Kittie Howard

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shopping at Best Buy

Best Buy, that big box store, re-entered my life.

I didn't want to buy a new computer just yet.  The plan was to limp along with what I had until the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays.

Last Saturday night, the motherboard died.

I drove to Best Buy rather light-hearted, relieved problems with the old computer had forced my hand.  The previous computer, two-years-old, had suffered problems this past year.  No one could make lemonade out of the lemon I seemed to have bought.

However, shopping at Best Buy, always a challenge, turned into pure frustration.  Between Sunday morning and Wednesday night, what ensued involved one stupid glitch after another:  not enough sales personnel on the floor (in a busy store with customers who wanted to guy); weak or depleted inventory that caused customers to put names on waiting lists or, like me, pick up the product at another store in another county (thanks to help from dear friends); the inability of computers at sales counters in different parts of the store to talk to each other (causing a sale to be voided at one counter, only to ring it up again at a different counter, wasting everyone's time); improperly trained personnel, native English speakers, who try to cover what they don't know with extraneous conversation; properly trained and harried personnel who are picking up the slack for others; and mistakes that evolve when a store's right and left hands don't communicate.

Okay, stuff happens.  Life isn't a bowl of cherries and so on.

Still, me being me, I pursued why Best Buy wasn't more customer oriented.  Personnel offered two suggestions:  since consumers have learned to wait for shipments to stores, there's no need to carry a deeper inventory; consumers have learned waiting for a sales clerk at Best Buy is just the way it is, so there's no need to cut into the bottom line by hiring more personnel.

I've heard the same thing from personnel who work in other types of stores.  In all fairness, many times too few clerks have to assume the work other clerks could do.  Harried personnel make mistakes.

So, last week I blogged about the mother and daughter looking for coupons in my garbage.  Here I am sitting on the money to buy an Apple when money's so tight for some a child probably doesn't have the opportunity to bite into an apple.

This isn't right!  When it gets to the point where a mother and daughter have to recycle garbage into their lives in order to survive, something is terribly wrong.

Stores like Best Buy (and those capable of hiring) need to get off their fat asses and hire people.  If my dear friend hadn't picked up my computer elsewhere, I would have had to wait until October 11th, for a new shipment, if I got lucky.  The waiting list was long.  There was no guarantee corporate would ship enough of the model I bought to satisfy the full list.

And it wouldn't hurt if new hires could subtract $20.00 from a solid number.  A customer shouldn't have to wait - and wait! - while the cashier searches for her calculator.


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