Do you remember the days before the big chain stores when there was customer service? I can recall going to G. Fox and being waited on by a sales representative without sending out a search party. I can also recall a “no questions” asked policy of returning merchandise.
About a month ago, during the crunch time of tax season, I purchased an expensive laptop on sale at a Best Buy nearby. At the time of purchase, I knew that I would not have the time then to set the computer up, install various programs, go out and purchase additional programs (since my older computer had Windows Xp and this new laptop had Windows 7), install these new programs as well, and transfer all of my data files onto the new computer. Such a laborious process often consumes a week’s time if all goes well; otherwise, it could consume an eternity.
So I left the laptop sealed and packaged in what appeared to be a flawlessly intact box, believing that it was better left protected in styrofoam, hermetically seal plastic wrap, and a thick cardboard casing than on a desk, prey to six very curious cats. Of course, I foolishly thought that if there were any problems with the laptop, that I could exchange it at Best Buy for another laptop. How dumb!
Yesterday when I finally had time to set up the new laptop, I opened the box, only to discover that the monitor screen had been damaged, making the computer completely useless. Consequently, I hopped into my car and drove down to Best Buy, expecting to exchange the computer for an undamaged one. How dumb again!
When I attempted to exchange the laptop, the manager on duty regarded me with the suspicion of a Gestapo officer examining my DNA. In spite of my repeated assurances that I had not dropped the laptop–swearing up and down that I had not even removed it from the box–he was as unmoved as an IRS agent seizing the very last dollar from my bank account. I explained to him that I had deliberately kept it in its protective styrofoam, sealed and unopened, and stored it in a safe place in my home, away from any temperature extremes, until I was prepared to set it up. My pleas of innocence were of no consequence. He refused to exchange it.
He did, however, offer to send it back to the manufacturer, adding, with the look of “don’t hold your breath’, that it would be entirely up to the manufacturer as to whether the damaged laptop would be replaced by Toshiba. It then occurred to me that Best Buy was simply throwing me under the bus to the whim of a manufacturer located perhaps in some very far off distant land.
The young lady at the desk, who processed my service requisition to have the laptop sent back to Toshiba for possible consideration of an exchange, explained that unless customers return their damaged laptops within an hour or so after purchase, that they are often regarded with the suspicion of having damaged the laptops themselves. I then regretted not having brought a urine sample. I then looked in vain for a lie detector test behind the customer service desk.
So I decided to post this blog entry to make other individuals aware of Best Buy’s posture toward its customers. There’s an old saying: buyer beware. I would also caution when purchasing anything at Best Buy, be afraid…be very afraid, and be certain to bring along your attorney, a notary public, and two witnesses. Needless to say, I recommend never buying anything at Best Buy. But if you do not mind being regarded as a liar, then I suggest before you purchase a laptop from Best Buy, that you have the sales clerk remove it from the box, plug it in, and then test every possible feature and program on that laptop for hours, if not days, before removing it from the store.
Best Buy proved to be the Worst Buy of my entire life.