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Future Shop Closes its Doors. To Be Reborn as Best Buy.

Published March 29, 2015 - 0 Comments

future-shop-900x527What a shock it must have been for the employees.  Show up to work and find yourself locked out.  No notice.  Nothing.  I imagine that there were more than a few tearful phone calls to supervisors who probably didn’t know any more than anyone else.  Apparently that’s how things roll in corporate Best Buy land.  All Future Shop stores across the country are closed.  The website posts this little diddy to the left.  Dear Valued Customer.  Uh huh.  Too bad the employees weren’t nearly as valued.

I remember going into my first Future Shop back in the 1990s.  It was in Kingston, Ontario and I had never seen a store like that before.  Wall to wall electronics, computers, and games.  I’d have a little geekgasm every time I stepped through those doors.  If there was a heaven, Future Shop was it.  There was no Amazon to order from online.  There was barely an “online”.  Future Shop was that store you hoped you’d get locked into at night so you could have it all to yourself.

Eventually they opened one here, and while still awesome, the magic seemed to lessen a little.  It didn’t seem quite as special when I could go there anytime I wanted, as opposed to those summers spent in Kingston.  But that’s progress for  ya, and soon I think every city had their own Future Shop.  Maybe 131 locations was too ambitious, because in 2001 Future Shop was looking for a buyer. They found one in Richfield, Minnesota-based Best Buy.  The invasion had begun.  Best Buy would continue to operate Future Shop as a separate brand, while inserting their own stores into some markets.  This created an odd situation with Future Shop and Best Buy stores sometimes within sight of each other, fighting to serve the same customer.  Surely this couldn’t continue forever.  And that brings us to where we are today.  131 stores closed without notice.  66 of those will remain closed for good.  The other 65 will be reborn as Best Buy locations.  500 full-time and 1000 part-time gone.  But don’t worry… some of those former Future Shop employees will have an opportunity to apply for positions in the newly rebranded store.  Nothing screams “Valued Employee” quite like being locked out of your Red store and being told you can reapply for your old job after the Blue paint drys.

I’m not surprised that Best Buy is deciding to eliminate the Future Shop brand.  I’m more surprised that it’s taken them 14 years.  I can’t help but feel a little sadness though.  There’s nothing about the Best Buy brand that connects with me in the way that Future Shop did during those long-ago summers.  If I could talk to my 22 year old self, what would I say?

Enjoy the moment, Stephen.  Enjoy the moment…

Playing With the iPad

Published January 5, 2011 - 3 Comments

I finally had a chance to play around with an iPad the other night.  Other than a very brief look at it in FutureShop, this was the first time that I’ve gotten to really pick one up and see what it’s capable of.  My initial thoughts?

It’s a lot of fun… I still want one… But I wasn’t completely blown away.

For starters, it weighs more than I would have thought.  It’s not “heavy”, but it just seems to weigh more than it should.  And certainly if you were trying to hold it for any length of time, I think that it would probably start to strain your wrists.

This particular one also seemed to have a problem with staying connected to the WiFi signal.  It would say that it was connected, but it would stop surfing the internet until you reset the wireless adapter.  This isn’t a problem specific to the iPad.  My iPhone does the same thing when I’m home sometimes.  I accept it because wireless is best thought of as “best effort”, so I’ve learned to accept the good with the bad.  But I was a little surprised that this particular iPad needed to be reset 2-3 times while I played with it for a couple of hours.

So if those two points are the “bad”, then what is the “good”?

For starters… it’s just damn fun!  Music videos look awesome on it.  Words With Friends looks much better than on my iPhone (which isn’t a big surprise, considering the size difference of the screens).  If you’re interested in games, they look quite addictive!  For me, I picture myself laying on the couch scanning through my blogs, online newspapers, or watching music videos.  I’m not much of a gamer anymore… there isn’t a single game on my iPhone, so I don’t expect that to change with an iPad.  Although in fairness, Simon Says is pretty damn addictive!

I definitely do not think that this is the best time to be buying an iPad, though.  There are just too many rumours of a, iPad 2 coming as early as next month.  Even Steve Jobs sent a tweet before Christmas saying that he’d hold off on buying an iPad.  Then again, Steve Jobs says a lot of things.

I opened an online savings account last year nicknamed “iPad” and have been slowly adding to it.  There’s no rush.  When the time is right, I will make my decision.  They’re not cheap, but I’ve learned from my financial mistakes of the past.  Don’t buy anything that I can’t afford.

It definitely was fun to play with though!  🙂

Future Shop, You Suck.

Published March 21, 2010 - 2 Comments

All I wanted a new telephone.  Well, 4 actually.  But still… was that too much to ask?  Apparently so.

I’ve been in need of a new cordless phone for awhile.  I bought a cheap one last year because my place has a single phone bolted to the wall, and that just wouldn’t do.  I couldn’t get comfortable at all while sitting on the steps.  I couldn’t roam…  And I need to roam.

So I’ve been eyeing a particular set of Panasonic Dect 6.0 phones.  Four handsets may seem like overkill to some, but I don’t think so.  One in the kitchen (with the base), one in the living room, one in the office, and one upstairs.  Each one is programmable to ring (or not) depending on the time of day.  They also have a call blocking function, which I was eager to try out with some of my favourite telemarketer numbers that continue to appear.  Oh, and the phone will say “good morning” to you as a wake-up announcement.  How cool is that?

All of this does not come cheap.  The phones are $160, but that’s ok… I still have my $150 Future Shop gift card, courtesy of RBC’s incompetence (that’s another story… I believe the old version of the blog had that one).

Well… in this week’s flyer, the back page showed my phones… $60 off!  It was a 3 day only sale, but that’s fine.  Plenty of time to swing by and grab them.  Who else is going to be interested in a talking phone?

I spent the day doing some research, then checked the In Store Availability online.  What a wonderous idea this is!  It clearly showed that the phones were still available at my local Future Shop, but I’ve been burned by that before.  I didn’t want to go over there and find out that the computer had lied to me.  Better to just purchase it online.  I wasn’t in any big hurry.

So if the website says that it’s not currently in stock in their warehouse, but will ship when available, that generally means that you can still purchase it now, at the sale price, right?  Conveniently when I clicked checkout, I received an error that stated my order could not be processed at this time, but they would hold it in my shopping cart until a later date.  That’s not helpful.

Fine.  I drove to the store.  Guess what?  No phones in stock.  There were 4 on order, but they wouldn’t arrive until Thursday.  But this is a 3 day only sale.  Thursday is no good.  Thanks.

Today when I checked again online, it opened up to my shopping cart… and told me that the offer was no longer applicable, and cancelled.  And amazingly.. it still shows that the phones are in stock at the local store!

Now, because I have a gift card, I’m going to get these phones one way or another… but I think that’s the final straw with me and Future Shop.  They screwed up my attempted TV purchase last year… I wasn’t able to get my cellphone through them because their contract was with Rogers only… now they’ve screwed this up… I can remember a time when Future Shop was god.  Kingston, Ont was the first place that I’d ever seen one, and it was like dying and going to Heaven.

Not any more…   it’s hell… pure hell…