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Silly Best Buy price match "Policy"?


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#1 of 50 JohnRice

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Posted May 05 2008 - 05:03 PM

I know a lot of people use the price match policy from various retailers. I also do from time to time, usually matching a Circuit City price, since the local CC is inconventient and it always seems to be a huge hassle to find the title I am looking for. So, today I dropped by Best Buy with a CC ad to pick up The Fountain, which is on sale for $6 this week. I found a copy and took it to CS, like I always do, and the girl said she had to confirm CC had it in stock. Then she called the local CC, pretending to be a customer.

This has never happened before. I pointed out that the price match policy, which is posted on a huge sign about 20 ft away, doesn't say anything about that. I also pointed out that I come to BB because I don't like CC. She just kind of flippantly said this has been the policy as long as she has been there.

The funny thing is, she didn't want to see the ad. The computer already knew what CC had it on sale for.

Has anyone else encountered this? Also, how can it work in a metro area, where there might be 4 or 5 CCs in the area? Do they call every store? I just can't believe they go to this much trouble on a $6 DVD. If CC didn't have stock were they actually going to refuse the price match, knowing it will just piss of the customer?

It is strange how some retailers seem to have contempt for their customers.

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#2 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 05 2008 - 09:50 PM

Maybe it is just because it's you? Posted Image

It seems a reasonable policy, as much as any could be: Price Matching itself is a pretty strange offer AFAIC. If there is a price difference, it is either coincidental, and therefore shouldn't warrant special treatment (although they may wish to use that as a trigger to lower their own price), or it is reflective of a difference in service provided. I bet that if we had a store nearby that sold odd lots and made all defectives go through the manufacturer, Best Buy would exclude that store from their price match. And they should: Best Buy provides better service and should therefore charge more than that other store.

Beyond that, I think they should be required to offer all customers the same price. I don't think the secret "this other store charges less" handshake should entitle some customers to better prices. JMHO. Fairness for all.

#3 of 50 troy evans

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Posted May 05 2008 - 09:53 PM

John, have you ever hit it on the head here. The people who work these places just don't give a damn. None of these places offer the staff commissions anymore so they don't care. Now, I have met a few guys at Bestbuy that I can talk to and get along with. CircuitCity, on the other hand, flat out waste of time and effort. You really need to want a dvd bad to put up with their shit. Customer service is becoming a dinosaur sadly. It's not surprising internet business and downloads are taking off. Also, even if they do finally submit to their own policies, after you have to go through all that crap, do you care? I wouldn't. It'll be in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart soon enough. Or, just get it from Amazon. Maybe a phone call to corporate office is in order as well.
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#4 of 50 schalkt

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Posted May 06 2008 - 12:30 AM

In answer to John's original question - yes, I've encountered this practice as well. In one case, I tried to buy 3 hard drives at Circuit City that were on sale at BB. The CC salesperson had to call all 3 of the BB stores in the area before she would give me the sale price - and then the BB stores only had 2 in stock, so she could only sell me 2 at the sale price (and I ended up picking up the third drive at BB the next day).

The entire price match policy is kind of a joke. I really could care less if they even have it, but if they're going to promote it they should make the restrictions reasonable and a little more friendly to the customer. Like John said, is it really worth all the hassle for a $6 movie?

And seriously, how many people get any kind of good customer service at Best Buy? I know CC is bad too, but every time I try to buy something at BB they try to sell me some sort of Monster cable (seriously - the last time I bought a DVD there, some guy actually tried to sell me a Monster component video cable to get the "best picture quality" to enjoy my movie. I think I actually laughed at him).
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#5 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 06 2008 - 09:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
Customer service is becoming a dinosaur sadly. It's not surprising internet business and downloads are taking off.
I think you have that backwards: Customer service became a dinosaur because of Internet businesses taking off. Back when B&M electronics stores could count on getting the sale they help foster by having the electronic device available for sale, to see how it will work, etc., they had a vested interest in providing decent service. Then, when more and more people would go into the store, look at the electronic device, extract whatever insights they could out of the (then still) expert and helpful sales staff, only to make the purchase for X% less online, it drove the B&M business to reduce its costs to remain as profitable as possible. So the customer behavior I alluded to drove the B&M stores to provide lesser service (at lesser cost), so now we have uniformly inexpert and unhelpful sales staff.

With regard to CDs, I don't doubt that it is easier for them (or perhaps more uniformly legal nationwide) to have one price match policy, rather than separate policies for CDs and for everything else. Indeed, I suppose (assuming it was legal) they could have a separate price match policy for lower priced items, but that would simply open the door to NOT price matching lower priced items. What's the advantage, in terms of actual profit, from price matching CDs? I bet diddly-squat, and they only do so because they have a uniform policy.

#6 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 06 2008 - 09:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by schalkt
I really could care less if they even have it, but if they're going to promote it they should make the restrictions reasonable and a little more friendly to the customer.
Allowing a customer to pay less than the price is already pretty damned friendly. I think it is unreasonable to expect much more, for something for which they're going to make almost no profit anyway.

And before anyone suggests the cost involved in doing the price matching -- I call BS. Often these cashiers are our local B&M stores are standing around. It costs the company almost nothing to safeguard the last little bit of profit they may get from a CD, nothing in terms of the cost of the work the clerk does, and nothing significant in terms of customer retention, either, because most customers are almost completely focused solely on the price anyway. Price myopia has a negative effect on our consumer power.

#7 of 50 JohnRice

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Posted May 06 2008 - 10:54 AM

Brian, most if not all of your arguments make little to no sense to me. If the company doesn't want to price match, don't have a price match policy. It's not legally required after all.

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#8 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 06 2008 - 11:27 AM

That wasn't really an important point; ignore it if you wish, because it worth explaining. The main point I made was that bad service at B&M stores was caused by the shift to purchasing from the Internet. Another point I made was that price matching is friendly, and having policies to ensure price matching is not abused by customers is not unfriendly.

I hope that clears it up for you.

#9 of 50 troy evans

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Posted May 06 2008 - 01:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian^K
That wasn't really an important point; ignore it if you wish, because it worth explaining. The main point I made was that bad service at B&M stores was caused by the shift to purchasing from the Internet. Another point I made was that price matching is friendly, and having policies to ensure price matching is not abused by customers is not unfriendly.

I hope that clears it up for you.
Oh Yeah? Then why is customer service on a decline in all aspects of the retail and service markets. Even in food franchises customer service sucks and I can't get my hamburgers and fries in 5 minutes from the internet. It's beyond the scope you've limited it to and only getting worse. That's why people shop on line. They don't want to deal with the bullshit.
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#10 of 50 RickER

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Posted May 06 2008 - 01:46 PM

Customer service is at a decline, BUT unreasonable expectations are also on the increase. Some people would bitch for an hour to literally save a buck. I dont know about you guys...but life is to short. Pick your fights, and treat others as you would want to be treated. Those last few words work on BOTH sides of the counter. Posted Image

#11 of 50 JohnRice

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Posted May 06 2008 - 01:47 PM

And, Rick is the winner...

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#12 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 06 2008 - 09:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
Oh Yeah? Then why is customer service on a decline in all aspects of the retail and service markets.
We're not disagreeing that service sucks. The point here is with regard to WHICH CAME FIRST, the sucky service or the advent of e-commerce. I was there at the time. I know. The advent of e-commerce and the manner in which too many customers care too much about price, and don't factor quality of service into their selections -- THAT caused the degrading of quality of service. NOT the other way around.

#13 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 06 2008 - 10:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickER
Customer service is at a decline, BUT unreasonable expectations are also on the increase.
Absolutely. It never ceases to amaze me how some people actively view shopping as an adversarial (perhaps even warlike) activity, yet express outrage when a company they want to do business with seeks to provide the best return to its owners.

#14 of 50 troy evans

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Posted May 07 2008 - 07:42 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian^K
We're not disagreeing that service sucks. The point here is with regard to WHICH CAME FIRST, the sucky service or the advent of e-commerce. I was there at the time. I know. The advent of e-commerce and the manner in which too many customers care too much about price, and don't factor quality of service into their selections -- THAT caused the degrading of quality of service. NOT the other way around.
Well, I for one cannot agree. There's no excuse for bad service. Customers make or break business and to say because internet came along is why we now have bad service is flawed thinking. Bad service exsists on the internet too. Companies dropped the ball here by not maintaining higher customer service standards. While it's true that people do want value, there's also people who will spend a few dollars more for good service. I do it all the time. My local FYE has some of the best service in the area. On average they charge $5 to $10 more per title and I don't mind giving them my money. Even though I could go to Bestbuy or CC and get it cheaper at times. As of midnight on tuesday, I take the BB and CC ads to my local Wal-Mart and price match the hell out of them with no hassels. Now, I'm not saying Wal-Mart has the best customer service, but, it's better than BB. Just on the fact that Wal-Mart would do without hesitation what the girl at the Bestbuy John went to had to call around about. If the attitude in these stores like BB and CC is exactly what you claim, then, don't be surprised when WM's and Target's and internet business takes over. Just know customer service in stores is why it'll happen. BAD SERVICE makes people look elsewhere. It's as simple as that.
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#15 of 50 troy evans

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Posted May 07 2008 - 08:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
And, Rick is the winner...
Aw Man, I didn't know there were going to be winners. What's the prize? Is it a car? I bet it's a car. Perhaps the Fountain dvd? Posted Image Posted Image
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#16 of 50 JohnRice

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Posted May 07 2008 - 11:14 AM

Still, Brian's arguments make no sense. For one, I don't know how a customer can possibly "abuse" the price match policy. The very concept of a price match policy is "their ads are our ads" which I think is actually a line BB has used to promote the policy. All big box retailers use loss leaders. It is absurd for BB to complain about this since they are the greatest champion of the concept. If a company advertises an item at an exceptional price, then refuses to sell it for that, it is bait and switch, which is illegal, because they have succeeded in getting the customer into their store only to not deliver what is promised. Going out of your way to not deliver on a price match is essentially the same as bait and switch. The argument of better service is also completely absurd. We're talking CC and BB here. There is virtually no difference between them.

I was involved in retail well before the internet and this is nothing new. The internet did not cause this, becuase there has been mail order for decades. It's just easier now and applies to virtually every product. I am just amazed by retailers offering exceptional deals, then resenting the customer for making use of them. I regularly get deals from Harbor Freight. That hardly means they should start refusing to honor them because I don't buy enough regularly priced items as well.

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#17 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 07 2008 - 11:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
Well, I for one cannot agree. There's no excuse for bad service.
Again, you've missed the point. No one has said that there is an "excuse" for bad service. Again: The point here is with regard to WHICH CAME FIRST. I'm explaining something to you; not "excusing" anything.

There is no need for "excuses", for that matter. This is business, not high school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
Customers make or break business and to say because internet came along is why we now have bad service is flawed thinking.
Bull. You perhaps don't like it. Big difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
Bad service exsists on the internet too.
Another red herring... no one has said that it doesn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
Companies dropped the ball here by not maintaining higher customer service standards.
Wrong. I know that this is upsetting to accept, but customers dropped the ball by continually purchasing bad service because it was less expensive. Business just followed customers' lead, doing what they're supposed to do: FOLLOW THE MONEY.

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
While it's true that people do want value, there's also people who will spend a few dollars more for good service.
There are always outliers. That's what niche suppliers are for. Mass marketers are the ones who supply the mass market.

#18 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 07 2008 - 11:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
Still, Brian's arguments make no sense. For one, I don't know how a customer can possibly "abuse" the price match policy.
You don't? I find that practically impossible to believe, especially since we've already discussed in this thread what they do to prevent the abuse. Think about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
The very concept of a price match policy is "their ads are our ads" which I think is actually a line BB has used to promote the policy. All big box retailers use loss leaders.
Which isn't relevant to the issue we're discussing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
It is absurd for BB to complain about this since they are the greatest champion of the concept.
They're not complaining. They applying rules to make their offering most profitable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
If a company advertises an item at an exceptional price, then refuses to sell it for that, it is bait and switch, which is illegal, because they have succeeded in getting the customer into their store only to not deliver what is promised.
Which again is irrelevant since that has nothing to do with what is going on, as discussed in this thread. Another red herring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
Going out of your way to not deliver on a price match is essentially the same as bait and switch.
No. That's a consumerist's cop-out. You perhaps don't like the policy and its implementation because it obstructs your ability to save you money. In a way, you're the one committing the deception on yourself because you're fostering expectations inconsistent with what the company actually has offered you (i.e., with the applicable restrictions). You're imposing your desire about what you wanted the company to offer you (i.e., no such restrictions) on them. That's unreasonable, and doing so is just a source of frustration for folks engaging in such thinking.

#19 of 50 JohnRice

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Posted May 07 2008 - 12:04 PM

OK, I'll try this one more time. It won't sink in, but I'll try anyway. Just this one more time.

One aspect of the price match policy, and one I believe BB has specifically used is the concept of "their ads are our ads" encouraging customers, when they see a competitor advertising an item they want, to buy it from them instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian^K
In a way, you're the one committing the deception on yourself because you're fostering expectations inconsistent with what the company actually has offered you (i.e., with the applicable restrictions). You're imposing your desire about what you wanted the company to offer you (i.e., no such restrictions) on them.

YOU ARE WRONG!!!!!

The policy does not give this caveat, as I already pointed out in my first post. They are just looking for an excuse not to honor their own policy. They are promoting and posting enormous signs on their price match policy, then once they have the customer in the store, looking for a reason not to honor it.

Unfortunately, your "consumerist" accusations are the ultimate absurdity. The FACT is, most of my working life has been somehow related to retail. I first worked in retail photographic sales at an extremely early age (7th grade) and continued through college. I then became a sales rep for a major photographic manufacturer (working with B&M retailers) for several more years. I have worked as a photographer for quite a few years, but am now operations manager for an online retailer (specialty, not even remotely a discount type, BTW). So, I kind of doubt your retail background exceeds mine. It is actually my background which makes this type of behavior almost offensive. If you don't want to honor a policy, don't create and promote it.

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#20 of 50 Brian^K

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Posted May 07 2008 - 12:13 PM

Clearly we're not going to agree.

I know you're wrong, and misguided. And of course, my perspective is supported by the reality you are going to have to live with.

You think I'm wrong. Not surprised.

Let's move on.


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