INSIDER SECRETS: 5 Ways Best Buy Ruined Geek Squad

Five ways Best Buy drives the costs out of the system, sullying Geek Squad CEO Robert Stephen’s vision of superlative computer repair, as told by a former Geek Squad Senior Agent.

    Until recently, I was a Geek Squad Agent. When I saw the “Geek Squad City Tell All” story, I had to write in and give another Agent’s point of view.

    I was the Geek Squad Senior at a Best Buy location in Arizona. I worked with the Geek Squad for almost two years before I left to find a less-stressful job. Needless to say, I know the Geek Squad pretty well. Here’s what things look like on the inside…

    1. We receive little or no training. Very few Geek Squad Agents have extensive computer knowledge before they are hired. Many Agents are hired simply because the hiring manager liked their personality. What little training we have we get from watching our fellow Agents work or from studying on our own. Geek Squad provides some great training material, but Best Buy makes sure the Agents never have time to read it. That ties in with my next point…

(Photo: irina slutsky)


2. Wonder why our turn-around time is so long?

It’s because we’re either short-handed or Best Buy won’t give us the labor hours we need to repair computers. Best Buy puts a greater emphasis on selling the services than actually performing the services. While Geek Squad gives some very specific guidelines for running the Precinct (at least one Agent working on computers at all times, Agents are not to work on the sales floor, etc.), it never fails that a Best Buy manager will ask the Agents to act as cashiers for the computer department or try to sell internet services in the networking aisle. So when a Geek Squad Agent tells you it will be two weeks before you see your computer again, please know they feel just as crappy about it as you do.

3. We hate our high prices, too.

It was difficult for me to sell a computer diagnostic when the price was still $59, but when the prices jumped (and our precinct received no warning), I almost cried. I knew there was no way I could sell the same service for even more. We hated our prices before, and we know our prices now are even harder to stomach.

4. Best Buy abuses us.

Since I was the Geek Squad Senior, I got to deal with all the angry customers. Some of my worst memories come from being screamed at by 60-year-old men because they don’t want to pay for a virus removal, or their laptop is taking too long at the service center. There were many times when I felt like I couldn’t handle another confrontation with a customer, and when I tried to hand the customer off to my manager, I was denied and pushed right back out there to deal with the situation. Being a very amiable and friendly young female, these were always extremely difficult situations to deal with. When a customer is literally screaming at someone, a manager needs to handle the situation, not an underling who makes 1/3 of their salary…if that.

5. Every store meeting, it’s crammed down our throats to upsell, upsell, upsell.

“Offer a cleaning”, “Attach anti-virus install”, and “Everyone needs a data backup!” are just some of the crap they tell us. While we realize that the majority of the people who use a computer are capable of pressing “Next” on the Norton Anti-Virus install window, we are constantly pressed to “persuade” the customers to purchase these services. Yes, data backups, cleanings, and software installs ARE things the average consumer can do, so if you are offered these services, always remember you CAN say “no”.

I hope this has given you some insight into the job of a Geek Squad Agent. The Geek Squad is a great company, they just chose a poor partner to team up with (Best Buy). If they’d lower their prices and focus more on customer service than selling services, they could truly become a great company.

— BEN POPKEN

PREVIOUSLY:

LEAKED: 5 More Geek Squad Manuals
Geek Squad Insider Speaks Out
Geek Squad City Insider Rebutts Founder’s Retort
Geek Squad City Tell-All VS Founder Of Geek Squad
Welcome to Best Buy! How Can We Steal Your Computer Today?
Geek Squad Gouges
Best Buy Sold ‘Destroyed’ Hard Drive at Flea Market

Comments

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  1. grkgus says:

    What does the average geek employee make and how many hours do they work?

  2. gorckat says:

    The tech department at the CompUSA I worked at was staffed with some pretty competent guys who were friendly and very professional. The only time they worked the floor was to help a customer pick out a part they were having installed in store (if the one the picked out wasn’t compatible or needed to do something specific) and they had no register trainging- they actually worked through my Front End staff.

    I am starting to think they were an aberration in retail tech service…

  3. Bay State Darren says:

    I’m officially declaring a Geek Squad death/spin-off/major re-org/massive firing pool. Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets!

  4. bloodr says:

    Oh man, if this is what they did to Geek Squad just think what will happen to Speakeasy.

  5. karlmarks says:

    As a former GS employee. I 100% agree with this article. GS will get worse before it gets better.

    #1 Best Buy will not trust “geeks” to hire employee’s because it’s a “sales” position, the stated policy and founding principle of being a “tech friend” has taken a sideline to profit.

    a) Do to BBY’s historic policy of trying to service every echelon of society (through aggressive pricing) they will continue to lose “intelligent” buyers to on-line retailers, and “ignorant” customers to Wal-mart. The only exception is when they compete with on-line retailers using “loss leaders” and then hemorrhage money from that department (a la their pricing war with dell, which by most accounts they have won).

    b) GS precincts in-store are 80% profit! When a company loses money on computer sales (after taking employee wages into account) you have to replace it with a cash cow.

    c) Services, appliances, home-theater, cell phones. Those are the departments that make money. Appliances are historically reliable but can’t sustain the BBY monolith. Home-theater’s time of huge profit is slowly coming to an end with stores like Wal-mart tossing their hat into the fray. Cell-phones are high margin but don’t generate huge revenue at this point. Services are considered the wave of the future and companies like HP that have made that transition, whereas companies like Dell are just starting in that direction.

    #2 By and large, entrenched mid-management/general managers are lying thieves that have no interest in building long term relationships, and know next to nothing about the services they offer. Thus they prefer to “sell product” and hire “sales” people. #1 compounds #2’s problem because you now have bad tech’s spending the majority of their time selling, when they do have time to “fix” PC’s it is done poorly because they don’t have any practical knowledge.
    a) Known fact: Many stores that have (for whatever reason) lost their management teams end up hitting goals and having higher customer satisfaction.

    3# Prices are only too high if the market can’t bear it, BBY subscribes to the concept of Angel/Demon customers. Angel customers CAN afford it and they LOVE the perceived professionalism and convenience of GS. Poor customer are “trash”, forget them. (This is evil but not bad business. The only problem is that “angel” customers love good, fast service and aren’t getting it because of long waits and ignorant agents hired by poor managers)

    4# Yes, ditto, I agree. I have had access to manager accounts (given by the manager) because they don’t want to deal with angry customers. This would NOT a problem if they were hands off ALL the time, BUT they over-manage to the point of oppression by making GS people work cashier lanes and such. Most of the time this is what causes the problems in the first place.

    5# Yes, they don’t care about what people “need”. Best Buy’s order of importance is this: Revenue, Profit, Management, Customers, Employees. (Again, not a bad way to run heartless “retail” but a terrible way to run a company that is claiming a transition to a service based company)

    When GS first joined BBY they had a glut of talented mid/late-20’s joining, but local store management was so used to working with high turnover cashiers and CD salesman that they drove off the higher educated tech’s. That is why they hire an increasing amount of riffraff, few people with a higher education/competency can stand to work there.

    Best Buy may end up making all the needed changes (they have a long history of making the right moves at the right time, just look at their new, progressive, executive management style) but I wouldn’t take my computer there until they do.

    So yes, chance are you local precinct is run by a Best Buy manager with no computer knowledge, who hires terrible tech’s, and will do anything to make a quick buck. Avoid GS and go to Circuit City, they aren’t any better but at least you won’t have to wait as long.

  6. axiomatic says:

    How dumb do you have to be to buy services or products from “brick and mortar” stores anyway? Truly, a Google search on your issue will most likely turn up a forum with many users who have had your exact problem. And if its not there, you are at least at a better place to discuss your problem than a Geek Squad goofball. Regarding the product, RARELY do you see a price at a “brick and mortar” store that can’t be beat online.

    People are just lazy…. that’s the only excuse I can come up with for such stupidity.

  7. Dervish says:

    My brother used to work for the Geek Squad, post Best-Buy absorption. He was a double agent, or special agent, or whatever cutsie-poo/ultra-cool/tres-hip job title they gave their workers. I guess it essentially meant that he made a lot of service calls instead of being tied to the store.

    Best Buy fired him for claiming too many hours on his timecard, even though they routinely scheduled him for back-to-back jobs that just happened to be on opposite sides of the metro area, during rush hour.

    Screw them though, I guess, because now he’s working a corporate tech job and absolutely loving that people are actually grateful when he fixes their stuff.

  8. golgiapparatus says:

    I’ve known a few people who’ve worked for geek squad, and most of ‘em have hated it. A good friend of mine from high school had been working in inventory at Best Buy for a couple of years and got promoted to geek squad… He got really depressed and stuff, ha.

    And I feel bad a little, but not really, because I had my iPod fixed about four times in a row, and I literally didn’t have it working at all for about a year until my mother finally went in and screamed at them. Then they just replaced it with a video iPod, which was nice, but I mean, it took ‘em like, a year of pretending to fix my iPod, so I guess I kinda deserved it.

  9. golgiapparatus says:

    @golgiapparatus: Oh, and I forgot to mention, my best friend’s laptop broke, and they kept it for SIX MONTHS before even shipping it out for repairs.

  10. Sinflux says:

    @gorckat: When my boyfriend was 16-17 years old CompUSA wouldn’t hire him to work in the tech dept. because they said he was overqualified (what with his A+ certification and all).

  11. raindog says:

    I don’t think we can really start a death pool on Geek Squad. It’s doing too well for Best Buy, well enough that all of a sudden CompUSA relaunched their tech support counter, Circuit City launched or absorbed “firedog” and extended it to things like TV and stereo installations, and Staples and Officemax are rolling out their own little Geek Squad clones too.

    The sad thing is, when an acquaintance comes to me asking for computer help and I don’t have time to take care of them, sometimes I’ll tell ‘em to go to CompUSA or Best Buy just because I don’t know when the few remaining little local guys are open or what their rates are. I had to rethink this strategy last month when someone I sent to Best Buy, because his laptop wouldn’t boot, was getting the hard sell on a new ($1500) laptop because the whole thing was supposedly shot. When I looked at it, he just had a fried $80 battery. I guess Best Buy must not sell those.

  12. bendsley says:

    I used to work as a tech for Best Buy up until they became the Geek Squad. We were constantly driven to sell items for the computer department, which always made me wonder what the computer department actually did. I remember the store meetings where or computer dept. and tech bench would have to same breakout meetings. It was a complete bitch fest between the two departments. The techs always wondered why comp. sales couldn’t get their heads out of their asses and sell something without having to ask the techs for help and the techs always wondered why they had to sell in the first place.

    When it was the tech bench, I remembered that our manager hired a guy that used to work for Novell. The guy was a complete moron and told us that he knew a great deal about computers. He certainly fooled the manager. I called Novell and pretended to be a HR person looking at references. Come to find out, the guy was a janitor for Novell.

    I couldn’t agree more with the article above. Best Buy cares nothing about fixing your computer issues, only about making the money off of you. They hire incompetent people at the tech bench/geek squad and don’t care about it.

  13. gorckat says:

    They must have dropped that requirement- you couldn’t even interview wihtout an A+ a few years aog :P

  14. ElizabethD says:

    Wow. Do “geek” and “personality” even belong in the same sentence?

  15. raindog says:

    Geeks often have pretty strong personalities. They might not be personalities you like, but we do have them. Don’t confuse disinterest in things like sports and shoes with the lack of a personality.

    I personally would kill for a dating site that was geeks-only…. that’s one of the things I miss most about the early days of the net. And one of the things I like least about Best Buy’s version of Geek Squad is that, by and large, they don’t actually employ too many geeks.

  16. AcidReign says:

    …..Having dealt with a local vendor and Acer’s warranty support over a laptop that overheats, fries batteries and is subject to head-crashes; I can say that your best (and probably cheapest) route is to learn to fix it yourself. I did that on desktops decades ago, and I’ve recently added disassembling laptops to my arsenal. Geek Squad isn’t the only crappily-run repair operation out there, for sure!

    …..If a customer is incapable of installing an anti-virus package out of the box, they really don’t need to be messing with computers! You’re going to get tech calls from them over things like resized taskbars and disappearing text.

  17. scarequotes says:

    It would be interesting to get a similar summary from someone who’s worked at Magnolia Audio Video since before Best Buy took them over. Again, a place known for great customer service and expert knowledge gets swallowed up by the big blue Minnesota giant.

    Regardless, this doesn’t bode well for Speakeasy’s customers.

  18. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    I do the same sorts of repairs and whatnot to pick up extra money (I’m a full-time student), only, I like to think I’m more thorough and competent. My only caveats are that I’m not always available during normal business hours, and I don’t do flat-rate repairs. I will cap the cost of labor on a repair after I feel like it’s taken too long. I will answer general questions (under 15 minutes) and provide purchase recommendations for free–I believe in goodwill. No one has ever complained about my prices, although, I will probably raise them once I finish grad school.

    I work primarily in an area that isn’t served by the Geek Squad.

  19. exkon says:

    I still find it hard to believe that so people can be so computer handicapped most of the time. But hey, what’s of Best Buy to feed on the handicapped!?

  20. zolielo says:

    Geek Squad is massively costly without a doubt. However, the agents that actually drive the Geek Mobile VW Beetles are competent.

    I would only recommend an Special Agent for a business.

  21. evilhapposai says:

    We just opened a new 20K (the small store) Best Buy here and if anything there is 1 GS agent that knows ANYTHING and he only works weekends part time! GS agents it seems are rarely in their area but on the sales floor finding stuff for customers and selling things.

    There is usually only 1 GS agent in the store at a time so the “keep one agent in the back repairing pc’s” aint gonna happen. As the store is setup GS is supposed to have all pc’s and laptops checked out there. So agents spend more time as cashiers and trying to sell services they dont have the time to perform then any thing else!

    Funniest thing is how the training videos that BB loves to show to brainwash its minions (not me thank god!) claims “we used to be a stack ‘em high and let ‘em fly” big box store but now focus on lower stacked shelves and MORE service. ROFLMAO!!! they got a LOT more changing to do then! I even get a discount and there is still NO WAY IN HELL I would take my pc’s in to BB for anything…..I got a tube of superglue already at home, and it didnt cost me $50+

  22. arclite says:

    The thing that people don’t realize is that no matter where you go for computer repair, you are paying a premium – not on the repair itself, but on the knowledge contained by the people working on your machine. Sure, a tech-savvy individual can fix your network in 5 minutes sometimes, but was the fix only worth five minutes of labor? The people who are capable of doing these repairs spend enough time to learn these sorts of things themselves, and you are paying for what they have in their brain, and not for their time clicking the mouse a few times.

    People need to wake up. In any industry where you don’t know much about the details, you’re going to have to pay for your lack of knowledge. The only cheap car repair you’ll ever have is when you can fix it yourself, or have a close enough friend that can do it for you. It’s not that much different with computers.

    I understand that there are many “techs” out there that are grossly incompetent, and shouldn’t be entrusted with computer repair. However, to make blanket statements about entire industries or companies about a poor experience is rather short-sighted.

    The problem relating to geeksquad is probably the fact that it is incorporated with bestbuy. This means that there will be a huge variance in the experience that consumers will receive. I know this because of my own shopping experiences and from having a stint in retail. With such a huge chain, it’s hard to ensure that your experience will be a good one every time and at every store.

    I’ve been to two geeksquads merely to ask questions and see how knowledgeable they were. One store was ridiculous – their knowledge was laughable and in some cases completely wrong. At another store, they were spot on, even answering some more difficult questions accurately. In both cases they tried to get me to bring my computer in, but thats to be expected I guess from a retail store.

    The moral of the story is, learn it yourself, or deal with the prices. Oh, and backup your data.

  23. chaulis says:

    Sounds to me that the author of the article wasn’t cut out for this type of work. In the field, or in a store, one must always deal with customers who don’t know a thing about computers, get frustrated with “technojargon”, or blame the tech when it’s their fault. Welcome to the tech world. As per hours to repair the computers, you don’t have to baby sit a virus scan/defrag/auto run sys optimizer. It takes less than 10 minutes to replace a motherboard, and less than 2 minutes to replace a hard drive, and anything more than that is lack of skill/knowledge and a waste of time. Learning these skills as you go is a part of the best buy way, learning and adapting by adversity. Sorry dude, you weren’t made to be a tech, move to a different department or company and get on with your life. Oh and welcome to the real world.

  24. Digitarius says:

    I would complain about Geek Squad, but I’m currently employed by a recently-rebranded competitor to the service, and we’re not a whole lot better.
    None of these services are willing to attract and compensate truly qualified employees. Most of the services provided can be figured out using a quick Google search.
    The point is driven home constantly that I am NOT a technician, I am a SALESMAN. The way we are graded casts us in a negative light if we spend most or all of our time actually doing technical work.
    Since the pay sucks and it’s a soulless brick and mortar store, there is very little true geek attraction. Instead of certified techs you get whatever kids they can pick up who can figure out how to use Google.
    Oh, and you can forget about proper equipment. We have to scrounge screwdrivers off of the car stereo installation guys. If we need data off of a SATA drive? We have to pull a PC off display and use it as a mule. We have zero software to work with (aside from a POS antispyware product), and Corporate doesn’t like the idea of paying for anything useful like SpinRite.

    It’s a ridiculous concept to expect competent technicians to be responsible for their own sales in a retail environment. That is what you hire a sales force for. If you don’t create a division there, you end up with Techs who are too busy juggling what the sales guys are too busy or too lazy to take care of, and that impacts quality of service.

  25. avatar28 says:

    I too worked behind the tech counter at BB pre-GS. Unfortunately, even though I was one of the more knowledgeable techs, I was also the only one who knew the first damned thing about running a register and as often as not I would be either manning the register there at the tech counter (when it actually had a till) or running a register with the rest of the chumps in the front lanes. That’s when I wasn’t stocking or being forced to sell computers and/or peripherials, of course.

    My time there started coming to an end because of three incidents.

    1) A customer had brought a system in with a modem issue. Ever single tech in the place had touched the thing. One day when I was 25 miles away on the other side of town (at the doctor I was sent to because of a back injury I sustained when a refrigerator I was having to unload from a truck almost fell on top of me during the aforementioned stocking duties), one of our part time techs did something to the system that resulted in a complete no post situation. The management ended up giving the guy a new computer system. So what was the logical thing to do then? Write me up, of course. Despite the fact that I was not even in the store at the time, it was obviously my fault. When I asked why, I was told that because I was the one who had checked the system in, it was the customer’s perception that I had broken it. I’m sure he must have felt that way since he asked me to come out to his home and set up the new system and do some other work for him.

    2) Another customer comes in with a likely failing hard drive. I go through the normal disclaimer, explaining that we’re not liable for data loss, etc etc. I then asked the customer to show me exactly what it was doing because he had not been clear enough to provide us with a starting point. HE turned the computer on to demonstrate it, it comes up with no partitions on the hard drive now. He started screaming about data loss and threatening to sue us, etc. So, of COURSE, management has to put the blame somewhere so they, again, write me up. This time they also took me off the tech desk, said I wasn’t allowed to touch customer systems, but assured me it was only temporary, a couple of weeks at most. Instead I’m to sell peripherials (video cards, hard drives, and the like) and run the register. Of course, I was still being billed to the tech dept which was, technically, not even supposed to answer to the local management but instead to someone up in corporate.

    3) Fast forward to over a month later. I’m still working peripherial sales. My GF at the time was living in Albuquerque, I live in Nashville. I told my manager sufficiently in advanced that I needed a certain weekend off to drive out west and move her back here. Our plans had us leaving on a Friday and getting back Sunday night late. Schedules come out and they have me working Friday and Saturday and Sunday. I speak to the manager and he “generously” offered to let me come in early on Saturday and then I could leave in early afternoon and I could have Sunday off but had to be back for open on Monday. The trip was something like 1200 miles each way. Even if I had been able to get there and back in time, no way would I have been in any shape to work on Monday.

    So I made one of the best decisions of my life. I went in Friday morning about 5 hours before my shift started and told them politely what they could do with their job. During the exit interview I asked the asst mgr to be honest, would they ever have put me back to tech? “Probably not.”

    Yeah, sounds like they haven’t improved any at all or learned their lessons from their own attempt at running a tech service. They spend all that money for GS and then do the EXACT same boneheaded stuff that ran their previous tech desk into the ground.

    It’s okay, they don’t really like me anyways. I rarely come in except to be a “devil customer”. Buy something on sale (or clearanced or open box) really cheap, or better still buy it at regular price then walk over to customer service before I leave the store to get them to price match another local retailer since that’s the only way to get that extra 10%.

  26. Etatheta says:

    As a current Geek Squad Agent i can agree with everything that was said in the article and being higher up in the company then an agent in a BBY store i could go much more in depth about the issues of Geek Squad. For example the closing of 5 more of the Geek Squad stand alone stores. Agents in BBY stores do not get to learn about the Geek Squad culture. They dont understand its all about the client. In a BBY precinct agents are told to try not to work with a client for more then 5 to 10 mins. where in teh stand alone stores Agents are trained that its all about the client. When i worked in the stand alone stores i would spend 45 mins to 2 hours with clients if thats what i felt was necessary. But i’ve gotten off point. There is a group of us internal agents who are forcing change. its slow but its working. nothing has reached the stores yet but its in motion. For everyone who reads this, know good changes are coming and the bby precincts will no longer be a disgrace to the GS name

  27. XStylus says:

    Someone was asking what pay wages were. They’re nothing to write home about.

    I’ve been working there for almost five(!) years now. I was hired at $11 an hour, and today I make a little under $14 an hour. Quite a few of my fellow agents who were hired more recently were hired in the $10 range though.

    Getting pay increases works against you though. Best Buy generates their schedules by the amount of dollars they feel like spending, not by hours. Get too large of a pay increase and you’ll find yourself with fewer hours.

    The OP is correct. Most agents are hired arbitrarily by the sales manager. They look for people with sales and people skills. Tech skill is a plus, but not a requirement. I’m one of the only three techs that is A+ certified. It’s very frustrating to have to keep looking over my coworker’s shoulders to make sure they’re not doing something brain-dead stupid.

    What’s even more frustrating is that if a store doesn’t make its numbers, they take it out on the agents by pulling labor. If we have an assload of computers to work on, that means turn time surges, causing numbers to fall even more, causing more labor to get pulled. It’s a maddening spiral that’s difficult to get out of.

    It’s also incredibly frustrating when I look at the schedule and see shifts where agents are working solo for several hours. No back up, no breaks, no computers getting worked on, no relief. Just one incredibly long line of understandably impatient customers. Computers come in, none go out.

    Corporate’s answer to low scheduling (or rather, the reason for it) is a system called “Jonny Utah”. It’s an automated system where someone overseas logs onto a customer’s computer and does diags, virus removals, and other jobs that used to be done more effectively in-store. I see it as a tool that lets corporate cut scheduling, hire less knowledgeable agents, and throw them out on the sales floor rather than in front of computers where they belong. Corporate reps outright lied to us and swore up and down that they wouldn’t do this, but that’s precisely what they did.

    I keep shouting about these problems to upper management, but no one listens, cares, or even has any way to do anything about it. The worst changes have happened in the past year alone, which was why I had been with GS so long. I used to enjoy the job, but not anymore. I’ve got another year of college to go, then I’m done.

    The motto on Geek Squad’s internal forums is “Protect the Brand”. It’s hard to do when Best Buy sets conditions that make that impossible.

  28. superbmtsub says:

    After reading that, makes me feel sorry for the geeksquad guys. The nonstop insistent nagging (antivirus, office, more RAM, warranty) from the boys in blue however persuaded me to shop elsewhere (dell.com). My friend just bought a laptop at BBY and said the agents there were really nice to her and didnt try to force her like how they did to me. Maybe they’ve changed a bit?

  29. XStylus says:

    @superbmtsub:
    No, nothing’s changed. It’s just that your milage may vary depending on the situation, the store, who you speak with, whether they’ve had good sex the day before, that sort of thing.

  30. alexkeller says:

    I am currently employed by the Geek Squad and seeking new employment, and find it to be sweatshop conditions with sweatshop pay. They hire incompetent techs due to the fact that any one with any knowledge leaves the company in seek of higher pay. They have Sunday meetings where they force all of the store employees to show up at 7 am for sales training / brainwashing. There are eight different customer types that we are supposed to have memorized and be able to sell too. Base pay at my Geek Squad Precinct is $11.55 and base computer salesman pay is around $10. I see it as them paying us $10 an hour to be a sales man and $1.55 an hour for our technical knowledge. The managers have no appreciation for those of us with technical knowledge and only get mad at us if our sales weren’t good that day, even if we managed to knock out half the machines. If you were ever considering Geek Squad I highly recommend against it, both as a source of computer repair and a place to work. However if you plan on having a career in sales Best Buy might not be a bad place to start, due to the fact that they will mold you into an excellent sales man, but not always an honest one. Most other jobs in sales see Best Buy on your resume and tend to be impressed. Oh and just a heads up if you do manage to get a job at a Best Buy don’t trust half of what the managers say. I’ve been there long enough to see GM’s, store managers, and supervisors come and go. And all I have to say is that almost every Best Buy manager and some GM’s are as shady as they come.

  31. BobBarker says:

    I used to work for Future Shop which is a Canadian company Best Buy bought in the 1990’s that is pretty much the exact same. I got hired on with no training (although I knew my stuff from personal experience) and my first 10 minutes of employment was me unpacking returned computers from boxes to start the System Restore DVD’s. That was it.

    When I started the starting wage was $10.04 (Canadian) and later that month they gave pay raises to every position to keep up with the job market so the starting wage then became $11. Everything in this list is true, our products are services are extremely overpriced. The reason we can’t turn around repairs fast enough is the simple fact that the person in charge of the tech room is being given a bonus on their “productivity” rating which is some number using amount of money spent, hours worked, money made. So I used to beg and plead for extra hours but they refused to put me on full time so our tech room which was the second biggest in the district (The *main* district in Canada) had only two full time techs and one part time. My shifts were usually between four and six hours on rush time only.

    It was the worst job of my life and it had the worst pay. The amount of abuse and overworking going on was horrid. You’d have to come in 20 minutes before you shift unpaid if you were going to open because you had to open the tech room and then they’d waste your time by having to attend the bullshit selling meeting even though it was not applicable at all to tech.

  32. MarahMarie says:

    I hate to say I was right, because it makes for an unfortunate state of affairs for Geek Squad, but if this article doesn’t sum up every claim I made about them here, including my comment that being purchased by Best Buy ruined them:

    http://consumerist.com/consumer/best-buy/leaked-geek-squad

    …then nothing ever will. SmarterThanYou, who works for Geek Squad, was unhappy with my comments on that page about how much they charge for software installations (which is why I won’t use GS or recommend them to others) so he gave me the company line about (among other things) how people like me void other people’s warranties by attempting hardware repairs. It was hilarious, especially because he was wrong. Part of my response:

    “I’ve been reading The Consumerist’s posts about Geek Squad for the last few weeks, and reading all the comments, many from disgruntled and ripped off customers, employees and ex-employees. I know that GS under staffs and overworks most of their crews. I know that they charge outrageous money for software installation and repairs. You have to understand as someone who uses nothing but free software, gets computers, monitors, keyboards, audio equipment and other tech goodies for free from friends, and gives help away for free on my website, the very thought of how much they charge for simple *software* installations and repairs outrages me.”

    I don’t know but maybe, just maybe, this article proves I’m smarter than him?

  33. Raachie says:

    @superbmtsub: Noo.. I think they just caught them on a day where the Manager wasnt in. I used to work at Best Buy, and I dont know if they pushed it on the Geek Squad guys that much. They did hire guys who really did know what they were talking about, but when I was hired there were a few guys who I just had to think “These guys for Geek Squad?”

  34. Cap'n Jack says:

    Thanks to Geek Squad, I can now charge twice as much for my PC repair services as I did before. Of course, I don’t do that, but I always tell potential customers how much these repair shops rip off the average consumer. I charge $35/hour, and get things fixed in a fraction of the time. Most times my clients feel like they need to pay me for an extra hour because it takes me an average of 1-2 hours to fix most problems. I could be charging $100/hour, but I can’t understand people who can live with themselves for sticking it to their customers just because they can.

    Just a lesson to everyone: Support local independent technicians. Even your neighborhood computer geek high-schooler can do a better job than Geek Squad, Comp USA, Second Source, or any of those other places.

  35. Cap'n Jack says:

    @superbmtsub: Also, I fully support Dell PCs. They’re simple, easy, and great even for small businesses. However, stay away from Dell laptops. They are the worst. When it’s not faulty/cheap motherboard problems, it’s some weird compatibility issue with the laptops.

  36. VooDoo7175 says:

    I must say, after working for geek squad for 4 years, they defiantly abuse there employees. Most techs at $8-9 per hour, your moral was pretty low to start. During my 4 years with them, we hired a: Car salesman, car mechanic, some high school dropout, and some local musician. Don’t get me wrong… on a personal level these people were awesome. From a technical aspect, they didn’t have a clue were to start. What was worse is when we asked for hours to work late on computers, we were simply told, “as long as you don’t go over 40 hours”.
    Probably my favorite part is when the managers went off on some big meeting, and depending on well the store was doing, and they were treated to: Plasma TV’s, laptop, MP3 players, CARS. And you probably guessed it, the employees got NOTHING.
    I pretty much say all this to agree with the Ben, when you bring your computer to Geek Squad for repair, be patient with the tech. Those poor guys (and gals) are over worked.

  37. OtterOtter says:

    On a whim, I applied to the Geek Squad as a part time gig. I have a fulltime career in the IT field managing Windows networks and doing forensic recovery. I’ve got enough alphabet soup in certifications and trainings to choke a horse.

    Despite this, the hiring manager was leery of my unknown-to-him certifications (MCSE, CISSP, etc), and asked if I was familiar with the A+. I tried to tell him that about 1/100 of my knowledge and certs were contained in the A+ which was almost a step backwards. It didn’t sway him. I was offered $8.33 an hour to work for them, but only if I promised to go get my A+.

    Thankfully, I politely turned them down.

  38. quagmire0 says:

    Ugh, anyone over 17 who is working at GS for those wages needs to leave NOW! Sure, that’s great bank for a teenager (as opposed to making 5-6 @ McD’s), but that’s terrible for an IT pro who could be making alot more at an office job working a normal 9-5 schedule with weekends off and paid vacation and holidays. (as well as 401k and all that, and not as much dealing with angry customers and bad management).

  39. ShadowWarrior says:

    I’ve worked in the Computer/Home Office department at the best buy near me for a while now. We are all pretty close with our fellow employees in Geek Squad, and I have to say that, at least in my case, I don’t think this is completely true. Here is my take on the issue:

    1) While I won’t say everyone who works for GS is as knowledgeable as I would think they should be, there are some very bright people who work there. One guy in particular I always try to search out if he is working because he always seems to know the answer to whatever question I have or knows where I can find the answer. There is also a lady who works at the precinct that is very nice, helpful, and good at what she does.

    2) There ARE times when the GS is short-handed and can’t handle all of the computers that they are tasked with, but there are also times when they really don’t have anything to do. Only when the latter is the case or someone with more knowledge on the subject is needed are the agents out on the floor selling. Otherwise they are working on the, sometimes up to 5 or 6 a person, computers they are trying to set up.

    3) As a member of the sales team, I hate the high prices as well. $100 for 9GB of backup or $160 for unlimited storage? That is too much. But there are some services that are worth the price. For instance, our new computer set-up packages are definitely worth the price. $129 to $149 includes $70 worth of software. Maybe not for the company, but that’s what the consumer would pay for it. They also install critical updates saving time, configure the software, and several other things to make the computer run faster. The margin on those services aren’t as high as one might thing.

    4) Some managers do push customers off on those below then and seem to not do any work at all. We have a few of those where I work. There are some, however, that will talk to the disgruntled customer, try to settle them down, and sometimes even SELL them something. I have one manager who dealt with a customer who was outraged at the fact that they weren’t being helped when the whole department was full of other customers and ended up selling them almost $5000 worth of electronics.

    5) Upselling is pushed down everyones throats. We’re always told how we need to sell in-home services and try to sell the most expensive package first, but it’s not something that they go crazy about. I believe that the in-home set-ups aren’t worth the extra price, so I usually don’t try to sell that unless I think they person could really use it. I haven’t been approached once because of doing that. They push getting something attached more than they do selling the most expensive package.

    Best Buy isn’t as bad as you might think. There are some times that things get out of hand, but overall it IS a business, but they really do want the customer to be happy with the service and product they receive.

  40. beaswax19 says:

    I have worked for bestbuy for 9 years. I think that it is wrong for you to judge everyone because they dont have certs or A+. I know for a fact that some of the guys that are Booksmart coulnt fix a pc for their life, and they are certified. A+ doesnt mean shit.

  41. MarahMarie says:

    @Shadowwarrior:

    “For instance, our new computer set-up packages are definitely worth the price. $129 to $149 includes $70 worth of software.”

    So what software is included for $70?

    The average GS customer doesn’t know one program from another so he gets the software of Best Buy’s choice and then has to rip it out later if he doesn’t like it or if it’s a resource hog like Norton.

    Lets’ see: No choices, the possibility of some headaches down the road if you dislike or don’t want the software, and you guys advertise this as a *service?*

    The problem is there is too great a divide between what tech-minded people know and what everyone else doesn’t. Best Buy/GS takes advantage of that to upsell everything including total crap.

    There is no paid anti-virus or anti-spy software, for example, that can beat many free alternatives. Kaspersky, Avast!, Nod, AVG Anti-Spyware, Spybot, AdAware, and Sygate Free Personal Firewall are just a few that come to minde.

    SP2 is free, Windows Updates are free, many good photo editors and office apps are free, excellent email programs are free, so exactly what are you charging people $70 for? The software can’t be worth that much considering the alternatives.

    Tell me you threw in PS CS2 for $70, though, and I’ll make an appointment with you tomorrow.

    In my worst nightmares I take my PC to Best Buy’s GS on the advice of someone else. When I get it back I have AOL, Norton, RealPlayer, ICQ, and many more crapware programs installed, and nothing is uninstalled that I don’t want…pre-loaded crap like MSN Explorer, Windows Live Messenger, MSN Money, and whatever the OEM manufacturer installed, which often includes all the crap above and much more. I wake up when I realize it will take me at least 4 hours to get rid of all of it, including leftover files and registry entries, sweating bullets and glad it was just a bad dream.

    The answer to this BestBuy boonswoogle is consumers need to educate themselves about basic computer maintenance. They should learn about free software and cleaning up adware/spyware/viruses themselves. They should be able to install software programs without any help. They should be able to tell the difference between a safe program that is slowing their computer down and a trojan, which is going to destroy it.

    If people want to throw their money at GS to save themselves time and aggravation that’s their choice. I don’t blame them for giving business to them, but they’re not going to get the fastest, cleanest, most optimized computer they could have with only what *they* want installed on it.

    And I’m not going to bother scrolling up to remind myself who said what, but some of the comments here are way off. While from what I read there’s plenty of incompetence among Geek Squad employees, don’t blame it on their last or primary occupations. Outside of the one friend I have who has certs, none of us has ever “worked in the field” (unless you count hacking as a “field”) and we taught ourselves everything. We help each other, and we help people who don’t know what they’re doing, and we usually do it for free.

    I’ve found that sometimes your best PC help comes from people who just “know” computers. Sometimes the guy with all the certs is just not as interested or involved with what’s in front of him or he’s burned out on it. It’s impossible to make judgments based solely on a person’s primary occupation.

  42. gogeeksquad says:

    First off the guy that wrote the below quoted comments is an obvious shill for Best Buy. He is probably a manager for the company and clearly himself has little to no knowledge about fixing computers, atleast in a Best Buy store. Which is typical, most management in these stores could care less about whether or not computers are getting fixed as long as customers are being charged.

    I speak from personal experience as I’ve worked for Best Buy and the Geek Squad for a long time.


    “As per hours to repair the computers, you don’t have to baby sit a virus scan/defrag/auto run sys optimizer. It takes less than 10 minutes to replace a motherboard, and less than 2 minutes to replace a hard drive, and anything more than that is lack of skill/knowledge and a waste of time.”

    Considering the Agent working on computers is usually working on upwards of 8 units this comment is immediatly rediculous. The author of the articals point furthermore is that there is rarely anyone to even fix the computers. I’m faced by this challenge daily with managers who think that Geek Squad Agents are lunch coverage for cashiers and slow overpaid computer salesmen (I mean “customer specialists”).

    What managers don’t understand or in most cases don’t care about is the fact that EVERY computer represents a customer. A customer that paid for a service and is not getting that service because of practices that managers have put in place. Mind you Best Buy Corp. and Geek Squad at BBY Corp allways have the best intentions. The issue is that what the corporate office wants and what they actually check for are COMPLETELY different things.

    “Learning these skills as you go is a part of the best buy way, learning and adapting by adversity. Sorry dude, you weren’t made to be a tech, move to a different department or company and get on with your life. Oh and welcome to the real world.”

    This part is by far my favorite. It is the Best Buy way you are right, that certainly doesn’t mean that was what our corporate office intended. I doubt that Robert Stephens handed over Geek Squad to Best Buy so they could hire people who don’t know what they are doing to ruin his creation.

    “Welcome to the real world”… Here in the REAL world people are hired for a job based on education and experience. Best Buy actually hires their sales people with a prefference towards those with previous experience. However when they hire a “technician” they look for whoever they can lowball on pay.

    People ask me why I have stuck around so long. I honestly believe in what we are trying to do. I have faith that the Geek Squad people at BBY Corp are working hard to fix the MASSIVE problems at the store level. I only hope they fix it before Geek Squad is completely unrecognizable.

    For any Geek Squad or Best Buy corporate folks that read this who want a helpful sugestion from someone who has been around since before Best Buy acquired Geek Squad. The scorecard lists quite a few things, mostly revenue based. You guys need to start DRILLING into your District/Divisional staff that one of the most important things on this card for Geek Squad is TURN TIME. I’ll know things are taking a turn for the better when my General Manager starts asking why our turn time is so damn high (hell I’d settle for anyone to be interested in keeping customers happy for once).

  43. timcopeland1 says:

    Anyone who listens to Minnesota Public Radio has heard Robert Stephens answer questions about technology and computer support. It’s quite obvious that he was never able to keep up with the fast-paced changes in products, solutions, and best practices. He built a company of sheer illusion, never much good except for the image of availability and convenience. Best Buy was foolish to buy them in the first place. All they got was a name and a figurehead that was out of touch and often non-topical.

  44. thehbcrew says:

    I’ve met plenty of people that knoe more about computers then people that have certificates in different fields. All the certificate is is a test. How much you can remember from the book before you go in and take a test. When all you need is to get in on the field and work it. When you come to a problem google it. Most problems anyone runs into, has happened to someone before and its on the internet somewhere. Best Buys pricing is not to far off, well atleast where i live, its about normal. But then again, for their knowledge base i would consider it costly.

    Like stated above there is plenty of free software out there for people to use. my suggestions are as follows

    Anti-Virus i use AVG found at http://free.grisoft.com/

    Spyware removal
    Spybot Search and Destroy found on download.com

    Instead of the pricey Microsoft Office try out
    http://www.openoffice.org by sun microsystems its a full office application

    These are the main applications that people need on a computer. And Majority of new computers come with none, or 30-60 day trial ware of similar programs.

    And STOP being afraid of the computer. Try things out, give it a whirl. Just don’t click delete. If theres a pop up from a website never click cancel or close. Hit Alt+F4 to close. Make sure you spell websites correctly.


    Other programs you might find useful is Mozilla Firefox helps replace your internet explorer. And Mozilla’s Thunderbird, which replaces Outlook. Both very good programs.

  45. draekon says:

    This article is just one further example of why we should question the authority of articles “published” (by whom?) on the internet… No outside references, no claims to back up the author’s argument, biased opinions (note the highly professional lingo such as “crap”, “crappy”), and evidence that the author has little or no understanding of how the job market works and what to expect from employers.


    1. We receive little or no training.

    You’re a repair monkey, period. You act like it’s a highly specialized job, but overall the only difference between you and an auto mechanic is that you don’t get your hands dirty. Best Buy pays for you to shadow someone and gives you free e-learnings to read, and that is more than what they’ll give you at Jiffy Lube. Education is something you have to pay for (i.e. college), and most companies will only invest time and money in you if you have already invested time and money on yourself and possess some valuable job skills.

    If you don’t have any skills then its up to you to get some if you are determined to go anywhere in life, and if you can’t manage that, then at least don’t blame everyone else. GS can be a free classroom for anyone interested in getting into the IT field. I’ve known people who started out working in GS and ended up with 100k plus jobs as network admin, software developers, etc. Every GS has at least 2-3 intelligent, meticulous people who are enthusiastic about their job and do it well… and these are the ones who are competent enough to fix any computer while the rest sit around on on cushioned stools installing Norton Antivirus.

    2. Wonder why our turn-around time is so long?

    The same reason you have to wait an hour for your food when you go to the Olive Garden right around dinner time. Like ShadowWarrior said, if you want to pay the extra money for Best Buy to overstaff, go ahead.

    Secondly, I don’t agree with managers making GS agents act as cashiers, save for their own services. We don’t do that at our BBY, and if it is done at yours I would complain to the higher-ups of bad management.

    3. We hate our high prices, too.

    I also wish that I could offer the customers lower prices as well for Geek Squad services, but as far as I’ve seen this is just how the computer repair industry is in general.
    … compare http://www.computer-repair.rutgers.edu/Cost1.htm to
    http://www.geeksquad.com/pricing/

    Furthermore, MarahMarie, thehbcrew; If you want to do the tech work yourself, then go for it. But remember to take a look at the big picture before you preach: No one has to buy the services if they don’t want, and the fact that some people want to is why GS is in business. People pay for GS services for the same reasons they pay people to change their oil, redo their kitchen cabinets, and do their taxes:

    1) laziness( don’t want to take the time to figure it out)
    2) fear (knows nothing about computers and is afraid to mess with them… if paying $129 to install some antivirus software is worth it then that’s their choice. Suggesting they do it themselves only annoys them)
    3) insurance (if we break it, it comes out of our wallet, not the customers. Again it makes the customer feel safe)
    4) last resort (the customer has tried to fix it and is at an impass or realizes it is taking too much time and wants to pass the job on to someone else)

    If you like to optimize your OS, install your own hardware and set up a network all by yourself, then congratulations, give yourself a pat on the back, b/c no one else cares. It’s not like anyone has gone into debt for computer repair.

    4. Best Buy abuses us.

    You think a manager making you deal with a dissatisfied customer because you don’t like yelling is abuse? And I suppose you think making you stick your hand in to that computer where all those sharp pins could poke you is abuse too, huh. If you want to experience abuse first hand, then try working UPS.

    5. Every store meeting, it’s crammed down our throats to upsell, upsell, upsell.

    No, it’s cram down your throat to remember to offer and make the customer aware of the services/solutions are available. Best Buy does not support forcing a customer into purchasing a service or add-on, and I have never been asked to do so by any manager/sup. In fact it’s against SOP (standard opperating proceedures). The employees are non-commissioned purposefully so that no one is pressured to sell.

  46. MarahMarie says:

    I think the best thing most of you GS guys could do at this point is stop logging in to comment because you’re twisting people’s words around to suit your own arguments and no one wants to read your defense of one of the most indefensible companies on the planet besides AOL. Your reading comprehension is nil, because you’re so consumed with defending yourselves and your indefensible company that you ignore certain points we make here altogther, then restate them word for word like you thought of them yourselves. Well, DUH, how about RTFC (read the ******** comment) first before you hit “reply.” If this is an example of theintellect of most Best Buy/GS employees then it won’t be long before they have to shut down every store or else sell out to an even bigger, maybe smarter competitor. On that day I will drop to my knees and praise God.

    @draekon, who wrote:

    “Furthermore, MarahMarie, thehbcrew; If you want to do the tech work yourself, then go for it. But remember to take a look at the big picture before you preach: No one has to buy the services if they don’t want, and the fact that some people want to is why GS is in business. People pay for GS services for the same reasons they pay people to change their oil, redo their kitchen cabinets, and do their taxes blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…”

    I covered all that in my first comment. If you would just *read it* I wrote that if people want to take their computers to GS to save the time and/or trouble of doing the work themselves, I don’t BLAME THEM. I value my time, too. But they are not going to get the personalized service they could get if say a highly regarded techy friend or local PC repair shop did it for them.

    Further I don’t trust GS, and that’s the keyword here, *trust*–I don’t *trust* them to do a good job on my hardware repairs or upgrades, not after what I’ve read here and heard, and I would never pay them to do software installs or fixes becuase the amount of money they charge for such things is outrageous, plus I can do all of that myself.

    I understand there are people who are *not* computer-handy who also don’t have techy, geeky friends like I do, who also don’t know how to look up how to do something on the Web, or who just don’t want to bother because no matter how smart or handy they are. I addressed that, even if only briefly, in my other comment.

    I’m tired of you GS guys–smarterthanyou, draekon, whoever–carelessly ignoring my words or twisting them around just to suit your own needs. You’re no better than trolls.

  47. MrEvil says:

    As a former employee of Best Buy (I worked as a black shirt tech well before they all became Geek Squad) I’d say that most of what the insider says is true. It’s all about the bottom line to Best Buy, it’s NEVER about doing what’s right for the customer.

    When I worked there the basic message from management was to bilk the customer for as much as possible before sending them on their way. A customer would bring in a system for warranty repair, you’d think I should focus on fulfilling BBY’s obligations on their service agreement… Management had none of that. We were supposed to charge customers for $20 cleanings constantly, despite the fact that what little dust was inside them was no more than what had accumulated on alot of display items in the store.

    The Sales manager at my store daily would question why I didn’t “Reccomend” (read: Charged) for this service or that service. Look up “douchebag” in an urban dictionary and you might find this guy’s picture. Despite having admitted to myself and other techs that he did not know anything about repairing PCs he still went around thinking he knew how to do our jobs. What didn’t help though was one of my co-workers was one of the biggest butt-snorkelers I had ever seen. He would tell manager “Douchebag” whatever he wanted to hear to get the rest of us in hot water with write-ups and what not. This employee was probably the worst human being I had EVER worked with. He was a semi-competent technician, but never in my entire life had I wanted to harm a fellow human being. Guess which word in the dictionary his picture appears next to? (that’s rhetorical by the way).

    Don’t get me started on the Supervisor I had just before I left the company. The guy didn’t know anything about computers. He once insisted to me that nVidia’s original nForce chipset and nForce 2 were strictly for Intel CPUs, not AMD as they actually were. He insisted in the face of me opening up a computer with an nForce chipset and showing him an AMD CPU in the socket. Pardon me if I don’t follow your lead when you don’t know what it is you’re doing…or at the very least don’t admit to your ignorance.

    My Experience at Best Buy has me convinced that Robert Stephens is sincere in his statements and that since he is so far removed from Geek Squad City that he is in fact telling the truth from his point of view. However, what he needs to do is go in himself and see what’s going on rather than relying on his underlings to tell him. He’s a king that’s too far removed from his subjects.

    Since leaving Best Buy I have moved up in the world, I am a field service technician for Dell and IBM as well as have my own computer repair business. I make more than triple what I did at Best Buy and don’t even put in 40 hours per week unless I’m exceptionally busy. Despite Dell’s reputation for poor technical support My worst Dell customer has been nicer to me than my best Best Buy customer. What’s even better is that my current Supervisor never bothers to send me an e-mail or a phone call unless he wants me to do something that isn’t normally assigned to me. I like my job so much that despite finding many ads in the newspaper that pay more and incur less expense for me (I have to pay for my own vehicle and all related expenses) I’m still with this job after 3 years.

    I’m not bitter at Best Buy really, I still buy stuff from there from time to time. I just really hated the attitudes of my bosses and the people I had to work with.

  48. regnirok says:

    I am a former Geek Squad Special agent who at one point worked out of the company flagship store, near the corporate Headquarters in Minnesota. We were the first store to pilot the Geek Squad, and most often seemed to be the most abused.

    I have to agree with everything the original ex-agent stated: it is all true. Furthermore, being in what is/was considered the most senior level field agent position(and at my store, considered to be more senior than the in-store bench seniors/supervisors) responsible for the delivery of services totalling well over $1500 per visit(to businesses mostly) I found myself being ordered by Best Buy sales managers to “maximize sales potential” often by overcharging my customers. I personally never engaged in such despicable acts, and I’m sure that when I was finally let go that it had something to do with my refusal to comply with rules created on the store-level, without any backing from the Corporate arena or district level managers that could quite well be illegal.

    All said, I am quite happy to be out of the company. The retail monster that is Best Buy has absolutely no clue how to run a services business aside from gouging its customer base for everything they have…

  49. socokid says:

    Sounds as if they were trying to become the “Genius Bar” but failed miserably in execution. As a Mac Genius, you are first contacted by a manager for a “tech screen”, followed by a two face to face interviews with store managers and regional manager. If chosen, you are then flown to Cupertino (Apple Home) for two weeks of training culminating with certifications for Desktop, Notebook and OS after passing the cert tests (same test that anyone wishing to have an Apple tech cert takes).

    This is followed by two weeks of customer service training and then one week shadowing another Genius in another store. Couple this with the fact that you start off under a Lead Genius who has seen it all and takes great care in helping you learn.

    The Apple turn-around goal (time to fix a machine that they determine needs to be checked in) is 75% in 48 hours, which they routinely succeed in achieving (according to a good friend who was a Genius recently for two years). Other wise if they fixed it at the bar, it’s free. Yes, that’s right, free. They sually had about 15 minutes to troubleshoot and fix, but that’s usually all they needed to figure out what was going on and either fix it for free right there, or give the customer his options.

    And, they are very rarely in a sales position.

    And to the person that wrote this: “You think a manager making you deal with a dissatisfied customer because you don’t like yelling is abuse?”

    …no, it’s a manager not doing his job. And there should never be a question, if someone asks for a manager he should always get one. Anything else is laziness and pure responsibility shifing.

    Good luck.

  50. agent2600 says:

    @XStylus:

    xstylus, I am the EXACT same person as you, been working at best buy 5 years through highschool, have a year of college left, and i AM done. best buy has become a hell hole. customer-centricity my ass!! the only thing best buy cares about is sucking ever last dollar out of the customer.

    I consider myself the best buy anarchist. I do work for free, I do more work then I have to for the amount people get charged, and i cringe every time i have to charge 199 dollar for somthing i know i will get paid about 10% of that (when the labor of doing the service is completely done by me myself and I). I stay at best buy for one reason, I enjoy helping people. I want to start my own computer repair, but, well, I need a steady paycheck. I’m on the verge of getting fired for these trangressions, the only reason they haven’t yet is because when we have a trouble customer, I’m usally the only one that can calm them down hahaha

  51. agent2600 says:

    oh and I’m the only person who can work on macs hahaha

  52. Goodman123 says:

    @grkgus:
    the average pay is about $11.00 and fulltime employees get 35-40 hours partime get whatever there availability allows 20-30 hours

  53. Joe Parisi says:

    It’s funny how little things have changed since my time at Best Buy. I worked for them for 5 years from when they first opened in Pittsburgh in 1997.

    Even though that was pre-Geek Squad, we still suffered from the same issues that the original poster mentions here. It almost felt like a sales job with a little tech work on the side. I was written up a number of times for not pushing MSN on a customer or suggesting a cleaning despite the fact that I thought the customer’s machine was bad.

    They couldn’t pay me enough to go back and since it seems $12/hour is the going rate, they certainly couldn’t afford me!

  54. vanero3 says:

    I did have a very long response typed up for this article, I to work at geek squad, however I’m just going to make it short. I agree completely with what is said in this article.
    1. We don’t receive training to repair anything, nor are we required to know how to repair anything. We do take certification tests from time to time however they deal only with policies not repair knowledge.
    2. Our turn time sucks since we are required to do the job of every single worker at best buy including manager responsibilities. Selling, calling, helping, repairing, closing, opening, teaching, etc.
    3. Our prices…they suck heres examples of current prices; Hardware install $50, Software install $30, viral removal $200, diag $70, Ram install $40
    4. Best buy abuses us, we do the managers jobs of dealing with all customers, we do the sales peoples jobs by going out and selling, we do so much work that we are the only department that comes in at 6 am when the store doesn’t open until 9-10am, we then stay until after close when other departments go home.
    5. Up selling, this ties in with number 2 we have to do the jobs of the sales people to attach accessories to products since more often than not the sales people don’t know what the products do or what should go with them to make them work.

    Essentialy geek squad is a part of best buy, the goal of Geek Squad is to make the customer happy and have working electronics. Best Buy’s goal like any other company is to make money. If that means a geek squad agent has a randomized work schedule being paid crap then so be it. I’m a full time Geek Squad CIA (computer tech) I started at the pay of $10 an hr, I have 3 years of Biotechnology major chemistry minor, 1 year of Computer Science major and 1 year of biology minor under my belt when I started. I have since become A+ certified and delt with situations that would make someone go insane. I’ve been working for Geek Squad for going on a year, my pay is now $10.40 an hr, on average I get 32-35 hrs a week. Schedules are made one day in advance of the next week, time off must be requested 3-4 weeks in advance. I have 5 bosses all of whom have their own idea of what each of us should be doing.

    In a 9 hr work day I spend possibly 2 hrs fixing computers the rest is helping sell, answer phones, paperwork and helping customer service department.

    I once asked what is it that the customer service department does that Geek Squad doesn’t do, I was answered from my supervisor that they do nothing Geek Squad can’t do they are there to support us just like the other departments of best buy. So the question becomes who is really the people who make Best Buy work?

  55. James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil says:

    I am not surprised at this from Best Buy. It was in Arizona that I learned that Best Buy has no concept of what “customer service” means. Personally, I will never purchase anything from Best Buy again. They are the Nazis of the retail business.