Buying a new laptop for the world's newly minted 18 year old was the highlight of the weekend. I admit to a certain sense of uber geek walking the aisles with Michelle, pointing out all the features, discussing the pro/con of this or that. We ended up at the Best Buy store located in Newmarket, Ontario.
This is a Seth Godin inspired story because events happened which track against the interesting things you can learn in his books; the latest one being "All Marketers are Liars". His blogs are great as is the new book. This post, for example, covers first impressions while this one covers fancy fish and makes some great marketing points.
Back to Best Buy.
The store is new, less 8 months old. When you enter it, you will find a bright, clean, 'friendly' store. Things are laid out nicely and they've done the right thing with being able to see where things are, etc.
We head back to the laptop area. Nicely laid out. All of them running the geek squad thing that Best Buy is hawking. More about that in a minute.
A nice first person comes over and asks if I need any help. Yeah, me, a guy, asking for help on a laptop, right. When hell freezes over and I'm faced with chewing my leg off for food, maybe I'll ask for a sandwich.
I'm slightly more polite then that and the friendly person says "No problem, if I can help, please ask anything, I'm not on commission, I'm here to help."
Not bad. She manages to say that line without it coming off as being canned or forced. Points for the training people. Well done.
After pouring over every laptop there was at least 4 times and risking my daughter's eternal wrath, we settle on (I settle on!) a nice Toshiba Satellite decked out with the usual stuff. Nice machine, good price.
I grab my wandering sales person and let her know that I'd like to purchase the Toshiba. She wants to know if I need her to explain anything about the machine. Uh, nope, bring it out and let's make the sale.
As we are walking to the counter, I notice the 'no interest/no payments' sign. It applies to all laptops. Cool, how do I sign up for this. No problem, sir, just give me your Drivers License and a major credit card, takes 5 minutes.
Presto, I'm using Best Buy's money for free.
Lie number one (Yeah, took a while to get to the Godin part, sorry):
There is a fee to set this purchase up. Its an "adminstration fee." It works out to about a 5% interest charge so it's not free. But, sir, they doth protest, it's cheaper then 18% interest and its not paid over time and and and, well, sir, it's still a great deal. Whatever, relax, I'm not going to go postal, I'm unarmed.
The point is that the "story" of buy now/pay later works but it is not a true story, it is a marketing lie.
Next up: Set up.
Best Buy performs a check of the laptop before they give it to you. This is a free service but for an extra $129 bux, they will do a whole laundry list of things including downloading the latest patches from Microsoft, registering Norton, turning on firewall stuff and a bunch of other things.
[Macho alert!] Now, the kid, err new adult, is standing right there looking up to me -n- all. I start to say, that's okay, I've got it folks, I'll handle it but smart sales person says:
"Getting a Windows machine current and properly set up, as you know sir, takes about 3 hours. It's a royal pain in the ass. We figure the $129 is the deal of the century given that we are saving you the three hours and you're worth more then 43 bux an hour."
Bingo, sign me up.
Oh, and put that on the 12 month no interest plan along with this and this.
The point here is that I think maybe, just maybe, Best Buy finally got it right with this Geek Squad thing. I watched three other people buy computers and three different sales people sold em on letting the geek squad do the complete set up.
The summary pitch? The story?
When you take this baby home, your single task will be turn it on.
They also offer a service where they will come by and set everything up at your house, including wireless routers, dsl modems, firewalls, etc, for a flat rate.
[Side note: Each pitch I watched involved telling the customer what a complicated mess setting up Windows, a Network, etc, can be. It's a fear tactic but, unfortunately, grounded in more reality then the industry will admit. I'm not particularly proud of this.]
Best Buy, at least in the computer department, has done a great job of telling the story of come on by, we make it easy, we'll get you rolling. A few twists on words like "no interest" but, all in all, somebody has got the story right.
It was a great experience and my daughter is rockin on her new laptop.