch of security guards showed up at our store. It was then announced that we had been bought, and there was a possibility that we were all out of a job. The way CompUSA handled it all was really below the line.. I had my personal MP3 player in my desk drawer at back -- they wouldn't let me take it home without proof of purchase. They also claimed all the usb cables

          • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

            by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Friday March 30, 2012 @07:08PM (#39529981) Journal

            Why does that not surprise me? I went into a Best Buy a few months back (it was the same one where my oldest actually got a good deal on a laptop) and surprise surprise! All the guys that had been there and knew WTF they were talking about was replaced by fresh hires whose favorite word was "Uuuhhh". these corps are a classic example of "penny wise and pound foolish" as they'll fire the guys that actually can do the job because they won't work for minimum wage and replace them with glorified checkout girls that have ZERO knowledge and skill and will more likely fuck things up or just give out blatantly wrong information.

            And finally let us not forget the other reason why Worst buy deserves to die, the Geek Squad or as my last boss called them "thieving monkeys" for all the stolen data and parts and broken gear. I can't count the number of times i was brought a PC where geek squad had "worked" on it first and had to tell the customer he/she had been robbed, that RAM sticks were missing (sometimes ripped out), that some expensive graphics card that was originally in the unit was replaced by some old POS they had stuck in the slot, or how their large HDD had suddenly become some 80Gb that was several years older than the PC. In every case the managers were all "pics or STFU" and a friend that worked there for a few weekends for extra Xmas cash quit in disgust because more than half the guys there had USB HDDs and would run batch files looking for MP3s and videos, if you wonder why Worst Buy catches pedos now you know, its batch files looking for *.jpg, *.avi, *.etc. in fact i met my current GF because she was having trouble with her PC after she took it in for a cleaning following a fire. this PC was an emachines clearly labeled as having 2Gb of RAM yet when i opened it I found a single 256Mb stick.

            So it really doesn't surprise me they are going under, they fired all the good workers that could actually help you, put in a bunch of clueless salespeople that are under orders to pile on the extra BS like extended warranties and pushing gamer rigs onto LOL, and filling GS with sticky fingers or those that simply don't have a damned clue about even basic PC troubleshooting. Maybe if enough of these bad stores go under we'll get a few good stores, but considering the current "screw everything but the quarterly report!" attitude probably not.

        • I only ever shopped at CompUSA once. I bought a PlayStation memory card there and, after checking out, was accosted by two staff members who refused to let me leave until they saw my receipt, appropriately marked. The checkout person hadn't marked it properly and they made me wait while they found him/her (who had just gone on break) to verify I had, actually, paid for this thing despite having a receipt.

          I never shopped there again and made sure all my friends knew about this experience. I do not appreciate

          • The checkout person hadn't marked it properly and they made me wait while they found him/her (who had just gone on break) to verify I had, actually, paid for this thing despite having a receipt.

            I always just keep walking out of the store, especially if the "door guards" had seen my receipt If somebody chases me down and tackles me, I'll be set for life from the lawsuit.

            Unless they have some actual proof that you stole something (like no receipt), they have no right to detain you...all they can do is call the police.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:12PM (#39526435)

      For what it is worth, Best Buy does have a high value for me as a showroom. And for when I absolutely have to have something that day.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

        by suso ( 153703 ) * on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:22PM (#39526617) Homepage Journal

        For what it is worth, Best Buy does have a high value for me as a showroom.

        Which no doubt is one of the reasons it is failing. People going to the store to look, then going online to buy. Of course, in the 80s, this is how big box stores got their business. People would go to the small locally owned TV/electronics retailers to get the spiel, but then go for the lower prices at the big box stores. It sucks to be on the other end doesn't it Best Buy?

        • This is the fault of not being competitive, exactly as you said.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

          by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:51PM (#39527129)
          It couldn't be how every time I go into a Best Buy it is a horrible experience. It couldn't be how any time you ask one of the minimum wage sales people a question about a product, the answer is, "I don't know, but would you like an extended warranty?" It couldn't be that to make up for the loss leaders they price other things through the roof. Just Google "Why best buy deserves to fail" and you will see I am not alone. My two favourites are [] and [] personally.
          • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

            by gumbi west ( 610122 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @04:06PM (#39527391) Journal

            For me it was the time I went there to buy a monitor and walked out when someone wasn't at the front checking receipts, so a guy comes tearing down hallway outside the store (in a mall), yelling at me to stop, grabs the monitor and holds on, demanding to see a receipt. I told him to get his hands of my stuff. He threatened to call the cops. I told him that I would like that so he would get his hands off my stuff. He then took said he would let go if I showed him my receipt. I agreed, but will never go back.

            • For me it was the time I went there to buy a monitor and walked out when someone wasn't at the front checking receipts, so a guy comes tearing down hallway outside the store (in a mall), yelling at me to stop, grabs the monitor and holds on,

              Frys also has someone at the door, but I always just walk past. They have never tried to stop me.

              • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

                I like to call that "The Final Indignity". And I love the indignant look on the customers lined up to be searched as I walk right by them and out the door.

                Though I have noticed Fry's (at least the one I frequent) has started putting cute 20-something girls at the door these days. Probably wouldn't be help much stopping a shoplifter, but they do get a lot more of their typical customer base stopping to let them check their bag...

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              In some states you probably could have shot the guy with no legal repercussions...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

            Well, well... maybe I am a prophet? Even if it took longer than I predicted. []

            I'll say something nice about Best Buy too- it's not crowded any more.
            My wife Becky decided (after we got a big tax refund this year) that she needed a laptop PC for school. Actually, I suspect that now that she needs a computer she doesn't want to go down to the cold basement to use it like I and the kids do. But any way, we went shoppping for a laptop. I hit a few w

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:24PM (#39526645) Homepage Journal

        I'm actually surprised nobody has taken this "showroom" concept to the OBVIOUS next level: a storefront with no backroom inventory, that solicits single sample floor models from various online retailers, and for a set monthly fee, puts a QR code Sticker on each floor model. Maybe even going so far as to team up with Amazon or somebody similar to provide the small manufacturer single-point-of-distribution services.

        • It seems like someone tried this or something similar during the dot-com bubble.
        • Last Mile Problem (Score:4, Informative)

          by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:34PM (#39526811)

          This is how Sleep Number stores operate. They have no inventory in the showroom besides the samples. They take your order and your merchandise gets shipped to you.

          This is efficient, but still has room for improvement - the big cost is last-mile delivery. It's relatively inexpensive to ship a tractor-trailer full of goods from a regional depot to a store. Doing door-to-door delivery is substantially more expensive. Best Buy already has the pieces in place to solve this -- a fleet of trucks, depots, and local distribution points, as well as the web infrastructure to order online and pick your purchase up at the store. Going to smaller, showroom-and-pickup stores would save them a fortune.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          ...I'm feeling a strange sense of De Ja Vu.'s almost as if someone already tried this before during another iteration of this "mail order delivery" thing.

          It's zombies from the past reaching out and trying to grab us back.

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          I think there is still a market for people who want to get something *right now*. I'd say shave inventories down, only stock significant inventory of something you *know* is going to be hot, and then negotiate good overnight shipping rates to get the lowest shipping you can get so that you can close the sale with a price nearly competitive to an online store. And of course, be sure to have the best online store possible as well, so that if someone is using your brick and mortar as a place to merely window

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

          by milbournosphere ( 1273186 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:43PM (#39526989)
          Somebody did try this. Gateway opened quite a few stores with this idea in the 90s. There was one local to where I lived. The store was shiny and all, but they didn't keep any product in stock and IIRC, they preferred that you picked up their merch from the store, rather than shipping direct to your home. Needless to say, the idea failed miserably. Perhaps a modern day attempt would work for larger tech products like TVs and the like. I'm curious to see how this pans out.
        • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:49PM (#39527093)

          Gateway computers did this and it sucked.

          Not only was it frustrating that you still had to call an 800 number to place an order and wait for it to be shipped to you, but you now had to pay retail sales tax since the company now had a presence in your state.

        • Yeah I don't know. I see this new mini-store but more locations idea they're talking about as a rehashed Radio Shack model.

          Except Radio Shack lives and breathes mobile phones and a few other high margin, convenience items. Small items, limited catalog, contract $'s, all packed in very few sqft.

          Is that really the fight Best Buy wants? Do they have any idea how to do that successfully? Because I don't see it.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

        by Korin43 ( 881732 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:25PM (#39526671) Homepage

        And for when I absolutely have to have something that day.

        I used to feel that way.. until the day they tried to sell me a discount video card for $120, and then I went home and got it online, with overnight shipping for about $30. Similar story for hard drives or any kind of cable (they tried to sell me a SATA cable for $30 -- they're literally $1 online). Having things today is nice, but I can wait 24 hours for that kind of discount.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

          by asylumx ( 881307 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:41PM (#39526939)

          ...they tried to sell me a discount video card for $120, and then I went home and got it online, with overnight shipping for about $30. Similar story for hard drives or any kind of cable (they tried to sell me a SATA cable for $30 -- they're literally $1 online).

          I find it funny that people blame Amazon's success and brick-and-mortar's failure on lack of sales taxes, when examples like these are rampant.

        • Fine, but that is not today. When it is job related and a person is idle because of a 430 or $120 part, that $90 is not that big a deal. Of course, it stall takes way to damn long to actually get in and out of Best Buy with what you came for...
      • This really doesn't make sense. You're wasting gas driving to the store, to see the item, so you're really not saving any money. Especially with the cost of gas approaching 5 dollars.

        I guess you're saving some money but not as much as you think.

    • by NIN1385 ( 760712 )
      I couldn't agree more, unfortunately they drove a lot of good businesses out of business with some of their marketing tactics and cheap product that small business couldn't compete with. Too bad this didn't happen ten years ago.
    • As much as I dislike Best Buy, some of these ideas seem good: new checkout lines, presumably faster, better online pick-up options and a place in the center of the store to find help.

      However, if their "technology support" plans are just expanding the current "Geek squad" offerings then that will further alienate people and lead to more bad word of mouth.

    • I absolutely agree. Looking back though, it is quite sad that I have this outlook. Perhaps I was too young at the time to have an informed opinion, but I remember back in the mid-90's when my town first got a Best Buy. It was great at the time - we'd go to Blockbuster Music and check out the CDs. Blockbuster Music was one of the only places at the time where you could grab any CD off the shelf and they would let you listen to it. Of course, Blockbuster Music also sold CDs for $17, which is really ridic
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mmell ( 832646 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:29PM (#39526739)
      I might have argued with you, up until last year . . .

      I went to buy a desktop machine there last year. Irritating enough that I couldn't buy naked metal, but I'm used to the M$ tax. I just don't activate and sell 'em back their OEM license (which requires enough jumping through hoops, Dell makes it practically impossible). Well, the salesman there says "Okay, I'll run this up to the Geek Squad counter so they can activate your copy of Windows and get your machine ready for you". Well, when I told him "no, I'm planning to install Linux on it when I get it home", suddenly I have a problem. Seems it takes a Manager to authorize sale of a PC without the Geek Squad activating Windows (and doing G*D knows what else).

      Had to argue with the Manager for twenty minutes before he finally let me buy the PC in the box under factory seal. He seemed to feel that I was going to damage the hardware somehow by my personal incompetence and then hold Best Buy to blame for the damages. I swear, the guy had the I.Q. of a turnip, yet here he was making sure I knew just how foolish and uninformed he thought I was not letting their cast of script-kiddie wannabes manhandle and mangle my machine before I got my hands on it. I suppose over twenty-five years working in the IT industry doesn't qualify me to manage my own hardware and software. *Sigh*

      It all fell apart when the Manager insisted I sign a document waiving my warranty because I wouldn't let the Geek Squad play "Solitaire" on it before selling me my hardware (actually, I believe they were interested in activating Windows, running Windows Update, ensuring the Symantec A/V product was installed and updated and setting some default settings which they believe are smarter than the Windows defaults). He really didn't seem to get that even IF I was interested in an antivirus solution it sure as hell wouldn't be Symantec, and he also didn't understand that once installed it damned near takes an act of Congress to get it to uninstall. He also didn't understand that in all probability I'm considerably more qualified than any of their snot-nosed Geek Squad twerps even in the area of Windows System Administration. In short, he didn't get it and kept insisting that I was being foolish.

      I ended up buying my host from - brace yourself - Fingerhut, of all places. Sure, I still paid the M$ tax (and spent three months getting my M$ tax refund), but if I'd let the geeks at Best Buy touch it, I wouldn't have been able to do that. And like I said, it's a lot easier not to install Symantec A/V then it is to uninstall it.

      • Well I was referencing their actually illegal insurance scams that they perpetrate on their customers, but that is a good reason to want them to fail as well.

      • >>> He seemed to feel that I was going to damage the hardware somehow by my personal incompetence

        Helps to carry your engineering degree into Best Buy and similar stores. After the manager lectures you about damaging the machine, whip it out and embarass the idiot. "Look I'm an engineer. I don't just use computers. I design them for a living and fly them on airplanes. Why don't you stop hassling me as if I was an idiot, or else I'm going to call the corporate office and bitch. Clear?"

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @04:03PM (#39527339)

        Seems it takes a Manager to authorize sale of a PC without the Geek Squad activating Windows (and doing G*D knows what else).

        I have run into that too. I said, "No, I want a new computer, not a used computer." I ended up leaving as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

        Quick question... for all the trouble you went through, why not buy the parts separately and assemble it yourself? It's easy and satisfying. If I can teach a 70-year-old woman how to install new RAM I'm sure someone with your level of technical skill would have no problem putting together a custom rig from scratch.

        I dunno, I just really like the customization ability. Bonus is that if I *do* want Windows, I get a clean OEM disk. Just Windows and no additional garbage on it. You can save yourself the trouble

        • I do build my own desktop at home, but we buy them from vendors at work, despite being IT. Why? Because there's something to be said for having one company you call to get shit fixed. We cannot afford to spend tons of staff time on that shit, we have too much other stuff to do. We'll diag it and if ti is broke, Dell or Lenovo gets to fix it.

          I've though about it at home too. Would be nice if when something broke I could just have Dell dispatch a tech with a new part rather than having to go and jump through

      • Idea: Don't pay until after they've activated Windows. Once they activate it, tell them you don't want it.

        I suppose they could still just resell the machine to someone else once they've played with it, but if not, they're out a license for Windows and Symantec - the Windows license itself is >$100 lost - and maybe it'll get them to end this inane policy.

    • I don't see why. I've happily purchased most of my camera equipment from them in the last year because they've matched prices of [reputable] NYC camera shops like Adorama and B&H and I have the stuff in my hands immediately with no worries about grey-market or return hassles. They're the first B&M in a long time to grasp that it's better to haggle and make $50 on a $1500 completed sale than make $0 on a $2100 sale that doesn't happen.

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:09PM (#39526357)
    Since that seems to be the thing Best Buy makes money off of, why not sell only the warranties that they try to weasel out of?
    • Yeah, this is what makes this so unsurprising to me. Best buy no longer seems interested in selling me useful things I want, but instead, hooking their talons into those purchases and loading it down with as much margin at my expense they can manage.

      Every employee in their store is dedicated to upsells, rather than actually helping you find something or in the case of "geek squad", providing tech support. I go to stores because I'm interested in buying something, not because I want to be sold something.


    • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:22PM (#39526605) Homepage

      "This is a great product, you've made a solid choice. It will be a good investment for years to come."
      "Okay, I'll get it."
      "Sure, but you'll want the extended warranty."
      "Because these are badly made, they break constantly and are very expensive to fix."

      • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:55PM (#39527223)

        When I worked for Sears ten years ago I refused to "push" extended warranties. I told the customer that for $25 extra they can warranty their refrigerator five years and get free replacement of food if there's a power outage or failure. Plus repair. 95% of the time they'd say "no" and I'd ask "Are you sure?" and then drop it.

        Sears responded by pulling me off the floor (thus I earn no money except min. wage) and making me watch Warranty training videos, because my EW percentage was too low. Basically punishment.

        I didn't stay at that store long. I thought it would be a fun parttime job for extra cash, but it made me feel dirty instead.

        EWs truly are a waste of money. Appliances either suffer infant mortality (first few months) or end-of-life mortality (15-20 years). The infant mortality is covered by the manufacturer's 1 year deal, and EOL is just EOL. Extended warranty covers neither of these two cases.

  • This is one of the first times I have read something on a major news site before /. had it. Saw this yesterday.
  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:13PM (#39526461) Journal
    For me, Best Buy is a matter of convenience. If I don't need it RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I will order it online from Newegg or Amazon and get it in a few days. But sometimes, you need something right now, and you're willing to pay a premium for it. For me, that premium is $10 or so more than what I could get online, assuming the product is under a hundred dollars. About a year ago, I needed an HDMI cable. Amazon had it for ten bucks. So I said, all right, going to Best Buy, if they have it for around twenty they've got my business. The cheapest six foot HDMI cable they had, from their own house brand, was forty dollars. And that's not even touching on the sales tax.
    • by MrNJ ( 955045 )
      So you did the smart thing, right?
      -bought from BB
      -ordered from amazon
      -got it from amazon.
      -returned the one from BB
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:39PM (#39526893)

      Sales tax doesn't bother me. I don't even notice it on anything that isn't a really large purchase particularly since from most places you pay shipping anyhow so it is kinda a wash. Also I'm willing to pay more for local convenience. It is nice to just go and get something, and not have to wait, and also be able to take it back, should that be needed. However there's a limit to what I'll pay, it has to be in the same ballpark.

      So one time I'm looking at cheap(ish) speakers. I find some JBL E series that looks good. J&R had them for like $300, shipping included (who is a retail store I might add, they aren't mail order only). Ok that's good, and shipping is non-trivial because they are big towers. However let's check local. Nice to not have to wait a week (things that big come by train) and if there's a problem I'd rather take them back to the store than fuck around with shipping something that big for RMA. Best Buy is listed as the only local dealer by JBL.

      So I head over there. They do have them in stock... For $600. Are you fucking kidding me? Double? You want twice the price of J&R? Hell no. So J&R got the order.

      Best Buy wants to price themselves like they are some kind of premium shop. However their employees don't know shit. They try to pretend they do, which is more annoying than if they just said "I'm not a subject matter expert, I'm just here to help you with basic retail support." So if you don't get the premium service, why the premium price?

      Hence I never shop there. I've bought things form Wilson Audio, which is a local premiums shop and ya, it is expensive but they really do have some experts there. I also shop at Target, no premium service there but the prices are good and I can get what I want right now (and physically look at things before buying).

      Best Buy is being killed by their own stupidity, not by Amazon.

      • Best Buy is being killed by their own stupidity, not by Amazon.

        That is worth repeating right there.. So true.

    • Just drive around until you see a DirecTV, Dish, or Comcast truck and offer the guy $5. Hell, ask if you can have 10 for $5. They don't care.

  • So long Best Buy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lithdren ( 605362 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:14PM (#39526477)
    I went into a Best Buy just last week. My wireless mouse was acting up and tired of replacing batteries, I wanted a good old fashioned wired mouse. After searching for an employee to show me where they were (because I couldn't seem to locate them myself) I was shown to a small corner of the showroom behind the Ipad 2 displays.

    23 mice. Thats it. Every last one of them was Wireless. When I asked about this I was shown some package deals they had of Keyboard and Mouse (which I didn't need) that had a wired mouse. Aside from being horribly cheap looking, I didn't need the keyboard.

    When I got home, I went on, read a few reviews, and ordered excatly what I wanted. Its on its way as I type this, sure I didn't have it same day...but when you can no longer even FIND what you're looking for in a big box store, what the hell is the point?
  • by Roachgod ( 589171 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:15PM (#39526497)
    They always claim its because consumers 'test drive' stuff there. You know why we don't buy? Because outside of the ability to 'test drive' the retail experience SUCKS. The staff have no clue. Or worse, they try and push crap because they've been told to. Which means you get a worse shopping result than just choosing at random. They push RANDOM assorted products on you. They try and get you to buy overpriced warranties on $10 items. Half the time they don't have what you want. When they DO have what you want, especially the things you want quick (like a cable) they only have the $40 version of a $4 cable. Fuck it, I'll order online and save both the test drive and the $36 extra you wanted for no reason. The checkout process is borderline hostile with all the checkers, security people, etc. Customer service seems to be codeword for "fuck you, we got yo money bitches". Die Best Buy. Preferably in a violent spectacle that I can watch for my personal amusement.
    • by RagingFuryBlack ( 956453 ) <> on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:22PM (#39526603) Homepage
      I couldn't agree more. On top of what the op stated, I can't stand being literally stalked by a comsuck salesman from the second that I walk in the door. When BestBuy started allowing comcast people to follow you from point of entry to anywhere you went in the store in order to bug you about switching your non existant television service, I stopped shopping there. It was like I was being followed by a persistent pop-up that I couldn't turn off. Worst part about it was that I had to insult the salesman to get him to leave me be. A string of "No" and "leave me alone" did no good. I'll stick to amazon and Microcenter for when I need something fast.
  • by random coward ( 527722 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:18PM (#39526543)
    So how is that "firing customers" they don't want thing working for them?
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:20PM (#39526569) Journal
    "Amazon showrooms"? Cuz I check the price in there and immediaitely head to Amazon and get it lower with Prime shipping.
    • by readin ( 838620 )

      "Amazon showrooms"? Cuz I check the price in there and immediaitely head to Amazon and get it lower with Prime shipping.

      So how can the big box stores survive? Perhaps by catering to people like me.
      I find something at a store, and I almost always buy it there. Why?
      1. Time is money. The time I would spend writing down the information I need to make the purchase at home, then finding it on the web, making sure it's the same product, entering my information to make the order, etc. It just takes too long and the price difference usually isn't enough to make it worth while. Plus, if I get home and the item isn't availa

  • The online retailers should have invested in BB, fired all the saleskids, and supported keeping the stores around as showrooms. I would think that returns (costs!) will go up for the online shops when people are eventually forced to order blindly.

    • Except we don't order blindly. I get more information from starred reviews and ratings than I ever have from a salesperson at Best Buy.
      • You are ordering blindly if the product has any human interface whatsoever, such as clothes, shoes, gadgets which require lots of human input, etc. No amount of reviews (half which are now astroturfed anyways) is going to allow you to see just how well that shirt looks on you, how well you can jump around menu GUIs, etc etc etc. At this point, instead of a 30 minute drive / pick up the item and look at it / buy it on the spot, NOW it's order it online / wait a few days (and pay for shipping) / open box an
  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:22PM (#39526609) Homepage Journal

    I like killing time at Best Buy. I never actually buy anything from them, way overpriced. But when I want to see if something looks like quality or crap it's a good place to go for a demo.

    But then I become tempted to buy something.... A few weeks ago I wanted to get a new screen protector for my wife's Samsung Epic. "Can I help you sir?" "Yeah, do you have a screen film for this phone?" "Yes, we have this one with a lifetime warranty for 20 dollars."

    Honest Abe. 20 bucks for a fancy piece of scotch tape.

    "Oh, we're going broke!!!!" Good.

  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:22PM (#39526613)

    Forbes had a really good article explaining why this was inevitable a few months ago. The author was absolutely dead right about his central point contrasting best buy and amazon. []

    He makes the point that it isn't about money, it's about the customer experience and he is absolutely right. Amazon goes to extremes to make the customer have a better experience. Best Buy goes to extremes to make the customer more profitable. Best Buy needs to drop their customer as the enemy mentality and learned to embrace the customer instead of alienating them on a routine basis.

  • I love Best Buy. Not because it's the greatest tech retail store out there, but because I like brick-and-mortar stores. I can see, feel and test equipment. Sure, I still buy most of my tech online, but I like to make the occasional purchase in person, as well as being able to see stuff I may not buy that way.
  • Bestbuy has about 1000 stores. Where I am (in canada) they bought out futureshop as they moved into the market, as a result there is literally a bestbuy 300m from a futureshop, on the same street. One of those two could go easily. Same products, same prices, different name on the door.

    As with any business that big, some of your floorspace isn't going to be working out.

    and yes, I'd love to see them largely out of business or be forced to radically transform their business model, just like everyone else, b

  • A few months ago I decided to go buy a new TV, first time in 15 years. I went to the local Best Buy, checked out models, figure out a plan and price, worked with the store rep to get it all set. We go to finalize and pay for it and they tell me that its OUT OF STOCK and they could order it but it would take 8-10 days. I spent over 3 hours working with various people in his team on a $1000+ deal only to get jerked around at the last second? I was so pissed I went home, hopped online, found the EXACT same make and model on Amazon for $200 less with free 2 day shipping. I find it interesting how they complain about people using their stores as showcases to browse, when that is the ONLY service they are capable of providing.
  • by FreshlyShornBalls ( 849004 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @04:02PM (#39527325)
    No one seems to have brought it up so I will. I don't mind paying a premium for getting an item today. Or for being able to hold the thing in my hands while I'm making a decision. But they're so worried about getting ripped off, they treat everyone like a criminal. Their security at the front of the store and their policy of requiring GOVERMNMENT-ISSUED PHOTO ID to return an item, even if purchased with a credit card, is absurd. Next up: a full-fledged TSA groping on the way out the door. No thanks. Good riddance.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @04:20PM (#39527657)

    I live in Minneapolis and work as an IT contractor/consultant.

    About once every couple of weeks, some client needs something, usually small, TODAY. My first choice is to go to Microcenter -- they have just about everything, from PSUs, CPUs, fans, weird cables, tools, but mostly it's a computer store oriented at consumers, selling name brand stuff, a store brand and with their own little Apple section.

    And it's always busy. Even right after opening, the checkout line is like 10 people deep, later on during the day, lunchtime or God forbid on the weekend, it's 25 people deep. And their prices are nothing to write home about.

    Yet if I go into a Best Buy during the day, it's a graveyard.

    Now, to be fair to Microcenter they sell a lot of "geek" parts/tools, but when I'm in the checkout line it's mostly consumers with the same kinds of stuff you'd find at Best Buy.

    It mystifies me that Microcenter is wall-wall whenever it's open but Best Buy is only really kind of busy on the weekends.

  • Because $90 dollar gold plated contacts give cleaner digital signals than the $10 competitor. Every pensioner with a new widescreen can tell you that!

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @05:06PM (#39528351)

    So if I can't go to some big box store and see a selection of 10 different TVs, what does the average person do?

    Read online reviews? These are normally stuffed by the vendors themselves.

    avsforums? Often too niche/technical for the average person consumer.

  • by wanderfowl ( 2534492 ) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:11PM (#39530615)

    I recently found myself in the market for a digital piano. I went to my local (actually local) piano store and checked what they had (wanting to feel the keys more than anything else), and fell in love with a particular model. They had it for $699. I went online and found an online retailer who had it for $499 ($20 shipping) in a special sale. As this is an actual local store, with actual local owners, I called the owner up and explained the price I had found (with a printout ready, which he didn't even demand).

    Although he said he couldn't match that price without taking a loss, he immediately offered to knock $100 off his price, and to take my old model on consignment. In addition, he offered some great advice about stands, offered to deliver it for free. He also explained that he wanted me to be happy with it, so I shouldn't hesitate to return it if I had any problems with it. So, I went with the local guys, and picked it up (and the owner even stayed around 15 minutes after closing to seal the deal that very day).

    All told, I probably ended up paying around $100 extra to stay local. But with the return policy being humane, the service incredible, and with actual expertise on the accessories needed, I still feel good about it, and feel it was money well spent. Had I demoed the unit at Best Buy and they'd had such a high price, I likely would've ordered online without a second thought, as I know they have a crappy return policy, no expertise, and no service to speak of.

    Retailers need to know that price is not the sole factor that drives people towards (or away from) online retailers. Showrooming isn't all about price. With the piano, I paid the extra money for service and expertise (and to support that service and expertise being available in the future), online didn't just win instantly because of price. Lower prices aren't the reason I use Best Buy (and their ilk) as a showroom. Crappy service, pushy sales, and bad policies are the reason I showroom. Prices are just the excuse.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.