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(Time)   With the seeming inevitable demise of Best Buy, are we witnessing the end of the big box store?   (business.time.com) divider line 202
    More: Interesting, Best Buy, overhead costs, big-box, restricted stock, tangible, home cinemas  
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6168 clicks; posted to Business » on 28 May 2012 at 2:24 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



202 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2012-05-28 12:56:03 AM  
I would be sad if Best Buy and their Canadian partner Future Shop (same thing) were gone. Record stores are gone so I can barely ever find an album on CD (I like owning the CD, because I can never trust that Apple will exist and not fark me and take my music collection away). Having a place to browse DVDs or BDs was also great. Plus, the games were always 10 bucks cheaper than anywhere else (EB Games/Gamestop would sell something used for 69 bucks that I could get new at BB for 59 CDN).
 
2012-05-28 01:00:17 AM  
There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.
 
2012-05-28 01:14:35 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.


The article agrees.
 
2012-05-28 01:15:53 AM  
As long as it doesn't close before I get another HD Radio iPod boombox next month, I'll be good.
 
2012-05-28 01:16:13 AM  
Blame it all on Amazon. It has nothing to do with the fact that if you try to buy anything in the store, they'll harass you to end to buy the fecking rip off extended warranty. And if you try and buy a computer from the ad, they'll apologize that all the units in stock have had Best Buy's $80~150 "Tune up" performed on them, and there's no way they can sell you one at the ad price because they've already done the work on all in stock.

fark Best Buy. I'll be dancing on their grave.
 
2012-05-28 01:21:40 AM  
Having worked in retail (home housewares) for a couple of years, I'm not at all shocked that big stores are struggling. Fighting Walmart's scale, and the niche competitor's product knowledge is tough. I made a lot of sales pointing out that yes, you COULD get the same product at Walmart for a few dollars cheaper, but Walmart doesn't know their stuff. When told that the extra money went towards my paycheck, and I bought/used/read reviews on almost everything in store, most customers were pretty happy to drop the extra money.

/Didn't hurt that I was the only young male and flirted with all the bored housewives to make a sale either
 
2012-05-28 01:47:11 AM  
I use to like Circuit City because I could go in and the people working there knew about the products and could help me make a choice.
Best Buy doesn't even have that.

I went in last christmas looking to buy a bluray player for my dad. I needed one with component cable hookup because my dad's older HDTV did not have HDMI. The guy working there insisted bluray players only had HDMI connections. I had to shoo him off and find the one I was looking for.
Works perfectly and I can't tell the different in connections honestly.
 
2012-05-28 01:47:38 AM  

ShawnDoc: Blame it all on Amazon. It has nothing to do with the fact that if you try to buy anything in the store, they'll harass you to end to buy the fecking rip off extended warranty. And if you try and buy a computer from the ad, they'll apologize that all the units in stock have had Best Buy's $80~150 "Tune up" performed on them, and there's no way they can sell you one at the ad price because they've already done the work on all in stock.

fark Best Buy. I'll be dancing on their grave.


You're going to get my urine all over your shoes.

/can't dance
//can pee
 
2012-05-28 02:14:41 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.


But it'll fall shockingly fast to Dollar General or Aldi's level -- a place white middle-class people wouldn't be caught dead patronizing.
 
2012-05-28 02:28:46 AM  

Chariset: a place white middle-class people wouldn't be caught dead patronizing


Yes. this. I'll buy online and get my food via my local market's website online ordering and next day home delivery.
 
2012-05-28 02:31:17 AM  

Chariset: Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.

But it'll fall shockingly fast to Dollar General or Aldi's level -- a place white middle-class people wouldn't be caught dead patronizing.


Wouldn't say that to much about Aldi. There are a lot of Aldi's around here that are in upper and upper middle class neighborhoods, and they are packed with white people from those neighborhoods.
 
2012-05-28 02:34:22 AM  
Now it will take a week for the smallest computer part, maybe I will plan my next hard drive failure a week in advance
 
2012-05-28 02:36:02 AM  
No. Costco. Fark Wal-Mart. Costco will overcome bad wages and bad treatment of employees to be bigbox supreme. Welcome to Costco, I love you.
 
2012-05-28 02:36:10 AM  
The demise of multiple locations in a metro area? Sure, in future I wouldn't be surprised if there was a store (maybe up to 5 in places like Chicago) mixed with some of the mall locations for cellphones and a website that could beat Amazon on certain products at certain times. But the demise of the company in total? Not so much.

/Although in fairness all they had to do was outlast the likes of Circuit City and Sam Goody...
 
2012-05-28 02:44:51 AM  

ShawnDoc: Blame it all on Amazon. It has nothing to do with the fact that if you try to buy anything in the store, they'll harass you to end to buy the fecking rip off extended warranty. And if you try and buy a computer from the ad, they'll apologize that all the units in stock have had Best Buy's $80~150 "Tune up" performed on them, and there's no way they can sell you one at the ad price because they've already done the work on all in stock.

fark Best Buy. I'll be dancing on their grave.


They actually recently addressed that. Stores aren't allowed to do that to more than one system in stock anymore, and under certain circumstances (it's the last one and you order it online for pickup or something, I think) they're required to offer it to you for no extra charge.

The warranty and credit card stuff will never go away because that's where the profit is. They make $5-$20 on an average laptop. So does Amazon, but Amazon doesn't have the overhead of retail stores in every city with 30 people standing around, so they can get by on it.
 
2012-05-28 02:49:00 AM  

MadSkillz: Plus, the games were always 10 bucks cheaper than anywhere else (EB Games/Gamestop would sell something used for 69 bucks that I could get new at BB for 59 CDN).


And then Steam happened, and if you're patient, you can get games for peanuts. I bought Civ V GOTY this weekend, $12.50. BBY price: $49.99.

The only reason to ever buy physical copies is if your internet sucks.
 
2012-05-28 02:55:07 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.


It was my understanding Germany is Walmart free.
 
2012-05-28 03:01:13 AM  
Oooh, maybe we'll see the resurgence of Licorice Pizza or Mad Jack's!
 
2012-05-28 03:03:10 AM  

missiv: Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.

It was my understanding Germany is Walmart free.


If Wertkauf is still functioning then Wal-Mart is still in Germany (and has been since the late 90's).
 
2012-05-28 03:28:00 AM  

Ken VeryBigLiar: missiv: Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.

It was my understanding Germany is Walmart free.

If Wertkauf is still functioning then Wal-Mart is still in Germany (and has been since the late 90's).


They all got bought up by Real after Wal-Mart farked everything up by not realizing that their business model didn't work so well when workers have some rights in a country...
 
2012-05-28 03:29:27 AM  
Here's why Best Buy's model sucks: They haven't updated their selling procedures. They consider their online site to be different than their retail stores, which is pure BS. Their stores are independent from each other, which is bunk as well.

I recently 'purchased' an iPhone 4 16GB refurb online for $30 bucks. Problem is, this particular model is only available for in-store pickup at select locations. I called a rep to confirm this, Best Buy only sends out shipments to select stores, and does not offer direct shipping on this item.

So, I search a three-state radius from where I live, and where I'm currently at (visiting my parents). The closest one to me is in Oakdale, MN, which is 1.5 hours from where I live, 5 hours from my parents. I order it - because having my name on it is better than not having one at all. I get an email confirming that I can pick it up at Oakdale, so I call the store and ask if they can ship it from store-to-store. I am told that they would call me back.

Get a call back, and they say yes they can transfer it to where I'm at - only if I cancel my order (releasing the inventory) - and then they can ship it to another store, with my name and phone number written on it saying it's reserved for me. This is after the manager at Oakdale called and chatted up the manager at Eau Claire for permission.

Really? WTF is this bullshiat
 
2012-05-28 03:32:56 AM  
I want a 5 disc blu-ray player.

Can Best Buy deliver something like that? No, because they can't get one from any supplier. I might as well buy a cheap player from WalMart. Same farking device. ALL OF THEM.

Damn you China... You make all the same devices with different labels. There is very little differentiation because there's just a few production lines for any product.
 
2012-05-28 03:41:30 AM  

Chariset: Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.

But it'll fall shockingly fast to Dollar General or Aldi's level -- a place white middle-class people wouldn't be caught dead patronizing.


In all fairness, I wouldn't be caught dead at Wal-Mart.
 
2012-05-28 03:42:28 AM  

lilplatinum: They all got bought up by Real after Wal-Mart farked everything up by not realizing that their business model didn't work so well when workers have some rights in a country...


I was looking for mention of the sale anywhere and all I saw was the articles on their acquisition back around '97. I was there in '98 and the ads were surreal; like Wal-Mart ads (right down to the cheap glossy paper) but in German.
 
2012-05-28 03:44:19 AM  
Last time I was at Best Buy I had some biatch from Comcast eyeball me in PC department (needed a DVI cable) and once I stood still she beelines her way over to pitch farking cable TV.. As I grit my teeth and fake a smile I said "No thank you I already have it" she goes "I understand.. What package? We offer discounts to upgrade".. .... I gave her that "You don't even farking exist right now" glaring stare and walked away..

I say hi to no one in those farking stores. They trap you almost immediately at the entrance with the hot broads working wireless who stand on the edge of their department like cheap hookers ready to solicit the first moron that says hi back to them.
 
2012-05-28 03:57:42 AM  

Ken VeryBigLiar: lilplatinum: They all got bought up by Real after Wal-Mart farked everything up by not realizing that their business model didn't work so well when workers have some rights in a country...

I was looking for mention of the sale anywhere and all I saw was the articles on their acquisition back around '97. I was there in '98 and the ads were surreal; like Wal-Mart ads (right down to the cheap glossy paper) but in German.


http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,2112746,00.html

Thats an okay english article that describes some of the reasons Wallmart struggled. I moved there in 05 and the last of the wall marts had recently been converted.
 
2012-05-28 03:58:32 AM  
Where will I get my gold-infused, ultra-audio extra-dimensional Monster Cables now?
Shipping shuffles the molecules around and it loses 10% of its xxxtreme fidelity.
 
2012-05-28 04:07:40 AM  
Well, it looks like they'd best buy themselves some unemployment insurance.
 
2012-05-28 04:21:12 AM  

styckx: I say hi to no one in those farking stores. They trap you almost immediately at the entrance with the hot broads working wireless who stand on the edge of their department like cheap hookers ready to solicit the first moron that says hi back to them.


I think we may have found the answer, needs real hookers.
 
2012-05-28 04:32:14 AM  
DemonEater: Stores aren't allowed to do that to more than one system in stock anymore, and under certain circumstances (it's the last one and you order it online for pickup or something, I think) they're required to offer it to you for no extra charge.

Ha. It is to laugh.

/ They banned inboarding the warranty when I was still working there
// It was super effective!
/// Ha
 
2012-05-28 04:33:29 AM  
This is the only electronics store I need:

www.seattle.com
 
2012-05-28 04:36:58 AM  

Chariset: Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.

But it'll fall shockingly fast to Dollar General or Aldi's level -- a place white middle-class people wouldn't be caught dead patronizing.


You don't know many middle class white people then
 
2012-05-28 05:12:40 AM  

liquidlen: ShawnDoc: Blame it all on Amazon. It has nothing to do with the fact that if you try to buy anything in the store, they'll harass you to end to buy the fecking rip off extended warranty. And if you try and buy a computer from the ad, they'll apologize that all the units in stock have had Best Buy's $80~150 "Tune up" performed on them, and there's no way they can sell you one at the ad price because they've already done the work on all in stock.

fark Best Buy. I'll be dancing on their grave.

You're going to get my urine all over your shoes.

/can't dance
//can pee


I can do both, but neither is what I'll do on Best Buy's grave.
 
2012-05-28 05:20:42 AM  
just bought a laptop at best buy. the sales people were great. i have found that it is best to go into there looking like you don't have a lot of money. they leave you alone till you ask to buy something.

don't go in near closing though...looks like a bunch of zombies trying to get you.
 
2012-05-28 05:22:19 AM  

R.P.M.: just bought a laptop at best buy. the sales people were great. i have found that it is best to go into there looking like you don't have a lot of money. they leave you alone till you ask to buy something.


It's not that, it's the at the counter sales. They're always trying to add some bs mark up warranty or service pack upwards of 10 percent. It's maddening.
 
2012-05-28 05:25:15 AM  

doglover: R.P.M.: just bought a laptop at best buy. the sales people were great. i have found that it is best to go into there looking like you don't have a lot of money. they leave you alone till you ask to buy something.

It's not that, it's the at the counter sales. They're always trying to add some bs mark up warranty or service pack upwards of 10 percent. It's maddening.


Yes, saying no thanks is just such a chore.
 
2012-05-28 05:36:57 AM  
I agree with the earlier post re BB adding crapware to all the instore computers and insisting it can't be unbundled.

That said, I bought my farking awesome ASUS G53S from the BB website.
Delivered in 2 days to my office, no hassles no assholes.

/on sale too
 
2012-05-28 05:43:05 AM  

lilplatinum: Yes, saying no thanks is just such a chore.


Once per sale, yeah I don't mind. When they hard sell it and you know it's bullshiat and they keep at it? It's not only a chore, it's a lost customer.

That doesn't even mention the fact you have to flash the drive as soon as you get the thing home or at least spend 30 minutes uninstalling all the crap they put on it to get a clean box. I wasn't aware they charged for that software they put on, but if they do that's insult to injury.
 
2012-05-28 05:59:41 AM  

doglover: That doesn't even mention the fact you have to flash the drive as soon as you get the thing home or at least spend 30 minutes uninstalling all the crap they put on it to get a clean box. I wasn't aware they charged for that software they put on, but if they do that's insult to injury.


Nah, that software comes from the manufacturer, and it'll happen no matter where you buy a computer. Companies like Symantec, Roxio, et al pay the manufacturer to put their trial software on, in hopes that people will then register it.

The only software that Best Buy installs is their "PC App" - a kind of steam-like cloud software delivery program that is kind of annoying, eats CPU time, and sometimes lacks an obvious "don't start when windows starts" button. Initially, actually, BBY had a deal with manufacturers to load LESS junkware but put that app on instead.

What they try to charge for is a "setup" - burn recovery discs, install AV, and "optimize" - that means running a program that does some registry tweaks and installs Windows updates. Some stores will also actually use it to disable a lot of the bloatware, but technically they're not supposed to.

My preference with a new PC is always just to nuke it with a clean Windows disc, although if that's not possible, pc decrapifier is pretty neat.
 
2012-05-28 06:05:29 AM  

lilplatinum: Ken VeryBigLiar: missiv: Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.

It was my understanding Germany is Walmart free.

If Wertkauf is still functioning then Wal-Mart is still in Germany (and has been since the late 90's).

They all got bought up by Real after Wal-Mart farked everything up by not realizing that their business model didn't work so well when workers have some rights in a country...


This is a pretty good article on Walmart's failure in Germany Link
 
2012-05-28 06:30:48 AM  

Mike Chewbacca: This is the only electronics store I need:

[www.seattle.com image 330x275]


Oh sweet zombie Heysus, they may be the only place worse. Blue sticker of death, indeed.
 
2012-05-28 06:42:30 AM  

DemonEater: pc decrapifier


Interesting...
 
2012-05-28 06:50:56 AM  
Every time I try to buy something at BB, my experience usually goes bad.

First thing is the selection. The number of floor models and inventory seems more related to whatever manufacturer was offering the best deal rather than any rational selection process. Next comes the sales associate, who occasionally, but rarely, knows what they are talking about. More often than not, they are reading the product tags to me.

If I survive that gauntlet, time to actually find a unit. There might be some on the shelf, but you have to look at them carefully to avoid one that has been opened and returned, usually with about 80% of the parts still intact. More common, they can't find the one I decided on, even though the computer says there are 9 of them in stock. A "quick" 20 minute search usually results in no product found.

Next we play the "check with another store" game. Yep, sure enough the computer says the other store, conveniently located 25 miles away, has 8 in stock. Having gone for this trick before, I always ask them to call and have someone put one aside for me. That call usually takes about a half-hour, and is successful maybe half the time.

If I finally do get my hands on a unit, heaven help me if it needs an accessory. A cable that is available all day on the internet for $12 becomes, at Best Buy, a $39.99 item. After that comes the warranty pitch, which is always a good idea on this particular unit because of some story. Maybe one of two of them have been good advice, but who knows.

Compare that to the Amazon process. Sure, I can't actually touch the unit and play with it, but everything usually has enough info and reviews that I can get a very good idea of what I am buying. Amazingly enough, I have found myself using Amazon's reviews to help decide before I went to Best Buy.
Click a button, and it shows up 2 days later-and generally for less money. No hassles, the vast majority of my Amazon transactions are without drama.


Best Buy had two advantages to start with. First, they had a chance to show me the product and provide some honest advice, with the potential to "wow" me with something, and perhaps even upsell me on some accessories or complementary products. They usually blow this opportunity by either providing me with unqualified sales people, whacked out prices on the accessories or by teaching me to ignore everything they try to add to the sale because it is a glorified con.

The second advantage is the instant gratification. Personally, just about anything I am buying at BB is something I can live without for another day or two, but they make it easy since they can never seem to put their hands on any inventory. In my experience, the typical BB experience tends to be a hybrid of the worst of retail AND all the disadvantages of mail-order shopping.

Until BB provides me with some clear reason to shop there, I mostly ignore the place.

//end of rant
 
2012-05-28 07:11:12 AM  

mr_a: Every time I try to buy something at BB, my experience usually goes bad.

First thing is the selection. The number of floor models and inventory seems more related to whatever manufacturer was offering the best deal rather than any rational selection process. Next comes the sales associate, who occasionally, but rarely, knows what they are talking about. More often than not, they are reading the product tags to me.

If I survive that gauntlet, time to actually find a unit. There might be some on the shelf, but you have to look at them carefully to avoid one that has been opened and returned, usually with about 80% of the parts still intact. More common, they can't find the one I decided on, even though the computer says there are 9 of them in stock. A "quick" 20 minute search usually results in no product found.

Next we play the "check with another store" game. Yep, sure enough the computer says the other store, conveniently located 25 miles away, has 8 in stock. Having gone for this trick before, I always ask them to call and have someone put one aside for me. That call usually takes about a half-hour, and is successful maybe half the time.

If I finally do get my hands on a unit, heaven help me if it needs an accessory. A cable that is available all day on the internet for $12 becomes, at Best Buy, a $39.99 item. After that comes the warranty pitch, which is always a good idea on this particular unit because of some story. Maybe one of two of them have been good advice, but who knows.

Compare that to the Amazon process. Sure, I can't actually touch the unit and play with it, but everything usually has enough info and reviews that I can get a very good idea of what I am buying. Amazingly enough, I have found myself using Amazon's reviews to help decide before I went to Best Buy.
Click a button, and it shows up 2 days later-and generally for less money. No hassles, the vast majority of my Amazon transactions are without drama.


Best Buy had two advantages to sta ...


I was starting a similar rant but you covered everything I was about to say, only smartier and less ramblier.
 
2012-05-28 07:12:06 AM  

doglover: lilplatinum: Yes, saying no thanks is just such a chore.

Once per sale, yeah I don't mind. When they hard sell it and you know it's bullshiat and they keep at it? It's not only a chore, it's a lost customer.


You don't want repeat customers anyway. You want suckers. That's a "legitimate business model" these days.
 
2012-05-28 07:15:26 AM  

styckx: Last time I was at Best Buy I had some biatch from Comcast eyeball me in PC department (needed a DVI cable) and once I stood still she beelines her way over to pitch farking cable TV.. As I grit my teeth and fake a smile I said "No thank you I already have it" she goes "I understand.. What package? We offer discounts to upgrade".. .... I gave her that "You don't even farking exist right now" glaring stare and walked away..

I say hi to no one in those farking stores. They trap you almost immediately at the entrance with the hot broads working wireless who stand on the edge of their department like cheap hookers ready to solicit the first moron that says hi back to them.


You just nailed why I don't set foot in that sort of retail environment. I'm an introvert, so most of the glad-handing sales techniques that you find in places like that actively repel me. It's so much easier ( and less stressful) to buy what I want online.
 
2012-05-28 07:28:36 AM  
About the only thing I go to Best Buy for anymore is cheap DVDs. I bought a monitor and a mouse from them awhile back, but I can get those (and any other computer stuff) at an independent dealer.
 
2012-05-28 07:48:04 AM  

Ken VeryBigLiar: missiv: Benevolent Misanthrope: There will always be Wal-Mart, subs.

Always.

It was my understanding Germany is Walmart free.

If Wertkauf is still functioning then Wal-Mart is still in Germany (and has been since the late 90's).


No. Walmart gave up and sold all the German stores, and Wertkauf doesn't exist anymore.
 
2012-05-28 07:49:10 AM  

MadSkillz: I would be sad if Best Buy and their Canadian partner Future Shop (same thing) were gone. Record stores are gone so I can barely ever find an album on CD (I like owning the CD, because I can never trust that Apple will exist and not fark me and take my music collection away). Having a place to browse DVDs or BDs was also great. Plus, the games were always 10 bucks cheaper than anywhere else (EB Games/Gamestop would sell something used for 69 bucks that I could get new at BB for 59 CDN).


FYI ... once you buy a track from iTunes, it's transferred to your computer and fully under your control, not Apple's.
 
2012-05-28 07:53:49 AM  

DemonEater: doglover: That doesn't even mention the fact you have to flash the drive as soon as you get the thing home or at least spend 30 minutes uninstalling all the crap they put on it to get a clean box. I wasn't aware they charged for that software they put on, but if they do that's insult to injury.

Nah, that software comes from the manufacturer, and it'll happen no matter where you buy a computer. Companies like Symantec, Roxio, et al pay the manufacturer to put their trial software on, in hopes that people will then register it.

The only software that Best Buy installs is their "PC App" - a kind of steam-like cloud software delivery program that is kind of annoying, eats CPU time, and sometimes lacks an obvious "don't start when windows starts" button. Initially, actually, BBY had a deal with manufacturers to load LESS junkware but put that app on instead.

What they try to charge for is a "setup" - burn recovery discs, install AV, and "optimize" - that means running a program that does some registry tweaks and installs Windows updates. Some stores will also actually use it to disable a lot of the bloatware, but technically they're not supposed to.

My preference with a new PC is always just to nuke it with a clean Windows disc, although if that's not possible, pc decrapifier is pretty neat.


Well, at least here in my Chicago area BB, they install a farking Norton suite on every unit and tape the package to the outside of the computer box.

Also there is a label pasted on (like at a car dealer) listing the extras included and the associated charges. Like Recovery disk included, $30. Norton Security bundle $49.99...etc

/every one
 
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