What Killed Best Buy – Apple

A recent Bloomberg cover article is titled “Big Box Zombie” and it discusses all the issues that have stressed out Best Buy, and a potential offer to take the company private by its founder Richard Schulze.

For me, Best Buy brings back memories of when the stores first opened. We were on consulting engagements and the whole team would go into the store at once and just disperse to the various corners looking at gadgets, computers, CD’s, movies and anything else they had in stock. It would take forever to gather everyone up and check out since they got lost in the nooks and crannies of that vast store full of electronic goodness. Everyone wanted to go there, and no one wanted to leave, and no one left empty handed.

Best Buy’s problems today are often described as “showrooming”, which occurs when potential buyers visit a physical store to touch and inspect a product but then purchase that same product online at a lower price (usually from Amazon) which usually includes no taxes and free shipping, an exact sequence that occurred for me when I bought my flat screen TV.

However, the REAL problem is something else – Apple has killed the DIY sense of the Win-Tel world of laptops, PC’s and software and its innumerable combinations and permutations. We thought it was fun to look at all the myriad physical layouts and performance combinations you could have between processors, layout, memories, hard drive, etc… not to mention the balance of weight and size and screen for laptops. Not only did every vendor (Toshiba, Dell, IBM, etc…) have these combinations, but each vendor had its own strengths and weaknesses to boot. Since there aren’t even competitors to the iPad for the most part, it is either the iPad or nothing, and you don’t have to go to Best Buy for that.

There used to be multiple portable music devices and formats, and all sorts of different types of cameras and lenses and everything related to that. Now everyone has an iPod which is quickly being superseded by just using the phone, and while cameras are still interesting they too are being marginalized to “throw away” cameras being replaced by mobile phone and high end cameras for those that care (a much smaller group).

For software, Apple has moved to the online store. You don’t have to go to the store anymore. Even Microsoft has started to move there, with “teaser” versions installed and then you download the rest. No need to buy a physical box and a CD anymore.

The TV is now tied very much into your cable or satellite provider and their DVR; sure you buy a TV, but it is from a few makers and you can pretty much figure it all out online. Buying a TV now can be complicated with wi-fi and internet connections and features but it is all laid out at Amazon or online in comparative guides and then you pick your Samsung and that’s it. Your Blu Ray DVD player is a bit more complicated and often gets you online programming or you hook it to your Xbox and want to run it through your sound system so this perhaps is an area where gadgets can get a bit exciting but it is mostly hooking together these commodity devices not a DIY effort.

There is very little to get excited about in a Best Buy. Apple has the excitement, and their laptops and desktops set the standard. The college age kids I know all want an Apple – a PC is something you get on discount, perhaps as a throw away machine or if you don’t have enough saved up for a Mac. Phones do have excitement with iPhones and Android phones, but most of that is tied up with particular carriers as well and can be easily done through their shops.

The death of physical media for CD’s, DVD’s (it’s mostly coming), a lot of games (that’s coming too), books (mostly dead), and software also makes the “big box” store format look crazy. I won’t even bother to compare the Apple store to the vast Best Buy store – that is like shooting fish in a barrel.

I used to look forward so much to a Best Buy trip. I even braved the insane crowds and haphazard staff to try to purchase items during the holiday season. The last time I was in a Best Buy it seemed eerily empty, and no one was too excited to be there. Now it is just a nostalgia trip for me when it used to be exciting to find your own way in a big store full of DIY gadgets.

Good luck Schulze. You’re gonna need it. You’d be better off trying something new then trying to resurrect a spark that’s long since dead.

Cross posted at LITGM

37 thoughts on “What Killed Best Buy – Apple”

  1. I bought my LCD TV though Best Buy – couldn’t get a sales person to help me so I bought it on line through them – then had to threaten them repeatedly to take my email address off their spam list.

    personally if push comes to shove and the prices are close I prefer “brick and mortar” to on line- easier to resolve if you have a problem

    I am sure showrooming is quite common – personally if someone takes the time to explain stuff I buy from them but I know I am in the minority.

    People bitch about lack of service and then don’t want to pay a nickel more than they have to.

    I wonder if the same dynamics drove Circuit City to bankruptcy.

  2. I bought a cheap Windows laptop at Best Buy a few weeks ago. I did my shopping and evaluating online (the customer reviews on the BBY website were particularly helpful), and then drove to the store because I wanted to test the keyboard and didn’t want to wait for online delivery. I was home in less than an hour and the experience was surprisingly pleasant. However, if the store hadn’t existed or had been far away I would have ordered online. Maybe the stores can be justified in dense urban areas where many customers might prefer to see products before they buy. If that’s true then maybe BBY should do like Apple: cut down the number of stores and reduce store inventories to a core selection of high-demand items. Otherwise, I think they are doomed.

    The local Apple stores are always packed when I visit. Maybe BBY could compete by becoming the equivalent of an Apple store with a few more brands.

  3. I wonder if the best option for Best Buy would be to become a ‘show-room’ – with display and demo items of all the big-ticket things, AND an order terminal, where you could pay in-store for the item to be drop-shipped directly to your house from a regional Best Buy warehouse. Surely, they would be able to offer a price compeditive to Amazon, for instance, if each individual store didn’t have to keep items in stock.

    We’ve been guilty of showrooming – when I was looking at a new computer, we checked out a HP model at Best Buy – and then when it came to buying it, we went to the BX. And when my daughter decided to get herself a Kindle, we looked at the various models at Best Buy – and she was very taken by the Kindle Fire. But she bought it from Amazon – she did admit though, that if she hadn’t actually seen and handled the demo Kindle Fire, she would have just bought the basic model.

  4. Regarding Best Buy as investment thesis, I wonder if BBY owns most of it’s real estate? That is the only reason I could fathom someone wanting to buy it. Circuit City taught me that.

    Microsoft released their corporate earnings Thursday. Sales were down, but they feel that is a result of consumers postponing their purchases as they wait for the new tablet friendly Windows 8, which is scheduled to be released October 28th.

    All of the big three tech firms Google, Apple & Microsoft have substantial challenges ahead of them. Ever the contrarian, over the past year I’ve been occasionally nibbling on shares of the most hated of the three: MSFT.

  5. I often reverse showroom. I have found that Best Buy overstocks inventory from time to time, particularly at the end of the very short product life cycles that now characterize consumer electronics. When I was buying televisions a couple of years ago, I did a lot of internet research. I found that a lot of the hyped feature produced minimal, if any, benefits. The big thing that year was 120Hz refresh.

    I waited until after Christmas, and I went to Best Buy, and a local electronic retailer, HH Gregg. Best Buy had a stack of boxes with 42 inch Toshiba TVs in them for about $650 each, which at that time was an excellent price. I didn’t care what brand of 42 inch TV I bought but I shy away from store brands for fear of loss of support in the out years. A Samsung or a Sony would have been more than $800 at that time. So shopping a local store saved me a lot of money.

    I did the same thing for a smaller TV for my study the next week, and I bought a 27 inch Samsung at HH Gregg for an excellent price.

    On the other hand, for computers I have become fussier about brands. I do not care for Apple products. I actually like Windows XP better than Mac Feline (I am not a huge fan of Windows 7, and 8 scares me). I have built my own computers and bought any number of laptops and desktops. In that process I learned that IBM’s PCs and laptops were better engineered and better built. than their competitors. Fortunately, Lenovo has kept to IBM’s engineering tradition on their Think brand machines. I now buy nothing but those. But, they do not distribute a lot of those Machines through retail channels, so I order them online, usually from Lenovo directly.

  6. It’s also easier to ship large televisions these days. Even the larger models these days can be easily hoisted onto a stand/wall by two people. Large CRT TVs were prohibitively large and heavy, likely requiring special delivery by the store.

    An online sales tax may be passed, but I don’t think it’s going to affect online sales much. I paid a sales tax on a Windows computer from a big manufacturer (bought directly from them) and it was still cheaper (with free shipping) than most big box retailers.

  7. A friend bought a new big screen TV from Best Buy and had the store guys install it. I bought one from a Best buy in the Lake Arrowhead area when I lived up there but installed it myself. Nobody goes to Lake Arrowhead to do work. One guy wanted $700 to go up there for a service call on my old big screen TV. I like having the thing installed with a sound system hooked up and bug checked.

  8. When Circuit City went under, I expected Best Buy to be next and got pooh poohed. No comparison, I was told. But I think they were similar, lots of stuff, lots of staff, and in a market where everything changes every year and that that doesn’t can be bought online without needing the personal experience. I think bookstores are in somewhat the same bind and ebooks come down in seconds, it’s even faster than going to the store, so there is none of that “I need it *now*” working in their favor. Even as the automobile killed the corner store, the internet will kill the hi-tech showroom.

    So are Apple stores the exception? I can try out ipads and iphones at Walmart, but perhaps the service aspect makes a difference together with the nifty displays, the small space required, and no need to stock a ton of different things. That, and high margins.

    What about clothing? I think there are several things going on there: trying for fit, the need to check quality and details like pockets and color, and the often enough the “I need it now” urge. However, I’m perfectly willing to buy the same product on line once I have it down. I think that is why shoe styles change every year…

  9. SWMBO and I had a conversation about this situation a few weeks ago. We often go to BB because its close, and she likes to talk to a salesperson about options, and also to physically see how the item in question looks and feels.

    My bright idea was that BB should enter into an agreement with the online vendors to intentionally act as their showroom, perhaps offering joint discounts if a customer looks at something at BB and then buys it from Amazon or some other online outfit, or vice-versa.

    I have no idea how this would work, if it even could work, but that’s what people who run businesses are supposed to do—find innovative strategies to maintain and expand their businesses.

    I don’t think the tax differential is going to hold up for long, the public bodies are too desperate for money to pass on a new source of revenue, but there are other, major economies to be had by existing only as a website and a warehouse.

    Several big store ideas are in trouble because of changes in the way people shop, and where they shop. When I was a kid, everybody went downtown to the department stores, the neighborhood market and drugstore, the big movie theaters downtown, etc.

    All of that is pretty much gone now, and even the big retail chains and supermarket chains are nearing the end of their viability.

    Creative destruction is a major force in any economy which relies on customer choice to drive its win/lose selection process, which is why collectivists of one stripe or another always try to substitute some other mechanism, and are then so astonished when it doesn’t work very well.

    The market works because ordinary people are not stupid or careless with their hard earned money, regardless of what the “protectionists” claim, and move toward those options that are most economical in terms of time, money, and bother.

    Best Buy might be able to survive in some form, and I hope it can, but it will have to do so by becoming a leader in those three major factors of customer satisfaction, and many more, before that will happen.

  10. “Best Buy might be able to survive in some form, and I hope it can, but it will have to do so by becoming a leader in those three major factors of customer satisfaction, and many more, before that will happen.”

    They might survive as a service source but the question is whether that will support the overhead. Eastman Kodak invented the digital camera but there is no margin there.

  11. “it is all laid out at Amazon or online …”

    That is more to the heart of it. Apple may have hurt but Amazon and other on line sources are killing big box. The folks at Walmart are the first to confirm it.

    The problem is that retail in general adds no value – just cost.

  12. How much does Apple pay you? It gets tiresome reading supposedly unbiased journalists that do nothing but shill for Apple. Why in the this never-ending recession are people not flocking to less expensive PCs? And why on earth are people buying overpriced Apple techno bling? It seems a recession can’t stand in the way of insecurity and the need to appear cool. You should really an article about the slow death of Apple now that Jim Jones……er…….Steve Jobs is dead.

  13. I have a Samsung galaxy II phone that I bought through BB in conjunction with my at&t plan.

    When my battery died, I went to the store and found out that they had no batteries either to give me as part of my warranty, none to even buy outright. It lasted less than 3 months. They should have gotten one out of another phone and given it to me.

    Their solution was to have me call geek squad and one was sent 3 weeks later. Meanwhile, I went to batteries plus and spent 30 bucks and got the phone running.

    Long story longer, if I can’t go to them and get right now support, and I have to deal with phone and net to fix my equipment” then I’m not coming back. Ever.

    I will watch best buy’s death with no small amount of pleasure.

  14. My local Best Buy must be a real paragon – I’ve gotten nothing but good to great service there, with genuinely helpful salespeople and a great overall shopping experience. In the last year or so I’ve bought a TV, a cable modem and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten. I have never, ever gotten the kind of bizarre sales pressure mentioned in this article and others. For the record, my Best Buy is the one on State Road 7 in Wellington, Florida. My suspicion is that since Wellington is quite affluent, store management knows sales gimmicks don’t play well there.

    I do like going to CompUSA for the really geeky stuff like hard drives, since they have a better selection and often better prices.

    Of course I always go to the Apple store for Apple products – nobody knows more about their products or is more helpful than an Apple salesperson, and of course prices of Apple products are essentially the same everywhere. To the person who mentioned you can try out Apple stuff at Walmart – that simply isn’t true. The Apple Store provides a far superior in-store experience, and of course they sell the complete product line while Walmart only sells the low end.

    I like having a physical store because I know that when I buy the product, I have it. I would never buy online from Best Buy, even before the holiday sales fiasco. I guess I’m old-fashioned; if I can find it at retail, to take home today, I will. Only if it’s an obscure product like a XQD memory card for my Nikon D4 will I buy it online.


  15. The Forbes article explaining Best Buy’s death was in their January 2012 edition.

    Yours pops up today in October.

    Reminds me of the scene in the Monty Python movie The Holy Grail, where the plague cart rumbles down the lane with the driver bellowing “bring out your dead!”, and a frail old corpse is dragged out of a hovel and thrown onto the cart.

    But the old guy keeps popping up and yelling “I ain’t dead yet!” while his family explains to the cart driver that he really IS dead, or will be soon, at least, so why not just take him now . . .

    So they finally just bash him on the head to shut him up.

  16. I needed a component video cable for the TV setup…stopped at best buy. Couldin’t find one on the shelf, nor was there a salesman about. Found a salesman in another department; he said he’d call someone. No one ever showed up. Left.

    Called Radio Shack. The person who answered the phone didn’t understand the difference between component video and composite video. Finally found out they had one in stock, for around $30.

    Decided it would be easier to just order it from Amazon, where I found one on close-out for about $6.

  17. The last time I made a major purchase at Best Buy, it was an incredibly frustrating experience. My laptop died, and I needed a new one in a day or less. So I went to Best Buy. I found a nice replacement model at a decent price. Not in stock, just a floor demo, and no, they wouldn’t sell it. So I found one almost as good but at a higher price. Not in stock, just a floor demo.

    I gave up and drove to another local Best Buy. Neither of those models were in stock. I found a third one that didn’t make me happy, but I HAD TO have a machine that day. And what did I find? Not in stock, just a floor demo.

    I drove to the third-closest Best Buy. After two more not in stock, floor demos, I found one I was willing to buy that actually was in stock.

    I can’t blame Apple or Amazon for that experience. Best Buy owns that one.

  18. I’ve bought the last few computer-related items (monitor, laptop, desktop) from Staples. Found them on sale with rebates. I do my own research, so can’t speak to the knowledgeability of the staff, but they are consistently helpful and available when I visit the store.

  19. Sam’s club(if you’ve got the membership) is a good place to buy tv’s and they have a decent warranty package and a no questions asked return policy(that might be standard) but I found them to be very helpful customer care-wise). I got my Blackberry through an Amazon & AT&T deal and it only cost me a penny(shipping was free and the AT&T contract was for 2 years).

  20. About ten years ago I bought a car stereo from Best Buy, including ‘free’ installation. Having made an appointment for that, I still waited 2 hours and the job sucked. I returned the unit and have never been back.

  21. Two items that will be of much more importance than Apple in putting the final nail in big box retail; Google cars and Marcellus shale.

    Imagine, if you will, van sized driverless vehicles propelled by low cost CNG that bring anything and everything to your door. Stick in your credit card, the door pops open and you remove your package. Routes can be built around your schedule for evening delivery for most workers. It’s not far away.

    Then the only reason for bricks and mortar is service and fitting. They may take longer.

  22. BB suffers from the same problem that took Radio Shack off my list of places to buy from – horrible customer service. Who needs to put up with that? It’s not just me, I’ve been reading about the complaints for years.

    Some people will put up with anything for a great deal, but people like me with many thousands to spend on tech yearly will gladly pay more just not to deal with the fools running these stores who would like you to thank them for allowing you through the door. Seriously, after several bad experiences for both my wife and I we just stopped going. Still would like to but we don’t have to so we won’t.

    By the way I strongly believe it to be immoral for anyone to use a store, taking a employees time to answer questions, only to buy online. If I speak to a store rep about something I either buy it at that store or not at all unless the online price is very different, then I would askmthem to match or close the gap some giving them the opportunity for the sale. It’s the right thing to do.

  23. I stopped going to Best Buy years ago, not because of Apple or the online shopping experience. My “local” BBY always seemed to think it was a music store, and it played music way too loud through speakers that were barely above PA system quality, so even good music sounded godawful.

  24. The problem isn’t bricks & mortar stores per se, or Apple vs. Best Buy or whatever; the ultimate problem is bad service. Instead of going to Best Buy or HH Gregg, check out a local “high end” TV/home theater store, the ones that sell $50,000 speakers, you’d be surprised how friendly and reasonable they can be with your $700 TV purchase. They love what they do, and it shows. And of course they know more than the teenagers at Best Buy.

    I’m not a shill, just a happy customer of a local specialty electronics store, that got tired of the runaround at big chain retailers.

  25. Years ago I went to Best Buy to look at kitchen stoves. I found out I knew more about kitchen stoves than the Best Buy sales clerk. Needless to say, I did not purchase a stove at Best Buy. Over the years, nearly all of my hardware/software purchases have been at another big box store- Fry’s- which has better prices, selection and more knowledgeable sales clerks than Best Buy. I did shop Fry’s for a new computer, but instead purchased from Dell online.

    I would estimate that there is less foot traffic and thus less business in Fry’s today than when I started going there.

    I agree with those commenters who do not approve of going to a store to test out a product, only to purchase it online.

  26. I purchased a laptop from Best Buy earlier this year. I searched the website, selected my brand and model, researched and took note of the features. Checked and confirmed this item was in stock at my specific store.When I entered the store, the clerk got all the features wrong and told me the item was not in stock. I insisted it was in stock and with much reluctance, the clerk searched the store and finally found the item. So buying at Best Buy can be a chore in itself and there is little wonder in my mind if they will survive.

  27. These are my issues with BestBuy:

    DirecTV… I have DirecTV. I like it. But I don’t want to be constantly solicited everytime I walk into the store. And if I’m no where near televisions, I really don’t want someone, who looks like they are coming to help me with a camera ask me about a broadcast service.

    Monster Cable… It’s getting easier to find BestBuys than RadioShacks. Sometimes, I foolishly walk into a BestBuy, an electronics store, and think I’ll pick up a cheap cable to connect some electronic devices. But no, everything is 2 to 4 times more expensive then anything I could find at Fry’s or RadioShack. And here’s the deal, I probably want that cable today, rather than waiting a few days for Internet delivery. So ditch Monster Cable. I know you have your brand Rocketfish, but it is marked up so MonsterCable doesn’t look ridiculous. A 3′ HDMI cable should cost under $10. For ease, I might spend $20, but $30 ($60 for Monster)? I’ll find it somewhere else.

    Customer Service… It is just horrible. BestBuy is still a department store. The person working in any given department should know their products. And they should stay in their departments. If I’m looking at headphones, I don’t want help on cellphones. If I’m looking at a Windows laptop, then I don’t care if you own an Apple and think it is better; because if you don’t know what a dedicated video card is, then you are useless to me. Perhaps it has been out long enough, but 3 years after the first Roku, I could walk into three different BestBuys and find Rokus stocked in 3 different departments, and nobody having a clue what they were.

    I like BestBuy. My family still thinks it is my favorite store, hence the various gift cards amounting to over $250. But I just can’t walk into the store anymore. I’m embarrassed for the company. I can find more electronics selection and knowledgeable employees at Walmart or Target. The prices are the same at these other stores, and I can get in and out without being harassed by solicitors wanting me to purchase a product I already have. And better yet, these other stores carry cheap but effective alternative products. The only thing BestBuy still has for me is the occasional high end tech product, but more often, I’ll probably have to drive that little bit further to actually find such a product in stock at Fry’s.

    CircuitCity’s purchasing process was awkward, but I really am missing the option. Fry’s is ok, but not enough of thhem to be convenient.

  28. I think the Apple Fan Boyz effect has somewhat slanted this article.
    There are some Anti-Apple people out there, like me. I don’t think their products are bad, I think they are overpriced and rely on Fan Boy experience to justify it.

    Personally, the Amazon experience is outstanding and the Best Buy experience s*cks. While I purchased my 2 flat screen TV online, I had also purchased a 280 pound 37″ tube TV from them. It came in a truck with two guys prepaid to unbox it and sit it on the table.

    As an added bonus, I don’t have some guy demanding to see my receipt and bag contents with Amazon. My Brother still buys his laptop from Best Buy. He goes online, then opts for in-store pickup. He always specifies that he expects the boxes to be factory sealed. Any evidence that a Best Buy employee has opened them and he refuses the purchase.

  29. I do not agree. Electronic big box stores have been coming and going for 20 years (Circuit city, CompuUSA, so many others). What is common is poorly trained salespeople and poorly picked products.

    I was just in best buy this weekend. I wanted a printer and a pad. They didn’t sell the printer I wanted and were out of the pad.

  30. Yeah, uneducated sales people are a problem at BB. I took my daughter to one in Tucson to buy her a digital camera for her birthday. She wanted very specific features so I chose to go there and let her pick it out. The sales girl did not know anything about the features my daughter wanted. We finally got a couple of other people over and found the right one.

    On the other hand, the delivery guys were very helpful setting up a big screen TV.

  31. I used to go to Best Buy every Tuesday for their 1st day sale prices on new-release DVDs. Occasionally I’d buy other items.

    Then their DVD prices crept up. I started getting pitches for new TVs, cable service, etc. and their accessories became an obvious revenue source for them ($30 cables that go for $6 online), nearly exactly the same path that CompUSA had taken several years before.

    I stopped going into Best Buy at all when I couldn’t find what I wanted at all or for a reasonable price, and their sales staff started making the entire experience unpleasant.

    I’ve been to BB once in the past 5 years, and ended up not buying anything.

    Good riddance.

  32. Actually, Warren Buffet has it pretty well figured out. He owns NFM (Nebraksa Furniture Mart, locations in Omaha, Kansas City, and Dallas. He has also taken their “Mega Mart” strategy to RC Wiley and Jordans (mountain west and Boston). When the Mart started into electronics it was mostly TV’s and appliances, and they did very well. Then the big box stores – Best Buy and Circuit City came to town. They both said that they would eliminate the Mart as a competitor. Well, if you ever have a chance, the Mart is unique, has a couple of acres with all of the brands for appliances from Zero King and Viking to Maytag and everything in-between. The Marts in their locations are the leading sellers of computers, software, laptops in their market. Yes, you can buy all of the usual PC makers but you can also buy Apple. And, they sell and ship anywhere. You can go to the store and check things out, go on-line and order and have whatever you looked at shipped to your door. Their prices are usually lower than anything Best Buy has. And, with Bill Gates on Berkshire’s board of directors, he has a lot of influence with the entire PC market.

  33. Durn those fancy looms for making our home-spun cloth appear shoddy.

    “DIY sense of the Win-Tel world of laptops”

    I build my own computers. I have never attempted to build a laptop. I never bought a component at Best Buy, not in 30 years.

    * * *

    Nice piece. With a re-write and little more sentimentality, this could have been in a newspaper ’round the holidays.

  34. }}}}} Since there aren’t even competitors to the iPad for the most part, it is either the iPad or nothing, and you don’t have to go to Best Buy for that.

    LOL, what planet are YOU on?

    There’s this thing called ANDROID, you see, and it’s slowly but surely kicking Apple’s ASS.

    Apple still has the pad market, largely right now based on the high-density display, but that’s a short-lived phenomenon. Android is going to kick apple’s butt on software in the long run, just as Windows did, because Apple didn’t learn jack shit the last time they got crushed. The fact that apple is running the pad market means far less than it seems, since there’s a great deal of overlap in the pad/phone market.

    Apple has kept control of the high end, while surrendering the vast array of low-end sales — the majority of them — to Android. Which is exactly the same thing that cost them the entire PC market when the Mac got faced off against the Wintel clones. People that have lots of money will buy Apple. People who have cash flow issues will settle for Android… and Android will slowly catch up to Apple in hardware functionality while becoming THE primary development platform for all software.

    Typical liberals, zero capacity to learn from experience.

  35. }}}} Typical liberals, zero capacity to learn from experience.

    In case it wasn’t obvious, that’s aimed at Apple’s Cali-Liberal management.

    As far as Best Buy goes, a few years ago, I got a SATA drive for my computer. It had a different power connector than the old style power connectors (the power supply was a PC Power and Cooling that was over 10 years old and still working fine), so, although I had obtained the SATA cable, it needed a power cable conversion.

    Think these were at Best Buy? Oh, HELL no. God forbid they should have such a thing! Might take up all of 3″x4″ of wall space.

    Circuit City (Still in business back then)? Had a spot for them on the wall, but, according to the sales guy, they NEVER stocked them… even though he acked they had a couple people come in every month looking for one. *brilliant* No wonder the company went out of business.

    Freaking RADIO SHACK didn’t even carry them, which is ridiculous. I know RS has gotten away from being the electronic hobbyist place, but it’s really ridiculous now that, between the two, they’ve put the small locally-owned store out of business and they’ve stopped stocking such things at all, so your only CHOICE is to go to the internet for little piddly crap that isn’t really worth buying that way.


    On a side note, kind of vaguely related to this — I was out about 6 months ago looking for suction cups. Lowes and WalMart, both in the same giant shopping area, had EXACTLY the same SINGLE product, which was a really really remarkably useless suction cup that … and yes, I tested thiswould not stick to freaking clean GLASS. No, not even if you wet it. It would pop right off the glass on its own within about 2 minutes.

    Now I’m not happy that WalMart had a limited selection, but…ok it’s not the kind of thing I’d demand WM carry. But Lowes DAMNED sure should have had a selection of them, in black as well as clear, in multiple sizes, and with different “qualities” for the purposes of what they were to be used for (i.e., hooks, or other types) And no, that one crappy thing was all they carried, I asked multiple people in multiple departments, and every one said that was the only one they knew about. Not even the “binned stuff” department had any. Ludicrous.

    This is a problem with the box stores, they have such a ridiculously narrow selection of the kind of stuff that you DO want to get locally, because you probably want it when you want it, and don’t want to be waiting for a day or two for some piddly little 5 cent thing to arrive in a legal sized envelope. And in the meantime they’ve also chased out all the smaller types of stores that USED to carry those things grasping their importance in GETTING CUSTOMERS INTO THE STORES. You go out for a five cent item, and buy a new blender while you’re at it…

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