Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Best Buy

Who are you people that keep fucking up my shopping? Do you actually exist, or have you been made up by consultants? I'm talking about the people who want more out of a shopping experience than going to a store, looking for an item, finding that item (possibly with the help of someone who knows where they stuck it when it got stocked), exchanging money for that item, and LEAVING.
Who are the people who enjoy being greeted? Don't pay someone minimum wage to say "hello" to me. Do not force them to robotically treat me like a "guest". Give them a raise and teach them how to run a register or find a DVD. They can say "hello" to me while they climb the ladder to get the bit of gear I want.
Best Buy certainly doesn't want my money, that's for sure. 'Cause they've just announced a plan to change all of their stores to cater exclusively to five imaginary people. A small business owner, who doesn't get a fake name; an asshole named Barry; an idiot named Jill; an old fart named Ray; and a fucktard named Buzz; Notice that nowhere in that list is someone who wants to exchange money for goods in the most basic transaction our entire capitalist system is based upon. That's not "customer-centric" enough.
The five kinds of customers Best Buy wants to appeal to are not the kind who walk in, buy a loss-leader $15 DVD on the release week, and leave without buing a $400 digital camera on impulse. Smart people are not profitable people. Let's take a closer look at the five archetypes that DO make money for Best Buy, shall we?
The Small Business Owner: - They buy stuff for their business. They spend a lot, but can be talked into spending more, like the sports bar owners who came in to replace four 27" TV's and walked out with two plasma screens and two front-projection systems. I'm sure they will recoup their investment thanks to their new status as the forty thousand, nine hundred and sixty seventh sports bar to install big fucking televisions.
Barry, The Asshole: Best Buy does not refer to him as "The Asshole". They do, however, describe him as making over $150,000 a year, drives a Hummer, will shell out extra service fees to make minimum-wage employees do shit he can't be bothered with, and is NAMED BARRY. The only way you could get a more accurate description of an asshole is if you cross-bred a proctologist with William Shakespeare.
Jill, The Idiot: Or, as Best Buy likes to say, the Busy Soccer Mom. Jill is "turned off by the techno-speak of the sales staff", which, in my experience, translates to "gets pissed off when asking the clerk for the 'new Nintendo tape... hold on... I wrote it down... Fantasy Finale 12.', and he doesn't know what the fuck she's talking about". She has also bought at least three copies of "Lion King 1.5", and we hate her.
Ray, The Old Fart: These are "family men", which means they head over to the HDTV section and stare for about an hour before deciding that their old TV still works pretty good and they don't want to figure out a whole new remote control. If they do buy a new TV, they won't spring for installation, however, they WILL spend 45 minutes in heated discussion with the salesman about how to hook it up with their cable box and VCR, won't know the difference between 75-ohm RF and composite video, and eventually will leave with an incomprehensible pen-drawn diagram on the back of an invoice sheet.
And then, there's Buzz: Buzz is a "young, active man". Buzz is an early adopter. Buzz loves new tech toys. I would be Buzz, except that I'm not that young, I'm not that active, and nobody gives me $150 every time I crank out one of these columns. Oh, and also, I know what I'm doing. I'm sure, to Best Buy, Buzz keeps replacing his old iPod with a new MiniDisc player, only to then replace his old MiniDisc player three months later with a new iPod. Buzz also monitors his Counterstrike frame rate and gets a new video card every time he can up it by 20 FPS.
And the goal of all this? Because I love typing it, I do believe it's.... ACTUAL QUOTE TIME! "We want to extract a larger share of our customers' wallets." - Mike Keskey, Best Buy U.S. President. Fuck. You know who the last group was to have that as their mission statement? The PICKPOCKET GUILD.
This is why I'd never make it as a corporate strategist. I'd walk into Best Buy, say "How's about you people actually put shit on the shelves on the day it's released, charge the expected amount, get your fucking blueshirts off my back and onto a register, and make the whole process painless." And they'd set my hair on fire and shove me out the window of Sandcrawler #3 *. Because I'm just not customer-centric enough.
* That one was just for the locals.