Best Buy is still a thing

posted by Jeff | Monday, February 1, 2016, 3:08 PM | comments: 0

I went in to Best Buy last weekend to spend a gift card. I honestly haven't been inside of one probably in a few years. Honestly, I can't believe that Best Buy is a thing.

Since it's been so long since I last saw the inside of a store, I have to tell you that I was first struck by how small the media section is. It used to occupy the middle 50% of the store. I spent entirely too much money on CD's and DVD's back in the day there. Obviously these days I buy music as MP3, and movies I buy mostly from Amazon, and now and then I buy digitally. But now, CD's occupy a short row of racks, and the movies are maybe three short rows. Video game space is still fairly respectable, but it's striking how there are brands buying big pieces, like Disney Infinity, Lego Dimensions and Guitar Hero.

As far as media shopping goes, honestly the experience was crappy. I can get any of that stuff online at Amazon for less. Heck, even video games I'm starting to lean toward digital purchases. The only win for getting the physical media is resale, but considering I buy maybe four games a year, and never part with them, it's a non-factor.

Much of the space these days is dedicated to selling mobile phones, which is not surprising. It's right up front. I avoided that area. I went right over to the TV area, just for fun. It makes me sad. Here they have these massive 4K TV's. What are they showing? Highly compressed video, with big chunky artifacts. If that weren't bad enough, they're all set to crush the blacks and crank up the saturation. And then they all do the ultimate sin, which is use that goddamn frame interpolation. That's where the TV takes two frames, normally 1/24th to 1/30th a second apart, and fills in the space with extra frames. It makes everything look like a soap opera, and I hate the way it looks. It's distracting and movies in particular, normally shot at 24 frames per second, look bizarre. This is not a feature, it's shit.

When you wonder back to the computer area, things are actually a little better. The pricing isn't great, but at least you can touch stuff, and they have a pretty wide variety of merchandise. Clearly Apple and Microsoft feel people are coming here, because they both buy a lot of space in the stores. So you can play with a MacBook Pro or a Surface Book. There are plenty of Best Buy Minions to answer questions, too.

Still, I can't get over the terrible presentation of the TV's. And the worst thing is that it's probably not their fault, it's the consumers who don't understand what quality is. Mind you, I had a lot of practice eye-balling color bars to adjust monitors on my previous profession (and my current TV does gen bars!), but you would think people would understand that erased detail and glowing red isn't optimal.

In any case, yeah, Best Buy is still a thing.


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