Saturday, November 27, 2004

Devil or Angel?

I've made up my mind. I'm prouder than Aleister Crowley sinking his sharpened teeth into a new girlfriend to be one of Best Buy's "devil" customers. Yes, Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson has fallen under the Svengali spell of a marketing consultant who has advised him that actively discouraging up to 20% of the chain's customers from walking in the door will be good for the bottom line. He doesn't like people who buy loss-leader DVDs but never purchase plasma screen TVs, you see. Not surprisingly, this has created a minor backlash in the geek community, prompting ads such as this one from Dell: "At Dell, We Love All Our Customers. Even the Ones Best Buy Doesn't." Meeeow.

On the other hand, the anti-devil message hasn't percolated down the ranks quite yet, as their current Thanksgiving weekend "5 DVDs for $25" promotion demonstrates. The highly reputable news sources of the interweb would have us believe that, "To deter devils, [Best Buy] is cutting back on promotions and sales tactics that tend to draw them and culling them from marketing lists." With these goals in mind, I'd say selling popular DVD titles for $5 might be counterproductive. I was all set to take advantage of this deal myself, except that by lazily waiting until Saturday to show up at my local Best Buy at Tyson's Corner, I ended up with an unfortunate selection: it was all Joe Versus the Volcano and Boiler Room and no Blade Runner or Pale Rider. Looks like serious deviltry requires a bit more discipline. I did, however, score Donnie Brasco and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels for $9.99 each, which ain't half bad.

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