Archive - Jun 21, 2011
21 June, 2011 - 21:11 — Bryan Lambert
Memo to Best Buy: EVEN YOUR GEEKS AREN'T GEEKS.
When it comes to retail corporate culture, there's no way of avoiding it. Best Buy are dicks.
This is especially problematic because in many ways, they have no fucking competition whatsoever. Even before Circuit City went out of business, they had no competition, on account of Circuit City being so fucking awful. CompUSA? Gone and awful. Beyond that, you're stuck basically combining three or four different smaller stores if you want to not shop at the Big Blue Dicks.
And oh, are they dicks. I don't get to shop there as much as I did during my free-spending renter days, but last time I was in there, buying a game, I had to play the stupid fucking "will you please charge me the price on your website" game with the cashier.
The last time I was in there NOT buying anything, they put a little pink sticker on my iPad. I don't know why. I bought the iPad at Best Buy. I've carried it into Best Buy in the year-plus since then. Hell, I got them to price-match their website in the anecdote above by showing them their own price on my sticker-free iPad. But this time? Little sticker. I guess to make sure nobody thought I was stealing an iPad from their special in-store selection of iPads with beat up Apple cases that have had the bit around the dock connector cut out* and all my personal information on it.
And then there's the Geek Squad. Which used to be a proper company until Best Buy bought them out and turned them into back-room whore-slaves who'll install an OS upgrade for dozens of dollars. And on top of that, Best Buy now thinks they get to own the word "Geek".
See, there's this online computer place, Newegg. Their motto is "Geek On". Their website's main accent color is orange. So the "On" in "Geek On" is orange. The "Geek" is either white on black or black on white. Why am I telling you all this minutiae about trade dress? Because Best Buy sent Newegg a cease and desist order telling them to stop using an orange-and-black "Geek" in their marketing.
Newegg flipped Best Buy the bird, made a raspberry noise, and posted the C&D on their Facebook page, bringing Best Buy exactly the kind of publicity they don't want here. Because apparently the C&D was prompted not by the logo so much as a web ad for Newegg that portrays a conspicuously blue-shirted, but otherwise unidentified, electronics store employee who doesn't know shit about shit.
Because he's clueless and blue-shirted, Best Buy rightly assumed he was meant to be seen as one of their own, but instead of complaining that they portrayed Best Buy employees as clueless, which would have gotten Newegg an Oscar nod for "Best Documentary", they instead complained that it made them look "slovenly".
They should be sending Newegg a fucking fruit basket if that's the case. The slovenly Best Buy employees are the only ones worth talking to. If you see a blueshirt with combed hair, stay the fuck away from them. Not only will they be completely unable to point you toward the last two copies of whatever nerdly Blu-Ray they've put on Fake Web Sale this week, there's at least a 30% chance they might be an assistant manager, in which case you've got a half an hour of explaining to him that you don't need a new TV -or- two years of scratch protection replacement insurance on that $15 Blu-Ray you had to fucking well find on your own anyhow.
The slovenly ones, on the other hand, will usually take ten to fifteen seconds away from hating themselves to point you in the right direction if you ask them nicely and look both sympathetic and a bit slovenly yourself.
Best Buy shouldn't get to own the word "geek", because Best Buy aren't geeks. Geek Squad aren't geeks. And the corporate culture actively seeks to hate, inconvenience, and generally harass geeks. Geeks know what they want, they know what they should be charged for it, and most importantly, they know these things before they step in the store and have their iPad's tagged so that the supervisors can study its migratory habits. Geeks don't get confused, they don't get upsold, they don't buy extended warranties.
If they go to the store and what they want is gone, they won't be talked into a more expensive one, or the same-price but in the house brand. And anyway, they use the web inventory, and don't go to the store in the first place if what they want is gone. And they only go to Best Buy in the first place because they actively resent there not being anyplace better.
Suing small Internet retailers isn't going to change that dynamic. But I suppose it can't make it any worse.
*So that it works with the Keyboard Dock, so that I can write mean things about Best Buy on it. Irony!