Customer Service Again

The more I think about the lack of customer service at Best Buy dealing with the iTunes gift card, the more determined I am to be finished shopping at big-chain-don’t-give-a-crap type stores.

After sending the info through the form on Best Buy’s website where I sent them a link to my blog entry, I promptly received a response from a human, albeit a canned type response, simply saying they’re sorry I’ve had problems and they’re looking into it.

But, why do we shop at stores like Best Buy instead of our local corner store? Because Best Buy offers discounts and rebates and buy one get one half off and that kind of stuff. I’m truly not picking on Best Buy because I have a feeling so many of the conglomerates behave in this same manner.

We buy at a discount so we can buy more stuff we don’t need. Why can’t we just support the local shops who do offer customer service; who do care about getting our business?

Remember when I was looking for a freezer? I went to our local appliance store, Ring’s Appliance – a fairly small store, where a real human answers the phone when I call and they remember my name. Vince suggested I check prices at Best Buy before purchasing the freezer. Yes, Best Buy was about $50 cheaper but they also had a $30 or $50 delivery charge (I can’t remember what it was) which brought the price right up to what I was going to pay at Ring’s. Then when the freezer I ordered wasn’t in before my meat was ready, Ring’s sent me a brand spankin’ new chest freezer to use and when my own upright arrived, they delivered it and two muscular young men moved half a frozen cow from the chest freezer into my upright freezer. Would Best Buy have done that? It makes me laugh to even think of such!

When we first moved here, I assumed Wal-Mart’s groceries were way cheaper than Wood’s — our little local chain type grocery. When it got to the point where I almost had to take nausea meds just to be able to walk through the produce aisle at Wal-Mart, I switched to shopping at Wood’s and found that their prices are actually less than Wal-Mart on many items, the people there are so friendly (except that darned pharmacist!) and I actually enjoy going to that store.

Why is it that so many have written me saying customer in too many places is horrible? Why do we allow it? Do we not realize that we work hard for our money and if someone wants our business, we should be treated with respect?

We take it! We sit back and complain to each other but we keep shopping at those places. We keep giving them our money! If enough people say NO! I’m not taking it any longer!, then things may change. I don’t have the time or the desire or the know how or funds to start any kind of national customer service debate but I can change where I spend my own money.

There will still be items I have to buy at big-chain-don’t-give-a-crap type stores, but maybe with my new determination to avoid them at all costs, I’ll even save some money by not shopping at all! If I can’t buy it from a store who has a real human who answers their phone, maybe I’ll just do without!

E-mail Me!


  1. 1

    Belvie says

    I agree with you!!! I’m trying hard to stay away from big box stores and shop at my locals. I too found WalMart isn’t the cheapest. I can do better shopping my local grocery who has nice looking produce and good quality meats.

    I started boycotting WM a few years ago when they tried to put one of their mega superstores within 100ft. of the houses in my subdivision. We fought and won! I found that I could buy most all of the things I really needed at other stores. I actually saved money by staying away.

  2. 2

    Caroline in NH says

    Brava! I totally agree with your viewpoint. Not only is the customer service at most big box stores deplorable, but our viewpoint seems to be “more – more – more” (and cheaper). I have listened to a book called “The Wal-mart Effect” and picked up another (at a holiday farmer’s market) called “Big Box Swindle.” I am determined in 2008 to change my consumerist attitude (buy less, get it used whenever possible) and shop far, far less at chain stores.

  3. 3

    tami says

    Here here. I think you are right, we have all started to accept and expect less. I do find that if I am unsure now I don’t even bother to buy at all because I don’t want the hassle.

  4. 4

    deputyswife says

    Judy, I have many times price compared Wal-Mart’s groceries to our local grocery store. Our little local grocery store wins every time! Also, they price match Wal-Mart’s ads. I would say the only thing, is that if I am looking for a specialty item, then I have to go to Wal-Mart. That is kind of rare though.

    Secondly, I buy most appliances locally. When working on our home, we buy from our local lumberyard. If the items are a $10 to $20 more, I really don’t care. If I were to figure my gas, time, and delivery charges it would come in way over the difference. Also, if there is a huge difference in price, most times our local stores will come down and match or get pretty close.

    One more thing, banking. There is a lot to be said with a local small town bank. They know your name, know you. Can you call some of these bigger banks and say “Hey! I want to buy this van!” and have the bank say “Go ahead and write the check. We will cover it. Come in a couple of days and sign the paperwork.” No way Wells Fargo or any of those other banks will do that. I know sometimes the interest can be a little more, but if a person was to pay $25 to $50 more a month, you would never feel that difference. Anymore though, these small town banks are becoming more competitive with the big banks on interest.

    So everyone reading this, check your small town stores before you go buy somewhere else. It might turn out you won’t be sorry!

  5. 5

    Anita - aka Granny Patches says

    One problem I see with big chain stores is that the employers don’t care about the employees. Low wages do not create good caring employees. A lost customer is not going to change the low wages one way or another so why bother giving good service? Big chain stores depend on volume sales over customer service.

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    Katjaquilt says

    You are right, Judy. I buy as much food as I can in organic quality at our local farmer. As long as I buy seasonal veggies it is not much more expensive (okay, I have to little kids and not Chad to feed ;-)).
    I don’t order books online I buy them at the local books store and I can even order them by phone and will have them the other day around 10 in the morning.
    We bought a new tv set because the old tv was out of order. We bought it locally, got a discount, it was delivered free of charge, they took care of the old one and they set all the channels. In November we had some trouble with the quality of the screen. They came, detected a failure with the provider and never sent a bill.
    All of the local buying also results in having quality jobs in your living area.
    I tried to discuss this with other persons outside my circle of friends and there is still the problem that most of the people want everything and they want it now. They prefer to buy 100 things in bad quality instead of less things in good quality.
    One woman of my dressmaking class bought a very cheap linen online to hand piece a medieval dress she will wear very often. The price of the linen was 1/3 of the price at the local fabric shop. I hope the handpieced dress will survive the first visit in the washing machine without shrinking.
    When all these small retailers close down because of bankruptcy people complain that the city centers only have chain stores and that these have no charme. But as long as nobody buys localy how should the local store survive.

  7. 7

    Vicky says

    Well said, Judy. I hate going to those big places, the exception being the Target right near my house. It’s brand-new and never overly crowded, and I can stop in there after work because they stay open later than most mom and pop stores. This year I holiday shopped at smaller specialty shops, and really enjoyed the experience.

  8. 8

    Nana's Quilts says

    My friend Christian, who helped me set up my blog, started his own about the same time. You might be interested to check it out:
    Customer Service – Good, Bad & Ugly.

    Just last week he had to get in touch with the phone company as his service (on the land line) was out – in his online conversation they instructed him to TELEPHONE customer service to report the outage. Yeah, right! After he brought the idiocy of that instruction to their attention, they decided they could do it for him. Oh my!

    Happy New Year!

  9. 9

    Karen (Misiz C) says

    Amen! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Hopefully if more and more people are discriminate buyers “they” will get the message.

    I go to a little mom & pop pet store for all my pet food needs. They bend over backward to have what I need when I need it. THEY call me when something has come in.

    On the flip side….I want an iPhone ..BAD. But I won’t, as long as Apple has an exclusive contract with AT&T…. for the same reason, previous horrendous customer service. I’ve heard I’m not the only one…you think Apple would have done their homework.

    Currently I’m in a less is more state of mind so the reduction in shopping has been fairly easy.

  10. 10

    Judy says

    I don’t buy cards at Best Buy anymore simply because they charge a service charge to use them and they take $$ out/off after such a short time of having the card.

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    julieQ says

    Hi Judy! Want to hear one more horror story? LAST Christmas, I ordered an I-pod nano black for our son. It is the only thing he asked for… I ordered it the 1st of December, plenty of time, right? It was supposed to be shipped next day. Call after call later, well, on the 15th, it wasn’t here. I called no less than 12 times for a total of 4.5 hours on hold and transferred back and forth, and finally got someone to say “we are out of them”. On line they had plenty!! But they had my money, so they didn’t care… I had to go to the coporate headquarters with much gnashing of teeth and finally got one in, on the 24th. I will never go to Circuit City again!! and haven’t…. So we shop local now…

  12. 12

    Mary says

    I’m sorry that you’re having problems unfortunately it doesn’t seem unusual these days.

    I shop at larger stores for the choice not the discount. I’m not much of a shopper and I hate running from place to place trying to get the things I need.

    I’m doing more online shopping these days than ever. The shipping costs used to turn me off but these days I don’t usually care if it saves me a trip to a store. The one exception is a bookstore but I’m buying a eBook reader and once it’s available (it’s on back-order), I’m sure I’ll make fewer trips there too.

  13. 13

    Beth says

    I feel the same way about Wal-Mart that you do about Best Buy. I will occasionally go there with DH to buy fishing items, but otherwise I avoid that joint like the plague.

  14. 14

    Marianne says

    I agree with you Judy. The problem is unless you live somewhere small, the local stores are pushed out with these Big Box Mart stores. I’ll tell you another real eye-opener… One year ago before all this stuff with suspect Chinese made goods (lead in paint, tainted pet food), I decided to boycott Chinese made things. Wow, I never realized how much stuff comes from there, almost the entire inventory of Target! I am still trying to find a slotted spoon (for draining veggies) that isn’t made there. No luck. Anyway, everyone should try my little project.

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    Ms. Jan says

    You are so very right, Judy. Luckily, where I live, there is a pretty good “shop local” movement and even our grocery store is part of a small, locally owned chain of three.

    The customer service is so much better when the people who are serving you know that its you who is providing them with a paycheck! I’ve even gotten to the point where I’ve eliminated a few local places in favor of others because the help wasn’t helpful…now that’s picky!

    I also agree with Katjaquilt about the Farmer’s Market. Luckily, in California, we can get fresh local produce of some kind or another all year long.

    We really try to shop locally before trying the big-box places. Thanks for calling attention to this on your widely read forum.

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    Leslie says

    Here in very rural Maine, the Wal-Mart is a 45 mile drive. You have to waste a whole day and as you say, no one cares and the products are not great. I have been shopping locally and improvising even on those things I buy locally- Did you know you can make great laundry soap for pennies a load and it takes less time than getting in and out of a WM? I’m actually hoping that between lousy customer service at the big box stores and rediculous gas prices the shop local mentality may return to this country.