Shame on Lileks. He went to Best Buy (cbtn) to replace a fritzy DVD player, managed to get upsold on a shady “HDTV” player and then discovered that Best Buy (cbtn) is no longer content with simply taking his money. Now they want his demographic information too:
At the checkout counter the clerk asked for my phone number. â€œWhy?â€ I said. I hate this new wrinkle. I just hate it. I hate the fact that I canâ€™t buy a frickinâ€™ candy bar without a procedure that rivals a mortgage application. Iâ€™m always interested in the rationale they give.
â€œWe need the phone number before we can let the merchandise leave the store,â€ the clerk said. Practiced response, right out of the employee handbook. Fine. Let me say no, and let the burly boys tackle me as I try to leave with my paid merchandise. Sir! I need an area code sir! Then she said â€œThis DVD player has a two or a four year extended warranty. Which one would you like today?â€
This isnâ€™t upselling; this is deceit. â€œWhich oneâ€ doesnâ€™t include the option of â€œneither,â€ of course. And then she offered me a free 8-week subscription to a magazine, so they could have my address as well as my phone number. [Jeepers]! Let me buy the farginâ€™ thing and let me go! You want a stool sample too? Here!
I have no idea if Best Buy knows, or cares, but every annoying check-out interchange reminds me anew: buy online. If I hadnâ€™t needed the DVD player that night to review some family movies Iâ€™d just cut (want to get them done now, since Iâ€™m wiping the drive to install Tiger nice and fresh next Friday) I would have ordered online. Not because I think my privacy is held in greater honor â€“ they have my address, too â€“ but because itâ€™s just less of a pain in the [rear]. As it stands, you end your Best Buy transaction by saying NO, NO, and NO. They might consider ways to let people leave with the word â€œyesâ€ fresh on their lips.
Gee, Best Buy, dishonest? Unscrupulous? Out for profit and nothing else?
Who’d a thunk it?