back to article Carphone Warehouse splits with self

Carphone Warehouse has completed its split into two companies, with one owning half of Best Buy Europe - whose first UK store will be opening in May. It's been more than a year since CEO Charles Dunstone first talked of splitting Carphone Warehouse into two companies. Today both of them are trading shares and one is poised to …


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  1. Richard 81


    Of what calibre are these so-called 'experts'? Are we talking genuinely helpful, knowledgeable types, or PCWorld-like Neanderthals?

    1. OffBeatMammal

      somewhere in between

      here in the US they are somewhere in between, though there is a difference between those who actually do know what they're doing vs those who read the manuals... and the sections of the store differ...

      In the PC/Gaming/Cellphone area they PFY normally has one, has experierience and has an opinion (not always right, but if you can get two to agree you're on a winner) ... though in the white goods or TVs section look for someone who's at least old enough to do their own laundry.

      I've had amazing, knowledgable, money saving experiences at Best Buy... but I've also had the worst of the Walmart shelf stacker level assistance. I still prefer to go to the local, independant outlets for anything complicated...

    2. Bill Cumming

      Best buy = best not buy

      If they are trained anything like the US staff then it makes PCWorld staff look positively professional!!!

    3. John I'm only dancing

      I suspect the latter

      Probably gleaned from the vast array of under 25 graduates looking for work who can hardly write, let alone explain the difference between pixels and digital upscaling.

    4. Mike Richards

      Best Buy

      Watch 'Chuck' - their Nerd Herd is a pretty accurate send-up of Best Buy employees.

      BB's a bit like Curry's with transAtlantic lack of self-awareness.

  2. Adam Starkey


    > Best Buy has high hopes for the UK market, and will be targeting Currys. But with real supermarkets like Tesco and Asda rapidly moving into electronics it remains to be seen if UK consumers want advice and support from blue-clad experts, or discounted boxes balanced on top of shopping trolleys.

    BestBuy competes effectively with WalMart in the US, I see no reason why Asda(WalMart) or even Tesco will be a more effective competitor on price alone in the UK.

    Moreover, the staff are *not* what drives BestBuy's business. They're no more clued than the idiots you typically find in a Currys. Some will know what they're talking about, and a few more will try hard to be helpful, but BestBuy is a box shifter, and its staff are trained accordingly. The reason most people shop at BestBuy is because they are ubiquitous. For most of America, the BestBuy will be in the same strip mall as the big box grocery store. If you're just after some Cat5 cable in a hurry, BestBuy is easier to deal with than a grocery store, and you aren't driving any further to reach it.

    If the major grocery chains are easier to reach, and provide more parking, they'll cream BestBuy in the UK, but BestBuy is not a stupid company, so I would give them at least an even chance.

  3. Jim Morrow

    experts on the high street?

    WTF? All of the electrical retailers are staffed by clueless numpties that can barely tell the difference between a teapot and a telly. The only difference between the supermarkets and Comet/Currys etc is the clueless droid at the supermarket check-out will ask for your loyalty card rather than attempt to flog a worthless extended warranty.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If I open a shop called "Brilliant Wonderful Shop" will it fool people into buying from me?

  5. Terry 13
    Thumb Up

    Charlie Dunstone is no fool

    He picks the right opponents. First he picked BT - hardly an athletic business adversary.

    Now, he picks a fight with Dixons Store Group - hardly the UK's most popular business.

    With BT, even when Dunstone totally underestimated demand and cocked up operational delivery, he has still built a massive business.

    I imagine it will be much the same with Currys and PC World. Crucially, it is not only the consumers who hate DSG. The PC and electronics businesses do too. They won't be able to wait to give Kalm's old empire a good kick in the goolies.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now there's the perfect combination.

    Carphone Whorehouse and Best Buy - a shop that'll not only rip you off, it'll tell you to have a nice day when it's doing it.

  7. Marvin the Martian

    I had no idea.

    9 weeks training? Can you verify that? It seemed more like 9hours-using-only-single-syllable-words last time I spoke to one.

  8. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    If Best Buy USA Is... any indication, they are pretty knowledgable and helpful. That said, if they can suggest a Dish contract over a $39 OTA (FreeView) antenna, their need for commissions kicks in.

    Although we are lucky enough to have a Fry's Hyper Box here in Las Vegas, We still visit BB and make purchases there.

    One policy i particularly like about the USA version, returned merchandise is clearly marked as such, and nicely discounted.

  9. the spectacularly refined chap

    re: 'experts'

    Yes. I went through the recruitment process at Geek Squad, run by Carphone Warehouse, a couple of years ago. 90% of the people there are unemployable. Basically most the junior positions are occupied by people with an A+ or similar levels of expertise. I remember specifically one question on the assessment test: name three interfaces used for hard disks.

    I gave "fiber channel" as one answer. It was marked by a supposed MCSE, a qualification that meant he could two levels senior to the one I was applying for. Even he had never heard of it and went as far as to accuse me of making up answers.

    Remember, these are the people your granny will be taking advice from, and charging £50 or whatever simply to set up WPA on a wifi hotspot. Oh, and doing that with more than three machines needs more money because you have a "large" network.

  10. Ventilator

    Re 'experts'

    After a 9-week 'training' course? I don't hold out much hope. I expect epic PC World-like failure.

    I once confused a PFY in Currys several years ago. It was when 100Hz televisions were just coming out at a premium over their lesser 50Hz brethren. I innocently enquired why I should pay more for twice as many flickers.

    Cue much furrowing of brows and accompanied head-scratching before giving up and telling me, "I'll have to ask my manager."

    I left before he embarrassed himself further.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    evil smurfs

    Take heed, friends from across the pond! _Every_ Best Buy I've shopped at in the States is staffed by the sort of folk who'd pawn their first born child for a rack of Budweiser. Even though these people don't make commission, they still feel the need to lie through their teeth about anything and everything. The corporate mentality, so far as I can gather, is "if you don't know the answer to a question, just lie, and make something up. We'll back you up!" Even the managers get in on the game, deferring to their loyal underlings, no matter how outrageous the claim. E.g., "every monitor can display every color a computer is able to output! theres no such thing as a 'color gamut'," or "[brand] doesn't ship defective products...we won't accept your return because you're the only one who could have damaged that product!" And try finding ANYONE there who even understands the Magic that goes on underneath the hood of their POS terminals, or who could explain why my card was charged $250 for a transaction that was canceled before I'd finish paying the balance. It's the Wal-Mart electronics, but at least Wal-Mart doesn't hide from the ugly truth about their business schemes. Keep large American corporations out of your country if you know what's good for you!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another 'competitive' fiction...

    If Dunstone is running both, then like so many huge companies that worm their way past the UK's now pointless anti-trust systems, the difference is a con.

    At least when the Soviets ran their monopolistic GUM stores, they were honest about it...

  13. gautam

    Will it fly?

    If "they" will also sell a USB cable at £14.99 ?

  14. tony trolle


    based on the USA Best buy

    genuinely helpful , yes

    knowledgeable types, yes to a point

    they have there "tech" side called geek squad who drive VW beetles AKA "bugs"

    I had a friend who payed over $150 to fix a problem with a video card he bought from best buy.

    yep they failed but still took the money.

    Just needed to edit the INF file, 5 mins on "our friend" google

  15. Mark 65

    Who cares about skills

    What I want is a store like PCWorld except with more variety (i.e. not trying to punt own brand shite plus 2 well knowns) and low prices. Couldn't give a toss about the staff as the standing assumption is that of stupidity personified.

    If I want Cat5 in a hurry, blank CDs, but more importantly things like PCI cards, internal drives etc that Tesco won't be stocking and all at reasonable prices.

  16. e4tmyl33t

    9-week training course?

    I'm sorry, what?

    I used to work for Best Buy here in the States, and I never received any sort of 9-week training course. Neither, I recall, did anyone in the store I was in. It was more along the lines of 1 day of watching the mandatory corporate videos and filling out paperwork, then 2 or 3 days of 'shadowing' someone on the floor and not doing any interacting while I learned the register and internal systems, and then a boot going "Hey, go sell crap now!"

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