Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thousands of Possibilities? I Got Mine (Part 2)

Read Part One

So, Siad had gone off, the Jewish Gentleman and Puerto Rico have left the counter, and I step up with my external hard drive, priced on Circuit City's shelf at $189.99, ready for them to not only match Best Buy's $169.99, but take off another 10% as per their "110% Price Match Guarantee".

The counter guy takes it and is about to scan it, and I say "Best Buy has this for $169.99, and I wanted to get it price matched, and discounted the 10%".

"Um, I don't think we do that anymore," the guy says. I stare at him for a second, and then my eyes dart tothe big red sign on the wall that states "IF YOU FIND THE SAME ITEM AT A LOWER PRICE, WE'LL REFUND 110% OF THE DIFFERENCE". I pointed and said "Yeah, man, I think you do."

He looked up at the sign, and said "Uh, okay, let me go check with my manager." As he walked away, I rolled my eyes and patiently waited for him to return. And return Counter Guy did, telling me he'd have to look it up. He looked it up--on Best Buy's website mind you, not any fancy computer system (Lanky Pimple Face Mumbler did the same thing) and true to form it was $169.99. Counter Guy scanned the hard drive, and it rang up... $169.99.

"Same price," Counter Guy looked at me like I was an idiot. "Your tag says $189.99," I explained, and handed him the hard drive box. "I'll let you restock this, I'm going elsewhere."

"Why would you want to do that?" Counter Guy asked, though I knew he wasn't asking because he truly wanted to know, like Siad and Little Blond wanted to know, he was just asking because that's what you do. "Better service, man," I smiled back and walked away. I spent over an hour in Circuit City, and I was headed back to where my journey began--Best Buy in Hoover, Alabama.

As soon as I walk in, I look for the calculators... and wouldn't you know it, as I'm rounding the iPod accessories aisle, a Best Buy guy says "Can I help you find something?". Why yes, I replied, and asked for calculators, to which I was pointed towards the back.

Grabbed a calculator, grabbed my pen and piece of note paper out my pocket, and started making notes about how much I was going to spend. It was alot. But... Steph Leann and I had budgeted for this, we had planned for it and was ready for the cost--its important to note this, as we're becoming known, or at least I am, for being more frugal and refusing to use credit or credit cards. So, as we spend money on this tonight, its cash in hand.

When I entered the computer area, I was immediately approached by a tall dude in a Best Buy shirt who asked if I needed anything. I looked at his tag and said, "Yes, Jared, you can help me." I then explained that I was here to pick up a number of things, and he said, "Alright then, you grab the hard drive you need, I'll grab the computer." He reached over and swiped 2 of the 1 gig chips I had mentioned needing for the upgrade.

I told him if he had other customers, then he could help them, and he said "No, man, we have enough people hereto cover everyone. I'll help you grab what you need." Finally... customer service.

I stood in front of the Seagate External Hard Drives, seeing two almost just alike, but one for $20 less than the other. "Hey Jared," I called, "can you tell me the difference in these two?" He explained that the Seagate FreeAgent Pro has an eSATA compatibility, which means little to me. Its a program that some computers have, but if you don't have it, which mine is too crappy to have anything above an abacus, then the FreeAgent and the regular is the same--except the FreeAgent 500 GB external drive is $20 cheaper, and on sale. Sold.

Turned around, remembering my conversation with JT earlier about routers. Grabbed the Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router, on sale.

By this time, Jared had pulled down the Toshiba Satellite A215-4747 laptop computer, and I had two of the 1 gig memory sticks and tossed them on the counter. By now, I started to have a pile. Finally, I grabbed the backpack I wanted, the Swiss Gear Triton.

Jared and I chatted about service, and the subject of Circuit City came up. He hung his head in shame and said, "Those guys are terrible. A buddy of mine works over in Geek Squad... he worked for Firedog for like, two days, and quit. No wonder you can in here so happy to spend money."

As he began to ring up, he scanned in the $39.99 charge for installation twice. I stopped him and said, "Hey... that's one charge, right?" He said, "No, actually, that's two installations." I smiled and said, "Dude, its one move. You open up the back of the laptop, pull out two 512 gig sticks, put in the two 1 gig sticks and you're done. Don't charge me twice for that."

He paused and said, "Hold on, let me get the MOD". That's manager on duty, I think. Here comes a rather rotund black woman named Sarah, complete with 1986 Control Janet Jackson hoop earrings. Jared explains to her what I'm buying, then asks if he can take on of the service fees off. I tell her, like I told Jared, its a zip-zip-done sort of thing, and if they were going to charge me twice, I wasn't going to get it done at all--my buddy JT could do it for free.

She then calls another manager, who takes longer to arrive. We chat back and forth, and she offers me the Best Buy Mastercard, where I could get double the reward points and so on, and I smile and said a big no thank you. Sarah asks why, and I tell her that after fifteen years of debt, my wife and I are months away from the end. She counters that I could just use the cash to pay it off each month and I counter-counter that I don't really trust myself with a credit card. Sarah smiles and nods.

The New Manager arrives, and Sarah explains the situation. She points to the counter where a computer, a router, and external hard drive sit, along with a big backpack and two memory sticks.

"He's paying with cash," Sarah tells New Manager, "and we can get rid of one of these charges, right?" Then I up the ante. "If you take off one of the charges," I say, "I'll pick up the wireless keyboard and mouse."

"What's the price on that?" New Manager asked, and I tell him $59.99. He asks me to go get it, and I grab the Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 4000. New Manager says, "The bad news I can't take off installation charges, those are set. However, let's take off $20 on the keyboard, and another $20 on the backpack."

Sarah tells me to follow her to Geek Squad, and they'll ring me up there. I say thanks to New Manager and to Jared, and we go to Geek Squad. Here, they've got a number of guys in the black pants, white shirts and ties, all ready for computer action. One of the Geeks rings me up, and Sarah is there to give my discounts... and she asks about the installation. Geek One says, "Oh, its just one charge. All we're doing is opening it up, pulling out two sticks and putting in two more." I looked at Sarah with a told-ya-so smile, and she smiled back, "We still have your prices set up like we talked about, okay?"

The Geek Squad took my computer to do the work on it, I tossed in the Kaspersky Internet Security which added a little to my total... but after all that, I still have $25 left over. Not too bad.

You may have an opposite story--a horrible time at Best Buy and a red carpet roll out for Circuit City, this is just my story. However, I know where I'll go when I buy my laptop in the Spring (remember, this one is Steph's)... okay, I admit it, I'll go to both places, looking for a bargain--but darn it, I'll want to come to Best Buy.


  1. I love reading what you have to say, especially the way you describe events.

    I agree with you... where has the customer service gone in this country?!?! I basicaly deal with people all day long and they treat me like crap, and then want favors from me. Are you kidding me?? Oh good grief. I need a new job.

  2. Dave - why didn't you just go to the Apple store to begin with? =)

  3. because when i bought my iPod, there was no Apple Store... and Steph didnt want an Apple, she wanted a PC/laptop, preferrably Toshiba.

    Trust me, I'm headed to the Apple store for any further Applesque products needed


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