I love shopping via the Internet. Products are compared, all kinds of reviews are available, and the prices are right there for the cheapest deal and where to find it. Problem is, it doesn’t always work that way. Consider:
I got the urge to upgrade the bedroom TV. It’s an old CRT model with a 19” screen and not in the best of shape. Mostly it’s used by the Missus to watch her kind of movies, the oldies, the musicals, the one’s her mama used to watch. If it has Spencer Tracy or Judy Garland in the cast, so much the better. No need for a High Definition model to watch the African Queen for the umpteenth time. However, during this past college football season, the games seemed to start later and later, some around 9 P.M. The only sensible thing being to catch the fourth quarter while lying in bed. Hence the need for the upgrade. Surely you can see the logic here.
Off to surf the web. I diligently review the models in my price range, read all the reviews, and make a decision. I find that Best Buy has the best price, a good $50 cheaper than their competitors. Best Buy has three stores in the Tulsa area. I call the closest one, the Midtown location. I give her the model number and the SKU number from the screen.
“We have only one in stock,” a woman says. “Would you like me to have that put aside and save it for you?”
“Well, I most certainly would. Put my name on it. I’ll be there before noon.”
I enter the store at 10:45, find the Customer Service desk, and inquire as to the location of my new TV. The girl at the desk is clueless. “What was your name again? What kind of TV was it?” Uh oh.
She dons her in-house headphones . I hear her mumbling to someone in the Home Theater department.
“I’m sorry sir, but it seems the only one we have is the display model. However, if you wish to buy it, we can give you 10% off the price and you will still have the option of buying our extended warranty.”
I’m in shock. I’ve just driven 25 miles to be offered a TV than has been hanging on a wall and running what, 18 hours a day for… a year or two?
“You might want to check with the guy in that department,” she says and turns away.
Thinking there has been some horrible mistake, I stumble back to Home Theater and find a salesman. Surely the in-store computer is wrong and merely needs an update. The man agrees to check in the back of the store but no, out of stock.
“Yeah, we’ll sell you the one there on the wall. It doesn’t have a remote though.”
“You have got to be shittin’ me.”
He wasn’t but then went to his computer to check the other stores.
“Here you go” he says. “This location has 11 of them.”
“And which of the other two locations would that be if I may be so rude as to ask.”
“That would be the one just off Highway 75.”
“And the price? Is it the same as the one boldly stated on your web site?”
He checks and it is.
Luckily the Hwy. 75 store is not that far out of the way home and I go there.
A smiley faced young lad greets me in front of the big screens. I tell him that I wish to purchase one and only one of his eleven TV’s of the model of my choice , one that I have been assured resides at this very location. He disappears in the back room. Time passes. Uh oh.
He reemerges with nothing but a nervous grin and goes to the computer.
“Sorry, there’s been a mistake. We do have that model, but it’s in our Woodland Hills store.”
Why do I not believe him?
“Do you have free delivery?” I ask. He does. We set a date.
I’m waiting. Meanwhile, from the bedroom:
The hills are alive,
with the sound of music.