Daily Archives: March 7, 2012

Best Buy Experience? Not At Best Buy! Part I

It would appear that Best Buy is in trouble. And not just because Storefront Backtalk has been covering one problem after another on their web site about how Best Buy is Making the Same Data Mistakes Again, while being the latest example of a Black Friday Fiasco, and offering free Wi-Fi Porn to minors in its store. It is in trouble because they obviously cannot get a handle on their IT, despite trying to be a major provider of computers and electronics across North America.

But first, let’s recount the problems Storefront Backtalk has already told us about.

1. They’re still living in the Wild West and making the same data mistakes again.

How could an organization end up with “50 or so applications running on the cloud with absolutely no governance whatsoever”? That just boggles my mind. Maybe it’s the CTO in me, but I couldn’t even imagine 5 applications running untethered on the cloud. And not just because I’m not all that fond of clouds, which do have their uses when correctly applied, but because it doesn’t matter where your applications are — they still need to be managed, backed-up, and secured. It is, or I thought it was, just good old-fashioned common sense.

2. They sold product they did not have in their latest Black Friday Fiasco.

Not only did Best Buy take way more orders than it could fulfill for certain items on Black Friday, but it waited until a few days before Christmas to cancel those orders. Talk about a crushing blow to a customer, who has already been charged, and who thinks that special Christmas gift they bought a special someone is on its way. And talk about an insult when, instead of refunding the purchase, you send the distraught customer a Best Buy gift card. This is definitely a violation of trust. But even worse, one might be able to argue that this is a violation of the Uniform Commercial Code as the acceptance of payment can be argued to constitute a contract, which would mean the seller (Best Buy) would be obligated to transfer and deliver under Sec. 2301 or terminate with reasonable notification under Sec. 2309. The question is whether or not terminating almost a month later after accepting payment is “reasonable”. I’ll leave that to the lawyers, but note that as if this wasn’t bad enough, even in January, they cannot say what happened. This leaves one to surmise that they have some major IT problems, and won’t own up to them, which is not a good thing in the doctor‘s book.

3. It’s inability to implement simple Wi-Fi security resulted in a South Carolina store showing pornographic images on its large-screen TVs three (3) times in twenty-four (24) hours in it’s latest Wi-Fi Headache.

And one time, on February 12, the images were displayed at the Greenville location to children in the store for a full 30 minutes! And Best Buy has not offered a definitive explanation as to what happened. The story was changed from “two individuals accessed our store’s wireless signal to broadcast inappropriate content on a smart television display” which would require a wi-fi hack (unless they didn’t secure it in the first place) to “accessed a product display wireless signal” which would mean that just the “smart” TV’s were hacked to receive signals directly from a mobile phone. Further details indicated that “one of the signals in our store wireless system, specifically the one for product displays, was accessed”. But was that the case when Best Buy was “inviting people to come in and select whatever they wanted on their device and show it on the big screen”. Regardless of what happened, it looks like “store management didn’t have an immediate way of halting the porn displays” and that’s a serious problem. Especially when it has still not addressed how it will prevent this problem from happening again. But the worst part of this story is when a customer subjected to the images asked to speak to a store manager, the associate told him “You want to see the manager? You go get him. He’s over there.”. When it comes to customer service, how much worse can it get?

And that’s the real problem with Best Buy, as will be elaborated tomorrow in Part II.