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Gunstar

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I'm done with "Best" (Worst) Electronics for good. 

 

I posted on AA a while back that I never ordered from Best Electronics anymore because you couldn't order from the website, most of their stuff isn't even on the website, so you have to  buy a catalog just to see all what they sell (no other store/company I ever have bought from made you buy their catalog, they'd give it out freely). Then you have to check with the website's catalog addendum just to see what's sold out or changed in price. And when I called to order Bradlley was short with me, ill-tempered and when I ask how it was going at first he said "busy" which made me feel rushed to make my order, he couldn't confirm stock or pricing on anything, or shipping, so I had to give my credit card number not knowing what I would get in the end or how much it cost me until I actually received it, which was less than half what I had ordered. 

 

Then people here on AA recommended that I e-mail them as it's much easier and you get confirmation and a total cost with shipping that way. So, I gave it them another shot and below is the back-and-forth e-mails on my attempt to order.

 

My order confirmation attempt:

 

Hello, I have a list of items I would like to purchase, if you could confirm what is still in stock, if the quantities I want are available and current pricing and shipping cost I would very much appreciate it. 

 

Item                                                                                                                          quantity

 

Best CX40 joystick GOLD rebuild kit CB101211UG-4th GEN ---------------------------- 2

CX40 Fire button Spring CO12951   ------------------------------------------------------ 1

1200XL side panel CO60096 -------------------------------------------------------------- 1

Stick-on graphic symbols CB10176 ------------------------------------------------------- 3

Flip & File cartridge holder CB101924 ---------------------------------------------------- 1

Flip & File disk holder CB102821 ---------------------------------------------------------- 1

810 top case hole covers CO14106 ------------------------------------------------------- 1

810 Atari metal logo label CO14309  ------------------------------------------------------ 3

Drive # stickers CB101460  ---------------------------------------------------------------- 2

SX212 populated motherboard CB101933 ------------------------------------------------ 1

CX22 trackball roller shaft CO20572 ------------------------------------------------------- 2

CX22 trackball round fire button CB102327 ----------------------------------------------- 2

 

 

Thank you!

 

Matt

 

----

 

The reply I got:

 

Thank you for your E-Mail dated 07-14-19 Matt.
 
Q.  Hello, I have a list of items I would like to purchase, if you could confirm what is still in stock
 
A.  Matt you will have cut down your Atari want list down to 3 to
4 items max.   Our very very busy (7 days a week, 14 to 16
hour days here) Atari shipping will simply not quote or ship
Atari orders over those amounts.  They already have more
placed Atari than they can ship out to the end of this month.
 
Q.  current pricing and shipping cost I would very much appreciate it.
 
A.  Atari items Sold Out of:
 
1200XL side panel CO60096 -------------------------------------------------------------- 1
Flip & File cartridge holder CB101924 ---------------------------------------------------- 1
Flip & File disk holder CB102821 ---------------------------------------------------------- 1
Drive # stickers CB101460  ---------------------------------------------------------------- 2
CX22 trackball roller shaft CO20572 ------------------------------------------------------- 2
 
 
Price changes:
 
CX22 trackball round fire button CB102327 -----------------------------------------------  U$D   12.00 each
SX212 populated motherboard CB101933 ------------------------------------------------ U$D   29.95  (Last one)
 
Regards
Bradley Koda


So out of twelve different items I wanted, 5 were sold out and the remaining 7 things I wanted was too large and order! If I cut it into two separate orders then I'm paying more in shipping, I sure, and I'd hardly say 7 different things is a too large an order!

 

So this was my e-mail reply:

 

Well, good for you that you are so busy. I wanted to order more than a few things at a time to save on shipping, and make sure I meet your minimum order requirments besides money-wise. What happens then ifsome of my separate orders wouldn't meet your minimum order requirements? you tell me to take a flying leap anyway? It's unfortunate that you make it so difficult to order anything.

 

The last time I ordered from you, which has been several years was because I called on the phone, and you were complaining about how busy you were, which made me feel rushed and I only ordered a fraction of what I wanted at that time, I got no total amount from you, no confirmation of whether all of what I ordered was even in stock, and no idea what shipping and final total would be. I didn't know what I paid until I actually got the order, which only had half of what I ordered because the rest, I assume, was sold out. I was complaining about it on Atari Age and said that was why I didn't order from you anymore, and people there told me it was much better to do it by e-mail, but obviously not.

 

And your "shippers" not wanting to fill an order of more than 3-4 things at a time is ridiculous! Why, if I made a few separate orders of 3-4 things at a time it would be better? And how much time would have to pass in-between orders? They would fill several separate orders for me if I place one every day or something? Filling several orders from different people of 3-4 items is harder than filling one large order from one customer it seems to me. I would think they would prefer one large order from someone instead of filling a bunch of separate ones from the same person which requires more packing time,  and costs the customer a lot more in shipping! If they are working 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week, don't you think you would be better off hiring more people and not paying so much overtime and actually get orders out to customers much faster? What a bunch of BS.

 

I'm not going to overpay on shipping because I'm forced to order a few things at a time, not that the 7 remaining items on my want list is large anyway, and also worry about my few items meeting your minimum requirements money-wise per order. It's like you don't want any business or to sell any products. I find it astonishing that you are so busy when you make it so hard to order anything. Your site sucks and it's hard to navigate too.

 

I'm sorry I ever bothered to buy your catalog, which was ridiculous in the first place that a customer should have to buy a catalog in order to buy the products inside just because you don't have them all on your website to start with, and then can't even order through it. Your excuses for doing it that way on your website are laughable and ludicrous. I'll just have to try and find stuff elsewhere or just do without.

 

Just forget it. It's just a hobby and not worth the headache and time to figure it all out going between the catalog and addendum on the website to add all the cost up myself and pay extra costs in shipping for separate orders.

 

Thanks for nothing Worst Electronics.

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Yeah... I've read endless explanations, speculations and rationalisations of why this happens, but things appear not to have changed in the ten years since I placed my first order. Luckily I used to put in lots of small orders, which appeared to suit Bradley, but the attitude of 'we're too busy to handle your order' must be generally disheartening, regardless of the reasons behind it. The amount of typing required to simply create these 'Q' and 'A' replies and type out long-hand responses to stock enquiries must waste a fair bit of time on its own. :)

 

I'm sure - bearing in mind all the mitigating circumstances we've been told about - customers placing larger orders would not mind simply waiting until the whole order could be fulfilled, rather than simply having to drop items from the order. The impression given is that a couple of smaller orders are preferable to one large order, which is puzzling since two small orders will take longer to process, cumulatively. One wonders what it is about multiple small orders that is so appealing the vendor.

 

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Posted (edited)

Exactly. I was in no hurry, he could have taken a week or more to respond with what I actually asked for instead of wanting me to do all the work looking up the stuff and prices between catalog, addendum and some stuff not in the catalog and only on the website too.  And have to make several smaller orders and some of that stuff is only a few dollars anyway, like the stickers and metal labels, so wouldn't fulfill the minimum order requirements required on the website, which also differ depending on how you want to pay. I really don't believe what he said anyway. I know I wouldn't work for him long if I had to work 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week with no time off.

 

Oh well, even though I've only seen some of the stuff for sale from him and never anywhere else, I'll just have to do with out or try and find other sources or other ways to to repair items I wanted replacement parts for.  

 

And then with B&C, the site is down, so you can only buy what they happen to have for sale on ebay, and you know I had an issue going that route too, and he offered to send the extra item I thought I was getting, but after his sob-story I made nice and said let's just talk on the phone and come up with a fair arrangement for both of us so he doesn't lose money on and item he would he would ship for free. Well, I tried calling him to do just that, but there was no answer at the time he suggested, so I emailed him again, and after telling me any Tuesday or Thursday between such and such hours and we'd sort it, now he's busy every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few weeks all of a sudden. So I replied to him to just send out the item like he offered in the first email and that would be the end of it. And he's trying to sell out and retire, so I guess it's an end of an era, at least for me, having Atari dealers to go to for stuff. At least until someone buy him out and starts selling. I hope it's Songbird that buys Bruce out, as he mentioned to me in our email exchanges. It's always been a pleasure dealing with Songbird and easy to order. It's just that currently Songbird only sells Lynx and Jaguar items, mostly software too.

 

Edited by Gunstar

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Someone else needs to take over the business. Just because you are selling retro items, doesn't mean you have to use retro selling mechanics. It's is as if there was a huge infrastructure made to make buying & selling items on the Internet super easy.  

 

You run into the same thing with pinball buying & selling. Lots of grumpy old men to deal with. 

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I think the nature of his business is to hold onto stock as long as possible because the price goes up as it gets older. So there's a balance between selling too little and too much. I think there is a problem with retro vendors getting large orders then seeing the items for sale elsewhere, marked up substantially.

 

I don't believe his employees are worked 12-14 hours a day 7 days. Who would work that?  That sounds like slavery. There are laws preventing that, no?

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Sugarland said:

 

I don't believe his employees are worked 12-14 hours a day 7 days. Who would work that?  That sounds like slavery. There are laws preventing that, no?

That was 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week!😲 Like I told him, if it were true, why not hire more employees and save on all the overtime he would have to pay (which is 150% pay for anything over 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week in the United States. And then 200% or double time after so many overtime hours, which I think he goes beyond with that story too! And yes, there is a legal limit to working employees so many days in a row and so many hours a week which I believe that would be the case too!

Edited by Gunstar

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Yeah, his response is ridiculous. 

 

"Matt you will have cut down your Atari want list down to 3 to
4 items max.   Our very very busy (7 days a week, 14 to 16
hour days here) Atari shipping will simply not quote or ship
Atari orders over those amounts.  They already have more
placed Atari than they can ship out to the end of this month."

 

I find it incredibly hard to believe he is actually getting this much business.  And if he does have people working for him (which I suspect is greatly exaggerated), then this seems even more ludicrous than if he was doing this himself.  I have never had a business tell me to pare down my order to "3 or 4 items max."  Not to mention changing prices on me while trying to place an order. 

 

You're not the first person to complain about this, nor will you be the last.  There are quite a few threads describing behavior like this on AtariAge.  And it's too bad about B&C basically abandoning their website in lieu of eBay.  Also too bad that neither of these guys ever brought their websites into the modern age.  Both sites hark back to the dawn of the internet, but a reasonable amount of effort they could be upgraded to use a modern shopping cart.  They would just need an accurate inventory of what they have.  They wouldn't even need to take photos of items if they didn't want to, just keep it simple with the item, model number, price, and weight (if you want to calculate shipping automatically).  And assign appropriate categories to the items (2600, 5200, 7800, Atari 800, Atari ST, etc.)  Any extra information (photos, description) would be icing on the cake, and the sort of thing that could easily be added over time.  Being able to search their large inventories and add items to a cart, get a shipping quote, and pay, without having to deal with emails or phone calls sure would be nice.

 

 ..Al

 

 

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I'll have to chime in here. I've ordered from Brad so many times I've lost count over the years. Have always treated his website and the fairytales as just that, some good ones, some not so much. Entertaining most of the time though. It's always been a roll of the dice with orders, sometimes I'd get stuff shipped out the same day, sometimes not even a response for a week, price changes, etc. but in the end I'd always get what I needed, and most of the time, for better price than anywhere else.

 

I've learned to deal with it, because let's be honest - dealing with retro computers is learning how to deal with quirky people. You can either get pissed off and lose a source of impossible to find items, or navigate the personalities, pay the price in losing a little bit of sanity, and get what you want.

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Since you see he always replies in the Question/answer format, I've found its "best" to keep any inquiries as concise as possible, each "inquiry item" even in point form. Your 6 paragraph reply will probably just get ignored...

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1 minute ago, Nezgar said:

Since you see he always replies in the Question/answer format, I've found its "best" to keep any inquiries as concise as possible, each "inquiry item" even in point form. Your 6 paragraph reply will probably just get ignored...

You are probably right, but I just wanted to say my peace, and quite frankly I don't care if he ignores it. If he were to respond in anyway I'd just ignore it myself, I doubt he apologize and change his answer anyway, so it would be a waste of my time to even look.

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his sales methodology makes no sense whatsoever.

 

■ more (individual small) actual transactions to process = more work

■ more picking/handling = more shiftwork = more salary costs

■ why should it matter if people "re-sell" their purchases? he's made his profit from the initial sale - bothering about re-sales is unnecessarily protectionist of his own interests - even someone buying 3 or 4 items could be doing so to re-sell...so what's the point?

■ when the 8-bit bubble finally bursts - when our generation have gradually all died/incapable of playing with the hardware - he'll end up with a load of un-sellable stock - he should be "making hay" while he can

 

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@Gunstar - First off, bravo. Second, edit your post (or ask @Albert if you're past your Edit time window) to remove your personal name and address. :) (One of my day jobs is protecting personally identifiable info from documents).

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5 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

@Gunstar - First off, bravo. Second, edit your post (or ask @Albert if you're past your Edit time window) to remove your personal name and address. :) (One of my day jobs is protecting personally identifiable info from documents).

Thanks, for first off, and yeah, someone else already suggest the address edit and I did already send a personal message. I just copied and pasted and wasn't thinking.

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Gunstar I feel your pain ;) .

 

FACT: At this point in time, both Bruce Carso (B&C) and Bradley Koda (BEST) are flying solo, unless something recently changed.

 

Here's the format I use with Brad that seems to work each and every time for me, and I have yet to be told "no soup for you".

 

-----------------------------

Hi Brad I hope this Christmas season is treating you well.

Here's my shopping list...
image.thumb.png.a99b84ea77d14d42f2d1c7b0f7a4d485.png

I looked up those last two items using an old pdf catalog I found online, so the pricing could have very well changed by now. Please update anything I got wrong and then send me the corrected total for a PayPal purchase.

Thanks a bunch,

Michael

-----------------------------

 

I learned that I really have to verify everything in advance, check his recent addendum's and update where needed, all the while keeping the shopping list a reasonable length (reasonable for Brad that is).

 

In the past Bruce has been very receptive to email parts orders, and has usually gotten back to me within a day or two. One time he even dropped the parts off at my house personally, and my house is a 45 minute round trip from his. He also stayed for a while and we chatted, and I soon got the sense that his business was starting to take a back seat to other things in his life. Keep in mind that these guys are in their seventies.

 

Yes it's a pain, but where else are we going to get some of these items?

 

Sounds like good news with the possible acquisition of B&C by Songbird. I hope that goes through.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @mytek but it's all too much trouble as far as I'm concerned for stuff that is just for a hobby and I can live without. And after such a ludicrous reply from him, I don't want to do business with him. If I can't get it elsewhere, I'll live without it.

 

B&C Bruce also said he was talking with The Brewing Company too. So two possibilities for new ownership, but I've only dealt with Songbird.

Edited by Gunstar
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I've ordered from Best many times over the years, and I got the same "please cut down your order" response from Brad the last time I sent him a longish list of items.  So, I learned to cut my lists down to my top 4-6 each time, and since then everything's been fine.

 

Maybe I'm more tolerant than most, but I've learned to play along with all of these dealers.  If their preferred ways of doing business seem strange to me, so be it: they've long since established their bona fides, having been in the Atari business for 30+ years, and I'm grateful that they're still there and still doing what they do.  After all, how many people in the world other than Brad would be willing to jump through all those hoops to design and manufacture new/improved 2600 joystick cables, or gold-plated 5200 button assemblies, or 7800 power supplies and gamepad upgrade kits?

 

Sometimes, doing business with somebody means being able to meet them halfway and being willing to accommodate their needs and preferences, which is something that too many of today's demanding customers have never learned to do.  Think of the way it used to be, if you're old enough to remember: placing a long-distance call or mailing in a self-addressed stamped envelope, and waiting 6-8 weeks for delivery.  Compared to that, having to sort through a "catalog" consisting of a 40-column text file or a disorderly pile of static HTML, and having to occasionally compose a diplomatically-worded e-mail, isn't really all that bad.  True, some of these guys can be a little eccentric and old-fashioned, but that's to be expected when you're in the business of selling for classic computers and games that are now closing in on 40 years old.  (I have a theory that they deliberately keep their online presence as arcane as possible as a way of chasing away the normies and noobs.)

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13 minutes ago, mytek said:

Sounds like good news with the possible acquisition of B&C by Songbird. I hope that goes through.

Where did you hear this?

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23 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

@Gunstar - First off, bravo. Second, edit your post (or ask @Albert if you're past your Edit time window) to remove your personal name and address. :) (One of my day jobs is protecting personally identifiable info from documents).

I removed it. 

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1 minute ago, Albert said:

Where did you hear this?

I've been corresponding with Bruce in recent days too, and he told me himself he wants to retire and has gotten bids from both Songbird and The Brewing Company for the works.

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Just now, Gunstar said:

I've been corresponding with Bruce in recent days too, and he told me himself he wants to retire and has gotten bids from both Songbird and The Brewing Company for the works.

That's fascinating, thanks. I've always had a pleasant experience when ordering from  Bruce. 

 

  ..Al

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Well, I have ordered from him since the get-go.  Only minor issues, but nothing big.  Always has come through for me.  I wish he didn't put all that Atari packing tape on the boxes (my wife hates this hobby).  Anyway, Brad is okay with me.  He took the chance and purchased and warehoused all this 'stuff' for years and rightfully can control it anyway he wishes.  Sorry to hear Bruce getting out of the biz.  He was great to deal with, always talks my ear off when I called him, but real nice.  Never had an issue with Bruce.  Don't know The Brewing Company.  Good to know some Beer Dude like me likes Atari.  

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32 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

Don't know The Brewing Company.  Good to know some Beer Dude like me likes Atari.  

Marlin is good people. I've ordered stuff from him plenty since I first bought the parts to build my 1088XEL. Ordering is straightforward, payment is a breeze and shipping is always prompt. Of course, I've ordered a few things over the last couple years from Bruce's eBay storefront and never had any issues there, either. 

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Hello guys

 

"Marlin/The Brewing Company" as in "MacRorie"?

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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12 minutes ago, Mathy said:

Hello guys

 

"Marlin/The Brewing Company" as in "MacRorie"?

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

Yes - professional business when ordering from him.  Always fast and courteous.

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54 minutes ago, Albert said:

I've always had a pleasant experience when ordering from  Bruce. 

Me too.  I've spoken to him on the phone a few times over the past year.  He is always pleasant and helpful and I always enjoy our (short) conversations. I'm kind of sad to hear that B&C might be packing up shop after all these years but at least it sounds like the remaining inventory will end up in good hands.  

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