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gnat (29)

gnat
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Journal of gnat (29)

Friday June 07, 2002
11:25 AM

Boys and their Toys

[ #5484 ]
Last night while I was having dinner with Duane Wessels, whose Web Caching book I edited, our television died. "Phut" is the sound it made, I am reliably informed.

So I got to go shopping at Best Buy last night. Best Buy is an amazing American contradiction. It's the convenience of a million toys under one room and the inconvenience of understaffed undereducated incompetent salesdrones and an archaic computer system that takes until the heat death of the universe to ring up a frickin' sale. Every time I go to Best Buy I am reduced to uttering a thirty second sequence of swearwords out of sheer frustration at being unable to find a single salesdrone to sell me something.

I found the TV I wanted within two minutes. I decided I'd buy it. Then the search for someone to sell it to me began. I found one guy who said he was working with someone but would "come over soon". Five minutes later, I went looking for him. When I returned, unsuccessful in my quest, there was (cue Heavenly Chorus music) a young blonde woman in a Best Buy shirt standing around by my TV. Yes!

She took the card, confirmed that I did want to buy the opened model, and then set off into the bowels of the back room. Where she stayed for fifteen minutes. It was during those fifteen minutes that I exposed my poor 8 month old daughter to a terrible series of swearwords. I didn't moderate my volume. If someone complained and brought the store manager, I might actually get some fucking service!

I finally set off to find her, and instead found another prepubescent servicedrone from a department on the other side of the store, and when we returned to the television there was the blonde woman wondering where I'd been. Screams were muted and curses silenced as I fought for control.

Once she was actually there (she said she'd been "caught up by something else" in the back room) she was very helpful. I ended up with not only a TV but a receiver (and I got a bargain!) and a free set of speakers. I then spent until 1:30 in the morning hooking the bloody things up.

The problem is that I don't have enough speakers to get any of the effects. I don't have a subwoofer or center speaker, only two sets of left and right speakers. I could put them front and back, but none of Fancy Sound options use just front and back, they all want a single center speaker as well. I gave up and hooked both sets of speakers up as "front", set it to the "I'm a dickhead with a fancy receiver but only two speakers" setting and put one set of speakers behind us. It's not real surround sound, but it's still better than what we had before. (which was a TV :-)

--Nat

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  • You can have good customer service or good prices, but not both. Best Buy frequently has great prices, and is rather convenient, as the monstrous blue and yellow warehouses are just about everywhere. But they are universally understaffed in most categories except for idiots, where they have a distinct surplus.

    I figure it this way: I'm sacrificing customer service for price. As long as I'm comfortable with the notion that the 5-10% lower price comes out of customer service, I can keep going to Best Buy

  • everytime I go somewhere to buy stuff it just reminds me why I buy everything at amazon (except for computer parts which I buy online from a (almost) local shop, go figure).

    --

    -- ask bjoern hansen [askbjoernhansen.com], !try; do();

  • Can't you just use the built in speakers in the TV as a centre speaker?

    IIRC the centre speaker's only there to provide a focal point for the sound so that things like dialog seems to be coming from the voice of the person onscreen and not horribly dipslaced left and right.

  • I tend to count to 100, then walk out, usually leaving a mess of non-purchases at the "Please pay here" point. That said, I know that there's a perfectly good shop selling the exact same goods for the exact same price next door, so this isn't quite the terrible strategy it might appear.

  • Your experience is typical of mine in all such large stores where service is required.

    I bought a stereo last winter at Cambridge SoundWorks. Five satellite speakers (front/rear left/right, and center) and a subwoofer, and a DD/DTS receiver/amp. Our TV room is small, and the speakers work very well. It's so sweet to watch Gladiator in DTS 5.1 ...