Then, a few hours later, I sent out this one:
Related? Absolutely. I should be watching "Lost" Season Six on Blu-ray right now, but I'm not. And it's entirely Best Buy's fault. And, as I hinted at in my second tweet there, this is far from the first time this happened.
First, a little background. There are two Best Buy stores I frequent: the one in my current hometown and the one in my former hometown which happens to be just about halfway between work and home. I have never had a problem purchasing anything from the Best Buy in the town in which I currently live, whether in store or via BestBuy.com in-store pickup. I rarely use BestBuy.com in-store pickup, saving it only for items that I know could sell out quickly (and usually when I'm at work and won't be able to get to the store for a few hours).
On the other hand, I have had nothing but problems with the other Best Buy, including an incident back in 2004 where it took them nearly six months to replace a clearly defective HDTV, only to have them replace it with one that had been dropped on its screen. Where this store shines at failing is in the BestBuy.com in-store pickup system, which they've managed to screw up repeatedly.
Before I get to the details of yesterday's story, two quick background incidents. Back in 2008, I ordered a movie from them (for the life of me I can't remember what it was and BestBuy.com's online order system doesn't go back that far). I got the e-mail that it was ready for pickup. When I went into the store, I went to the counter, showed my order form, watched the girl behind the counter dig around in the online order pile for about five minutes, then watched as she walked over to the Blu-ray aisle and picked it up, thus negating the whole purpose of the online order.
Last year, I purchased a Nintendo Wii and a whole mess of accessories as a gift for my sister and her family. Again, I waited to receive the "your order is ready to be picked up e-mail" before going into the store (and, to be fair to Best Buy, a large majority of the complaints I see about the online order/in-store pickup process involve people who didn't wait until receiving that e-mail). When I got there, the only thing they had waiting for me behind the counter was the Wii itself. I stood there for 30 minutes as two guys ran around the store getting the rest of the items on my list and putting them into a giant cardboard box. It was like something out of a Benny Hill sketch, just slowed down to make the process all the more painful.
That brings me to last night. I ordered "Lost: The Complete Series" on Blu-ray and fully intended to pick it up at my local Best Buy, but when I went to place my order at about 2:00, they were already out of stock. So instead, I had to order it for pickup at the other, less-competent, Best Buy.
The transaction went well enough, with the employee asking for my order number and ID, entering the necessary info into the computer, grabbing the item from the back counter, printing my receipt and sending me on my way.
Only, before I could step away from the counter, I noticed something strange: the price tag on the box said $139.99, while I'd paid $194.99. At this point, I thought this was another instance of Best Buy's online vs. in-store price shenanigans, so I asked her what was up with that. She scanned the bar code on my box set, and it rang up at $149.99, so now a third price was involved. By now, the situation had clearly gone beyond what she could handle, so she called over the manager. While this was going on, I noticed that on the front of the box set, there was a printed reference to "38 discs", while I knew the Blu-ray set had only 36 discs. It immediately clicked for me that they'd grabbed the DVD set instead of the Blu-ray set.
This sent the manager on a frantic search for the Blu-ray set -- a set that BestBuy.com STILL said was in stock while I was in the store last night -- and eventually she came back to the counter admitting defeat. She couldn't find it.
She offered to have the set shipped to me, which I had to point out defeats the entire purpose of using the in-store pick up system. I also pointed out that if I'd wanted it shipped, I would have used Amazon.com, which was entirely true (I checked Amazon.com first before deciding on BestBuy.com). I then asked for a refund, which I received, though I was now out close to an hour of my time and likely out more than $200 for the 3-5 days it would take the credit to post back to my account.
After the refund was processed, I took the time to explain my frustration to the manager. I tried to maintain a calm tone, but I know it probably didn't seem like it to her (though I never really raised my voice, having been on the other side of that conversation multiple times). My biggest frustration with the entire process was that because of the laziness of someone who makes $8 an hour and doesn't really care about his/her job, I had wasted my time, and Best Buy was out $200. I also made it clear to her that this particular store was the only store at which I had problems like this, and they were repeated problems. When I finally got home (after calling around to a few other local stores to see if they had the set in stock), I ended up ordering the set from Amazon.com, and I should have it tomorrow.
I've tried making "I'll never shop at Best Buy again" declarations in the past, most notably after the TV incident, but they've never stuck. I will say this. Tuesday night was absolutely the last time I'll ever attempt a transaction at that particular Best Buy again. However, the realities of the market have made it so it's difficult to avoid shopping at Best Buy entirely if you want to buy something in a store. With the demise of Circuit City, CompUSA and the Musicland stores, it's become much harder to shop around for movies, music and video games. Best Buy is pretty much the only major store left in my area that has both competitive prices and a full selection. Walmart and Target meet the price criteria, but have very limited in-store Blu-ray selection. Borders and Barnes & Noble have closer to full selections (though not as full as Best Buy) but are usually about 10% more expensive than Best Buy. Still, for the foreseeable future, I'm going to avoid the yellow tag store.
If only my area had a Buy More.