In a world where shopping has arguably been made more convenient for consumers than it’s ever been, TikToker Doty (@nldoty) turns the camera on Best Buy’s controversial new policy. With a cool 340,000 views, his video isn’t just about buying a microphone, it’s a wake-up call to shoppers everywhere.
While on a seemingly mundane trip to grab a mic for his TikToks and work, Doty stumbles upon a policy shift that’s anything but standard. “Best Buy has now a two-week return window unless you’re a paid member,” he unveils, shaking up the old 30-day norm.
It’s a plot twist worthy of a Netflix thriller, nudging customers toward purchasing a membership for better perks. The membership is $49.99 per year and promises a 60-day return window “on most products,” but there are different tiered plans. The “My Best Buy Total” membership, which costs $179.99/yr, comes with 24/7 Geek Squad support, “exclusive” discounts on products, and various protection plans for different products including Apple Care+. Best Buy mentions also on its website that its standard return policy duration is 15 days.
The TikTok community didn’t hold back, serving up hot comments with a side of sass.
One user deadpans, “Best Buy, ever heard of Circuit City?” invoking the ghost of a retail giant past that closed its doors in the 2000s. Circuit City has nearly become synonymous with “Going out of Business” signage.
Another remarked, “I could just not shop at Best Buy for $0 a year,” pointing out the irony in the membership push.
One viewer’s stark observation, “Retail is dying before our eyes,” cuts through the humor, highlighting a grim reality for brick-and-mortar stores.
The retail world is navigating a minefield of challenges. Store thefts are soaring, and online behemoths like Amazon are upping the ante with uber-flexible return policies. The Amazonian 7-day “Try Before You Buy” is the new gold standard along with easy return QR codes, no box or label required, and an array of return locations. Post-pandemic, physical stores face the additional hurdle of spotty inventories, pushing even the most loyal shoppers to the digital domain.
Through his candid video, Doty puts Best Buy’s puzzling policy under the microscope. In the current retail climate, where stores are desperate for foot traffic, this move seems counter-intuitive. Typically, in-store shoppers tend to spend more than they do online, which would lead one to presume that brick-and-mortar locations may want to be less harsh when it comes to returns.
The tech giant isn’t the only retailer offering paid membership plans for shoppers that come with certain perks. Walmart+ costs $98 a year and gives customers a complimentary Paramount+ subscription along with no-fee grocery delivery from Walmart locations, free shipping on all items without a minimum order price, 10-cent per gallon discounts on over 14,000 gas stations in the U.S., free flat tire repairs at any Walmart auto care center, 5% cash back travel perks, and the ability to place returns from the comfort of your own home.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Best Buy via email and Doty via TikTok comment for further information.