Getting the Best Buy Out of Best Buy

For quite some time now, we’ve been using a pretty ghetto vacuum cleaner. I picked it up about 6-7 years ago when I first moved out and it’s since followed me through 5 dwellings and getting married. It’s been on its last legs for some time: Annabelle did a “great” job of destroying all of the useful attachments and Shauna accidentally pulled the hose out a little too far and snapped it. We’ve been relying on ingenuity and duct tape to keep it limping along.

Today was kind of an epiphany that this wasn’t going to do. Our living room was looking particularly bad from heavy dog traffic and the old Dirt Devil just wasn’t doing it for us. Like any good geek, I decided to turn to the power of the interweb to see what vacuums were rated highly and where I could expect to get a good deal. It took us about an hour of research, mainly on, but we settled on a Bissell 5770 (you know, that one advertised on TV lately) as our pick. Surprisingly, Best Buy had it in stock and for a pretty good price.  Imagine our surprise when we got to the store and found it marked $50 higher than what it was showing on the website.

Thankfully, I had a printout from their website showing the lower price. It took about 10 minutes for the confused girl behind the register to figure out what to do (I mean, who would have to gall to ask them to match their own price), but we ended up getting that $50 knocked off the price. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t the first time this has happened to us. When we went shopping for speakers for our MP3 player, the website showed them a full $30 cheaper than the in-store price. So what gives?

Just ask The Consumerist. Thanks to my daily reads of corporate misdeeds and shopping tricks, I knew that Best Buy does this as standard practice hoping that someone won’t notice once they’re already in the store. Here’s where it gets sneakier. You know those kiosks in the store to browse their website? It takes you to a different website than the one you’d see from home, often with higher prices. Yep, the “check the website” trick might not work unless you bring a printout from home showing the difference.

I usually don’t like going to Best Buy. Their prices are usually a bit jacked up, the service stinks and they’re always trying to upsell. But if you do have to go, you might as well be equipped to get the deal to which you are entitled. 

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9 Responses

  1. Jenn says:

    You should have gone to lowe’s they have a lowest price guarantee and would have matched it 🙂

  2. Jesse says:

    … expect that Lowe’s doesn’t carry the 5770.

  3. bestsariah says:

    What happened to that tiny robot vacuum you used to have?

  4. Shauna says:

    Oh, we’ve still got the Roomba. But it doesn’t vacuum the dog hair off the couches or do stairs very well.

  5. Jesse says:

    I’m not sure if a stair-climbing Roomba would be awesome or evil. Maybe both.

  6. Reach Upward says:

    Thanks for the tip. I have walked out of Best Buy in the past when their price didn’t match what I thought I had seen on their website. Now I know to take a printout from their website when I go to the store.

    Be glad you didn’t buy an overpriced Oreck. We fell for their marketing a number of years ago. Over the next 7 years we had to drive 20 miles to their store to get the thing serviced several times. The last time it was serviced, it cost nearly as much as buying a cheap-o vacuum at a big box store.

    We knew that because we had gotten tired of hauling the vacuum down to the basement and had bought a cheap unit to keep in the basement. The funny thing is that the cheap unit cleaned at least as well as (and arguably better than) the Oreck. Last time the Oreck had a problem, I chucked it in a closet, went to a big box store and bought another cheap-o vacuum. It does fine.

    The basement unit has now operated for longer than the Oreck did, but with no repairs. Lifetime cost has been about 10% of the lifetime cost of the Oreck.

    Lesson: don’t fall for marketing hype.

  7. Misty Fowler says:

    Is your Roomba one of the “pet” models? I REALLY want one, but I need it to pick up pet hair, and I would really like to know how it works in real life before paying extra for the pet hair features.

  8. Jesse says:

    Ours is the Discovery SE and it’s about 3 years old. It did a great job before pets (even in dust-laden Las Vegas), but it just doesn’t have the capacity to handle shedding from a pair of beagles and a relatively new rug.

    The main problem is that the dustbin gets filled up really fast and the filter gets clogged easily from all that extra gunk. Instead of just letting it loose and checking back in an hour or two, we usually have to empty it out every 30-45 minutes or so and set it back on its path. It’d be even more of an issue with the scheduler models since you’re usually not home when they run and wouldn’t think to clean them out. I ended up cleaning the thing out about every second use, spending a good 20 minutes with tweezers, compressed air and some toothpicks to get all the gunk out of it. We’re using a somewhat older model, so YMMV.

    I’d overall recommend a Roomba for keeping things maintained nicely, but be prepared for some of the upkeep. The new ones might do better with pet hair, though it also depends on the volume of gunk to be picked up. I had kind of the same experience with those Sharper Image Ionic Breeze things and the regular cleaning; it was a lot more than I had bargained for.

  9. GRRR! You know I get that same kind of crap at Circuit city. I’d rather do Web orders from them then have to walk into their establishment and actually talk to the robo-nut behind the counter. I like the idea of buying online and picking up at the store, you get the discounted web price and just bring in the conformation number and pick it up. Works like a charm.

    Thanks for the info, it’s good to know~

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