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Computer Buying Experiences at B&M Stores 449

Posted by Zonk
from the hunting-red-shirts dept.
bob gnosh writes "The team over at [H] Consumer go into Best Buy, Fry's, CompUSA, and Circuit City and buy a computer at each store. They relate exactly what happened at each store, talk about warranties, and what to do to protect yourself or your friends when buying at these places." From the article: "Navigating these retail stores isn't for the faint of heart or those not armed with the right knowledge beforehand. As much as you'd like to go to your closest strip mall, have a salesperson discern your hardware needs, and walk out with a shiny new computer that does everything but load your dishwasher, such an experience is just not going to happen. Most retail sales people are simply not going to possess the necessary knowledge to correctly recommend or explain every nuance of a piece of hardware."
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Computer Buying Experiences at B&M Stores

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  • by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:49AM (#15196626) Journal
    Most retail sales people are simply not going to possess the necessary knowledge to correctly recommend or explain every nuance of a piece of hardware

    I am shocked, shocked I say, to see that there are incompetent employees at a retail store.

  • Apple (Score:5, Funny)

    by pHatidic (163975) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:55AM (#15196697)
    Clearly the submitter has never been to the Apple store. All the mall needs to do is combine Sephora (with all the hot girls) and the Apple store and it would be like a black hole that no one could ever leave from.
  • by slagheap (734182) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:03AM (#15196779)
    A friend of mine was buying a printer at Best Buy a few years ago and needed a USB cable to go with it. The sales drone tried to convince him that he needed to buy one of the "gold" cables... and that going with a cheaper "silver" USB cable would result in blurry photograph prints. My friend (a computer engineer) almost started to explain about digital signals and all that, but decided it was pointless.
  • by dr_dank (472072) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:05AM (#15196807) Homepage Journal
    And this is tough when you are holding a crying kid.

    If you're trying to buy a computer at the same time as abducting children, then you're just doing too much at once.

  • by Psyberian (240815) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:06AM (#15196821)
    It has since closed down, but it was almost a game going to the Future Shop in Eugene, Oregon. For instance I went in to help my Dad get a printer for his computer. Salesman almost immediatly walks out sounding off how this certain printer was great, and oddly enough one of the most expensive. He continues to go on for about 5 minutes about how he got it for his dads computer never had any problems, works great, blah blah blah.

    Cut to a few days later, I go in the next day to get some game or something. I over hear a different salesperson talking someone about a monitor. He continues to go on for about 5 minutes about how he got it for his dads computer never had any problems, works great, blah blah blah. You will notice the verbaitem cut and paste from above. Yep same spiel as the first sales guy almost exactly word for word. It seems, like most sales peoiple those at future shop lacked a soul and just had a clonded soul implanted from a master super salesman. Well maybe not, but I heard that same story a few more times. It has been a while, but I think it was five times I heard that.
  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:11AM (#15196877)
    I like to take people aside and give them even MORE misinformation.

    "SD cards will protect your computer from viruses - you know, StD's."

    "Make sure to demand LRF-5 support for your computer."

    "Tell them you want a wireless ethernet card that can dial-in to the Internet - they'll know exactly what you want."

    "Tell them you want a Pentium of RAM and a 2.3gigahertz hard-drive from AMD. If they try and tell you you can't have those, they're lying - they just keep the good stuff in back for themselves."

    Okay, so I'm more of a misanthrope than a geek. Potato, potato.
  • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation@ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:28AM (#15197051) Journal
    for those who were wondering -- "B&M" is "brick and mortar"

    Either that or a new wireless book service... Barnes & Mobile.
     
  • by Snarfangel (203258) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:30AM (#15197071) Homepage
    Sure, you say that now, but just wait until your silver cable starts giving you .27658's and .79662's instead of 0's and 1's.
  • by GweeDo (127172) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:30AM (#15197073) Homepage
    Potato, potato.

    That just doesn't work so well when written...

  • by springbox (853816) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:35AM (#15197124)
    I was having some sort of signal problems with one of my old video capture cards; there was a bunch of noise going down the picture in pretty specific locations. I was using a cheap $10 s-video cable. (This is the ONLY time I've ever seen noise like this from s-video.) I ended up buying a $30 monster cable. Guess what? The problem wasn't with the cables.
  • by Kurt Gray (935) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:38AM (#15197156) Homepage Journal
    ...is when the retail rep asks "What are you going to use the computer for?" I try to toss out a generic answer like "Programming" but that invites more annoying questions like "Well, what type of programming?" It's obvious to me the sales person wants to dazzle me with their expertise in recommending the perfect model for "programming". So whatever, I say "Web programming." Then fun starts because then the ever knowledgable sales person actually points at a specific computer further down the shelf (where the screens are little bigger and the price tags have a few extra digits) and declares "This is one is the best for web programs." Why? I have to ask, purely curious as to how skillfully they can massage a pile of crap into an answer. "That other one is not as fast. See this one is faster for web programs. And this one also has more graphics which is better for like web..." and so on. For my further amusement I have to ask "Does this one have more internet? I need more internet." just to hear incredibly stupid answers like "Yes, this one has more internet." Ok, let's click up the stupidity dial even further: "What about like, email? Does this one have email?" Now the sales person is going to be honest and assure you that "They all have email... but this one has better email." And so on.
  • Re:re (Score:5, Funny)

    by tb3 (313150) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:56AM (#15197318) Homepage
    Old Joke:

    Q: What's the difference between a computer salesman and a used car salesman?

    A: The used car salesman knows when he's lying to you.
  • Re:Apple (Score:5, Funny)

    by 47Ronin (39566) <glenn@NosPaM.47ronin.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:56AM (#15197325) Homepage
    We have two Apple stores here in San Diego, CA and the one at the UTC mall [apple.com] is set up EXACTLY as you say. Right next to Sephora.
  • by myxiplx (906307) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:15PM (#15197505)
    I've fond memories of baiting PC World, Dixons & Curry's sales staff (UK stores) as a teenager, and then much later on in life. Some of my favourites:

    Setting screensaver passwords on the Windows 98 machines on display (easy to get around if you're quick after the machine reboots, but of course the staff don't know that.)

    Adding a restart command to the startup folder on one machine. We figured the constant cycle of reboots would be good for a few giggles. We had no idea it would still be going 2 months later!! Cracked us up every time we walked past that shop.

    Hefting the full MCSE training guide (4 books, around £160) to have a look. Replying to the spotty 16yr old who asked "Can I help you with that?" with a condescending look and the words "No, I really don't think you can.".

    Spotting their webcam demonstration on 2 PC's at the back of the store, and realizing that the webcam was sat on the monitor of one, but actually plugged into the other... no self respecting geek could walk past that without asking for a demonstration :) I expected some confusion of course, but how little I knew. What I actually got was 3 sales staff, 1 technical assistant (who had actually installed the camera that morning), the technical supervisor AND the store manager, all trying to work out why the camera wasn't working... LOL... I never did point out it wasn't actually plugged in, just said I'd come back later and left them to it :-D

    While working for a local computer shop, we heard a PC World was opening just around the corner. We had a quick scout around on their opening day then had a merry 4 hours handing out flyers to their customers, beating every single one of their opening offers :D We'd have been there longer but we made the mistake of handing a flyer to a member of staff returning from lunch... security chased us off soon after :)

    But by far my favourite was one day I was working in the shop and got a call from a lady who already had one of our computers (and of course knew our quality of support first hand). Her friend was in PC World, ready to buy a computer but she had insisted that her friend speak to us first. Now her friend already had a price from PC world and a computer in front of her, but needless to say she'd been told complete nonsense by the sales staff. I told her a few things to check before parting with any money & she soon had the sales assistant struggling for excuses. I then spent a minute finding out what she actually wanted & gave her a quote over the phone, beating their price by a good couple of hundred pounds and with more features to boot.

    The icing on the cake - she placed the order right there & then, giving me her credit card details over the phone while standing right in front of PC World's sales assistant.

    Happy, happy days :)

    Myx
  • by Mr.Surly (253217) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:16PM (#15197525)
    "As much as you'd like to go to your closest strip mall, have a salesperson discern your hardware needs, and walk out with a shiny new computer..."

    No, I think I'd rather rub my head with a cheese grater while chewing on aluminum foil.
  • Re:Apple (Score:3, Funny)

    by non (130182) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:33PM (#15198255) Homepage Journal
    in the mall near where i live (huntington, ny), apple and sephora are right next door to each other!

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