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I occasionally shopt at Best Buy and I like being to look up products online and see if they are in the store before driving over. It’s very convenient, saves my time and fuel, and I sometimes purchase online to pick up at the store and avoid crowds. However, the Best Buy Web site doesn’t work all that well. This shows up in slow loading pages, jumpy scrolling, links that take longer-than-expected to recognize a click, and so on. I see this on multiple computers, so I’m 99% sure it isn’t any one machine that has problems.

I emailed Best Buy about this, assuming that they would appreciate knowing how unusable their site can be. I’ve gotten so frustrated that I’m not likely to shop online there (though I’m still likely to return to their store every once and a while). This was their response:

I understand your concern about our website. Our web site has been set-up to support Microsoft Internet Explorer as a browser. Many customers who view BestBuy.com using other browsers have reported situations such as freezing screens, small font size, and pages which donot display correctly.

If using Internet Explorer is not an option for you, simply call us at 1-888-BESTBUY (1-888-237-8289) and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you.

Huh? Why, for any reason, would you build a web site in this day and age that could only be used by one browser? Granted, Internet Explorer is the most common of them, but that is changing. Why exclude? Also, given the number of people of the geekier persuasion that may enjoy what Best Buy has to offer and that they likely don’t use Internet Explorer, they automatically rule out a target audience. Not to mention Linux users and Macs (which don’t have Internet Explorer to my understanding, but I could be wrong).

The kicker is that I see the same problems in Internet Explorer as I do in Firefox (my browser of choice), though admittedly it’s not quite as bad. I’ll be replying to let them know. Regardless, this kind of exclusive design is going to hurt them more than help in the long run. All a competitor would need to do is come up with a really kick-ass web site and they’d have an advantage. It may not take down the behemoth that is Best Buy, but it would certainly be a thorn in their side.

It begs the question, though. How many people who are reading this don’t use Internet Explorer to surf the web?