Best Buy not quite up to it’s name

Motorola Surfboard SB5101 Cable Modem

Recently, my Internet connection here at the house started dropping roughly every 90 seconds or so, quite annoying as you can imagine. I started trying to debug the problem doing the typical unplug & cabling song and dance but that didn’t work. I have a Motorola SurfBoard 5201 cable modem and the send/receive lights on it were constantly pulsing no, not good. I headed to Best Buy, plopped down $86, picked up a new Motorola SB5101, brought it home, called Comcast and added it to my account and after testing it several but no dice so the rep scheduled a visit the next day. The following day the tech calls to let me know he’s on the way so I hop in the car, head back to the house and call my wife to let her know. She then informs me she’s been surfing the web and “everything’s fixed”. I pull up to the house and the tech hasn’t found anything wrong with our connection and as my wife indicated everything is fine. Thanks Murphy.

Anyway, back to my point, since Best Buy was convenient I bought a modem there thinking I’d return it if that wasn’t the problem. At this point, it appears that the modem was the problem so I get online and start looking for a better deal. Kind of funny, the Best Buy modem helps me replace itself. 🙂 I was a bit surprised to that Amazon had the same modem for nearly half the price ($45.93) with free shipping, it arrives in a few days at which point I’ll return the one from “Best Buy”.

[Update: April 6, 2009] Amazon price has dropped another $2.20. I don’t see any way Best Buy can compete with that.

8 thoughts on “Best Buy not quite up to it’s name

  1. I’ve been buying stuff from Amazon from quite some time now, that’s where I check first for the products I’m looking for, very rarely other store beats their prices, and their service is great too

  2. Did you try to get the Best Buy price down? Surely the comfort delivered by the immediacy of the thing accounts for something, though not $40 :-).

  3. Hey Mark,
    I didn’t try to get the Best Buy price down as I didn’t know the Amazon price going in. But to save myself from an extra trip I just ordered the modem from Amazon and will now return it. I can’t imagine Best Buy getting even remotely close to Amazon’s price.

  4. As a matter of policy, of course, one should check elsewhere to Amazon also. I know from experience that it’s almost as if they’re resting on their laurels in some products, where better deals (20%+) have been available elsewhere.

  5. Hey Bary,
    Agreed. When I have time I usually start with Google Product search then based on sellers there I try to find the lowest high quality retailer then look for shipping costs which can often blow a good deal out of the water.

  6. Unfair! BestBuy stocks inventory in an expensive retail space with live employees, parking, customer bathrooms, janitors, yada, yada. Amazon is shipping from an unheated warehouse built on cheap land (= low overhead, lower costs) in some barren land near an airport. In addition, BestBuy provided the convenience (the product was there when you NEEDED it – this wasn’t a casual purchase), handled the transaction, and now has to handle the return and restocking (new shrinkwrap, new pricing, possibly a reduced price) = more cost with zero profit. No wonder their prices are higher. I’ll shop in advance when I can; if I can’t, the "extra" $40 is the cost of convenience. Plus, now you’ve got to make an extra stop at the BB to return the modem. What if the line’s long? Do you stand in it? Come back another time? What is your time worth? How much time did you spend looking for a better price? (Even half a minute "costs" you something). It provided some blog fodder, but you spent a few minutes typing that… When all is said and done, you may not "save" $ at all! (At least this isn’t as bad as another guy I knew who took constant advantage of the "Fry’s 30-day-free-rent" policy, as he referred to it).
    Good to hear from you. I love your "live preview" gizmo!

  7. Hey Rick!
    One, we’d had connection problems for several days to a week so while very annoying it wasn’t urgent. Two, Best Buy is about a 100 meter detour from my drive home right off the freeway from the office so not out of the way by any means. Three, I don’t feel a $40 premium is reasonable for this product. Four, I spent about 1 minute looking for a better price and with one click ordering on Amazon about 3 minutes total to order a new one. Had the Best Buy price been $60 I’d agree but at nearly twice the price that’s not the case. In Santa Cruz there’s little competition for a store like Best Buy especially considering the fate of Circuit City so prices don’t have to be terribly competitive. That said, I generally dislike returning anything, you can ask my wife, but with such a dramatic price difference that’s not the case.

  8. Did you have to purchase the original cable modem or did Comcast provide it? I used to have RoadRunner and Time Warner owned the cable modem. That was handy, they once sent out an "update" that bricked my cable modem and they brought out a new one the next day. That’s one of the nice things with FiOS, no cable modems.
    I’m the same situation with Best Buy, it’s pretty much the only game in town other than WalMart. We used to have competition with CompuUSA and Circuit City, but that’s all in the past. Of course now when I do shop at Best Buy, I try to make sure that I’m wearing tan dockers and a blue polo shirt ala Impro Everywhere’s little stunt.

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