When Best Buy Might Not Be The Best Buy

Yep, it’s that time of year when Uncle Sam gives us a return on our non-interest bearing savings account, otherwise known as our Federal Tax Refund. I know the number crunchers at the IRS and the government people would rather have us adjust our withholding so that we break even at the end of the year. I don’t know about you, but I have owed taxes in the past and the government doesn’t have an easy finance plan to pay back what is owed. So, I’d rather pay more up front and get a nice fat check in February, thank you.

This is the first time in many, many years where we weren’t forced to use our refund to pay off debts (owing this to neither political party, but to our own work ethic and generous employers), so after putting a chunk of that money away, and donating a portion to our church, we decided to take a hard look at the President’s Day sales this past weekend.

While watching some of the ads on our aging 42″ LCD TV, I suggested that we should invest in a new television, the shadow on the screen is only getting bigger and the overall image is losing its sharpness. Since we live in the age of excess, the only reasonable option is to go bigger and better.

The table that supports our current TV probably cannot handle anything larger than a 46″ TV. And we really like the table and we’re not interested in buying a new setup. With size in mind, the next decision is LED or Plasma. To be honest, I’m not much of a techie. I mean, I dabble, but only enough to nod when the IT guy at work is trying to explain that it doesn’t matter how many times I hit the escape key, the operating system needs to be rebooted. So, I do what I always do…rely on what I hear people say about both LED and plasma screens, weigh their amateur pros and cons, and finally decide to go with a 46″ LED 1080p 120Hz television.

Before we decided to jaunt off to our neighborhood electronics/appliance retailer, my wife noticed on their website that they have THE television that we’re looking for, but in an open box, and at a reduced rate…because we’re cheap like that. She calls and the young lady on the phone confirmed that they do, indeed, have the set in an open box. Unfortunately, they can’t hold the item for us, so we had to hurry if we wanted to get the deal.

ImageTen minutes later, we’re standing in the store and the “entertainment specialist” is scratching his head, because the open box containing said television is no where to be found. On top of that, no one would own up to who took the phone call. Unfortunately,  we didn’t get the nice young lady’s name who assured us the set was in the store, but they could not hold it for us.

No biggie, right? There could have been a mistake, their system hadn’t updated, or whatever. Let’s move on, because we’ve already wasted one hour on a day when I wanted to be working on my book.

We find another TV that meets our specifications and we wait to be helped. And we wait. Still, we wait. Several blue shirts pass us and avoid eye contact, until one nice young man pulling a hand dolly stops to ask us if we’ve been helped. Not yet, we told him, and he pulled the tag for the TV and heads to the stock room.

Fifteen minutes later–at this point, I’m sure that our nice young man went on break–he reemerges from the stockroom empty-handed. Sorry, he says. We don’t have it in stock, he says. So, that’s two TV sets said to be in the store, that aren’t actually in the store. Are you still with me?

We decide to try another store, in the same chain, but in a different part of town. Why not, we’re more than two hours in, already. After stopping for lunch at a little Greek place in the neighborhood (their lamb gyros are awesome, by the way), we head south to continue our search.

At the second store, we found a similar TV, but it was more expensive than the other and the Hz was less. After explaining to the satellite TV guy that we’re happy with our cable company (a lie, yes, but who needs another contract?), we found a salesman who looked in their system and located the model that we wanted with the price that we wanted. Yes, we exclaimed. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the model in their store. They checked other stores in the area, and it seems that our neighbors have all made a run at this LED model. No one had it in stock.

In hindsight, it might have been easier to change our minds on the size and display options, but we’re kind of stubborn like that. My friend’s amateur opinions is driving this thing, not common sense.

A possible light at the end of the proverbial tunnel emerges. What’s that you say? I can order it in the store and they’ll deliver to my house? And the delivery is free??? Well, why didn’t you say in the first place. Sign me up, please!

Two happy customers leave the store with receipt in hand and a scheduled delivery date only two days away. Which was fine, because after all that exhausting work (and still feeling quite full from the gyros) I really didn’t feel like setting the TV up that day.

Flash forward to delivery day. The driver cheerfully calls to confirm. I confirm, returning my cheerfulness. I’m at work, but don’t worry, my wife is at home to accept the delivery. They pull the box out of the truck and tell my wife that the box is open because it was damaged at the warehouse. The box, they assure her, not the TV was damaged. They know, because they checked.

Of course, my wife (she’s pretty smart) doesn’t trust this and requests that they note on the delivery ticket that the box was opened and damaged. They refused to make the notation stating that they have cameras at the warehouse and they were observed opening the box and checking the product.

When I got home from work, I pulled the TV from the box. At first, I didn’t see anything abnormal. I plugged the set in to view the picture. The picture looked fine…but that’s when I noticed that the set was bent in the middle. Sort of concave  or bowed in. I didn’t buy a bent TV and I don’t want to own a bent TV.


After calling to report/complain, we were told that a delivery/pick up will have to be scheduled at least two days away. This, of course, was unacceptable. They do have one in the store that they’ll hold for us, if we want to come and pick it up.

So, today, the saga continues as we plan to trek back to the store and pick up a television that I’ll probably rarely watch, anyway.


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