Monday, January 12, 2009

Getting the Best of Best Buy

Friday night my husband and I were browsing in Barnes and Noble after dinner. While in the DVD section I picked up season 4 of Stargate Atlantis and scanned it with the Shop Savvy program on my G1. Shop Savvy is a nifty app that will scan the barcode of a product and search for it, returning a list of locations and prices. It returns both online prices and those in-store. Shop Savvy told me that the DVDs were on sale at Best Buy, for $19.99.

At the time I had been pondering how I could see the rest of the Stargate Atlantis (SGA) series. I watched much of it during a Sci-Fi Channel marathon last week. They didn't show every episode though, and in particularly they skipped season 4. Having the series on sale at Best Buy was especially fortuitous as we had accumulated $40 in Reward Zone certificates during our Christmas shopping. (I was very surprised to get the email stating we had $40 in certificates. They came from a bunch of bonus points we got from buying video games during the holiday preview event.) My husband graciously said I could spend the certificates. If all four seasons of SGA were on sale for about $20 each, that would mean I'd only have to spend $40 plus tax out of my own pocket.

I checked when we got home and sure enough the first four seasons were on sale. (SGA went for 5 seasons total, but the 5th one is not out on DVD yet.) They were not available at our local Best Buy, but they were in stock at one about 40 minutes away. So on Saturday afternoon we set out to do some shopping.

Those of you who are familiar with Best Buy's pricing policies, may see where this is going. We get to Best Buy and find that the DVDs were not actually on sale in the store... only online. We had someone scan them for us, and in store they came up as $44.99 per season - more than double the online sale price. I suppose we could've raised a fuss, asked to speak to a manager, etc. Instead we proceeded to complete this cool shopping hack :)

I got on my G1's web browser and looked up SGA season 1 at Best Buy's website. It was still priced $19.99. I added it to my cart, choosing the in-store pickup option. The store I chose to pick the DVDs up at - the one we were standing in! I then did the same thing with seasons 2, 3, and 4. I completed the online checkout, using my Reward Zone certificates to pay for half of the purchase and a credit card to pay for the rest. All of that took me about 10 minutes to complete on my phone. It was 10 minutes well spent.

I then used my G1 to check my email. Immediately I received the email saying my order had been received. Best Buy's in store pickup system involves two emails - the order received email and a second one confirming that the purchase is ready to be picked up. We spent some time browsing and 10 minutes later I had the second email. When we got to the in-store pickup line they didn't actually have the order pulled yet, so we did have to wait a few minutes while someone went and got the DVDs. (I resisted the urge to offer to go get them myself :) ) A few minutes later we walked out with all 4 seasons of SGA, having paid about $43 - that's less than 1 season would have cost had we picked it up on the shelf and gone to the checkout line!

35 Comments:

Horace said...

Man do I wish Barnes & Noble would do this!!

blair said...

I know it really depends on the store, but the BB around me has never given me any hassles about matching online prices. They can pull up a browser from their point-of-sale devices and typically just need to get a manager to come over and o.k. it.

Fortunately, the managers their follow the philosophy "I'd rather sell one for $20 than none for $50."

Creighton said...

That is just freakin genius... makes me wish my contract with Verizon was up already (end of next month) so I could get a G1.

justgosh said...

I'll tell you how to do it for $8... and never leave your house. Rapidshare.com and burn them to DVD.
Sure it costs more time, but you can be watching the show while you make your DVDs. Get all 5 season of SGA, all 10 SG1, all the movies, and web content... show me a box set with that.

Kent said...

I work for Best Buy. I am just a lowly sales associate, so this is not an official statement. Check the bestbuy.com web site for that.
I can confirm that is is corporate policy to match our own web site prices, as well as local competitors, with the exception of membership stores like Sam's Club. We will also call the competitor to confirm that the item is in stock. The web site will also price match the stores. In either case, this does not include open box or clearance items.

Anonymous said...

Tried this at Walmart on an Xbox 360 controller because the online price was $15 cheaper. Walmart would not match walmart.com. We were going to use the instore pickup but shipping was going to take 2 weeks rather than pick it up in the store 10 minutes later like worked at best buy.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Best Buy for 5 years it is their policy to match their own website, you wouldn't even have to "raise a fuss" just ask, it would have taken less time than the 20 mins you had to wait to have the product picked from the warehouse.

Anonymous said...

It might be "policy" for BB to match their own website, but I've found that at least at the several stores I've tried it at, they fight tooth and nail not to.

I've resorted to the described trick more than once using my lowly iPhone (ok, I'm now jealous of an Android app!) because of a manager's refusal to price match.

Anonymous said...

If it says "online only" then they try to stick to that But if the price is less online then they will price match it under best buy

taupecat said...

a lot of people are saying best buy will match their online price if you just ask. problem with that is best buy has already been caught once using a "different" version of their website (with higher prices) in the store as opposed to what you'd see if you pulled it up at home. so unless you bring a print out (which again, could be disputed because what if the online price went up after you printed out the web page) or have a web enabled phone that uses a dns server independent of best buy's (for example, your cell providers), you have no way of proving the online price is what it is.

Anonymous said...

I do this kind of stuff all the time. I love my smart phone :-)

The other day there was a huge line at a popular eatery. Not a soul in the takeout line.

Out comes the cell phone, placed an order online...6 minutes later I picked up the order from the empty takeout line and sat down.

Anonymous said...

Added a few entertainment gizmos over the holidays and came to the realization that I had more remotes than would fit on my end-table. Did a bit of research and found BB was selling the Harmony One from Logitech at a very competitive price. Show up at the store and same story as above. At the register I browsed to the bestbuy.com site listing the sale price, on my crackberry, showed the clerk the price and blammo - instant discount. Easy peasy.

Scott said...

I do a similar thing with hotels. I take quite a few long roadtrips and don't always know what city/town I'll be in when I'm tired enough to stop driving.

I usually find some good looking hotels on iPhone while on the road (ok, my wife in the passenger seat looks while I drive), then do a quick inspection tour at the hotel itself to check on the area and general condition of the hotel, and if I'm going cheap and I'm not confident in the place, I'll sometimes take a tour. Then, it's back to the car where I get out the laptop and steal wifi and reserve online, or just do it on my iPhone in the lobby. It's rare that you don't save at least 20% from what you are quoted in the lobby, and sometimes you can bargain with the manager (particularly if it's starting to get late) for a lower price just by showing him/her prices on your phone of nearby competitors.

Bibbies said...

I've had this problem with Walmart not matching Walmart.com's prices. I buy the item at the store and also buy it online with the free site-to-store shipping, then return the shipped item with the original receipt. Despite arguing with managers and doing this on my phone in front of them, the policy won't budge. Doesn't make business sense because the B&M store actually hasn't sold me anything and still has their inventory.

Lois said...

Pulling out your cell phone, by the way, is also the best thing to do when your flight gets canceled at the airport. More I've been on a flight that has been canceled and the announcement is made that everyone should report to the gate for rebooking. Seats quickly fill on other flights and the last people in line are out of luck. But if you call the 1-800 number for the airline immediately, they have access to the same seats as the gate agents.

Anonymous said...

This articles highlights again why I hate my cell company: Verizon. Why couldn't we have the G1 or the Iphone or something besides the friggin' BB storm!!

I see all these cool apps and things for these smartphones and I just have to sit back and curse. Arggghh.

jfranklin said...

Did much the same once at a Circuit City. Got an eight gig flash drive for half price.

Also used rewards zone points that got approved while in store by letting the cashier key the coupon code in off the email they sent me on my iPhone.

Brainiac4 said...

In addition to the fact that you should have been able to get the store to price-match the web site (yeah, I know, sometimes the store staff doesn't know all the policies), you can do this on the in-store kiosk. We changed it to show the better of online vs. in-store price. It even has a handy bright yellow banner that tells you as much.

You could also have ordered from home for instore pickup. So while it's cool that you got the best price, you kind of did it the hard way. :)

Anonymous said...

I did the exact same thing at Circuit City once with 1 difference. I wanted to buy guitar hero and eventhou it online it showed up as "in stock", after driving to the store not only
I was greeted with outmost rudeness, but also with raised eyebrows saying I was crazy.

So I did the exact same thing this article suggests, but instead of using a sartphone, I used one of ?Circuit City'y very own store computers. I asked the firedog guy and he let me use his.

Guess what, it was not in stock. So I proceeded to invoke their 24 minute pickup guarantee, and after more raised eyebrows, I was presented with a $25 gift card.

You don't mess with the geeks sire.

ckaminski said...

Regarding verizon and the G1: Verizon made the dumb-ass decision to go with CDMA, and so phones that the rest of the world is using... we can't. In fact I'm a hairs-breadth away from jumping ship with Verizon (12 years) because they have so many me-too phones, and little actual differentiation.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say SGA is an awesome show.. with only the occasional "lazy writting" episode. Sucks it got cancelled. I'm gonna miss Rodney every week.

Anonymous said...

I have done the same thing using my G1 and Shop Savvy, except I had them pricematch a price at Circuit City! I just showed a worker the price on Circuit City's website on my phone and he took my purchase to a register and had them pricematch it!

Love it!

FindItBuyIt said...

Hahaha..That's complete genius! I wouldn't have thought of that. Thanks for the tip.:)
Cleona.

Anonymous said...

I work at best buy, this article is pointless. We price match our competitors and our own website.

Anonymous said...

One person from one Best Buy may say that they always price match, but you can catch another person at a different store who tells you otherwise. Heck, you could catch someone at the SAME store who'll argue over price matching the website.

I don't need the hassle, thanks!

Exodus said...

believe you, me.... NOT EVERYONE will agree to the online prices... and not every store does the price match thing..

its REALLY a case by case thing....
if the price match is EXTREMELY low (like a 60% difference) the manager can decline it.

and some store will go with the online price, others will argue its online only.. typically tho, they have computers in the store to use.... POINTLESS TO DO THAT, but yea

Kent said...

1. Every store must abide by the corporate policy. The policy is posted on the web site for all to read. If a manager disagrees, call corporate:
Best Buy Corporate Customer Care
P.O. Box 9312
Minneapolis , MN 55440
1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289)
The policy:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site//olspage.jsp?id=cat12098&entryURLType=&categoryId=cat10011&type=page&entryURLID=&contentId=1118843518460
There are many exceptions described in the policy, including when the item is clearance, not in stock, or refurbished. It must be the exact same item, new in the box and on their shelf in a local store.
2. There are 2 web sites available on the store computers. Be sure they check both. One is the "In-store" site, showing prices and availability in stores. The other is the "National" site, and it is the same one you can see anywhere.
Some managers are very aggressive, but the corporate policy is very pro-customer. They want you to come back.
We take time every day calling stores for a price match to check if they have things in stock, and the other stores sometimes will not answer the phone when the check caller ID.
3. If it is really such a good deal at the other store, why don't you just buy it there? Why is this such a big deal? Or maybe there is some value in buying from a reputable dealer.

Circuit City Coupons said...

As in all other things, we should be careful with buying specially online. They have advantages as well as disadvantages. Think before buying online.

BZero said...

*chuckle* Awesome. B)

shannon-elaine said...

I bought a laptop from BB this way and realized as well that I wasn't charged any tax when I picked it up at the store. I've never been charged taxes ordering online or when I picked up my order from the store.

nka said...

Well done! Anything that anyone can do to stick it to BestBuy I am all for.

Anonymous said...

You actually wasted a bit of time. Best Buy will price match with bestbuy.com, that's all you have to do. I've done it many times.

geeky! said...

So I had to do this with Fry's tonight. Got some RAM for the computer that was on sale on the website. Long-story-short, I had to place my order online, while in the store to get the online price. I saved half the initial cost of the RAM. Yay for smartphones!
I <3 my G1. :D

Jes said...

Another tip I just found out: You don't necessarily need the email to pickup. I had placed an order online for store pickup. Waited several hours with no email. I swung by the store anyway while running errands, found the items I had ordered, went to the CS desk and asked if I needed the email. Was told no, that they could look it up, which the guy proceed to do and check me out. Definitely made my day.

nancy said...

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