5.05.2006

Why didn't I think of this?

I'm just waiting for the day when Christian is old enough to help me play a prank at Best Lie... I uh... I mean Best Buy.

Inside the doors of every Best Buy there are little gates that count every person that walks into the store. The general idea is to take that number and divide it by the number of transactions to get a number called "conversion." Conversion is one of the many statistics the corporate people at Best Lie... sorry, Best Buy uses to measure how well a store is doing.

It is not an exact science for several reasons. Some customers separate their purchases into separate transactions, possibly to help keep finances in order; i.e. business supplies and personal amenities. Employees also walk through those gates when they go outside to smoke or run somewhere for lunch. If employees do not go elsewhere for lunch, they often buy sodas and snacks from the front register. While this helps out their conversion it also lowers one of the other metrics they have to meet, average transaction.

Average transaction is determined by adding up to total of all of the days receipts then dividing that by the number of transactions made during the day. The larger the purchases made during the day the higher the average transaction. Best L... Buy drives up this number by selling you crap that you don't need. Management teaches their employees to lie and deceive to get those "add ons" into every large sale.

For example: the Sunday add has a cheap worthless little E-Machines package for $399.99 (after rebates). It seems like a good deal, you get the computer tower, monitor, and a printer for one low price. But the goal of every employee (or at least that employee's supervisor) is to take that sale and add in at least three of the following products: a service plan (there are separate plans for the CPU, monitor, and printer... ideally you get all three), backup battery or power supply (the bigger the better, a simple power strip won't do), blank CD's for the CD-R, extra ink (the ones included with the printer are only half full), regular paper (preferably bright white... it's the most expensive), photo paper (because the printer is a color printer), a USB cord not included with the printer (and the one with gold tips cause it's better!), internet services (why get a computer if you can't use the internet), extra virus protection, and new software like games to keep you entertained (and Microsoft Office would be a great suggestion for an additional $399.99). By the time they're done with you, you're spending close to $1,800 if not more. Then they suggest great deals on digital cameras. Once at the registers they hit you up for magazine and other subscription services (or d-subs). If the sales person was not successful in selling the service plans, some managers require that person to page a manager to the front to further push the service plan. This method of sales has angered many customers and employees. Just check out this website. (ed. note: the Best Buy Sux website has been shut down (presumably by Best Buy) and replaced with Best Buy advertising. If it was still in operation, you would have found countless stories from jilted customers and disgruntled former and current employees)

If the store is above target for average transaction but short of their conversion goal, management encourages employees to make small purchases. But if they are under goal for average transaction, small employee purchases are discouraged. Obviously, the cost of a soda and a bag of Skittles is drastically lower than that of a High Definition plasma television and could significantly lower the average transaction.

Anyways, back to conversion. One other thing that prevents this statistic from being truly accurate is customers who exit and reenter the store. They're returning shopping carts or left their credit card in their car or whatever. It is this concept that I want to exploit with the help Christian. Although, I've got to wait till he's taller.

First, we'll enter the store, counted as two people. Then, while shopping, I'll whisper to him "run through those gates." And as he runs out the door, I'll go chase him down like any good father would, also passing through the gate. We will then go back into the store, passing through the gates now counted as six people. Once inside the store I will fake scold him so not to raise suspicion of the LP person standing by the door. I'll say something like "Christian, I am only pretending to scold you. Even though I look stern, you are not in trouble. But I want you to look sheepish so that that nice people in the blue shirts think you are in trouble. Do you understand?" He'll nod his head and I'll say "Good. Now go run through the gates again." We will repeat this process many times and will eventually buy nothing. If we do by something it will be a CD or DVD and only if it is on sale.

As much fun as I imagine that activity will be, it pales in comparison to this prank.

I so wish I was there.

And for more Best Buy reading enjoyment that is totally off the subject, check out this site.

2 comments:

  1. Did you see link of the practical joke of "employees" that dad sent. I laughed until I almost wet myself. If only we had been able to do something like that. That is even better than pretending to scold your kid (although that is going to be fun to hear about). That joke is something we could do at any said store which there are a few here in Cheyenne that would be really fun (like Circuit City).

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  2. Or Albertsons. Even WITH the apron and name tag, I was constantly asked "Do you work here."

    No, I just liked the outfit and borrowed it from my room mate.

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