Just a few days ago, I bought Kinect Sports Ultimate Edition from Best Buy with what was left on the $50 gift card I got for Christmas.
But I found it unusual that from the moment I got it, someone like me would have difficulty in finding something to buy with it and after searching their ad and even regular merchandise, I just couldn’t do it. Granted $50 won’t go far in that store anyway but still, it was free money to spend any way I wished.
There’s a bit of a backstory here. I decided that the Kinect game would be the last thing I ever buy from Best Buy, and here’s why.
While sifting through the ad and coming up empty each time, I decided to go for the Hail Mary and see what turned up. I eventually chose a Class 10 32GB SanDisk microSD card for my phone, which was on sale for $29.99. I figured I can always use it in a camera if not my phone. (Honestly, it seals my fate in choosing my next phone which will most likely be a Samsung Galaxy S II and not an iPhone.)
Once I figured that the memory card would be what I’d buy with my gift card, I started to check stores for inventory. Both of my local stores showed they had them in stock so I drove to one of them and was ready to make my purchase.
I meandered the aisle in the hopes of finding what I needed. Then I remembered that this was Best Buy and the chances of that happening were slim to none. In the memory card aisle, there wasn’t even a home for the card I intended on buying which indicated that they hadn’t had any in stock for quite some time, but they had plenty of the others from the ad.
So I asked one of the geniuses in the blue shirts if they had any and he told me they didn’t. Frustrated, I said I’d go to the Signal Hill location, reported to have the item in stock by their website, to buy it.
“They are out of them, too.” I threw up my hands and left mumbling. Ann and Anthony pretended not to know me as I colorfully cursed this lousy business and their foul practice of getting customers in stores when they don’t even have the items in stock.
Despite it all, I ended up buying the card online and am currently awaiting shipment. Sure, I could always just order online and have it shipped but that’s not the principle here.
After the purchase, I had about $17.50 left on the card to spend as I wished. That’s when I saw they had the aforementioned game and figured I’d apply a few bucks of my own to cover what’s left.
Off to Signal Hill I go, a store reported online to have three copies in stock. I go the video game department and check the home for it and, as you might have guessed, it was empty. I also checked the memory cards and while there was a home for the one I wanted, it was out of stock. Shocker.
I then asked another blue-shirted genius of they could help me. They did exactly the same thing I did: check the home. They then also told me they were out and that I could check another store.
“No, you could check another store,” I replied. Slightly taken aback by my retort, they obliged and punched up on their computer which said they had three in stock. I made them look for it.
The associate returned with a copy of the game. I asked if they could ring me up there and they did, a total of about $33.
Knowing this was going to be my last purchase ever, I figured I might as well enjoy it. I gave them my gift card and the total was reduced to $15.50. I also had a $3.99 refund from Google Wallet in the form of a credit card. I intentionally ran it as debit a few times knowing it would not work. I then asked them to try it as a credit card and it finally went through.
My total was now $11.51. I looked in my wallet for some cash. I had a $20, a $10 and two singles. While I could have simply given them $12 and be done with it, I thought I’d end it with a bang and hand them the $20. The look of confusion on the associate’s face was comedy gold.
With that, I told them to throw the gift card away. I left the store with my game knowing that because of such a miserable shopping experience like this, I will never spend another penny at Best Buy.
So goodbye, Best Buy. I wouldn’t be too surprised if your bricks-and-mortar stores go the way of The Good Guys, Circuit City and CompUSA.