Copy That

I’m totally revamping my den/office, and I’m finally off the card tables and into about 75% completed digs. On the way to dinner the other night, on a whim, I said to  my wife, “Let’s stop at Best Buy and see if they have a copier/fax/scanner gizmo that will work wirelessly.” My son-in-law urged me to look at these and get rid of the three huge pieces of equipment taking up so much room (copier/scanner/fax, color printer, laser printer) in the old setup.

The people in Best Buy are very nice and knowledgeable, and a one of the guys took 10 minutes to describe what I needed but told me, “You’re not our demographic, and that level of machine isn’t here. But if you go onto BestBuyBusiness.com you’ll find it and can order it.”

Well, I was in the mood for immediate gratification, and would prefer to see it and watch it work, so I thanked him, disappointed, and left. On the way to the restaurant, we stopped at the Staples where we usually purchase office supplies. I didn’t think they’d have a machine like this, but it was on the way. The store manager intercepted me, found out what I needed, and sent over the resident printer expert, who was about 12 years old.

He took me through a few machines that would meet my objectives, narrowed it to one and demonstrated it for me, answered every question, told me it was $50 off, and then fetched a hand truck to personally take it out to my car and shocked wife. (Good thing it was a great evening, the box fit in the back seat, barely, with the top down.) And, of course, I get Staples reward points. (And this is an HP machine, I’m a devotee of HP, they were a fabulous client for ten years and I own their stock.)

The machine took 15 minutes to set up the next day, 10 of which were devoted to getting it out of the box and removing a pound of packing protection. The only wires it has are the fax jack and power cord. It works perfectly and has given me a ton of additional room. It is smaller than any one of the three machines it replaces.

Maybe Best Buy would draw a more affluent demographic if they stocked more sophisticated machines. They sell some expensive stuff in there, and they are a quality operation. Why would you send me down the road? Next time, my first stop will be Staples. That’s how delicate the retail business can be.

Try not to send me packing.

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.


5 thoughts on “Copy That

  1. Aren’t retail shops at mercy of individual employees? Yesterday at Best Buy got great education on Blu-Ray technology from salesperson (bought it), yet Mac rep didn’t inform that computer on sale was 2010 version – but competitor did (bought from competitor). No doubt company is well-positioned however based on emerging technology every year – like annual new model tennis racquets…I guess market always ripe for small improvements..

  2. At mercy? Shouldn’t retail shops educate, monitor, provide feedback, and manage employees? No smart business person or executive is at anyone’s “mercy.”

    • Absolutely should train, etc. And your point is well taken: too many oversights by that particular Mac guy renders his “Best Buy” supervisor as not smart :) and too much of that and they would soon be howling for mercy..look, I think the store is great, the whole Geek Squad thing is cool..but still a commodity operation ‘primarily’ competing on price. Best.

  3. In my mind, BestBuy is a consumer-facing store and Staples is a small business-oriented store. I wouldn’t go to Staples for consumer electronics and I wouldn’t go to BestBuy for our business. So I’m not sure how your experience should be a surprise.

    Since these 2 are the most successful in their respective markets, I think having a clear demographic and focusing on it is working just fine. (Tho BBBusiness is apparently an attempt by BestBuy to not lose out entirely, it’s nothing I would ever think of)

    Sorry, Alan, IMHO you didn’t discover a mistake in the idea of demographs, but went to the wrong store first.

  4. Your opinion is your opinion, but the same people running small businesses are those interested in consumer electronics. Why is Best Buy selling business printers and other business electronics at all, given your definition? Why does Best Buy have a business division on line? Your distinctions make no sense to me, they are too compartmentalized.

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