Best Buy Porn Thief Inquisitions Revealed

After reading “How Geek Squad Investigated Its Own Porn Thieves,” another fired Geek Squad tech has chimed in to tell us how the internal witch hunt for porn thieves proceeded.

I had worked for Geek Squad for over a year, and Best Buy a year and a half before that and was recently let go. Back when they started scanning computers, they said they found downloaded music and movies on our machine and we were to send them the hard drives. So we boxed them up and sent them out.

A month or so later the interrogations happened. We all had our turn, and when it was mine, I walked into a room with the table pushed against the wall and two chairs in the middle of the room sitting two feet apart with nothing in between.

Our store’s loss prevention manager and the district loss prevention manager was there, and I reached out to shake his hand. He shook mine, looked me in the eyes and said “I already know if you are going to tell me the truth or not,” with an intimidating grip on my hand still. Then we sat down, our knees inches apart. He asked me how long I had worked there, and how many hours a week I worked, why I liked working there. He didn’t really care why, he just wanted to tell me why he liked working for Best Buy. He told me, “Well, I used to be a cop, and when you’re a cop everything you do is reactive, you can’t really stop people from committing crimes. Here I normally get to come in and make sure processes are in place so we don’t have problems. But here we have a problem, and now I have to be reactive and be a cop again.”

From there he asked me all sorts of questions about why there was music on our computer and where it came from, which was mostly us backing up customer’s music because they paid us to, and my coworkers and i bringing in our iPods, which was ok with all the levels of management in the store. He even made a joke about how that wasn’t “SOP” (the Best Buy bible), but he knew that our store LP manager was ok with it. It was ok because they trusted us. I was asked why we had Linux isos, which made me laugh. Also, during the interview anytime I was asked a question, I don’t know wasn’t an acceptable answer. At one point I stopped answering him because I was just sitting there saying I don’t know. Then he had me write down everything I knew about in the precinct and sign it at the bottom. The district manager told me he would read it over afterwards to make sure it was “what they needed.” I filled out the paper, signed it and gave it to him. Then they told me if I talked to anyone about what happened I would be fired.

Then the interesting began. My supervisor immediately started looking for another position at one of the 3 new stores opening in our area. He got one and put in his two week notice and stopped caring about his job. Everything started falling apart, then he left so we had no supervisor. So I put in my two week notice and found another job. The thing was our supervisor didn’t know anything about fixing computers. All he card about was “selling our services” to people so he would meet his budgets and then tell us techs to fix whatever the customer wrote down which more than once included “retrieve deleted files” which yes we could have done if we were allowed to use the software, but we weren’t. So he left and everything got better. And I talked to my general manager about staying, and he told me he saw how I had helped being a leader once our supervisor left and he was impressed and would like to see me move up in the company. A few days later we had a new supervisor who was a really nice guy and knew his stuff about computer fixing.

Now, I know you guys know about Jonny Utah (internally Geek Squad drops the ‘h’ so they don’t get sued). Well I despise JonnyUtah. The entire time I worked there we were given goals of a certain number of computers which were to be fixed by JonnyUtah each week. The goal was seven. Most of the time we didn’t hit our JonnyUtah goals because we were able to fix all the computers we brought in ourselves without needing help. I disliked it because:

1) I didn’t get to work on the customer’s computer
2) Someone in another country that does not have the same privacy laws as the United States was fixing our customer’s computers.
3) Anytime we asked where the JonnyUtah guys were located we were told either it was “Top Secret” or “An undisclosed cave in a mountain on a remote island.” Seriously.
4) We did a much better job than Jonny ever. We had so many people bring computers back that those guys “fixed” still having problems or hardware issues that you can’t really fix over a remote connection.

On October 18th, the day after my birthday I came into work early and the entire district staff (probably 6 or 7 people) were hanging out in our area where we fix computers talking to my friend who was one of the other full time techs. I went into the break room to eat my lunch and my buddy came in and told me the district guys were asking him if he would be offended if he had to go out on the floor and sell Geek Squad services instead of fixing computers, and having JonnyUtah fix more of the computers. I clocked in and five minutes later was told by my general manager that I was being let go for having music and movies and unapproved software on the computer.

So whatever I don’t work there anymore, I’m not crying. But I wish people would realize that Geek Squad isn’t worth what you pay. Best Buy’s rules kept us from being great computer techs. They wouldn’t let us use linux in the store to do data backups because that required an extra $1500 (not exaggerating) from the customer and we had to UPS the drive to California. We weren’t allowed to do laptop repair in the store, even though I’m capable of handling a soldering iron to reattach people’s DC power jacks. And they’ll tell you this is because they are sending them to the “laptop techs” or whatever, but most of the time that stuff would come back broke anyways and customer’s would yell at us. It was a horrible situation for everyone and I think shows that not everything can work on a large scale. For someone like me computer repair is easy. I could have done so much more than they expected of me and brought in so much more money for them and made customers a lot happier not having to wait two days for a guy to put his laptop on the UPS truck. But that’s the thing. Geek Squad doesn’t want me. They want someone who will take your money and have someone in another country actually do the work. To sell you a $59 diagnostic fee to call you the next day and say “yeah, your laptop is completely dead just like you told us, com buy a new one.”

I hope people start realizing that Geek Squad is nothing more than marketing. You see the tie and the white shirt and you assume that the agent knows what they’re talking about. The truth is most of them don’t. There are no tests. There is very little training and that is mostly on how to sell things. In fact my old supervisor had a motto I heard him use way too often: Perception is reality.

I’ve enjoyed reading your site since before any of this ever happened, and although in some round about way I ended up getting fire because of an article that was posted on your site, I’ll forever support you guys because it’s sites like this that can make a difference (and you guys have) in how companies do their business and treat their customers.

Cheers,
Agent Zero

PREVIOUSLY: Leaks: How Geek Squad Investigated Its Own Porn Thieves
Best Buy’s Geek Squad Scours Stores In Person For Stolen Porn N’ Stuff
VIDEO: Consumerist Catches Geek Squad Stealing Porn From Customer’s Computer
(Photo: Victor Chiu)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Libertariot says:

    “I am an F-B-I Agent!”

  2. Guizzy says:

    Wow, I guess being a computer tech somewhere like that really sucks. Small shops tend to do a much better job anyway.

  3. mopar_man says:

    I stopped halfway through. Proofreading goes a long way and “Agent Zero” doesn’t seem to know how to do that.

  4. jpx72x says:

    “I hope people start realizing that Geek Squad is nothing more than marketing.”

    You don’t say? I thought people liked being hard-sold an extended warranty on a $30 cordless phone by some kid that’s working at Best Buy becuase he dropped out of college.

  5. OLEDRevolution says:

    It took best buy 3 months to figure out that my laptop needed a new video card. The funny thing is that the first day I took it there I said “I keep getting an error that says something is wrong with my video card and then the machine shuts down”. They insisted that the problem was dust and me. I stopped going to BestBuy in March of 2006. In the 90s, it was my favorite store.

  6. startertan says:

    I miss my Best Buy discount.

  7. hubris says:

    @mopar_man: Jesus, way to be sanctimonious.

    Anytime you have a huge corporation with “scripts”, crap like his s going to happen. The lowest common denominator comes in. And since it would cost way too much to train everyone to the level that the most knowledgeable people are at, they decide to lower standards and not let people who know what they’re doing actually do it.

  8. lostalaska says:

    Agent zero, it has been brought to our attention that your letter violates Best Buy’s double speak policy. This case has been forwarded to the thought police, please wait at your terminal for one of our Orwellian supervisors. We have scheduled your pick up for some time between 8am and noon. Thank you for your patience and remember for great deals on electronics always shop Best Buy!

    //end snarky sarcasm.

  9. The Meathead says:

    @mopar_man: I’d rather understand the message than care about the grammar.

  10. coffeemate says:

    Holy cow… Not sure if that’s what they’re teaching managers now, but I had an Ops Manager at store 7 who would constantly parrot “Perception is reality.”
    Um, what if the perception is that you’re a jerk?

  11. GothamGal says:

    I haven’t shopped at Best Buy in eons. I saw the Sony HDTV that I wanted at Best Buy for $2000 and I researched it online and bought it for $1450, delivery included. Why would I go there to pay more and get bad service?

  12. ShortBus says:

    I have to agree with mopar_man; I found this story to be unfocused, tedious to read, and not very enlightening. It honestly sounds like a rant that was copy-and-pasted off some 16-year old’s MySpace page.

  13. Paradise says:

    @mopar_man: i stopped reading your comment after the first sentence because by that point i knew you were a jerk.

    his grammar isn’t that bad and he doesn’t make a living writing. the message was clear so cut him some slack.

  14. Paradise says:

    @ShortBus: how old do you think he is? that’s probably not that far off.

    what’s up with all the grammar nazi, morons at this site? screw it, i’m going back where i came from.

  15. DallasDMD says:

    The letter read fine to me. Its a detailed account of his experience at Best Buy. Do you guys all have ADHD or something? Srsly, if you don’t want to read the story, then don’t bore us with your offtopic moaning and groaning.

    With that said: sux for the guy and it reflects very well on the typical politics that go on inside of corporations.. lots of pettiness and people who do not have leadership character.

  16. LordKDp says:

    Agent Zero, you are awesome. More inside information is always a good thing.

  17. hn333 says:

    You’re way to smart to be working at bestbuy, I once applied at Geek Squad and the guy at the interview felt so seedy I never went back for the second interview.

  18. privatejoker75 says:

    I haven’t been to a Best Buy in about 4 years. I can buy anything i need cheaper either elsewhere or online. I bought my plasma tv online for $600 cheaper including free shipping and zero sales tax.

  19. Egakino says:

    @Paradise: OMGOMGOMG capitalize the begining of your sentences, otherwise I can not understand what you are saying. Litterallly my eye exploded from my head because of your bad grandma litteralllliy, no joke that happened.

  20. huginn says:

    @mopar_man: another consumerist grammar nazi.

    Who cares if his grammar is a little off. his message is clear. That’s what weshould care about

  21. DrGirlfriend says:

    We’re not dealing with a professional writer here. Could it have been a bit easier to read? Yes. Was it unreadable? No. It conveyed the message properly. But I suppose complaining about writing style is the thing to do, because I see it referenced almost every time a letter is posted.

  22. Mr. M says:

    I really enjoy the comments most individuals post on GIZMODO but I feel that today is a sad day in GIZMODO history. Today the people of GIZMODO are “flaming” a man who is pointing out the flaws in Best Buy. Agent Zero came here for help and support yet we chose to humiliate him/her on this site. We all know how hard it is to gain respect in the tech field with out being labeled a “geek” or “nerd.” One of are own needs some support and I will be the first to say “THANK YOU AGENT ZERO.”

  23. mantari says:

    Ooooh! An angry tell-all letter from a disgruntled employee!
    The best kind of tell-all letter!

  24. I LOVE it when I’m at BB or CC and hear to their geek squad/firedog associates lie from every angle possible to strike fear into the customer that if they don’t buy the extended warranty/service, their stuff WILL break. it’s news to me that at least one of them survived the shock therapy of retail at such stores. the majority get sucked in and sell products rather than selling solutions and honesty

  25. Egakino says:

    @privatejoker75: You were charged 0 sales tax, that doesn’t mean you don’t owe it depending on the place you live. Not like it will become an issue unless you are a company buying a lot of things online but I am still gonna toss it out there.

  26. bohemian says:

    Thanks for the reminder about how surreal the corporate world can be.

  27. apt94jesse says:

    I just helped a coworker of mine buy an HP laptop from Best Buy. I told him to look for a machine with 2gb of ram… now he tells people he has a “2.0 laptop.” Pretty funny.

    Anyhow, it came loaded with TONS of crap “trial” software, more than I expected. Napster, Raphsody, AOL, Norton, and so on and so forth. Then Geek Squad will then remove all of this trial software for something like $100.

    Real consumer-centric. They profit by creating a problem, then profit by offering a solution.

    Does anyone else picture Agent Zero as Neo sitting across from Agent Smith?

  28. kingdom2000 says:

    All it takes is a five minute google search to verify if the cost is worth it. Many people take five minutes to read reviews for a $20 item but can’t be bothered for a $150 in services on their computer? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    If people can’t be bothered to take those five minutes to learn if Geek Squad is worth working for or doing business with, they almost deserve to get screwed by them. Its pretty much a given that its now a sales arm of Best Buy that doesn’t absolutely nothing for you except empty your wallet.

  29. Munsoned says:

    I feel bad for the OP, but I also have a feeling that there’s more to the story than meets the eye–oh wait, that’s just my eye twitching from being forced to read the poor grammar.

    (yes, that was a joke!)

  30. Heyref says:

    @The Meathead: Sometimes the bad grammar gets in the way of understanding the message.

  31. mattindustries says:

    I am surprised with all of these reports on Geek Squad no reports have been made on Data Doctors, a company I feel is ripping people off like crazy.

  32. Ass_Cobra says:

    I had no idea Gilbert Arenas was a Geek Squadder.

    I walked out of a best buy about 6 years ago because the sales guy called me an idiot for not getting an extended warranty. I was buying a cheap computer for the company I worked for (small company, needed something that day as a stopgap for a dead PC). I pointed out it’s more idiotic to call a customer an idiot. The warranty focus is so smarmy but I guess if you are smart enough to be allergic to sleaze you weren’t getting one in the first place.

  33. DAK says:

    @Heyref: Except for when it doesn’t. Like now.

  34. GameBreaker says:

    I worked as an agent part time for 6 months, okay I won’t lie I wanted a new LCD TV, and a friend wanted home theater, and I also wanted an Xbox 360. That being said, this was just a side job to get some sweet discounts over the holiday season while I worked my real job. It didn’t take much to get the job, a hello and a handshake was about it with a very rudimentary questionaire. What is a Hard Drive… If you put a magnet near a monitor what will happen.. DUH?!!

    Anyways, there was porn and music on that computer that could be watched and heard for weeks, but I see that as a minor problem compared to the glaringly obvious fact that half the people there didn’t know what the hell they were doing. Sure there were a few key/knowledgeable people who performed the lion’s share of the work. I left after some well placed purchases as I didn’t need to work there nor did I want to deal with the joke of a work ethic.
    Unfortunately one of my close friend’s still work there and sadly it follows much of the same story as the two geek squad informants. Let it be a warning, that the service was poor a couple years ago when they did have the tools, but now that it is being outsourced… think twice of the service you get. I will never take my computer to be worked on there, but I will go pick up some new DVD’s on tuesday.

  35. erratapage says:

    Okay… so back in the ’90′s when I went to BB, no one would wait on me, cuz I don’t got the male parts and so I’m obviously not going to make a buying decision.

    This century, the blue shirts all hover around you like they’re girls at the chicken ranch trying to get your bizness. Last time I was there, I couldn’t decide who to choose, so I left and went to CC where there was only one customer service rep.

    Odd how more sales pressure doesn’t mean more sales, isn’t it?

  36. elislider says:

    NOTE: CompUSA “techpros” are exactly the same as this, except as far as i know there is no remote-diag/fixing service implemented (unless they did that in the last 3 months since i stopped working there). I was a “Service Writer” which is basically the guy at the tech counter that sold you the stuff you didnt need and checked in and out computers. The real techs in the back were underpaid and highly stressed to do as much as they could (i think goals were sometimes like 10+ computers completed every day per tech). The techs were without a doubt the only cool guys that worked in the entire store, and they knew 100 times more than the “Sales” guys. the sales guys didnt know anything about what they were selling and we constantly had to send stuff that they brought to the tech counter back out to them because they sold the wrong whatever to the customer. The only reason i wasnt also a tech was because i didnt have an A+ certification (like that really means anything anyways) and they only reason i didnt have that was because it cost $400 and CompUSA wouldnt pay for me to get it. When i was hired for the job, they NEVER said anything about it being a sales position. I wanted to work there to put my tech knowledge and experience to use, but whenever i did that i was yelled at for not selling enough stuff or not being where i was supposed to. basically they wanted me to sell stuff at the counter, and if there werent custoemrs i was still supposed to stand there doing nothing, instead of helping the techs in the back, who desperately needed the help and were incredibly gracious when i snuck back and helped anyways. A good percentage of the techs productivity on the days i worked was because i was helping them instead of standing around like a dumbass.

    So customers, be aware that these tech places are not all they say they are, simply because they are a corporation who doesnt care about the customers, they only care about themselves and profitability. i would trust the actual full-time techs, but nobody else. the supervisors know NOTHING. they know less than the sales guys, even the sales manager knows less than the sales “associates”. and above all, the store managers dont have a single quality thought outside of making sure everyone knows that month’s sales tactics

    If you know a college kid that does tech work, and you have moderate trust in him/her, then go to them with your questions because they will help you so much better (and for cheaper too)

  37. SilentSomno says:

    @mopar_man:

    “I stopped halfway through.”

    What did you stop? Oh, you meant reading, I think.

    I can’t be sure because you didn’t write in a complete sentence.

    Complete sentences are your friend.

    If you are going to correct someone for their grammar it’s best not to be a hypocrite.

    And yes I will admit that my grammar in this post isn’t perfect, but that is beside the point. At least my message is understandable.

  38. parad0x360 says:

    I got kicked out of a Best Buy a few months ago because a Geek Squad guy was selling a young couple a laptop and telling them how they couldnt leave without paying Geek Squad to let them install AV software and everything and making sure everything worked.

    I told them he was full of shit and that GS didnt need to touch the laptop. I told them AV software takes 5 clicks to install at home and couldnt be easier and that some AV programs are free and work fine.

    Well that pissed him off, he yelled at me, i told him he shouldnt lie to customers to meet his quota and he called security who told me to leave or they would call the police.

    So…I put down the 4 HD-DVD movies ($100+) and 3 Xbox 360 ($180) games in my hand and left. I also didnt buy the laptop i had gone there for in the 1st place ($800).

  39. Empire says:

    I will never buy anything at Best Buy again. I knew Geek Squad was a joke, but crappy corporate cultures really piss me off, so this is the last straw.

  40. BigNutty says:

    Being in business for myself I must ask myself how the other side would answer to this employee ranting.

  41. TsumiAM91 says:

    My dad NEVER shops at compusa because he had one bad experience. Back in the 80s he brought a computer in for service or he was buying a computer(idk which one) land the people there were telling him basically if they spent more than 20 minutes on a given customer and didn’t get a sale, it was a waste of time and money. So we go to either staples, best buy, or cc

  42. mconfoy says:

    @Paradise: @omerhi: @Huginn:

    Look at mopar’s comments. He comments on the buys of the day 3 times in one day. ignore and stop feeding him.

  43. knappoleon says:

    I used to work for Best Buy too. They told us at the El Cajon store in San Diego to lie to the customers to sell Service Plans. They would have the cashiers tell customers they returned 3 products that morning to get someone to purchase the service plan. The PS3 for gods sake. BB was also the only and first time I was ever written up…for working on my break. Thats right. They wanted me to tell a hardworking soldier with a family that they were going to keep his car overnight because they couldnt finish it in time i.e. 9pm. Damn his ride to work the next morning. Truth be told, it was because the manager and the other employee in car audio didn’t know how to do alarms and their lil part time military employee was the only one who did. The only good thing I got out of BB was settlement checks from them being sued about their time management practices and my pay.

    Anything from the Geek Squad Employees, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear,in the least bit.

    I just wish I could get interviewed, I would own that LP hack.

  44. joellevand says:

    I do wish they still taught basic English writing skills in high schools. *sigh*

    Was this letter anything most of us didn’t already know about Best Buy specifically and retail in general? How does that old (and currently unprintable) 2000 AD/Judge Dredd comic go? “Everything is disposable, including the staff.”

  45. VenoMuS says:

    i got fired from sears a while back after some investigations, they asked me all sorts of questions and at the end they told me i couldnt say anything….pfft, they should have said that at the beginning, i told everyone on my way out.

  46. mac-phisto says:

    dear agent zero:

    the beauty of “at will” employment is that your boss can’t make you sign anything. ever. sure, they may “let you go” if you don’t, but if they’re questioning you in a makeshift interrogation room, that’s probably coming anyway.

    good luck. find a job doing computer repair for a competitor. then go give some of your old friends your business card to hand out. you’ll have more fun & feel better about your job in the process.

    if you don’t have a local repair shop near you, maybe it’s time you started thinking about providing one.

  47. @apt94jesse:

    pcdecrapifier.com

    you can paypal me that $100 if your co-worker is feeling generous ;)

  48. dshjyd says:

    Quit complaining about the grammar. Way to be petty.

  49. Ailu says:

    @discounteggroll: Thanks for the tip! I’m gonna copy the Decrapifier to my tech tools folder on my USB. Very useful.

  50. Ailu says:

    @dshjyd: There’s a lot of self-righteous people on this board, but sadly, you just have to endure them, because nothing anyone says discourages them in the least.

  51. partisan77 says:

    Circuit City’s firedog is going to go down the same path. Our store has had success, but we don’t follow the companies Scopes of Work. We do dc pin repairs, use linux for data recoveries, and dont use crappy remote repair services. But 90% of the others stores do not. In fact, we have to do most of work under the radar of corporate. They believe our revenue comes from the limited amount of services we can perform (such as $90 to remove “non-malicious spyware” from your new pc). I have helped in other locations and seen the poor workmanship that reflects the company. Bottom line, if BB and CC hired real techs and NOT semi-computer literate sales people, they would not be in the state they are in now. And us real techs could get the pay we deserve.

  52. forgottenpassword says:

    LOL! “Perception is reality” …. sounds like something from the book “1984″

  53. sonicwind says:

    Yada, yada, yada. Tell us about all the great porn you stole.

  54. StevieD says:

    @parad0x360:

    I just do a lot of snorting and rolling of my eyes, I gain a lot of attention.

    I have been asked “do you work here?” by many customers at CC/BB/OD et al over the years.

    I don’t.

    The follow up question is “which would you buy?” is just a fantastic question.

    I am not a well liked customer at BB. Oh well.

  55. SOhp101 says:

    @sonicwind: Yeah, I second that. Who cares it was a crappy job? I think working at Best Buy at the retail level automatically equals that. It was supposed to be all worth it because of the free pictures/music/movies! ;)

  56. Affinity says:

    I like reading about these stories sometimes, as I share a majority of the concerns and desires from (ex) employees. The general feeling is that GeekSquad is a great idea, a great place to work (given circumstances) and bolsters a great community (if it were left to GS employees only).

    However the situation I describe is usually the exception not the rule. I feel it in my store from time to time, but we have a strong GS core that isn’t pushed around easily. When the performance-monitored, sales oriented, metrics driven management interferes with the talent based, technically driven services department that [was] is Geeksquad, there is a huge clash of ideals, beliefs, morals and ethics. Management wants there bonus and to keep there job. Thats it. They are non technical followers placed to implement corporate policies and goals. Geeksquad employees, the ones who apply to be a technician, don’t do numbers, they don’t do sales. We provide services, and while we want to be compensated for said services, we don’t believe in pushing for every penny.

    A majority of the people I read who are ex agents feel this way but have had to face the unfortunate reality that GeekSquad is part of the BestBuy corporate market machine now. Technical aspects of GS are under fire and have all but been wiped from the priorities list. They do a GREAT job of SAYING the culture is alive, well and holding true. But when the aforementioned management is in control of hiring our supervisors and deciding our schedules, then the culture is shattered and we are helpless.

    Geeksquad is my part time job, I’ve been full time both here and I’ve been in charge of Circuit Cities PC Services for a single location(Before firedog). Its all the same and will continue to be the same. They are there for a profit and in the end management wishes to keep there job. BestBuy, moreso than any other place I’ve seen, is so cutthroat with non performing management. 3 bad months in a row and you are cooked. I’m going to hold onto GeekSquad as much as I can because I love the people I work with. I just hope we don’t get the same shitty treatment as some of the stories I’ve read here.

  57. ExtraCelestial says:

    @hn333:

    agreed. there is a much better much more satisfying job for u around the corner.

    im always floored by the widespread seediness that goes on behind doors at best buy. the only time ive been to best buy since i started reading these about a year ago was to get a quickie replacement headset for a long road trip through a hands free state. it was last minute and i didnt have time to go anywhere else. i felt so dirty

  58. deserthiker says:

    @jpx72x:

    Dropping out of college to work in a computer related field worked out OK for Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell, didn’t it? Maybe they didn’t start out at best buy but your next boss might.

  59. dvdchris says:

    Never sign anything during an LP investigation. They cannot coerce you into signing any document. Simply say ‘I don’t sign documents without the counsel of my attorney’ (whether or not you have one)
    Most of the time the LP investigator is clueless and simply discovers what is going on through the ‘interviews’ because people are stupid and trip themselves up. Always take your own notes during the ‘interview.’ Do not let him intimidate you into not doing this. Get his name, position, and what company he works for in writing in your notes. Sometimes an outside company is used to do these LP things so don’t assume he actually works for the same company you do.
    If the LP investigator threatens to call the police during your ‘interview’ say ‘that’s a good idea’ and get out your cell phone and start calling them. That will put an end to that crap real quick; the last thing they really want to do is involve the police when they are just conducting a fishing expedition.
    This of course assumes you are not involved in any theft or illegal conduct.
    Most LP investigators for retail companies are the worst kind of scum and don’t deserve any help doing their job.

  60. brie987 says:

    Hey Agent Zero sorry about your situation your story is very important and insightful.

    You claim to be very good with computers, well be the entrepreneur you should be. I recently needed my LCD monitor/Tv fixed, I thought I could do it but alas it was beyond me, I needed help. I checked my local repair companies they were very expensive as I needed someone to make a house call, its a big monitor and i live in Brooklyn; LUG and SUBWAY just do not mix. I did find such a person on my local Craigslist, he was 18 and very proficient. He charged $20 to look at the monitor, he kept the $20 whether he could fix it or not or he would charged $50 in the event he could fix it along with any wires or parts I would need. He soldered a part and checked everything, an hour later it was up and running and still is today, I tipped him an extra $20 he really knew his stuff, he carried his own tools and if he didn’t have a part he would tell me exactly which part I would need so I could purchase it on line again limiting my expense.

    It seems to me Agent Zero that you should consider this option and work for your self, isn’t this how Geek squad got started in the first place before he sold out to Best Buy?
    You have just experienced how you DO NOT want customers to be treated, well Agent Zero SHOW THEM HOW ITS DONE!!!!! Good luck to you in all your future endeavors!

  61. twylight23 says:

    Cooltidbits- Lp investigators are the worst kind of scum? really? Thanks! good to know i’m scum. I thought i was just catching crooks.
    Sounds like somebody went to jail for stealing from their job….

    p.s. due to lawsuits, if LP is interviewing you, you are already caught, with evidence that could be used to defend the company in court-and prosecute you. I would love to see some cashier I was interviewing call the police, it would make my decision to prosecute for me.
    And getting his name and company, whatever. Cooltidbits sounds like the kind of retard who demands a police officers badge number while the bracelets are going on, like if its a magic code that defeats the police. haha

  62. mazda3jdm says:

    I used to work for geek squad and we used software that was not legal by best buy standards but we still did it. We also used key gens for windows or activation killers when we did a restore without cd keys from Microsoft. When the users ran Microsoft updates and windows caught on that it was a stolen key. the computer was unusable to the customer and would come back and complain. but by that time it was out of the repair warranty and were paying it again and again.The software we used called a mri disk is avaialble online just search for it its a bunch of spyware,antivirus,and other tools to run on the custumer pc before sticking it on johnny utah.We also used winternals but bestbuy but i didnt say we did ;-).

  63. Eilonwynn says:

    One of the things I truly LOVE about my neighborhood computer store is that they do any and all repairs right out in the open unless you specifically ask them not to. It really creates a feeling of trust, and that I can walk right up to the guy and ask him a question and NOT expect to be charged for the answer. In short: Skip best buy for anything but cheap DVD & Software purchases, and go with small companies for all the rest. They’ll fight way harder for what you want.

  64. kc2idf says:

    Now, I know you guys know about Jonny Utah

    Um, actually, no.

    Can someone give me a context-appropriate fill-in? Google isn’t helping me on this.

  65. Hosalabad says:

    Really, who cares. You worked for a corrupt rip off company that only screws people out of their money. Now you get fired and tell others not to use them. Cry me a river. Go back to school and get yourself a real job with computers.

  66. El_Guapo says:

    @kc2idf:

    Geek Squad uses a software program – Agent Jonny Utah that is a diagnostic/repair tool that another person remotely operates to fix a PC. Many modern corporate IT departments use similar tools, when working at other remote sites, so it’s not uncommon at all, if a bit limiting in the kinds of work you can do.

    I don’t know if it’s been confirmed yet, but the going theory is that it’s a tech in another country that is fixing said PC, which Agent Zero mentioned is not the greatest idea, due to privacy laws being different (and of course, quality of work). In theory, Jonny Utah could fix many issues on PC’s, but in practice, it can only fix the most very basic – if rumors are to be believed.

  67. a911now says:

    Hey Zero I too am a ex agent of the geek squad. I worked there for a little under 3 years before I walked out the door middle finger in the air. We had some of the same shady stuff happen to us I rememeber working what Best Buy calls an “overnight” working from noon till 4 AM then working again the next day at noon till close. Then I was forced to go home early so that I would never get the dreaded overtime. I know for a fact in my precinct customer data was not private at all we had customers come in and our managers would tell us to immediatly search their computers for pictures of them. Some of my coworkers at the time would go for this and then migrated data from customer pc’s to their homes. We also used linux to do backups until someone got their feelings hurt and ratted us out. I also can recall that the auditor came in and found our 6o some gigs of music we stole of customer computers and Ipods. They were not excited to find that. However, I left a few weeks before the interrogation started but many of the coworkers there went to high school with me. I found out that they sat employees down with one manager in front and one behind them to ask them questions with the same if you talk you walk speech. All the time I spent in the geek squad taught me one thing once your computer goes in there everything on it is now going to be fair game. So I did learn on thing to never do never take your computer to the geek squad.
    sincerly
    Agent A911now

  68. XXX888XXX says:

    @El_Guapo: Side note, The program that Geek Squad’s Jonny Utah stuff uses is called “LogMeIn Rescue” and is exactly like the privately available pay version. Check out http://www.logmein.com for a free version “LogMeIn Free” (I think thats what they call it now) of the software that you can use to remotely connect to your system from anywhere in the world, Or use it for people who may need your help from time to time without having to drive across town!

  69. kc2idf says:

    @El_Guapo: Muchas gracias.

  70. Niskyspy says:

    I live in central NY and there is a CompUSA, BestBuy, CircuitCity and bunch of other shops in 10mi range. But most of the people don’t want to go through hassle of disconnecting their computer and bringing it to a shop and then waiting 2-4weeks to get it back. Mostly is people that work for GE or own their own bussiness. So they can’t just go without their computer for more then a week and have a probability of loosing all their files. Small PC repair shops around here still charge outrageous money for shitty work. So we are thinking on starting a Computer Repair shop, it will be very little 2-4 people and we wont have a office or anything like that, it will be home work only. We’ll charge $20 to get to your house and that covers first hour of service so if the problem isn’t bad and we can fix it in an hour you will only pay $20. Then, if you refer a person and he/she uses our service you will get an hour free . These prices are just to get the bussiness started. Then it will probably be $25 to get there and $10 or $15 an hour after that. We’ll see how it goes, we already did a couple of home services and people actually give us very nice tips because we fix the problem right in front of them and dont overcharge the crap out of them like BestBuy does :)

  71. jpx72x says:

    @deserthiker: Haha. Sure, my next boss might be the condescending d-bag bothering me at Best Buy. Then again, it’s more probable that I’ll be struck dead by lightning on the way to my car. I think I’ll take my chances.

  72. JonnyUtah is run out of the corp. office in Minneapolis. Trust.

  73. Benstein says:

    I don’t mind the Best Buy I go to. The cashiers are all cuties, and since they obviously have there jobs to please the Managers, they don’t get any pressure to push the service plans on you.

    Although I agree that it is stupid to use the Geek Squad. I also hide my PC from the internet people when they come for new installations so they don’t install there crapware on it.

  74. Adam C says:

    I bought a Laptop from best buy… Had to keep telling them that I didn’t want any of the geek sqaud “optimization” crap. Honestly, I did all the optimization myself.

    -A

  75. dvdchris says:

    @twylight23: Where to start.
    In my experience at one retailer for 6 years and another for 11 (in between those I ran my own business for 5) I have never been the target of LP interviews; (never been arrested; never committed a crime and never been fired from a job while we’re at it.) However, as the store manager, I have sat in on many LP interviews.
    I know many of you guys have a perverse enjoyment of your job-many of you love to go into a store and see if you can terminate the entire staff on whatever you can find. Some terminations are legitimate; some are for another employee aware that a co-worker took a Coke 6 months ago and didn’t report it. Now of course it’s wrong to not report theft but level of involvement and other circumstances should be used to mitigate the event.
    In my experience, LP usually suspects or is aware of something going on regarding one person; the rest of the interviews often are a witch hunt.
    “if LP is interviewing you, you are already caught.” Whatever. NO ONE BELIEVE THIS LIE. You have actual evidence maybe 20% of the time. I cannot count the number of LP interviews that begin with absolutely nothing but your bluff. (You know the drill, you have a ‘surveillance video’ or some kind of ‘files’ sitting on the table that contains your ‘evidence.’ Lies, intimidation and threats are then used against 16-17 year old employees who are reduced to tears and you end up finding out they’ve done nothing. Are you proud of yourself when this happens?
    Oh yes and ‘prosecuting.’ Lets cover that myth. In 16 years at 2 companies I only am aware of 2 instances that were actually successfully prosecuted. Police/DAs will often not prosecute internal retail theft unless it was massive and obvious (at LEAST $1000 and provable to a jury with an average IQ of 80) or other crimes committed in connection with the internal theft. NO PROSECUTOR is going to pursue a case where the ‘crime’ was having CDs of Linux and some music files.
    The reason for getting your name and job title, buddy, is so that later on if legal action comes up against the employee (or against you for that matter) there may be some way to track down your ass instead of trying to find out the information later on. “Oh, those LP people are outsourced, we don’t know who actually interviewed you.” “We have no record of such an interview.” or the classic “You have no proof of what was said to you in this interview so keep your mouth shut.”
    Your job may be necessary, but you don’t have to be an absolute douche while doing it.

  76. mobbo says:

    @apt94jesse:

    HOLY MISINFORMATION!!

    It’s actually only $29 to remove the trial software, which includes removing un-needed startup items, installing Windows updates, and doing some common tweaks.

    Also, Best Buy isn’t the one who put the bloat-ware on the system… PLUS you’d be paying about $200 – $300 more for the laptop if you DIDN’T have the bloat-ware (companies subsidize the cost in return for having their trial softwre put on there).

    That was about the most misinformed post I’ve ever seen.

  77. brie987 says:

    @Eilonwynn: That is really great! I wish larger computer repair stores would follow this business plan.

  78. guymandude says:

    @twylight23: Dude… I would eat you for breakfast. Not only would I take notes but I would set up a camcorder and we would record the entire interview. As for sitting directly across from you during the interview… I’d be right in your face the whole time. As for calling the police… I have done that on several occasions and it always stops the bullshit quick. Whenever someone threatens to call the police… call em! BTW, Calling the police is an excellent idea. You have a disinterested party whose notes and testimony can be subpoenaed and someone, who by default, likely already has a good reputation with the court. As for being caught if you’re already interviewed… if that were true lawyers would be in short supply and I promise you there are plenty to go around.

  79. TechCheck says:

    I’m an Occasional/Seasonal Geek Squad employee at Best Buy. Yes, it’s for the discounts. I can tell you this. This guy is 100% on the money with his post. Yes, I work in the ” REAL IT world” and these so called agents they have working in the stores are worthless. Yes, they know how to restore a computer, so does my Dad who is 70. They don’t know who to trouble shoot, fix or recommend the right solutions for the customer. It’s all based on a script. And yes, these so called” Black OPS are people based in India, 9 times out of 10, they hose the PC up anyways and it has to be pulled off and guess what? It gets a restore! I guess coming from an actual job that is in the real IT field make’s this all very amusing. So all you Geek Squad Corporate moron’s reading this, removing virus’s and spyware is not real IT work all your ” secret squirrel” crap is very low life and you prey on the end user with a 199.00 ADR for loading someone’s video card driver. Shameless. Just Shameless….But thanks for the Discount !

  80. Nytmare says:

    Why’s it so wrong / against policy / illegal for Geeksquad to use Linux (bootable all-in-one OS on a CD I assume) to help them do the job?

  81. reykjavik says:

    umm…hate to minimize the importance of your jobs, but you guys make like 9 bucks an hour. Why do you give a shit if you’re fired??

    They interrogate you and hold it over you head as if they’re doing you some huge favor. After taxes and transport you’re left with like 4 bucks an hour. Big fucking deal. You can make more on welfare.

  82. maxxdout says:

    I totally agree with this article.

    I had just brought my laptop to BestBuy to get the free check up I received with it and to see if they could fix it (I tried to install Hackintosh but something went wrong). Well the results of the check up said that my OS was corrupted and I had 11 malware(s). They said it would cost $130 to reinstall my OS, so I declined and went on my way. Well a little bit of research and one burned CD later, I figured out the problem and fixed it in 10 minutes for free. Just goes to show that bigger companies like this either don’t have the time to research or they just want to fix it the “big” easy way and charge an arm and a leg for it.