I’m in the market for a new computer. And though not a fan of the big, impersonal conglomerate, I’ll still go there if I think it will save me some greenbacks. So I took a look at the Sunday flyer for Best Buy and saw what I thought was a reasonable deal: a 1.1GHz processor, 20GB drive, 56K modem, 17" screen, and a small color printer; all for under $400 after rebates. It would suffice for my simple needs.
I don’t really care for the rebate approach, but the various rebates totalled $375, so I decided to at least go to a store and talk to someone about it. The salesperson who was helping me, Mike, was a reasonably nice guy. He kept trying to sell me on a few upgrades, but I knew I wasn’t going to go for those, so I had no problem fending off such attempts. But then came time or the extended warranty (EW)…
I’m definitely not a fan of EWs. I take care of my electronic equipment, and everything I buy long outlives the EW. (My present computer is still running fine at seven years old, it’s just way outmoded.) So I told him outright that I was not going to purchase the EW.
He said, “Just let me tell you a few things about the machine.” I was in no hurry, so I indulged him. He told about how the manufacturer (eMachines) didn’t certifiy any repair shop as authorized repairmen, so any fixes would require shipping the unit to eMachines, blah, blah, blah. Regardless, after a few minutes of this, I told him that I simply wasn’t going to buy the EW so he didn’t need to tell me any more. My mind was made up, so he could save his breath. Then he said he had to tell me about EW, it was his job.
What? “Are you telling me you’ll get fired if you don’t explain the extended warranty to me?”
“Well, it’s my job. I have to tell you about it.”
“So you’re saying I can’t just take this computer system up to the counter, drop down $800 and walk out with it unless I listen to you explain the extended warranty to me.”
“Well, yeah. I have to tell you about it, it’s my job. I can get the manager and you can talk to him about if you want.”
Okay, I’m intringued about this. Best Buy apparantly won’t let customers walk out with electronic durable goods without being brainwashed first. So “Sure, go get your manager.”
So a few seconds later, Mike comes back with the manager of the computer department. He asked what computer I was looking at. I told him which one and added that I had no intention of purchasing the EW.
“But he has to tell you about the extended warranty it’s his job.”
“Why is that his job? I thought his job was customer service. And this customer doesn’t want to hear about the extended warranty. Why can’t I just turn down the extended warranty and spend my money on the computer.”
Raising his voice: “Because it’s his job! he has to tell you about it.”
“But why does he have to tell me about? I know I don’t want it. I just want the computer.”
Loudly: " It’s his job! He has to tell you about!"
At this point, I’m starting to get irate and my voice is begining to raise. “But why does he have to tell me about it? I know about extended warranties and I know I don’t want one.”
Loudly and with an expression of disdain: “He has to tell you about it. It’s his job! Do you want to know the rule why he has to tell you?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact I do want to know the rule why he has to tell me.”
Pretty much yelling at this point: “Because the machines have certain feature that we have to tell the customers about in case something goes wrong.”
“I’m aware that things can go wrong. But I know I don’t want the extended warranty. I just want to purchase the computer system and get out of here.”
Still yelling: “But he has to tell you about the machine and the warranty! We can’t just let customers walk out of here without knowing these things!”
Okay, I’ve pretty much shifted from irked to amused at this point because of the absurdity of the situation. The manager of the computer department is standing in the middle of the aisle yelling at a customer. Do these people not get trained on how to treat customers? So I asked, “So you think it’s more important to force information on a customer then let them make a decision on their own?”
He started to mutter something back, but I just told him to forget the whole thing and walked out. In retrospect, I wished I asked for the store manager to see what her/his take on it was. Is it an offical Best Buy policy to hold down their customers and shout information into their faces, or was this guy a one-of-a-kind jerk?
Anyway, I’m over it now. But I’m never going back to Best Buy. Has anyone else every had an experience like this at Best Buy or any other major chain stores?