Review of Pricing Home Theater Units at Best Buy

I went to the Best Buy store in Vernon Hills, Illinois on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, to do some home theater shopping. My wife wanted to create a “teen hangout” area in our basement and one component currently missing from our basement was a home theater system. There are only a limited amount of home theater retail stores near my house; of course there is Wal-Mart and Sears nearby although I felt Best Buy’s associates are probably the most knowledge about home theater items and technology in general.

My primary focus was the Sony Bravia Theater (DAC-HDX589W), retail price at Best Buy was $429.99. I looked at a number of systems but I liked the Sony Bravia and Panasonic (SC-PT770). The Panasonic sold for $399.99 at Best Buy. These were the two systems I seriously considered. They were in my price range, both had very good sound quality and had the iPod dock for the family’s iPod technology. Associates Pat and Angel assisted me with my research – both were very knowledgeable about the various theater systems. Before Pat left to assist another customer, he said he would meet any price by Sears or other retailer; I would need to bring in the sale flyer as proof. I did not know if he was also referring to online retailers for price comparisons.

When I got home, I did a little online research. I quickly realized the Sony Bravia system was last year’s model although I didn’t know when the new model was going to be available. My question, why was Best Buy selling last year’s model for $429.99 when that was the suggested retail price? Was that the best buy? It makes you wonder what affect Circuit City’s bankruptcy has on Best Buy pricing. Based on reading a lot of online feedback, I decided to primarily focus on the Sony Bravia system.

Another thing I noticed while online was the Bravia theater system retailed for $319 at Amazon. That’s a $110 discount from Best Buy’s price. The next day, I called Pat at Best Buy and asked him if he could match the Amazon price. I really wanted this system at $319 and the only remaining question was where I was going to purchase this item. Because Best Buy had spent the time educating me on these units, I really wanted to patronize them but the price had to be right. Of course, I was going to buy from Amazon if Best Buy was unable to meet Amazon’s price. Thankfully, Best Buy did match the $319 price for the Sony unit. Even though I had to go out in the snow to get the unit, I felt comfortable giving Best Buy my business.

When I picked it up a day later, I had to haggle a little bit to ensure I got the unit for $319 even though it rang up as $429.99. I’m glad Best Buy was willing to deal after I provided proof it was less expensive elsewhere. I’m not sure if they would have been willing to deal if it had not been last year’s model. One thing is for sure, Best Buy had not competitively priced this unit for sale. Considering it’s last year’s model and this electronics store has branded itself as getting such a good deal, the actual retail price of $429 was disappointing. It was only after I did a little research were they willing to match my online price. Is Best Buy only the best buy after you prove to them you can purchase a particular unit for less money elsewhere?

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

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