This is a guest post from Notebooks.com reader Patricia Thomas. Patricia had a pretty horrible Black Friday experience at a Best Buy store, but had a good experience with Best Buy’s executive customer service. It’s stories like these that make me encourage people to buy online (Xavier). A news report of Patricia and her sister skipping Thanksgiving to line up for Black Friday can be viewed here:
Oh boy do I have a horrible Black Friday story for you! I will tell you how you camp outside a store for 3 days, be the 1st in line, and walk out with nothing.
My sister and I had been camped outside of Best Buy since Tuesday at 1:00 PM to each get the $299 eMachines desktop bundle and the $349 HP laptop bundle. All the employees knew we were 1st because they were so shocked that we had gotten in line so early. Also, we were featured on the news on 2 different stations for being camped out for so long. Well, here is where the story turns horrible.
They were supposed to start handing out the vouchers at 3:00 am, but the store manager didn’t start making his announcement until 4:30 am, a half an hour before they were supposed to open. We are expecting a couple of employees to come out at a time, but EVERY EMPLOYEE came out at once, I guess because they were late in handing out the tickets. Being 1st I got approached by the 1st employee out the door, and that was the ONLY employee who had approached my sister and I. She asked us what we were here for. I told her the $299 eMachines and the $349 HP. She screamed out HP and grabbed the girl who had the HP vouchers. The interesting thing was this girl was already dealing with the people who were THIRD in line. That girl stopped talking to them and came to us. They were both trying to convince us to get their Geek Squad service even though we weren’t interested. After FINALLY telling her I’m not interested and that we needed the vouchers for the eMachines, she said “Oh, I don’t know who has the eMachines, I assume they will be out shortly.” When she went back in, so did other employees, but there were still a few still talking to customers.
My sister and I were wondering when other employees were going to start coming back out. I managed to catch one of the employees as they were heading back into the store and asked them when other employees were coming out and he said that “no more were coming out, all the vouchers were handed out.” I saw red! I ran over to the manager in the pink shirt named Chris to tell him we were 1st in line and completely got skipped over. Chris began to get this worried look on his face and asked who was the 1st person that I spoke with. I described how the girl looked and he ran back in to look for her. A few minutes later they both came out and she asked me what was the problem. I told her that I had gotten skipped over in line. She whispered to him that “Tristan had the eMachine vouchers”. She said I’m going back in to see what I can do to get your desktops. I thanked her as she walked back in. As she was going back in, another woman came out and said they were going to be opening in a few minutes. My sister and I are thinking “how are we going to find this girl once the store opens?”
Well, needless to say she didn’t come back out but was the 1st person we saw as we entered the store. The employees were all clapping. That girl acted like she had no clue who we were as she directed us to Geek Squad. I asked her if she had any updates on our desktops and the smile on her face faded away. She told us to go to Geek Squad they will help us out there. I asked if they knew the situation, she said yes just go to Geek Squad. I asked her who should I talk to, and she screams “Ma’am, you are holding up the line, GO TO GEEK SQUAD!” I was in shock that she screamed at me like that, especially because of how concerned she acted outside in front of all the other customers.
When my sister and I got to Geek Squad, I asked the 1st employee who greeted us if anyone had told him anything about the desktops for the 1st people in line. He said no, no one told him anything. At this point I began to have a mild anxiety attack because we were in line since Tuesday for that system. I had to run to the bathroom to put water on my face and calm down.
On my way out the bathroom I spotted Chris, the store manager, and asked him did he manage to find two systems for my sister and I. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye as he told me “I’m sorry, there is nothing I can do, all the vouchers were passed out, if you were skipped, its kind of your problem.” I told him did he not realize how long I was out there and that it wasn’t my fault they were late handing out vouchers and that I was only approached by one employee because the other ones flew right past my sister and I. He kept looking around and said “Look, I’ll go talk to my District Manager and see what he says we can do, but no promises.” I didn’t believe him so I told my sister to go follow him and see if he goes to talk any other managers. My sister calls me on my phone after about 5 minutes and tells me he didn’t talk to any managers, just a couple of customers and employees with the blue shirts. I find where he was standing and ask him if the District Manager gave him any news. He lies and tells me “My District Manager said the employees followed protocol in handing out the vouchers, we cannot offer another system to you for that price nor can we give you the system without the vouchers for it.” He walks away from me and leaves me standing there looking like a complete idiot.
I realize that nothing can be done so my sister and I get in line to claim the computers we do have vouchers for. When it was time for us to claim out laptops and checkout, the total comes up to over $1300. I tell the employee that those are supposed to be the $349 laptops. He looks at out vouchers and tells us that we had the vouchers for the $599 HP. I said to him that we told the girl in line we wanted the $349 HP vouchers. He coldly tells us, “Well looks like they gave ya’ll the wrong vouchers, are you getting the computers or not?” I said no I’m not getting them I want the $349 laptops!” He laughed and said “Well how are you going to get them, steal them from someone who actually has the tickets for the right bundle?”
I was so pissed that I told my sister lets go. We walked out empty handed after being in line for 3 days. To make matters worse, my battery died from my car sitting for so long. Thank goodness for AAA. Anyway, we get home and call the 1-800-BEST-BUY number to complain. The jerk on the phone tells me that he can’t believe my story considering my sister and I were 1st and line and got skipped over, and also because there is no way we were given the wrong tickets unless we were so tired that we asked for the $599 thinking we were asking for the $349 tickets. I was livid! He said to make up for this, he’ll send me a $25 gift certificate. In my opinion, a gift certificate for that amount was adding salt to the wound. I hung up on him, when on the consumerist.com, and got the number to the CEO’s office.
I called and spoke to this really nice man who was also named Chris. I told him that the local news did a story on my sister and I since we were 1st in line, and that I was going to call the station and tell him what his company did to us. He apologized and said he was going to call the store and see why this happened to me, and see what the store was going to do to make it up to me. He said give him a couple of hours. Within 30 minutes he called me back and said the store has 2 $299 eMachines bundles and 2 $349 HP bundles sitting behind the customer service desk. He said to ask for the District Manager when I get there and he’ll personally walk me over to customer service to claim my systems then walk me over to get checked out so I don’t have to wait in line.
When I get to the store I ask for the District Manager and the employee asked if he could assist me with anything, I said no I need to speak with the District Manager. Before the guy could say anything, the store manager popped up, looking so sorry about what went on. He should have been sorry when I 1st approached him about my systems. He lied and said he didn’t understand what I was talking about, and if he had known, he would have helped me out anyway he could have. WHATEVER! I told him I wanted to speak with the District Manager and him only. Finally he walked over to my sister and I, shook our hands and asked me to explain to him what went on. I told him, and he said he had no idea that went on, and had he known he would have helped us out because he remembered how long we were outside the store. That of course proves Chris lied when he said he talked to his District Manager and he told him to do nothing, even though were knew he lied because my sister was watching him. Chris was running around like a chicken with his head cut off; he was so nervous. The District Manager walked us over to get our computers and offered us whatever kind of drinks and snacks we wanted. Of course Chris was there trying to make jokes with us but I didn’t feel like laughing. He tells us he gave us the preloaded computers, instead of the regular ones for no extra charge. We paid for our systems and began to walk out the front door. All the employees were looking us up and down, which I could have cared less about because it was their screw up. All I can say is thank God for the CEO’s office and this has got to be our worse Black Friday experience EVER.