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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Is it Really the Best Buy?

In New York, the Best Buy stores are okay; they will sell you things that you need/want at pretty good prices, but like most big box stores, I think most people would agree, they are soulless. This is not a criticism, but rather a simple observation. I went to those stores because they were handy.

I'll admit that I went to the store here in Portland, because I was used to going there; I pretty much knew that when I went in it would seem familiar (which is, of course, part of the marketing strategy of all such franchise or chain establishments) and I was right. I felt right at home and pretty much knew where everything would be located. I have two surprising experiences to relate:

  • I bought a "smart" (Samsung) TV which after three months became a frustrating, annoying, and remarkably stupid TV. Without much real hope, I went back to the store to relate my experience. I had purchased the extended warranty, but that would only mean that they would fix it, but what I really wanted was for them to replace it with another brand (Sony) that I figured would be a better way to go. They patiently listened to the issues I was experiencing, as well as to my request for something out of the ordinary. The woman I spoke with had to go speak to her manager and I waited around for ten minutes, losing hope by the minute. She came back and said, "no problem, we can see that you're really unhappy so let us make it right." It was a true Twilight Zone moment. I felt as though I should check to see if this was one of those dreams where everything works perfectly, ya know?
  • Nevertheless, the second incident was even more bizarre. Georgina had been needing a new computer for quite some time and finally we decided to move on that. She wanted a Macbook, and I spent quite a lot of time making sure that we'd get the very best deal on a factory-refurb from Apple (we've had great luck over the years doing that). I placed the order. About 20 minutes later I randomly came across a Best Buy ad for exactly the same machine for $250 less than Apple! The only thing was, that I had to make the purchase online. Naturally, I called Apple to see what the heck was going on, and they said, well sometimes other stores had better deals than they could offer. Crazy huh? I canceled the Apple order and placed my order with Best Buy. In both cases the wait for the machine was like five days. No big deal. Georgina's new computer arrived. I installed appropriate software. It worked for 24 hours, and then began asking for passwords that no one on the planet had access to. I called their "Customer Service," and got nowhere (just like in NYC the Best Buy online customer service is a contradiction in terms), so I took it back to my local store, where they kindly took it back for another day to reinstall the operating system, which they said was very likely the problem. Well no. Got it back. Returned home. Installed software. It worked for 24 hours. That $250 was starting to seem like a very small price to pay for a working computer. I took it back yet again, and this time spoke with the store manager, telling him the entire story, and that I simply wanted my money returned. The Apple store was right around the corner where I could just walk in, buy a new computer and be done with it. He listened carefully to everything I had to say and then asked, "look, how about if I sell you a brand new machine with a $500 discount?" Picture me with my mouth hanging open. We're not in New York City anymore!

There's something in the water here, and it works!-)

Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere
In Portland Oregon only... Everywhere else, you're on your own.


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