Monday, 19 September 2011

Retail (2) Good - Odd - Not so good - Very bad. At Best Buy

GOOD    I visited our local “Best Buy” to shop for a Tablet. I knew a little bit about the difference between the iPad and the Android systems.  I also knew that I’d be likely to use the Tablet for features such as internet access, Skype phone service, and e-books – but that I would not often  (if ever) use it to download music or movies, or to play games.

The man who waited on me was polite and attentive. I’ll call him “Rod”.  He “knew his stuff” and clear and concise in addressing my many questions.  This was customer service at its best.

I bought a Toshiba “Thrive” Tablet.  (Yes I know that iPads are sexier and are set up for so many more Apps, but they are also more expensive -  and I will not be in the market for many of the Apps).

“Best Buy” always has a front desk staff member who greets customers as they arrive, and salutes them when they leave. On that day I asked this “greeter” to convey to “management” that I had been well pleased with the service “Rod” had provided, and especially that he had not tried to sell me something which I did not need.

ODD  “Rod” had assured me that “Best Buy” staff are not on commission, and that once I had made up my mind any staff member could help me. 

So it was “Doug” (not his real name) who took care of me when I was ready to buy.   He opened up a locked cabinet ‘neath the display shelf, only to discover that it was void of Thrive Tablets. 

That meant that he had to wander off to a store room in the nether regions of the shop to see if there were any “Thrives” in stock. This took him about ten minutes.

It struck me as a bit odd that a store which is devoted to electronics did not have a more sophisticated system for inventory management.   I would have thought that in such a store:

a)  (a)  There would be a computerised system to ensure the replenishment of in-store products, or that

b)  (b)  “Doug” would have been provided with some sort of hand held device by which he could check whether or not products were “on shelf” in the back room.  (I’m just saying!).


“Doug” found me a “Thrive” from the back room.  But he was not qualified to ring up my purchase.  So I was handed over to “Pete”. 

“Pete” seemed to be very bored with his job.  First he sent “Doug” off on another peregrination to find just the right to enable WiFi access at my home. That took about ten minutes, during which it became clear to me that “Doug” was a mere gopher.

Good old Doug found the router. 

Then the comedy began. Bored “Pete” got onto his hand held; chatted on a blue-tooth device; and then entered what must have been a zillion key strokes on the “cash register” - all in the noble effort to set up an appointment for Best Buys “Geek Squad” to come to my home to set up a WiFi connection.

I almost “lost it” in laughter.  I was giggling about this “electronic age”.   In the old days “Pete” would have pulled out a ledger or journal, and with a stubby pencil he would have arranged my installation appointment in about two minutes (max). In the new electronic age this process took nearly 20 minutes.


The employees at my local “Best Buy” stores in Sarasota (there are two of them) are almost exclusively white and male.   I know that with a wee bit of creative imagination and recruiting “Best Buy” could employ many more women and minority males.

It’s not only that they could. For this customer they should.

1 comment:

  1. How about making Mainline Protestantism less White and middle/upper middle class? Right now you're about as diverse as cream cheese.