Bricks & Mortar – how to fail

Yesterday I installed my Sirius Starmate Reply in the TL, and it was relatively quick and easy. I just had to pop off some panels, drill one hole in the bottom center console tray and route the antenna wire up under the dash (the antenna sits inside the car on the dash, which works quite nicely).

But while the convenience of the Starmate”s built-in FM transmitter is nice, I decided (after putting the car back together) that I”d rather go with the Sirius FM Direct Adapter to reduce static and generally improve the experience. And with a long weekend at hand, I wanted to go ahead and git er done. So, then, I made a rare trip to a physical electronics store. Best Buy at Edgewood in this case, since I have heard they carry the FM thingy. They didn”t have any in stock, though, and the sales girl said something that was very quaint for the last day of 2006:

“We”re sold out right now, but we should get more in soon. Check back in about a week or so.”

Check back? Yeah, I don”t think so. The only reason I went to Best Buy for this thing was so I could get my hands on it immediately. That”s the only advantage a physical electronics retailer has today – instant gratification.

I don”t expect that somebody working at Best Buy would necessarily realize this, but “check back” is simply not a viable business model anymore. She didn”t do a good job of trying to keep my business. It wouldn”t have worked, but she could have offered to check the inventory of other Best Buys in Atlanta or even help me find it on bestbuy.com and buy in online through them. A place like Best Buy needs to understand that pretty much everything they sell can be found online – and probably at a lower price. Their one advantage – immediacy – has to be the cornerstone of the shopping experience.

I did end up swinging by a different Best Buy (they also do not carry iSkins, so I hit the Apple Store for one of those to go with the wife”s new 30GB Video), which also did not have the FM thing in stock. Funny thing is – that guy did look up inventories and the system said the Edgewood store had 8 in stock. He did the smart thing and called Edgewood to get them to check their stock. Of course, he got put on terminal hold the first time and couldn”t get anybody to help him out the second time, so I thanked him for the effort, told him not to worry about it, came home and ordered the thing from sirius.com (for $10 less than Best Buy sells them for).

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