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Gunstar

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I don't think he's a bad dude, I think he's just a tired old man who doesn't want to be doing this anymore. His customer service skills are non existent. I stopped ordering from him years ago. It's like dealing with the Atari version of Seinfeld's Soup nazi.

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Just now, Lord Thag said:

I don't think he's a bad dude, I think he's just a tired old man who doesn't want to be doing this anymore. His customer service skills are non existent. I stopped ordering from him years ago. It's like dealing with the Atari version of Seinfeld's Soup nazi.

This is pretty spot on. I still order from him because his prices are way better than eBay but I totally get how you (and others) could give up on him entirely.

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Posted (edited)

I was just at Video 61's site, to recall just what hardware they actually sell, which isn't much, they mostly just sell software. But they do have an alternative to the CX40, and maybe not as good internally as Brads replacement parts, and really not something they designed themselves even though they make it sound that way, as I owned one of these years ago, but it was a good stick, my dog, at the time just chewed up the handle on it. And it's only a few dollars more for a new joystick than it is for Brad's replacement parts.

 

http://www.atarisales.com/cx40evolved.html

 

They also have a "new joystick" listed for $12.95, though there is no picture and no way to tell if it is a CX40 or some other brand, so I guess you would have to ask.

 

I also just noticed that they have 3 & 6 foot SIO cables for a VERY reasonable price compared to ANYWHERE else I haves seen, original or remakes. I'm ordering a few right now!

 

Free shipping for orders over $40 too, so I'm going ahead and order several of the SIO cables and a couple of the "new joysticks." So I guess I'll find out what kind they are when I call.

 

I've dealt with Video 61 since the 90's and never had a bad experience with him (forget his name ATM) but we always have had good conversations and he's given me discounts on their new games I ordered for reviews in Excel magazine. I've complained about the really cheap packaging and labeling for those games, but otherwise no complaints at all about Video 61, I'm still always happy to deal with them.

Edited by Gunstar

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Yes Video 61 is primarily software, but sometimes they have things Best/B&C don't have and other times their prices are better. Plus, the free shipping is nice. I bought an SIO cable recently from them, too, and it was half the price of Best, if I recall correctly. 

 

I kinda like that "Evolved" joystick with the maroon base - would go well with a 2600 Jr box or some red label games! Kinda cool having fire buttons in both corners, too, for righties and lefties. 

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8 hours ago, snicklin said:

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.

 

...

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

Is it really a "they?"

I know exactly why they don't hire a kid to do menial dead-end retail work in the middle of Silicon Valley, which has one of the highest costs of living in the country. 

 

4 hours ago, Mclaneinc said:

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.

I guess so ... but how many people could there really be, to generate the kind of demand that would stress him out so much? 

 

The website is the equivalent of a xeroxed and stapled fanzine, which is fine I suppose, but frankly I'm surprised he even takes credit cards at all. Those of you who have done business with them are going to have a story to tell for the rest of your lives; there aren't many left like this anymore. It makes me better appreciate the modernity of places like MicroCenter (which is even older) and their 18-minute pickup service. 

 

There's enough "character" on that webpage for several short stories, or maybe an independent film. Maybe an underground comic would be the most appropriate. Preserved here Atari - Best Electronics Home.pdf ... you know, so you can print it out and study it offline or something. 

 

I should make this my email signature. 

Quote

E-Mail

Because of the big volume of Spam E-Mails we receive everyday, we had to install E-Mail Spam filters on our server.  When sending an E-Mail to Best, Please put the word "Atari", Atari item or Atari part number, Atari Question or Atari Sales inquiry in the Subject line.  E-Mails with the typical Spam subject matter like: Urgent, Must read, Regarding, FWD, HTML Code, Blank subject line (RE:) or other SPAM E-Mail Subject lines you receive, will be automatically deleted on our E-Mail Server and never reach us.

After sending your E-Mail to us, if you do not hear back from us within a day or less, please resend your E-Mail inquiry with a different Subject matter information or from a different E-Mail address We do 100% respond to every Atari E-Mail we receive.  But sometimes Spam Filters on your Internet Service Provider or your own personal E-Mail Spam software filter you have installed may delete or send our return Atari E-Mail to your Trash can.

 

 

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It's so easy to add a simple contact form to a page that would guarantee any emails get to Brad, while still containing a simple Google captcha to stop or slow down spammers.  I seriously doubt most people read those two paragraphs of text. 

 

 ..Al

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2 minutes ago, Albert said:

It's so easy to add a simple contact form to a page that would guarantee any emails get to Brad, while still containing a simple Google captcha to stop or slow down spammers.  I seriously doubt most people read those two paragraphs of text. 

 

 ..Al

Very true. I also highly doubt that his spam filter is as soup nazi-esque as he is - I mean, as soup nazi-esque as he makes it seem the filter is.

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Hi,

 

   I ordered some 1050 drive belts from Best, and it went quite smoothly, apart from getting European sales tax added on, and the post office taking a processing fee for processing the sales tax. I think if it is over a certain amount, customs can also charge import duty, so there are circumstances where splitting an order into several shipments/orders can make sense (speaking as a customer, rather than a sales outfit). Either way, US residents are probably getting the best deal price wise, and for UK residents, shipping, taxes and a laughable exchange rate aren't exactly helping matters.

 

   Packaging wise, it was a challenge to open, but I thought that was a good thing. 

  

   

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I know a couple of long time associates of his who have bought large amounts of stuff for resale from him over the years. He really is the soup nazi of the Atari world. He likes the power, he likes being the gateway, and he likes his ban hammer. He also doesn't care two fiddlesticks whether you're happy with him, like how he does things, or how is website is.

Not a bad guy, just a bit of a curmudgeon. He's like this even with people he knows and likes.

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10 hours ago, atarilovesyou said:

On my to do list for over a decade.

This is my favorite thing that I have read all day.

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5 hours ago, Inky said:

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

I was wondering the same, at least on the mental side.  I cannot imagine how anyone in the business of sales, and in their right mind, treat customers like he does.  I'm with McLaneinc; he should sell to another interested party (if he can).  I'm guessing it would have to be someone who is willing to do it out of the passion for the hobby as I don't see much prospect for profit.  Maybe I'm wrong and there is more profit potential than I realize.  I'm positive no one would want to lose money, but a break even or small profit plus love of the hobby might be enough for someone.

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He acts like he is so busy but spends a ton of time on ebay worrying about what items sell for that he carries. He also has no clue how to pack orders when it comes to systems. He squeezes them into boxes that barely fit. I also wonder that he only uses flat rate boxes which could be why he does not want to pack up bigger orders. The whole site being a train wreck only shows that he is probably a madman himself since he refuses to change it. He could make things so much easier on himself if people could order on his site instead of emailing and talking on the phone all day. The whole idea of keeping your orders to small quantities only makes him busier since you will email him or call him again with the other items you want. And the way he treats quite a few of his customers is just wrong. 

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Don't know anything about the man personally - I've only ever once emailed about a single item; he replied within a day or so very courteously. As it happened I didn't buy for unrelated reasons and that was that.

 

However, after I listened to the interview that the ANTIC Podcast guys did a few years back, and now reading this thread, I'm reminded of what I see on TV shows about hoarders. They have a billion reasons why they can't/won't/don't want to get rid of stuff they have hoarded. In this case, the hoarder made a healthy living by very slowly downsizing a warehouse of literally 25 years worth of mostly-useless-except-to-a-very-small-bunch-of-nerds crap. When he started up, I'm sure he believed he'd never get to the bottom of it all.

 

Only now, the hoarder is starting to see the bottoms of too many boxes, the last tubes of too many chips, and the end of his hoard is - if not imminent - certainly a lot closer than it was 25 years ago. So he's increasingly making up excuses and reasons to be difficult and only fulfill small orders, etc.

 

Just my tuppence from the cheap seats in this whole discussion.

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12 hours ago, Mclaneinc said:

employee's working 300 hours a day

Oh we used to DREAM of working 300 hours a day!

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I'v ordered from Best a few times and never had trouble. They were small orders through email though and items that were easy to get to I suppose.

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To be totally honest, the only reason I have never ordered from them is due to postage from the US being of ridiculous price.

 

Yeah, I am in Aus, but used to be in the UK and when it comes to a lot more than the items being bought, forget it.

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Not sure if they're still around but for a time there was a postal pack for AU$16 from the US that was pretty good value, I bought stuff like a bunch of cartridge boards from an AtariAge member.

Which isn't too bad considering it costs almost the same to send a parcel from one location of the east coast of Aus to another.

 

Can't say I've had dealings with any of the store type sellers other than AtariMax - I've bought things like extra Antic and other spare chips but it's usually been eBay or individuals here.

Where we are getting screwed lately seems to be the GST on anything incoming and the postal times seem to have bloated out, used to be 8 days from China but now 3 weeks or more seems the norm.

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I've only ordered from him once and he was very pleasant and really helpful. Couldn't get the 9vAC power supply locally for my 800 so I ordered a brand new CO17945 from him.

 

I figured it was just as expensive to get a used one off of eBay + shipped so I settled for it and I already had the step down transformer.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, toddtmw said:

Oh we used to DREAM of working 300 hours a day!

We used to dream that too while living in shoe box int middle oh road

 

But as for Brad, I notice that the people in general that had a good time with Brad only ordered a few items which feeds Brads "got the customers where I want them" mentality so he plays nice but dare you break his dark circle of rules and you get the Brad Roar of Doom where he lays out a smack down on those daring to traverse in area's they are banned from going..

 

Its epic paranoia of sorts...I really feel sorry for him, its clearly too much for him but the dark demons inside won't let the shack go...

 

Perhaps someone will write a comic about the Brad Days :) From the description of the warehouse it alreadys sounds like something out of the buildings in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre :) 

 

Visions of Brad search through the stock piles, "ah, rubber joystick cover, cx40, eyeball, sio cable, 2 fingers...must tidy up"

Edited by Mclaneinc
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Posted (edited)

I just read through this thread and don't doubt any of your frustrations. Best is a weird business. However, I have had a different experience. I go to their web page and hunt for what I want. I agree it is time-consuming and confusing. When I find what I want I send them and email. They usually get back to me in a few hours. Certainly less than a day. They are clear in their communication. I send them a detailed list of what I want along with the part numbers, prices, and my paypal name. I pay. I then receive the items in a timely manner. I honestly have had no problems with Best other the quirky and odd manner in which items are to be found and ordered. To be honest, I am just thrilled there is a place were I can buy new old stock stuff. Certainly worth the hassle. Thanks Best!

Edited by scitari
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Posted (edited)

Maybe its me but a business that makes it actually HARD for you to easily order what you want and then tells you at times that you can't have what you want because they a "too busy" (honestly?  That a little laughable but I hope its true) should not be enjoying any success so Brad can call himself a lucky sod ;)

 

Once the really hard to find goodies run out he may have to change his mind or see what happens to people who don't treat their customers well.

 

I'm glad people DO get stuff without hassle but Brad isn't exactly helping the situation regarding the whole picture..I don't expect a huge site revamp, but a tidy up and better updates, yes..

Edited by Mclaneinc
My spalling...Yeah, its a joke..
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I can only say that I ordered from Brad many many years ago (well over 10) and he was nice enough about it, but even back then you had to follow his rules or he got snippy.   Some people are like that though, they have a system and they don't want anything to go outside of their system.  I had better experiences with B&C though, and bought much more from them over the years.

 

If someone truly is buying out B&C, I'd be curious as to what they find.  Bruce told me years ago he has a ton of prototypes somewhere and some of them were unreleased (like Matmaina and Ninja Golf for the 8-bits).  He just never had the time to go find them, and I guess didn't care about it too much.  I really hope whoever buys his stuff takes the time to release some of that stuff.

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