Leaks: How Geek Squad Investigated Its Own Porn Thieves

Best Buy launched a nation-wide internal investigation after we published a video sting op capturing one of their techs stealing porn from our computer. A fired Geek Squad supervisor tells how it all went down…Innocents fired… Liars kept jobs… Store hard drives seized… Pants shat…

The start of the internal Geek Squad investigation began this summer as all of the locations throughout the country were entered through remote connection and scanned for violations. The Geek Squad “precincts” that had bench machines containing serious violations had their hard drives removed and shipped to the corporate office. All of this was done rapidly and under the watchful eye of salary managers who had their jobs threatened if this was not executed properly. My store was lucky enough to have scored well enough on the remote scans to keep our hard drives. I knew at this point that there was serious cause for concern if Best Buy was willing to spend the kind of cash necessary to execute remote scans throughout ALL of its stores in one day.

A couple weeks later, the general manager of Best Buy informed me that the remote scans were phase one of the investigation. Phase two was a physical check of policies and procedures done by corporate geniuses. Phase three was called an “interview” and I will come back to that term in a moment. My general manager volunteered our store to go as soon as possible in the “interview” phase because we had nothing to hide, which we didn’t. For those who are not aware, Geek Squad has received negative media attention for the way they handle customer data, and these events are what I believed triggered this internal investigation.

The “interview” phase was not an interview. The correct word starts with the same letter; it was an interrogation and nothing short of it. There are a couple different corporate interrogators going to stores through the nation. Stores who received bad scores on the remote scans were flagged to be interrogated; the last number I heard was over 300 stores would be interrogated. Many of these interrogations have not yet occurred to date. My interrogator was named Wayne. I was pulled into the Lost Prevention office, which is a small closet sized room normally used for security and interrogating thieves. I immediately voiced my concern for the way my employees had been interrogated before me, and that I did not believe this was ethical practice for our business. Wayne assured me that this event was necessary to repair and clean up the image of Geek Squad. He stated that this “interview” was not to get everyone fired but to gather information critical to correct procedures on the way we handle customer data (entrapment). As Wayne and I talked he informed me he had been interrogating people for years and he would know if I was lying. He stated, “If you begin to lie to me, the mood in this room is going to change very fast”. Wayne made a few other subtle threats throughout our chat. He stated that our store was red flagged before my arrival as supervisor, and this interrogation was going to take place regardless of the results of our remote scans. Wayne called me a liar in our interview and tried to trip me up on my own words. After Wayne left the room, the witness informed me that he also does these interrogations and that his are nothing more than a casual conversation. I had one employee out of town during the interrogations, so when they came back for him, his interrogation was a little different. It was different because I called HR and voiced my serious concern. His interrogation was an interview, it was done in a large meeting room, and where mine lasted almost two hours his lasted thirty minutes. Oh by the way, he kept his job, I didn’t. He admitted to me later that he kept his job because he lied and that he felt bad.

There were three Geek Squad members fired from my store including myself. The first two were fired for burning a non-copyrighted CD for another employee on a non company issued blank CD-R. I admitted in my interrogation that I was aware of this, and that I stopped these events after that occurrence. I was fired for being aware of this non copyrighted CD being copied. To quote, I did not provide the proper example of leadership. Keep in my mind I removed over 100 illegal tools and pirated discs upon my arrival as supervisor, as well as some remnants of an internal porn scandal. I had one Geek Squad employee that had a copy of customer related financial material on his flash drive that was confiscated during the investigation, by the way he kept his job. To back track this investigation was intended to address the way we handle customer data, and the one major infraction went unpunished. Supposedly, these results from the interrogation are plotted on a matrix by the corporate office and assigned the appropriate punishment. If I was fired for knowing about a non-copyright CD being burned, then remaining employees should start looking for a new job. The punishments are just beginning to be handed out throughout the country. One neighboring store lost nine Geek squad employees and two salary managers. To top all of this off, other Best Buy employees knew about my termination before I did. Apparently, my General Manager is not intelligent enough to know how to fire three people with the entire store finding out first.

The three Geek Squad employees were by the book ethical employees. The employees remaining employed remained because they lied. Best Buy believes that by launching this investigation they will repair their image. They have betrayed theirs customers for years, and now they are starting to betray their employees. They are terminating young men because they (Best Buy) lacked the ability to clearly define and structure policies in the beginning.

Regards,

The Betrayed

(Photo: Victor Chiu)

Comments

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  1. mexifelio says:

    You can’t really be surprised from a burn when you work with the devil, can you?

  2. abz_zeus says:

    they’re always after scapegoat, someone must be in the wrong therefore we have to find that person
    see origins of decimate in the roman army

  3. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Don’t sweat it, they probably did you a huge favor.

    The article, while well written, sounds a bit like sour grapes.

  4. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Oh yeah, exactly WTF is a “non-copyrighted” CD? If I have a CD full of other peoples homade, non-published porn, is that also a “non-copyrighted” CD? What were you doing? Buring Linux ISOs? Trading your own music that you made?

    God, I’m starting to sound like the rest of the “Blame the Victim” fools on this blog, but after dealing with the morons at my local Best Buy…….

  5. cindel says:

    You stay classy Best Buy!

    I’m sure Consumerist will be hearing from them about this soon.

  6. truebluegeeks says:

    so in other words, you broke geek squad rules (even though you cleaned up some of the violations) and got fired for it? are we supposed to feel sorry for you? Bull.

    My store got interviewed too (we got red flagged for improper labeling). Ours wasn’t an interrogation at all, and it wasn’t after you called HR either….our store was one of the first stores that the interviewer came to. Yes it was in the LP office which was a little weird, but the 30 minute interview was just a check to make sure we were following protocol.

    Maybe it felt like a interrogation because you were doing something wrong…

    for the record my store had no one fired, and the only thing we didn’t pass on was the data retention labeling (as we didn’t have any outdated (more then 90 days) data, we just didn’t have it labeled as per geek squad standards)

    Your no victim my friend, you were the problem.

    oh btw, why from a business stand point would best buy fired everyone, when they can fire you (the leader who wasn’t following rules) and hire a new one that will whip the rest into shape…makes more sense to me then having to re-hire an entire team.

  7. mandarin says:

    It does sound like Sour grapes.. Never never go to BestBuy…

  8. Hinomura says:

    @jaysyn: well damn straight it’s sour. if you told the truth as was expected then got fired when you knew of assholes who lied just to keep their jobs, wouldn’t that piss you off too? and yeah they prob did the kid a favor by letting him go. fuck this company. the only time I set foot in there is to stink up the shitter when I can’t find a gas station nearby.

  9. fusionbeans says:

    As an ex-Geek Squad employee, who left well before any of this “culture crackdown” began or took place, I have to say I am not the least bit surprised, really. An organization I once deemed reasonably true to their employees has finally gone 100% black and blue(read: Best Buy Corporate Control). The big problem right now with the Geek Squad, and subsequently what was and still IS the problem with Best Buy, is that the best employees who are loyal and true to the company are the ones who take the falls when BBY/GS needs a scapegoat — as was mentioned earlier.

    Trust me when I say that from the insiders perspective, we are told that it’s necessary abandonement of ethics and principles in exchange for “righting the ship”.

    I once thought about the legality of corporations internally spying on their employees. Well, I believe we will now see JUST how legal all of this may end up being. Especially since I am aware of a few GS practices and principles that are entirely ILLEGAL that happen in over 90% of stores that corporate probably has no clue about — and even if they did, they won’t stop it as it is POLICY to continue doing it.

    If you think the outcry from ex-employees was bad before, just wait. GS and BBY are sticking their hand on a stove that’s been on for years and about to feel the backlash for it. I used to say GS was the place to work — and did so for a couple of years…now? Stay the heck away or consider it career suicide, because crap like this DOES go on your resume.

  10. Draneor says:

    I always wonder how “loss prevention” experts know if someone is lying. Have they done controlled experiments or read of ones published? Is their confidence based upon anecdotal, personal experience? Do the results of these experiments indicate a 100% of say people who fidget lie? Or would the results be more like 76%? I’m not even sure how one would go about designing a study to determine if a certain tone of voice or certain body movements indicate that the subject is lying, nervous, angry, or a combination of the above. Even then, I doubt there is anything that would let someone know with absolute certainty that someone is lying. Perhaps the standard is “more probable than not,” but then where is the confidence coming from? What other factors, such as culture, might influence these “signs”?

    Without additional evidence that indicates otherwise, I do have a hard time accepting one individual’s judgement that another one is lying.

  11. Hodo says:

    Sadly, this process is probably common amongst large, publicly traded companies. The empahisis is on the hanging, not the trial.

  12. slightredneck says:

    I’m not surprised by any of this. Best Buy is a very crooked company. I worked there while in college working on a degree in Computer Science. When i was approched and told to “incourage (lie)” to people to get them to buy more service plans or accessories i was done. They made sure to have a manager or supervisor stop by every hour to tell you how many service plans, and the percentage of accessories to total sales you had. It was ridiculous. But that is there buisness model.

  13. xoxerica says:

    Funny, I refused to hand over my dead laptop with all my information on it because I didn’t belive they wouldn’t steal my bank info etc from my hard drive. Now I’m really glad I listened to my gut and bought a usb hookup to wipe my hard drive first. Way to go BB! Now I REALLY won’t ever be shopping with you again!

  14. quiksilver says:

    And yet, people still shop at Best Buy. If the media published articles like this about Best Buy, hopefully it would do some damage and Best Buy will have to reconsider how the conduct damage control.

  15. AFX86 says:

    While working for the Geek Squad I took a broken CD-Rom drive out of the trash and a manager said that is was cool for me to take it. Well another employee seen this and called HR, the next day I was put on leave w/o pay. 3 months later they fired me. Screw BB.

  16. Chase says:

    @Jaysyn:

    While it is difficult to sympathize with a Best Buy employee, as the lot of them I have dealt with have been rude (as with Gamestop, too), I can’t say I agree with the way this ‘Wayne’ guy threatened him. I may dislike Best Buy employees, but I hate bullies.

  17. DrWebster says:

    Unfortunately, it sounds like “The Betrayed” was fired not because of how he did his job, but because of how he acted during his interrogation. Going into the interrogation and immediately “voicing [his] concern for the way [his] employees were interrogated before [him]” meant, to the interrogator, that he was a “rebel.” People in the interrogator’s profession feel like they have the supreme power; they get off on being superior to others, and putting them in their place. By questioning the interrogator, “The Betrayed”, in the interrogator’s mind, seemed like he had something to hide. He sealed his fate then and there; it probably wouldn’t have mattered what he said in the interview (if he said he did everything by the book, the interrogator would think “this guy’s lying to me,” and if he admitted to breaking the rules, the interrogator would think “I knew it!”). As much as you don’t want to do it, you have to play the game that power-hungry people play, and stay humble. Only *after* the interrogations are done, and the interrogator leaves, can you voice your concern to management (but even then, you have to do so carefully).

  18. godai says:

    @Jaysen

    Non-copyright may have been something like a linux tool cd which while is copyrighted gives permission for it to be copied.

    Or it could of been thier personal files or something like that.

  19. pepelicious says:

    You got fired because you were one of the few people who told the truth and accepted responsiblity. In your letter you never mentioned your interrogator telling you that you would be fired for lying to him. You’re confusing your own morality with the coporate reality of needing scapegoats. It’s a lot easier to single out somoene who willingly admits to charges than to try and disprove someone’s lie.

  20. CaptainSemantics says:

    @quiksilver180: Yeah, I’m trying to figure out if Rupert Murdoch owns part of Best Buy or something. Maybe it’s GE with an interest? All I can think of is the Robert Smigel cartoon about monopolies that’s done in School House Rock fashion. Classic example.

  21. Starfury says:

    Mental note: Don’t buy new TV/Appliances from wonderful stores mentioned here.

    Best Buy
    Circuit City
    Sears

    Looks like it’s time to hit up the smaller, local places for the $3k or more I’m going to be spending in the next 2 months.

  22. DannyG says:

    What’s so bad about Best Buy? I don’t really keep up on these type things, so this is the first time I’ve heard of people saying “Don’t shop there”. And what are alternatives to Best Buy? After Best Buy or Circuit City I wouldn’t know where to go for electronics.

  23. ExVee says:

    @DrWebster: I suspect that, as well as the subsequent conversation with corporate HR over the interrogation tactics both ended up doing our OP in. Both show signs of a person in management level who is not willing to play the company’s game, and so will be excised. The tale may be a bit sour grapes, but I don’t think it’s entirely unentitled.

  24. crazyflanger says:

    If it makes you feel any better, IMHO there is no way Best Buy is going to survive the in the long run.

    -They hire employees who know less about the products they sell then I. I don’t know a lot but I’ve been amazed on how wrong and scriped some BB employeers are, the few times I’ve been there.

    -They obviously don’t appreciate there employees. A good buisness is a three way street. Customers, associates and management all have to be satisfied. By letting go of good employees BB is just setting themselves up to hire worse employees who will then give worse customer experiences and that effects the management bonus…loose..loose…loose..

    -I can’t walk down an isle in BB with out 15 stupid kids jumping out and asking if they can help me. I’ve heard they don’t make commision, so WTF? What is with the guy at the door greeting me? Is this wal-mart? Greeters are the stupidest idea ever…if they were important people like ceo’s, or even store managers then maybe I’d feel a little special…but no the greeters are always retarded or disabled people. No offence to retarded or disabled people, but come on.

  25. adamondi says:

    If the circumstances are the way you describe them, you may have a very good case for a wrongful termination suit. Unless you personally violated company policy or the law, they should not be able to summarily dismiss you without any sort of disciplinary measures. And by disciplinary measures, I do not mean termination.

    I would not be surprised if a lot of wrongfully terminated Geek Squad employees emerge after this particular purging. I would also not be surprised if Best Buy and Geek Squad get hit with a bevy of wrongful termination suits.

  26. Hickeroar says:

    Gamestop the second…

    They’re going to open a Best Buy about a thousand yards from where I live in a couple months.

  27. Makito says:

    Wnat some really good advice? As long as you’ve done nothing illegal or against company policy – Read up on your local labor laws and take them to small claims court and represent yourself.
    It’s really the easiest way to “stick it to the man” plus get your job back (but I’d recommend quitting afterwards anyways, BB is a crap company), lost wages, and maybe even a little punitive damage if you can justify them.

    Public companies can’t fire you unless you’ve done something illegal, or seriously violated funamental corporate policy. In the case of the latter, usually you still get away with it since progressive disapline is part of BB’s operating procecures. Labor wise, big Public companies have it tougher than they want to let you know.

  28. inelegy says:

    “Lost Prevention office”??

    Is this someplace where people plot against the passengers of a certain missing Oceanic Airlines flight or did the writer intend “Loss Prevention Office”?

  29. nanoalpha says:

    Not that I would have used Geek Squad services anyway–I tend to be the one who fixes all the computers at home and where I work–but this just adds another reason not to give them my computer for them to “fix.” That, and I can’t believe I actually thought of applying for a job there. x_x

  30. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @godai:

    Did you even read the rest of my post? I want to know what was being copied.

  31. kingdom2000 says:

    in an investigation of this nature, those doing the investigating MUST produce results and fire enough people to be percieved as cleaning up the business. I gaurantee that out of those 300 stores, at least one person was fired from each. If Wayne reported he found no problems, then he would have been percieved as not doing his job. Thats the problem with these kinds of things. A consultant is only as good as the problems they supposedly discover and “fix”.

    Of course, from my understnading the problem with the Geek Squad stems from corporate management treating it as an extended sales force rather then tool to keep costumers computers running. But since corporate managers can do no wrong, under the philosphy that “@$#@” rolls downhill….well there you go.

    Long story short, the advice remains the same for any and all consumers. Do NOT do business with geek squad and its clones unless you like getting ripped off.

  32. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @Makito:
    LOL, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    In a right to work state a company can fire you for any reason that isn’t race, creed, color or handicapped status related. Period.

  33. silvanx says:

    @DrWebster: No, you don’t have to play the game. You have to be aware of the risks of not playing the game. It will never change if everyone just plays along. The game is F’d up.

  34. cnc1019 says:

    @crazyflanger: They keep asking you if you need help to deter shoplifting. If you always have someone checking on you, then you don’t feel as anonymous or unseen in a store. This is commonly taught at many stores, it is just that Best Buy hires enough people to pull it off.

  35. inelegy says:

    I work for a mom-and-pop company which competes with Geek Squad. Four feet away from where I’m typing this are CDRs full of “illegal” software tools I use daily. four feet in the other direction is my “Customer Porn Wall Of Shame” featuring prints of some of the more disturbing p0rn images I’ve found on customer’s computers (with bananas and muffins photoshopped over assorted body parts). I do not work in fear of “interrogation” because my company is owned by a man with a sense of humor and an understanding the business that has not been obliterated by a corporate culture of middle-management types who have no clue what is involved in doing the job in the real world.

  36. glass says:

    Too many people are missing the point by saying he’s probably better off not working there anyways. Tell that to his landlord when rent’s due. People take shitty jobs because they have to in order to pay the bills. I’ve had plenty of lousy jobs just to make ends meet. If I lost my job right now without having another one lined up, life would suck for a while. We aren’t all so lucky to live comfortably.

  37. Makito says:

    @Jaysyn: Oh well I was hoping for his sake that the US has some kind of wrongful dismissal laws, like those of Canada where they REALLY can’t do that. A certain now ex-regional manager here has fired a person 3 times already and 3 times he’s gotten his job back with apology letters and the works. With iteration, the punitive rewards increasing substantially.

    Wrongful dismissal, and due notice are all very important factors here – least in Canada. Shame really…

  38. Noobs-R-Us says:

    You should know by now that Evil almost always wins. That’s just how the world works. Look at the Bush administration and then look at Gore.

  39. PaulMorel says:

    I’m sure sour grapes is part of this, but I’m also sure that the truth is probably closer to this guy’s version of the story than to best buy’s version of the story (which I have yet to hear).

    This sounds like the normal ass-backwards HR stuff that Best Buy seems to love.

  40. augs says:

    @Makito: He most likely doesn’t have any kind of case. Aside from few exceptions, most employees are hired “At Will”. That gives the company the right to terminate you without notice and without much reason, with the obvious exceptions (injury, illness). It also gives you the right to quit without notice or consequence as well.

    I know this well, as I was fired for “endangering the safety of customers and associates”. Oh, might I mention that this was because I was tossing a half ounce foam stress ball in my hand. I went to a lawyer and despite the obvious bullshit reason for termination, they were within their rights. The district manager and I didn’t really get along very well.

  41. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @Makito:

    Employment is a two-way street in *most* US states. I can leave for any reason & they can fire me for any reason other than the ones I listed above.

  42. mcowan3 says:

    Two hours really isn’t that bad (C: , especially if you have any history of ever having done anything wrong and are trying to get a security clearance with the government. I had to take a polygraph three times, we are talking 4 hours of being grilled each time. I felt like I went through confession and didn’t even get absolution. I was completely honest about everything, and I mean completely nothing held back, but due to my past “misdeeds” I had some spikes on the polygraph related to how I felt about my past. I didn’t like getting raked over the coals, but I know that if I hadn’t passed and gotten my clearance that it would be the government’s loss. Needless to say I did finally pass and have my clearance, but I can relate and feel sorry for you being held up as a scapegoat while those who lied get to keep their jobs. As they often say “No good deed goes unpunished.” If you are a good person (and in some cases not so good) and well trained there are a million places to get another/better paying job than the geek squad.

  43. Evan394 says:

    @Makito:
    dude am I glad I don’t live and work as a manager in Canada. It’s hard enough to fire a douchebag employee in the USA without any nonesense wrongful dismissal laws to contend. Here we have to make a friggin paper trail months long so we’re not sapped with unemployment payments to some asshole who doesn’t want to work for a living.

    To the rest of the bandwagon-ers: the dude who wrote the article lost his job in some bullshit, that sucks. But he’s a mgr, is this his first job or somthing. How could you not know that you’d get leaned on harder and held more responsible for the f-ups of your subordinates. That’s what being a mgr is about dude, welcome to corporate land. This article is informative and certainly changes how I view the Geeks. But the ‘please feel sorry for me’ spin is pretty tacky. Either get a lawer, or get a new job.

    I interviewed at a Kansas store in April of this year, and turned down the job partially because I’d be working with a bunch of techie-forum-trained teens, and partially because they just wanted to pay me $11.50 per hour. Even before the stolen customer porn expose’ landed, I thanked God i dodged that bullet.

  44. warf0x0r says:

    You are now free, enjoy your lives!!!

  45. C2D says:

    @DannyG: You’re a tool of Best Buy and you deserve to be screwed by them if you haven’t used the Yellow Pages to find locally owned stores. The locally owned stores were there before BB and will be there long after BB.

  46. scampy says:

    @adamondi:

    Sorry, but a company has the authority to fire you for any reason or even n o reason at all. The can say they dont like the color of your shoes. As long as it isnt one of the things in the Equal Opportunity document

  47. WD40 says:

    This is a sad story, glad I’m Best Buy free going on 3 years!!!

    On a side note, that ladder on top of the van in the picture, is that to peek 2nd story building windows?? I know for a fact that PC cases are NOT that big.

  48. Ass_Cobra says:

    @Evan394:

    You really do sound like management material.

  49. nospamsam says:

    1.) In America, you are punished for disloyalty to the company. An executive does not want to worry about you blowing the whistle (i.e. going to the press or calling HR). Towing the company line is the key.
    2.) You are rewarded when you increase revenue. Telling the truth and increasing revenue are usually at odds with each other, just look at marketing.

    This isn’t pessimism. It is reality if you want to succeed in corp. america.

  50. Saboth says:

    @DrWebster:

    Oh well, at least he was his own man, and didn’t kiss any ass. Interrogator be damned.

  51. Wirehead says:

    The way things are in the US is that you can be fired at any time and you can leave at any time.

    Except if you leave when they don’t want you to, the company may file a lawsuit. And if you get fired when you don’t want to, you may file a lawsuit. Even if it’s nearly baseless.

    And because there are various laws that specify when you cannot be hired, they need to be extra-special-certain that everything is documented. Because you know that the fired person could just come back and say that they were fired based on a conversation that nobody has any record of. So if you want to fire somebody, you need heavy documentation.

    Or you just carefully enforce rules like office paper not being allowed to be used in the fax machine or the laser printer.

    Which then brings us to the situation where they fire you for bad reasons and then make sure that they generate a stack of heavy documentation that justifies the firing for non-protected reasons.

    Either way, the final monkey punch comes from the company, who usually gets away with it by doing fairly routine micro-downsizing sweeps to get rid of “poor team players” and “bad employees” at the same time. This way, you get a layoff package and unemployment and are far less likely to sue.

    I dono. Why have I never been even tempted to look at files on other people’s machines back in the days when I was more likely to help folks with their computers? Zero interest. Maybe I just know that at least some people have nasty tastes in porn without looking sketchy.

  52. karateninja says:

    I worked at Circuit City and the managers badgered employees to hound customers because it, in their mind somehow, shows good customer service. If you let a customer walk around for more than 30 seconds a manager would tell you to go talk to them. If you tell them you just did, they’d tell you to ask an open ended question that they can’t give you a yes or no answer to. Managers wanted to know why every customer was in the store and thought that they couldn’t have possibly gone out of their way to drive to the store “just to look”. The managers are number nazis, of course they got a bonus if their store or departments performed at or above budget, while you, the employee that did all the selling, got nothing. Not only do they look at attachment rate, extended warranty sales, items with high profit margin, they also look at the individual employee sales numbers to make sure they are getting every last dime out of the customer and if you don’t, you get written up. I’m certain that Best Buy is the same way and is why you get a dozen people asking you questions while you are looking around.

    Managers also send their employees to bombard people with questions that they suspect are stealing and don’t allow the “suspect” to be alone at any point and time in the store. They even sent employees in the bathroom to pretend they were using the toilet to keep an eye on someone they thought might have taken product in the restroom and were attempting to steal it, even though there is a security gate you have to walk through to get to the restroom.

    Employees can be fired at any time for no reason. Not only do you have to sign an at-will employment contract stating that they can fire you without cause, they also make you sign a legal document saying you can’t sue them for any reason. All legal matters must be settled through arbitration, which can be a long and tidious process in which you can still walk away with nothing.

    My time at Circuit City wasn’t horrible but they definitely do not care about their employees, the part time and full time salesmen that are the backbone and money makers of the company. The turnover was horrible. I was one of the top 3 “senior tenure” employees in my department after only 4 or 5 months of being employed there. I still managed to show the company respect though by giving them a proper two weeks notice when I left once I got hired for a real salary job at a major business.

  53. psm321 says:

    @WD40: In case that’s a serious question, you can see on the side of the van that it’s home theater installation. They may need a ladder for wiring, etc.

  54. Chongo says:

    something tell me that being fired from best buy is one of the best things that can happen to you. There is nothing wrong with an honest job but something tells me its hard to climb the ladder there.

  55. dirtymoney says:

    too bad he didnt tape record this interrogation. Would make for good online entertainment. And to possibly use against best buy.

  56. certaindoom says:

    Still waiting to hear what he had on that “not copyrighted” CD.

    If no answer, going to assume he’s just spewing and probably was caught with warez, pr0n, or non licensed copies.

    Re spouting off to the investigators, sooner or later in life you
    learn when and how to talk out, and sounds like you just learned. Makes
    great copy, but unless you put your money where your mouth is and talk
    to a lawyer, all this is going to amount to is a handful of whiners
    having a group hug.

  57. dirtymoney says:

    What’s with all the talk about wrongfull termination lawsuits? If you work in a “work at will” state….. you are SOL. Meaning that an employer can “let you go” without any reason once so ever (unless you are under some written contract)….. as long as it isnt based on racial descrimination or other similar laws.

    The reasoning is that you cant force your employer to provide you a job forever…. and that your employer cant force you to work for them forever….. you are free to quit whenever you want & your employer can “let you go” whenever they want.

  58. andy says:

    @Evan394: You can still fire someone, you just have to give them notice. I’m not sure if it’s the same Canada-wide (it’s a Provincial regulation), but in Alberta you’re required to give 1 week notice if you’ve worked from 3-12 months, and 2 weeks for any length of time greater than a year. The first three months is considered “probationary” – you can be fired for anything that wouldn’t fall under the category of ‘discrimination’. If you fail to give notice as an employer, you have the option of paying out the time, and as an employee, your pay can be withheld for some amount of time (a week or so…not ridiculous).

  59. cshkuru says:

    @inelegy

    four feet in the other direction is my “Customer Porn Wall Of Shame” featuring prints of some of the more disturbing p0rn images I’ve found on customer’s computers (with bananas and muffins photoshopped over assorted body parts). I do not work in fear of “interrogation” because my company is owned by a man with a sense of humor and an understanding the business that has not been obliterated by a corporate culture of middle-management types who have no clue what is involved in doing the job in the real world.

    I’m suppose to feel better about taking my computer to a mom and pop repair shop knowing that you are out there stealing my porn and passing judgment on it?

    I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure that you stealing my data isn’t involved in doing business in the real world. At least with Best Buy or Geek Squad (not that I use either one) there is some corporate accountability.

  60. azntg says:

    It’s okay, as long as those retailers can number fix (finances and employees), they’ll remain “profitable” forever. Until they find themselves to be the Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff, eyes popping out and suddenly free falling.

  61. StevieD says:

    From the other side of the fence. I am the hirer and firer. And there is one thing I know for sure…. ex-employees lie through their teeth.

    The classic job applicant…

    Reason for leaving last place of employment:
    I had a personal disagreement with my supervisor.

    Arrest and convictions:
    Yes, served 12 years for attempted murder

  62. craggle says:

    I think people are confusing right-to-work with at-will employment. The states with right-to-work laws do not require an employee to join or financially support a union (with certain exceptions). As far as I know that has nothing to do with at-will employment.

  63. alterboy says:

    Not suprised about this. When I worked for BB my store had a habit of firing good employees without any evidence.

    One of the employees was the best salesman in the computer dept. Super nice guy who actually liked his job and had been there for 2 years. I had known him for years before I started working there. Anyway someone tagged the door to the breakroom with a sharpie and for some reason they though it was this guy. Everyone in the store also knew they were out to get him. We all knew he would never do that. So they tried to make his life hell. They executed their right to “randomly” drug test him. (no one ever got drug tested after the initial hiring) That came out clean, but they had it out for him and fired him 2 weeks later anyway. About a week after firing him they found out who actually did it and they offered him his job back. He refused.

    Another incident happend with my lead. They though he was stealing money even though they had no evidence of this and the cash room is videotaped and monitored all day. They fired him and again 2 weeks later figured out it wasn’t him and offered him his job back. He too refused. He might of gotten targeted for having a party the night before x-mas eve and inviting employees. I know they threatened another lead who was up for a promotion for the same thing even though it wasn’t on a major shopping day.

  64. G-Dog says:

    I don’t shop at Best Buy. I’m always treated poorly. But what do they care? For every customer they loose, they gain another 10,000 that don’t know any better.

  65. devilsadvocate5959 says:

    So, company-bashing website bashes company for an industry-wide problem. Props, it’s a good thing to call someone out on an issue like that.

    Then, company spends thousands and thousands of dollars to investigate and eliminate as much of the problem as possible, becoming the first in the industry to attempt to kill this issue. Great!

    Finally, the company becomes the clear industry-leader in eliminating this poor behavior by scans, interrogations, and company-issued, often-checked flash drives. Commendable, ready for company-hating website to say “wow, you guys really took this seriously and have made a HUGE effort to correct this problem within your company while the rest of the industry does NOTHING.”

    But company-hating website decides to spin THIS story negative as well, because all that is wrong and evil in the world exists because of Geek Squad.

    How about this: instead of sitting around talking about how BOTH ways are wrong, try coming up with a better idea. Look at the conundrum of needing rewritable media to perform job duties but having a responsibility to protect client data in the process, when your company is of a size where individual daily scans by one responsible person is COMPLETELY impossible.

    What would YOU do, Ben?

    How about giving them some credit for trying to fix a major long-standing computer repair industry problem? They didn’t ignore it like your average retailer. Just give them SOMETHING or else you’re not trying to help the consumers at all, you’re just trying to screw the company.

  66. nedF says:

    I was a loyal member of the geek squad for years. I loved my job and saw that over the years that geek squad been under best buy the precinct I worked at was busy all the time. I was fired cause I used my personal thumb drive to copy data over to the precinct computer for the customer since I couldn’t find any of the thumb drives we used that was provided to the precinct. At that time we were very busy and I forgot to delete the info and forgot the info was on there after my shift. I use my drive for personal use maybe once a month. My intentions were good and they still fired me because I used my drive.

    The managers at the store I was at were all for numbers and really didn’t care about anything else. We had a contest running every month for the agents. Who ever could get the most money taken in would be able to set their own schedule. The GM was always on our case about meeting our budget for the day and month.

    Most of the software repairs are now done by remote technicians from India. Another way that Best buy can save money.

    Each store is run differently and thats cause there are over 1000 store that are part of the blood sucking best buy.

  67. timtimes says:

    @dirtymoney:

    The reason we have these ‘right to work states’, where workers are shafted to the core is because of the corporate whoremongers getting laws passed that favor such nineteenth century labor practices. Right now they’re trying to extend the Patriot Act to cover unproductive or uncooperative corporate workers. Best Buy’s lawyers are leaning towards water boarding as an incentive to their workers to sell more extended warranties. Going all out for water boarding seemed a natural progression for Best Buy. BB already has plenty of experience in forced stress positions, what with the bending over of the managers and the employees for what could best be described as a high tech version of the Inquisition.

    Enjoy.

  68. TotallyAnonymous says:

    Don’t Geek Squad agents charge customers to run Ad-Aware and Spy Bot, both completely free programs that the customers are perfectly capable of running themselves?

  69. Alan-S says:

    Why is this story title “Porn Thieves”?

    Was any porn stolen? Or was it just copied? Why use such an inflammatory and incorrect title? The transgression was that customers’ privacy was invaded. Are the porn publishers’ rights at issue here? If not, why even mention it?

    Why anyone needs to copy someone else’s porn I don’t know, it’s not like it’s hard to find gigabytes of free porn online.

  70. Solly says:

    Lost prevention and salary manager?
    Loss prevention has been covered. Is a salary manager one who manages salaries? I am thinking salaried managers.
    Sorry, I had nothing constructive to add.

  71. therealhomerjaysimpson says:

    These posts are very informative, as I’ve never had a problem with shopping at my local Best Buy. Granted, I go in knowing the salespeople won’t be as informed on most of the products as I am, but the prices for what I need are reasonable, and I get in and out quickly. That’s enough for me.

  72. Pylon83 says:

    @therealhomerjaysimpson:
    I agree. I’ve never had an issue with Best Buy. Really, it’s all about your expectations. Best Buy has decent prices, and crappy employees. So long as you don’t need to consult any of them any further than “where is this item”, which can be a crapshoot in and of itself. In a way, you get what you pay for. If you want to go into a store and get quality information regarding a product, go to a specialty store. They might be a bit more expensive, but they make up for it in service and knowledge. However, if you can do your own research, Best Buy is just fine.

  73. humphrmi says:

    @DrWebster: Right you are. When you work in corporate America for a long time, you learn when to keep your mouth shut and tell them what they want to hear. I’m not saying lie, I’m just saying don’t say more than you have to.

    This, by the way, is the first thing that lawyers tell defendants when they go into court.

  74. scorpionjs says:

    @Draneor:
    You can pick up a book on Criminal Investigation, usually for Criminal Investigation 101. (I’m not being facetious.)

    Yes, there are clues during an interrogation that any experienced investigator will pick up on. Fidgeting, lack of eye contact, sweating, open position versus closed position. I forget which way it goes, but people look up to the right when thinking an to the left when thinking of a lie.

    No, this is not 100%. And, in a real investigation, it is not even admissible as evidence. It is a tool only.

    If you are a parent, you can tell when your child is lying.

    If you are a professional poker player, you also learn the trade.

    Yes, race and/or culture makes a difference. Good investigators know that. Also, people are naturally nervous, even if innocent, during an inquisition. But, good investigators know that too.

    I hope this was interesting.

    I would have fired The Betrayed for not informing his/her management of criminal activity and punishing the employees. Violating personal data isn’t a joke.

  75. PatrickTulskie says:

    I interviewed for the Geeksquad. I had an “in” as one of my friend has been working there for years. As I sat there waiting for the interview I heard one of the agents tell someone over the phone that their hard drive had “been corrupted and you will need to have the operating system re-installed.”

    I looked at the price sheet and noticed that an OS installation was one of, if not the most expensive item on the list.

    I went in for the interview and the manager informed me that in addition to the services I am used to performing I would also need to sell services – that the OS install brings in a lot of money, but other things are fine as well.

    I aced the interview and turned down the job because I couldn’t bare to lie to customers. I was a lawn equipment salesman for years and I bent the truth to get sales and commission. I was looking for an honest job where I didn’t have to scam customers into buying stuff.

    I now do computer related work on the side of my normal salaried job. I explain stuff to people as best I can and some simply don’t get it. I don’t rip anyone off and make sure that the work they get is fair with what they pay me.

    Lesson learned I guess. I’m going to BB tomorrow to get an HDTV and manipulate them at their own game.

  76. cyrusu says:

    At my store, all of the agents were interviewed and because I was Senior at the time (Supervisor was on vacation), was interviewed by one of our district managers, with one of our store employees signing off as witness throughout all nine of the two or so hour interview/interrogations.
    I saw no problem with it being basically an interrogation because let’s face it, it’s not exactly BBY that’s corrupt, it’s PEOPLE. No one’s perfect but the company’s goal is to strive for that and at the same time, be profitable and piss off as few people as possible.
    Basically all of us were written up for various violations (I used a store restore disc to install Works on a customer’s computer after replacing a bad hard drive. They bought a copy of an Office upgrade edition when they bought the computer and their HD failed; I just wanted to make things right and freely bent the rules).
    So, out nearly a thousand stores with a low average of five agents per store, how perfect of a system is this supposed to be? In a perfect world nothing like this would ever happen, but face reality. Stuff will always slip through the cracks. Smaller infrastructures have done things just as bad and are fortunate to fly under this site’s scrutiny.

  77. Ferriciean says:

    For what it’s worth, and as an ex-Senior CIA at a store which was #1 in its district for 9 months straight in revenue, margin, turn time and customer satisfaction by operating solely with 100% honesty and a focus on educating our customers: I believe every last word of what this guy posted. I can also say that there are things he probably wasn’t even aware of that, if he found out about, would piss him off even more.

    Current GS employees can say what they wish about the subject – you can read it on their forums right now: their culture is nowhere near what it once was. Comparing 500 random posts from this last year to 500 random posts 3 years ago, it’s beyond blatantly obvious the expertise, maturity and confidence of the workforce is shot.

    Best Buy has absolutely no clue how to run a “services” based business. It has absolutely no idea how to treat its employees, nor how to hire skilled workers. The employee turnover rate for the Geek Squad precinct I worked in has gone from 12% when myself and my DCI were running it, to 630% now… a mere year later.

    On a regular basis, they tell customers the computer will have to be restored, just to keep their turn time at 3 weeks, instead of 6 weeks (which it has been at for the last 3 months).

    Doubt this information if you will; stick your head in the sand if you’re a current employee. But this information is 100% correct.

    The best part is… when they shipped those hard drives to corporate for investigation (hard drives they knew at least some of which contained private customer data – such as financial information – and backups which were required to be on the machine for 30 days), they shipped them UPS. The last time I checked, UPS “lost” a Best Buy package 6 times per month, per store. I wonder how many hard drives containing customer data were lost in this process, considering (800 stores)*(average of 3 hard drives each).

  78. Malphius says:

    Sadly the experience you get at BBY depends on which one you go to. I have been to and worked for several BBY stores and the one thing I can say about the company is that every store is run different. Different aspects of things can matter a lot at one store but not at all in another.

    Our stores litterally compete with one another and are ranked against each other (well used to be until matrix, now it’s ‘peer groups’) Some stores have great management and staffing but most have bad. There is always a heavy preassure of hitting all the numbers. Some managers deal with it well but most don’t.

    Truly I think the biggest thing wrong with the company is that it’s under bad management at the store level (for the most part) and that corprorate is becoming less and less in touch with the stores.

    As to the sales floor, when not with a customer, they DO have responsiblities such as training (E-learnings) and cleaning, stocking, etc… to do but they are never required to do it, they stand around talking. Always. This is true of most stores and the customer feedback comments represent that. That’s why the people on slashdot and consumerist know more about the products than the most the people working there.

  79. Jean Naimard says:

    What a poor sucker. Welcome to life: honesty doesn’t matter, as long as you don’t get caught, you’ll be fine.

    Bullshit runs the world since the bourgeois have gutted Democracy and subverted the political institutions.

  80. akalish says:

    All the more reason not to shop at Best Buy!

  81. dwegan says:

    @mexifelio: They did you a favor Geek Squad is the McDonalds of IT and it is IMHO a joke. Geek Squad is the laughing stock of every IT department around the US. If you want to repair PC’s for the rest of your life work there. I imagine you have a better job now then the Geek Squad. Everytime I go into Best Buy I laugh because the Geek Squad employees actually have PC God-like complex, and they are getting laughed at by every IT professional out there.

  82. sapling says:

    Geek Squad should be destroyed… What person in their right mind would hire the dumbasses of retail to come in and “fix” their machines. I have people ask me left and right please come repair the damage or tell me how they just paid 1000 dollars for media data recovery. Or the cost of over 100 dollars an hour to have some retard sit at your computer and try and troubleshoot a simple problem. Case in point a RAM issue took a geek squad member over 3 hours to determine what he said was a bad resistor on the motherboard. Truthfully it was RAM and they had at least 90% of geek squad fail the quality challenge.

    Your flaming retards go get some experience with fixing computers before you try and fix mine.

    About the guys stealing Porn from customer machines.
    If your dumb enough to leave a computer tech alone working on your computer that you have your porn on or financial data then you are dumb anyway. Trust is the downfall of humans. I mean out of all the geek squad members I have seen 75% of them are creepy guys who I wouldn’t leave alone in my house much less with my computer. I mean for all the people know they went down stairs and the computer in the bedroom wasnt the only thing violated what about underwear you pervs!
    The point is leaving a creepy guy alone is a bad move and they were punished. They hired Geek Squad to come out and fix their problem… They deserve to have their privacy invaded and Best buy is satan anyway.

    Overpriced big box store… Your better off not working their go to school and get a real IT as a repair technician for a good computer repair service.

  83. RvLeshrac says:

    @Draneor:

    All evidence points to it being impossible to directly determine if an individual is lying.

    There are plenty of clues that can be used, but in the end, in the absence of evidence, it is purely the interrogator’s subjective opinion.

  84. bvita says:

    Free advice to all you Geek Squadders being called into an interview – bring a personal recorder. When the interrogator questions you, advise him that a family member, who happens to be an attorney, advised you to do this to insure that your rights aren’t being violated. If he objects, advise him that this interview is being cancelled and that you will be contacting your state’s labor board as well as your attorney.

    I had a bozo trying to do a “hothead” colletion on me for a debt that wasn’t mine. After a moment of abuse I advised him that counsel has advised me to tape all further conversations with him starting now. He became amazing polite from that point on.

    Of course, the moment that your asshat interviewer called me a liar I would advise him that the interview was over and to wait for a call from legal.

  85. JohnMc says:

    DANNYG, my God Man! You are on the internet. Start looking around there. There a hell of alot more retailers than those 3. Personally I might window shop in a Best Buy to look at something if they have it in stock. But I buy what I am looking for elsewhere.

  86. JohnMc says:

    CSHKURU, nobody should be stealing files. But rule of computer ownership is backup up early and backup often. Anything else is so easy to solve it’s crazy to take a computer to Geek Squad.

  87. cerbie says:

    @DannyG: Stop 1: Newegg. Stop 2: Amazon.com. Stop 3: eBay.

  88. thethrizzle says:

    Cant say that I am surprised by the tactics and the overall outcome.

  89. TheJokeIT says:

    Couple of things:
    1. I work for Geek Squad
    2. Not all agents are the same. There are many employees that don’t meet expectations as far as having appropriate knowledge of PC repair or networking because Geek Squad is based out of a corporate world where training a saleman to be a tech is desired over training a tech to be a salesman.
    3. @Sapling See point 2. In our defense, how about you take your computer to a Mom and Pop repair shop and get charged 70 bucks for labor to install a NIC. Case in point: Client comes to me and tells me that she’s unable to connect to the internet via dial-up and her local shop installed ANOTHER network card because her original must have been defective.
    It’s absolutely true that you may run into some agents that have no idea what they’re talking about, and it’s also true that the company has made a drastic change since when it was bought by Best Buy.
    Onto your accusations about not being able to leave a Geek Squad agent in a room alone-If you’re honestly that uptight about it then don’t bother paying for the service, trust me when I say I would have no qualms about letting you fix your own PC when you would take everything I say with a grain of salt.
    4. In my time working for this company (1 year and some change)I went from having no knowledge about PC repair (yes I’m agreeing with the fact again that agents are not hired for their technical skills) to getting A+, Net+, and currently working on my CCNA. I have never (despite encouragement)recommended something to a client that I felt they did not actually need just to make more money and I have always encouraged any new agent that taking care of the client is hands down better any day than making extra numbers for a scorecard. Contrary to belief, a vast majority of agents hate the idea of having to reinstall an operating system due to the fact that we believe it’s a disservice to a client for them to lose any data in the first place, let alone for them to have to reinstall their existing programs.
    5. My point of this entire post is this: For the people who bash Geek Squad and say that this job is a joke, I think you found the ignorant agent at your local precinct. This job provides a means of entry level PC repair to many young people. Some people go the extra mile to learn additional knowledge whereas some people find this to be just another job at Best Buy. Whether you’re taking your PC to Circuit City, Office Depot, Mom and Pop shops, or even Geek Squad-There are always going to be the employees that just don’t care. The problem is that no one seems to care about the thousands of happy client’s we have, instead there’s usually focus on the wrong judgement of an individual agent.

  90. olderwiser says:

    firing those who are dissenters is not normal during
    ‘times of peace’, so management may follow the
    ten step program
    [en.wikipedia.org]
    1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
    Circuit City and home nudity. I can take it like a man,
    but my wife’s nude photos on the internet – she can never
    attend her church with her friends.
    2. Create secret prisons.
    shift changes and following long procedures.
    3. Develop a thug caste.
    HQ team here to interview and help – not to interrogate.
    why does the conference room have a newly installed
    one-way looking mirror on the wall?
    4. internal surveillance system.
    Many hands touching many items. insurance agent suggest more cameras.
    5. Harass citizens’ groups.
    Label cliques and ‘natural leaders.’ interrupt the lunchtime breaks.
    6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
    firings are not justified. He kind of deserved it anyhow.
    7. Target key individuals.
    potential leaders.
    8. Control the press.
    e-mail
    9. Declare all dissent to be treason.
    HP chairwoman spies on the Board of Directors and journalists.
    isn’t spying on journalist illegal?
    10. Suspend the rule of law.
    Spy on journalists.
    don’t worry about HR or ‘black spot’ or blacklist. Older and wiser
    managers hire ‘somewhat’ directly. Be great at what you do
    (Linux scan of drive) and do the right thing.
    Join the professional organization/clubs/etc. People and peers
    know the truth, no matter what the ‘official press release says.’
    If you love tech – you are always a member of the club and
    yes ladies are included.

  91. Fizzle000 says:

    I shop at Best Buy frequently but here’s my one and only experience with the ‘Geek Squad’:

    I work for a boss who is owner/partners with a few different businesses, one of which is a retail pet supply store.

    Being the only computer savvy employee I was called to the pet store to
    see what could be done with an old non-functional point of sale computer
    loaded with CamData software.

    I open the computer case and press the power button, power supply revs up but nothing else happens and screen remains blank.

    I review the Geek Squad report (billed $149) detaining how the computer motherboard was dead and needed to be replaced.

    ‘Buy a new computer’ is what was indirectly stated then my attention turned
    to the monitor. BOOT FAILURE is what was now displayed after 3 minutes of
    nothing. The motherboard therefore shouldn’t be the problem I thought to
    myself…

    Unplugged the hard drive, reset the jumper connections to Master/no slave
    and plugged it back in then turend the computer back on.

    “Windows 98″ suddenly lit up the screen and it booted normally!!!

    Turns out the ‘dead motherboard’ was simply a connection failure in the hard drive cable!!!!!

    Went back to that Best Buy, spoke to a manager and was issued a full refund
    back to the pet store credit card without much fuss. (Guess the manager knew
    the real geekness of his staff)

    Went back to the pet store and shortly walked out with a check made out
    to myself for $100 LOL. Guess I should of charged ‘Geek’ prices but that
    was more than enough for re-seating a cable.

  92. mobbo says:

    Let me get this straight…

    1) The Consumerist exposes a huge problem with the Geek Squad concerning the violation of private client/consumer data.

    2) Best Buy/Geek Squad do the RIGHT THING and respond by conducting an in-house investigation of it’s agents, procedures, policies, and security of client data… the very clients and consumers The Consumerist claims to protect and inform.

    3) Rather than praise Best Buy/Geek Squad for doing the right thing by spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to fix the exposed flaws… The Consumerist posts an email from a jaded former supervisor who was incapable of running his/her precinct to standard, presenting NO facts to backup the claims.

    I understand this website is supposed to protect the “little guy”, but this is a bit outrageous. This company did the right thing by confirming their agents were following the procedures put into place to safe guard their clients’ data and correcting or eliminating people (like this “The Betrayed” guy) who tried to give them crap for doing so?!?!

    I really hope people who read this hissy-fit by “The Betrayed” realize that the Consumerist investigation was a great thing… and the response by Best Buy/Geek Squad was an extremely positive reaction to that investigation.

    My question to the editors of this publication is this:

    What is the incentive for a company to do the right thing to safeguard consumers when all that happens is what you see here?

    I know you shouldn’t HAVE TO reward a company like BB for doing the right thing… but why publish some story with ZERO facts by some idiot who couldn’t even keep a job at Geek Squad?

  93. teh_freaky says:

    I love the GeekSquad/Best Buy fanboys who’ve come here and chided Consumerist for running this letter…

    If this letter is indeed a true account of what is happening, how is Best Buy doing the “right thing?” It’s all a bunch of bull crap and grandstanding, and trying to make it appear as if Best Buy is doing something about the problem. It’s a PR move.

    I think Best Buy can’t be bothered about customers and their data. All they care about is $$$.

  94. mobbo says:

    @teh_freaky:

    I’m not a fanboy. I work for Geek Squad. This letter is FALSE, among other things. I went through the interview with the corporate guy. It was a simple interview to make sure that all the agents in our precinct individually knew the procedures and policies regarding data backups and safeguarding client data. It was also a chance to “squeal” in confidence about less-than-kosher agents. There was also a member of management with me in the interview room making sure there was no harrassment.

    I hope everyone will re-read that letter and make note of how it was the WRITER… not the corporate interviewer… who made it uncomfortable from the start. Count all the paranoid comments. Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer: would you suspect something was wrong at that precinct when the SUPERVISOR comes in acting like he’s being investigated for murder, when all he’s trying to find out is if the precinct is following procedure and properly safeguarding client data?

    On top of that, this guy did not weigh the Pro’s and Con’s correctly in regards to how he should conduct himself during the simple interview.

    Pros:

    -Maybe I can change the way this company, that has been in business for decades, conducts it’s interviews.
    -I can write an awesome letter to The Consumerist about my firing.

    Cons:

    -This really isn’t about a subject that is a big deal. Why start trouble when there is no trouble to begin with?
    -I am employed “at will”. They can let me go for anything for no reason at any time.
    -My drug habit will be exposed with the amount of paranoia in my Consumerist letter.

    Here are my favorite parts of the letter:

    “I immediately voiced my concern for the way my employees had been interrogated before me, and that I did not believe this was ethical practice for our business.”

    So… he went in there and immediately volunteered to make the interview uncomfortable. Reading this letter just sounds to me (and hope everyone else who re-read it) like a letter from a paranoid crack-head about the government.

    Then about his other employee:

    “His interrogation was an interview, it was done in a large meeting room, and where mine lasted almost two hours his lasted thirty minutes.”

    Umm… maybe because he didn’t go into the interview with the full intention of being an Erin Brockovich “hero”.

    I don’t care if his termination was “unfair”. Best Buy is at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to attempting to root out perverts in its precincts. Can you imagine the costs and the extra amount of time this investigation would have taken if every Geek Squad agent acted like a total jackass like this idiot?

  95. crazyfist says:

    People that are saying that Best Buy is in the right here are not understanding what is actually happening. Best Buy does not care about protecting customer data beyond that which the law requires them to do so. This investigation is not about cleaning up Geek Squad of bad apples, it is about giving the appearance of doing so to show the shareholders and whoever else that they have “cleaned up” their stores.

    Best Buy paid a lot of money to have a third party come in and interview everyone. The people doing the interviewing are looking to fire people because if they do that it appears that they have done their job well and Best Buy can say “we fired X number of employees, the company is now following all procedures”.

    Someone getting fired over using their own flash drive or burning an unauthorized tool on to disc is silly because if they didn’t do these things, customers computers would not get fixed. Many messed up computers end up at Geek Squad and it would be impossible to fix many of them with just the authorized tools. The first time a knowledgable employee runs into a problem they cannot fix with the provided tools but knows how to fix it otherwise, they go talk to their manager or supervisor and they say that they don’t want to know what the employee is doing but just to get it done. The second and third time most employees will still talk to a superior, but after that, if the higher up hasn’t told them to yet, they just start taking initiative on problems and getting it done with third party software/hardware/whatever.

  96. LordKDp says:

    I would LOVE to find a way to get this information up and onto a bunch of Best Buy screens and/or speakers. Since my local Best Buy seems to allow it’s customers to draw profanity on their display units and don’t care, but simply laugh at it, I don’t think this would be much different than seeing stick-figure porn everywhere.

    Perhaps a bit of tweaking, and then my local Best Buy will have the video of how Consumerist caught the porn stealing. Another thought! Microsoft Sam reading out this article.

  97. VideoGamerX says:

    You know, I’ve been working on people’s computers freelance for years as a side job, and it’s pretty much a given fact in the “trade” that you’re going to get your hard drive searched for as much free stuff as possible if you give your machine to a tech. All my friends who are techs pretty much sift hard drives for interesting or useful things we can steal for use later or just to collect. I don’t give a much of a crap if you like to have sex with your wife up her ass, it doesn’t shock, amaze, or give me much humor considering I can get all the porn I could ever possibly collect online, much better and more deviant from the internet. If you’re dumb enough to put all your bank account records electronically on your computer and just hand it to some stranger then you are simply a fool and should be parted with your money to teach you a lesson that hopefully you won’t repeat. (would you hand a total stranger your checkbook, your credit cards, your birth certificate and your social security card? ROFL!)

    I usually look for free programs, music, or movie files. Everyone’s got ‘em, and everyone is a boogyman copyright pirate. Face facts people, computers are a tool that give ordinary people if they know how to use Computers to at least some degree they gain a small escape over the control mechanisms in their environment and this culture of “be afraid and always do what the man in charge says”, i.e. paying for grossly overpriced movies and music and software, and going to church and being told having sex outside of matrimony is a sin and other such assorted mindwash bull.

    LOL at the stupidity of Best Buy (I’ve taken UPC’s off of one product and restickered them on others and rung them up at the register, employees are just too underpaid to look or care to see that changed out the UPC, that’s my little F* You to Best Buy), and of employees that are “Loyal” to any company, we should all steal and cheat from them as much as we could possibly get away with, considering the executives living in their multimillion dollar mansions driving Bugatis and Fararis, look at you good little worker bee as just another cog in the machine bloating their power and wealth foundation. Do you think that people like that think a moment about your pathetic existence while they are being served fine wines and expensive drugs, getting served hand and foot by their servants, indulging in all sorts of sexual perversions and pleasures the world can offer them for a price, and gambling away your sweat at the Casinos. There needs to be a whole heck of a lot more gremlins in the works until those Executives take million dollar pay cuts and give the people at the bottom significant pay raises to bring their standard of living up. I’ve always asked, WTF can you do for greater whole of human society with multimillions/billions of dollars just collecting interest in a bank somewhere.

    I guess people are just plain weened on this notion of being subservient their entire lives, and in America this vision of being wealthy is dangled like a carrot, an empty hope that we will someday achieve the “American Dream” (And you end up dead on Social Security, wondering where your life went wrong)

  98. Denada says:

    @VideoGamerX: Wow. Just … wow.

  99. Kendra says:

    If you feel that strongly, file a Wrongful Termination suit.

    Or find a new job, and make sure to pad your resume with references that will vouch for you.

  100. Kajj says:

    @VideoGamerX: Working in a service industry does not give you the right to steal. Is handing your credit card to a waiter implicit permission for him to go on a shopping spree with it?

    You seem to think that thievery is justified as long as it’s hidden under a dense mass of subliterate pseudo-revolutionary ramblings.

    You should find work in an industry that limits your capacity to harm the public. Maybe washing “Fararis” is more your speed.

  101. ehlaren82 says:

    You people have to be old fogies to believe in this day and age if you have a computer that can somehow be accessed either physically on on a LAN that no one is going to merge your directory named ‘Awesome Porn’ into their porn.

    It is not immoral to take the porn you downloaded off the internet. If it is porn of yourself then it is immoral for them to take. The “Wall of Shame” is kind of over the top and ridiculous and most likely borderline immoral especially if it has their names. If it’s just some weird porn that you remember as “some guy that brought his computer in” and its not on public display then most people wouldn’t give two cents.

    After reading the bajillionth person to infer that this dude was copying a music cd or something I have come to the conclusion a lot of people have this fanatic anti piracy mood where they’re immediately jumping to conclusions anytime anyone says a key word such as “CD-R, DVD-R, music, files, etc” since obviously these things don’t have legit uses whatsoever. Also, reading comprehension is a good skill to have since it wasn’t even his CD. The employees he watched did it and he just KNEW about it and STOPPED it after it happened.

  102. gman863 says:

    Although I’m not overly impressed with Best Buy as a company, a great degree of the blame lies on with the people who brought their PCs in for service. If people would take two simple steps, they could avoid risking someone else seeing their files and avoid the outrageous fees services such as Geek Squad and Circuit City’s Firedog charge:

    ONE: LOAD BOTH AN ANTI-VIRUS AND ANTI-SPYWARE PROGRAM AND KEEP BOTH UPDATED. Viruses and spyware are by far the #1 reason Windows-based PCs require service!

    Don’t screw with programs like Symantec or McAfee that slow down your system and require paid renewals. Go to http://www.zdnet.com, click on downloads and search for “AVG Anti-Virus” and “Spybot”. Both programs are totally FREE to download and use, and both provide excellent protection (www.zdnet.com requires free registration to download; however they are a reputable site without spam or spyware).

    TWO: If you don’t wank to risk others seeing your files, STORE THEM ON A REMOVABLE DRIVE!

    External hard drives that connect to a USB port start at around $70. Larger units ($200-$300) can hold hundreds of movies or millions of photos. In the event your PC craps out, you leave the drive with your private files AT HOME and away from the prying eyes of the Geek Squad. As an added bonus, using a removable drive on a shared PC allows you to disconnect and hide the drive when you have finished using the PC, thereby eliminating any chance of Junior or your spouse accidentally discovering your fetish for trans-gendered Eskimo midgets (g).

    I do PC repair work on the side for friends and co-workers. As a rule, I stay totally out of their “My Documents” folders unless I have to troubleshoot problems with a specific application such as Word, Outlook or an issue with media playback. Short of accidentally stumbling on child porn or a terrorist plot, I’m a firm believer in “don’t ask; don’t tell”.

  103. SandmanET says:

    Staples Easy Tech > Best Buy Geek Squad > Circuit City Firedog

    thats the break down

  104. Marcus says:

    I’m really damn tired of the bullshit that gets bandied about regarding Best Buy employees. Its as though, despite this man’s willingness to tell his story in this public forum, people couldn’t wait to tell him what a life-altering mistake he made working for the retailer.

    I’m no Best Buy apologist, but when I hear people discussing the “average best buy employee, I think of the folks I worked with and get a bit peeved. While it is true that some Best Buy employees have the intelligence of a stump, there were a lot of us there that really knew the product and tried hard to do well by the customer.

    Next time you think about saying something like that, ask yourself if you’d feel the same way if you said it about a minority. Because what you’re doing is simply unfair sterotyping. Next time you get great service at Best Buy, post it on here.

    Dont tell this guy it’s his fault for losing his job. Thats just rude.

    Let’s see how long it takes you people to accuse me of working for BBY.

  105. Marcus says:

    GamerX:

    Way to engage in petty theft and call it “a subtle F* You to Best Buy,” Whatever makes you sleep at night.

    No matter how much I hate a chain, I’m not going to break the damn law just as an affront to their organiztion.

    Oh, wait… thats just how you justify that behavior.

  106. Will210 says:

    Loss prevention loves to go after the disabled and Hispanics, yes it is the companies fault. If you are feel you have been discriminated against because of race, color, handicap, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age (over 40) or national origin file a charge with the EEOC ASAP! If they accused you of any criminal act and did not provide proof sue them for slander, emotional distress and wrongful termination. We need people to hold corporations responsible by lawsuits, word of mouth, and government enforcement. Also vote in every election because not by doing this that helps America elect a dumbass president Mr. George W Bush aka Muslim Hitler to office. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! I am just waiting for someone to accuse me of being a “liberal”

  107. VouxCroux says:

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. Boo hoo. I feel bad that you lost your job for things you didn’t do, but it happens when you are in a supervisory role.