Thu, February 3, 2005
By the way, did I mention? Fuck Best Buy.
So, as you may know, Wonderfalls came out on DVD this week. Ordinarily, I'd stop at Best Buy on the way home from work to buy it, but I didn't go to work Tuesday on account of the sewer repairs on my street kept me trapped in my driveway by trenches and piles of sewer mud.
So I dropped by tonight, and couldn't find it on the shelf. "Uh oh," I thought to myself. "Here's where the delicate equilibrium is disturbed." You see, continuing to shop at Best Buy has been a risky proposition; it's kind of like driving on your spare tire – everything's fine as long as the road is smooth, but as soon as you hit rough terrain there's very little separating you from certain peril. Now, my life was in the hands of the moronic
high-school dropouts [Cheerfully withdrawn! –Ed.] who work there.
Approaching the guy at the computer was a waste of time: he couldn't look it up since he hadn't heard of it. (?) He referred me to a young lady who appeared to work in the DVD section, and she had seen the Wonderfalls set, but said that they had only stocked two copies. (So, clearly Best Buy is taking Fox Broadcasting's side on this – that nobody could possibly ever like that show – rather than Fox Home Video's side – that rabid, furious fans had demanded its release on DVD. They're quickly learning, as they sell out of their puny stocks, that we – the viewers – were right all along.)
She looked it up in another computer (a computer which, it should be noted, was having all sorts of problems due to the buggy custom Best Buy intranet running on an ancient version of Windows Internet Explorer – get Firefox, kids!) and found that only one copy of Wonderfalls was still in the system. But she told me that probably meant they didn't have any. (?) Maybe someone had returned it and it hadn't been reshelved, or maybe someone had gotten to it before me and hadn't made it to the registers yet. Tempted as I was to locate and tackle that person, I asked the associate if her 19th century tabulation device could access the inventory at the other store a few blocks away. She found that they also had one in stock, so I got their number from her, and gave them a call while I returned to scour the TV DVDs rack.
After waiting while the phone in the DVD section rang thirty times or so, I spoke with a blue-shirted, sullen
high-school dropout [Cheerfully withdrawn! –Ed.] a few blocks away who also had never heard of Wonderfalls. I spelled it nine times, and explained that I already had the results of an inventory search – I just wanted him to find out if they actually had it on the shelf and, if so, hold it for me. He said this to me: "Well, one doesn't mean we have it. The computer doesn't update right away when someone buys it." Of course not! Why would selling an item of your store's inventory remove it from the inventory listing? I wanted to tell him that I knew all about Best Buy's ridiculous computer system and its many, many shortcomings, but that was beside the point. All I said was, "That's why I figured I'd call on the phone and ask."
He put me on hold for a minute, then came back and said, "Sorry, we don't have it." And we both pretended he'd actually looked for it, as opposed to putting me on hold for a minute, standing there picking his nose, then saying he didn't have it just to punish me for getting snippy. Fine. Whatever.
I tossed the Ms. Pac-Man game back on the shelf (I'd been craving it since Poppy and Mario let me play theirs over the holidays, but I'd be damned if I was handing money to Best Buy after this!) and stormed out of the store. I was really tempted to throw it in a fridge or clothes dryer or something – find that, computer system! – but if I'd done that, I probably would've opened the door to find both copies of Wonderfalls, a half-eaten Quiznos sub, and a baby in there already, and then I'd be forced to decide whether to abandon my brand new re-boycott and just buy the damn DVD.
It still amazes me that you can have an inventory system in which one of something is indistinguishable from zero of something. I know Best Buy's system is ridiculous, and it appears to be widely known that one and zero are the same thing (two separate people at two stores told me this within ten minutes – and in both cases they seemed to feel that having one in the system made it less likely that they had one on the shelf), but that seems like the sort of thing that would make it hard to do business. I mean, what's the minimum number of something that you have to have in order to be sure you have more than zero? Five? Ten? And – whatever that is – why not order that amount? What's the sense in ordering two of something if you can't tell the difference between two and zero? Might as well order ten; then at least you know you have one. Then again, maybe I've at last discovered the heart of Best Buy's computer system problems. If none of their computers can distinguish one from zero, that would explain a lot. Computers talk in binary code – and in binary code, one and zero are the only numbers!
I got home, called Amoeba Music on Sunset, and their cheery DVD stock girl said she had one pre-owned copy on sale cheap, and she'd set it aside for me. What a sweetheart. If it weren't for the abysmal parking, horrible Hollywood traffic, and the sinking feeling that I'm not cool enough to be there, I'd shop only at Amoeba. (I still feel "in the club" for having frequented Amoeba in Berkeley back before they sold out and went Hollywood, but that feeling fades as soon as I walk through the doors and realize I'm three piercings shy of the average.)
So, this time tomorrow, I'll have Wonderfalls in my hot little hands – and I'll be able to add it to the giant pile of DVDs I can't wait to watch. But, luckily, I can add it right to the top!
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