Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Best Buy is Often the Worst Buy...

I have a shopping addiction.  There.  I've admitted it.

Whenever I have money and I want something, I'll have it in my hands within the week.  This is a terrible habit, but it's one that has followed me my whole life.

I have no self-control when it comes to shopping, and when I think back to when I first got out on my own, I remember frequenting Best Buy in Knoxville, TN to satisfy all of my multi-media shopping binges.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I came across this article, today:

I wish I could say that I'm dismayed or surprised by this article, but I'm not.  I've been noticing Best Buy's decline for the past six years, and have communicated this dismay to the corporate structure and local managers (at many stores) dozens of times.

I won't paraphrase the article by repeating it verbatim, but here are my experiences with Best Buy over time:

I first began shopping at Best Buy in 2002 when I lived in Knoxville, TN.  I bought my first personally purchased DVD player, and literally dozens of DVDs, there.  I would go at least once a week after my shift at Famous Dave's or Macaroni Grill and pick up a new release on DVD or a new video game.  The staff knew me personally, and could always count on me to drop $100 there on every visit.

When I moved to Atlanta, however, I didn't have access to a local Best Buy.  Hell, I didn't even know where one was.  So, I switched my purchasing dollars to Borders.  There, I could purchase movies AND books.  I did find a Best Buy near where I worked, but when I went, the experience was markedly different.

I once was physically bowled over by one of the Atlanta Falcons' players who was doing some stupid recorded shopping trip to show how he spent his millions.  After running me over, instead of apologizing to me, he told me to watch where I was walking (I had been standing still), and then asked me if I knew who he was.  I told him I had no idea who the hell he was, but that he was a dick.  When he told me he was an Atlanta Falcon, I said, "Whatever.  I'm a Patriots fan."

This experience pretty much ended my "good times" with Best Buy.

The next time I went to a Best Buy was in December of 2005 when I went to purchase a computer.  At this point, the company began to change...

Gone was the attractive staff that actually knew what they were selling, and in their place were ungroomed idiot boys who had no clue how to differentiate between a television and a computer monitor.  This trend continued, and as the staff got less knowledgable, the product offerings got less affordable.

I remember when DVDs, CDs, and games were reasonably priced - Best Buy, however, believes that these items come at a premium.

Here's a cost comparison:

Fright Night (2011) 3-D Blu-Ray, DVD, Blu-Ray Combo Pack -

List Price:  $49.99 (Ridiculous to being with)
Amazon:   $30.99
Best Buy:  $34.99

It seems like a small difference, but that makes a BIG difference.  That's just off the Best Buy website.  In the store, I can almost guarantee you that the price would be $39.99.  

Any chance that Best Buy gets to jack up its in-store prices, it takes, and then it wonders why consumers don't buy small electronics in their stores?  Figure it out!

That doesn't even begin to cover the fact that the stores are ridiculously disorganized.  Aisles are oddly placed, and products are barely alphabetized.  Appliances are stacked on top of one another like a game of Jenga, and the television section is filled with TVs on the blink.

None of the employees seem qualified to handle money, much less answer technical questions about products.

Here's a hint to all of the specialty electronics stores - if you hire qualified people and pay them well, you will have customers who are happy with the services you offer.  If you hire idiots, cut your product supply, and focus only on your bottom line, you will lose customers.  It's easy.

Downloadable Content is Usually Crap...

So, I'm a gamer, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I enjoy RPGs, puzzle games, and the occasional Zelda/Mario game.

Square-Enix has been my favorite company for over two decades of my gaming career, and I've tried to stick by them for most of the last five years only to be continually rebuffed with shitty games.

Final Fantasy XIII - You're pretty, but your story sucks and your characters unlikable.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 - You're prettier, but your story sucks, your character are unlikable, and you're a sequel to a game that just wasn't that good to begin with...

OH...and then, there's Downloadable Content.

I guess this must be a Japanese thing, but I don't care what "costumes" my character are wearing, S-E.  $3 for a new costume for my character of choice is fucking shitty deal, and that you think this qualifies as something worth paying money for shows us just how little you care about the quality of your gamers' experiences.  That shit should be free.  How about you offer DLC that allows gamers to play games that have real value for their money?

I understand Square-Enix is attempting to tap new markets, but online gaming is NOT the answer.  You are ruining the Dragon Quest series by forcing players to go online to play a game that should be an RPG, but instead forces me to play with others.  I don't want to play with others; that's why I purchase RPGs.  Dragon Quest is one of the most storied and successful gaming franchises in the world, and rather than continue its great traditions, Square-Enix has managed to pump out crap title after crap title.

It doesn't help that Square-Enix cares so little about gamers in other localities.  When Nintendo of America has to step in to localize your RPGs to the United States, you aren't doing your fucking jobs.  Fucking figure it out.

I'm done.