Yes. I said it. Not only am I suggesting that you go inside a Best Buy (shivers up my spine), but I’m suggesting you should buy something there too. If you’d have told me a month ago that I’d be suggesting anyone shop at Best Buy, I’d have slapped you squarely in the face.
But last week I got the itch to purchase the new Droid Incredible, and so my story begins…
Last Sunday I decided I was going to go to the local Verizon store and compare the Moto Droid and the Droid Incredible. I wasn’t going to buy, mind you, I just wanted to compare. I was sure I wanted a dedicated keyboard, but the 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 8MP camera had me questioning myself, so I thought I’d do a hands on. After about 15 minutes of playing with both phones, the HTC won, no questions asked, and I had to have it RIGHT NOW. While I did like the keyboard on the Moto Droid, the virtual keyboard on the Incredible worked so well that my fears of no dedicated keyboard were dissuaded, and the superior processor and camera (among quite a few other things including size, form-factor, screen, responsiveness, superior multi-touch functionality, etc.) made the Incredible a no brainer.
So I went to the “sign in” kiosk in order to be put on the wait list so that eventually someone would let me buy the phone. After about 20 minutes, my name finally came up, and someone asked if they could help me. “I literally just want to hand you my credit card and have you hand me a box with a phone in it,” (for this I waited twenty minutes?!). “Alright, let’s get you rung up!”
I went to the counter where they asked for my phone number. The cost for the phone was listed as $199 after a $100 rebate, which meant I would need to pay $299 and then wait 6-8 weeks for them to send me $100 back. Stupid, but OK, whatever.
When they pulled up my information, they told me that I was not eligible for the two year price, because my previous two years was not up until September. “That’s fine, just go ahead and renew my plan for two years; it’s all good,” I said. “No,” said the customer service person, “that’s not how it works. The two year contract is for the phone, not the plan. The price of the phone for you is $569.”
Kwaaaaaaa? First of all, I could buy a full-size computer and peripherals for less than $569. Second of all, the contract is for the phone (not the plan)?! This was news to me. I was always under the impression that the contract was for the plan. I mean, if I ended the plan, I would still own the phone, but they would charge me an early termination fee? How in the world does that make sense? Surely a lawyer could make quick work of such a situation. Ending your relationship with the provider does not make the phone disappear. You still own it! So if the two year contract is on the phone, unless I make the phone disappear, I can’t be violating my two-year contract to own the phone. Stupid.
I asked why they kept sending me e-mails letting me know I was eligible for an early upgrade if this was not the case.
They let me know I could pay an extra $20 to upgrade now (ummm, why didn’t they just say that in the first place?).
“OK, just give us your credit card and the phone should arrive in about a week.”
“What? I’m not walking out of here with a phone?!”
“Sorry. No. None of the Verizon stores in Colorado have any Incredibles in stock.”
“Are you freaking kidding me? If I’d have known that I would have just purchased online in the first place to avoid tax. Unbelievable.”
I walked out. After falling in love with the phone, I was really looking forward to getting the phone that day, as I was about to get on a plane and really wanted to switch up before my trip.
The ugly yellow sign beckoned from across the parking lot.
I had $100 in Best Buy gift certificates that my uncle had given me for Xmas. “Fine,” I shuddered to myself. “I’ll just see if they have it in stock.”
“Let me check,” said the Best Buy employee. “We have one left.”
My heart skipped a beat. “Sweet! I’ll take it!”
I’ll paraphrase the next twenty minutes: the employee was actually incredibly knowledgeable about plans and prices. When facing the “two year” issue, he said, “Oh, it looks like the other phone on your plan is ready for upgrade, so we can just use that upgrade credit to get you your phone; then in September you can use your two year credit to upgrade that phone if you want.” Why in the HELL didn’t the Verizon people suggest this? On top of that, the Best Buy price was $199. Period. No waiting 6-8 weeks for some stupid rebate to arrive in the mail. On top of that, Best Buy offers insurance that you can either pay $9.99 a month for (like you would through Verizon), or you can simply pay $170 up front (a considerable savings that Verizon does not offer). If anything goes wrong with the phone in two years, you get a new one. Period. They even give you a loaner while you wait for them to sort it out with repairing your phone or getting you a new phone (if your model isn’t available any more or isn’t in stock).
So to recap: Verizon store, horrible. Best Buy mobile phone center, kick ass!
I still wouldn’t suggest you buy ANYTHING ELSE at Best Buy, but if you’re looking for a new mobile, it seems to be the best way to go!