Buying the HP Chromebook 11 at Best Buy Made My Head Hurt

Sections: Computers, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Mobile Computers

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Recently I provided 5 thoughts on the Best Buy customer experience. For the most part, they weren’t kind thoughts. Some readers chided me for expressing my preference for buying online and for “showrooming” at the store. So I decided recently that instead of ordering an HP Chromebook 11 online and waiting seemingly forever to receive it, I’d get some instant gratification and buy one at Best Buy’s South Philadelphia store.

I walked in, and that’s when things got weird.

Lots of “hi”s and “can I help you”s, followed by no one helping me.

Let me explain.

I had a bee in my bonnet to buy the new [easyazon-link asin=”B00FJXVRM8″ locale=”us”]HP Chromebook 11[/easyazon-link]. I headed straight for the “Google section” of the store, where I was met by a few demo units of Chromebooks, Android tablets, ChromeCast. And there it was, the HP Chromebook 11. I messed around with it. I liked it. I wanted it.

So I asked for it.

And that’s where things got complicated.

First, all of those Best Buy employees who were forever up in my grill suddenly were nowhere to be found. Then a Google employee appeared out of nowhere and started telling me how cool the product was, especially the packaging. Which I still haven’t seen, because there are no self-serve units on the shelves. Amiable Google Guy then disappeared, never to be seen again, but before he departed he promised he’d grab one of the Best Buy salespeople to get me hooked up.

A few minutes go by. Enter a friendly Best Buy employee toting a clipboard with an elaborate form on it. What followed were a fussilade of questions about just why I wanted to buy the HP Chromebook 11. So I essentially went through the same list that I posted here. I felt like saying, “Hey lady, I’m sold already. Give me the friggin’ thing so I can get on with my precious weekend day.” But my parents raised me to be polite. So I just said, “Sold! I love it! Please get me one.”

"Blue Shirts of the world, hand it over, hand it over, hand it over."

“Blue Shirters of the world, hand it over, hand it over, hand it over.”

Turns out, just like Amiable Google Guy, Friendly Best Buy employee wasn’t authorized to hand me the package either. Just like Amiable Google Guy, she promised to send over a salesperson. To get the box. With the computer in it. Which they would then hand to me. I know, this was a momentous task that required a true professional. Not just any Best Buy employee can handle a box with a $279, two-pound Chromebook in it, after all.

More excruciatingly boring, inactive minutes passed. I didn’t want to wander away from the end-cap display because then I might miss my connection and never get the darn thing or, worse, that I might need to go through all of that probing again. Every time I thought my feelings might be spoiled or petulant, my wife told me no. No, they are neither spoiled nor petulant, she said. “What is happening right now is insane,” she said.

An older Blue Shirt appeared, apparently to turn off an alarm I had tripped when, bored and restless, I had picked up a [easyazon-link asin=”B00DR0PDNE” locale=”us”]Chromecast[/easyazon-link] dongle and must have moved it too far from its tethered base. He noticed me standing there. He noticed me!

“Do you need something?” he asked.

“Yes, an HP Chromebook 11.”

“I’ll get someone for you.”

“You know, I’d just like to get this thing and skedaddle. It’s been 15 minutes now.” I received a perturbed look. He disappeared.

Shortly thereafter, a quiet Blue Shirt kid with acne appeared. He didn’t say a word to me, but I got the sense that he may be my savior. He had a set of keys. He started fiddling with the end-cap. He couldn’t get it unlocked. He asked me if I wanted the HP Chromebook 11. YES! Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle… open! My precious was inside the end-cap! Oh happy day!

Product paid for and in hand, we proceeded to the appliance department to look at fancy refrigerators. Thankfully, no one was there to not help us.

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  • Cole

    lol so true but really not all Best Buys are like that but I have had the experience you just had also.

  • SM

    I had a similar experience about a year ago trying to buy a Chromebook. The problem is that they are in extreme short supply especially in the holiday season just after the models have been released. The stores just do not have them in store, and your best bet is to try to buy one online.

  • swb

    I went to the Best Buy web site, ordered one, and picked it up at the counter in the store 2-3 days later. Much easier.

  • DR

    Yep the Blue Suits always let you know they aren’t on commission but do I need five of them each asking me if I need help?

  • David

    I’ve had similar experiences at Best Buy. That place is only good for in store pick ups.

  • Rich

    I bought my Chromebook 11 from the same store in South Philly a few days ago. The Google guy was nice but doesn’t work for Best Buy and cant open the cases (understandable). I waited about 5 minutes for someone to grab mine. I just wish they had more colors besides the blue, but I was going out of town the next night and couldn’t wait for it to ship.

  • Mike Bellman

    I provide work for a company who deals with Best Buy as a customer so I’m really getting a kick out of these comments! (company name omitted for obvious reasons)

  • Mike Bellman

    This made me think of you and the sales person’s reticence.