The Waiting Game

Tracy Myers
A few months ago, my amazing wife of 10+ years decided that she wanted to go back to school and get the psychology degree that she had always wanted. Initially, she said she could use our home desktop and probably wouldn't need a laptop. Last week, it became evident to her that a laptop would make her new adventures in school much easier. So yesterday, we went laptop shopping. I have 2 Macs and enjoy them both. When I offered to visit the Apple Store to buy her one of the same, she declined and said she would stick with her PC. So off to Best Buy we went. Since she was determined to get a PC, I was leaning heavily towards a Sony Vaio. I immediately saw the one I wanted and motioned for a sales rep for assistance. That's where the waiting game began. First of all, he (Jerry was his name) had to check to see if the computer was in stock. Jerry went to "the back". Fifteen minutes later, he returned and gave me the bad news. "I've got bad news. The display unit is the last one we have," Jerry said. Ok...I didn't have a problem with that. I would just buy the display unit at a discount. Jerry said he would have to get a manager to authorize the selling of a display and a discount. Ok...that was also not a problem for me. I understand having to get management authorization for a discount. Ten minutes later, Jerry came back with a 10% discount for me and we worked our way to THE register. That's right...THE register. There was ONE register in the middle of the computer center with two sales representatives and their customers in front of us. I didn't think it could be that big of a deal, so I took a deep breath and prepared to wait...AGAIN. Fifteen long minutes later, I arrived at the register with Jerry. He apologized for the delays and started a very poor extended service agreement presentation. I was calm, let him finish and politely declined. After Jerry rang me up and gave me total, I figured that there must be a mistake because it sounded high. I mentioned it to Jerry and I was right. He had forgotten to give me my discount. Guess what? Jerry didn't have the "discount key" and had to go get a manager. Five minutes later (no, I am NOT joking), the manager shows up and punches in the discount key that Jerry needed. I thought I was almost to the end of this marathon. Boy, was I wrong. Jerry thanked me and handed me my bag. I rounded up my family and we started working our way up to the front of the store. I had picked up 2 cd's on my way back to the computer section and was going to pay for them on the way out. Jerry had told me that I couldn't pay for them in his section. No problem. How long could this take, right? As I rounded the corner, I noticed that they only had one register open with a line that was at least 10 deep! This was getting beyond ridiculous. Once again, I took a DEEP BREATH which was followed by a short pat on the back from my wife (she could tell how angry I was getting and was attempting to calm me down). I stood in the line for another 10 minutes and I was FINALLY on my way home. I pondered my Best Buy fiasco and realized that while they DID get almost $1,300.00 of my money today, they will not have that opportunity to get any of my money for major purchases in the future. Oh sure, I'll still buy video games, movies and cd's there but NEVER another computer, flat screen appliance...REGARDLESS of the price. We all need to find a way NOT to replicate this process in our dealerships. Has this happened to any customers at your store? If you answered no, are you sure? If you said yes, where did your staff drop the ball? What could they have done differently to prevent it from happening again? Are we accepting short term monetary gains in lieu of long term customer retention? Best Buy certainly is and I've got two words for them: "CIRCUIT CITY"
Bart Wilson
I have two more words for you: Apple Store. I wish we could find a way to make the sales process more like an experience at the Apple Store. I know cars are a lot more expensive than a computer (although have you priced a MacBook lately?) but I'm sold on the way everything flows.

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