Essays

Why Best Buy Represents Everything I Hate…

I worked at Best Buy for a little over a year, and it was the worst little over a year in my life. Now that’s not to say that nothing good came out of being there, and I certainly wouldn’t appreciate where I am now had I not gone through the shadow of death. I still have a couple (2 to be precise) friends that I made while I was there, but for the most part there’s not a whole lot of fond things to look back on. (if you want a couple quotes from co-workers there, read this)

First off, I’ve never seen so much sexism at an employer before (including who gets promoted, how much they make, whatnot, on top of those quotes in the post above). One of my managers who was probably about 40 would blatantly flirt with literally every attractive girl under 25. It was creepy. This was the same manager who would listen to Def Leapord, Van Halen, any Van Halen solo spin-off, The Scorpions, or any other cock-rock band every single morning. Like 5:30am, and I had to listen to this crap. What I would do to keep myself entertained though, was load up some other song (these were on computers using Rhapsody), and put it right in the middle of his playlist. A couple of my favorites:

Don’t Cry Out Loud – Liza Minelli
All by Myself – Celine Dion
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

So yeah, he was an ass hole, but that general attitude represents most of the (male) employees pretty well. However, I won’t complain any more about the people there, as I believe in people, and trust that they, even those who are managers at Best Buy, can be restored and find salvation.

So what I mean by the title of this essay is actually “Why Best Buy represents everything I hate about this country.” I’ve known for a while that we live in a market economy, and I was even starting to get used to it, but working at Best Buy just brought it all to light. Now I got the first hand view here, but I can’t imagine another place that really represents what our economy and our country is really all about as well as Best Buy. However, I imagine if you worked at a Wal-Mart or Circuit City, you would probably have a similar experience or observations.

The thing about Best Buy is that it is not about knowledge, quality, or even a good deal. It’s simply about stuff. More and more stuff. You walk into Best Buy because they have Batman Begins for $15.99. The thing is, Best Buy actually loses money on each purchase of Batman Begins, but the point is to get you in the store so they can talk you into buying more stuff. It’s not about getting the one cd you want, it’s about getting 5 cds, regardless of whether or not you wanted them.

If you spend any time at Best Buy, you’ll probably hear a sales associate say to you “we don’t work on commission-” That is true. And the reason associates are encouraged to say that is to let customers to relax, knowing that the employee is clearly not trying to just sell them stuff. However, you are trained as a Best Buy employee to sell stuff as if you were working on commission. So basically, the main point of saying “we don’t work on commission-” is to get customers to drop their guard so you can sell them stuff. And if you can sell them the amazingly shitty Best Buy brand merchandise (Dynex is probably the biggest), all the better.

If the above weren’t true, then I have no idea why they keep track of items per transaction. And you are reprimanded if you do not get that number higher (typically you shoot for about 3).

And what if you don’t have enough money to purchase these multiple items? Well then you just get a Best Buy credit card and get 90 days same as cash. I won’t even go into how much of a scam that is. To be honest, their ideal customer is me. I’m very impulsive, and extremely financially irresponsible. Perfect!

My new favorite thing that they do is what they call “EWSI,” which stands for “Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated.” If you’ve shopped at Best Buy recently, you have no doubt been asked upon checkout if you’d like to get 8 free issues of Entertainment Weekly or Sports Illustrated. This has been a “special” that’s been going on for about 3 years now, but the cashiers ceaselessly pretend like it’s a new “special” they just started. Recently I bought a couple rheams of printer paper, and when I checked out the cashier who was helping me looked at his computer screen and said “Oh wait – I think we – yes, we have a special right now where if you buy any computer accessories you get 8 free issues of …” Wow. So this guy fake looked at his screen and made up a special just to try to get me to sign up for a stupid magazine. I rolled my eyes slightly, and shook my head no. The thing is, he was probably taught that by the managers, or if he wasn’t, the managers would probably congratulate him for such a great idea.

So what this encompasses for me is just how much our economy relies on “stuff.” And you need more and more of it so that you’ll be happy, and if you can’t afford it, then you should screw yourself over with debt so that you can get more and more stuff. And then you get tired of that stuff, you throw it in your “u-store-it” and you go further in debt to get more crap that will never make you happy. It is this exact philosophy that Best Buy has fed on (or even grown), and if you work there you will inevitably run into the few people who really buy into it and believe in the Best Buy credo, and it just makes me sad. It’s like the people who really buy into Amway (or whatever they call themselves now-a-days), you feel bad for them, but you don’t really want to talk to them either.

I just wonder sometimes how much longer America is going to live in this delusion. Although if this type of behavior just stopped I think our entire economy would collapse. I have no solution, it’s just a rant. So I still shop at Best Buy, because I do like stuff, but I try to not play by their rules. If I go in to get one thing, I get that one thing, and I don’t allow the love of things to overtake me. So far I’ve been pretty successful, although I think the fact that I’m still paying off my breif love affair with things from about 5 years ago helps.

Getting more stuff won’t make you happy. We all know this, but Best Buy has become a gargantuan company based on the fact that we have no control over our love of things. That’s why Best Buy represents everything I hate.

3 thoughts on “Why Best Buy Represents Everything I Hate…”

  1. By the way, literally minutes after I posted this, I saw a Best Buy commercial during the Bears game which had a song including the repeating words “more, more, more.” Hmmm.

  2. cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-chingaree
    money, oh money, how I love thee
    cha-ching, cha-chong, cha-changaroo
    from pennies to dollars, any amount’ll do

    cha-ching, cha-ching, it’s no contest
    there’s only one thing that I love the best
    from every sight I’ve ever seen to every sound I’ve heard
    I’d gladly give up everything for money that I’ve earned

    cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-chingaree
    there’s nothin’ on earth like the feelin’ of greed
    there’s nothin’ on earth … like the feelin’ of greeeeeeed
    ar ar ar ar ar

    – Mr Crabs

  3. I found this page because my Mom and Dad said they saw your band play down at good ‘ole Harborfest this year. I was inspired to look it up and, low and behold, I found you! I decide, then, to comment on this particular bit because I laughed so hard at the truth in it. Allow me to explain. My husband, Mike, works as the Geek Squad double agent for the Alpine Best Buy and he is very consistently their #1 guy for “productivity”. Every time he starts to congratulate himself aloud on this pseudo-accomplishment, I ask him how many people that equates to screwing over. Then he blushes and looks embarassed (it is his job, after all) and tries to justify the obsurdity of it all–mostly to himself. I really can’t complain all that much myself. It pays him well and keeps us living, and of course, buying more “stuff” than we need…a mentality, as you pointed out, completely perpetuated by people and places like his own employer. Ocassionally, he gets really disgusted with himself and talks about looking for jobs fixing computers elsewhere, but it usually is short-lived. I say “oh well”, shake my head, and ignore it. Maybe one day…

    Give an email if you’d ever like to catch up, listed (of course) above. Its been a long time, hasn’t it?

    Love, luck, and lollipops, Morgan.
    Sincerely,
    Lisa

    P.S.—that picture of the Academic Hall of Fame almost made the coke I was drinking come out my nose:)

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