A Lesson in Poor Customer Service

I love DVDs and Blu-rays, so I check the advertisements every week to see which movies are coming out. I look forward to seeing catalog titles released on Blu-ray for the first time, so it thrilled me to see that Best Buy would be exclusively releasing Almost Famous Blu-ray this week. I didn’t think having to buy the movie at Best Buy would be a problem, but it became a big hassle.

On Sunday I went to the West Hartford store and found two labels on the shelves for Almost Famous, but no Blu-rays. Someone put out the labels without every stocking the movie. I searched through the movie aisles for a while before a salesperson helped me. She confirmed in their system that they had copies in the store, then she wandered around the same aisles looking for it. In a store as big as Best Buy, it seems like their inventory system should know where in the store a copy is. After searching with a manager, the salesperson told me they could not find it. That disappointed me, but I told myself the shipment probably got delayed with the bad weather we had that weekend.

I returned to the store Friday night, figuring they should have located their copies by now. Their website and in-store kiosk both show there are still copies available in West Hartford. Yet once again there I could not find any copies. It seems like Best Buy trains employees to ask you if you need help only when you are not looking for anything, because no one stopped for me this time. After 15 minutes I was late for dinner, so I just gave up and left. My best guess is that there is a box of Almost Famous Blu-ray’s in their West Hartford warehouse, tucked somewhere between Rosebud and the Ark of the Covenant.

Today I ordered a copy online for pickup at their Newington store on BestBuy.com. Make them find the movie before I show up, I figured. When I walked in the store, I saw a display of Almost Famous Blu-rays immediately so I figured I was in luck. Unfortunately I needed to wait for the in-store pickup representative to finish a phone support call. Then his computer froze and he could not find my order. It took about 15 minutes and two customer support representatives to find my order in their system and find a physical copy of the movie. Finally the first representative returned with a copy. He printed out my receipt, laid it on top of my movie, and made an X next to the box where I needed to sign. I signed and left, relieved that I finally had a copy of the film. When I got home I discovered they left a nice little memento of my ordeal – the imprint of an X on the cardboard slipcover, right over Kate Hudson’s nose.

X marks the spot

I am writing this because I thought it was both a sad and amusing series of events. I do want to point out that all the Best Buy employees I met were friendly and well-intentioned. It seems like they focus on selling big-ticket items like TVs and computers and do not have the processes in place to make small purchases like this one simple and satisfactory experiences. Someday though their Blu-ray customer will need to buy a TV or computer though and they will probably end up going to Amazon.com.

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