I heard stories of roaming aisle after aisle with nary a salesperson to be found, of finding an actual salesperson, only to have him turn tail and run the other way, of finally catching up with someone, only to realize he couldn't answer questions about his own shoe size let alone the tablet that brought them to the store in the first place. I heard similar experiences of questionable sales practices, non-existent after-sales service and an overall retail experience that made a post-shopping 45-minute hot shower virtually mandatory.
So there wasn't too much sympathy among my friends.
I even heard from a reader who has spent most of his career in consumer electronics, and summarized the zeitgeist rather nicely:
"I am not sure who is worse BestBuy or FutureShop. Whilst BestBuy don’t use the commission sales method vis-à-vis FutureShop, they both suffer catastrophically from under trained, incompetent and often rude 'sales associates'. If you haven’t done your homework before going in, you are at their mercy and will invariably be pushed to buy the most expensive product."Yup, I can see where he's coming from.
I wrote this piece for Yahoo Canada, Best Buy layoffs won't stop slide, and, yes, it didn't take long after the piece went live for me to get a slew of email from readers. Some of them were supportive, while others were kinda nasty. The nasty ones were, big surprise, sent anonymously, using throwaway web addresses. So predictable.
(The good news? The article has attracted 119 comments - and counting. Looks like it touched more than a few nerves. Good.)
I also received a rather challenging email from the Best Buy folks, and from the looks of it they were none too pleased. Then again, the truth always seems to hurt more when you refuse to hear it.
Your turn: Big box stores. Yes or no? Why/why not?