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  1. #1
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Circuit City Vs. Best Buy

    Ok folks...Let's just pin these two box stores against each other in a 'lesser of two evils' thread. Comment and defend your position as to which of these two mega=chains is the better or lesser of two evils.

    For me, Circuit City carries slighty better names, but usually does not have the quantities that Best Buy has. Both have terrible product knowledge.

    Who will win? We are mainly looking at audio/video for this comparison by the way.

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    Totally Disagree With Your Generalizations Albeit Mine Are Generalizations Too!

    While I agree with you that the technical knowledge of the people I've dealt with at Best Buy has been a joke, there are alot more knowledgable people at Circuit City than you're not giving credit for. I'm not sure if the people at Circuit City are on Commission but they generally seem to work harder & can make pretty good comparisons of the products they have for sale. I also find the sales help there more friendly & helpful & they try to give you the best deal they can- ie. free delivery when they don't have too (in some cases), etc. Circuit City is alot less claustrophobic & in my opinion carries alot more & better higher end products. It is extremely easy to return merchandise at Circuit City as well as Best Buy.

    I generally would recommend you go into Circuit City or Best Buy either knowing what you're planning to get ahead of time & buy the item without changing your mind (always ignore "we just got in the best ______ ever today") or taking notes on what you see at Circuit City & what the sales people say, then doing research at home & then buying the item when you're convinced its the best decision. In other words I wouldn't go in without a clue & immediately purchase what the salesman at Circuit City says without doing any research. Circuit City has an excellent independent review site of all its products by people who have purchased them & I find that site to be extremely accurate much more so then Amazon.com & there are alot of people reviewing an item not just one or 2. When 50 people give an item say a 4.8 out of a 5 (they also put in their comments), you know the item is a good one, etc.. Circuit City will also give you any difference in price if they or another store in the area sells the same thing cheaper within 30 days plus 10% more for you (Best Buy may do the same). I've found my experiences at Circuit City very pleasurable & bought my 34" HDTV there, my DVD recorder there, my computer, etc.

  3. #3
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    I stay clear of both places for various reasons. I have not had great service either place, which could be just where I live, but I somehow doubt I am the only one.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular KaiWinters's Avatar
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    To me both are similar with BB having more in stock in general. There are some differences with product carried which is a very good thing. Return policies are fair in general based on my personal experiences...I just brought in a camera to BB for service, lens cap not fully opening, focus not working well, they sent it out saying maybe 3 weeks before you get it back. Got it back within 10 and it works perfectly now.

    Staff, imo, are friendly and occasionally knowledgeable but often it is info through training hitting the "hot points" rather than hands on knowledge but considering both are staffed by part time "youngsters" lol I am satisfied and content. I do not expect them to have in depth knowledge. I generally go into those big boxes with more product knowledge and general knowledge because of my research.
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    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    While I agree with you that the technical knowledge of the people I've dealt with at Best Buy has been a joke, there are alot more knowledgable people at Circuit City than you're not giving credit for. I'm not sure if the people at Circuit City are on Commission but they generally seem to work harder & can make pretty good comparisons of the products they have for sale. I also find the sales help there more friendly & helpful & they try to give you the best deal they can- ie. free delivery when they don't have too (in some cases), etc. Circuit City is alot less claustrophobic & in my opinion carries alot more & better higher end products. It is extremely easy to return merchandise at Circuit City as well as Best Buy.
    This may just be the area that you are in. Luck of the draw on who gets the better $8.00 an hour employee. When I was shopping for a new receiver about 15 months ago, I went into our local CC. I explained what I was looking for and what I wanted to spend. At the time I wanted the HK model they had. He explained that I was too old to hear the difference between hi-fi & low-fi. I should just get a Bose Lifestyle system because they sound much better anyhow.
    Still have my issues with BB also though. They're a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to buy anything there.
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  6. #6
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    BB just doesnt have anything in the audio part of any interest to me so if i have to,its CC.
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  7. #7
    AR Member JeffKnob's Avatar
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    I prefer Circuit City where I am. My local BB rarely has what I want instock. I usually have about a 50/50 chance of my item being in stock. The people there are not helpful and of course have no idea what they are talking about. CC is also questionable on their knowledge but they will go above and beyond to make sure I am satisfied.
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  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Ughhh...I've had bad experiences with both. On Saturday, I walked by Best Buy and was playing with some receivers. They had a Pioneer VSX-1015 model there. Anyway, some older guy was asking which model the saleskid would recommend. He said he liked the top model Sony or bottom model H/K.
    The customer asked me my opinion after the kid left for a second, and I told him it the Pioneer was the best unit in the store IMO, at least value wise if not absolute performance. The kid came back and said those things are very underpowered, had trouble driving their low-end Polks, with much higher spec'd distortion blah blah blah, and that the Sony's were better.
    I wanted to punch him. He was BS his way through it. I had a few days with one of those Pioneers, and it was anything but underpowered.
    He started spewing the virtues of RMS power ratings, telling us how it was an acronym for som international standard tag... more BS. Not sure what his point was there, but I knew he was BS us...after 5 minutes of this I was about to slap the kid, so I just said I had to go...I can only hope buddy didn't buy the Sony the kid was pushing.

    Another BB salesguy began helping me with receivers by asking me how many watts I wanted. Then he said, if you know anything about these things maybe you can teach me...
    At least he was honest.

    A few years back, some Circuit City guy told me Monster cables make a 15% difference in sound because of copper purity or some such nonesense.. And that they measure performance of cables as THD. I haven't been back to a Circuit City since.

    But I've had some good experiences too...One BB sales lady knew a helluva lot more than I did about HDTV's when I was there awhile back. She answered every question I could throw at her, was quite aware of DVE and AVIA discs, service menu options, and the fact that the stores lighting made it very difficult to judge a TV's picture, hence relative comparisons were all we could do, etc. No BS at all. This lady either loved her job or had done her homework. She shouldn't be working at a Best Buy, that's for sure.

    If I had to pick one, I'd pick whoever was cheapest. No loyalties here, it's what you'll do for me now that matters.

  9. #9
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    I think the main thing when shopping at either store is, if you haven't researched an item ahead of time, don't immediately buy it at either store based on what a salesman says. Instead do some research on it & then if you're satisfied, buy it. Albeit both stores do have good return policies, so you're not losing anything but your time if you want to return it, unless there is a restocking fee for a certain group of item.

  10. #10
    Audio/Video Nirvana robert393's Avatar
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    Neither.....I go there only on occasion to look around (I'm a very curious type). I suggest finding a reputable speciality shop, build a report with one of the more knowledgeable sales staff, and gain knowledge about higher end audio/video. Of course I would recommend being as loyal to them as they are to you. In-other-words, if they treat you right, you will recipocate by buying from them. Don't go to them and take all their info then go buy the items they "sold" you elsewhere......that's theft.

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  11. #11
    His and Her Room! westcott's Avatar
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    All other things being equal, I prefer CC for one primary reason. They do not treat my like a thief when I leave the store like BB does by TRYING to search my bags.

    I do not shop there or anywhere where they question my integrity.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by westcott
    All other things being equal, I prefer CC for one primary reason. They do not treat my like a thief when I leave the store like BB does by TRYING to search my bags.

    I do not shop there or anywhere where they question my integrity.
    They both do it, but I don't think it's legal. I was reading on a "hate Fry's" website that a store cannot compel a customer to turn over a receipt or purchased goods unless they are charging said customer with shoplifts, excepting, of course, club retailers like Costco, where that "search" is stipulated to in the membership agreegment. But I'm not sure if this is true. Does anybody know with certainty the legality of compelling shoppers to produce a receipt and their purchases? I simply say "no" and keep walking.

  13. #13
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Doesnt bother me like at fry's.
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  14. #14
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
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    For audiio equipment... If I had no choice... I'd have to choose Circuit City for the speakers. Would probably look at the Yamaha receivers at Best Buy. I think similar performance and better value than most of the receivers Circuit City carries. Have seen some good deals on Pioneer Elite at Circuit City though. And if I remember correctly, many of the Yamaha models sold at Best Buy lacked preamp outputs which was a turn-off for me.

  15. #15
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    Like other's have said, CC & BB are fine as depots. IOW, it's a search & destroy mission where you already know what you want, where it is, and what it costs. If their price is OK, you buy it. The salespeople are pretty much just in the way. This is one of the reasons I was so disheartened when GoodGuys went by the wayside. Their staff was almost always very knowledgeable. When I was shopping for an AVR, the first question the GG salesman asked me was "What speakers are you using?" (Seriously, how many times does that happen?) When I told him, he went on to tell me about his personal Matrix 801/Classe set-up. Wouldn't you know, the guy was a bonafide audiophile. This was pretty typical, too. The guys there knew their stuff. If you hang out here, there's an excellent chance that you know a heckuva lot more than any BB or CC employee.

    BB has Magnolia, but I haven't visited one of those yet. I'm curious if their staff is more informed than the normal zombie they employ? I would hope so, otherwise they are doing an incredible disservice to not only the lines they carry, but also to the customer. Can't you just hear the pitch, "These ML Clarity's are just like Joey & Chandler's from Friends! They are thin so they take up less floor space, they'll match your decor, and the holes in the screens make them more aerodynamic!"

    Ugh.

    The Denon 3803 was the last piece of gear I've bought from a B&M store (from that GG rep, ). Since then, everything else, which includes enough gear for a complete HT and separate 2 ch. rig, were purchased from a couple of boutique dealers. IMO, this is the only way to go.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    BB has Magnolia, but I haven't visited one of those yet. I'm curious if their staff is more informed than the normal zombie they employ? I would hope so, otherwise they are doing an incredible disservice to not only the lines they carry, but also to the customer. Can't you just hear the pitch, "These ML Clarity's are just like Joey & Chandler's from Friends! They are thin so they take up less floor space, they'll match your decor, and the holes in the screens make them more aerodynamic!"
    The employees at the standalone Magnolia Audio Video stores are paid on commission, while the sales reps at the Magnolia Home Theater stores inside of Best Buy are hourly. Either way though, the Magnolia employees are generally a lot more experienced, not to mention better paid, than the typical BB sales reps working the floor. I know that in SoCal some of the former Good Guys employees that got laid off when GG canned most of their commissioned sales staff a couple of years ago now work at the Magnolia AV and Home Theater stores.

    Best Buy acquired Magnolia about five years ago, which primarily operated in the Seattle area and had one of the best reputations in the industry for customer service. IMO BB did the smart thing by letting Magnolia operate as a standalone subsidiary, while integrating their distribution operations into Best Buy's network and starting an expansion into California. What BB learned from the standalone Magnolia AV stores, they applied to the Magnolia Home Theater ministores. The arrangement has apparently worked well because the Magnolia HT ministores started with two test stores a couple of years ago in San Francisco and Costa Mesa, and now I believe they've added Magnolia ministores to about 80 Best Buy stores nationally.
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  17. #17
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    When dealing with BB you'd better hold onto your receipt for dear life.

    I agree with the Magnolia comments. I purchased my Denon products from there and have auditioned speakers on several occasions. Their knowledge and CS were excellent.

    BB sucks on the audio side. I tried to audition Klipsch their and it was a joke. They have the front speakers 3ft in front of you and the center and surrounds 3 ft above your head. CC is trying. The last time I went they had a section set aside for audtioning with a couch and nice theater like setting. Nothing like the audio rooms at GG but it's a start.

  18. #18
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    Interesting opinions! I've received good service at both and I've received crappy service at both. I agree with many people here as stating they are decent depots- as long as you know what you're getting, you're in decent shape.

    I don't think I've ever bought HT equipment there because I can usually find it cheaper elsewhere. I did buy some cables there and I think that's about it.

    I like the CC buy my house because it's never crowded- not good for CC, but good for me.

    Btw, CC used to work on commission, but I read in the paper a couple years back that program was discontinued- seems like they still aren't on commission because I'm not preyed on as I was before.

    Fwiw, I had horrible experience with a Fry's employee one time. He was trying to tell a customer who was standing next to me there's no reason to upgrade to HD-DVD when it comes out because the current players will have the same quality (even with HD-DVDs). I guess you could run into service like that everywhere, unfortunately.

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    Fry's in LA is a total weird animal. There are some longtimers at the place that are incredibly well knowledgable but its hard for me to give an assessment of the place overall. I do use Fry's & Circuit City regularly to buy things but avoid Best Buy as much as possible best on experiences in the past at a store location 1000 miles away. All 3 of these places do have excellent customer returns departments.

  20. #20
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    I don't know if the commission thing is a good thing or bad thing. While I do enjoy the fact that they are not ALL OVER ME from the time I enter to the time I leave...I also miss the knowledgable people that worked on commission because it was one job that they could do and get paid decent for since they made money on what they sold. Perhaps that should be the subject of the next thread....commission vs. hourly wage? The experts that work at high-end shops work on commission as well.

  21. #21
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    One more thing....

    Everyone keeps saying that Best Buy has great return service. I disagree. I have had quite a few incidents the most rediculous one happened when MGM released SILENCE OF THE LAMBS to DVD a few years ago. Best Buy in all their infinite wisdom decided to set the movies out without separating the widescreen from the full-screen versions. At this time they didn't do full-screen very much (2001). So, I just grabbed the movie without even thinking because both covers looked exactly the same. I got home 10 minutes later and as soon as I put it into my machine I knew it was wrong. 10 minutes later I was at Best Buy looking for an EVEN-EXCHANGE. Moron # 1 told me that they could not do an exchange since the items are not exactly the same. Moron # 2 told me that they do not do exchanges on open items. I was furious! I simply showed them my receipt and told them that literally 20 minutes ago I purchased the movie and that it was really their fault for not labelling better. Both items were the same price, so what's the big deal. As if this wasn't the biggest frustrating part....I happened to be at the time employed by a sub-company of Best Buy and was enabled to get their employee discount, so you would think that it would have been an easy deal. I ended up talking to two managers before finally getting my way in the matter. Talk about a stress tester!

    Anyone else have a great story about either store???

  22. #22
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The employees at the standalone Magnolia Audio Video stores are paid on commission, while the sales reps at the Magnolia Home Theater stores inside of Best Buy are hourly. Either way though, the Magnolia employees are generally a lot more experienced,... than the typical BB sales reps working the floor.
    Not *my* Magnolia inside my BB... The salespeople there were completely inept, and did not know what HD-DVD was when I asked for a demo a couple months back. They thought HD-DVD was an upconverting regular DVD player and offered to let me watch a demo on the other side of their store accordingly. This idiocy continued until I pointed out their error and walked them over to the demo HD-DVD player (that we were originally standing next to when I asked to see a demo of HD-DVD). Then they said that HD-DVD was actually Blu-Ray... I'll stop right there, but the errors went on and on... Maybe I just got a bad group of employees at my location.

    All that said, while I really don't like any of Magnolia's audio stuff, their video stuff is pretty good quality if you know what you are looking for. As such, I would pick BB easily over CC in my area. Both stores have reps that are not worth the near minimum wage they earn, IMO. I try to avoid buying from either if possible.

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  23. #23
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    I don't like either store.
    They both have those booming boom box quality Home Threater system subwoofer
    systems, blasting out that wonderfull dreadfull car audio type of
    Boom boom thud, Boom boom thud, Boom boom thud bass.

    What ever happened to true audio?
    Boom boom thud, Boom boom thud.
    Yea MAN can't hear that bass kick? bboooooooooom bboooooooom

    LOL

    GTF

  24. #24
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    [QUOTE=GMichael] He explained that I was too old to hear the difference between hi-fi & low-fi. I should just get a Bose Lifestyle system because they sound much better anyhow.
    QUOTE]


    You should have punched him in the nose!

    I worked retail at the defunct chain Lafayette Radio for 14 years, and if I ever said anything like what this smartass said to you, I'd have been out on my ass so fast, I wouldn't have known what hit me!

    While both CC and BB generally offer sales help with minimal product knowledge, and even less ability to keep up with trends, the American consumer himself is largely to blame for their success, and lack of product expertise. Americans seem to feel that they are owed the best (i.e.- "lowest") price on whatever it is they wish to buy, and simply won't pay more for something in one retailer, if another has a lower price on the same item, even if the former consists of courteous, knowledgeable salespeople, and the the latter is staffed with 17 year-old cretins.

    If the American consumer were willing to pay for service (something I'm willing to do, and a few here at AR seem willing to do likewise), all the independent retailers CC and BB put out of business would still be around. But they're not.

    The worst thing the consumer does is to shop a dealer who does have knowledgeable sales help, question the s**t out of the people there, and then go somewhere else and buy the product for less. What's wrong with this picture?

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    I totally don't agree with your concept of it being wrong to shop for the cheapest item & if it has put independent stores out of business all I can say is tough! First off, as previously said, if you know what you're buying ahead of time, a place like Best Buy is fine because you're not relying on a semi retarded teenager for help. As far as people with knowledge in independent stores, the ones who are, work at high end stores that aren't in competition with chain stores anyway, because chain stores don't carry their items. Places like Best Buy could still stay in business & make just as much money if not more, if they hired compotent people who'd they give commissions too & higher salaries. The offset is more people would shop at these stores because of customer service. Anyway, my experience as I said at Circuit City has been excellent in regards to customer service & Best Buy I try to avoid like the plague as it is not an enjoyable experience for me. The people at Circuit City I've noticed also tend to be older as opposed to the slobbering teenagers at Best Buy.

    "If the American consumer were willing to pay for service (something I'm willing to do, and a few here at AR seem willing to do likewise), all the independent retailers CC and BB put out of business would still be around. But they're not. The worst thing the consumer does is to shop a dealer who does have knowledgeable sales help, question the s**t out of the people there, and then go somewhere else and buy the product for less. What's wrong with this picture?[/QUOTE]

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