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Gunstar

Worst Electronics

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16 minutes ago, Stephen said:

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

That's been my experience as well.

 

 ..Al

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Hello guys

 

I wasn't sure if I had ordered from MacRorie or not, so I looked for the receipt.  He's running "the Brewing Academy" BTW.  I hope Bruce will be selling his stuff to him...

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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1 hour ago, gilsaluki said:

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.

And people can let everyone else know about his extremely customer unfriendly ways too.  Honestly, I would urge everyone not to patronize someone who chooses those "ways."  Then, he would need to change his "ways" to sell a damn thing.  What?  He's the only source for something?  How bad does anyone really need something to put up with that shit?  I'm sure the answer varies, but I know I wouldn't.

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Not trying to make things worse, but... Here's something I have yet to disclose, since my last ad-hoc pilgrimage to Borregas Avenue (on my last vacation trip to the Bay area).

 

I actually decided to go down to the San Jose area, and search for Best Electronics' place. After ending up in a tiny sh_t hole (to my continuous disbelief), I decided to venture inside of it, just hoping to buy two (expensive) items they had in-stock. After coming in, a rather short / skinny figure (with an Atari-emblem buckle on his belt, with Asian / Oriental facial features) emerges out of a TON of rubble and crap sitting all over the place. Filthy as hell, it was horrific to the eyes, but hey (I said to myself) "this is a bygone-era business, so don't expect anything fancy out of it..."

 

Guess what? After almost not being able to breath in there, I was told I COULD NOT ORDER anything there, nothing could be delivered to me there, on the spot, and I better go back to on-line email for ordering.... I was like WTF (!?) I came here to spend almost $100 in obsolete technology and you still have the balls to tell me you can't sell me anything there?

 

Fortunately, I already had bought quite a good # of parts and spares, so... sadly, that day was R.I.P. "Best" Electronics, for me...

 

 

Edited by Faicuai
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3 hours ago, mytek said:

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.

 

 

The more I thought about your "shopping list" and how you itemize your order like that, like a good little Best E. employee (no insult to you intended, just making a point), the more ridiculous I find it all.

 

The only thing I or anyone should have to do on an order list is to list the item catalog number and quantity you want. I don't for one second believe that he's not going to go and double-check the pricing to make sure the customer isn't listing an old price or trying to pull a fast one on him. It should not require the item description or prices, since a catalog number, if they mean anything at all, would let them know what you want and where to find it in inventory. He came back with price changes for two of the items I wanted without me even listing prices, and expected me to go look up the rest between catalog, addendum and stuff on the website that isn't in the other two places. And add it all up for him too, when I know he's also going to double-check my math in the first place, so why make the customer do all that?

 

Why the need of the title and description if the item number is given? None of it makes any logical sense at all. There is absolutely no reason a customer shouldn't be able to list catalog numbers and quantity for each and the he responds with everything you did for him there. That's all I was asking for, and he's going to double check anyway, to make sure the prices are correct, that he still has it in stock, etc. So why make the customer do all that at all? It's completely redundant and just making customers jump through even more hoops along with having to make sure the total is greater than the minimum order requirements, which could change as soon as you tell him how you will pay anyway, because if you look at his ordering requirements, there are different ones whether you pay via credit card, or Paypal, or other ways, like check/money order.

 

I'm not going to work for him, which is also pointless since I know he's not going to take my word for it anyway. It just pisses me off more, the more I think about all the ridiculous requirements that are worthlessly redundant. And then have him come back and say half the stuff is sold out, because he hasn't even updated the addendum in months or years. I don't care if it's the only place left to get some of the stuff, I'll do with out it then.

 

But I'm happy it works out for you and you don't mind doing a lot of worthless work for him for no pay and no discount and some of it not even available anymore. And that he's been kind to you and you get along with him with nice little personal deliveries and visits. If he's willing to do all that for someone who lives 45 minutes away, why not do what I asked, which he will after I do it anyway, to double-check my work?

 

Good for those who don't mind doing his work for him and being satisfied and think he's a great guy, and apparently is to a few, but I've had far more personal messages since I started this thread from people agreeing with me and telling me of their own bad experiences with him. PM's have been popping up every couple minutes since I started the thread with other peoples bad experiences. Even one guy that actually went to Best E. in person with a list of stuff he wanted and was told, yes, we have all that, now go home and e-mail me with your order, instead of taking cash and getting the stuff for him right there. And then he asked just for the catalog and got the same answer. (whom I see has decided to go public after all and just posted right before I posted this reply)

 

And I've ordered or attempted to order stuff from Brad exactly 3 times in my life, all bad experiences. I mentioned the phone order from a few years ago, and this time when I tried to email. The first time was back in the mid 90's when I order $250 worth of Jaguar games from Best, over the phone. I wait about a month, and nothing has shown up, so I call up Brad at Best to ask what happened. He tells me I gave him the wrong address and all the stuff was returned to him. 2 weeks before. He took my phone number with the order, so he could have called, but he didn't. He was obviously just going to keep my order and forget me. And I know for a fact that it was him that messed up my address when I told him, not me, I know my addresses by heart. And then he refused to ship it all out again until I paid a restocking fee and shipping for it all again! What could I do? I already had about $270 tied up that was lost if I didn;t comply! That's why I didn't order anything from him for 20 years, and only because he had stuff I could find no where else. Second time, bad experience, decide to never order again, get people here telling me to try again with an email, and this is what I get this time.

 

 

 

Edited by Gunstar

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Gunstar, I get what you are saying, it can be frustrating as hell. At the end of the day though, I guess I don't mind dealing with difficult/quirky/off-the-wall people to get what I want. Having said that, if I physically went to the store like Faicuai and was told no, it would be difficult to hold back...

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14 minutes ago, Mrarkus said:

Gunstar, I get what you are saying, it can be frustrating as hell. At the end of the day though, I guess I don't mind dealing with difficult/quirky/off-the-wall people to get what I want. Having said that, if I physically went to the store like Faicuai and was told no, it would be difficult to hold back...

You mean difficult/quirky/off-the-wall and DISHONEST. Not to mention a lair unless you believe the story about his employees that he told me in the email. You might have missed the last paragraph in my post above that I was just adding in before your post here appeared as soon as I posted the edit. I should have learned my lesson for life the first time. Something I forgot about while thinking of the here and now, until the memory bubbled up after writing and pondering this thread all day.

Edited by Gunstar
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Just now, Gunstar said:

You mean difficult/quirky/off-the-wall and DISHONEST. You might have missed the last paragraph in my post above that I was just adding in before your post here appeared as soon as I posted the edit. I should have learned my lesson for life the first time. 

I did, and that's definitely beyond my experience. There is no defending that BS.

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Just to set the record straight, it was Bruce Carso from B&C that dropped off the parts at my house, not Brad from BEST. In the conversation I had with Bruce that day, he mentioned having known Brad for years, but that they had a falling out several years ago, and that he wanted nothing to do with Brad. Bruce is a great guy, at least from my perspective, but as I mentioned with him being in his seventies he's more about enjoying his life than putting a lot of time into the Atari business anymore. However even with that said, he's been very responsive to any inquiries or orders I've given him over the last few years.

 

As for my shopping list for BEST... I really don't mind doing the work of organizing it with all the columns and such, because in the end it helps me if I ever wish to refer back to what I've ordered in the past, or if I wish to reorder the same stuff again. But yes I can see for some how having to do that seems very unreasonable, and I don't disagree.

 

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17 minutes ago, mytek said:

Just to set the record straight, it was Bruce Carso from B&C that dropped off the parts at my house, not Brad from BEST. In the conversation I had with Bruce that day, he mentioned having known Brad for years, but that they had a falling out several years ago, and that he wanted nothing to do with Brad. Bruce is a great guy, at least from my perspective, but as I mentioned with him being in his seventies he's more about enjoying his life than putting a lot of time into the Atari business anymore. However even with that said, he's been very responsive to any inquiries or orders I've given him over the last few years.

 

As for my shopping list for BEST... I really don't mind doing the work of organizing it with all the columns and such, because in the end it helps me if I ever wish to refer back to what I've ordered in the past, or if I wish to reorder the same stuff again. But yes I can see for some how having to do that seems very unreasonable, and I don't disagree.

 

Sorry my mistake. Yes, with Bruce I never had a problem until just recently, but we are working it out, and we both share the blame on this issue. And we had a good conversation through email, and have gotten to know a lot about each other and how outside of our different businesses, have a lot in common, and seem to be actually becoming friends, with some of the stuff he's told me, like his being 72, wanting to retire and looking to sell, both taking care or our elderly mothers, both live in the country on "ranches" (mine is really called a "ranchette" as it's only 10 acres of an old ranch that was sold off in 10 acre slices), and much more. And I am going to call and talk to him some more, once we can both find the time in our currently busy schedules. At least I think so, he told me the best days to get in touch to talk, but now he keeps saying he's busy on the days and times he said I could call to talk at first. But that's nothing to do with doing business with him.

Edited by Gunstar
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I had the same "cut down your order" demand from Brad last time I ordered, too, about a month ago, and I only had five or six items. I wound up playing the game and splitting my purchase into two orders about a week apart. I, too, didn't understand his logic in the slightest, and chuckled to myself when his email back to me referenced "the Atari shipping department" - most of us know it's just him flying solo, but whatever. I'm sorry you had those issues with him, @Gunstar, and good for you for speaking your mind - I just wouldn't want to lose Best as an option for purchasing stuff, but to each his own. In the words of one of my favorite bands, Motion City Soundtrack, "burning bridges is a form of suicide." 🤨

 

I've only made one purchase through B&C/myatari and I basically used his eBay listings as the inventory list but then emailed him to place the order. The reason I did that was because he was having a "storefront-wide" sale on eBay (woo!) but due to that, when I went to check out, eBay wouldn't let me request a combined shipping invoice because "this seller is having a sale, and when items are discounted, combined shipping is not permitted." That seemed beyond bizarre to me that eBay had such a policy in place, but he was great via email and gladly honored his sale prices (20% off, I believe) and combined shipping for me and I paid via PayPal. 

 

To be honest with you, I may be in the minority on this, but my purchases over the years from Lance at Video61 have probably been the smoothest and most frequent of the three US-based wholesale Atari vendors. He's quick to reply to emails, doesn't do the silly Q&A thing, always provides FREE SHIPPING for all orders over $50, doesn't have minimums to hit to use PayPal (I'm fairly certain about that), his site is always updated, at least in my experience, and I'm consistently a happy customer. So don't sleep on Video61!

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Human interactions are tough.  But when someone has what I want and makes me dance a bit to get it...I dance.  I even make a game of it; and if I have to play a certain way to win, then I play that way.  To paraphrase Jane Austen, "My vanity is in such good order, that I seem to be quite free from it." 😃

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9 hours ago, Mrarkus said:

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.

 

I follow this moto.   Personally surprised that we have Best Electronics and Video 61 at this point in 2019.   Really comes down to "Huh, couldn't find it everywhere else?  Well this is gonna hurt, but I have one last place I can try...."  :P   (A good last resort in other words.)

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From what I've heard, they've got loads of boxes full of stuff, but they don't know what is in them.

 

I'm not going to stand up for them, as I believe that they are running the business wrong, but it would explain why they are like what they are like.

 

They've got all those boxes, no inventory, no real clue as to all the stuff they've got. When someone then sends in a large order, they might know where some of the items are. Though they won't know where all the items are, or in the quantity that they are being asked for.

 

They'll never update the internet and their catalogue will be a 'best guess'.

 

If I was living in that area, I'd offer to work on minimum wage for them, during the hours that I dictate. Then in those hours, all I would do is sort and catalogue everything. I suspect I'd be asked to help out with fulfilling orders, but I'd refuse that. They can't get better until they get organised.

 

Why they don't employ a local youth to do just the above, I am not sure.

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Brad is a canny old sod, he KNOWS he has stuff that people want and likes playing god with it. That itself leaves people almost HAVING to play by his rules and again, he knows this and its some sort of kick for him. If I'd turned up with an order at his shack and he politely said he wasn't set up for callers then I'd be fine but to get the bums rush from Mr Koda is just infuriating and he seems to enjoy that side of it,  either that or he's a blooming psycho.

 

So we have an issue, scour for other places and grab what you can from more courteous folk or use Best while he has the stuff, I wish Brad would just sell up to a more interested party, he's not getting younger and all this BS about his employee's working 300 hours a day :)  is just BS as I said, its clearly him and maybe his wife sifting through the boxes as best they can and at their own pace. He must be pretty old by now, I met him once at one of the old PCW shows (I think) where he was selling the catalogue and I got a button thing from him but he was fairly old then (compared to me), I just would hate to see him pass on AND the shack get bulldozed. He should just sell up and properly retire..

 

And don't get me started on ignorant sales people, if my staff were arrogant or rude to a customer even if the customer was pushing it then they got a stern talking to. I'd get "but he was being rude to me" which was then explained that by replying in the same tone sets a bad example to other customers who may not understand the situation and we can't afford to lose customers, if you get a rude one, come and get me. Staff attitude is almost as important as the sales. Brad's horrendous customer relationship is only negated by the fact he has the gear....Without the dependency of his gear most folk would have walked away.

Edited by Mclaneinc
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7 hours ago, snicklin said:

From what I've heard, they've got loads of boxes full of stuff, but they don't know what is in them.

 

They've got all those boxes, no inventory, no real clue as to all the stuff they've got. When someone then sends in a large order, they might know where some of the items are. Though they won't know where all the items are, or in the quantity that they are being asked for.

I'm sure it's true HE has stuff in boxes and doesn't know what it is, but he does know what he  has left from his catalog and the addendum to it, which may not be updated often, but it says in the addendum on the site that it was updated as of 7-13-19. He knows, if he references it.

 

And frankly, as I've said before, I won't put up with such BS from anyone, even if it's the last place on earth to get some of this Atari stuff. I can live without it.

 

I'd like to upgrade my CX40's with his superior parts, but there are plenty of Atari joysticks and other joysticks out there at other dealers, eBay, etc. and I can just get them. In fact, I was just at a local game shop two days ago and I bought one of the third-party CX40 clones that can be found everywhere.

 

I've been using parts from a bunch of old CX40's I have to keep the ones I use going for years. Even if there is only one or two good "metal push bubbles" left in a non-working joystick, I use them from several on hand to repair others, same with the sticks themselves.

 

Right now they are just tucked away in storage where I can't easily get to them and so I decided I'd like to go ahead and upgrade to his Gold replacement parts. But it's not worth this hassle to me.

 

At that local shop I went to I also saw several used Tac-2, Gemini and slick-sticks too, I just prefer the CX40's feel. But they had a half dozen large plastic bins sitting on the floor filled with controllers from the 2600 to the last generation of consoles. And there are three other shops in Tulsa, near me that I know have old 2600 stuff, including plenty of used CX40's. There is no shortage of 2600 stuff yet in the states, millions were sold back in the day and they are still a dime-a-dozen, so-to-speak. It's just that many aren't in the greatest shape, so you have to buy several and fix one or two up from all the parts.

 

Nothing he has is worth this hassle to me. I either find it elsewhere (Video 61, MyAtari, eBay, local shops) or I will just do with out. I have an un-breakable Wico stick, and a bunch of Sega Genesis/megadrive controllers I can use if I can't repair mys CX40's.

 

I can find a SX212 on ebay or elsewhere instead of the new mobo I was trying to buy from him. There was nothing on my list that I can't do without. I can just buy used stuff from ebay or where ever and repair stuff myself.

 

Now I know not everybody here can just repair their electronics with used stuff from elsewhere like I and some others here can, but for me, buying the stuff was just the easy way, not the ONLY way.

 

Edited by Gunstar

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I am sure the guys who can and are willing to get stuff from Best Electronic can also make a business in dealing with the owner of BE. Just kidding, but that is another option: "Hey, please order this and this from BE, I will pay you a fee!"

 

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Odd ... I’ve had nothing but pleasant email exchanges with Brad. He’s even helped me out with a tech support question or two.

 

I send him a list of what I want kind of like @mytek showed but not as elaborate. Brad responds with a total that includes shipping. I send him payment through PayPal and reply to his invoice email with the PayPal transaction number. A day or two later he tells me the package has shipped. Then a few days s after that I receive the package. The box is 100% covered in Atari branded packaging tape. Not a single seam is visible. The box is also stuffed right with packing peanuts. I’m serious when I say this box could survive nuclear fallout.

 

Yeah, Brad seems like a quirky guy with an outdated website. Whatever. Compared to my exwife Brad is a pleasure to deal with. He’s never lied to me, tricked me, or betrayed my trust in his promise to deliver.

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From reading through this thread, I wonder if Brad is in failing health, physically and mentally. That would explain a lot.

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Several people have stated the same thing as you, @6BQ5 in this thread, and about the same from people who had bad experiences like me. But I have also gotten twice as many PM's from people with bad experiences as those that have come forward in this thread. 

 

Good for you, I wish I could say the same thing.

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14 minutes ago, 6BQ5 said:

 

Compared to my exwife Brad is a pleasure to deal with. He’s never lied to me, tricked me, or betrayed my trust in his promise to deliver.

You slept with Brad?

 

Dirty boy...

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I would imagine Brad is the superior of many an ex-girlfriend when it comes to managing a warehouse or picking and shipping 8-bit Atari gear, but on the other hand I'm sure one's ex-girlfriends were capable of fulfilling other duties that Brad would be loathe to undertake. :)

 

In any case: if review sites are in any way illustrative, it seems to me that people are far more eager to document a bad experience than a good one, especially when they observe someone speaking out about an issue with which they can identify. Nevertheless, the negative reports do appear to represent more than the odd 'off day'. More automation in the ordering process would remove the cranky personal element which appears to rub some potential customers up the wrong way (while others don't find it in the least bit remarkable).

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13 minutes ago, Inky said:

From reading through this thread, I wonder if Brad is in failing health, physically and mentally. That would explain a lot.

He's probably getting more tired but he's been like the thread shows for many years now...He's almost living proof of how not to serve customers at times..

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Just now, flashjazzcat said:

Nevertheless, the negative reports do appear to represent more than the odd 'off day'.

Yeah, this is nothing new, really, it's been going on for some time.  In the end of the day this really isn't a big deal, except for those who are trying to give him money an he refuses it for one reason or another. If he's the only source of a particular part or parts, that sucks for those who have to go through this frustration.  It's really a shame, as I'm sure he still has an incredible inventory of Atari hardware and software, just wish his site was easier to deal with and place orders through.  I can't imagine how much time he has to personally spend responding to order emails and telephone calls. 

 

 ..Al

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