Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bye bye Best Buy, Best Buy bye bye

It was July 2010 when I resumed being an active Geek Squad Agent at the new Best Buy store in Aintree, watch out Dixons Group and Comet, Best Buy were here to whoop yo arse was basically what they were trying to say. We will be better, friendlier and not as pushy as the competition, this was drilled into us at all stages of our training.

And then the doors opened and reality hit, targets had to be hit, we weren't always cheaper, the price match had lots of conditions, stock was not coming in as quick as we wanted and so forth.

There were plans to open up someting in the region of 200 stores over the next few years, store number 10 was Rotherham and I was offered the position of Senior Counter Intelligence Agent there, it was not geographically the way I wanted to move but it seemed the next logical step if I wanted to get promoted and move somewhere nice. Then Enfield came and future stores were put on hold while a review happened.

To be honest, it was about this time that I realised I had made a mistake moving over to Rotherham, describing the store manager as an areshole would be doing an injustice to aresholes. How the hell the ex manager of an underwear department became the manager of an electrical retailer I completely fail to understand.

And then there were the times he could be seem crying by the windows because somebody had upset him. The guy was probably an only child and had been bullied at school and he now had the upper hand and it was his store and if you didn't do what he said he would take it home with him.

After many months of being bullied by him and I do mean bullied for not doing my job properly without the aid of a job description of any kind I decided that I would just shut up and do exactly what I was told and come January would move one. Then our DCI decided he had taken enough crap and went back to work at one of our rivals. Myself and another two agents followed suit shortly afterwards and less than a month later, Best Buy announced that all the UK stores would be closing.

Using just a bit of common sense we can see some cockups here, it took nearly three years from the announcement of their coming to actually opening the first store. This gave the competition time to get their act together. Apart from the uniform and the fact that all the staff were generally excellent, underneath they weren't that different to any other retailer.

People in the UK didn't have clue who Best Buy were, driving into Rotherham for instance you would think they were another Asda or Tesco at first glance unless you were familiar with the name. There wasn't even a Geek Squad sign on the outside of the store.

Completely underestimating the competition was probably the biggest mistake, DSGi had been around for a long time and still had a lot of fight left in them, Comet are still hanging on in there, the big supermarkets also have quite a large chunk of the market and when it came to mobile phones, their biggest competitor was themselves under the Carphone Warehose brand.

And so we say bye bye to Best Buy in the UK, it's a shame as it looked so good when it started and held so much promise. But in it's passing it has managed to give a kick to the competition who have improved the way they work and this can only be a good thing for the public.

I feel for all the staff who were given so much to hope for and were eventually let down by bad timing and in certain cases by a store manager who at best would be capabable of managing a corner shop.