Speakeasy And Best Buy Don't Exactly Go Together Like Chocolate And Peanut Butter

from the 'splain-please dept

Speakeasy is well known as the “geek friendly” ISP. They let you have naked DSL. They don’t care if you share your connection with others whether you want to give it away or even charge your neighbors to share the WiFi. They have very friendly customer support for customers who want to use their broadband however they like. Then, you have Best Buy. Best Buy is known as not being particularly geek friendly. It’s actually more focused at the other extreme: the total non-geek who doesn’t know what to buy, doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t know how and doesn’t want to set up their own anything when it comes to technology. It’s also not known as being particularly friendly to customers, with its recent admission to using a different website to trick in-store customers into believing sales were over, as well as a host of other deceptive practices designed to trick non-tech-savvy customers. So, why in the world would you merge the two companies? Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a very good answer right now, but that won’t stop it from happening. Best Buy insists that it won’t change the way Speakeasy works, but somehow that’s hard to believe.

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Comments on “Speakeasy And Best Buy Don't Exactly Go Together Like Chocolate And Peanut Butter”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Sure they do ...

Speakeasy is the chocolate, and Best Buy is all that tainted Peter Pan that got recalled. Seems to work pretty well to me.

E.Coli reeces cups for the win.

I’m not too sure about this merger, bestbuy is a bunch of idiots that are told convince the person dumber than you they need this printer cable because it’s black instead of the white one that comes with the printer.

bmac (profile) says:

Worst Buy

Evidently Toeffer doesn’t actually visit Best Buy very often. They don’t care at all about getting the best services to their customers.

In their stores, you get 10 vultures (salespeople) up your arse if you’re looking at big-screen TVs, but no one will even look your way, much less attempt to help you if you happen to be in some other area of the store that won’t make them as much commission?

I hate Best Buy, and avoid them like the plague.

Ragaboo says:

Re: Worst Buy

No commission at Best Buy, bud.

And for your information, Mike, Best Buy did not admit to “tricking” customers with the internal BestBuy.com, they only admitted to having a different Web site displayed in-store from the automated kiosks. Frankly, as a former Best Buy employee, I don’t think there was anything deceitful going on here. They had Internet exclusive deals that Best Buy WOULD price match if you brought in a printout but, if you’re in the store looking at the inventory on one of the kiosks, it should obviously coincide with what the prices are in the store.

That being said, Best Buy NEVER told its employees about the difference, and a lot of customers were pissed off when we’d go to the in-store BestBuy.com and tell the customer that they were wrong and that the sale is no longer valid (and thus couldn’t be price matched). I’d done this twice myself before finding out that there was a difference. After that, it was a cinch to give customers the price match by checking out BestBuy.com on a computer that had access to the real site.

Again, it was not meant to be deceitful, but it was definitely boneheaded and they deserve all of the flak they get for not having a better-informed workforce. They’re horrible at training employees.

bmac (profile) says:

Re: Re: Worst Buy

That being the case then, I have to suppose the sales reps just don’t want to help customers with small purchases. Exception: The captive reps in the mobile phone department, who are stuck inside their little corral surrounded by glass cases, can’t hide in the TV department with the rest of the slackers.

As a former employee yourself, Ragaboo, please tell us how this is good for business. Did they hold staff meetings instructing employees on how to be as unhelpful as possible unless the customer wanders into the big-ticket areas of the store? Oh, that’s right. According to your post, they didn’t train employees well, or at all.

Yet another reason not to shop there.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Well Said!

I avoid BB these days… it is too difficult to get help. Next time I find myself in one, I’m going to try staring at a big TV and see if “help” arrives.

Maybe they don’t operate on commission, but they way that they behave – pushing big-ticket items and SHOVING extended warranties – sure makes it look that way.

[kossori hana.] says:

Re: a little about best buy

i wish best buy paid commission! i used to work there, and my boyfriend still does.
the reason you don’t get help in the media sections is because it’s treated as ‘grab and go.’ also, it’s all lumped into one department. they don’t really train media employees to know music, games, movies, and software. just how to downstock and alphabetize.
and about geek squad, it’s a separate company. they aren’t always the nicest to even the best buy employees. i don’t want to think about how they treat customers.
but yes, they do cater to the non-tech savvy. those people are otherwise known as the ‘general public’ or the ‘masses.’ these ‘masses’ really don’t know much about anything. when one of them notes that his printer must be broken because it’s only printing white ink, what does one even say to that?
the reason employees seem rude to tech savvy folks is because of the attitude and cockiness they give to the employees. if you don’t want help, they won’t give it. simple as that. again, there’s no commission.

PseudoDragon (profile) says:

Re: Worst Buy

As a former Best Buy employee we were not on commission, not even so much as a cent of a sale goes toward the employee. As far as the pushing of Best Buys Performance Service Plan, employees are negatively reprimanded on paper if they start to not sell them in numbers that management prefers (my current employer Sports Authority does not care much if we dont sell their product plan in numbers that they would prefer) and are eventually moved around the store into an area that the employee will better ‘fit’ into. The only kind of kick back that any employee receives from Best Buy is from stopping theft and from the stores bi annual shrink audit, and even then its not much.

Nickh says:

Speakeasy alternatives

As a customer of speakeasy for the past 6 years, this news is very disappointing. That said if you live in California there is a great alternative to speakeasy, Sonic.net. They are a small ISP that primarily focuses on residential DSL (as well as some business) and has great customer service. They also are cheaper than speakeasy on a package by package basis. As soon as I heard the news about BB I called Sonic to replace speakeasy.

lol says:

Ah, Ignorance

Bmac, you’re ignorant.

#1. BBY employees don’t make commission.
#2. Maybe the difference between getting help in the Home Theater dept and say, media is that they staff more people in Home Theater because you really can’t take a 56″ TV off the shelf and take it home. Most of those are stored in a warehouse on the premises or off site and generally are delivered.
The MEDIA dept is generally treated as Self Service since things are, in most cases, alphabetical by artist/title and genre. Of course, you need to be able to read to figure that out so it’s no wonder you need so much help in there.

Lastly, customers come in all shapes, sizes & demands. So when it comes to your needs specifically you man not require a lot of help (hence the feeling of vulturism, or as I like to call it, “Just Looking”-itis. A lot of customers are not techno savy and never will be. They will never be interested in what most Tech Dirt readers are interested in. So for them (and there are more of them than us), BBY offers different level of services and offerings that different customers can take advantage of (it’s called a business practice). Sure you may not like what Geek Squad does, but many customers do. Sure you look at a problem and say to yourself, “Oh, I would fix it this way. The way that GS does it is not best”. Well, the way people on GS would see how you do things may not be best in their eyes either.

Lastly, let me just say this. I’ve shopped at Best Buy many years and have always been satisfied with the level of service I’ve gotten. I think the thing that amazes me is that the people that chose not to interact with the associates are most likely missing out on better deals. For example, my last big purchase, a Plasma TV, I took advantage of the HD upgrade rebate they offer. I got it by upgrading my service of my cable provider through them. If I had just gone in and taken the attitude, “I don’t want to talk to you Mr. Blue Shirt. I just want you to get me that TV”, then I would have missed out on the additional savings.

As far as SpeakEasy, it’s your perogative to jump ship if you want. I don’t have access to their service here so I really don’t know what I’m missing out on.

Who knows, maybe they won’t change the Terms of Service, maybe they will. It’s your dollar, spend it however you want.

bmac (profile) says:

Re: Ah, Ignorance

There are more departments in Best Buy than just media and home theater. I wouldn’t need help in media, as I would already know what I wanted and would just go get it. But BB also sells furniture, appliances, car audio, home computers and peripherals, etc. and help is virtually impossible to get in any of these areas. But my point again is that you will find at least 10 “blue shirts” at your beck and call if you happen to find yourself in front of that nice 60″ Sony HDTV.

Then again, I’m ignorant. According to you, I can’t read, so I would need some help in the media dept. You have to be the most pretensious, pompous ass I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to on TD. Even more stupendous is the fact that you can get that enormous head of yours that far up your ass.

Petr?a Mitchell says:


Two possibilities occur to me:

1. The CEO said, “I wanna run a broadband company. Let’s buy a broadband company,” and it just happened to be Speakeasy.

2. Speakeasy was selected precisely because it has such good customer relations, and Best Buy thought it would be more cost-effective to buy people with the skills than just bring in consultants to try to change its culture.

Anymouse says:

Come on

People, no Best Buy employee anywhere makes commission…Ever. I don’t care what you think, whose neighbor’s uncle’s son’s dog’s trainer’s wife told you. No one at any store makes any commission no matter what they do.

The reason there are more people in the home theater/Magnolia departments is because, and get this, those department shoppers usually require more help. Why should there be fifteen employees in the media aisles? Do you need six guys to help out the one or two occasional couples in the appliances area? No, that’s overkill. The two most heavily staffed (And most profit-driven) sections are home theater and computers. Guess what, those are the areas where the customer’s tend to not know anything about what they’re about to buy. They need help, and they need it for a long time. It’s no wonder that they have the most employees there.

Here’s a breakdown:

Appliances: Few visitors, few employees
Mobile audio: Visitors generally know what they want, few employees
Media/Games: Visitors can help themselves, few employees
Cameras/Wireless: Visitors need help to get product and answer questions/ *gasp* Good amount of employees
Computers: Lots of questions & customers / lots of employees
Home theater: Lots of questions & customers / lots of employees
Geek Squad: Tons of questions and work / Depends on store

As far as the “vultures”. I’m sure if they did the exact opposite, you would be complaining about that as well. Big corporations can’t win, no matter what they do. Best Buy teaches a “Contact in under 10 seconds” policy so that everyone gets help if they need it. You may not need help, but, like someone said earlier, others do. It drives me nuts too, but I understand it.

So how about we quit making up lies, and quit ragging on Best Buy and it’s employees simply because it’s the cool thing to do? If you would just stop and see it from the other side of the shirt you might understand some of the little things you hate.

Yes, I used to work at Best Buy. Does that mean I love the company? No, quite the opposite. The only difference is I hate it for the correct reasons. Not the falsehoods most people shout out of their lie-hole. Hate Best Buy for cutting labor to stores, and then demanding ungodly workloads (This effects the customer’s satisfaction). Hate Best Buy for hiring managers who don’t know things about their departments. Hate Best Buy for not firing bad employees (One guy I worked with had several sexual harassment claims, broke customer product, stole, etc…Took months). etc etc

Don’t hate them for things you *think* they might do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Best Buy... the store of last resort.

best buy sucks. plain and simple. i’ve attempted to buy a tv from them 3 times. none of those times did i leave the store with a tv. i was told “i am not qualified to use the ladder to get your tv down from the shelf” and other wise standig there, while other employees passed by without bothering to try and help me. Each trip was an hour+ wasted, before i left and went to Circuit City, where i had a tv in my truck within 15 minutes, and for the same price. Best Buy is the store of last resort.

Anonymouse says:

So let me get this right, #22. You’re mad at Best Buy for avoiding potential lawsuits by not allowing you to climb up a ladder and pull down a (assumedly) large tv? Right… That’s a reason to hate a company.

I’m sorry sir, but you may slip and damage product, hurt yourself, or even hurt others around you. If you wouldn’t mind waiting, we’ll fetch specialized equipment (Ala Big Joe – A forklift-type machine, used specifically for this purpose) to get your TV for you.

Outrageous! I demand a shaky ladder and to hurt my back! I’m going to CompUSA!

Sheesh…People sometimes.

No customer is allowed to use any Best Buy equipment because of potential lawsuits. How is this such a hard thing to understand? Sure, you’re the “King of the Dolly” — Until it slips, and your big screen TV goes crashing to the floor, or worse… Into someone.

Now what happens? Best Buy expects you to pay for a TV that was never taken out of the store. You expect Best Buy to eat the cost because it was never “your” TV (or hey, Best Buy should have gotten the TV for you, so it’s their fault! Genius!).

How about the person that was hurt by your antics? They don’t care who pays, but someone has to. Will it be you? No, they were hurt on Best Buy property. Will it be Best Buy? No, a stupid, impatient customer hurt another one. (In reality, it would be Best Buy — People hate corporations no matter what).

Customers tend to be selfish, impatient, and idiots. Look at it from a lawsuit point of view, and I’ll be darned… Everything makes perfect sense!

lol says:

Bmac attack!

By reading your posts Bmac, one would assume you’ve never been involved in a retail environment. Of course BBY is going to make sure that there is someone around that TV to help you. THEY SHOULD HAVE SOMEONE THERE! Flat Panel Televisions are one of the most profitable electronics categories on the market! I want them to have more people there so that more people will buy there! Anyone holding stock in ANY retail company would want that to be the case. That’s why you always find help at Circuit City, Frye’s, HHGregg, Sears or any other electronics retailer worth their weight in the TV section. Again, this just shows your ignorance when it comes to business OR Best Buy.

As far as the Head in the ass comment in your response? Yes, I attacked your ignorance. You see, people like you attack blindly with out actually knowing the facts of how a retail business is ran. I get so tired of hearing that BBY people are on commission when they are not from someone who just has a bug up their ass.

Just because you may not get your way when you go somewhere to shop doesn’t mean a store sucks. When a business sells something to you there’s a huge amount of things that have to get balanced out to make that sale happen. A transaction cannot just be a win for the customer. It has to be a win for the store as well. Otherwise, the store doesn’t stay open.

One of those things that get “balanced” in the S.G.A. section of a P&L for a store is where and when the labor is used. There are other people in the store besides you that will need help. They have to put people where they believe they are needed. That may mean that not everyone gets helped. It’s not a perfect system. Nothing ever is.

I’m not a big fan of Circuit City but if we took these general complaints and put them on a site ragging on them they would hold just a true. I would also be more than happy to point out your ignorance there as well.

Your problem is you expect perfection out of human beings that in no way, shape or form can be perfect. No shopping experience ever will be. I’d love to visit the “retail” store where every employee has a college education, never has a bad day, is emotionally stable and empowered to take care of the customer. Wow, that might be a wonderful place to shop at . . . assuming that the customers are equally educated, also having a great day, emotionally stable and know what they want…

Your expectations are unrealistic, uneducated and based on ignorance. If me stating this means that I have my head up my ass and that I’m pompous and pretentious well, damn, I guess I’m pretty flexible then.

You’re still ignorant.

whargoul says:


The only problem I have with Best Buy is their warranties. When we bought our Direct TV from there we got an extended warranty. When we needed it, we were told that the company servicing the warranty for the whole Dallas/Ft Worth area was about 40 miles South of us and that it would cost us about $200 for them to come out and repair our setup. You would think that a company the size of Best Buy would have a better arrangement than that to service their customers.

We had a problem with the warranty on our washer and drier from there too. Never again will I buy a big-ticket product from there. Music and movies, sure, but nothing that has an extended warranty plan.

Phil Wolff (user link) says:

Subscribers vs. Customers

back to why…

Having an ongoing business relationship (monthly invoice) with people wealthy enough to have broadbrand (a lovely demographic) is attractive. For co-marketing opportunities, if nothing else.

As your home router becomes the center of home entertainment and the soho office, the ISP relationship stands a fair chance of being the source for your next set top box, PVR, slingbox, net-ready TV, wireless phone upgrade, and portable movie player.

Since they only paid 120% of revenue, this deal should pay for itself in a year or two. Is that faster than opening new stores? less risky?

Charles Griswold says:

Best Buy

I bought a computer at Best Buy. I paid the extra money to get a full service plan. I had a problem with the computer. Being a computer technician, I troubleshot my system and discovered that the CD-ROM drive had a subtle problem that corrupted software when it was being installed. (Yeah, weird.) I took my computer back to Best Buy and explained what the problem was. The “helpful” support staff then proceeded to insult me and call me a liar to my face. They treated me like they thought that I was a total idiot. That was over ten years ago, and I still avoid Best Buy stores like the plague.

BTW, I replaced the CD-ROM drive at my own expense with a drive bought at a different store, and my computer worked flawlessly after that. Best Buy can bite my hairy white derrière.

R says:

best buy vent

I am not one of those people that complains about big business at all. Except for best buy. Best Buy is not a business its a racket. The people running best buy obviously skipped business ethics in college. I used to work there. The employees for the most part are non-educated zombies who only know about what they read from BB’s monthly departmental reports. I had a guy there tell me that I needed the monster cable (heavly shielded) brand of an optical cable because of interference. An optical cable which uses light to send information back and forth; so just in case there is a blackhole behind my bigscreen my signal will be okay. Don’t shop there if you can help it. Customer service is garbage, the store genuenly does not care about your shopping experience, just about how much your paying them.

jason says:

deja vu

remember tech tv, remember how it used to be good, remember how G4 took the free will and stomped it into the ground, running kevin rose off and turning it into a sex-fest of pretty people with no real tech knowledge at all. Remember call for help? for those of you who don’t, im sorry. for those of you that do, duck and cover, because best buy is gonna make this 10 times worse


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