On Monday I went to purchase my little headset package: the Voyager Plantronics Pro and the Rocketfish Micro Bluetooth USB Adapter. The previous night I had put the order in online for local pickup.The way I figured, I wouldn’t have to deal with finding the items and I could just go straight to Customer In-Store Pickup. Makes for a snappy trip.

I arrive at the Best Buy and walk to the pickup counter. There’s nobody there. I look around, nobody’s nearby. I wait for a bit and an employee walks by. I ask him if there’s anybody doing pickups, and he gestured towards the customer service/returns desk, telling me I have to get on the line there.

And so I went on the line. There was only one girl working there, and I was probably the third one in the line. I waited for a short while and noted that we weren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Hell, this one Hispanic family was trying to return an Xbox 360 console, and I dont’ know what was going on but the whole box and its contents were sprawled over the counter. That’s when I remembered: I could just pick up the items myself. That would probably be faster. I remember having done this when I purchased my Seagate 500GB SATA drive.I went off to the cellphone section and looked around for the Voyager Pro. I found where it should’ve been, but there weren’t any in stock. I asked the fellow working there and he found it for me. While I had his attention, I also asked him where I could get the Rocketfish Bluetooth adapter. He was a little confused, ended up looking it up on the computer. Then he walked five feet, looked at the endcap of one of the shelves, leaned down and produced my product of inquiry. What luck!So I had my headset and adapter in hand, and it took less than five minutes. I was about to walk to the cashiers, but then it struck me to ask this very helpful fellow if he could complete the transaction. Sure enough he could. Not only did I save time, I saved money too: it turns out that the Rocketfish adapter was half the price I thought it was going to be.

In the end, I left there pretty happy. My trip there ended with convenience and a bit of savings. But I always wondered just why retail was so gotdanged inefficient. The entire point of having in-store pickup for customers is to allow them to save time by not having to physically locate the product. Also, the lines should generally be shorter. But when nobody’s manning that station, well, that’s just silly. I understand that it would be absurd to have one person dedicated to the in-store pickup section: it’s not exactly the most busy part of the store. But having only one Best Buy employee to handle all customer service tasks? That’s dumb. Why bother with pickup when it’s faster to find the items and check out yourself?