The Best Buy Experience – One Geek’s Perspective

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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.