Originally Posted by Geickel
I just wanted to chime in. I've been following this thread for a while. I currently work at a Magnolia Home Theater, so I have a little insight into the Elite/Magnolia situation. Yes, there are a lot of boneheads that work in Best Buy's home theater section; and no, most don't know what they are talking about...even at my store. There is a pretty good chance that if you go into a Magnolia within a Best Buy, you will be greeted (if you are greeted at all) by a Best Buy Home Theater associate who is not "Mag certified", and who will fumble his/her way through a demo, but doesn't really know what the heck they are talking about. MHT and Best Buy home theater are, from a sales floor perspective, the same department. Because of this, virtually any associate in the Best Buy store is "allowed" to sell in Magnolia, unlike the stricter structure from back when Best Buy acquired Magnolia. There are associates, however, who ARE MHT certified (like myself), although any learning about and experimentation with the product has to be done after hours. There is a lot of marketing BS that goes on, and televisions like the Elite are placed in locations that do not do them justice from a performance standpoint simply because the vendor didn't buy a spot on a wall in one of the studios. Magnolia/Best Buy corporate DO care wayyyy more about making the money off of the sets than they do about calibrating the set and placing it in an optimal viewing environment...and from a business standpoint, who can blame 'em??? Now, all of that being said, I work at MHT because I saw a lot of the local high end A/V stores closing their doors, but I wanted to get into the industry. I figured BB would be the company that would last the longest...and, well, we'll see about that. But the point of my rant here is to let you all know that, despite all of the BS in Best Buy, there are at least a few people who work there who are genuinely passionate about high-end audio/video performance...and by high-end, I don't necessarily mean high-priced. Keep that in mind as you slam Magnolia/Best Buy for not having the Elite properly set up. Some of us are fighting to get them calibrated, get them in the proper viewing environment, and get them set up to look their best...but it is a fight. So have patience, go to another retailer to see it, or come see me...but be aware that at least one of the guys who works there posts here. Peace.
It would be nice if your level of commitment, in that you're actually willing to go out of your way and post in an internet forum, could be represented in-store by more employees. You certainly deserve some Kudos from Magnolia for going out of your way here.
I have been going in / out of Magnolia at various BB stores for years. It is not so much that there is a "bone head" working, it is that there is **no one** working. Even during peak times like evenings / weekends. The regular BB employees are not allowed to help you (I have been told this every time when I flag down a BB employee, because there is no one in the Magnolia section and I can only find a BB employee). Every time except once or twice, I was left waiting around for 30 mins+ in the Magnolia section while a BB employee "tried to find someone" to help me.
Last month I waited almost an hour for someone to help me in Magnolia / BB at the West LA location on Sawtelle / Pico, I wanted to buy the ultra-slim $899 32" samsung for my kitchen. I literally waited for about 50 minutes, credit card in hand, and watched part of a movie on their panasonic VT30. No one came to help me, even though I asked two different BB employees to find me someone. Absolutely fed up, I left / went home / ordered one online from amazon for the same price delivered. This is not a unique experience, it is the norm, and my friends all have had similar experiences.
Last week went in to the same store to look at and get info on the Elite 70. Again, no one working in there, except one guy behind the Magnolia counter. I asked him if he had the remote, and could tell me some info on the Elite. He said "Um, I don't work in this area, I'm just hiding out for a bit". and he never even offered to go find someone. So, if even the EMPLOYEE knows that the Magnolia section is the "graveyard" of the store so he can "hide out", what is up with that????
Yesterday, went to the Magnolia / BB in Van Nuys (Van Nuys blvd near Ventura blvd) to show my wife the set that I bought, as she had not actually seen the Elite yet. We also wanted to look at several other displays as we need one for the guest room. As usual, total ghost town in the Magnolia area. I found a BB employee and after 15 minutes a Magnolia person actually showed up! Only reason my wife hung around was, she was totally entranced by the Elite 70 display! They had on a 3D Imax grand canyon adventure bluray and the glasses were sitting behind the display, so I sat her down and let her check it out. Really, the 3D on this thing is amazing- and I'm not into 3d.
anyway, the Magnolia person was actually helpful, but didn't know a single thing about the Elite or it's quality. My wife asked him "how good is this (Elite 70) compared to the other displays here".
..and he answered... "well if you put in a blu-ray they all pretty much look the same
Magnolia has lost many purchases from me, and from my friends over the years, simply because you just cannot get any service, and I have zero confidence that will ever change (my experience is culminated over a few years worth of visits). It is only worth walking in there to actually take a physical peek at a specific product. Again, I don't see how this chain is going to stay in business for the long haul. I might suggest to Magnolia area executives to do spot "drop ins" at their local stores as a 'regular joe' to get a feel for this, that is, if they actually care about the company brand and reputation.
Oh, and the kicker, on the few occasions that I have actually received some assistance by an actual Magnolia person, they could either not find the TV remote, the DVD player remote, or both, so still I could not evaluate the particular product I was interested in. Laughable.
In closing, I'd like to add that my criticisms and opinions are meant in a constructive manner. I recall at one point when Magnolia was not like this, although it has been many years since. It would be nice to see them shape things up a bit in regards to their customer service. As a long time business owner and entrepreneur, typically the first signs of a business going under is they will eliminate much of the floor staff and higher paid experienced staff in the name of "cutbacks" and "cost saving measures". Typically this 'solution' is presented by the corporate bean counters and approved by a CEO or board of directors who are probably all suffering from a lack of vision. Although, this is a huge mistake, since you now have no one to represent your brands, provide professional service and close sales, or, you end up with some low-dollar-an-hour bonehead who knows nothing about AV and again cannot close sales or represent the brands, or understand the customer's needs. So eventually those 'cost saving' measures end up causing a lot more financial business damage, and the store goes under due to lack of sales. I see this happening here.