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Best Buy Hero

posted on October 29th, 2007 by golden jew

After recovering from a brutal hangover Sunday morning, I set out with my roommate obtain Guitar Hero 3. Now, due to past horrific experienced with Best Buy, I had first sought to order it from Amazon.com, but was told I would not receive said game until mid November. This was deemed unacceptable. So we headed to Best Buy.

Upon arriving, we found, to our glee, a fully stocked display of Guitar Hero 3 games. I quickly grabbed two copies for the Xbox 360 (one for me, one as a gift for a friend), and my roommate grabbed an extra guitar. As I walked away from the display, I was accosted by a Best Buy employee, who, seeing two of us, informed me that there was a one-per-customer limit. I handed my extra copy to my roommate and the employee was sated.

We headed to the checkout, and I tried to pay for both copies of the game, explaining to the cashier that there were two of us, so no Best Buy laws were being broken, and that if my roommate paid for the other copy, it’d then inconvenience me cause I’d have to give him $100 in cash. The cashier refused, stating “one per customer.” I asked again nicely, pleading for rationale behavior. I might as well have been negotiating with a tree. In frustration, I handed the second game to my roommate and paid for mine.

Now my roommate goes to pay. He has a Guitar Hero 3 game, and an extra guitar. He is informed that there is a limit of one per customer. My roommate explains he has a controller and a game, and inquires if it’s “one guitar” per customer limit. The Best Buy cashier says “yes.” Both of our heads exploded in shock, and then the Best Buy guy, through what I can only assume is the intervention of Jesus, realizes that it’s not actually two games, so he can sell them. As he’s ringing my roommate up, another Best Buy employee comes up, and asks the cashier “Why are you selling them two games, there’s a limit of one per customer.” The cashier informs her haughtily “It’s a game and a controller, not two games.” I then utter, loudly, “Yeah, any idiot can see THAT.” Astoundingly, we weren’t harangued by the guy at the exit who makes sure you aren’t stealing stuff, but I really thought we would be.

This is a classic case of a store allowing a policy get in the way of common sense. They didn’t prevent any perceived hoarding, all they did was manage to create ill will in two customers. We weren’t trying to break any of their “laws”, either–there were clearly two of us–and for them to reason out what we were doing was legit would have cost them all of 20 neurons of computational power, which is 20 neurons too many for your average Best Buy employee.


  1. christian said on October 29, 2007:

    In some strange alternate universe a guy who looks a lot like me got a free faceplate from Best Buy.

    This news is quite frustrating though, considering you weren’t breaking any rules.

    What it does tell me is that my hunch about a guitar shortage from the previous post might have some merit.

    Think about it – if they have stacks of the game (which I believe they did, because I saw ’em too), then they had enough of copies to satisfy the launch rush. But after that, will the stacks be replenished quickly? Maybe not, and BB and others want them to hold out as long as they can, and are afraid folks might pick them up for putting up on Ebay in two weeks.

    Of course this all hinges on whether people would pay extra on ebay for guitar hero.

    Also, I wonder if Best Buy and other retailers are catching on, and feel a little burned by the type of people spawned by sites such as cheapassgamer. You know, they come to the store, by tweleve copies of the discount game, and there’s only one fucking reason anyone would need that many. Now they’re getting unfightfully paranoid about new games that they’re actually going to make some scratch on.

    Also, I’m not surprised they couldn’t tell the difference between the game and controller. That actually requires reading and visual observation, which I already proved gamers don’t have much of, and apparently, neither do the people who sell to them.

  2. GoldenJew said on October 29, 2007:

    Free faceplate? That’s bullshit!

  3. Stefan said on October 29, 2007:

    I was at a best buy the other day picking up Zack and Wiki (a truly amazing game, by the way), and they had turned their checkout into the real-life equivalent of visiting a shady web site, or dealing with a program which comes with bundled adware. They assumed by default that I wanted the replacement plan (asking for extra confirmation that I was going to “take my chances” when I said no), to sign up for a discount card with them, and to start my free trial subscription to a magazine.

    This was not, “would you also like a magazine subscription today?”. This was “this purchase comes with a free trial. Pick one of these three magazines.” There was no asking, and if I hadn’t just stood there and kept saying, “No, I don’t want anything beyond the game”, I would have very nearly doubled the amount I was spending (counting the subscription price once the magazine trial ran out and I was automatically billed).

    I do my best not to deal with web sites that engage in practices like that — pre-checking the boxes and opting you in by default to free trials and “marketing offers” from partners. I’m not sure why Best Buy thinks that shady adware affiliates are a model example for customer relations, but it’s really going to make me think twice before going back there.

  4. GoldenJew said on October 29, 2007:

    The problem I have is that although Best Buy sucks, they (used to) suck less than the competition. I’m seriously considering swapping to Circuit City as my first choice, at least for popular games I know they’ll have. I also pre-ordered Rock Band at EB, even though I dislike them as well.

  5. christian said on October 29, 2007:

    This is Twilight Zone shit over here. I once was offered the whole free magazine thing as well, but my cashier actually grabbed me receipt, and wrote down a URL for me to go to to actually cancel the subscription. I asked if it was a hoax, and she assured me it worked.

    That night I went to the website and canceled the subscription, and received six free issues of Sports Illustrated, no strings attached. I never received a bill or another issue after that.

    I’m sure its not company policy to get your customers to cancel the magazines, but it is human nature to want stuff for free, and somehow I was rung up by an actual human.

  6. jay said on October 29, 2007:

    I have had terrible times at Circuit City and they have a reputation for scamming their customers at every opportunity (Xbox Live update only $50!). Besides having to wait now and then I think Amazon may be the best place to buy most things.

  7. Tony said on October 29, 2007:

    I was just clued into the website http://www.familyvideo.com/. They have great prices and a shipping deal that allows you to basically overnight your entire order for a flat charge of $5.50. It even works on orders that contain games that come out at different times. My last order was Halo 3, Mass Effect and GH III (360). I got Halo 3 the day after launch, and GH III was delivered this morning. Plus with the special prices if I figure that I got Halo and Mass Effect for normal price ($60) that makes for GH III overnight shipped for $60. I get one e-mail from them a week just informing me on their weekly deals (which I don’t mind).

    I guess in order to make it worthwhile you really need to order more than two games at a time, but with the crop of games coming in the next couple of months I don’t think it will be a problem.

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