Monday, December 22, 2014

Retail Store Price Matching At Best Buy Is Nothing But A Waste Of Time

Retail store managers just don't get it--most especially at Best Buy stores. And price matching policies are nothing but false come-ons that end up being a complete waste of time and are not worth pursuing. Most larger retailers have some kind of policy to match competitors sale prices to gain your business. But getting a retailer like Best Buy to honor competitors prices apparently requires an act of congress.
My latest escapade involves an overzealous Best Buy blue shirt employee who instead of trying harder to make sure you buy from the electronics giant, ends up working against the customer to make sure they don't. The whole purpose (and spirit) of price-match policies is so you do one-stop shopping and forego visiting, much less shop the competition. This concept is lost on most store personnel, sales associates, and store managers at most retail outlets. Even with the newly implemented policies matching online stores, there seems to be an inherent attitude that consumers are trying to "scam" lower prices via false or fabricated competitors ads. Sure it happened earlier this year at Walmart, but most simple price match policies would catch such slight and not honor those prices.  
So fully armed with a current Target advertisement, a printed email announcement, and displaying the online web discount percentage on my iPhone showing the EXACT SAME make and model iPad 2 Air Target was advertising for 15% off, the Best Buy associate almost immediately insisted that the discount was only good on WiFi iPad Air 2 models, not WiFi models equipped with 4G LTE. And despite there being a laundry list of models that were specifically excluded from the offer (iPad Mini, iPad Air 1, iPad 4, 3, 2 and 1), she insisted there was no PROOF that the 4G LTE models were included in the sale. So what part of where the ad that says "Get 15% off ANY iPad Air 2 16Gb, 64Gb, or 128Gb" are you having trouble understanding? Apparently the word ANY was the problem and excluded iPad Air 2 Wifi with a 4G LTE radio option in her opinion.
Not satisfied with her almost dismissive attitude, I thought calling what appeared to be a rookie manager would help, but it turned out to also be a waste of time as he added another 20 minutes to the 30 minutes I had already spent waiting while the sales associated (SA) conducted her so called price investigation. He too felt the need to waste more time on the computer trying to figure out if he should honor the discount. Throughout the whole time he was doing his so-called research, the SA kept repeating to him out loud that 4G LTE models were not listed as part of the sale. The manager finally gave up and told the employee to call the local Target store to verify they had stock of the same exact color, capacity, and capabilities and walked away with nary a comment to me. Seriously now? 30+ Target stores in Metro Detroit and you want to check stock on a high-end iPad Air 2 maybe 1 in 1,000 shoppers would be looking for? Sure enough! "They must have it in stock and readily available for purchase in order for us to match it" the SA insisted. Thats how our price match policy works.
Never mind that I had already told the SA that I just walked out of a local Target store having verified the same item being in stock and available for sale at the discounted price. I prefer to buy at Best Buy for my reward points and interest-free financing on my Best Buy Credit Card over the 5% discount I get on my Target Redcard.  The SA finally gets someone on the line at Target who verified the item in stock and on sale, but said he wouldn't/couldn't confirm the price over the phone. She hangs up and says to me in an what amounted to a happy voice, "Sorry, I can't match the price-they won't verify the price over the phone." she muttered. So let me get this straight: The online price wasn't good enough. The fact that the item is in stock wasn't good enough, now you found another reason to deny the price match? 
I was done. After an hour of time wasted, I told her she can keep it, I'm going back to Target to buy it. Her smug response? "Ok, have a nice day." Really? You should feel proud you cost your store an $800+ sale. Never mind the $300+ other items and high-margin accessories I intended to purchase along with this iPad. 
On my way out, I went back over to where the same clueless manager was standing, explained to him that his all but empty store on the last Saturday before Christmas just lost what amounts to over a $1,200 sale thanks to the rude and not so helpful SA, and how ridiculous it was that not only did I spend over an hour in-store to try and get a price match, but I had also spent over 25 minutes on hold with his Best Buy Store PRIOR to coming out there to verify stock and price (no one ever eventually answered) all the while,  listening to their repetitive recording telling me over and over again about how I can "BUY WITH CONFIDENCE" from Best Buy given the Best Buy low price guarantee and their price matching policies. Yet I come in the store and they do everything to make sure they don't match a local competitor's advertised price. Some guarantee. PATHETIC!
I promptly departed the store and the left the few other items I had gathered to buy and drove back to Target where I purchased the same exact item (iPad Air 2 4G LTE 128Gb Gold) at the price I was trying to get them to match it at $705.00 (15% off the regular price of $829.99. 

The sad part about this whole story? Best Buy had offered the same exact iPad 2 Air 4G LTE model only a week earlier for almost the same price at $100 off $729.99--which only made this deal about $24 about cheaper than that price--so it wasn't like they were giving away the store had they honored the price. Plus with margins of 50% or more on accessories, they would have easily made up the difference. Instead they lost it all.

Bottom line, they lost an iPad Air 2 sale, PLUS, a number of other items totaling about $300. Their loss. Next time I won't even bother to ask for a price match, much less make it to their store.  I'll simply buy where it's cheaper and save myself the aggravation. Live and Learn Kids!

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