I used Best Buy's contactless curbside pickup: Here's what it was like

(Image credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Best Buy physical stores are closed across the country as the electronics retailer does its part to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, customers can either get items shipped directly to their homes or prepared for curbside pickup. 

If you're buying work from home supplies and are curious about curbside pickup, we've got answers. I used the service last weekend and received my item in less than an hour. I even saved money by price-matching Amazon.

The speakers on my 49-inch TCL Roku TV weren't cutting it, so I committed to buying a soundbar, my final preparation for spending weeks (or months) binging Netflix until the outside becomes safe again. I went with the Polk MagniFi Mini, a tiny soundbar that blew me away at CES a few years ago.

The $350 speaker was a bit too pricey for my budget so I searched for deals and found it on sale at Amazon for $182. Delays pushed the shipping date into the next week so I opted for curbside pickup, a method Best Buy had, hours prior, announced would be the sole method for buying at local stores. 

This left me with a predicament: I wanted to pay the lower Amazon price but didn't want to wait for shipping. If you find yourself in the same position, don't worry, Best Buy will hook you up. 

Best Buy price match online

I only became aware of Best Buy's online price matching support after calling an in-store agent. She directed me to Best Buy's price matching website (If you aren't price matching, just press the "pickup at" option at checkout). Here, you can request a price match by choosing the "online" tab and clicking "Best Buy Chat." 

This will bring up a standard chat window where you input the product you want and a link to the third-party retailer that is selling it for less (Note: Best Buy price matches Amazon, Crutchfield, Dell, HP and TigerDirect). If you're short on time, don't worry, I was 90th on the list and waited about 15 minutes. 

You'll need to give the chat agent some contact info -- your phone number, email address and local store -- so they can create a custom purchase link and set up the curbside pickup. After about 15 minutes, the agent sent me a personalized URL where I went through a standard checkout process to purchase the soundbar at the lower, $182 price. 

Before I continue, it's worth noting some fine print to curbside pickup: it isn't available at all stores and nobody else can pick up your order for you. You can, however, place or cancel an order online, via the Best Buy app, or on the phone.

Best Buy curbside pickup: How it works

After the agent finalizes your order, you'll receive an email with a confirmation of your purchase and the status of your curbside pickup. 

It took about an hour for the folks in blue to pull my soundbar from the shelves and update the status of my order. When I drove into the parking lot, I was greeted by an employee who swirled his finger around in a gesture that told me I needed to drive through cones and park at the curb at the front entrance of Best Buy. 

There, a man wearing gloves (but no mask) asked for my last name and the product I purchased. He went into the store and appeared a few moments later with a box, which he placed in the back seat of my car upon my request. Since the purchase was made online, there was nothing left to do but drive home and tear open the box like a child during the holidays. 

Overall, the experience was fairly seamless and I never grew anxious about breaching the six-foot social distancing guidelines. In fact, when the dust settles, I plan to use curbside pickup more often to keep me from roaming the aisles and buying even more stuff I don't need.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.