The 10 Page Geek Squad Confession – "Stealing Customers' Nudie Pics Was An Easter Egg Hunt"

This is the ultimate Geek Squad insider confession. It’s 10 pages long.

Highlights:

• Wave a magic erase and reinstall wand over a used PC. SHAZAM! Now it’s a new PC!
• Geek Squad agents scour your computer for those porn pics you and your girlfriend(s) took, and load it onto their thumb drives. Even the ones you thought you deleted.
• GS used to be great, until they replaced most of the actual techs with salesmen.

Raw, uncut and uncorroborated, you’ll think twice about bringing your computer to Geek Squad after reading this one…


Anonymous writes:

Introduction – What’s all this, then?

I am writing this for various reasons. One reason is in hopes that I might shine some light on the reality of Geek Squad and Best Buy; both correcting false rumors, as well as confirming others. Another reason that I have chosen to write this is out of retribution. No, not “revenge”, or the stereotypical “payback” you may think of a former employee wanting. And no, not the “vengeance” of a “disgruntled employee”, which I surely am not, and still recommend Best Buy services as much as I had before. The retribution I speak of is simply the need for closure. Geek Squad was a wonderful and amazing company, and I indeed loved–and now miss–my job, as well as my friends I made while there (both co-workers as well as customers). Sadly, due to certain events, and by no fault of Geek Squad itself, the company changed, corrupted, and slowly reduced itself to what it currently is. I spent every ounce of myself to make Geek Squad as great as possible, and in the end, due to corporate bureaucracy, bad decisions, and greed, my job that I had taken with so much pride, had turned into something that now brings me shame for even being a part of. Despite all of this, the main reason, however, is essentially so I do not forget the details of my experiences. As you start digesting my story, do so not in the mindset of reading an expos

of a company, rather, do so in the mindset of reading a tragic novel.

I Thought Best Buy was Evil – And I was wrong.

Like many people, I have an interesting history with Best Buy. From return issues, to fictitious warranty information, I had experienced just about all I wanted to in regards to the Best Buy brand. But why did I work for them? Did I need the money? No. Was it some sort of sick joke? No. I applied because it was the summer, and my friend worked for Best Buy and guaranteed me I was wrong about them. He was right, and I was definitely wrong.

Best Buy was an amazing company! I remember distinctly telling my friends and family (some who didn’t believe me) how wrong I had been about Best Buy. I remember laughing with my fellow Geek Squad agents. I remember smiling and helping customers. I remember wanting to come to work and not wanting to leave. I remember wearing my Geek Squad uniform with pride, even when I could feel the glares of people and hear their giggles. But why should I care? I love working with computers, I love helping people, and I loved my job that allowed me to do both.

I Thought Best Buy was Amazing – And I was wrong.

I loved my job, and I kid you not, it breaks my heart to think back as I watched Geek Squad–almost a member of my family–become beaten and ravaged by Best Buy. It was a shock to me as it happened, but not to everyone. One agent commented to me how Geek Squad replaced Best Buy’s old support service. And indeed, he was correct. Though, the marriage of Best Buy and Geek Squad was the most advertised, Geek Squad was surely not Best Buy’s first tech-support companion. Best Buy use to have its own tech support service, which it corrupted, ruined, and then replaced with Geek Squad… and is now repeating the process with this new acquisition.

Some of you must be wondering how, exactly, I could have been wrong about Best Buy on both sides of the spectrum. I’ll do my best to explain as we continue on.

Customer Centricity – Common Sense Comes at a Price.

It wasn’t long after I was hired into the company when I learned why I was so wrong about it: “Customer Centricity”. You see, the current Vice Chairman and CEO of Best Buy is a wonderful and kind man by the name of Brad Anderson. I had the privilege of meeting, working, and even eating with Anderson on numerous occasions while working at Best Buy. Anderson has one of those “kind faces” that you do not forget; the kind of face that has a smile even when he is not smiling, and the kind of eyes that do not judge you, and make you realize that the difference between you and him does not rest in the amount of zero’s in his bank account, but rather how much of yourself you put into your job. He is a great man, and I cannot stress how much I respect him. Sadly, though, it was his kindness that, I believe, would contribute to the downfall of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

From what other executives in the company told me, the reason my beloved Best Buy was so amazing had to do a lot with the fact that Anderson was getting old, and hoped to leave a legacy behind him of making Best Buy “Customer Centristic”. And there I go again, using that term, “Customer Centristic”… Let me explain what I mean: In 2003, a man named Larry Selden published a book, Angel Customers and Demon Customers, and I am not quite sure who read it, but it caught someone’s eye in Best Buy. Selden worked with Best Buy to develop Customer Centricity, which basically is a fancy term for, “If you treat customers right, they will trust you and buy more from you.” That’s it. It boggled my mind how something so simple could be so hard to comprehend, and would require a man like Selden to be paid large amounts of money to consult Best Buy on their customer centricity goals. But this was reality.

Selden became a man of folklore within the realm of Best Buy. I heard rumors that he was chauffeured from Best Buy to Best Buy in a stretch limo. The very mention of Selden visiting your Best Buy caused managers to swiftly move through the stores, snapping their fingers at employees, yelling at them to be on their best behavior.

Selden’s customer centricity was just what Anderson was looking for to help path the way for his legacy of patching Best Buy’s reputation. And it would have worked, if not for the kindness of a CEO.

The Death of Customer Centricity – All Good Things Must Come to an End.

In the Bahamas, on August 23rd, 2005, a moderate storm formed and moved across southern Florida. Suddenly, the warm waters of the Gulf magnified it, then, on August 29th, 2005, she slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi. Her name was Katrina. Inside all of the statistics of death, injury, and destruction, there were fifteen Best Buy stores affected by Katrina, and out of that fifteen, six stores were completely ruined; I remember at least one of these six was reportedly looted, and another was under water.

This was, indeed, a trying time for any CEO, but Anderson pushed forward, and declared that all the employees, from the stores which were destroyed, would remain on payroll, despite them having no store in which to work. I distinctly remember having mixed emotions about this decision. On the one hand, it was a beautiful and enormous act of generosity to help the “members of the Best Buy family”, however, the business side of me began to crunch the numbers and, in my head, I watched Best Buy dig itself into the red through generosity. And surely, they did.

Best Buy’s stock was already not doing too well, and soon, it began to dip further. Was this completely due to Best Buy’s pledge to pay hundreds of employees from stores that were bringing in no revenue? I cannot say for certain. What I do know for sure, however, is that as the company’s belt began to tighten, the backlash was felt throughout the country. From coast to coast, hours began to be cut, and lives became disrupted. I am not saying it was not noble to help the victims of Katrina, nor am I saying it was wrong to do so. I am simply pointing out a fact that we all learned early in school, which is for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When Anderson decided to help a concentration of employees in Louisiana and Mississippi, he, in turn, decided to economically hurt hundreds more employees spread throughout the United States.

I remember coming to work, and seeing that I had no hours to work. I did not mind, though, because, again… I was not there for the money to begin with, and I only stayed for the friendship and love of my job. Many times I gave my hours up completely to my friends who were desperately trying to pay their rent, insurance, and other bills that had previously never been a weight on their minds.

The thought of what happened in Katrina didn’t really faze me as much as it did to people who lost loved ones in the storm. I am not saying I did not care, because I did. I watched the news every day, just like everyone else. I donated from my paycheck every two weeks, as much as I could, to hope that it would find its way to helping those in need. And I prayed that they would keep finding survivors, even when it was clear they would not. But I did not lose anyone… so I thought.

It was only as the weeks began to pass that I realized I had indeed lost someone–a loved one: Geek Squad. In late 2005, Geek Squad’s integrity, along with Customer Centricty, had drowned in the turbulent floodwaters of economic tragedy, caused, in part, by Hurricane Katrina and the kindness of an old man. Simply put, Best Buy needed to increase profits… and while customer centricty filled the stores with happy customers, ripping customers off filled the store’s pockets with money.

From Geek Squad to Geek $quad – The Death of Technicians, and the Rise of Salesmen.

Where once store meetings were a rarity, they had now become ritualistic. Stores kept missing their numbers, and in the land of Best Buy, a worker who doesn’t meet his numbers means a manager who doesn’t keep their job. It may sound intriguing that it may work this way… punishing managers for the shortcomings of employees, but it is this military-like strategy that helps keep non-commissioned employees motivated by their managers.

Ah yes… the old, “We don’t get paid on commission here!” Line. It is definitely true… Best Buy employees do not get paid on commission; however, I find this even worse than if they were. You see, when you go into a store where you know the employees work on commission, you instinctively keep your guard up. However, when you know the employees receive no commission, you are inclined to believe you are hearing the truth rather than lies from a salesperson hoping to get another “sale”. It’s a psychological tactic that relies on the ability for Best Buy to motivate their employees with charts, graphs, and the occasional reprimand from a superior. It works, though. Oh, it does work! To some, it may be in hopes of “moving up the ladder”, or receiving applause from the entire store at a meeting, or even, possibly, the sheer fact that some employees are so egotistical that they actually believe their own bogus information while selling a customer on a product.

Before you go hating all the employees, though, in my opinion, it is not entirely their fault. While Geek Squad use to be a condensed army of the most computer savvy men and women the world has ever known, it has been diluted and infected by swarms of salesmen and saleswomen. The Geek Squad uniform use to emboss the separation of class between the interchangeable and recyclable blue-shirted salespeople and the geek-sheik computer gurus who were nothing less than company assets. While it use to imply knowledge, it now implies assumption… and that is what you might get. You see, when an employee is entrusted with the job of a Geek Squad agent, they now only need to believe they know what they are talking about–as if their clip-on-tie gives them automatic right-of-passage into the nerd world. This belief leads many of them to suggest products and answer questions regardless of whether they know what they are talking about… because they must know what they are talking about… they are wearing the clip on tie, Geek Squad button, and badge… therefore whatever dribble comes out of their mouth, which leads to money coming out of your wallet, must be correct.

I am sincerely sorry if I have eroded your view of the men and women who drive those fancy VW Beetles, but it is a reality that you must remember and keep with you always. If you, for any reason doubt me, by all means, apply to Geek Squad yourself, just remember that it is easier to become Geek Squad by transferring into the department from being a salesperson than it is to apply directly to Geek Squad and actually know what you are doing.

The fact is that you are no more likely to see a real technician at a Geek Squad today than you would be to see a real 5’10” mouse, wearing red suspenders at Disneyland. It is all an act… a show to provide what the customer assumes they need to see. The shoes, the ties, the badges, the pants, the socks, and the shirts do not increase the persons ability to fix your computer, they merely fulfill the customer’s subconscious expectation of what a competent computer technician looks like.

Used PC + Deleting Evidence = New PC – My First Deal with the Devil

I clocked in and began working like I had all the other days, but it would not be like all the other days. On this day, I would favor the respect of my superior, rather than that of my integrity.

Towards the end of my shift, I was called over to help install a security and customization package on a newly purchased computer. For those who do not understand, a security package is the ability for a customer to wait an extra 30 to 45 minutes for their computer, plus pay an additional fee on top of the cost of software they could have installed themselves. Customization is the word we used rather than, “We are going to uninstall all of the useless garbage that computer manufacturers pre-install on your computer.” This includes the running of a couple of programs at the end to “tweak” settings (I compare it to a “protein boost” in a smoothie… you know you are paying extra for something you don’t understand… you can’t really tell the difference between having it and not… but it just sounds so great, how can you refuse to get it?!). I greeted the customer, like I always had done, and I told them how long it would take, then sent them on their way. I proceeded to open the box and take the computer out, then boot it up.

Chinese? Japanese? I don’t read either, so I am unable to tell you what it was exactly… but whatever it said, they were user accounts–on the new computer. The new computer… the one I had just opened. I was new at the job, but the idea that a “new” computer referred to one that was unused seemed to not match up with the reality of the situation. I quickly scampered around the store, looking for my manager. “Hey! You have to come look at this!” I said. He followed me back to my station and looked at the computer. “What’s wrong?” He asked as he stared at the monitor. “This is the new computer that couple just bought… but its not new… it has user accounts on it already”, I said, almost feeling proud that I had caught something as confusing and random as this. He then looked at me, and in a tone that you would expect a man to ask had he just found a million dollars under a park bench, he lifted his eyebrow, and mumbled, “Well… what do you think we should do?” I paused, thought, and replied; “Well… they bought a new one… and it’s not new.” He quickly corrected my judgment, and told me that I should just “clean it, and it will be ok.” I knew it was not ok, though, but I went ahead and started uninstalling any programs, and deleting any proof that the computer had been previously owned by anyone. It was when I found a virus on the computer, that I begged the attention of my manager again. I was met with the same suave explanation of it being ok… which is all I needed to hear to continue. So I cleaned the computer, removed the virus, and had it as good as new for the customers.

Now, to some people, this may seem like no big deal… after all, I did clean it, and it was as good as a fresh install of Windows. But the fact remains that it was not a new computer, and should not have cost full price. And before anyone completely blames Best Buy, you must remember that while my manager and I were employees of Best Buy, it was ultimately my inability and intimidation that resulted in my actions. This is the same process that causes so many other seemingly good technicians to do stupid things. I value my integrity highly, so something like this weighs very heavily on me, which is why I made sure to not allow myself to be pressured into questioning my integrity again… if only more employees had followed suit.

Geek Squad’s Lord and Savior: #10 – Buckle Up as We Descend.

In Christianity, the most sacred text would be the Bible. Scientists may hold their most sacred text as Darwin’s Origin of Species. For Geek Squad, it is #10. What is #10? It is the 10th section on the contract that any Geek Squad customer agrees to, as well as signs in acknowledgment of their understanding. The sacred text of #10 reads as follows:

10. I AGREE THAT I MUST BACKUP MY DATA, SOFTWARE, INFORMATION AND/OR FILES, Best Buy will NOT backup any data, software, information and/or files on my computer or other product unless I specifically request Best Buy to do so for an applicable fee prior to the performance for any repair or service.

I, THE UNDERSIGNED, AGREE THAT PRIOR TO DELIVERING MY PRODUCT TO BEST BUY FOR REPAIRS OR SERVICING IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY: (1) TO BACKUP THE DATA, SOFTWARE, INFORMATION OR OHER FILES STORED ON MY PRODUCT; AND (2) TO REMOVE ALL VIDEOTAPES, COMPACT DISCS, CASSETTES, DVDS, FILM OR OTHER MEDIA FROM MY PRODUCT. FURTHER, I AGREE THAT WHETHER OR NOT I REQUEST BEST BUY TO BACKUP ANY DATA, SOFTWARE, INFORMATION AND/OR FILES, IN NO EVENT SHALL BEST BUY AND/OR ITS THIRD PARTY SERVICE PROVIDER BE LIABLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FOR ANY LOSS, ALTERATION, OR CORRUPTION OF ANY DATA, SOFTWARE, INFORMATION, FILES, OR LOSS OF ANY OTHER MEDIA FROM MY PRODUCT.

There are 11 sections total to the contract, and, as you can see, this one is placed at the bottom for good reason. Again, I will defend Best Buy’s choice to want to use this protection. If you have ever worked on a computer, you know that no matter how careful, prepared, skilled, or knowledgeable you are… crazy stuff can happen. Crazy, unexpected stuff… stuff that can get you sued by people who don’t accept the cruelty of life… if you aren’t protected under a #10, that is. But what I do not defend is the misuse of this most sacred and precious text.

The reason I am giving this it’s own section is because I feel it is the most important factor one should know about Geek Squad. I mean, you seriously have to wonder why someone would choose to use a service, such as Geek Squad, which costs double or more what your neighborhood nerd may charge. I honestly think it comes down to the false assumption of trust and dependability. Some kid on the corner… how could you trust him? What if he breaks your computer?! What if he searches your computer for those pictures you took of yourself on vacation, but thought you deleted?! What if he steals your username and passwords?! But… what if he already works for Geek Squad?

This is where it all comes back to the psychological game, costumes, and fancy catchphrases. It is to trick the customer into believing that they are in the presence of people who cannot–or even are less likely to–destroy their computer, steal their information, or do anything else that someone without a fancy uniform may be more inclined to do, despite the fact that customers sign off on the glorious #10, which allows Best Buy complete carte blanch. The only protection a customer has is the assumption that a company will be good. Sadly, I witnessed first hand just how not good a company, with such protection as #10, can be.

It was during the death of customer centricity and the shortage of hours that Geek Squad began to get backed up with computers. Apparently, computers began to build up faster than they could be repaired, which was causing problems with the management. Basically, the turn-around time on every computer is logged, so from the time a computer comes in until the time it goes out, the system monitors how long it takes. I’m not sure what this data is used for specifically, but it obviously put a lot of pressure on to the managers to rectify the situation. But what can you do when you have a wall full of computers with problems ranging from viruses to corrupted hard drives, no money to give more hours out to bring in more techs to work on them, and a ticking Big Brother-esque software program haunting you from the monitor? I am not sure what I would do, but I do know what was done. I plead the 10th!

The procedure taken to catch up on the computers was to take any computer currently in line to be fixed, or being dropped off to be fixed, and–if it had a software or operating system issue–wipe it, and reinstall Windows. Then, when the customer was given back his or her computer, an agent would inform them that due to an error, their data was lost. If they protested, the agent would be considerate, but in the end, if need be, point out #10 and their signature beneath it. For those that do not understand “wipe”, it refers to completely deleting all data off the hard drive, and re-installing a fresh version of the Windows operating system. One supportive comment given by a manager, after a obligatory chuckle, was, “Oh well, they should have bought a data backup!” I never took part in this strategy, thankfully, as I was forced onto the floor to help people with their purchases after I was caught by a manager informing customers it would be better if they went to the Geek Squad a few towns over until we catch up.

We Use to be Efficient… Then We Got Sued – Software Licenses Don’t Like Corporations.

Keeping with the theme of differences between Geek Squad and a hobo with a thumb drive, let me ask you… what can a Geek Squad agent do better that someone else cannot? If your answer is “charge more”, then you are correct, but you missed what I am fishing for. If your answer is “nothing”, then you win an all expenses paid trip for your hand to your back for a weekend of patting. Good job!

At first, Geek Squad was great. We were better than great… we were, like I said, a concentration of the most uber of computer savvy people you’ve ever seen. We didn’t care that we were called “Geeks” because we had no friends, and therefore no one to worry about laughing at us. We were stereotypes, and we were good at our jobs. But why were we good at our jobs? Because we used good software, and knew how to use it well. That’s all a technician is… just a person that memorizes what should be used for what problems, and then knows how to click or type some commands… similar to a doctor picking the right scalpel, just with less blood in our patients.

But, alas, most of us geeks were previously computer technicians before working for Geek Squad, and thus, we had our own various secret ingredients of software. Software that was completely legal to use… until we got hired by Geek Squad. You see, many software titles come with freeware licenses for personal use. Geek Squad was definitely not considered “personal use”. It didn’t take long for some of the more popular flavors of virus removers, scanners, and diagnostic tools to start recognizing the huge amounts of bandwidth being seeped away by Best Buys all around the country, and soon, the lawsuits would come.

Best Buy fought the lawsuits, and then sent down marching orders to managers to start reprimanding Geek Squad agents. At first, it was more of a “wink-wink”, “nudge-nudge” warning, however, soon it was a serious matter which could end with serious consequences. This is when Geek Squad got more stern with its “approved software” lists, as well as copies of their proprietary CDs containing various automated fixes. This is where Geek Squad stopped being a service, and started being strictly an entertainment segment of Best Buy that fiddled with computers.

Now, the difference between a Geek Squad agent and a hobo with a thumb drive is that the hobo with a thumb drive has the potential to efficiently fix your problem. If you don’t understand, then let me help you envision the reality of viruses and their removal: When a new virus hits the internet, many times, there will be some lone programmer that will write a simple program that will fix the virus in a click or two. Many times, there are multiple programmers with multiple versions of fixes. These programs are released for free under licenses that restrict corporations from touching them. This means that the hobo with a thumb drive may be able to fix your problem for $20 in 15 minutes, while a Geek Squad agent, with no legal ability to use the efficient program, may charge you $80 or more, take days to work on it, and in the end, might be forced to offer the “only solution” as a reformat… which you will also pay for.

Again, if you do not believe me, or feel I am exaggerating in this or anything else I have said… feel free to test my claims. Infect a computer with a virus that has a simple one-click fix tool, bring it to a Geek Squad, and ask them how much to fix it. Maybe offer them the program and say you think it may help?

Remember Those Photos You Thought You Deleted? – New Computers are like Easter Egg Hunts.

If there were a competition between a Playboy editor, a photo lab technician, and a voyeur for the person who has seen the most random pictures of naked people… the only way any of them would win is if the Geek Squad agent was late to the contest.

Again, this must all go back to the psychological game that is played with customers, but it astonishes me how trusting people are with their computers. If I walked into your house right now and asked to use your computer, you would probably be, at the least, a bit curious… if not screaming. But put me in my Geek Squad uniform, give me my badge, and put me in my VW Beetle, and you are anxious to give up your seat. Too add to it, every Geek Squad agent is equipped with a USB thumb drive, which is basically a tool used for storage of our tools… or any other data an agent might like.

Are you aware that you can locate every image and movie located on your hard drive by just using the windows search function? Did you know that, especially if you use Internet Explorer, Windows keeps an easily retrievable record of many of your usernames and passwords to almost any website (including banking websites), whether or not you save your password manually? I understand that if you need your computer fixed, there are not many options, but at least if someone is fixing your computer in front of your eyes, you can make sure they don’t go for a scavenger hunt in your hard drive.

Let me make it clear again: if you have any interesting pictures of yourself or others on your computer, then they–will–be–found. Some geeks are like bloodhounds when it comes to pornography.

Moral of the Story – Pencils Down.

The point of me writing this, again, was not to try to scare you away from using Geek Squad, and because of that, I will not dive into more sinister stories of stealing money, parts, and other heinous acts committed at the store I called home. Why? Because Best Buy and Geek Squad are not a single entity… they are made up of individuals who are entrusted with the company brand, as well as providing its services. Very sadly, some of those individuals acted in ways that ended up destroying a company that my fellow agents, and I, sorely miss.

Some rumors you may hear are true, others, however, may just be the act of a single employee, not of Geek Squad as a whole. The main aspect I hope I have conveyed to any readers is that, if you must use Geek Squad, you must not allow yourself to be tricked by the game. Ignore the costumes, ignore the cute stickers, and ignore the smiles and the jokes. Read what you sign, and ask questions. Don’t feel pressured by salesmen “not on commission”. And always remember that there are still many Geek Squad agents who know what they are doing, and who are honest, however, sadly, they might not be allowed to speak to customers due to the low returns on sincerity.

And finally, the current structure of many Geek Squads today is an insult to so many agents, including myself. While there will of course be many that will stand by Geek Squad no matter what, I can not blame them… its hard to want to realize that, due to circumstances outside of your control, your pride, your ethics, your morality, and your integrity all have a price… which happens to be that of the company’s stock.

-Anonymous

RELATED: We’re Always Looking For Porn On Customer’s Computers, Techies Confirm

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. shaunirving says:

    Excellent, well-balanced and honest piece. Thanks for sharing.

  2. kenposan says:

    Wow, that must have been cathartic. Interesting read, though, since I have a run-in with GS in the past.

  3. faust1200 says:

    Geeks like porn? That’s crazy talk.

  4. suprthug8d says:

    yawn…

  5. Sudonum says:

    I guess the premise of this post that I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around is that prior to Katrina, Best Buy and Geek Squad were nearer to heaven than God and all the angels????

  6. matdevdug says:

    Really excellent post. I only fix my own computer hardware but this is still really interesting to read. I was recently offered a job at Geek Squad, now I am not so sure if I am going to take it.

  7. B says:

    I have a question about the introduction. Does anybody here remember a magical time between 03 and 05 when Best Buy was wonderful and customer-centric? I sure don’t.

  8. mantari says:

    Compare and contrast for today:

    Geek Squad employee uses his cameraphone to acquire naked pictures of his clients.

    vs

    Geek Squad employee lets you use your own cameraphone to acquire naked pictures of his clients.

    Discuss!

  9. rugger_can says:

    Although not secret knowledge, it was nice to get the story from his point of view. Well written and useful.

  10. Indecision says:

    I’m in IT, so I’ll probably never need a Geek Squad tech — or *anyone* else — to look at my computer for me. And if I did, I know how to secure it so they can’t even get to any of my files.

    But frankly, if I ever do need a technician to look at my PC, they’re welcome to copy my stash of gay furry porn onto their USB drive. Serves ‘em right for snooping =P

    Unless they’re into that sort of thing…

  11. rugger_can says:

    @Indecision:

    Eww… … wrong..

  12. niccernicus says:

    Which is is it?

    We have no time to fix your computer so we blank it and start over!

    …or…

    We have ample time to find your porn, copy it, and laugh about it with our buddies.

    If you search every computer for home-porn, doesn’t that time spent add up over the course of the day/week/year to where someone notices? Especially considering the nazi-like timeframes BB & GS set.

  13. martyz says:

    Great contribution — thanks for sharing!

  14. Buran says:

    Thanks for admitting that Geek Squad really DOES go through peoples’ private stuff without authorization and COPY peoples’ private stuff without authorization. I’m a computer geek myself but this just reminds me yet again that I will never, ever recommend Geek Squad to anyone.

    Hasn’t anyone sued them yet for this?

  15. dangman4ever says:

    @ Nickel

    It doesn’t take too long to find someone’s porn stash. Shouldn’t take longer than 45 minutes.

    Not that I would know…

    Anyways great read. If anyone ever asks me why I’m better than Geek Squad, this article will be my answer.

  16. The Bigger Unit says:

    Hey, check it out! It’s Paulie from the Sopranos everyone! Dropping off his computer at the Geek Squad! Let’s hope the Geek Squader fixes it right…

  17. Transuranic says:

    Please, please let a Sopranos character get jerked around by the Geek Squad in one of these upcoming episodes. Or by any other company known for lousy cust svc. You know the whole country would watch.

  18. dwarf74 says:

    OK, so why aren’t the geek squad guys sharing all of these nudie pics??

  19. Antediluvian says:

    @rugger_can: I agree! Furry porn = Eww-wrong.
    No one should like furry porn, because you can’t SEE anything when they’re wearing the costumes.

    Now, regular non-furry gay porn? Bring it on, baby!

    Porn w/ guys who are furry? Fine.
    Porn w/ guys who are furries? Not for me.
    Honestly, it’s not that it’s icky — it’s not — it’s that HOW CAN YOU TELL IT’S PORN??? It’s two guys in animal costumes dry humping. They could just be hugging awkwardly if you don’t look closely.

    Or, at least that’s what I learned on CSI. Maybe CBS cut something?

  20. NoThru22 says:

    Think twice about bringing your computer to Geek Squad after reading this one???

    Who on here had to think ONCE???

  21. Meg Marco says:

    Paulie Walnuts obviously gets his computer fixed there, who the hell are you people to judge?

  22. TomFoolery says:

    @mantari:

    I’m all verklempt…

  23. Indecision says:

    @Antediluvian: Ok, I don’t want to derail the discussion too much, but it’s got nothing to do with costumes. (Well, I suppose for some people it does.) It’s chiefly drawings. Like with hentai, only fewer tentacles.

  24. Indecision says:

    Oh, and I suppose I should add what my point was in sharing this in the first place: if you snoop for porn on random strangers’ computers, you’re eventually going to see something you didn’t want to see, and maybe even didn’t know existed.

    I know when I worked for Best Buy (not in the tech dept), there was at least one tech who found gay porn and was none too pleased to have seen it, and one who uncovered some child porn. (If you’ve got that on your computer, wtf are you thinking giving it to someone else?)

  25. masterdave says:

    As bad as it sounds, none of that stuff is really unique to Geek Squad. It’s the same stuff you’d find at your local mom & pop computer store for the most part. (except the small stores can get away with using free software because they go relatively unnoticed, and if they do buy it they’re only buying a 1-2 seat license rather than Best Buy needing to buy several thousand).

    If you take your computer to a Mom & Pop, you’ll definitely get your porn leeched off the machine, and there’s a good chance if it’s a fairly complicated problem they’ll just wipe it and show you the form you signed saying they had permission to do it. Maybe Geek Squad was a higher class of computer repair before Best Buy acquired them, but it doesn’t sound like they’re doing anything out of the ordinary right now.

  26. geekchic says:

    I worked as a Best Buy Tech for several years and quit right before the official Geek Squad roll-out (dude, I’m a cute girl, I am NOT wearing a clip-on tie and polyester pants to work – plus I was completely over the company) and most of what was in that entry sounds like second nature of the Best Buy I remember. We never had to deal with any of the software licensing issues, mostly because we didn’t actually use the official Best Buy internet connection, we had a great relationship at the store level with our Comcast rep and had a regular business line hooked up to our store, separate from the official connection that we ran all of our modules off of – but I know that other stores with an “officially sanctioned” high speed connection had those problems.

    As far as searching for people’s porn, music, photos, etc…OK, that totally happened all the time, but in almost every case, it was when we were being paid to do a data back-up anyway. Rather than just ghosting the drive and burning it on CDs or DVDs that the customer would have no idea how to access, a lot of us would take the time to back things up in well named folders and omit Windows data and application data that was unnecessary and would just waste space. When you do that, you kind of have to go through people’s stuff, and yeah, you see porn, personal porn, music, etc. By law, any computer tech that comes across child porn has to contact the authorities and withhold the computer. The service center typically dealt with that more than stores, but we had a few occasions too. To be honest, although we may have laughed at some pictures or taken some MP3s for our tech PC to play while working in our tiny little back room, we never really remembered who anything belonged to or cared. It wasn’t like we were reading their blog and then making fun of them to their face. We were reading each other’s blogs when techs were dumb enough to stay logged in and write about how much they hated the department supervisor — but not customers.

    The reformat makes a PC new thing did happen — but more often than not, those customers were given the 10% open-box discount…and if you do a OS restore anyway, it’s not like it matters.

    So yeah, I relate/remember/agree with a lot of that Geek’s postings – but the problems were there well before the Geek Squad system replaced the Tech Bench, and the monogrammed black shirts became those hideous polyseter disasters. But aside from the pressure to push services and the limitations as far as using the corporate network to access tools (we had homebrew tool kits that past techs years earlier had built and left for us that were used all the time, just like any other tech would have their own private toolkits), the practices at Geek Squad/Tech Bench are absolutely no different from any other small or large computer repair shop.

  27. dculberson says:

    Well, his big deal rant about the computer being “not new” because there was software and a virus on it was kinda off the mark. It’s just as likely that it got into that state at the factory when being tested. There were a bunch of Apple drives that came directly from a factory with a virus on them, and they were definitely new. Just sayin’.

    I think he blew at least that point out of proportion in order to have something “big” to think and talk about.

  28. mac-phisto says:

    that “used pc” section really validates what some other ppl have encountered regarding their x-boxes.

    seriously. what is it w/ electronic stores & deceptively selling used equipment???

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yYGoO5imyY

  29. geekchic says:

    I can see how a PC could be returned, wiped off and sold as new — unethical, but in the end, it’s not really like the customer is hurt by it. X-Boxes, X-Boxes I don’t get — the reason you wipe off the computer if it isn’t defective in some major way is because the store has to service the item first and gets charged for the return unless something is insanely wrong. Video game systems can be returned without the company being charged (at least int eh case of Best Buy), so that should have never gone back on the shelf. To me, what is much more likely is that someone returned a video game system as new, the clerk was a moron and didn’t know any better and they put it back on the shelf.

  30. WoLFBoP says:

    Excellent post. I have always been reluctant to reccommend geek squad to anyone, I usually offer to remedy the issue myself or offer advice as to what they can do to remedy the issue.
    I applied at Best Buy years ago for a position of tech. I had just come off of being a Network Admin for a downtown company that downsized after 9/11. I made $85k a year at that job, best buy offered me a whole $7.50 an hour. I really do hope that geek squad compensated their employees better. Thanks again for the great read.

  31. George of the Jungle says:

    I think the author has confused “goodness of old Geek Squad” and “nice father-figure executive” with Best Buy itself. I’ve had multiple bad experiences with Best Buy and I wouldn’t buy a mouse pad from them.

  32. Antediluvian says:

    @Indecision: I can’t believe that CSI would mislead me! I’m heartbroken — but enlightened. :-)

    So if we hire a GS “agent” to rifle through our porn, does that make it some sort of geeky escort service? I guess they make in calls and out calls, right?

  33. longacre says:

    Great contribution, though I must say I’m not surprised by one word of it. The root of the problem is that the masses simply are scared to or can’t be bothered learning how to perform relatively simple computer maintenance. I would hope that this ignorance would decrease at the same rate that the importance of computers to our daily lives increases, but I don’t feel that is the case.

    P.S. Do you really think the guys at the Apple Store “Genius Bars” are any better? I suspect not.

  34. pete says:

    “…I did clean it, and it was as good as a fresh install of Windows…”

    Wow.
    Just wow.
    If you really believe that you don’t know jack about current malware. For every virus you detect there are most likely more currently undetectable viruses, rootkits, trojans, etc…

  35. IndyJaws says:

    Excellent read. One line struck me as funny…

    “While Geek Squad use to be a condensed army of the most computer savvy men and women the world has ever known…”

    Actually, I might reserve that comment for Xerox PARC. Little things like inventing Ethernet, the laser printer, mouse and GUI might give them a slight advantage.

  36. Adam Rock says:

    I sent my laptop into IBM to have it fixed (it was a 120 MHz one, hot dookie in the day) once.

    Being the inquisitive person that I am, I looked up all the accessed/created/etc files during that time period, and I noticed that they had looked at some pron I had on the computer.

    First thing I thought was, well that’s kinda messed up but I’d probably do the same thing.

  37. goyzilla says:

    hobos with thumb drives – that line cracks me up every time I skim over it.

  38. ShadowFalls says:

    @pete:

    I agree completely, with the advanced rootkits of this day and age, “thinking” it is clean, is not enough. This is definitely an inexperienced tech. If you even suspect or detect viruses, don’t risk your client’s personal data (not like GS cares about it anyways).

    I find some of this behavior appalling. I never would snoop through files of a client’s computer. There is one thing backing it up, there is another viewing them all for no reason. I find this a complete breach of trust, the sad part is that this is not out of the norm.

    Also to say this happens in Mom and Pop’s type location, it could, but not likely. These people earn money by how many units they repair, taking too long will just waste potential earnings. With the GS people, they are paid hourly, they can afford to screw around like this as they are still getting paid, they just make themselves look busy.

    As for data backup, I consider it a free service since I am taking care of it anyways, it is one less thing for them to worry about. Things like this, doing the job right, makes the client keep coming back as they trust you, and in part, word of mouth goes a long way, whether it is a good or bad thing.

  39. zarmanto says:

    I used to be a Mac/PC technician in a previous career as well — but I was internal support. Ergo, my customers were all people who worked for my company, rather then external (paying) customers. I guess that makes my experience quite a bit different from our anonymous Geek here… but my normal modus-operandi for software repairs was as follows:

    1 Yank the hard drive from the customers machine and temporarily install it in my own PC,
    2 Copy all of the data from the customer machine to one of my spare hard drives for backup purposes, (just in case something goes horribly wrong with the next step)
    3 MOVE the entire contents of the customer’s hard drive into a newly created “Previous Installation” folder on their hard drive,
    4 Reinstall the hard drive into the customers PC,
    5 Reinstall Windows/Office/AntiVirus/whatever else is on the corporate software license listing,
    6 Have the customer log into the machine, and
    7 Move any important profile information and data from the Previous Installation folder to the users new profile folder.

    It’s pretty much fool-proof, and if you have a backlog, then you can be installing an OS on one computer while the data backup is running for another — or for that matter, if you’re REALLY pressed for time, you can just skip steps 1, 2 and 4, and instead use a LiveCD to perform step 3, and you’re probably still going to successfully retain the customer’s data for them ninety-nine percent of the time.

    So maybe I’m just a bit of an oddball… but I’m having a difficult time understanding how any self proclaimed “Geek” could possibly justify zorching a system for no reason at all.

  40. Cap'n Jack says:

    @faust1200: NO, that’s my BROTHER, Crazy Talk. We’re all a little worried about him.

  41. thegoodtimeguy says:

    I do small biz IT consulting and can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve had to cleanup after the Geek Squad. The bottom line is you can’t pay someone $12/hr and expect to get decent work done. Especially when the employee knows they are billed at at leat $80/hr.

  42. Kale says:

    The author of this article seems to have very little sense of reality when it comes to computers. Yes, there probably have been a few good techs at places like Geek Squad, but I believe those are the exceptions. Very few places will pay the wages for a good technician, they are far more likely to hire whatever 16 year old that has an A+ certification (if even that).

    I’m not writing this to simply be a jerk. I’ll admit that I was that kid once, years ago I even applied to Geek Squad (I was offered a sales position which I declined). I’m simply wish people would wake up and realize that holding possibly the lowest level position within the IT industry does not make you a computer expert, and you probably know very very little about computers. Hell, I’ve been a systems administrator for a while now, I deploy and manage servers, and I still don’t act as high and mighty as some of those technicians.

    (Although, there is something inherently wrong with a IT person that doesn’t have a somewhat inflated ego.)

  43. gorndog says:

    An alternative to Geek Squad is OnForce.com, which is basically a work order routing system where you the service buyer get to choose the technician you want to perform the work and set the price you want to pay.

    Knowing that each customer can rate and comment on their service from the technician, he or she is less likely to reformat without backing up your data first or cut corners in other ways.

    But you are still dealing with humans with flaws, so you might suggest to your daughter that she wait until after the tech leaves before showering:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-geeksuit12apr12,0,…

  44. Android8675 says:

    I don’t get to use my thumbdrive at the office (GS), but our dept has 1 or 2 HDs that get wiped every morning for use with file transfers. While our area does get backed up with jobs, we have been lucky enough to have a couple agents crazy enough to put in extra hours before we open and after we close.

    Hardest part about GS now a days is not having the hours, and with only 2-3 people watching the counter, and anytime someone comes up for help we have to drop everything and help them.

    I know I try my best to not take in a system, but with the systems we already have it’s sometimes easier to just take the system in for diagnostics ($59, -$10 drop in price recently) and apply that towards the standard software fix price of $199, or hardware replacement of $39+cost of hw.

    Our stores “Special Agent” (CIA, Black Ops, Agent, Double Agent, Special Agent) has conveyed that making customers happy is becoming more of a priority, so like if a customer balks at $199 for virus cleanup, offer $129. If an agent quotes you one price you probably just have to weigh the pros and cons of the fix, and if it’s a bit more than you want to spend, ask the agent what other options he’d recommend. $199 to fix an old computer, or $199 towards a new MacBook? $99 to [try and] backup your data, or loose it all.

    As for #10, while I’ve only been working since November it pains me have to fall back on #10, and I’ve only had to do it once (thank god). I do everything I can to fix the computer, and I’ll call the customer if I have to “do a wipe” I will get the cusotomers approval first. Our group lately has been using highlighters on section #10, espically when people wave the backup, but at the same time I try to assure them we’ll do everything we can to keep everything intact.

    As for the huge influx of salespeople, while part of our job is to sell our services, most of our group will double-check with one another if were not sure and try our best to keep the price as low as possible. Some of us wander the floor when were not busy to answer questions. Maybe we are exceptions to the rule. An agent from N. Carolina recently transfered to our store and said our 5-10 day turnaround was worlds better than his old stores 21-28 day turnarounds.

    Here’s my tip if you REALLY need help, and you got cash to burn, call 1-800-GeekSquad and setup an appointment for at-home service. I don’t know about everywhere, but in North California, only Double Agents and Special Agents go door to door, and most of them carry MSCE and other types of “Certifications” (and most like to flaunt them, just ask). Minimum charge is $89 I think, expect to pay $250, assuming they can fix everything in one trip you shouldn’t pay more than what you need to have done.

    BBY used to allow the computer sales and Geek Squad agents to make appointments for in-home service, but not anymore. (once again, speaking from my store only) Which is odd because a lot of people who were computer phobic used to love the home networking setups. Harder to sell if we can’t setup an appointment on the spot.

    Ah well, I’m babbling. Good post, but I disagree on some points.

  45. XianZhuXuande says:

    As a Geeksquad employee from the glory days, on through the worst of days, some of this article sounds all-too-familiar. Other parts completely shocked me. I have known Geeksquad employees who have accumulated pornography and music collections from customer computers, for example, and everyone has that story of the nudie pics they’ve seen of customers themselves, but people who would go this far in violating customer privacy are rare indeed. I have never met a Geeksquad employee who tried to dig through a customer’s financial data, nor a Geeksquad employee who hunted for passwords. The stores I have worked with always revolved around a fairly profound code of ethics. This is true even today when the Geeksquad employee you speak to across the counter probably couldn’t fix most complicated computer issues even if they wanted to.

    My main reason for replying was to speak about #10. We had an employee at our store, once, who wiped a computer to cover his mistakes. He was placed on termination warning imediately, the customer was informed, refunded in full, and we made special arrangements to recovery his data after the fact through special software we purchased just for this task. A computer is checked in for a restore, or for a repair, and all repair work is done by an experienced technician. I am one of these. If you come into my store, you will not see me. I live in the back. My companions are all computers, some newly fixed, some waiting to be fixed. You will only meet with me if you manage to catch me while I am running out to the sales floor to gather parts needed for repairs, or if I have called you because I am working on your computer. People like me, in all the stores I have worked with, take our jobs, and the customer’s data, very seriously. I will not reformat your computer to escape difficult work or with mistakes. I may call you to explain that such work will be necessary, but you will have a chance to get your data first. It sounds like the original story writer worked for a very bad store.

    Most of this other stuff, yeah, it is true. Through and through, it is true. The talent of Geeksquad has gone down the toilet. You are speaking to salesmen who, in many cases, want your sale just as badly as someone on commission, and they may not understand everything they recommend. They want to impress their managers, or they may be fearful of their managers, or maybe they truly have bought in to everything they say. But if you work with Geeskquad for a while, you will begin to notice when you are speaking with a skilled technician. My customers notice the difference between us every single time.

    I am still amazed that a store would delete customer data as a matter of regular practice. If I knew a coworker was doing this, I would expose them immediately, and I know they would be fired.

  46. hatsumomo says:

    I used to work at the CS counter at a BB, so we had tons of interaction with the geeksquad. As mentioned above there are the front techs the ones who handle new comps being brought in etc and then the ones hidden in back working / finishing up stuff.

    I can tell you people try to hide all sorts of things in their computer when they want a backup. Some were honest about certain directories and others were not so forthcoming.

    We did find plenty of pictures of girls who have “hidden” pictures no one should see and we had to call the police a couple times for individuals who like to have a stash of underage material.

  47. ToddMU03 says:

    I worked for Best Buy and I have been a customer there and I have been treated horribly by them on both sides, as a customer and an employee. BB doesn’t care about their employees. They are non-commissioned, but you’d better attach things so your supervisor and the managers get their bonuses. It was disgusting really and all of my friends at the store would meet at a local bar and drink away our sorrows because we worked for an awful company.

  48. pburns83 says:

    I disagree with a lot of the techs that have posted here, i own my own onsite computer repair business and i’ve never looked through a customers files, ever….i dont have time or the want to do it. Sure it’d be fun/funny to do this, but it takes time and i charge by the hour. The longest ive ever been in someones house is a little over an hour. If i were to scan their computer for porn and then transfer it to a disk/flash drive it would add too much time to the bill…and then no more referrals.

    If i want porn..i look it up on my own time at home, i dont need a customers personal stash to get me through the day. The fact that you’re saying everyone does this is completely wrong and it makes all of us techs seem like crooks.

    Are there any other techs out there that dont do this type of thing?

  49. yzerman says:

    I worked at best buy durning its golden years which was before the embarrasment that is geek squad. I did sales for two semesters while I was in college and then computer repairs for almost one year until I found a computer administrator job at a local company.

    I have to say what I see now out of geek squad is bad but its nothing worse than what I saw almost 10 years ago.

    Hell back then when acer/packard bell/hp/ibm/compaq were the top brands and people were buying them, if a computer was returned lemon or replaced we used to remove the CPU’s and take a cut off electrical plug to the bottom of the CPU to really kill the computer on boot up to be able to send it back for credit. There wasn’t anything that geek squad does today that hasn’t already been done or been forced to be done that we old techs didn’t have to do.

    In the end the company demands us to make money, screw customers.

    That was one job at the end I was so glad to be done with.

    I was sick of management who didn’t deal with customers truthfully, sales people who sold warrenties but didn’t explain how they really worked, etc.. etc..

  50. hellbent says:

    Its not only Best Buy that is guilty of any of these things. As the other commenters said, everyone snoops to a certain degree or things are found in the process of doing your job. (Assuming you are actually working on something)
    Most electronics stores nowadays hire people who can sell, not people with knowledge.
    And really, if you are certified to fix PC’s, would you work the $10/hr sales job or the $16/hr technician job?

  51. Anonymous-Writer says:

    Hello everyone, I am the writer of this article (as can be verified by Consumerist.com whom I spoke to prior to registering to post my responses here).

    First, let me thank the Consumerist.com for posting my lengthy story. I feel like I have some sort of closure now.

    I want to take the time to respond to some comments I saw posted both here and on Digg’s comment page:

    —-
    B says:
    “I have a question about the introduction. Does anybody here remember a magical time between 03 and 05 when Best Buy was wonderful and customer-centric? I sure don’t.”

    I can certainly understand why you would have a hard time believing Best Buy was ever a “good company”. But I assure you, for a brief moment, they were extremely honest. I was as surprised as anyone who has had a bad run-in with Best Buy.
    —-
    —-
    n1ckel5 says:
    “Which is is it?
    We have no time to fix your computer so we blank it and start over!
    …or…
    We have ample time to find your porn, copy it, and laugh about it with our buddies.
    If you search every computer for home-porn, doesn’t that time spent add up over the course of the day/week/year to where someone notices? Especially considering the nazi-like timeframes BB & GS set.”

    It was both, sometimes. It was Best Buy’s policy to wipe the systems, not for their employees to spend an extra 10 minutes to search for files.
    —-
    —-
    Buran says:
    “Thanks for admitting that Geek Squad really DOES go through peoples’ private stuff without authorization and COPY peoples’ private stuff without authorization. I’m a computer geek myself but this just reminds me yet again that I will never, ever recommend Geek Squad to anyone.

    Hasn’t anyone sued them yet for this?”

    At my friend’s store, a customer brought in their computer and paid for a data backup. My friend did the backup and found a huge amount of child pornography, so he followed protocol, called the sheriff, and the sheriff took the computer in.

    Long story short, the lady sued Best Buy for “going through her files” or something, and Best Buy actually settled with her. Not because she was right, mind you, but because it was cheaper than fighting her.

    That’s the only case I’ve heard of personally.
    —-
    —-
    masterdave says:
    “If you take your computer to a Mom & Pop, you’ll definitely get your porn leeched off the machine, and there’s a good chance if it’s a fairly complicated problem they’ll just wipe it and show you the form you signed saying they had permission to do it.”

    I disagree… as a personal business owner myself, I can tell you that I have a lot of pride and integrity in my work. I can imagine this is true amongst many Mom & Pop shops. Geek Squad Agents, however, are there for a paycheck.
    —-
    —-
    dculbderson says:
    “Well, his big deal rant about the computer being “not new” because there was software and a virus on it was kinda off the mark. It’s just as likely that it got into that state at the factory when being tested. There were a bunch of Apple drives that came directly from a factory with a virus on them, and they were definitely new. Just sayin’.
    I think he blew at least that point out of proportion in order to have something “big” to think and talk about.”

    I made that its own section to make it clear that I am not standing on any soap box, preaching about the evils of Geek Squad. It may be no big to you, but I regret my actions of deceiving a customer, and I own up to it.

    I feel it was a needed bridge to emboss the point that even the most helpful and caring technicians can screw up due to pressure of their peers.
    —-
    —-
    longacre says:
    “P.S. Do you really think the guys at the Apple Store “Genius Bars” are any better? I suspect not.”

    I would honestly say yes. Mainly because the dozen or so Mac Genius Bar technicians I know are absolutely insane (and many times irrational) about their macs.

    Apple, itself, is almost a religion. I haven’t yet met a Genius Bar tech that did not astound me with how spot-on they were with their information.

    I’m sure there are some that are just as incompetent as some Geek Squad employees, but I have yet to meet one.

    IMHO the only thing you need to worry about with Genius Bar techs is to understand that they will *rarely* tell you about the many bad things that also come with macs.
    —-
    —-
    Pete says:
    “Wow.
    Just wow.
    If you really believe that you don’t know jack about current malware. For every virus you detect there are most likely more currently undetectable viruses, rootkits, trojans, etc…”

    I’m A+ certified, MCSE certified, Cisco certified, and i-Net+ certified just to name a few.

    I am completely aware about the complexities of current malwares, however, the time in which my story takes place was before the fairly recent outbreaks of malware and rootkits.

    I am 100%, without a doubt, confident that the computer was absolutely cleaned.
    —-
    —-
    kbksp says:
    “The author of this article seems to have very little sense of reality when it comes to computers. Yes, there probably have been a few good techs at places like Geek Squad, but I believe those are the exceptions. Very few places will pay the wages for a good technician, they are far more likely to hire whatever 16 year old that has an A+ certification (if even that).”

    I think you are very wrong. Again, read above at my certification. I am a complete and udder nerd, and computers are what I do.

    There have been many more than a few amazing techs at Geek Squad, they just were removed. I can’t express enough the amount of talent I worked with on a day to day basis. So to say they were an exception is a false assumption. Maybe it is true now, but definitely, at one time, the clip on tie stood for something.
    —-
    —-
    @ XianZhuXuande…

    You are an example that there are still good Agents left, which I do not deny at all.

    But you are, as kbksp said, now an exception. As a corporate employee, I was able to visit several dozen Best Buys across the nation, and I can say that what I described was true across the board.

    If anything, I did not describe anything unique to my store only, which I note in the end of my writings. So yes, some stores are good, some are worse than others, but my entire paper is a result of my time spent in many Best Buys, not just my own.
    —-
    —-

    Thank you guys again so much for your interest in my writing. I honestly wish I could take credit for it instead of being anonymous, but due to my prior place within the company, I do not wish to risk any phone calls.

    Thank you again to Consumerist.com, and a special thank you to Ben Popken for letting me finally get some closure on the subject.

    If you guys have any more comments, I will be checking the page here and there and will be happy to provide any more answers you are looking for.

    -Anonymous Ex-Agent

  52. ThePlaz says:

    This was the best part: “an entertainment segment of Best Buy that fiddled with computers.”

    It’s sad that Best Buy started going downhill after Katrina.

  53. zalman says:

    “While Geek Squad use to be a condensed army of the most computer savvy men and women the world has ever known”

    Can he/she actually be serious? I suppose the achievements of “Geek Squad” really put the efforts of, say, the enigma code breakers of Bletchley Park in WW2 to shame….

    I might be inclined to take anonymous’s comments more seriously were he/she able to make use of a spell checker. The ten page diatribe is full of typos and poor grammar.

    Let’s face it, “Geek Squad” is just a service for the great unwashed, the lowest common denominator of pc user.

  54. 0x00 says:

    his thumb drive will light up like a Dell laptop battery if he thinks he can fit all the porn in my compfuser on it!

  55. jame-gum says:

    what a babbling ass. I could have watched an episode of The Sopranos in the time it took to read that crap. Wise up people, 17 year old geeks can sniff out porn better than a bloodhound can track a bad guy on the run.

  56. Kale says:

    “I’m A+ certified, MCSE certified, Cisco certified, and i-Net+ certified just to name a few.

    I am completely aware about the complexities of current malwares, however, the time in which my story takes place was before the fairly recent outbreaks of malware and rootkits.

    I am 100%, without a doubt, confident that the computer was absolutely cleaned.”

    I have no interest in provoking an argument with you, but this just backs me up. You use your certifications as justification that you know what you’re doing. Let me tell you, most certifications mean nothing. The only ones I trust even a little bit are the higher level Cisco certs. I have a lot more than the ones you list (except iNet and Cisco), and I still believe that they mean nothing. There are no good certs that apply to being a tech, they’re all too easy, not to mention braindumps. MCSE and Cisco don’t apply to being a tech for home users.

  57. zolielo says:

    @Sudonum:

    I guess the premise of this post that I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around is that prior to Katrina, Best Buy and Geek Squad were nearer to heaven than God and all the angels????

    I too do not recall a difference before Katrina…

  58. agentGreen says:

    Yep I was “Agent Green.” We told people at check-in if the computer was better off with a backup wipe and reload due to it being riddled with spy ware and the what not. Spending all that time trying to clean a system that would not run right afterwards compared to the time to do a wipe and reload which makes run like new is not a hard question. We didn’t have too much of a problem with nr0p. I think we had two computers loaded with it the whole time I was there. Most customers I suspect cleaned em up before bringing them in.

    The worst day I had was when A customer brought in a desktop with a faulty power supply and didn’t tell me. I plug it in right in front of him to do the check in and Wham. Boy was I pissed. I said did you know it was going to do that and he replied yes. Jerk

    The funny part was joking about a tie being caught in a fan, then it happened.

    Each store takes on the persona of the general manager so that is why everyone has a different take on how BBY ran.

    The worst was when we had a new GM. This one manager bought into the whole BBY thing 100%. I mean he was MR. Best Buy. Well some kid stole something and shot out he side door. The manager went out the door after the alarm went off. Well they considered it chasing the thief and fired him. I called the special line about that. I was so sad.

    How did you Agents preform the cleanings? We had to go outside to the Bay and use the compressor because the canned air would freeze up and they were too cheap to buy a small compressor or run a line. But Ill tell ya opening up a dusty computer in front of a customer sold it every time.

    We use to use Hiren’s boot cd. I had in on one of those mini-cd. I use to carry that, a boot floppy, and the Toshiba check disk in my pants pocket.

    Did you guys keeps books and books of restore cd’s from the models we use to sell. I never understood why Best buy did not have a library of them on line.

    I never got to meet any CEO’s, our Anonymous-Writer must have been out near BBY HQ. I did get to meet one of the original Geeks whose picture was splattered everywhere.

    They could have better techs If they spent a bit of cash. The really good guys moved on to make better money.

    The way they ran the carts into the precinct was awful. The worst was if they used the layout how it the store was designed it would have been allot better.

    I never understood why they would change who we report to… PCHO manager to Ops manager to if its new talk to PCHO if its used Talk to PCHO.

    I made some good friends there. Had some good times there. But I gota say the worst was running out of register tape. Why they could not print the original receipt first with a list of the rebate numbers I dont know. But my stock is doing well so I am happy.

  59. AEnima says:

    As a former Best Buy employee myself, I can safely say, this article is completely true. The above article outlines not only the good, but the bad side of the Geek Squad. I too loved my job at first. I loved going to work every day and always recommended Geek Squad to friends and family even outside of work. But a corrupt manager and cut hours with a lack of qualified technicians, quickly diminished my joy.

    If you have not worked for this company from the conception of Geek Squad within Best Buy until now, you cannot fully grasp the downfall of it. I joined my store at the end of the “golden years” and watched as it slowly collapsed in on itself.

    When I was hired on, I had to go through a rigorous interview process. Not only did I have my normal two interviews, initial and follow-up which every Best Buy employee must have, but I also had to undergo a comprehensive technical interview with one of the senior technicians of the Precinct. I was the last Geek Squad agent at my store to endure this process. After me, 4 more agents would be added and none of them qualified to do anything but sell.

    My manager was hired on by a terminated senior manager and drinking buddy, to be in charge of the Geek Squad at my store. Our Deputy of Counter-Intelligence (a stupid name for the manager of the Geek Squad) could not tell you how to install RAM correctly, but he could sell you water if you were in the ocean. As such, he believed in hiring Geek Squad agents as “check-in specialists.” I believe this was a phrase he, and possibly the company coined to relieve us technicians from checking in customers. This would leave highly unqualified people in charge of feeding a load of lies about what we could do to fix their computer and leaving us technicians to attempt to live up to the promises made by these individuals.

    This presented a problem and toward the end of my days with the company I saw a growing trend. With my cut hours I only worked weekend shifts even though I had 7am to 10am availability through the week. As such, I found myself constantly in the cross hairs of angry customers on the weekends who were promised a quick return on their services, only to be greeted with “its taking more time”, and “your computer is still in line for service and we work on a first come, first serve basis.”

    I could go on all day about my experiences; good and bad. I made a lot of great friends at the Geek Squad and I am truly thankful to Best Buy for that. I also believe I made a difference in several customer’s lives as I always tried to live up to an honor code higher than what you might expect from a retail store employee. Thank you, writer, for voicing the pure and unadulterated truth about one of the biggest computer service companies in the world today.

    -Ænima

  60. TylerK says:

    “the most computer savvy men and women the world has ever known” do not work at a big box retail store fixing broken windows machines for $13/hour. Sorry, but the hyperbole makes it hard to take any of the story seriously.

    (My brain is so fantastical that I follow the exaggeration.)

  61. krimson says:

    it really is amazing how trusting people are with their computers.. i have people occasionally ask me to take their computer home, go through it for anything “unwanted/not needed” and “clean it up”
    but, what they dont realize is that their daughter comes home on spring break and downloads all the wild and crazy pictures they took and thinks that because she has a password on their account that neither her parents nor anyone else can look at them.
    now, i make it a point to be as professional as possible, i dont know these people, its not my business what they do after 7 too many shots of tequila, but other people aren’t as uninterested as i am, and would have no problem digging through all their personal junk.

    it has always amazed me how much personal stuff people put on their computer and then just drop it off for someone to rifle through.

  62. ok1009 says:

    I currently work at geek squad and I would have to say I laughed at about everything which was written here and some I would say is true at our store, I had the experience of coming to geek squad right around the time when the good old days were still in and harsher times were a good 6 months away. They indeed have replaced a lot of the experienced techs with sales people, because for one reason or another they have left to bigger and better things. The managers and supervisors had moved towards wanting us to get money first then fixing computers and they can pile up quickly. One thing though is that I think with all the law suits and everything now a days, a lot of agents are more careful about doing the wrong things to customers computers, wiping the data off the computer cuz the manager or supervisor said they signed the waiver I have not seen at our store, but it doesnt surprise me that its happened. Now I think and hope we may be slowly progressing back to the good old days, sure we do have some sales people instead of techs but the newest hires have been real techs and not salesmen, there is a reversal going on, some of the changes of focusing on customers needs rather then getting money, also I’ve noticed them not care as much for our budget lately, which reminds me of the good days. I hope we can go back to basics and the reason why we got the job and that is because we like to fix computers and help out(maybe need some money for a poor college student) and not rip off customers. I think the agent is right that after katrina there were some changes now that I think of it I am uncertain if it really had to do with that or not, but they did happen a few months after.

  63. aikoto says:

    Fantastic article. Just one beef and that’s with the information on the “angels and demons” that guy is a hack who’s job is to convince companies that they should try as hard as they can to profile all their customers so they can treat “angels” (people who are too dumb or too rich to care what they buy) like gold and everyone else like poo.

    http://www.jeremyduffy.com/retailers/angel-demon-customer-

  64. Trackback says:

    A looong screed about how Best Buy’s Geek Squad staff scour the computers they work on for porn. The people who would be surprised at this are exactly the kind of people who would take their broken computer to Geek Squad to be fixed in the first place.

  65. Ziazilia says:

    Great Article. I currently work on the Geek Squad and have seen it dwindle as well. It has also come to my attention that I was hired not for my technicle knowledge but for my “female touch”. My management transfered me for my “great sales skills” or so they told me. Come to find out later it was because they thought an attractive girl in the position would attract more customers. I will however say that there still are some precincts out there that do still use “unapproved tools” in order to help the customer, and don’t let turn time effect their results that they put out. Working at two different precincts I have seen night and day. It really comes down to the precinct chief and how many rules they really enforce, and their level of morality.
    The article is true. However, I can say first hand that there are those who still care.

  66. Buran says:

    @Antediluvian: That CSI episode was full of BS. They took every buzzword they could find and threw them together, trying to look like they knew something. They didn’t. That was the worst CSI episode ever.

    I know people who like that stuff and when I went to them and asked, all I had to say was “CSI” to provoke the groans.

    I can understand the feeling, though. I’m a space geek and I can’t stand it when other shows try to sound like they know something about THAT.

    But we disgress …

  67. Carson Daly says:

    That was a pretty good read. I delete my porn, but I always knew it would still be hiding in there somewhere.

    I messed up my home computer and the IT guy at work volunteered to fix it for me. I was like, “Oh, no no no! Instructions will suffice. I’d never want to trouble you.”

    People are curious by nature. It doesn’t necessarily make the Geek Squad pervs bad people, perhaps they’re just bored. Honestly, I’d probably do some snooping myself if I worked there.

    Which is exactly why I’d never take a computer in for repair – anywhere. It would just be awkward paying my bill.

  68. asherchang says:

    Oh my GOD that’s long…


    In consumer ed I just watched a video of a 60 minutes on the Geek Squad… apparently from their earlier days, just after being bought by Best Buy…. It was so unreal.

  69. FrancisFiveThousand says:

    That is a game, and you just fell for the trap.

  70. AnDrEwWiLlNeVeRuSeThIsAgAiN says:

    Hasn’t anyone ever heard the old adage, “If you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself” ? This is why it’s important to be well versed in computers before you do something idiotic especially if you’re trying to do something shady and not get caught or shamed to the world. Why would I pay someone $80 to fix my comp, I can probably buy a book for half that much that teaches me how to fix more than just one problem and I’ll always have that knowledge for later use or help, what a waste to be lazy.

  71. Affinity says:

    I am a current BB Geeksquad employee and a previous computer sales employee (with both BB and Circuit City). I’v read most of the previous GeekSquad topics and I’ve always wanted to both agree and disagree with some of the articles and/or comments. This article is almost head on with how I feel. I would like to also add some things GeekSquad is doing right now to help curb the mentioned changes.

  72. Britpoptart says:

    My Geek Squad story:


    3/25: http://britpoptarts.livejournal.com/30473.html
    3/24: http://britpoptarts.livejournal.com/30312.html
    3/22: http://britpoptarts.livejournal.com/30048.html
    3/20: http://britpoptarts.livejournal.com/29502.html

    WARNING: Cat Macros and CAPS OF RAGE.

    The sad thing is that I really trusted and had a good opinion of GS, especially after an at-home service call in January. I couldn’t praise them enough. Then I took my brand new laptop into a GS center in person for a mere memory upgrade, and all hell broke loose. I omitted the dozens of phone calls where different managers and 1-800 supervisors and high- and low-ranking Geeks all told me completely different stories about what was going on with my machine.

    The best bit was when they installed NortWare (without my permission!) on my machine, ditto a bunch of trial software and ADware, and removed all my very expensive programs, several of which were legally purchased downloaded programs, ergo no CDs to back them up with. Also? They decided I needed a newer version of WinAmp, so they gave me the newest one, which was for VISTA, not XP. The wrong drivers then farkled a whole helluva lot of other things. They also farkled my NVidia card drivers and settings.

    I was sad.

    I still have great respect for the at-home tech, who was knowledgable, friendly, professional and good at his job. It was the store-bound salesmen-masquerading-as-technically-savvy-geeks that I have a deep, burning, serious hatred for, now. Alas, small town. Options are limited. *sigh*

  73. ChicanoD says:

    This was good information. I too was employed by a sales driven, computer service organization. It was great at first, then money was the only important thing to management. I too loved my job,my coworkers were like family, and put my life, blood and soul into the organization. after 11 years moving up from hardware to Network/Systems Engineer. I got out opened my own local computer repair store, and have gotten back to loving my job. I have my integrety, honesty and pride back. I hope more PC users read this so I can pickup ex-GS customers.

  74. WorldConsumer says:

    Finding honest service is hard! This is why I always check online review sites. For example, when I book hotels outside the USA, I use TravelAdvisor.com. But so far the only site I have found with ratings for computer repair and service companies is YellowMousepad.com, and so far there are very few reviews. I hope that it will catch on in a big way so I can find reputable help near me next time I need it.

    (But man, I have to admit, the temptation to take a peak at someone’s amature porn must be pretty strong!)

  75. sle212 says:

    I bought a Gateway laptop about 2 years ago and was convinced to buy a 3-year service plan. After having it about 1 year, the power button got jammed and I took it in for repair. It was “fixed” and returned to me. I just experienced the same problem, where I could not press the power button to turn it on. It was jammed once again. I took it in again for repair.

    I just received a call from the Geek Squad, advising me that the power button was fixed, but that they also had to replace my hard drive and if I wanted my data (2 years of documents, etc.) restored, it would cost me $279.00, which, by the way, was NOT covered by the service plan.

    I was told that I signed a waiver that it was my responsibility to back up all data, so they may not be able to do anything for me, and I would have to pay $279 to get my data.

    However, I did not have any problems with my hard drive and did not take it in for a hard drive repair.

    Second, I did not LOSE my data (which, I understand, is not covered by the service plan), but they removed the data from my computer by unnecessarily replacing my hard drive in the course of repairing the power button. To the extent that they still had the data and the ability to restore it, they should have done so without charging me.

    Finally, the “waiver” I signed was, in actuality, ten numbered paragraphs on a service order that was printed out AFTER they took my computer and had me sign an altogether different form. Moreover, they never pointed out anything on that fine print form, and certainly never explained that there was any risk of losing data (or a hard drive) in the course of fixing a power button.

    Here’s my question: Is this standard practice (or is there pressure) to find ways to charge people for services that are not covered under the service plan?

    Why did they charge me $279.00 to copy my data onto the new hard drive when someone in the post above said $99, I think. Aren’t prices uniform? Do they charge people with service plans more for “excluded services” than they charge people who don’t have plans?

    Also, the guy from corporate who I complained to said that they will usually run a diagnostic on the computer and fix whatever seems to be problematic even if it isn’t the precise thing that the customer brought the computer in for. Is this true? How can they get away with “fixing” soemthing other than what it is brought in for, especially when one thing has nothing to do with the other? If I take my car in for new brakes, how can they charge me for putting on a new set of tires too just because they thought I needed them?

    Anyone out there with similar experiences?

    Is this standard practice? Fixing everything they diagnose as wrong, even if it isn’t what the customer asked for?

  76. FHRocker says:

    SLE212 I had a very similar experience. Basically I needed a new Windows XP disc to be used in fixing a problem I had, but the one I had at home was cracked. I brought it in to a local repair store, and they basically destroyed my computer and made it totally unusable. I reported them to the BBB after I received my computer from them. I was quite upset as all I asked them to do was enter a disc and do one thing on my computer but they had to go and diagnose the rest of my computer.

  77. UncleFestus says:

    I just wanted to chime in and say that anyone who is claiming to be a Geek Squad employee in “the glory days” who started when Geek Squad was purchased by Best Buy has no idea what they are talking about.

    Geek Squad USED to be a crack team of 30-40 techs in Minneapolis, with agents in Chicago, LA and SF with awesome tech and customer service skills. The #1 commandment was “make the customer happy with the service they have received.” Honestly, there were some really big brains on the tech backend at Geek Squad. Pay was commensurate with performance, the business was small enough that management was personally on top of any issues an Agent had with a customer or with their job, and it was truly a great company to work for.

    Then Best Buy entered the picture, and contrary to what some are saying, there was confusion and chaos form the start on the front lines, with some stores forcing sales quotas for Vonage devices, for exmaple, on in-home techs, sales trying to hijack GS as a gimmick to boost their numbers, etc. Tech-wise, that very first round of agents was beyond reproach and were vetted pretty well by the still-original Geek Squad managers who hadn’t yet been shafyed by Best Buy. But it started to get watered down as it scaled. It was, at its peak, a small and extremely customer-focused business serving a much-needed niche — you would not believe how badly, for example, people need their laptop fixed on a Sunday night at 11 pm when they have a presentation due the next day at work! — and very rightly got a lot of good press and high prodile gigs working for rock stars. But Best Buy has NEVER been good at customer focus. That was part of the reason they bought GS — to bring an entity in there with some good practices — but I personally never believed the Geek Squad ethos I was taught could scale to Best Buy size. Perhaps on its own, grown more organically with local “precincts” grown from individual agents who establish and grow a territory and recruit more agents — that was the plan, back in the day. But Best Buy adopting Geek Squad to get better at customer service is like a cancerous tumor adopting healthy cells to get healthier. It just doesn’t work that way.

    By the way, Robert Stephens is a totally stand yp guy and from what I know of him these shenanigans and Best Buy bumblefuckedness is probably driving him batshit furious. But there’s only so much he can do without the a mandate to go in and personally have people killed. Knowing him he would probably kill the right ones. Robert’s only mistake was selling the company to Best Buy before going all the way with his own expansion plans, but we all have to make decisions like that from time to time and I think Robert was tempted by the ability to make the national Geek Squad thing happen using a big corproation’s resources. I don’t think it has worked out as he’d imagined, and that’s a shame because he’s a really cool guy.

  78. JJRamzilla says:

    So in a way, Hurricane Katrina stole my porn?

  79. Trackback says:

    Xeni Jardin: Ben Popken at Consumerist writes: The Consumerist’s 3-month sting operation snared a Geek Squad technician stealing porn from our hard drive, and we’ve got the work-safe video and logfiles to prove it.

  80. Neritha says:

    What is the crime of all of this is that Best Buy has absolutely no plans to get any smarter. We still watch customer centricity videos every month, and the Geek Squad ones are increasingly ridiculous. We still get pushed to sell favored brands of A/V, A/S, and office over better, cheaper, or even open-source ones. As we speak, an agent is getting fired, and a blueshirt is getting “promoted”. A DCI is getting replaced by a sales manager. Since that new DCI (the sales manager) couldn’t tell a processor from processed cheese, while he’s watching the “This is a PC” e-learning, an agent is obliterating your last three years of family photos.

    Robert Stephens is gone. The age of Mike Sherwood is now.

    Le Roi est Mort. Viva Le Roi!

  81. thedude42 says:

    I got hired with GS one month after Best Buy picked them up, and we had one of those original Minneapolis employees come out and talk to us… both GS and blue shirt sales people… about the GS brand and how important it was in order to ensure success. That is, he reinforced the idea that whatever we do, we should not ruin the reputation of the trademark. the writing was on the wall at that point.

    At that time when I worked for Best Buy part time in the GS, I was in the Air Force, having spent years as a systems administrator. Needless to say, I wasn’t learning anything computer related at Best Buy. When the GS guy came to talk to us, we were already using pirated copies of winternals superutil. I tried talking to the guy about current happenings int he computer world (XP SP2 was just released at the time) and the guy didn’t seem to be very current, though he claimed to just be “one of us”. He seemed very condescending, and at that point my 3 weeks on the job gave me the impression that it was already a sinking ship.

    I have to validate one of the author’s main points: there were 2 guys I worked with that were really fun to work with and made the time worth while. Other employees were OK, and one of them had no reason to ever be around computers, ever. But the other 2 guys were really fun, particularly in the area of behind-the-back insults of customers who just dropped off their computer. These guys were both competent, sharp, and interesting people. We were just 3 of 8 employees, and did most of the work. None of us work for Best Buy anymore.

    The worst thing Best Buy ever did was think they could both be a national (international if you count their Canadian brand) retail electronics store in the era of wal-mart while at the same time being a top tier service provider. If the business deal was a merger and Geek Squad was able to retain autonomy, like it was in the beginning, Best Buy would probably have retained significant credibility as a retailer while Geek Squad did the same.

    Simply put, good service sells itself, making it available gets the word out, but selling something that doesn’t exist got us the dot com crash. Apparently Best Buy executives slept through the end of the 90’s.

    to KBKSP: You aren’t helping your argument when the OP never even mentioned the specific virus/malware by name. Plenty of viruses and malware have well documented vectors and full removal procedures, and not all are self-morphing encrypted rootkits.

  82. beholdbojangles says:

    I am ex-BB customer service. Best Buy went to the next-door Fry’s Electronics and tried (successfully in some instances) to buy out their salesmen to come work as GS agents. These guys are born-and-bred nickle-and-dimers who know how to charge someone a 40 minute backup on their drive for $80 with a smile.

  83. schmerd says:

    Tylerk:

    “the most computer savvy men and women the world has ever known” do not work at a big box retail store fixing broken windows machines for $13/hour. Sorry, but the hyperbole makes it hard to take any of the story seriously.

    ok, so yes, this comment is a little hyperbolic, but overall this account was convincing in its portrayal of a high-morale, apparently highly-competent organization (even with its creepy/weird job titles–“Double Agent”?) transformed by its association with Best Buy into a horrible, demoralising place to work.

    The author is actually a really funny, entertaining writer. This is much better than some of the duller rants I’ve seen on consumerist. I love this line:

    “Keeping with the theme of differences between Geek Squad and a hobo with a thumb drive, let me ask you… what can a Geek Squad agent do better that someone else cannot? If your answer is “charge more”, then you are correct, but you missed what I am fishing for. If your answer is “nothing”, then you win an all expenses paid trip for your hand to your back for a weekend of patting. Good job!”

    Anonymous-writer: you should consider a career in blogging :)

  84. Hebi-kai says:

    A lot of what happened here happens to a lot of corporations. One change in management from the top will make this happen companywide.

    Geek squad may switch back at some point, as these things tend to be a little cyclical.

  85. aplc0r says:

    @XianZhuXuande: I loved your last comment. The customer CAN tell the difference between a tech and a salesman. And if that tech is you, most likely they’ll be requesting you ever time they come in. Good techs in a company that’s losing its ways are still good techs.

  86. RandomAgent says:

    I’m a Geek Squad Agent and it saddens me to hear that these kind of corrupt actions go on in some Precincts. We often get backed up, but we never wipe and restore a customer’s computer without their permission. The use of the data clause on the Service Order is only for extreme issues when the data was lost by circumstances beyond our control. We always offer data backups whenever we’re going to do anything that could harm it. We never wipe and restore a computer without permission in an effort to move computers through faster. Sure, it is faster to wipe and restore, so if a customer is in a huge hurry, we offer it. If they want their data saved, it costs them more, but they get their computer faster. If they don’t care about their data, they win… it’s cheaper and they get it faster. Either way, offering to restore it and being honest about the time it’s going to take is a win-win situation for both the customer and Geek Squad.

    When computers leave the store for repairs, I tell the customer that sometimes in rare situations there is a chance that computers may come back from the Service Center wiped… because that has happened and people do get angry about it. Most people say they’ll risk it, a few pay for data backups, and for those who balk at the price, I suggest that they buy a flash drive and do it themselves on the counter. Some customers leave the store and come back later after they have backed up their stuff. These all result in a much happier customer.

    If any Agent here were ever, EVER, to pull a computer out of a box that was pre-used and infected with a virus, we would not even approach a manager about it. We would box it up, put in in the DEVO bin to have it sent back and grab another one from the computer department. To “fix” it, in any way, would be unacceptable.

  87. Trackback says:

    Tech support services like the Geek Squad are notorious for violating the privacy of their customers, and now they’ve been caught in the act. Consumer affairs blog Consumerist rigged up a PC to record itself, and then sent it to the Geek Squad with a request for iTunes to be installed.

  88. blahsoaidncvoin says:

    This guy is severely twisted… Computers come from factory with diagnostic images, strange games, and even user accounts. These are quite largely isolated instances (I’ve only seen 2 out of the 1000+ that I’ve honestly opened…). One of which the customer was in a hurry and there was another one on the shelf. Not a problem. The other time the unit was restored (which is the process the anonymous guy described above), which truly makes the unit GOOD AS NEW. IT WAS NEW FROM THE FACTORY AND HAS A FACTORY IMAGE. WHAT MORE IS NECESSARY?! If he did any more work than a restore, then it was completely his fault for not being knowledgeable enough to think of the correct solution. The other possibility is that this took place SO long ago (6+ years) that the restore route wasn’t possible, in which case I can’t see the relevance to today’s consumers….

    Think of it this way, if it wasn’t opened here in the store, that customer would have gotten home and been either confused or pissed…. Either way is not good.

    Being pathetic and pissed and writing 10 pages on a topic doesn’t make someone an expert… Staying anonymous even when you don’t work for the company any more screams FAKE. No one signs NDA’s.

    This is a FAKE. Prove me wrong…

  89. DigitalPhreak says:

    I was a “Double Agent” for nearly 2 years with the geeksquad. I loved my job dearly in the beginning and ended up hating bestbuy passionately in the end. It still saddens me today that such a wonderful opportunity to work for such a great company (geeksquad) got all jacked up by a greedy piece of shit company like bestbuy. I’d say this guy is 99% spot on througout his “report”. I’d say he took the words right out of my mouth the day I quit and moved on to bigger and better things for myself.

  90. Diabolic Preacher says:

    why are geeksquad techs given a usb drive for their toolset? can the ‘approved software collection’ not be distributed on a read-only CD? If the tech has to backup, a thumbdrive won’t be something he’d back up data to.

  91. DJ-FX says:

    I, myself are an ex-GS agent, worked for BB from Oct ’05 ot Jan ’07. and above story hits the nail on the head pretty well. The group of folks that got hired at the same time with me pretty much brought the services from constant deficit to well into green, making the store number one in the district, and even on few occasions number one in company. In the end no matter how well behaved and dedicated we were, almost all of us got bent over, screwd and terminated over BS charges. Later I found out that the services maanger was out to get us cause he thought we were overpaid so he did anything he could to get rid of us asap, and also make sure we wont get our spring bonuses that were promised to us. Now that same services manager is a general manager at another new store. This is something I posted on another forum but can give you more of an idea of what happed during my whole stint there. “http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1031340606&postcount=22″

  92. honeypot says:

    I am reading this article after getting laid off at a av company I worked at for quite a few years. I oddly can see some strange parallels in my ex-company in the mgmt styles and the bottom line cash flow right now! (minus the p0rn/nudey downloading from customers of course).

    Sad isn’t it when the VP scratches his head wondering why some sales $$ are going down and the answer is right under his nose. Ultimately, treating employees like they are disposable comes with a cost, as rewarding bad behavior, crafty salesmen does. The customer/reseller always gets screwed in the end.

  93. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand why anyone would bring their computer to the Geek Squad-first of all its like twice as expensive as just doing it yourself (which by the way you CAN do 99% of the time) and of course theres the privacy issue. I will continue to use my do-it-yourself data recovery (selkie rescue) instead of trusting a geek with my photos!!

  94. Anonymous says:

    I work at Geek Squad and I hate to say it but a lot of what was written in this article is true. The primary purpose of Geek Squad is service SALES. Not service. The POS system, the forms we use and other “tooks” are marketing and sales oriented.

    What is the difference?

    A true service organization derives its revenue and profit by having the systems and processes designed to do great repairs and service effeciently and with minimal technical issues. The loss of productivity by customer returns, misplaced computers, lost data and other technical issues would kill a true service organization’s profitability.

    But at Geek Squad it is about volume of work booked and average value per transaction. There are no metrics at my store that analyze or even value fixing it right the first time. There is no way to track the work an individual tech does and therefore techs that have a high rate of poor workmanship cannot be identified and trained or even fired.

    Generally, the people I work with want to do it right but the systems to help them are not there and the corporate culture does not encourage this but instead is focused on the amount of work booked.