Help Best Buy Claim “Worst Company in America”

It’s against some difficult competition this year (BP, Toyota), but I’m rooting for Best Buy to win the coveted Consumerist.com “Worst Company in America” (see brackets). Just scan the Consumerist archives for Best Buy and Geek Squad to see all the proof you’ll need.

We honored the consumer-electronic megafirm with the dubious WillVideoForFood 2010 “Greatest Corporate Social-Media Collapse” award, and were pleased to turn down a request to promote the company’s highly criticized “buy back” program you’ve perhaps seen so whimsically advertised on television (3D and 4D dad gets called “silly head”).

With apologies to the Geek Squad members that are competent and have social skills, the service division of Best Buy has done great things to secure Best Buy’s rise in its “worst company” bracket. And hey- it needs only beat Radio Shack initially. How hard can that be?

In the spirit of social-media transparency, my support of Best Buy in this race is motivated by this episode. More importantly, Best Buy’s decision to completely ignore my communication… and allow me to pay a ticket/fine for smiling and handing a Geek Squad driver my business card to explain why I videotaped him (which he reported to the police as a threat).

I’ll let you know when it’s time to vote!

Even Cute Puppets Loathe Geek Squad

Thanks, MrHogg. My feelings exactly. My Best Buy strike (driven by my horrible experience with the Geek Squad) took a one-day hiatus when I couldn’t find a power cord for my Mac. It was torture walking through that place, and it gave me greater resolve to continue my strike. I would imagine Best Buy has lost thousands from me since its moron driver called the police on me for videotaping him (and then Best Buy couldn’t muster an acknowledgement of the episode much less an apology).

Robert C. Buckingham is an angry loser who reviews books for a living

Rumors of AppleTV Revamp. Hulu Charges. BestBuy May Fire Funnyman.

Rumors on NY Times of an AppleTV overhaul that may make it more than a “hobby” (a term Steve Jobs used to describe the somewhat limited device). I, for one, already love the AppleTV so I’m bound to be excited about a new version. Heck I’d chose my AppleTV above my iPhone4G… which continues to boast crappy connection (even when the bars show otherwise) and has underwhelmed me for consistently posting on YouTube without errors.

And Hulu starts a pay-for-content model, and Apple offers a free Hulu Plus app on the iPhone (I’ll bet dozens sign up for it).

It’s like the online-video space found out I’ve just filed my book manuscript and want to see how quickly they can date it.

All we need now is for YouTube to launch a new television network.

Oh- and Best Buy continues to charm the online-video community, most recently scolding Brian Maupin. Turns out the former Best Buy employee is responsible for the hysterical video about the iPhone4G vs. Evo (you may have read about that one here last week).

AP is reporting Maupin, 25, said he was told Thursday he had a “choice to either quit or the HR people can decide what they want to do.” He said he would not quit and was told he could be fired over the matter.

Was probably told that by the nut job that called the cops on me.

Hey Brian (tinywatchproductions on YouTube)- unless you’re planning to keep your job or sue your employer, why not join me in a Geek Squad parody collaboration? Continue with videos as funny as the HTC Evo vs. iTunes video and you’ll earn far more from YouTube advertising than at Best Boob.

I used to love your employer until the Geek Squad ape when nuts on me, and Best Buy or Geek Squad never bothered to even acknowledge me.

Best Buy Goes Walmart

Business Week wrote about Best Buy’s increasing influence, which worries several major electronics companies (not the least of which are those formerly of Circuit City). Seems Best Buy’s influence is beginning to take a Walmart tone.

“We used to call them the 800-pound gorilla,” says the executive of one company that sells televisions and other products to Best Buy. “Now with a lot of competition gone, they’re the 1,000-pound gorilla.”

Barry Judge, the CMO of BestBuy, blogged about the article, to surprising support from his readers.

Meanwhile, don’t try to fetch an iPhone4 as a BestBuy walk-in, even if you received an e-mail announcement the day prior:

P.S. This and any articles about BestBuy in the foreseeable future reserves the right to be negatively biased due to my $85 ticket for videotaping a Geek Squad van (see video). The black eye hurts too.

NewTeeVee Tackles YouTube

In a YouTube binge, NewTeeVee writer Liz Shannon Miller is rounding up some major online-video news:

Now what else can Liz cover for YouTube week? Hmmmm… how about a YouTuber getting pulled over by the NJ po-po for videotaping a Geek Squad van? And (in a moment of slight embellishment) got a black eye a week later.

Geek Squad Driver Goes Ape

Yesterday I was driving home and spotted a Geek Squad van (Geek Squad is a computer repair division of retailer Best Buy). I thought it would be fun to create a video where I play a fictional Geek Squad hero responding to farcical “help calls,” so I shot some footage of the Geek Squad van. Later, I decided, I would videotape myself in our van, and edit it so it appeared I was the driver.

As I began to videotape the van, the Geek Squad driver became suspicious and concerned. He was speeding, so maybe he thought I was going to report him… and that intimidation would redirect the situation. He began to take photos of my car, write down the license plate number and give me odd looks. So at a stop light, I handed him my business card and explained my intent in hopes that it would diffuse the situation. I told him I was making a video parody for YouTube — not at his expense — but in a parody of people who call tech support for erroneous reasons. He replied, “good now I can sue you.” I thought that was an antagonistic response to my gesture, but I just smiled and drove away when the light turned green.

Minutes later I saw police lights in my rear-view mirror, and posted a video real-time on my Unclenalts account. I also Tweeted pictures of the event, and alerts. Seems the Geek Squad driver called 911 and reported me, saying I got out of the car at a red light.

The video documenting my experience is now among the most highly-rated videos of the week on YouTube, and the comment cloud below summarizes the reactions. Twitter exploded with @bestbuy and @geeksquad alerts, propelled by fellow YouTuber CharlesTrippy. Nearly 700 people “thumbed up” the video versus 16 “thumbs down.”

YouTube comment cloud on the "Geek Squad Calls Police" video show reactions from viewers

I’m still not quite sure why the driver became so defensive, or the rationale for the “reckless driver” citation I received for $85. I do plan to contest it, if only to keep my nearly perfect driving record stable.

Meanwhile it’s unfortunate for BestBuy (who I regard as one of the better companies in social media, as well as one of my favorite stores… until yesterday). Here’s a blog post I wrote about BestBuy’s Barry Judge, and my “man crush” on him.

No official response from BestBuy or GeekSquad, although I did get a positive tweet response from http://twitter.com/AgentEAN. I did alert BestBuy’s corporate PR to the situation via e-mail on Friday. No response yet.

I’m really no fan of drama like this, much less when it reflects negatively on a corporation I like (BestBuy) and involves the police. But I do feel obliged to surface this via social media… the driver’s defensive and confrontational reaction reflects poorly on Geek Squad. And it not only got me a police citation but ruined a rare date night with my wife last night. Hard not to look at the Geek Squad logo without getting a viscerally negative feeling… like when you smell burnt hair or hear a chalkboard scratch.

BestBuy, known for its heroic approach to social media, didn’t acknowledge the Twitter tornado on Friday (almost all searches for BestBuy and GeekSquad were about this situation).

Here’s the video on my Nalts channel that shows the blow-by-blow. I thought the police officer handled it well, even though I would have appreciated him not giving me a citation given that it was based on a report from the Geek Squad driver (rather than anything he witnessed). I can’t envision that holding up in court, since the “eye witness account” was clearly not objective. I would have also appreciated him allowing me to talk with the driver, which he refused.

Parenthetically, it’s not illegal to videotape a van or a policeman in public, despite many myths. I’ve only heard of people getting in trouble when videotaping in a private place and refusing to stop or leave…. or for obstructing justice or demonstrating disorderly conduct in public while videotaping.