The Best Buy Experience – One Geek’s Perspective

The Best Buy Experience - One Geek's Perspective

Last night, my wife and I went to Best Buy to get her a new computer.  Her netbook had had it, and she needed something that would be capable of working well or her longer than a year or so.  While perusing the laptops, another customer and I both noticed and commented upon several machines that the techs had “tweaked”.  What they had done, I am not sure, but I suspect that if you want the least amount of hassle, you should pick a machine that doesn’t say it was prepared by the Geek Squad.  Odds are, there will be extra crapware and other things to remove on those machines.

We chose a nicely equipped Toshiba laptop that was only $429.99; it was perfect for her needs. We picked it up and started to head to the cashier, but they said we had to go to a different desk … this desk was for the sole purpose of trying to sell us a bunch of services. The form they have EVERY computer buyer fill out  at this desk had NO place on it to decline the services they were offering, so we just filled out what we had to and left them blank.

If that was it, it wouldn’t have been so bad.  So along with the receipt and the  computer, our clerk handed us two disks.  One looked like Trend Antivirus.  I thought, “well thanks but there are plenty of free antivirus programs, even Microsoft has one.”  When we looked at the receipt, my wife thought that they had charged us for the software.  I looked at it later d decided that they did not charge us for the software. What they did charge us was 19 dollars for six months service of something called “Ask an Agent” … whatever that is.  Realize that they never explained it to us or even give us a chance to decline it.

Our experience didn’t end there.  When I booted my wife’s laptop, I fully expected that I would have to remove some crapware.  Things like a 30 day trial of Norton Internet Security suite, AOL membership, or other unnecessaries which I usually uninstall right away.  however, I found really suspicious was there was some Best Buy stuff installed on it too — Best Buy’s Software Installer.  I promptly uninstalled it, but then found it had left litter in the menus. Note to Best Buy: If you are going to include crapware with your name on it, at least have the developer write a proper uninstall.

I know that Best Buy is trying to help, and perhaps some people actually find this stuff useful.  However, to charge me an extra 19 dollars and not explain what it was for so that I have the option of declining it (or not) is simply horrible customer service.  Never mind that after I had left the original sales guy on the floor and headed to the computer line, he seemed to pop up there when just a few seconds ago there was another guy.  I am sure that sales guy wanted to claim his “sale”, even though we didn’t even buy the machine he had recommended when we briefly talked to him.

All of this is barely tolerable, only because the deal we got was indeed a good deal.  However, this geek will think twice before buying a system from Best Buy again.

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About the Author

Joel McLaughlin
Joel is a consultant in the IT field and is located in Columbus, OH. While he loves Linux and tends to use it more than anything else, he will stoop to running closed source if it is the best tool for the job. His techno passions are Linux, Android, netbooks, GPS, podcasting and Amateur Radio.

8 Comments on "The Best Buy Experience – One Geek’s Perspective"

  1. I bought an ASUS desktop (8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, i5 processor) and monitor at Best Buy earlier this year for a total of $749. I guess I had a better salesperson, though there was still some annoying up-sale pressure.

    He explained the “Ask An Agent” service and that I’d be getting a free anti-virus solution. I’ve always used AVG-Free in the past, so I didn’t have a preference. He recommended Kaspersky, so I went with that. The charge for one or the other was $19.99, but he deducted that from the total cost of the computer so that my total was still $749 (plus tax, naturally).

    I haven’t used the Ask An Agent service…pretty much pointless, I would think…but I’ll continue using Kaspersky until it expires, and then I’ll switch to AVG again.

    I didn’t have to go to a special desk to sign cards declining anything. I opted not to get the extended warranty that he offered, but that was done verbally at the register when he was ringing up the sale.

    My computer didn’t have any Best Buy software on it, thank goodness, or for that matter, much in the way of bloatware.

    It’s in a horrible cheap case, but compared to the old XP desktop I’d been using, it runs like a scalded cat. I’m pleased with it, and the Best Buy experience was actually OK. The Best Buy salesman immediately opened up the side of the case when I asked about the size of the power supply and wanted to know how many open slot the system offered, and he left it opened while I continued to consider other systems.

  2. Larry Greenberg | September 4, 2010 at 11:55 am |

    I picked up a Toshiba laptop for my kids at Best Buy last week. While it did come pre-loaded with a lot of annoying software, including the Best Buy software store (which I simply removed), I had zero pressure while in the store. I selected the model I wanted, the salesperson went to the back a got one for me, and I took it up front to the regular registers and checked out. I guess each store is different?

    • I worked for Best Buy for a few months in college. Since I was an inventory/merch person, I didn’t get much sales training (generally there aren’t too many customers in the store at 6am). However, from what I gleaned from talking to the sales guys, they were often given “incentives” to sell warranties and add-ons. This was before the days of Geek Squad, but if the sales or Geek Squad guys are being offered gift cards, free dvds, comp time, etc if they sell certain services, that may explain the experience Joel had.

      It’s usually a store-by-store or district-by-district thing. If one store’s done very well and met their numbers, then they aren’t forcing high margin add-ons. If another store has had a horribly slow summer and the manager is sweating over his bonus, there’s a great deal of latitude for the stores to throw “freebies” at employees to sell.

  3. Joel McLaughlin | September 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm |

    I found it odd to say the least. I am sure it was only that store.

    I just wish stores and companies would stop trying to make it easier for people. I think that is the main problem. People start using apps like that and when their new machine doesn’t come with it and you can’t run it on your new machine, then you are lost rather than just simply learning how to use straight Windows or what ever OS that comes on it.

    If anything, this should bring up a point to Microsoft: Changing your interface every os release is a bad idea.

  4. Joel McLaughlin | September 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm |

    Carly: I gathered that was the case here. I just hope that they are more forthcoming in their sales pitch.

  5. RT @geardiary: The Best Buy Experience – One Geek's Perspective #Rants and Raves

  6. Francis Scardino | September 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm |

    My last few purchases were about like Larry’s. No pressure for add-on software but the suggestion was mentioned. I found Toshiba to have a lot of crapware, but usually just use Revo Uninstaller to get rid of the bloat and all traces from the Registry. I have to agree that all stores are different but one thing is for sure I refuse to let retail stores push me around. Enjoy the new laptop Joel.

  7. get a mac laptop, even Apple products has to be secured , so try comodo antivirus for mac

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