Friday, May 27, 2011

Worst Buy

Today I've been invited to go shopping at one of the most evil stores imaginable. No, not Build-A-Bear; I'm talking about Best Buy.

I didn't even need to open Photoshop for this one; it was the #1 Google result for "worst buy."

If you've ever shopped around, you know that Best Buy is really your worst buy for virtually every small electronics need. They might have a good price on a flat-screen TV now and again, but if you're shopping in my kind of price range, steer clear. Let's do a quick test search. Suppose I'm looking to pop a 32gb memory card into my camera. We'll compare Best Buy and NewEgg:

BestBuy: $84.99

NewEgg: $49.99

The observant critic will point out that the first card is Ultra. NewEgg was sold out of their Ultras, offered at $61.99. But here's my point: Best Buy doesn't sell the cheaper kind. Do I need my product to say "Ultra"? It just means it writes faster to the camera. And if I wanted that, I would still have better options than to get it from Best Buy. But this Blockbuster look-alike (c'mon, who hasn't noticed that? inverted color scheme?) won't tell you what you're getting, or what you're paying for. Oh, and it seems I was mistaken; they do offer an alternative to the Ultra:

So, why would I, in my right mind, walk into one of these pits of doom? After all, it's filled with all kinds of things I'll want, but the price-tags are as large as the giant yellow one sporting their logo outside the building. As it turns out, every now and then someone will accidentally give me, or someone I know, a Best Buy gift card. In this particular case, it was more of a rewards card (the kind that expire). So now we have to spend it.

If you're ever stuck spending money (or credit) at the double-B, I've got a few tips.

1) Shop around online before you go. Yes, it'll drive you crazy to see that everything's more expensive there, but at least you'll know what the almost-good deals are. You don't want to blow your gift card on something that costs a buck online.

2) Try software. A lot of the time, releases like Microsoft Office or video games like Rockband will be released at a set price everywhere. Best Buy will actually have the same price as everyone else. Take advantage of these opportunities.

StarCraft II at its standard release price, even at Best Buy

3) Get in, and get out. You don't want to hang around longer than you need to, you don't want to try asking anyone there for help, and you definitely don't want to talk to Geek Squad. Yes, as their competition, I'm inclined to say they'll do a poor job for a ridiculous price. But if you don't believe the pairing of the two biggest rip-offs in the industry was a match made in hell, check out my inspiration for this post:

"MP3 Player In-Car Installation" - $50

Yes. That's what they charge to put your iPod in your car.

I rest my case.


  1. And what do you charge to put an iPod in a car?

  2. I can't say I've ever considered charging...


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