Does Your Blue Shirt Come with a Replacement Plan?

After discovering that Surprise! Surprise! had only one type of fan on their web site, I was forced to go on another guilt trip and buy a fan from Best Buy.

It's just the right kind of fan for my room. You might even say it's elegant. Okay, you might not, but the manufacturer thinks it is. It's on the box.

I'm already feeling much cooler. I definitely needed to cool off after my heated experience purchasing this fan.

As you know, Best Buy has a "performance service plan." It's basically a way for them to make more money off of you by instilling in you the fear that you might break the product in the next two years. I'm a cheap bastard, and I will not fall for a rip-off like this.

I suppose if I was buying a $500 air conditioner or another large appliance, I might consider it. But I was shocked when the cashier offered it to me on the $49 fan I had just bought - for an extra $8:

Cashier: Would you like to purchase our performance service plan for this fan? It will allow you to return it and have it fixed for free if the motor stops working or the blades get gummed up with dust.

Me: No thanks.

Cashier: Are you sure? It's only eight dollars. Basically, if it breaks in the next two years, you'll get a brand new fan for only eight dollars.

Me: No, it's okay, hopefully in two years, I'll actually have a bedroom with a window I can put an air conditioner in.

At this point, I was starting to get agitated. I have bought much more expensive items at Best Buy, including a $150 TV, a $120 air conditioner, and a $250 MP3 player without ever being second-guessed on my decision to pass it up. But on this $49 fan, she's being awfully pushy. So I decided to fight fire with fire.

Cashier: My mom used to have to buy a new fan every six months because the motor would break.

Me: Are you telling me that I'm buying a defective fan? Are you selling me a defective product?

Cashier: No. I'm just sayin', these things break easily.

Me: Don't worry, I'll take good care of it.

Problem solved, right? At this point, I'm already swiping my credit card to finish the transaction.

Cashier: It's only eight dollars. We'll even replace the remote control if it breaks.

THE REMOTE CONTROL! Well, there you go. Now I have to get it. Because I'm obviously too lazy to walk 4 feet over to the fan to turn it on or stop it from oscillating.

Me: No thank you.

Cashier: Now you're just rushing to get this over with, aren't you?

Me: Yes. And can I get this tied up?

Cashier: Sure.

She almost forgot to give me my receipt. And after waiting two minutes at a table, nobody ever came to tie up my box so I could carry it home easily. So I just left.

When I got home, I opened my elegant fan. And found a product registration card... notifying me of the five-year warranty that comes with the fan.

It's karma, people. I swear, I will honestly start supporting my local small businesses.

18 Moments of Idiocy:

Blogger MattySox said...

Long-time listener, first time caller: that post should've come with the word "elegant" stamped on the box. Nicely done, my friend. That person sounds like the target audience caller for WEEI. (see my blog.)

11:17 PM  
Blogger WelshSoxFan said...

Is it just me, or are the store legally obliged to replace a product if it breaks anyway?

Quick qeustion mate - how do you put those videos on your blog? I'm retarded at this computer stuff!

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, just to defind Best Buy a bit, because I used to work there and understand how things work.

First off, Best Buy is utterly retarded in that it forces its employees to sell, sell, sell without giving them the reason of commission to do it, they just scare them with "well you'll be fired".

Secondly, service plans are a great value, for certain products. Best Buy blankets all of its products with these service plans and some are down right idiotic (aka, the one on your fan). However, for a television, computer, refridgerator and even an MP3 player, home surround sound system and printers it is an excellent idea. Mostly because those products come with limited one year warranties and Best Buy will come out and fix your problem at no additional charge.

Third, service plans have lots of hidden benefits in them that many Best Buy employees simply fail to mention (which is EXTREMELY dishonest). Like if you buy a DVD or VCR player, with that service plan you get AS MANY FREE IN STORE cleanings as you want. Tell me that's not worth $20 for two years. Your television service plans come with FREE YEARLY IN HOME cleaning, granted you have to call for it, but you get it.

In closing my friends, a service plan is as good as you care to make it. If you use it right, you can get your money's worth and then some. I will not begin to suggest that you should buy a service plan for everything, that would be stupid. Examine carefully next time the values of said plan before you go putting it down.

Sincerely,

Nathan Lindberg
Ex-Best Buy Sales Associate
Employee of the Month Summer '05

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Karen ;- ) said...

Cashier: Now you're just rushing to get this over with, aren't you?

*what evidiot WANTED to do*
Chris: Actually, you've convinced me. I have a question about this performance service plan, if you don't mind.

Cashier: Happy to be of assistance, sir, what can I answer for you?

Chris: Would the performance service plan work if say I, oh, threw the broken fan motor through the window before burning the store to the ground?

*pause*

Cashier: Thank you for shopping Best Buy, you have a nice day.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Betty said...

I am absolutely retarded today. When you said fan I thought "fan" like you went to best buy to buy a fan- someone who likes your blog or something. Oh god and it's only 2pm.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Betty, you're forgiven. My weekend is 90 minutes away, so my brain burned out for the week hours ago.

I wonder if I could buy fans. I know I can pay-off other bloggers to speak highly of my blog.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Dori said...

omg dude....

SO G O O D!

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

I agree w/Dori. Great stuff! I want to use this in a script myself. On a side note, those warranties are a complete waste of money. I don't care what you're buying and the fact that stores like Best Buy and Circuit City push them so hard is evidence enough to know that they're just tryin to screw you.

2:25 AM  
Blogger Gigi said...

The same thing happened to me, except that the cashier wasn't as creative. He just said, "Are you sure?" 800 times. And this was about a phone jack.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Kirk said...

You'd think Best Buy would have backed off of these things after getting nailed with a class action lawsuit a few years back.

Truth be told, Best Buy (or any other retailer) doesn't have much to do with these plans anyway. They're actually sold and administered by a 3rd party, and the retailer just gets a commission. So, if something breaks, you call a non-Best Buy 800 number and go from there. I actually interviewed for a job with the company that handles BB's plans about 6 months ago, and it's a disatser waiting to happen. They seem to be constantly one small step away from utter collapse. I turned down the job offer and I didn't even have anything better waiting. Stay away at all costs.

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Familiar story. I had a similar experience. It was offered and I gave a polite "No thank" to a warranty on a $29.00 hair clipper set. The clerk continued and I said "These are a rip off - I never get them - please don't ask me again" to which the clerk replied "It's my job - I have to do this". The clerk continued through the entire script while I ignored the remainder of the pitch. After that I do not buy anything from Best Buy other than the loss leader new DVDs on Tuesday. Not only is Best Buy not getting any revenue from me they are also losing money on the purchase I do make since they are selling it as a loss under the assumption or hope that I will buy something else while in their store.

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Want to see some pretty scairy stuff about Best Buy? Check out this web site.

http://www.bestbuysux.org

It offers many good reasons not to do business with them.

5:59 AM  
Blogger DrunkMonkey said...

Surprisingly, I actually have good things to say about Best Buy's service plans. My first laptop was from Best Buy, and I had not yet heard the horrors of their service plans - luckily. I got a 3-year service contract for around $200.

The first time I used the contract was simply for a new battery, which was shipped to me with no questions asked.

The second time, I came in because my microphone stopped working, my space bar was sticky, and finally my screen stopped working. I was at the very end of my service plan and I figured I'd get the most for my money. They shipped it out to the manufacturer and decided that it would be more cost effective to just give me a new one. I ended up paying $240 for a laptop better than my old one($90 tax - $50 rebate + $200 new service plan). Tell me that isn't a good deal.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former best buy employee myself, let it be known that the store tracks how many service plans you sell. Not sure if they've changed it in recent years, but you are expected to maintain a certain percentage of plans per sale that you make. I think some sort of commission may be involved as well (I didn't work at the register, just out on the floor). FYI.

1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Employees of electronics stores are under tremendous pressure to sell service plans, even on the piddly little stuff. A number of years ago I worked at BrandsMart USA in Florida, where the mantra was "The only reason for selling the product is it provides an opportunity to sell the warranty. We don't make anything on the product." When I worked in home electronics at Burdines, a condition of continued employment was a minimum of 7% of sales dollars had to be extended warranties. Miss that goal and you were fired. Failure to ask the "secret shopper" i.e. management spy, at least three times to buy an extended warranty was grounds for discipline.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous melissa said...

so i noticed this post from a link on Gawker then somehow mentioned it to my friend Dori. Yes that Dori. How random is that? Awesome post btw.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got tired of Best Buy being too pushy about selling the service plans and I found that doing this works well to shut them up. When they are starting to explain the warranty, simply interrupt and say forcefully "NOT INTERESTED." This puts them on the defensive and they will want to get done with the sale quickly. I also like when I pay cash and they try to get my phone number and I say "NO, I am not going to do that."

10:58 PM  
Anonymous sidious said...

I was a sales manager at best buy about 10 years ago. Performance Service Plans (or PSP's as we called them) were very important to the company when I was there (I know others that still work there and say it isn't as much of a focus these days). The company would spend all kinds of resources training employees on selling PSP's (and accessories, ISP's, magazine subscriptions, etc), but little to nothing on product information. As a result, we had a lot of young kids hassling customers to buy PSP's, but couldn't answer basic product questions like "what is the difference between these two tv's".

2:54 PM  

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