Give me a break

We all know Best Buy as a sort of mecca for dudes. Guys drool over surround-sound systems and compare cellphone accessories...you know what I'm talking about. As a non-electronically-inclined woman in Best Buy, I tend to get a little irritated. Rows of televisions, all asking that you watch their movies; aisles of speakers, all begging you to turn up their volume. It's straight-up overwhelming.

My boyfriend and I were desperately seeking a place to sit and regroup, draw out a floor plan of our new apartment and try to decide which speakers will go where. So we found this area called Test Drive. It's four plush leather recliners, facing an insanely large TV with giant speakers and some loose walls around it. Just like our own little living room.

And sure enough, there was a dude, leaning back in one of the chairs with his feet up, watching the game. He looked like he lived there. The signs say "Take remote control," and sure enough, there was a stand for the clicker right at his fingertips. This area, I realized, was actually an experiential immersion - "Come in here and pretend - for a minute or an hour - that this is your house. You have a plush recliner, a sick television and ridiculous speakers. You are the master of your own audio/visual domain."

This is a great way to both test drive Best Buy's products, and almost forget you're in a retail space. It's been proven that the longer a shopper spends in a store, the more likely he is to buy something. This little area could keep people here all day!

When the dude finally got up, we sat down. We grabbed the remote. We hit "mute." Finally, a respite from the noise of the products. Now, we had almost left and gone to Starbucks instead. But by making this ad-hoc quiet space, and talking there for ten minutes, we stayed in the store for at least another hour. Best Buy should think about offering some type of visual, auditory and physical break from its own products.


george said...

I would love to go around a Best Buy and systematically turn the volume down on all their products. Partly for a stunt, but partly to see if the store might sell more or less product.

Oh and if anyone's interested there's an experimental Best Buy that's uber tech called Escape here in Chicago (on Halsted). But I can't find a site address for some reason. It's an attempt at showing off the latest tech gadgets in a new smaller and quieter environment.

april said...

ARRRG! Best Buy is the worst retail experience...yet I cannot stay away. It is for dudes...but why? Technology is also for the ladies these days. I have been actively ignored at that store with a pocket full of money to throw at some shiny new things. Instead I buy on the web now and just use Best Buy to browse (no one helps me out anyhow). *And* let's not forget that after you wait in line for an hour, you have to wait and have your reciept checked before you are able to leave. Don't those anti-theft devices work?

gone said...

Oh where oh where did our curious shopper go?

sara said...

I'm back, sorry it's been so long! I was moving. Now I am done. :)

Neil said...

As someone who goes shopping a lot with my wife, I'm always wondering why they don't put a few more rest areas in stores (a la Best Buy) so customers can just hang out for a few minutes, so I wouldn't have such a strong urge to run out after twenty minutes of shopping.

I know they think that it would hurt their shopping, but I think it would have the reverse effect, by keeping people in the store.