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Best Buy Closing 50 Stores

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the try-not-charging-60-bucks-for-an-hdmi-cable dept.

Businesses 407

An anonymous reader tips news that electronics retailer Best Buy will be closing 50 of its big-box stores across the U.S. this year, and laying off hundreds of corporate workers besides. The company plans to start testing new types of outlets as it tries to adapt to the changing face of retail sales. From the article: "Best Buy shares were off 7.7% at $24.56 on Thursday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange. Also Thursday, Best Buy reported a $1.7 billion loss for its fourth quarter ended March 3. ... Consumers armed with mobile phones are increasingly using stores as showrooms to check out merchandise they later purchase for less online, a trend greatly benefiting Internet retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. that aren't encumbered by the costs of running physical locations and in many cases don't have to collect sales tax. Meanwhile Apple Inc.'s phones and tablets, showcased in its own namesake stores, have eroded the status of specialty chains as the one-stop shop for the latest in gadgetry. In response, Best Buy said it will launch large-scale tests of what it calls new 'connected store' formats in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., as well as San Antonio. The stores, which will emphasize services such as technology support and wireless connections, will feature large new hubs at their center to assist shoppers, as well as reconfigured checkout lanes and new areas to accelerate the pickup of items purchased earlier online."

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Good (5, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#39526343)

If any retail chain deserves to fail it is Best Buy.

Re:Good (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39526401)

If any retail chain deserves to fail it is Best Buy.

That's what you said about Circuit City, CompUSA, Borders, Tower Records, Sam Goody...

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

pauldmartin (2005952) | about 2 years ago | (#39526429)

Yes, and they all deserved to fail (with the possible exception of CompUSA). Now it's Best Buy's turn...

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Wain13001 (1119071) | about 2 years ago | (#39526799)

No no, CompUSA deserved it too. As a former CompUSA employee, I guarantee you, they were the devil just as much as the others. When we started selling 6-10' USB cables for $39.99 so we could more easily convince people to buy our Printer warranty kit for $49.99 that *came with a free cable* I quit.

Re:Good (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39527181)

CompUSA didn't fail, Carlos Slim (the then private owner [tmcnet.com] ) wanted to liquidate because it wasn't improving as fast as he would have liked. In retrospect, it may have been a good choice since he's now the richest guy in the world [therichest.org] .

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 2 years ago | (#39527201)

As another former CompUSA employee, I have to agree. Towards the end, just before the liquidation, the emphasis on TAP (their extended warranty program) reached almost hysterical levels. I suspect it was due to the fact that it was the highest margin thing we sold in the store (most people never even used the warranty they'd bought), but I wonder if the higher-ups, since they knew that we were going to be folding soon, wanted to soak up as much extra cash before they announced they were liquidating as possible. I do remember about 2-3 months before liquidation we were told to ship large amounts of store inventory (brand new shit, at least a dozen pallets worth from our store) down to some bizarre redistribution center in Mexico. We joked that it was some sort of Mexican drug trafficking scheme or something, but then when we got word that the liquidation was going down, it made sense, Carlos Slim was probably hiding it down there so it wouldn't get sucked up in the bankruptcy.

Of course, we employees heard after it hit the news. Not that we didn't suspect, given that Christmas was right around the corner and we'd gotten shit for Christmas freight compared to other years, but we didn't officially find out until, I shit you not, a bunch of security guards showed up to make sure us employees weren't going to start looting the place. We didn't even know why the hell they were even there for like an hour until finally the word filtered down from corporate and we found out we were all out of a job.

Honestly, though, after that it was a fucking blast. Nobody gave a shit about anything anymore, so everybody was chill in a way I'd never experienced in that place (after all the ranting about TAP and Sirius and XM and Tech Labor and all that shit they were constantly on our ass to push), and it was like a carnival for a couple months. Got a ton of shit pretty damn cheap, too, our liquidator representative was pretty fucking cool. Cleaning up fixtures netted all sorts of buried treasure, AOL disks, ancient computer parts, sales brochures for Windows 98...it was kinda fun for a computer enthusiast.

Anyway, c'est la vie. Best Buy was just hanging on anyway. The days of the big box electronics retailer are over. It's all Walmart and Amazon now. Don't know if that's a good thing or not...

Re:Good (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39526435)

For what it is worth, Best Buy does have a high value for me as a showroom. And for when I absolutely have to have something that day.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

suso (153703) | about 2 years ago | (#39526617)

For what it is worth, Best Buy does have a high value for me as a showroom.

Which no doubt is one of the reasons it is failing. People going to the store to look, then going online to buy. Of course, in the 80s, this is how big box stores got their business. People would go to the small locally owned TV/electronics retailers to get the spiel, but then go for the lower prices at the big box stores. It sucks to be on the other end doesn't it Best Buy?

Re:Good (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#39526685)

This is the fault of not being competitive, exactly as you said.

Re:Good (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39526919)

Maybe if they laid-off all their workers and just had self checkout stands. Then they could undercut amazon's prices.

I can't remember the last time I set foot in an electronic store. Oh wait. When Circuit City was going bankrupt. Got three TV converter boxes for $10 and Kingdom Hearts 2 for $5.99. ----- Well other than that I do all my shopping from home because I can watch television and shop at the same time. No time wasted on driving or wandering through the store.

Re:Good (-1, Troll)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#39527203)

No time wasted on driving or wandering through the store.

Yes, because getting out in the world is a horrible thing. Congratulations on contributing to the idea that those in the tech field live in basements and are pasty white.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#39527129)

It couldn't be how every time I go into a Best Buy it is a horrible experience. It couldn't be how any time you ask one of the minimum wage sales people a question about a product, the answer is, "I don't know, but would you like an extended warranty?" It couldn't be that to make up for the loss leaders they price other things through the roof. Just Google "Why best buy deserves to fail" and you will see I am not alone. My two favourites are http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2012/01/02/why-best-buy-is-going-out-of-business-gradually/ [forbes.com] and http://www.jrdeputyaccountant.com/2012/02/why-best-buy-deserves-to-die-horrible.html [jrdeputyaccountant.com] personally.

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 2 years ago | (#39526645)

I'm actually surprised nobody has taken this "showroom" concept to the OBVIOUS next level: a storefront with no backroom inventory, that solicits single sample floor models from various online retailers, and for a set monthly fee, puts a QR code Sticker on each floor model. Maybe even going so far as to team up with Amazon or somebody similar to provide the small manufacturer single-point-of-distribution services.

Re:Good (2)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about 2 years ago | (#39526777)

It seems like someone tried this or something similar during the dot-com bubble.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 2 years ago | (#39527293)

I believe their mascot is or was a cow.

Last Mile Problem (3, Informative)

Tassach (137772) | about 2 years ago | (#39526811)

This is how Sleep Number stores operate. They have no inventory in the showroom besides the samples. They take your order and your merchandise gets shipped to you.

This is efficient, but still has room for improvement - the big cost is last-mile delivery. It's relatively inexpensive to ship a tractor-trailer full of goods from a regional depot to a store. Doing door-to-door delivery is substantially more expensive. Best Buy already has the pieces in place to solve this -- a fleet of trucks, depots, and local distribution points, as well as the web infrastructure to order online and pick your purchase up at the store. Going to smaller, showroom-and-pickup stores would save them a fortune.

Re:Good (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#39526815)

...I'm feeling a strange sense of De Ja Vu. ...it's almost as if someone already tried this before during another iteration of this "mail order delivery" thing.

It's zombies from the past reaching out and trying to grab us back.

Re:Good (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 2 years ago | (#39526977)

Do the zombies you're seeing look like black and white cows?

Re:Good (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#39526925)

I think there is still a market for people who want to get something *right now*. I'd say shave inventories down, only stock significant inventory of something you *know* is going to be hot, and then negotiate good overnight shipping rates to get the lowest shipping you can get so that you can close the sale with a price nearly competitive to an online store. And of course, be sure to have the best online store possible as well, so that if someone is using your brick and mortar as a place to merely window shop, the place they pick to order from is your own online store.

The key here is as soon as you have sold a customer on a product in your store, you have to have that item on its way already. If you could promise something retarded complicated like "it will be waiting for you on your doorstep when you arrive home tonight", you will have a model that just might work.

All that aside, you can be sure that things like these stores becoming more like service centers is probably the way to go, and probably the only way to justify having a building these days. You may not want to pay for a showroom, but I bet you would prefer to not have to send away your parts and wait around for RMAs. Bring it into the store, get your warranty accepted *now* and walk home with your replacement part, or at the very least have it ordered and sent immediately from the warehouse at the command of the service center. That's half the wait, or more, right there.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

milbournosphere (1273186) | about 2 years ago | (#39526989)

Somebody did try this. Gateway opened quite a few stores with this idea in the 90s. There was one local to where I lived. The store was shiny and all, but they didn't keep any product in stock and IIRC, they preferred that you picked up their merch from the store, rather than shipping direct to your home. Needless to say, the idea failed miserably. Perhaps a modern day attempt would work for larger tech products like TVs and the like. I'm curious to see how this pans out.

Re:Gateway (1)

MikeMo (521697) | about 2 years ago | (#39526997)

Gateway did this, and it seemed obviously stupid at the time. You go to their store, find what you want, and then go home and wait for them to ship it to you.

Interestingly, this very issue was discussed recently here Retail Chains To Strike Back Against Online Vendors [slashdot.org]

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#39527093)

Gateway computers did this and it sucked.

Not only was it frustrating that you still had to call an 800 number to place an order and wait for it to be shipped to you, but you now had to pay retail sales tax since the company now had a presence in your state.

Re:Good (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#39527301)

I'm actually surprised nobody has taken this "showroom" concept to the OBVIOUS next level:

I'm not. Anyone with any actual business knowledge can see that given a) the high cost of commercial real estate, and b) the extraordinarily low income to be gleaned from essentially being an Amazon affiliate, this is a sure-fire route to bankruptcy.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

Korin43 (881732) | about 2 years ago | (#39526671)

And for when I absolutely have to have something that day.

I used to feel that way.. until the day they tried to sell me a discount video card for $120, and then I went home and got it online, with overnight shipping for about $30. Similar story for hard drives or any kind of cable (they tried to sell me a SATA cable for $30 -- they're literally $1 online). Having things today is nice, but I can wait 24 hours for that kind of discount.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

asylumx (881307) | about 2 years ago | (#39526939)

...they tried to sell me a discount video card for $120, and then I went home and got it online, with overnight shipping for about $30. Similar story for hard drives or any kind of cable (they tried to sell me a SATA cable for $30 -- they're literally $1 online).

I find it funny that people blame Amazon's success and brick-and-mortar's failure on lack of sales taxes, when examples like these are rampant.

Re:Good (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#39527177)

Fine, but that is not today. When it is job related and a person is idle because of a 430 or $120 part, that $90 is not that big a deal. Of course, it stall takes way to damn long to actually get in and out of Best Buy with what you came for...

showrooms... they later purchase for less (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39526833)

This really doesn't make sense. You're wasting gas driving to the store, to see the item, so you're really not saving any money. Especially with the cost of gas approaching 5 dollars.

I guess you're saving some money but not as much as you think.

Re:showrooms... they later purchase for less (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39527167)

You're wasting gas driving to the store, to see the item, so you're really not saving any money. Especially with the cost of gas approaching 5 dollars.

So.. what, you just teleport to the store if you're actually gonna purchase it there?

If you're gonna factor in the cost of gas required to drive to Best Buy when determining the price of an internet purchase, then to be fair you must also factor in the cost of gas when driving to Best Buy for in-store purchases. Or, since "gas required to drive to/from Best Buy to make decision about internet purchase" == "gas required to drive to Best Buy to make in-store purchase", you can just ignore it completely, unless you are curious about the percentage of savings.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39527279)

Wow.

I am uncomfortable enough as it is just grocery shopping. I couldn't imagine willingly stepping into a store just to look at soulless advertisements everywhere and deadened employees working jobs that are beneath them, while some top 40 radio garbage plays on the speakers. I'd feel like I walked into the twilight zone where everything was made by and for mediocre robots. I'd get the fear and have to leave in 5 minutes.

Re:Good (2)

NIN1385 (760712) | about 2 years ago | (#39526503)

I couldn't agree more, unfortunately they drove a lot of good businesses out of business with some of their marketing tactics and cheap product that small business couldn't compete with. Too bad this didn't happen ten years ago.

Re:Good (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | about 2 years ago | (#39526615)

As much as I dislike Best Buy, some of these ideas seem good: new checkout lines, presumably faster, better online pick-up options and a place in the center of the store to find help.

However, if their "technology support" plans are just expanding the current "Geek squad" offerings then that will further alienate people and lead to more bad word of mouth.

Circuit City - Firedog (1)

supaneko (1019638) | about 2 years ago | (#39526723)

All of this is a stark reminder of what Circuit City did to "prevent" their bankruptcy and eventual closing at the end of 2008.

Re:Good (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 2 years ago | (#39526955)

If their new checkout lanes are anything like the last time they've changed their checkout process (which was just a couple of months ago...), it won't help. The local store here just combined their checkout and return lanes - meaning you can no longer do either one in any reasonable amount of time.

These days about the only thing I go in there for is refills for my shaver, and that just because the shipping from anyplace online would be more than the cost of the refill.

Re:Good (2)

tooyoung (853621) | about 2 years ago | (#39526687)

I absolutely agree. Looking back though, it is quite sad that I have this outlook. Perhaps I was too young at the time to have an informed opinion, but I remember back in the mid-90's when my town first got a Best Buy. It was great at the time - we'd go to Blockbuster Music and check out the CDs. Blockbuster Music was one of the only places at the time where you could grab any CD off the shelf and they would let you listen to it. Of course, Blockbuster Music also sold CDs for $17, which is really ridiculous considering this was 1995. We'd pick out some cool new discoveries and then run across the street to Best Buy and pick them up for $11.

Maybe that was a youthful impression of Best Buy being a cool store. I guess I wasn't buying computers or appliances at the time, but I certainly don't remember them selling the $30 RCA cables back then. Does anyone else share my view? Was there a time when Best Buy was actually a decent store?

Granted, I'm sure that those $11 CDs I mention above put many mom & pop record stores out of business...

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

mmell (832646) | about 2 years ago | (#39526739)

I might have argued with you, up until last year . . .

I went to buy a desktop machine there last year. Irritating enough that I couldn't buy naked metal, but I'm used to the M$ tax. I just don't activate and sell 'em back their OEM license (which requires enough jumping through hoops, Dell makes it practically impossible). Well, the salesman there says "Okay, I'll run this up to the Geek Squad counter so they can activate your copy of Windows and get your machine ready for you". Well, when I told him "no, I'm planning to install Linux on it when I get it home", suddenly I have a problem. Seems it takes a Manager to authorize sale of a PC without the Geek Squad activating Windows (and doing G*D knows what else).

Had to argue with the Manager for twenty minutes before he finally let me buy the PC in the box under factory seal. He seemed to feel that I was going to damage the hardware somehow by my personal incompetence and then hold Best Buy to blame for the damages. I swear, the guy had the I.Q. of a turnip, yet here he was making sure I knew just how foolish and uninformed he thought I was not letting their cast of script-kiddie wannabes manhandle and mangle my machine before I got my hands on it. I suppose over twenty-five years working in the IT industry doesn't qualify me to manage my own hardware and software. *Sigh*

It all fell apart when the Manager insisted I sign a document waiving my warranty because I wouldn't let the Geek Squad play "Solitaire" on it before selling me my hardware (actually, I believe they were interested in activating Windows, running Windows Update, ensuring the Symantec A/V product was installed and updated and setting some default settings which they believe are smarter than the Windows defaults). He really didn't seem to get that even IF I was interested in an antivirus solution it sure as hell wouldn't be Symantec, and he also didn't understand that once installed it damned near takes an act of Congress to get it to uninstall. He also didn't understand that in all probability I'm considerably more qualified than any of their snot-nosed Geek Squad twerps even in the area of Windows System Administration. In short, he didn't get it and kept insisting that I was being foolish.

I ended up buying my host from - brace yourself - Fingerhut, of all places. Sure, I still paid the M$ tax (and spent three months getting my M$ tax refund), but if I'd let the geeks at Best Buy touch it, I wouldn't have been able to do that. And like I said, it's a lot easier not to install Symantec A/V then it is to uninstall it.

Re:Good (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#39526817)

Well I was referencing their actually illegal insurance scams that they perpetrate on their customers, but that is a good reason to want them to fail as well.

Re:Good (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39527033)

>>> He seemed to feel that I was going to damage the hardware somehow by my personal incompetence

Helps to carry your engineering degree into Best Buy and similar stores. After the manager lectures you about damaging the machine, whip it out and embarass the idiot. "Look I'm an engineer. I don't just use computers. I design them for a living and fly them on airplanes. Why don't you stop hassling me as if I was an idiot, or else I'm going to call the corporate office and bitch. Clear?"

Re:Good (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#39526753)

I don't see why. I've happily purchased most of my camera equipment from them in the last year because they've matched prices of [reputable] NYC camera shops like Adorama and B&H and I have the stuff in my hands immediately with no worries about grey-market or return hassles. They're the first B&M in a long time to grasp that it's better to haggle and make $50 on a $1500 completed sale than make $0 on a $2100 sale that doesn't happen.

Re:Good (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#39526923)

I know little about their Cameras, it is their PC/cable department(s) that has such a bad rap.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39526821)

What is insightful about this comment? I'm fine with people not liking Best Buy, but there is no substance to this.

New stores will be called "Just warranties". (3, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#39526357)

Since that seems to be the thing Best Buy makes money off of, why not sell only the warranties that they try to weasel out of?

Re:New stores will be called "Just warranties". (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#39526559)

Yeah, this is what makes this so unsurprising to me. Best buy no longer seems interested in selling me useful things I want, but instead, hooking their talons into those purchases and loading it down with as much margin at my expense they can manage.

Every employee in their store is dedicated to upsells, rather than actually helping you find something or in the case of "geek squad", providing tech support. I go to stores because I'm interested in buying something, not because I want to be sold something.

These tactics probably boosted quarterly earnings the first couple quarters, but now the mere name of the store is a red light in my brain.

Re:New stores will be called "Just warranties". (1)

need4mospd (1146215) | about 2 years ago | (#39527005)

Best buy no longer seems interested in selling me useful things I want, but instead, hooking their talons into those purchases and loading it down with as much margin at my expense they can manage.

You say that as if it's some recent development. I had high school friends that worked there over 15 years ago and that was pretty much their main purpose as a salesman.

What an extended warranty sales pitch sounds like (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#39526605)

"This is a great product, you've made a solid choice. It will be a good investment for years to come."
"Okay, I'll get it."
"Sure, but you'll want the extended warranty."
"Why?"
"Because these are badly made, they break constantly and are very expensive to fix."

Re:What an extended warranty sales pitch sounds li (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39527223)

When I worked for Sears ten years ago I refused to "push" extended warranties. I told the customer that for $25 extra they can warranty their refrigerator five years and get free replacement of food if there's a power outage or failure. Plus repair. 95% of the time they'd say "no" and I'd ask "Are you sure?" and then drop it.

Sears responded by pulling me off the floor (thus I earn no money except min. wage) and making me watch Warranty training videos, because my EW percentage was too low. Basically punishment.

I didn't stay at that store long. I thought it would be a fun parttime job for extra cash, but it made me feel dirty instead.

EWs truly are a waste of money. Appliances either suffer infant mortality (first few months) or end-of-life mortality (15-20 years). The infant mortality is covered by the manufacturer's 1 year deal, and EOL is just EOL. Extended warranty covers neither of these two cases.

Re:New stores will be called "Just warranties". (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#39527145)

The best was when they sent me a renewal notice for the warranty on my flat-screen TV.

I don't own a flatscreen TV, I never have, and I certainly wouldn't buy one from Best Buy. They have to have known this, which means they were deliberately attempting to scam me into buying something I didn't need and wouldn't even be able to use. That or they are simply completely incompetent (can't ever rule that out).

Re:New stores will be called "Just warranties". (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 2 years ago | (#39527237)

Best Buy already provides free warranties, even if you didn't buy from them.

You see, if you buy something from amazon and it breaks, you go buy another one from best buy, and then return the broken one the next day.

*not saying I do this, but know people who do

50 stores? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39526415)

...or, if there were such a thing as justice in the world, 50 Percent of their stores?

Re:50 stores? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#39526565)

Unless they have less than 100 stores.

Re:50 stores? (1)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | about 2 years ago | (#39526831)

According to their Wiki page [wikipedia.org] , Best buy has over 1150 stores worldwide. Closing 50 of them is barely a blip - hardly indicative of them going out of business.

Re:50 stores? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39526757)

Sadly, it's closer to 5%.

How about matching online prices (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39526431)

Maybe then I'd buy in the store instead of at Amazon where I save 33% and get free shipping.

Re:How about matching online prices (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#39526557)

I don't see how it's feasible for a retail store to match Amazon's prices. The whole point of Amazon is that they have lower overhead due to lack of a store front, sales staff etc. and they pass that savings along to the consumer. A retail store cannot match their prices and operate at a profit.

Re:How about matching online prices (1)

readin (838620) | about 2 years ago | (#39526699)

How about letting me return software?
I used to browse the software they had and occasionally pick up a game. After my first experience where I tried to return a game and they wouldn't take it back - that was the end of that.

How about not selling a computer full of crapware?
After getting burned twice (I know, fool me once...) I stopped looking for computers there.

How about selling competitively priced wiring?
Microcenter is further away for me, but worth the drive in my opinion.

Re:How about matching online prices (1)

readin (838620) | about 2 years ago | (#39526747)

After getting burned twice (I know, fool me once...) I stopped looking for computers there.

After the first experience, I went back anyway because I figured I could use the Windows disk to wipe out the crapware and install just the operating system. Little did I realize the latest trick was to say "Windows installed" rather than "comes with Windows". Re-installing Windows from scratch wasn't an option. Instead I could reapply the original image - including all the crapware.

Re:How about matching online prices (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about 2 years ago | (#39527011)

My brother had that issue with an HP laptop he got before going on deployment (USS Eisenhower; carrier, no internets). We just downloaded an HP Windws 7 Home DVD image, burned it, used the CD Key on the case, no problems. Go Pirate Bay! (Actually, his laptop came with a corrupt OS install so we tried to re-install using the image, it was corrupt too, somehow. HP wanted $50 for a Win7 install CD; we told them to fuck off)

Re:How about matching online prices (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39527073)

I just purchased a Netgear WN2500RP at a Best Buy store because it was cheaper than NewEgg, and the same price as Amazon. It wasn't on sale, that was the regular price. Yes, I paid some sales tax (which you're supposed to pay directly to your state on mail order purchases), but I didn't have to wait 2-5 days for pay for express shipping to get it quickly.

Re:How about matching online prices (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39527309)

One time I had Best Buy match amazon's price on a VCR. The sale manager matched the price + $20 shipping. If more stores did that, then yes they'd make higher sales.

One of the first times on /. (1)

NIN1385 (760712) | about 2 years ago | (#39526441)

This is one of the first times I have read something on a major news site before /. had it. Saw this yesterday.

Re:One of the first times on /. (3, Informative)

tooyoung (853621) | about 2 years ago | (#39526511)

I assume this is your first visit.

Re:One of the first times on /. (1)

NIN1385 (760712) | about 2 years ago | (#39526521)

No, but I almost always see it on the firehose or something before I read it somewhere else.

Re:One of the first times on /. (1)

snowsmann (313238) | about 2 years ago | (#39526515)

This is one of the FIRST times you saw something outside /. first? You must be new here... (-;

Re:One of the first times on /. (2)

NIN1385 (760712) | about 2 years ago | (#39526547)

Damn, apparently I am new here haha. Been told that twice already, I'll just shut up now.

Re:One of the first times on /. (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 2 years ago | (#39527037)

Slashdot is a news commentary and aggregation site. Very rarely is it going to be the first place to find a piece of news.

They can't blame sales tax (5, Interesting)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#39526461)

For me, Best Buy is a matter of convenience. If I don't need it RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I will order it online from Newegg or Amazon and get it in a few days. But sometimes, you need something right now, and you're willing to pay a premium for it. For me, that premium is $10 or so more than what I could get online, assuming the product is under a hundred dollars. About a year ago, I needed an HDMI cable. Amazon had it for ten bucks. So I said, all right, going to Best Buy, if they have it for around twenty they've got my business. The cheapest six foot HDMI cable they had, from their own house brand, was forty dollars. And that's not even touching on the sales tax.

Re:They can't blame sales tax (2)

MrNJ (955045) | about 2 years ago | (#39526725)

So you did the smart thing, right?
-bought from BB
-ordered from amazon
-got it from amazon.
-returned the one from BB

Re:They can't blame sales tax (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#39526851)

Actually, I went to the manager, complained about the horrendous markup, and got a 50% discount. Even she was embarrassed about the price.

Re:They can't blame sales tax (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#39526855)

Eh, yeah, time + travel expenses + parking tickets, etc. makes that well worth, right?

Re:They can't blame sales tax (3, Funny)

MrNJ (955045) | about 2 years ago | (#39527059)

If you have to factor in parking tickets into cost/benefit analysis, you are doing it wrong.

Re:They can't blame sales tax (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#39527193)

Famous last words ;-)

Ya that's always been my problem (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#39526893)

Sales tax doesn't bother me. I don't even notice it on anything that isn't a really large purchase particularly since from most places you pay shipping anyhow so it is kinda a wash. Also I'm willing to pay more for local convenience. It is nice to just go and get something, and not have to wait, and also be able to take it back, should that be needed. However there's a limit to what I'll pay, it has to be in the same ballpark.

So one time I'm looking at cheap(ish) speakers. I find some JBL E series that looks good. J&R had them for like $300, shipping included (who is a retail store I might add, they aren't mail order only). Ok that's good, and shipping is non-trivial because they are big towers. However let's check local. Nice to not have to wait a week (things that big come by train) and if there's a problem I'd rather take them back to the store than fuck around with shipping something that big for RMA. Best Buy is listed as the only local dealer by JBL.

So I head over there. They do have them in stock... For $600. Are you fucking kidding me? Double? You want twice the price of J&R? Hell no. So J&R got the order.

Best Buy wants to price themselves like they are some kind of premium shop. However their employees don't know shit. They try to pretend they do, which is more annoying than if they just said "I'm not a subject matter expert, I'm just here to help you with basic retail support." So if you don't get the premium service, why the premium price?

Hence I never shop there. I've bought things form Wilson Audio, which is a local premiums shop and ya, it is expensive but they really do have some experts there. I also shop at Target, no premium service there but the prices are good and I can get what I want right now (and physically look at things before buying).

Best Buy is being killed by their own stupidity, not by Amazon.

So long Best Buy (4, Insightful)

Lithdren (605362) | about 2 years ago | (#39526477)

I went into a Best Buy just last week. My wireless mouse was acting up and tired of replacing batteries, I wanted a good old fashioned wired mouse. After searching for an employee to show me where they were (because I couldn't seem to locate them myself) I was shown to a small corner of the showroom behind the Ipad 2 displays.

23 mice. Thats it. Every last one of them was Wireless. When I asked about this I was shown some package deals they had of Keyboard and Mouse (which I didn't need) that had a wired mouse. Aside from being horribly cheap looking, I didn't need the keyboard.

When I got home, I went on Amazon.com, read a few reviews, and ordered excatly what I wanted. Its on its way as I type this, sure I didn't have it same day...but when you can no longer even FIND what you're looking for in a big box store, what the hell is the point?

Re:So long Best Buy (5, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#39526665)

Well it's OBVIOUSLY your fault for wanting to purchase a low-margin item that can't have a warranty upsell attached. Next you'll want a power strip that isn't also a router. Can't you be reasonable and spend $75 on a shiny looking mouse that doesn't suit your needs?

Re:So long Best Buy (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#39527013)

Best Buy doesn't need to install a router in a power strip to stick a $75 price tag on it. Just a little extra bullshit on the package is all they need.

Re:So long Best Buy (4, Funny)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#39527045)

I am surprised they do not offer "lost mouse ball" insurance for their mice. They could make a lot off of that, particulate with all of the optical mice.

Re:So long Best Buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39527295)

I concur with the Parent, I spent about a half hour in Best Buy trying to find a replacement wired ethernet card for a desktop. They had a selection of 5 USB WiFi dongles & 5 Wireless N Routers. This was the entire "networking" section. The laughed me out of the store for owning a desktop, and wanting to put a card in it. Youd think with all the l33t gamers that stroll into that store you could score a Killer NIC in there or something, but no.

Let them die like they deserve. (3, Insightful)

Roachgod (589171) | about 2 years ago | (#39526497)

They always claim its because consumers 'test drive' stuff there. You know why we don't buy? Because outside of the ability to 'test drive' the retail experience SUCKS. The staff have no clue. Or worse, they try and push crap because they've been told to. Which means you get a worse shopping result than just choosing at random. They push RANDOM assorted products on you. They try and get you to buy overpriced warranties on $10 items. Half the time they don't have what you want. When they DO have what you want, especially the things you want quick (like a cable) they only have the $40 version of a $4 cable. Fuck it, I'll order online and save both the test drive and the $36 extra you wanted for no reason. The checkout process is borderline hostile with all the checkers, security people, etc. Customer service seems to be codeword for "fuck you, we got yo money bitches". Die Best Buy. Preferably in a violent spectacle that I can watch for my personal amusement.

Re:Let them die like they deserve. (4, Interesting)

RagingFuryBlack (956453) | about 2 years ago | (#39526603)

I couldn't agree more. On top of what the op stated, I can't stand being literally stalked by a comsuck salesman from the second that I walk in the door. When BestBuy started allowing comcast people to follow you from point of entry to anywhere you went in the store in order to bug you about switching your non existant television service, I stopped shopping there. It was like I was being followed by a persistent pop-up that I couldn't turn off. Worst part about it was that I had to insult the salesman to get him to leave me be. A string of "No" and "leave me alone" did no good. I'll stick to amazon and Microcenter for when I need something fast.

Firing their customers (2)

random coward (527722) | about 2 years ago | (#39526543)

So how is that "firing customers" they don't want thing working for them?

The Retail Stores Are Dying (1)

jmDev (2607337) | about 2 years ago | (#39526561)

With things like Amazon, eBay, and NewEgg I wouldn't be surprised if the only physical retail stores that existed in the coming years was Wal-Mart, Target, and grocery stores.

Re:The Retail Stores Are Dying (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#39526719)

the only reason we even have walmarts, targets and grocery stores is because none of those have tried to do anything useful and competitively priced online, and I'm including peapod in that reference.

Best Buy stores? You mean.... (2)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about 2 years ago | (#39526569)

"Amazon showrooms"? Cuz I check the price in there and immediaitely head to Amazon and get it lower with Prime shipping.

Too bad for Amazon (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | about 2 years ago | (#39526589)

The online retailers should have invested in BB, fired all the saleskids, and supported keeping the stores around as showrooms. I would think that returns (costs!) will go up for the online shops when people are eventually forced to order blindly.

Re:Too bad for Amazon (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#39526775)

Except we don't order blindly. I get more information from starred reviews and ratings than I ever have from a salesperson at Best Buy.

Re:Too bad for Amazon (2)

Whatsmynickname (557867) | about 2 years ago | (#39527023)

You are ordering blindly if the product has any human interface whatsoever, such as clothes, shoes, gadgets which require lots of human input, etc. No amount of reviews (half which are now astroturfed anyways) is going to allow you to see just how well that shirt looks on you, how well you can jump around menu GUIs, etc etc etc. At this point, instead of a 30 minute drive / pick up the item and look at it / buy it on the spot, NOW it's order it online / wait a few days (and pay for shipping) / open box and find out it wasn't what you expected / get return ID from ordering site / repackage item / drive to place to ship it back (pay for more shipping) / wait x days to get your money back (unless there's a restocking fee).

Browse at Best Buy, buy from Amazon... (5, Interesting)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#39526609)

I like killing time at Best Buy. I never actually buy anything from them, way overpriced. But when I want to see if something looks like quality or crap it's a good place to go for a demo.

But then I become tempted to buy something.... A few weeks ago I wanted to get a new screen protector for my wife's Samsung Epic. "Can I help you sir?" "Yeah, do you have a screen film for this phone?" "Yes, we have this one with a lifetime warranty for 20 dollars."

Honest Abe. 20 bucks for a fancy piece of scotch tape.

"Oh, we're going broke!!!!" Good.

And no, I didn't buy the screen protector. (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#39526657)

FYI

Re:Browse at Best Buy, buy from Amazon... (1)

jmDev (2607337) | about 2 years ago | (#39526837)

"Can I help you sir?" "Yeah, do you have a screen film for this phone?" "Yes, we have this one with a lifetime warranty for 20 dollars."

Honest Abe. 20 bucks for a fancy piece of scotch tape.

"Oh, we're going broke!!!!" Good.

A lifetime warranty for tape! Sounds like a steal!

Re:Browse at Best Buy, buy from Amazon... (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#39526987)

The "Lifetime" warranty was only good for 6 months too, that's the lifetime of one of those screen protectors.

Re:Browse at Best Buy, buy from Amazon... (1)

mmcxii (1707574) | about 2 years ago | (#39527261)

A few weeks ago I wanted to get a new screen protector for my wife's Samsung Epic. "Can I help you sir?" "Yeah, do you have a screen film for this phone?" "Yes, we have this one with a lifetime warranty for 20 dollars."

Honest Abe. 20 bucks for a fancy piece of scotch tape.


Still cheaper than a cell store.

Forbes covered this really well (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#39526613)

Forbes had a really good article explaining why this was inevitable a few months ago. The author was absolutely dead right about his central point contrasting best buy and amazon.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2012/01/02/why-best-buy-is-going-out-of-business-gradually/ [forbes.com]

He makes the point that it isn't about money, it's about the customer experience and he is absolutely right. Amazon goes to extremes to make the customer have a better experience. Best Buy goes to extremes to make the customer more profitable. Best Buy needs to drop their customer as the enemy mentality and learned to embrace the customer instead of alienating them on a routine basis.

Re:Forbes covered this really well (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 2 years ago | (#39527249)

Bingo. A 10% markup for the ability to easily walk in to a nearby location, find what you want, and walk out will be tolerated. A 30% markup for walking in, being pestered, and waiting in a huge line to check out is in no way worth it.

The fact that they are still in business right now is due to name recognition, and lack of direct competitors. (Amazon and such are indirect: You can get what you want from them as well, but you can't replace a Best Buy store with an Amazon store in the same location.)

I know I won't be popular (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 2 years ago | (#39526641)

I love Best Buy. Not because it's the greatest tech retail store out there, but because I like brick-and-mortar stores. I can see, feel and test equipment. Sure, I still buy most of my tech online, but I like to make the occasional purchase in person, as well as being able to see stuff I may not buy that way.

makes sense, some stores are wasteful anyway (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#39526703)

Bestbuy has about 1000 stores. Where I am (in canada) they bought out futureshop as they moved into the market, as a result there is literally a bestbuy 300m from a futureshop, on the same street. One of those two could go easily. Same products, same prices, different name on the door.

As with any business that big, some of your floorspace isn't going to be working out.

and yes, I'd love to see them largely out of business or be forced to radically transform their business model, just like everyone else, but I'm not sure this is what we'd like them moving to.

They can go to the Devil (1)

doston (2372830) | about 2 years ago | (#39526763)

Just hope the North Seattle Best Buy is on the closure list. I don't even want the temptation. The sad truth is they all suck in one way or another. Fry's isn't a whole lot better. It's not orders of magnitude better than Best Buy. It's bigger and a lot more fun to shop, but it's ten miles south of the city, it's still a cattle herd line-up at check-out, a mistrustful return policy and pushy sales people who aren't real knowledgable. What I really hate is how manufacturers are making it harder to comparison shop by creating unique model numbers for the same products at different stores, which also negates any prices matching (conveniently). I had to practically take up a research project before buying my Samsung LED TV....by the time you're finished educating yourself sufficiently, you've got no need for sales people...they only serve to annoy because they actually know less than you do and full of opinions (like all dumb people). So why have any of them? All the info is available online with a lot less dumb bias and far better prices on just about everything. The price difference on the TV was especially huge. Apple Airport Extreme, not so much. Good riddance, Best Buy.

But, but, where will I get ripped off now? (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#39526941)

Oh no, I've lost the last place around here that sells HDMI cables for $30/foot! However am I going to find someone with outrageous markup to rip me off? And where am I going to go to get constantly upsold on every damn thing?

To be fair though, I have not actually bought anything at a Bestbuy in years now, so this doesn't really affect me very much. Their business practices already killed me off as a customer as sure as closing my local store will.

Best Buy for Apple and Nintendo products (1)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | about 2 years ago | (#39527035)

Pretty much everything is marked up way too much at Best Buy except Apple and Nintendo stuff. So, if you need something Apple or Nintendo, you are set. Otherwise, they are way overpriced.

Re:Best Buy for Apple and Nintendo products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39527247)

They really can't mark up the Apple items anymore than what Apple already has.

I'm glad I contributed to their failure (2)

PDG (100516) | about 2 years ago | (#39527273)

A few months ago I decided to go buy a new TV, first time in 15 years. I went to the local Best Buy, checked out models, figure out a plan and price, worked with the store rep to get it all set. We go to finalize and pay for it and they tell me that its OUT OF STOCK and they could order it but it would take 8-10 days. I spent over 3 hours working with various people in his team on a $1000+ deal only to get jerked around at the last second? I was so pissed I went home, hopped online, found the EXACT same make and model on Amazon for $200 less with free 2 day shipping. I find it interesting how they complain about people using their stores as showcases to browse, when that is the ONLY service they are capable of providing.

The stuff about people browsing and buying online (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39527307)

Can be dealt with very easily
Provide services that are impossible to provide online
  Provide data migration, set up assistance,etc
electronics stores in India manage to do this
American stores should have no problem doing this in a much better way

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