Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"How To Shop At Best Buy"

Skip to the random thought

I remember back when Best Buy first opened stores in Jacksonville. It was a very exciting time. Finally, a one-stop shop for all of our video games and cheap CDs! (Wal-Mart and Target aren't the same.) Best Buy was instantly the Coolest Place Ever.

Now? Well, I wouldn't go as far to say I hate Best Buy, but I really don't enjoy going there anymore. But I've found that in order to best enjoy your Best Buy experience, you have to follow some guidelines.

First off, don't look lost. As soon as you look lost, one of their employees will pounce on you. (Not literally, of course. Actually, that would be kind of funny.) Always have a purpose. It wouldn't be so bad, but there are so many employees walking around there, and they all want to sell you something you don't need. I don't want to be harrassed when I go shopping, I just want to do it on my own terms. Wal-Mart's "customer service" is laughable, but at least they leave you alone. If I need your help, I'll ask for your help. Otherwise, please go away and let me meander in peace.

Best Buy customer service doesn't really help you a whole lot either. Their main goal isn't to do what's best for you, it's to sell you something more than you need. Example: Amber went there one day by herself asking for help. "I want to hook up two computers in my apartment to the internet. What should I get?" Their response: a $50 wireless router. Sure, that would work, but we won't need wireless internet. We just want the cheapest way to get both of our computers on the internet at the same time. After a little internet research (this is a topic neither Amber nor myself was that familiar with before), I found that all we need is a $20 hub. So, we went back, didn't talk to anybody, got our hub, and went home. And the hub works great. The router would have worked too, and probably with slightly higher performance, but I haven't noticed any problems with our internet connection. And we don't need wireless, especially since my desktop doesn't have a wireless card. That would be dumb. Thanks for nothing, Best Buy customer service.

It's also good to know what you should buy in Best Buy. From everything I've heard, Best Buy is not the place to buy a computer. You'll pay too much, and it may not work, thus forcing you to consult "Geek Squad" and pay them even more money. I don't know how good Geek Squad is, but I hope they're nothing like the computer help Best Buy had before. It was terrible. I didn't have any personal experience with it (I purchased my computer online from Dell), but I heard lots of stories.

So, what's good to buy in Best Buy? Well, CDs and DVDs can be cheap. I haven't bought a CD in a store in probably four years, but Best Buy was always a good place to get a $15 CD for $10 or less. And, sometimes, you can get good deals on DVDs, too. The morning after Thanksgiving one year, I went to Best Buy and bought the first three seasons of "24" for $20 each. (The normal price is $60 each.) What's in it for them to give you cheap CDs and DVDs? To get you in the store, on the chance that you might buy a "big ticket item", such as a plasma TV. If you go to Best Buy a lot to buy cheap stuff, and if you ever want a plasma TV, the first thing you may think is this: "Hmm, where can I buy one? Well, I know Best Buy has them. Let's just go there." Now that's marketing! Fortunately, I'm smart enough to avoid falling into that trap.

Computer accessories are sold at Best Buy too, but not for the best price. Online is usually the best place to buy that sort of thing. Then again, I've bought many computer accessories at Best Buy, but most of the time, that was done with gift cards (including the internet hub). And, Best Buy is more convenient than doing it online, especially if it doesn't work and you have to take it back.

Most of you know this (I hope), but please don't get the service plan. I heard that according to some Customer Reports-type establishment (this was a while ago), there are only three things that break frequently enough for it to be worth getting the service plan. One was plasma TVs, one was treadmills, and I forget the third. But I'm pretty sure the third wasn't anything that's sold at Best Buy. (Unless it was a home appliance. Speaking of which, does anyone go to Best Buy to get a refrigerator? Some people must, or else they wouldn't sell them.) Oh, and don't get the Best Buy credit card either. I heard their credit cards come with an absurd interest rate.

I go to Best Buy a lot (although not as much as I used to), so they must be doing something right. Then again, Amber did have a mammoth Best Buy gift card. But now that there's less than a dollar left on it, maybe we'll just go to Circuit City next time.

Last Year: "Answers To Random Questions". Blogger includes an option to have your answer to one of their "random questions" appear in your profile. Unfortunately, most of their random questions were stupid, so this post didn't really work out so well.

Tomorrow: "The Swimming Pool". Much like Best Buy, the swimming pool used to be the coolest thing ever. What happened? (Obviously, the title "coolest thing ever" is not exclusive.)

Today's random thought:

- The new section of NC-540 opened at last Saturday afternoon. We took it back from the disc golf course on Sunday. I really have nothing noteworthy to say about it, except that based on what I saw (and heard via Brian LeBlanc) yesterday morning on my way to work, it isn't really helping out the backup of cars merging onto I-40 a whole lot. Which makes sense, because of the three new exits, only the Davis Dr exit really gets a lot of people close to their jobs. The NC-54 exit is useless, and the NC-55 exit still leaves you with a ways to go from most RTP jobs.

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