Ever since we moved into our place, we've been a bit bummed. You see, our living room just isn't quite big enough. We like to entertain – we like to have lots of guests – but it tends to get a bit cramped. Oh Sure, we've managed to make some room by removing unneeded furniture – a black love seat got the boot to the upstairs guest room – but that just left us with insufficient seats for guests at our more lavish parties.
No, it was clear from the get go that we needed to take more extreme measures. I'm not talking about renovation here. We simply needed to slay the beast – our big old rear-projection TV. The beast easily took up 1/4 of the livable space in that part of the house, blocking the door to the deck and generally making the house look cramped.
We conceived of a way to make it work though – a flat panel TV, mounted above the fireplace, would take up no living space at all. Moreover, it would let us move the rest of the entertainment equipment to the otherwise unusable space beside the fireplace, and away from the deck door. And now, nearly 2 years after the move, we finally have the means to make that switch.
After much hemming and hawing, we landed on a 46" Sharp Aquos LCD . Now all that remained was to buy it. We decided to watch the Best Buy fliers and it wasn't long before we found a deal we could live with. Unfortunately that deal was on a Sony and it was from Future Shop. Well, we thought we'd see what Best Buy had to say about that and so, late Friday evening, we ducked into Best Buy and hammered out a deal with the sales manager. He promised us the Sharp bundled with a Sony Playstation3 (which features a blu-ray player). They gave us a few days to think it over and we went home to crunch the numbers again. We decided that we would go back on Sunday to make the purchase. That was our first mistake. Actually, that was our second mistake – our first was leaving delivery arrangements until Sunday.
Our First Mistake – Sunday, before heading over to best buy, we decided to go rent a cargo van from U-haul. These things are huge. And you can't see out the back. I'm not a big fan of big vehicles anyway, but I have to say this was not a pleasant experience for me. And yet I was elected to drive the thing – which had no snow tires, BTW. In our climate, you'd think that would be a no-brainer! Still, I took my time and we managed okay, but I was never so happy to get back into our little Honda after we got the TV home.
So, back to Best Buy. What a process! We got parked in the crowded parking lot (an ordeal in itself) and wandered into the store only to find that we had gone at the worst possible time: a Sunday just weeks before Christmas. Apparently that's TV-buying time. Overall it took us 2 hours before we got out of that store again.
- Step 1 – find a salesperson. The store was wall to wall with shoppers and trying to get a salesperson's attention was like trying to get my grandmother to listen to something not directly related to her. But we were in luck. The sales manager was nearby and he got us a salesperson like that . Unfortunately that salesperson was an idiot. I can't tell you how many mistakes he made – I stopped counting, but I know he certainly didn't know how to use the Best Buy computer system. Thankfully Junkii was there to catch his many flubs. And of course, all along, he never stopped insisting that we should buy the extended warranty, despite our repeated protestations.
- Step 2 – arrange a Best Buy reward card. Once we had everything organized – made sure stock was available, got a few video games picked out – the next step was to get a best buy rewards card. I mean hell, we might as well get everything we can from such a major purchase, right? That process ate up another 20 minutes – mostly just waiting in line and signing forms, but it was still tried our patience.
- Step 3 – back to the salesperson. Great, we got our card, now let us pay. The salesperson, again making sure we were certain we didn't want the warranty, then punched in our credit card info (or at least he did eventually, after a few failed attempts) and we finally got everything on the cart and headed for the door.
- Step 4 – wait while they take your package apart and put it back together. We had to wait another 20 minutes while the slow slow slow fellow at the door cut open our TV box, showed us a small portion of the TV to "prove" there was no physical damage, and then made us sign a form to that effect before slowly packaging everything up again and letting us leave. Step 4 was probably the most frustrating part of the day, made worse by the fact that he required our help to lift and move the packaging around. Shouldn't that be a staff person's job?!
Here's the thing about service. Not only was the guy at the door unhelpful, very slow, and very grumpy; basically he made us feel like Best Buy was saying "that's it – we wash our hands of you. Once you step out that door, you're on your own, sucker!" And you know, not that we should complain – we didn't buy the extended warranty after all – but there seems to be a general acceptance in our society that a store is just there to take your money. There's no pride in the products they sell – just concern over their liability. We're both disheartened that society continues to move in this direction.
Anyway, all that was left was to load the van, drive home, return the van to U-haul and head home to play with our new baby. Which we did. That was the weekend before last. This weekend, we got into the whole process of mounting the thing and selling the beast. That's a whole other post.