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Why I Didn’t Spend $1,300 at Best Buy on Black Friday

As the IT Director of my family we’ve been updating the hardware infrastructure. Over the past couple of years everyone is migrating to Mac. I no longer loose Thanksgiving or Christmas time doing Virus Protection upgrades, and my family members now have a 50/50 or better chance of getting the pictures off their digital cameras (or better yet, even being able to look at them on said machine).

Unfortunately there is no Apple Store out in Western Massachusetts, not surprising given the falling population density and the loss of many large employers in the area. When Best Buy rolled out an Apple center within their store here in Natick I thought that the one out west would be similar.

Alas, it was not.

I talked my dad out of mail order so we could head over on Black Friday and see what they had. Unlike the Natick store there was no dedicated store section, just two lone machines on the long rack of laptops. Jobs’ fanboys are groaning now at the sight of a Macbook and Macbook Pro on the same asile as Acers and HPs.

The clincher was that after watching 3 sales people talk to folks checking out the Macs, we got our turn in line. Instead of just listening to the pitch (the same one other 2 customers got) about how cool they were, I hit them with the heat – “Yeah, we’ll take one of those.” This required going off to check the stock and talk to a manager, used-car lot style.

The punchline is that there are none to sell in the store, we were told we could go BestBuy.com and get one on line, complete with (wait for it…) Free Shipping! The guy also said that when checking out we could take the customer survey at the end and tell them it would be great if they would stock the stuff in the store.

Of course, rather than do that we went straight to Apple.com, ordered it there and got a special $50 off price with… (you guessed it) Free Shipping! And I didn’t have to spend 5 minutes digging through a survey to tell Best Buy not to over promise and under deliver. And it’s not just for the customers, you don’t have to have sales reps giving up valuable time on Black Friday telling people how great Macs are and that you don’t really sell them.