My Experience with Offline Shopping

Yesterday I bought my first Tivo in 6 years. My old box with the lifetime subscription died, and I had been suffering without a DVR since. I’m a cord cutter–no cable TV for me–and I used Aereo for a while and services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Tivo just came out with a cheaper box with a focus on cord-cutters like me. The Roamio OTA–“over the air”–just takes in the signal from an antenna. Sounds great, right?

Tivo Roamio OTA

Well, here’s where it went wrong. Tivo is rolling this product out slowly for some reason. It’s not available online, only in person at some Best Buys.

Best Buy Logo

About a week after the products official release date, I went by the Bunker Hill Best Buy in Houston. No dice. They had never received a single unit. I called around and there were no units in Houston. Disappointing. Not sure what went wrong, probably on Tivo’s end.

Fast forward a few weeks, it’s now almost a month after the product was released. On a lark, I call the Bunker Hill Best Buy, and lo and behold! They had 10 boxes!

I made sure it was the right one… “Tivo Roamio OTA at $50, right?” “Yessir. That’s the one.”

I drove for 30 minutes to get out there, and…? No boxes. I got the official Bunker Hill line of that they’ve never gotten any boxes. So when I asked why they told me on the phone that they had 10 boxes, they insisted that I had mistakenly called another store.  I didn’t. I pulled it up on my phone.

ARGH! You make a mistake. Then you blame it on me. Way to make a bad thing worse.

Worst Buy

They tell me there are 3 boxes at a store further out. I drive another 15 minutes west (basically Eastern San Antonio at this point), and at the store, and…?

The staff has no idea what I’m talking about.

My blood pressure is through the roof at this point. They get about half the staff in the store looking for this box. After about 20 minutes, they bring me a beat up box that looked like it had been punted across the store. And perhaps it was, because it was buried under unrelated products in the wrong section.

So Tivo, what’s the deal? Why was the product rolled out so badly? Your customer service has always been top-notch. What went wrong?

And Best Buy. Wow. I used to shop at Best Buy, but now I mostly shop online. Best Buy is around for convenience’s sake. I wouldn’t call my latest experience convenient. So why does Best Buy exist?

Now, I love shopping for unique items at small boutiques. I enjoy supporting local commerce. But why would you go to a Best Buy or other box store for stuff you could order on Amazon and have for you in a day or two?

CheckedTwice makes it easy to shop for everyone online. I’m glad it does. It’ll be a long time before I venture back out to a box store.

For those that like getting out and shopping at the mall, why do you do it?

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