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Best Buy Says Customers Not Always Right

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the they've-been-telling-me-this-for-years dept.

Businesses 1754

linuxwrangler writes "Best Buy is one of the retailers that has now decided that the customer is not always right. Best Buy consultant Larry Selden has identified "demon customers" like those who file for a rebate then return the item. OK, I get that one (hey Best Buy: dump those customer-despised rebates and you won't have that problem...). Other categories like customers who only buy during sales are more interesting. Best Buy declined comment on how they are dealing with those customers. Some stores have actually "fired" customers. Welcome to the end result of all that customer information data mining."

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1754 comments

Always right....? (2, Insightful)

fiftyfly (516990) | about 10 years ago | (#9618483)

Like always right to _choose_ not to purchase a service plan?

Re:Always right....? (5, Interesting)

Dmala (752610) | about 10 years ago | (#9618558)

Argh... I *hate* the way they aggressively push that damned ripoff service plan. I once bought a TV at Worst Buy, and the last thing the clerk said to me wasn't "Thank you", it was "You realize that if it breaks you can't bring it back here."

Re:Always right....? (5, Interesting)

saden1 (581102) | about 10 years ago | (#9618570)

Honest to god I was told by a Best Buy sales associate that "If I didn't like the mp3 player, I can return it, file for rebate and come out on top." I think Best Buy needs to invest in employee training first before moving on to "firing" customers.

Re:Always right....? (5, Interesting)

NeuroKoan (12458) | about 10 years ago | (#9618665)

oh god, don't get me started.

one day I went in to get a replacement xbox. No one wanted to help me, but thats cool cause I didn't need help. As soon as I picked up the xbox box, a salesperson came up to me to pitch the product replacement plan. Then, after she left, another salesperson came up to pitch the same thing. After I explained that I had already been approached, she told me that I should probably get a memory card and xbox live, and that the console only came with one controller. Politely I declined and headed up to the register. At the register, the clerk again asked me if I wanted to buy the product replacement plan (honestly, I expected the lady at the register to ask me, so that didn't bother me). Then the door greeter leaned over and told me I should buy a product replacement plan. Then the manager of the store came over and told me I should buy the product replacement plan.

If 1 simple 'no' would have sufficed, having 5 people confront me probably wouldn't be so bad. But when you have to tell each person no at least 3 times, it gets a little old.

So, I promptly chewed out the manager for having pushy employees, cancelled my sale after the credit card transaction when through, and vowed never to return to another Best Buy. Only once have I slipped up, and that time the same shit happened. My buddy was buying two DVDs, and got the store manager to come up to say "Hey, looks like you are buying PS2 games. You probably want a memory card to go with that."

My only regret is that I didn't adequately express my disgust to the store manager. I have a feeling that she liked the fact that her employees were pushy. I'm guessing for every person like me that walks out, there are 5 that cave in and buy that damned PRP.

I've delt with drug dealers that were less pushy then Best Buy employees. Now, I drive the extra 30 minutes to go to Fry's where no one bugs me until I ask a question.

first post attempt on a modem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618484)

so it's doomed to fail.

ps mary kate is dead troll, please post links to pics from now on.

I hate canned interviews that make no sense (5, Insightful)

odano (735445) | about 10 years ago | (#9618485)

The last two paragraphs are a great example of putting in a worthless interview that has nothing to do with an article, solely to defend an undefendable topic.

If best buy is sick of people using rebates, then stop offering them. Rebates work by the majority of people not using them, while thinking they are buying it at a great price. If people are going to use rebates without actually buying the item, Best Buy is going to have to live with that. If they think they can get it both ways, they are wrong. It is just another example of horrible customer service and deception backfiring, and then the company having such a great monopoly that they can somehow blame it on the customers, the very people they rely on to make money. Just absurd.

Re:I hate canned interviews that make no sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618548)

This seems like the logical result of big business having so much power and consumers having relatively less and less.

Re:I hate canned interviews that make no sense (3, Interesting)

modecx (130548) | about 10 years ago | (#9618550)

Pretty much all rebates are on the condition that you send the box's UPC and your original receipt, right?

How are the customers returning goods that 1) are not fit for resale if they're non-defective (cutting the UPC pretty much does exactly that), and 2) don't have the original receipt of sale?

It would seem to me that the individual stores need to lay down the law on their return policy--and stick to it ridgidly--before they have any right to complain about their customers.

Re:I hate canned interviews that make no sense (2)

keraneuology (760918) | about 10 years ago | (#9618551)

Almost every rebate I've ever seen requires the UPC to be cut from the box and sent in along with. If Best Buy wanted to stop the practice then they could simply refuse to accept returns where the UPC has been removed.

Where do they complain about rebates in general? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618624)

They complained about scammers that send in the rebate and then return the item. RTFA, not just the last few paragraphs. They didn't complain about people who bought products and sent the rebates in.

My wife used to work for Pier One. They had several people who would buy something and REGULARLY return it. Now it's 'used,' and they got $0 for it. Fair? Hardly. Companies should crack down on these scammers, or even sometimes outright crooks. It's costing THEM money, and it's costing us money.

yeah (0, Offtopic)

elitebrad (581590) | about 10 years ago | (#9618488)

i am

They don't like customers at all (1)

yanestra (526590) | about 10 years ago | (#9618489)

Customers sometimes really can be a problem. But in most cases, it seems, it's just that the shop doesn't like customers at all.

Re:They don't like customers at all (1)

TreyBastian (791395) | about 10 years ago | (#9618500)

I have to say they really don't. I've been to best buy shopping for a big screen T.V. where the employes were just to lazy to help. They were sitting there talking to eachother and not one would help. After about an hour we just went to circuit city :P. Anyway it is sometimes the employes that don't feel like working.

They don't like customers at all-Employee abuse. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618572)

"Anyway it is sometimes the employes that don't feel like working."

True, however this in part is everyone's fault. From companies that pay bottom of the barrel wages, and have lousy support policies. To customers that demand bottom of the barrel prices, as well as are abusive to employees in general. If people really want what they claim they want? Then people's actions would reflect that.

Re:They don't like customers at all (1)

0racle (667029) | about 10 years ago | (#9618591)

You deal with the crap they have to, or perhaps used too before they got lazy. Its probably worse when dealing with tech sales, because the customer thinks they're always right, Everyone is a god damn expert when they go shopping for a computer or a TV. I loathed dealing with most people when I did retail sales, because except for a few, they were the worst type of people, though those few really were nice and genuinely thankful for help, they were nice people to help made you feel good for the rest of the day. On the other hand they are supposed to suck it up and sell stuff, hating the customer is no excuse for not taking their money.

You must have a hell of a lot of patience to wait an hour before leaving.

Re:They don't like customers at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618522)

Exactly. Why am I not surprised at this coming from Best Buy?

How is this a problem? (1)

domodude (613072) | about 10 years ago | (#9618582)

Unless you are one of these people (scammers), there is nothing to worry about here. This is actually a good thing; since Best Buy will lose less money this way, they get to pass the savings onto the legitimate customers. If you don't do anything wrong, there is no need to worry about the punishment.

Re:How is this a problem? (4, Funny)

general_re (8883) | about 10 years ago | (#9618637)

...they get to pass the savings onto the legitimate customers.

Riiiiiiiiight. As long as we're pipe-dreaming here, let's dream big and pretend that said savings will be delivered to me on a silver platter by a host of Playboy centerfolds, who will then proceed to sexually pleasure me in ways unknown to mortal men...

Re:They don't like customers at all (1)

keraneuology (760918) | about 10 years ago | (#9618599)

disservice [despair.com]

apathy [despair.com]

scammers (4, Interesting)

Barbarian (9467) | about 10 years ago | (#9618495)

You will always get scammers, like people who the article description described (send rebate, then return), as well as people who purchase extended service plans, then static zap their video card, hook it up to 110 AC, or otherwise kill it after a couple years, and get a much better card in replacement. At least with data mining, you can identify suspect customers instead of just going on the manager's whim.

Re:scammers (4, Interesting)

DJayC (595440) | about 10 years ago | (#9618541)

The biggest scammers are the employees. I have a lot of friends that work at Best Buy, and I don't know one that hasn't tried to scam them. One scam includes buying stuff with their discount, then returning it at another store (without a receipt) for gift cards for the full price. Another breaks his TV every couple years to get a new one (but waits for this model to be not carried so he can get the latest and greatest). Instead of blaming the customers for whatever their worries are, try looking a little closer to home.

Re:scammers (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618640)

Your "friends" sound like a bunch of assholes.

Re:scammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618553)

> You will always get scammers,...

Like people with smart arse signatures? :-)

Hold on a second (2, Funny)

geneing (756949) | about 10 years ago | (#9618597)

BB wants the bar code to get a rebate. They won't accept returns without a bar code (only exchange). BB should complain about their employees not following their own policies. Btw, I fired them from being my retailers a long time ago.

Scamming? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 10 years ago | (#9618658)

How is a static fry of a video card "scamming?" Umm, the extended service plans are expensive because they cover so many things. If your company is unable to fulfill its contract then it is performing fraud. Plain and simple.

Unfortunately, Best Buy is the kind of company where there is intra-store (departments) and inter-store competition and actually fulfilling that expensive service plan costs the department money, so shady managers screw with customers when they're trying to 'get ahead.'

This business method is just disgusting and makes shopping at places like Best Buy something of a gamble.

This article shows you how unethical this company is. Its one thing to get rid of trouble customers and another to blame customers for actually buying on sale items and mailing in their rebates. If Best Buy doesn't like this then they can stop offering these deals.

Man, can consumer protection be any more impotent?

Sales customers (4, Insightful)

Endareth (684446) | about 10 years ago | (#9618502)

I would have thought that many of the customers who only buy during sales would be buying a lot more products than if they bought on a semi-regular (non-sale) basis. Surely this means that the customers make up in bulk for the slightly lower profit margin due to sales? After all, the point of sales is to attract a higher product turnover at a lower profit margin, so what are they complaining about?

Re:Sales customers (4, Insightful)

Misch (158807) | about 10 years ago | (#9618589)

Not nessecairly. Another tactic of offering a product at a sale price is to get the customer physically into the store where you may encourage them to select a different product (at a higher profit), or purchase other products or accessories.

Re:Sales customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618610)

This is an absurd proposition. If Best Buy is upset by customers buying only at deep discount sale prices, then they should not have discounted promotional sales! Isn't the idea to get people into the store by lowering price? If there is a reduced margin or loss on the sale items ("loss leader") isn't that part of the cost of doing business? Literally part of the business model for a deeply discounted large volume operation?

Scamming the rebates is one thing. Complaining about your customers taking advantage of the prices YOU offer to them in YOUR store is beyond absurdity

Re:Sales customers (1)

ejaw5 (570071) | about 10 years ago | (#9618672)

Best Buy was pretty adament against fatwallet.com for posting their BlackFriday specials last year if that's any indication.

Not allowed to only buy on sale??? (5, Insightful)

Engineer Andy (761400) | about 10 years ago | (#9618504)

What on earth is wrong with waiting until a sale is on til you buy whatever it is that you have your heart set on?

If it is an urgent purchase that can't wait, then buy it then and there, but if you're happy to wait until whatever it is goes on sale due to it no longer being the newest and shiniest widget, what is wrong with that?

This is penalising people who are swimming against the tide of instant gratification that our credit driven society has pushed.

People have done this from time immemorial in raiding the new years and mid year sales at department stores they don't otherwise shop at

Re:Not allowed to only buy on sale??? (4, Insightful)

Dmala (752610) | about 10 years ago | (#9618618)

What on earth is wrong with waiting until a sale is on til you buy whatever it is that you have your heart set on?

The idea is that they put stuff on sale virtually at cost to lure you into the store, and then you're supposed to be a good little consumer and buy a bunch of other crap at full price. The store would prefer not to do business with people who don't fall for this ploy.

BestBuy Is the Microsoft Of Tech Stores (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618505)

Plain & Simple. BestBuy Is the Microsoft Of Tech Stores! Who else can compare to there wide range of products & marketing power. To bad we can't call them the wal-mart of tech stores! ;D

it's true (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618506)

Normal costomers like my mom are alright. I mean she thinks, "oh, I need a TV" so she goes to BestBuy or Costco or whatever, finds one that looks pretty, and buys it. Big profits for the store.

If I need a TV, I wait a few weeks until I find a good deal on dealsea or FatWallet. Then I price match to someplace with massive coupon discounts, then I try to even pricematch the rebate. Then if they try to get me to pay for shipping I bitch about it and get that charge taken off. The stores make nothing.

If I was running a business, I wouldn't want people like me as customers. I would want people like my mom. It's just plain business sense.

Re:it's true (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | about 10 years ago | (#9618629)

If I was running a business, I wouldn't want people like me as customers. I would want people like my mom. It's just plain business sense.

Get rid of you and your mom just might decide to shop elsewhere as well. Get rid of you and your mom and they might just end up with noone.

The idea is to attract cusotomers. You'll like some better than others, but it's better than having none.

KFG

What this really is (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618507)

Is a way for Best Buy to identify customers who are likely abusing the return policy in order to use the store as a free rental shop.

They can refuse a sale or refund to anyone for any reason (except race, sex, etc.) and are well within their rights to do so. They don't have the money like Walmart does to be able to absorb crap returns and BS like that.

What this will do is help to increase margin and somewhat prevent prices from rising to cover the cost of bad returns. Would you rather they let people get away with this or would you prefer to pay more for the products you buy to cover Best Buy's losses from abusive customers?

Fat wallet (1)

moroderzone (585335) | about 10 years ago | (#9618508)

What about people that use pricematching and rebates together to get items for free.

Contemptible Customers (3, Insightful)

Metallic Matty (579124) | about 10 years ago | (#9618509)

How dare they pay Best Buy money in order to obtain products they seek to purchase.

In all seriousness, comments like these tell me I should be taking my business elsewhere. Not that I didn't already know ths, but it just reaffirms it. "Firing Customers" is quite possibly the dumbest thing I've heard today. And that's saying something. It goes against the whole idea behind a business; that is, to get customers and meet their needs while making a tidy profit. (Perhaps they believe their profit isn't quite tidy enough with people who use rebates and buy sale items.)

Re:Contemptible Customers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618525)

It's not like they can really fire you. Just walk into BestBuy and pay cash. What are they going to do, use facial recognition systems to ban you from every BestBuy in America?? The privacy nuts would go crazy.

Re:Contemptible Customers (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 10 years ago | (#9618561)

to get customers and meet their needs while making a tidy profit

That's the thing, they don't want these customers because they don't make any profit off of them! They buy items, file for rebates, and then return the item. Honestly, is there a problem with "firing" customers who never shop at your store except when they want to abuse you?

Anyone who has ever worked retail will tell you that there is a certain group of customers that you DON'T want shopping at your store.

Re:Contemptible Customers (1)

Metallic Matty (579124) | about 10 years ago | (#9618574)

They buy items, file for rebates, and then return the item.

I'm not the first to say it in this discussion thus far, but its still right: then they should do away with their rebates.

Re:Contemptible Customers (1)

MoneyT (548795) | about 10 years ago | (#9618633)

Or do away with the customers. I guarantee the rebates bring in more money to Best Buy than losing a dozen customers per store and whatever nuts take shit like this personaly.

Re:Contemptible Customers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618567)

Actually, they are exactly the kind of company I want to buy from. :-)

I hate Fry's Electronics! However, if they have some loss leader product that I or my company needs, then I make sure I buy it from them so that they will incur the loss.

I guess I should be buying from BestBuy more often.

Your humble build engineer.

Re:Contemptible Customers (1)

imaniack (638051) | about 10 years ago | (#9618587)

Tidy profit is no longer sufficient for these two word: CEO paycheck.

Re:Contemptible Customers (5, Insightful)

Desert Raven (52125) | about 10 years ago | (#9618619)

"Firing Customers" is quite possibly the dumbest thing I've heard today.

No, in certain unusual situations, it's the best thing you can do. (And it's a term I've heard for many, many years.) I worked in a graphics/print shop for a while, and some customers would drive us nuts, and lose us money over the stuff they did. ie. bring in questionable originals for copying, choose the cheapest photocopy option available, then return a 10,000-sheet job because there was a speck in the copies. Or, in a low-end design job, argue over nickle and dime issues for hours, eating up the designer's time that should have been spent on better-paying work.

A few times, we gave them the phone number for a competitor, and told them not to come back.

In the service industry, the customer who is paying the least, will invariably demand the greatest amount of service and attention. Big dollar-customers know what they want, know the value of what they are purchasing, and trust you to do it properly. I imagine there are similarities in the retail industry.

New dispair poster. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618515)

" Welcome to the end result of all that customer information data mining.""

You might want to sit down for this. No the customers aren't always right. It's a bit of marketing that companies spout like what gets satirized on those dispair posters. A company should aspire to high customer standards, but that doesn't make the customer "always right", and in fact to insure quality standards for everyone you have to let some customers go, because losing them is better overall.

Gmail (-1, Troll)

x3ro (628101) | about 10 years ago | (#9618520)

Welcome to the end result of all that customer information data mining.

Maybe they could integrate with Google's spyware app Gmail ... a CustomerRank like a credit rating, but based on totally subjective criteria.

Re:Gmail (0, Offtopic)

halowolf (692775) | about 10 years ago | (#9618584)

Calling Gmail a spyware app is hardly appropriate or warranted. If you don't wan't targeted adds being created from your email, then don't use it. Thats right, no laws needed, no software uninstalls, make a choice!

Gmail doesn't get installed into your browser when your not looking ;) Besides not every email actaully gets linked to adds.

If companies wan't to start ranking their customers then they should be prepared for a backlash, because as so many companies seem to forget, the buck stops here! :)

Re:Gmail (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618652)

Wow, you're a retard.

blah blah blah (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618527)

Precanned response containing outraged reply at <corporate entity> that makes no sense and exhibits that poster did not read the linked article.

Boo fucking hoo (0, Troll)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 10 years ago | (#9618528)

What, there's customers out there with heads on their shoulders? What a shock!

Still, more power to Best Buy if they want to start discriminating against customers. I'm sure it's really going to make an impact on their bottom line.

More info on Best Buy's sleaziness (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618532)

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda stepped off the bus and was led into the yard of the Main
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never make it through ten years in the general population with his virginity
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"hmmph" he weakly slapped the guard. He was quickly taken to the ground,
receiving a swift kick to the ribs before being restrained. As he was dragged
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wrong guard to mess with.

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sleeping, reading a "Perl for Dummies" book he had gotten from the book cart,
and masturbating furiously. His self-flagellation was interrupted on the fourth
day. The burly guard he had attacked earlier stepped into his cell. The gleam
in the guards eye and the mean grin on his face made Rob's pecker quickly
shrivel in his hand. "You fucked with the wrong man when you fucked with
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kneeled in front of the leader, who began to slap his face with his 10 black
inches. Puss from syphilictic sores quickly covered Rob's cheeks. When the
leader was sufficiently aroused he placed his throbbing cock up to Rob's lips.
As soon as Rob opened his mouth the leader violently shoved his manhood to the
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Just when he was about to pass out the leader pulled out, turned him around and
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men stopped. One man lay down on the floor and Rob was told to get on top of
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For another hour he was violated in this way. When the men were finished with
him he couldn't walk and his mouth was filled with dingleberries and ass hairs.
Before they all left the leader had some parting words for Rob: "Thanks for
that sweet piece of ass, punk. We'll see you again tomorrow. Oh by the way, we
all have AIDS." It was going to be a long ten years for Rob.

Your JabberKatz(tm) Article Of The Day (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618534)

[BRING BACK KATZ! - ed]

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As horrific as massacres like Littleton are, they are happy to let society tell them where to go, what to see, people trip me. Jocks knock me down in the hallway. They steal my notes, call me a geek and a fag and a freak, tear up my books, have pissed in my locker twice. They cut my shirt and rip it. They may also offer some of the best weblogs online) are created with an eye towards limiting membership, controlling submissions and the nature of out-of-control corporatism.

For somebody who loves to write about it. But after Colorado, things got horrible. People were actually talking to me like I could come in and kill them than they are, just to see if he'd been downloading sports scores or bidding for furniture on eBay. But although the Net's political implications of the Time Warner-AOL merger. " He's right. This generation has a voracious appetite for music, something that rarely happens after picking up The New York Times recently. " There are millions of people love the things Walt Disney built, and have experienced access to music was previously limited to radio and CDs suddenly had instant and free access to the servers. But on eBay, one gamer sold his account for $4,000, and others won't. I've declined to give any e-mail addresses of kids relaying the realities of life in many parts of Europe.

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If even a small number of geeks around the country for a book, interviewing geeks. They live for crises like this, and wanted answers, as opposed to the military or nation-state kind) has been dropping in the West. In Scandanavia countries have worked feverishly to wire up.

Typically, Harel writes, when people have problems making computers do what they want or how they feel.

I am worse than novice on The Net. I guess I developed my own little cubicle because I'm a bit teary-eyed right now. Got it? "

" Here's a thought: punish students who pick on other students, instead of ordering the students who get picked on to go to counseling. " " You want solutions: don't turn to parents, who have turned absentee-landlord. Maybe it's time to get on Weinberger's Web. The pundits couldn't even agree whether Microsoft would be more of a promotional giveaway than a book.

A generation ago, " Shadowrun " would have seemed silly hyperbole to me a secret which I desired to divine.

best buy is my favorite store...but... (1)

bje2 (533276) | about 10 years ago | (#9618537)

first off, i could live at best buy, i'm there atleast once a week just to look around, and check out the new releases in CDs and DVDs...but...they have the absolute worst customer serivce people ever...they're just not very smart at all, and not helpful...secondly, there's constantly long lines at their checkouts...sometimes i'll leave w/o buying something, just becuase i didn't want to wait in the long line...maybe they should worry about some of that stuff first..

in any case, enough on that rant...

...back to the issue...i guess this does worry my a little bit...seeing that they're tracking individual customers, and what they buy, and when they buy it (like only during sale periods)...the fact that i always use my best buy credit card, and my best buy rewards cards just gives them more of an opportunity to track me...i guess that's the last time i buy the "girls gone wild" dvd out of the "special interest" DVD section...jeez...

Re:best buy is my favorite store...but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618660)

Some many details, this must be true, you own the DVD.
Please rip it and upload it to alt.binaries.dvdr :)
Thanks,
Hector the porn Collector

Speaking of scams ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618545)

What exactly does BestBuy consider it when they routinelyu advertise products they don't have in inventory, just to get you into the store?

Re:Speaking of scams ... (2, Informative)

AdamBLang (674002) | about 10 years ago | (#9618656)

In most states, retailers are required to sell you the advertised product, even if they don't have it in stock. They give you a rain check. They order it. They contact you when they get it. They hold it for ten days. If you come back in that ten days, you get the sale item at the sale price.

In soviet Russia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618546)

In soviet Russia, you don't complain about best buy. BestBuy complains about YOU.

Re:In soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618581)

No that seems to be the case here too comrad.

WHAT??? (0, Troll)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | about 10 years ago | (#9618549)

"That would be directly equivalent to somebody going to an ATM and getting money out without putting any in,"

What??? I always thought that the bank people are filling the ATMs with money... and now I read that this is customers duty... well, thanks anyway to the unknown people that put their money in the ATM so that I can get it out...

Re:WHAT??? (1)

WhatsAProGingrass (726851) | about 10 years ago | (#9618664)

If whatever the customer is doing is legal, then so be it. Is it legal to get a rebate then return an item? If it is, then I say take what you can get.

Best Buy is evil. Period. (2, Interesting)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | about 10 years ago | (#9618555)

I had vowed to never go back, thanks to all the awful support in store, and online that I received.

Things like discounts not being applied, sale prices not showing up on the final invoice, etc.

I was dragged back in as they had a "great" Comcast deal. It would turn out to be a free cable modem, after rebate(s).

There were 3 rebates.
- $25 store credit
- $20 rebate from Linksys (for their modem)
- $60 rebate from Best Buy for buying the Linksys modem.

I used their kiosk, with their employee. I expected to wait the obligatory 6-8 weeks.

In very short order, the store credit showed up. Followed quickly by the Linksys rebate. 2 weeks later, the denial letter showed up from BB. They said I hadn't bought a Linksys modem. Interesting that they returned my orignal submission, and that receipt clearly showed the modem that they had on rebate.

When it arrived the rebate program had ended, so they screwed me out of $60.00. Another lesson in BB's incompetence.

I sold the store credit to somebody else. I wanted them to have to pony up that money for something, but it wouldn't be me.

Ergo, they're evil.

There is good news in there (1)

Dr. q00p (714993) | about 10 years ago | (#9618556)

"What we're trying to do is not eliminate those customers, but just diminish the number (...)" Anderson said

Puh! Being a customer, I still have a chance of survival then...

There is good news in there-Moore customers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618616)

"Puh! Being a customer, I still have a chance of survival then..."

Bowling for Customers: Coming to a theater near you.

(OT) After working in retail ... (5, Funny)

LordKaT (619540) | about 10 years ago | (#9618557)

I have to agree that the customer is almost never right. 99% of the people who complain - and by complain, I mean whine like a 2 year old - are not right, and deserve to be beaten with a hose. the only customer that is right, is the customer that is quite and just pays.

My case in point:

"This sign says 2 confections for 2 dollars!"

"It says 2 HERSHEY candies for 2 dollars."

"So?"

"Gobstoppers and popcorn don't count, and "almost" only counts in horse-shoes."

And then the customer will whine, and whine, and whine, and whine, and whine. My god, I've never heard so many adult-aged persons whine so much.

It's always something retarded they whine about too: they misunderstood the advertisement and want the deal anyway (yeah, right), or they know somone who used to work here and wants an employee discount, or they have a coupon ... that expired two years ago.

No, I don't need anger managment. I need a shotgun and some whiskey.

Re:(OT) After working in retail ... (2, Insightful)

randomdef (663725) | about 10 years ago | (#9618638)

You bitch and you bitch and you bitch, but at the end of the day i'll get what i want. It might come as a suprize to you but the more i complain the more people will do just to shut me up. YOu can deny me the 30 dollar rebate coupon and kick me out of the store, but the damage that my word of mouth is going to do will be 100x the cost of that coupon.

Re:(OT) After working in retail ... (3, Interesting)

jci (521890) | about 10 years ago | (#9618648)

Watching the show Airline on A&E is a great example of that same kind of aspect.
"What do you mean I'm 20 minutes late?! I need to get on that plane [insert drunk hiccup here]!

I'm never buying another ticket from southwest again!"

It always seems that everyone thinks something corporate is trying to suck them dry, but the truth is its a two-edged sword: We need to be happy as customers, and they need to turn a profit.

Just whatever hat you appear to wear at the time dictates whether you feel for the customer, or for the poor soul that has to tell someone that their part is still on backorder, or that your baggage got lost...

Best Buy (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | about 10 years ago | (#9618559)

Home electronics resellers have a pretty spotty past - seems they expand exponentially, then raise their prices and reduce their service to customer-unfriendly levels, then they go bankrupt. It's a constant cycle caused by cutthroat competition and low margins.

Best Buy is just summiting the mountain and headed to the downhill side of the cycle. Profits are up. The problem is that i'm not going there anymore because the prices are pretty exorbitant. I'm sure others are getting the same impression.

They are following in the path of Crazy Eddie, The Wiz, Circuit City, and lots of smaller outfits.

Whatever happened to "no upc: no refund?" (2, Insightful)

jci (521890) | about 10 years ago | (#9618564)

I thought that was the whole thing behind making people either take the rebate or return it. Most rebates require an original UPC, and I assumed most retailers want something back that they can resell.

Or is that when the whole "fitness of goods" type thing comes in (spurious missing capicator anyone?).

Woah?! Where are the corprate image police? (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | about 10 years ago | (#9618566)

You'd think a company like Best Buy would not allow an interview like this or have an upper level employee write a book about demon customers. They must have had to cut back on the corporate image team because of rebates. They shouldn't complain about rebates, the whole concept behind them is make the consumer think an item is cheaper than what it is being sold for, and hoping that you won't remember to send it in

As Usual.... (2, Interesting)

ChrisHanel (636741) | about 10 years ago | (#9618569)

Here's the steps:

1. Big Company assumes no matter what, people will come to store.
2. Big Company pisses off customers by getting way too aggressive with a very small minority of bad customers.
3. Big Company loses customers.
4. Big Company slashes prices more to bring people back, forgetting the price wasn't why people left.
5. Big Company loses more money, wonders why.

It's the SERVICE, stupid. It's why the Gateway store in my town always was best in its district... it was the only Gateway in such close proximity to a Best Buy. They couldn't help but look like geniuses in comparison to the untrained warrany-whores placed in the computer department at BB.

Hey, I buy mostly during sales... (4, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | about 10 years ago | (#9618571)

...and I don't think I like to be bundled in with people attempting fraud. I'm not high maintenance but I can spot a deal. Either you're selling something or your not. Don't start trying to second-guess what I might buy next. Maybe I'm taking advantage of a cheap offer to find out how good your service is...

Welcome to the Business World, Nerds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618577)

It's funny how everyone is reacting so viciously to these remarks of unprofitable customers. However, what most of you fail to realize is that *all* businesses do this. Or at least the profitable ones. Here we go...

If one business like Best Buy is bringing in the same customers as say a competitor - Circuit City - they in theory would bring in the same amount of money. This is considering if everything is equal (no competitive advantages exist). How you kill your competitor is by selling to the most profitable customers.

This is done by big business against other big businesses - because customers can kill a biz as fast as it can create one.

If you are all so appalled at Best Buy - you should really be looking at retailers like Walmart - they are the king of this practice.

Makes sense to me... (4, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 years ago | (#9618578)

I run a small business, and sometimes I refuse to take on a client because I can tell they're going to be more trouble than they're worth. Why would I want to bother with someone who's going to constantly bitch about prices, try to wheel and deal me, and make me work twice as hard as the average customer? I don't need the money that bad.

It's probably the same thing for Best Buy. Why would they want to bother with people they know are going to take up their customer service reps' time, which costs money, and thereby result in no profit for Best Buy? There is no "right" to shop at Best Buy. There's probably a "we reserve the right to refuse service to any customer at any time" notice somewhere near the entrance to the store. Best Buy is simply choosing to exercise that right.

Count me in (1)

Voltronalpha (244088) | about 10 years ago | (#9618583)

This reminds me of a funny story.

I got a coupon in the mail for 10% off just about anything at Best Buy. I happened to need a fridge anyway so I just waited for the one I wanted to go one "sale" and then went in to use my coupon (still valid) and they tried to tell me I couldn't use it with "Any other promotion" and that the coupon would come off of the full retail price.

Bugger that I thought, and I escalated the matter up to the floor manager, and he said they couldn't do it.... I said okay ring it up for me here and if the coupon isn't supposed to work with a "sale" price than it won't deduct from the total. He starts to ring it up for me and then stalls for a second to say well even if it dos work I can't give it to you for that price (I just wanted to be certain he wasn't full of it that is why I wanted to see the computer reject it) The computer did not reject the coupon it applied it correctly just like I thought it would.

Then came the argument that if is wasn't allowed then the computer shouldn't allow it..... He said the margin was too low and they would make only 1-2% off of me so it wouldn't be worth it to them (I think about this and in my head say "He gets $9-12.00/hr if he's lucky why does he even care...). I rebutted his argument by saying that I would buy the 4 year "Performance Guarantee" which is $200.00 and almost all profit if he just rings it through with my coupon as well, he thinks about it and then I could see the greed ("I get to sell this PSP, that'll look good on my Up-sales record.") and boom 10 minutes later I was out the door...

The moral of the story is, that I know that everything there (except media and computer stuff) has a 30-day return policy.

I returned the worthless PSP the next day, and got my sale price.

Just like a con, except it was perfectly legal and in the end THEY made money off of me (granted as little as possible)

Yeah, the customer is so wrong he has to argue to give you his money.

Shopping is a battlefield (5, Interesting)

sane? (179855) | about 10 years ago | (#9618586)

There is nothing to be unexpected in this type of development - shops, like people, will attempt to optimise their habits to maximise their gain. The only question is what should the result be in the escalating arms race from the shoppers' perspective?

My suggestion is shopping clubs.

Get together a group of good consumers, mums on the school run is a prime recruiting ground. Organise until the number of participants is significant; and issue a membership card.

Then visit the shops.

Tell them that the group will promise to use a particular store for a particular type of shopping in exchange for a discount off all elements in store on production of the membership card. Organise an auction process for a type of shopping for an entire quarter and get the shops to bid against each other.

Providing the manager sees the take goes up for those stores in that quarter, everyone wins.

That way you can exercise the power of the mass market in the same way the shops use their marketing size to drive down supplier costs - the enticement of the large numbers with the threat of losing those numbers if they don't play ball.

In fact, since one thing Slashdot does have is size, that model would work well for Slashdot membership and computer goods...

Re:Shopping is a battlefield (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | about 10 years ago | (#9618627)

i believe you just described a union :)

Two sided issue (2, Interesting)

Grimster (127581) | about 10 years ago | (#9618588)

Side 1 - people suck - have you ever read any of these "deal forums" (Fat Wallet [fatwallet.com] and AT Hot Deals [anandtech.com] are two I read from time to time. Jesus fucking christ these people would walk a mile through the desert barefoot while eating salted peanuts for a fucking $10 rebate. Sometimes the "sequence of events" required to get these deals is more fucking work than just well, working and BUYING it for regular price, pricematch here, rebate there, obscure coupon code over there, print someone's reciept from some other store in some other state, and you might get a $79 item for $64 or something equally lame. I get a chuckle at the enormous lengths people will go to to save a couple bucks.

Side 2 - Best Buy sucks [bestbuysux.org] - reading this site is like a traffic accident complete with ripped off limbs, you can't stop looking but you know you should. The damn near criminal "support policies" they push and push and push on you, and the "piggyback" magazine subscriptions make me want to do things that would get me on the news. I'm currently getting bills from Entertainment Weekly because when checking out at BB a few months ago I let them "send me 4 free issues" just to get them to shut the FUCK up. Now they want me to pay for the stupid magazine like I give two drops of spit about EW (ew is right).

I don't know who to root for in this fight... Best Buy or the "demon customers" socking it to them. Goddamn I hate rebates, I go out of my way to avoid deals involving rebates because they just PISS ME OFF so bad.

Really I'm not ranting...

Re:Two sided issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618662)

FYI - you can usually take the BestBuy add to Circuit City and they will pricematch their price - rebate. So it's like you get the same price + the rebate upfront. Most CC stores will do this.

Best Buy is ignorant of population (1)

Invalid Character (788952) | about 10 years ago | (#9618590)

Apparently these Best Buy people have never come across poor or less well off people.

Not every one can go out and buy the best of the best, they just don't make enough money to do that AND pay their bills. Also some things are just not worth paying the full everyday retail price, for those things some people wait for the sales.

Classic example of leveraging facelessness... (5, Interesting)

Richard Mills (17522) | about 10 years ago | (#9618592)

I see that Royal Bank of Canada sends wealthier customers to the head of the phone queue, while making ones with smaller accounts wait and wait. This is a classic example of abusing the facelessness of phone transactions, leveraging it to their advantage. Could you imagine customers putting up with this kind of stuff in a face-to-face setting? You walk into the bank, and they tell you to go to the "poor people" line? Or say you go into a department store, only to be told that you will have to let other customers cut in front of you, because they are buying more expensive items? That sounds almost like it should be illegal. But hey, what do you expect for a gigantic, faceless corporation?

If they don't want me as a customer... (1)

Wateshay (122749) | about 10 years ago | (#9618602)

Then I don't want them as a store.

I have no problems whatsoever with them using statistical records to catch abusers of the system, and as far as I'm concerned, returning the product after getting the rebate, for full price, is just fraud.

I really don't even have a problem with them keeping track of aggressive bargain hunters and finding ways to give them fewer deals. That said, though, the fewer deals I get, the less likely I am to shop at a store, and the less likely I am to recommend it to friends...and if the store ever tries to deny my a listed sale price, or just plain refuse to sell to me based on their records, I'll not only never shop at that store again, but I'll go out of my way to help ensure that my friends and family don't either. I also don't think I'm alone in that kind of sentiment. Stores needs to be careful. If they get a reputation for antagonizing their customers, they may find they lose more than they can afford to.

Of course they're not always right (1)

autopr0n (534291) | about 10 years ago | (#9618603)

Seriously, I don't know warped and selfish you'd have to be to believe that "being always right" is somehow a god given right when you're at the store, as the submitter seems to be implying.

Of course the customer is not always right.

Rent-and-return hurts other consumers, too (0)

Bushcat (615449) | about 10 years ago | (#9618607)

I have some sympathy for Best Buy's situation. I like cheap stuff as much as the next person, but I like my cheap stuff to be in a factory-sealed box. Wandering around Fry's it can be hard to find something that isn't someone else's return.

Then there's the clothing that's strategically pre-stained and the store hasn't noticed or doesn't care. Yeuk.

Ummmm...A few Problems (1)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | about 10 years ago | (#9618611)

Ok, where to start. First off, the direct impact of this kind of business is lawsuits. Ban me from a store where I am talking to someone who I PAY with my purchaces just because I spend too much time deciding what's the better product, with his advisement, I will sue your sorry ass off (sorry - just needed to get the troll out.)

But Really, what's the deal with this? I mean, the refund/return scheme sucks for the retailers, but I am sick and tired of taking 15 min. to save $20 on a hard drive. Thank God for online shopping - the retailers will die if any activity comes of something like this report.

After working in retail myself, I can agree with the assertation that some customers are problematic in the return department. But this is extreme. The reason a retail outlet exists is to produce sales. Sales are made with good SALESMANSHIP. If you're an idiot, please do not apply for the computer department. If you hate videogames, don't work there. Simple - the reason most of these stores would ever lose money is crappy service.

Here's a thought - Instead of Demon Customers, let's save some money and deal with the "Demon" sales people - those working solely for the commission, those who sit and talk for 10-15 min at a time with other employees, even their friends at work, and those who are there cause no one else would hire them.

Who knew, I might spend more money at Best Buy if their service wasn't so bad that I walk into their stores for what I want from an ad, checkout, and run for my car instead of dealing with the Sales-whoreing, rude, half asleep lackeys they pay minimum wage to stock shelves.

no they didn't (4, Informative)

MOMOCROME (207697) | about 10 years ago | (#9618612)

RTFA.

Some other guy from another retailer with a mere 21 stores in the same market is talking about 'firing customers'. The guy from best buy went out of his way to say that they won't give up on 'problem' customers.

C'mon people, follow the narrative.

Translation: We Know Who You Are == Fuck You. (0)

Murmer (96505) | about 10 years ago | (#9618613)

That's it, really. Folks, you are under exactly zero obligation to tell those losers the truth when they ask you for your name, address, postal code, blood type, sexual inclination, shirt size and preference of home furnishings. And when they give a form with a checkbox that says "Our advertising department can come into your house at three in the morning and probe you with a variety of unlubricated metal implements", you don't have to agree to that.

Seriously: who actually tells those losers the truth?

Is this news to anyone? (4, Interesting)

geminidomino (614729) | about 10 years ago | (#9618623)

I worked as a Tech at Blue&Yellow Hell a few years back, and I ended up quitting after getting into it with the weasly little sales manager over screwing over the customers with that ripoff service plan.

Hell, if you think the company is customer-hostile OVERTLY, you should see the kind of crap they tell the employees at those micky-mouse-micromanagement "Huddles" every morning before opening.

Rebates... (1)

yosoyjay (611818) | about 10 years ago | (#9618628)

I've been screwed out of enough rebates, especially on purchases from Best Buy, on a personal and professional basis that I'm glad that somebody is actually profiting from these marketing hijinks.

Be smart about bad customers. (5, Interesting)

GrpA (691294) | about 10 years ago | (#9618634)

I don't have any sympathy for bad retailers who offer ridiculous deals to customers, with profit margins based on the fact that customers will not exercise options (eg, rebates) or will buy accessories to supplement the original sale.

They deserve what they get.

On the other hand, I did run an ISP, so I know what it's like when you give a customer an unlimited account, based on a pool of bandwidth, only to discover they are a leech, and bring down the quality of service for all customers.

Still, they purchased the service legitimately, so I wasn't going to ban them...

So I sent them 3-month gift certificates from a competing ISP :).... And *all* my problem customers left me, taking up the offer.

My competitor wasn't too happy when he found out years later, but I was left with a pool of good customers, and those customers I didn't want respected me also, and often recommended me to their friends, many of whom weren't leeches.

Overall, I didn't abuse the customer rights, and I still managed to offer a premium service at a reasonable price. And at better profit margins than my competitors. Not once did I have to make excuses like fair-use policies do.

The moral of this tale? Treat your customers with respect and they'll respect you in return.

GrpA

Not Best Buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9618641)

We once bought an appliance at BB then arranged for delivery. Never arrived, but we were charged on the credit card anyway. Very annoying working that out. :(

not new news (1)

TLouden (677335) | about 10 years ago | (#9618645)

I stopped using best buy years ago when they stopped listening to their customers and refused to stick to their promises

Best Buy Worst For Rebate Items (4, Insightful)

ejaw5 (570071) | about 10 years ago | (#9618647)

Now, mailing in a rebate then returning an item is unethical on the customer's part (didn't think it was possible since most require original UPC).

However, it's been my experience that BB more often then occasionally won't have a rebate item on stock/shelves right when the store opens on the first day of the rebate sale. 3 cases where I've tried to get a rebate item (modem, HD, monitor) I'd get there and be the first few when the doors open only to find the item NOT on the shelf. Ask a salesperson and they'll say there's no more in stock. When questioned about the promotion, it's the usual B.S. "The item has been on sale for the past week, so we ran out".

I see rebate sales going out of popularity soon. I won't dare touch BB, and once great-for-quick-rebates-turnaounds OfficeMax has gone down the crapper recently for denying legitimate rebate submissions. The second "denied" rebate from OM, I really let the guy on the other end have it on the phone. (got approved after "resubmitting") Since that day, OM's made it on my shitlist along with BB. My sanity and karma isn't worth it. There's only so much crap people in general will take, and more will start to ignore them and not care as word-of-mouth spreads. Perhaps that's the goal of some retailers...

Best Buy Hotties (1)

aaronfaby (741318) | about 10 years ago | (#9618653)

The Atwater Village Best Buy in LA hires a bunch of hot females, so as long as they continue to do so I will continue to shop there.

Sales for the good customers (1)

bstanton0101 (631858) | about 10 years ago | (#9618654)

I expect to see frequent shopper cards like the supermarkets use to track their customers' purchases. Then, when the customer buys a new DVD player, send him coupons for $$$ off the usual first DVD purchases (Jurasic Park, The Matrix, LOtR). If he's a "good customer", he will pick-up a few other DVDs while in the store. A "demon customer" will only buy things on sale. No more coupons in the mail for him!

Read The Articles You Submit (4, Insightful)

Cycline3 (678496) | about 10 years ago | (#9618657)

I think people should read the articles they submit. Best Buy did NOT say they fired customers. Also, in my experience, Best Buy has been a better retailer than Wal Mart, Circuit City, Target and the like. I've received great service and pricing there and 100% satisfaction when I needed to return a dud digital camera.

Re:Read The Articles You Submit (1)

bje2 (533276) | about 10 years ago | (#9618668)

The summary of the story doesn't say that BEst Buy fired customers...you may have assumed that's what it meant...all it says is that "some stores have fired customers"...which is true...the article talks about some stores (such as Filene's) that have "fired" customers...

Also (1)

Raynach (713366) | about 10 years ago | (#9618659)

There's also the case of a guy I've heard of who bought a 300 GB firewire drive, replaced the IDE drive inside with a non-working 1 GB drive, then returning it, saying it didn't work.

Flipped... (1)

Jack Action (761544) | about 10 years ago | (#9618661)

Push something (i.e. Capitalism) to the extreme and it becomes the opposite. Communism may have died in the USSR, but its alive and well at Best Buy.

...And the demon managers? (1)

boatboy (549643) | about 10 years ago | (#9618663)

I once had a Best Buy manager swearing under his breath because I refused to pay a "restocking fee" for a non-functioning MP3 player I was returning. Isn't it just as much a scam to stock defective merchandise and charge the customer to restock it? There's a happy ending, though- I called the Better Business Bureau, and Best Buy refunded the fee.

Happy Gilmore @ Best Buy (1)

Law1620 (555675) | about 10 years ago | (#9618666)

The price is WRONG Biatch!!!!
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