10 Confessions Of A Circuit City FireDog Technician

A FireDog Technician writes in with the following confessions.

Who is the mysterious dog— and why, oh why, is he on fire?

10. The hiring process doesn’t actually have any qualifications required beyond you saying you know what you’re doing. Most techs that are hired know little more than the basics, and learn as they go. You can’t really have an experienced tech work on your machine, because once you leave, it may sit there for a few days, and who knows who will work on it then. I was required to take my Microsoft Certified Professional exam, but when I failed the first time, that was okay too. I never went back to take it again, and no one said a word.

9. “FD COURTESYCHECK” isn’t a real SKU, it means the customer was good looking, and the tech should check to see if they have any “personal” pictures worth keeping. One customer was a professional nude model, over 2,000 images got backed up on to the tech work machine.

8.Nothing they will offer you for installation is worth it. The standard package includes Norton Internet Security, Webroot Spysweeper, and Microsoft Office Home and Student as well as the creation of recovery DVDs and an “optimization”. Norton isn’t as good as AVG Anti-Virus, available for free. Webroot isn’t as good as Spybot Search and Destroy, which is also available for free. The recovery DVDs are made in a few clicks, and could be done by a three year old. Optimization consists of uninstalling some junk programs, and deleting icons off of your desktop. All of this takes about 45 minutes to an hour, and could be done just as easily by you, at home.

7.Protection plans don’t always cover anything special. Batteries, for example, are covered by most manufacturers warranties, but are often used as part of the sales pitch when buying a laptop. “If your battery goes out, we cover that too – all you need to do is bring it in and we will replace it free of charge.” Often times, this process can take a month and is generally faster to just order it through the manufacturer.

6.Your computer may well sit around for days without anyone looking at it. If we were low on computers to work on, we would often drag repairs out for days past when they should be done, just so we looked busy. If we weren’t working on a machine, we would have to go help out on the sales floor. I’ve seen machines sit for as long as three weeks because of a lack of customers

5.Don’t always expect a new part if you try to rush them on a repair. Sometimes, when we had a customer that kept bugging us because a part on his computer was taking forever to come in, we would just swap the part out with one off of a display computer to “expedite things”. When the new part would come in, we would just return it as used.

4.Don’t expect a call back. The techs don’t care about your repair, and it’s rare that they will call you for much of anything but to pick it up when it’s done. If you want status updates or anything else, even if they tell you they will call, they more than likely won’t. Call the store and ask for the tech on duty, you don’t need to talk to the one that you turned it in to – they won’t necessarily work on it anyway. Also, it’s company policy to have a tech on duty, so if someone tells you that they aren’t there, chances are they’re lying.

3.99% of all software repairs can be completed in a day. There is next to no reason that your repair will take a week, and if you ask for it to get it rushed, they will charge you an extra $20 or more, and put it in line with everything else. Unless you demand same day service, you won’t see any special treatment. Even then, it’s unlikely to be done the same day.

2.The salesmen know absolutely jack about the computers they sell. Most of them are just high school or college kids that may or may not have any interest in computers at all. A few of they may not even own a machine. The sales training that Circuit City requires everyone to take is 100% about how to pitch things, and 0% how things work or what they do. Do all your homework before you make your purchase, and don’t listen to anything they have to say. Many of them will say anything they have to to get you to buy whatever it is they want you to buy. One of the worst I ever heard is that if one woman didn’t buy the protection plan the salesman was offering, she wouldn’t be able to get any updates for her software. Another man didn’t want to buy our anti- virus software, and the salesman told him that he would contract a virus as soon as he plugged it in to the internet if he didn’t install one first.

1.Circuit City takes no responsibility for your data. If somehow a tech magically wipes your entire harddrive, the waiver that you sign when you check it in clears them of any wrongdoing. They could quite literally just reformat for the fun of it, give it back to you, and there is nothing you could do about it. Always back up your data before taking it in.

(Photo:wingless girl)

Comments

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  1. wimpkins says:

    I was hoping to find out what a “FireDog” is, oh well.

    Nice post though.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Wimpkins: I Dissagree with your comments on the Firedog team!! I am a Firedog Tech from a closing store and i have never heard of a “FD COURTESYCHECK” or have used a display part on a computer to repair another!! maybe your store just had no morals!!! comment 1 i agree with and your comment about the salesmen have nothing to do with firedog!!!

  2. brent_w says:

    Wow … definitely glad I would never buy a computer from them anyways.

  3. cobaltthorium says:

    No surprise on the nude pics – the same thing went rampant at an electronics store I once worked for. Except instead of a FD COURTESYCALL it was a Code69 (way subtle, guys).

  4. swissdietcoke says:

    Interesting to see what people are like who half ass their job. You are (were) a computer tech. Shouldn’t you have the ability to fix the computer without whining about the stuff you do to jerk around? How is this Circuit City’s fault that you were a terrible technician? Sure, anybody can install software. Anybody can change brake lines too, but I’d rather pay somebody who can do it quicker and better than I can. Some people just don’t understand the services industry. Do we need it? NO. Do we want it. For the most part, yes.

  5. darkened says:

    TrueCrypt full partition encryption for all my left overs of ex’s FTW

  6. Nighthawke says:

    #1 is always a given with any repair bench. Every custie I had signed a waiver stating that their data was toast, but gave them an option that if they wanted their data backed up, sure! Just for a small fee that is.

    The 3.99% completion is a bit on the lazy side. 90% of the systems that i’ve benched, were done within 2 hours. The other 5% were PITA’s and were either so badly infected they needed to be slicked and redone (with the customer in the know that anything on it was toast) or in need of special order parts. The rebuilding took 3-4 hours, charging for the first 2 for labor then the installation fee. The rest was updates being pulled down (in which we really could not charge for since it is Microsoft’s stuff).

    I hate Macs from a service standpoint. You can’t get parts in on a timely basis and oftentimes they were so hellfire expensive we usually had to decline the repair. One mainboard for a G5 pro tower = 500 bucks + 200 core fee PLUS they wanted the old board back, in advance! We wound up handing the poor custie off to a certified Apple repair center, two hours away!

    • Chelsea C. Richardson says:

      @Nighthawke: It didn’t say “3.99% completion”.
      I was point number 3.
      and the point was that 99% of the repairs can be done in a day.
      Nothing lazy about that.
      Pay attention before you discuss things.

  7. FuturShoc says:

    Although I agree much of this sort of thing is seedy and questionable, few of these points are actually illegal. Its really about being an informed consumer. Personally, I expect this sort of thing because they’re a business and thats about making money. Computers are no different than cars. Most people are smart enough not to buy the overpriced “clearcoat protection” add-on and other worthless extras when buying a car. Why should buying a computer be any different?

    Sure, it stinks that any business would pull stuff like this, but anyone without enough sense to walk out the door and buy somewhere else at least shares 50% culpability in the rip-off.

  8. wimpkins says:

    Here it is, thanks Wiki.

    A FireDog is:

    The green, black, and white logo, a dog jumping through a hoop, is meant to evoke the idea of Circuit City “doing whatever it takes to get the job right,” said Firedog spokesman Bill Cimino to the Dow Jones Newswire on August 25, 2006.[2] “We chose the name Firedog because it evokes the kind of qualities we intend our technicians and installers to provide: helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and reliable. When it comes to improving consumers’ relationship with technology, we want Firedog to be your ‘best friend,'” added Philip J. Schoonover, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Circuit City Stores, Inc.[3][4] Not to mention, in the Chinese Callender 2006, the year Firedog was created, is the year of the Fire Dog.[5]

    Firedog now also includes the Car Audio services.

  9. socritic says:

    Thats one Dog worth Firing. No service for you Circuit City!

  10. brent_w says:

    @swissdietcoke: Unless you’re REALLY stupid, i’m sure you could do it “quicker” it it normally takes them a week.

  11. socritic says:

    clarification: That’s the Circuit City Firedog service, not the gentleman who had the decency to once more show us how Circuit City sucks. It’s an employee playground, not a real store.

  12. brent_w says:

    @Nighthawke: That wasn’t 3.99%

    That was
    3.) 99%

  13. Nighthawke says:

    @brent_w:
    Oh, I forgot the other 5%.. Usually took less than 5 minutes and then another 15 explaining to the goofball to perform a proper procedure.
    No charge, tips are nice though! Usually netted me a $20.

  14. Pasketti says:

    @cobaltthorium: Not just computer places. Everybody I’ve ever known who has worked at a photo developing lab has told me that whenever they got someone that dropped off a roll with nudie pics on it, they’d run off a few extra copies for their “archives”.

  15. Gev says:
  16. jomil91 says:

    I call bs. on it, it bases too much firedog and this guys own indivuality as a worker. I work at state farm, so its kind like I said ” State Farm doesnt care about you, and I dont do my job. because i’m lazy” but.. i could also be wrong..

  17. noquarter says:

    @Nighthawke: The 3.99% completion is a bit on the lazy side

    That caught me the first time, too. It’s tip #3, 99% completion…

  18. DebbieGlibson says:

    I actually read something similar about a year ago by a former Geek Squad member from Best Buy – I think it was on Salon.com. That article was more interesting BUT it was far longer and had the same sort of confessions. SO, honestly, this was better.

    It’s kinda sad to know that as a consumer you can’t trust any of these companies…

  19. cobaltthorium says:

    @Pasketti: *shudders* one hour photo, anyone?

  20. copperheadclgp says:

    It is stuff like this that really makes me consider raising my rates as a computer technician. I charge $70 an hour, but don’t bill as accurately… (IE, often I’m charging 2 hours labor for 4 hours actual time). My thinking has been, up until this point, that my average client has a price point in their head that, once reached, will cause them to bring their business to one of these chains.

    I’m thinking that I don’t really have to worry about that as much as I thought I did, given the increasing frequency of these tell-alls.

  21. Buran says:

    I went to apply for a job with these guys once and their web form demanded my SSN. Circuit City has NO NEED TO KNOW THAT unless I am hired in which case they need it for tax purposes.

    I closed the form without finishing it, since they also conveniently said that incomplete applications would be ignored.

    Why is CC so intent on gathering information that it doesn’t need … unless it wants to commit identity theft?

  22. RRich says:

    where the hell did they get that name from?

    “Firedog.”

    Not good.

  23. courtarro says:

    @Buran: Don’t they need your SSN for easy proof of citizenship?

  24. noquarter says:

    More people need to start doing things like this.

    There must be money to be made in suing Geek Squad/Firedog for violating your copyrights. Maybe you could put some personal information in with a folder of porn and then sue them for identity theft when they copied it.

    There just has to be a way to scare them out of doing shit like this in the future. Unfortunately, the kind of people who would give their computers to them in the first place aren’t competent enough to do it.

  25. Starfury says:

    The reason that Firedog and GeekSquad exist is because when it comes to computers most people have no clue what to do other than turn the thing on. They’ll say “I have cable so it should start faster” or they think the monitor is the computer. Until people realize that a computer is a fairly complex tool and LEARN how to fix things themselves these places will continue to exist and make money.

    Another thing: just because I know/fix computers for my day job does not mean I will help/fix yours for free. My rate is $40/hr in cash. Some jobs like a Windows install I have flat rates for and if it’s something super simple (add RAM) I’ll charge less. I do have a life outside of computers.

  26. cobaltthorium says:

    @Starfury: [www.thinkgeek.com]
    My employer (i work at a help desk) didn’t enjoy me wearing it to work :P

    I agree, though. People assume that all you do/like/think about is computers. Mechanics like more than just cars, doctors like more than just medicine. Why is it different? Because no one has any respect for technicians. People think that because their 12 year old nephew “knows computers” it’s a job anybody can do. It’s not (as this article proves).

  27. Hanke says:

    Did you just repost the bestbuy confessions, and slap circus city’s name on it?

  28. StinkyCat says:

    Here is my plan. I am going to target the mother of a firedog employee. Wine her. dine her. 69 her and take pictures. then i am going to have my girl, who is pretty damn hot, take the laptop in for service. At which point she’ll most likely get a FD Courtesycall code.

    BOOM. Some geek’s mom naked for all his coworkers to see!.

    For fun, i might have tons of shots of his house, his car, place he eats and hangs out in. LOL.

  29. AgentTed says:

    I don’t work for Firedog, but the following are BS:

    8) People don’t want to go download crap off the internet nor do they know how to uninstall a program. THEY JUST WANT IT TO WORK! They don’t care how much it costs. They want it to run out of the box. These star-up services might seem dumb to you, but to the customer are worth its weight in gold!

    7) Manufacturer does NOT cover batteries. At least I know HP, Compaq, Gateway, eMachines, Toshiba, Sony, Dell, and Acer don’t. It’s a consumable product.

    6) HAHA, pathetic, take your computer to Geek Squad.

  30. APFPilot says:

    This is all pretty much true. I worked at a Circuit City right before Fire Dog came out and we were just starting to do repair. The guy who was originally running the repair actually knew what he was doing. He was quickly replaced by the managers favorite who knew nothing about repair but was a better “sales person.”

  31. chipmonkfaerie says:

    I used to work for Circuit City as a Firedog tech, and this is exactly what was happening at our store as well. It seems to be “company policy” to have a really crappy tech department. All of the stores in our district suffered from the same issues. We even had techs charging to install AVG and Spybot (both free as mentioned above)! There were several meetings where our techs would be chewed out for not selling more services, but when we would, we weren’t allowed to do the work, causing the computers to sit for weeks on end. I was the only tech certified to work on the computers, yet I worked the fewest hours, and spent my time consoling upset customers. I’m glad I got out of there when I did, and it’s terrible to hear that those shady business practices are still happening!

  32. bl8675309 says:

    @ Jomil91 I agree, it just takes one lazy/stupid person to ruin it for the company they work for. I don’t work for Firedog, but their competitor. #10 I happened to work in tech support before and was good at, and enjoyed, my job. When I was interviewed, every question was was about my technical abilities. #9 Our backup computer is scanned randomly throughout the week. If we backup files that weren’t requested, our initials are on there and we get written up. #8 The computers we do recovery DVDs for are usually for people that don’t have time or don’t want to bother. #6 My boss has OCD and won’t let computers just sit there. #5 If we have to use a display, their getting the whole thing exchanged. #4 Every time someone starts a shift, they do call backs. May take longer, but it gets done. #3 depends on how many computers came in before yours and the severity of the problem. #2 Our sales people are former techs, we got lucky with that. #1 I’ve only seen data loss once, its not that hard to be careful when you work.
    Sorry for the long comment, but his “confessions” should not encompass everyone.

  33. snoop-blog says:

    i should take various pictures of my hairy azz. put them as my wall paper, and in a file i will name xxx. and 2 girls and 1 cup will be my screensaver…….that will teach them.

  34. Rusted says:

    @wimpkins: Usually white with black spots.

    Glad I “roll my own” so to speak. I’ve been building and configuring for the last 13 years. It’s not that hard. Much easier then fixing cars. Also, it’s built my way, running what I want.

    My last beastie ran great for five years before the power supply finally died. I do have a new build (It’s fast….really fast) but the old one is waiting in the wings, already rebuilt.

    Love that free stuff. AVG and Spybot do rock. So does Spyware Blaster and Lavasoft’s Adaware. Online Armor is my firewall.

  35. mac-phisto says:

    @Starfury: nail, meet head. do you know how many people i’ve spoken to since the beginning of the year that THREW OUT THEIR COMPUTER & BOUGHT A NEW ONE b/c their old one was functioning improperly? 9, to be exact.

    & when i say old, all of those machines had vista save one. what is vista, a year old now? 8 less-than-a-year-old computers deep-sixed b/c the operators are generally clueless about them.

    good news is that i helped 5 of them “dispose” of their old computer. =)

  36. brent_w says:

    @AgentTed:
    Haha,

    Geeksquad is just as stupid.

    Just a bunch of dumb kids that don’t know shit about computers.

    The only difference is they have a dorky car to drive around in.

  37. Dozer42 says:

    Very simple, never trust one of those rip-off big box stores with your computers.

    Try Geeks On Call/1800905Geek. We’ve used them for years. They come to you and fix the problems, and they use ONLY experienced certified technicians. They don’t sell TVs, Dishwashers, or Vacuum cleaners. They only fix computer problems.

    They can’t always get to you the same day, but they certainly try.

    And as bad as Firedog is, Geek Squad is 100 times worse. :( (Geek Squad isn’t Geeks On Call BTW).

  38. mac-phisto says:

    @snoop-blog: i had a friend in college that used to sneak into our rooms & put gay porn on our desktop. fun times!

  39. @Starfury:

    $40/hr? You undercut me by half. guess where you’re located matters, as well as experience.

  40. friendlynerd says:

    I’m part of an IT department and I also do this stuff on the side. I’m getting more and more business from word of mouth, mainly because of the absurd rates that these places charge for substandard work.

    Everyone talks about AVG, I personally like Avast! antivirus. It’s free, it updates constantly, is a small drain on system resources, and it works well. Did I mention it’s free? Blows my mind that people pay for antivirus software that slows their systems down to a crawl and demands permission for you to do the simplest thing.

  41. Buran says:

    @courtarro: Nope. Other places (legit ones) just ask “are you legally authorized” and do the check later on in the process.

  42. t3mur says:

    I work at circuit city.

    Fire = Fast and hard working.
    Dog = is sort of like a metaphor for loyal, or loyalty.

    And this employee can always quit if he’s fed up.

    $15.75/HR is a pretty good pay to install an os on a computer for 3hrs.

  43. finalgearsolid says:

    Yyyyyyep, that’s about right on all counts. I used to work there in the TV section. Luckily I actually know a disgusting amount of TVs and told customers to buy their cables online, etc. and surprisingly a lot of people in my store on the tech side actually knew a ton about computers as well. My friend was a tech and he lived and breathed computers and was an honest guy who never screwed the customer. Then he got laid off in that whole thing that went down last year, and the new people are awful. I quit and hate going back their now. It’s all about selling you things you don’t need. I remember I was always the one who had to fix the Firedog’s mistakes because I knew more than they did — having to go out of the store constantly to basically redo surround sound setups and calibrations. Do NOT get Firedog. Very, very few of them know what they’re doing, and it’s not worth the risk to get lucky with a reliable “expert.”

  44. quagmire0 says:

    Got thrown off by the 3.9% thing too. I *almost* wrote a rant until some others corrected the poster. :)

    Nothing else is a surprise though. Except they may have left out the fact that the squeaky wheel does not get the grease – quite the contrary. Unless you actually complain to an upper level manager and they actually decide to come down on the employee a bit, the more you complain, the more likely your computer will be set aside forever or shoddily ‘repaired’. Don’t buy any extended plans from Best Buy or Circuit City. Better yet, just buy your computer DIRECT FROM THE MANUFACTURER. If you need support, find a family member, friend, or marry a techie :). Buy the best extended warranty you can afford. Most manufacturers will send out a box, repair the computer and ship it back to you. When you deal with electronics shops, they are more likely to f things up and let your computer rot. They are the lowest rung of tech support you can find, bar none.

  45. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    So, Circuit City hired former Geek Squad employees!

    Computers are NOT appliances.
    You should be certified to purchase one, let alone own one.

    Or, hire me. I work onsite, no loss to data, and you are up in 99% of the time (sorry, physical hazards and failure to backup data not included). best of all, my clients feed me (lunch or dinner).
    Snarf!

  46. tanvper says:

    I worked as a PC/APPLE tech for CompUSA for almost 2 years many years ago. Nothing in this story shocked me.

    Tech’s would regularly inspect customer’s computers for porn and programs. I saw a few employees copy customer’s software that they had brought in because they wanted a free copy of it.

    Machines would sit in the tech self for days because no one wanted to work on them, or they where “waiting” for a part.

    One time they found a machine that was used to host a porn site in Poland, so after work, they got all the techs and managers in there, and watch a few of the movies he had on his machine. Funny thing was the videos where of the customers wife and grown daughter, both of whom where good looking.

    Good looking customers would always get special treatment. It didn’t matter if they were working on a rush job or not, if someone good looking came in, several of the techs would drop what they where doing and help her.

    Something that always pissed me off was the rush service, 90% it was a waste of money to have a customer pay this when their computer would sit on the self anyway until a tech felt like working on it. It didn’t matter if it was a rush job or not. If you pay for a rush job, go back and make sure they are working on your machine. I never had a problem with having customers coming back with me and watch me work on their machine.

    I can honestly say I never once saw a tech try and push something on a customer they didn’t really need. If they needed a part or service, it was because they really needed it. CompUSA always wanted us to push their protection plan and upgrade service, but few of us ever did.

  47. W10002 says:

    And this is why I fix my own PCs.

  48. mac-phisto says:

    @Starfury, discounteggroll: i used to charge by the hour, but now i just charge use the firedog & geek squad websites to price & undercut them by 30%. i make more money, the customer spends less…everyone’s happy.

  49. m0unds says:

    charging to install AVG = violation of GRISOFT’s EULA (same with Alwil Avast! free)

    stands to logic that big retailers would use an off-the-shelf product for installs on customers’ machines. even if it’s big, fat, bloated NAV.

  50. JesusDeSaad says:

    @swissdietcoke:
    How is this Circuit City’s fault that you were a terrible technician?
    well it’s their fault for making him do non-technician work when he’s got nothing to do. Understand that there are times where you won’t be able to even take a proper potty break because of too many clients wanting their sh!t fixed NOW. Does the technician get compensated for unpaid overtime? Nope. But they ARE suddenly expected to love their jobs afterwards?
    If CC treated its employees like human beings with actual contracts for human beings, then their employees wouldn’t slack off on the side…

  51. m0unds says:

    @m0unds: AVG Free**

  52. gusnyc.com says:

    haha i used to work at best buy and geek squad used to fuck around the same way

  53. JesusDeSaad says:

    (cont/d)
    It’s no wonder that you’ll find people slacking off in underpaid/oberabused jobs, but when the same people find a job that pays better they’ll go the extra steps to become better employees.

  54. any former BB employees care to chime in on this agent utah situation? I remember reading a little bit into it a while ago but would love more info about what it pertains to

  55. rcorrino says:

    ….and people wonder why the “genius bar” at Apple Stores work. At least these guys go through some sort of training before they can be called “geniuses”.

    I can’t believe people actually let these Firedog/Geek Squad people work on their computers/electronics…..

  56. JJ910 says:

    There is a reason why 60% of CircuitCity stores closed down.

  57. fafhrd says:

    ANY business is going to have its slackers or questionable practices. I have worked in the industry for 25 years. I haven’t found a company that has a policy that doesn’t makes me go “Hmm am I doing the right thing.” That’s business. When you own a mulit-million dollar busines and need to make revenue in the “shark infested waters” you might do the same.

    As for CC and Firedog, yes they might have bad practicies. (this was written most likely by a disgruntled employee, why else would you slam a company that you worked for?) So the credibility of this is suspect. Do these things happen? Yes, but find me a business that doesn’t and I will work for them next.

    As a whole all I have seen (untill this angry ex-employee) is good reviews. In fact the Richmond Times Dispatch, The Washington Post and the Boston Ledger recenetly had articles on customers praising the work of these installers.

    But lets all jump on the “hate” band wagon, because that’s what the internet is for. “Boo” Circuit City (or maybe boo to someone with low morals and bad disposition in complaining, when his anger really comes from his release from the company??)

    I am sure you might now think, “hey this guy works for CC.”, I did and left for a higher paying job. Not becuase they fired or released me. Its a job, a business and why the F do I care how they run the business, when everyone plays the same games.

  58. tehmark says:

    Theres nothing ground breaking about this article. I would call it totally retarded. Look, people get their PC’s serviced at these places because they don’t know how to do it themselves or they don’t care. Nothing wrong with making some money off of that service.

    AVG is fucking horrible

    Author of the article is a moron.

  59. wakked_out says:

    This is definitely fact. I used to work for Circuit City and I can tell you, things like this are just every day happenings. It’s isn’t out of the ordinary or unique to this one person. The hiring requirements are a joke, and they are really bad at keeping up with proper training. You will find a few good techs here or there, but the majority will be just as they laid down here.

  60. tehmark says:

    @discounteggroll: Thats Johnny Utah (point break reference).

    How it works =

    1. Tech takes customers PC and plugs it into the network

    2. Someone in India fixes the PC

  61. fadedb8ta says:

    I was actually a firedog technician at a Micro store in Texas.

    Everything this guy says is 100% true. We HATED our customers because they were all a bunch of hill billies who complained about how we might need to reinstall their OS because of their porn addictions on their 10 year old Packard Bell.

    Every single one of the firedog techs at the store I worked at had the same mentality as this guy and myself. Now, our store actually had some smart technicians, but it is true that all we were asked was

    “What symbol is this?” and it was simply a USB symbol.

    Or…What does IP stand for?

    and we didn’t nearly get the $15.75/hr that T3MRU stated.

    I got a measley 8.75/hr and I had been working there for a year. They then increased it to 9.00/hr. Our store slowly went down bc best buy moved into town and we had a no brain teeny bopper manager who’d rather be friends with the employees than do her job.

  62. fafhrd says:

    Just saw a new comment about 60% of stores closing down…. funny they closed 100 stores (out of 650). Thats not quite 60%. Last I heard and I left three months ago, was they are planning to open a new concept store (openned in the Boston area). This concept store will replace other stores. It will be smaller, more directed in products. They plan to open 100+ stores in the next years so check the facts.

  63. gqcarrick says:

    @tehmark:
    Actually AVG Free is awesome, and not as bloated as most of the other AV programs out there. I work in IT and I use it on all the computers in my house.

  64. junyo says:

    What’s being described sounds like pretty much every poorly run computer repair shop on the planet. A lot of guys are good at turning wrenches that have no clue what it takes to actually run a shop and make a payroll. You’re on the clock you should be working not letting PCs sit while trying to “look busy”, and management should put metrics on work assignments so this is objective and clear (…of course if they did that, they be accused of running a sweatshop, and not giving techs time to do it right). If you do work for a customer on the clock, you charge them; freeware or not, your labor’s not free, and installing paid software at a markup is another customer you don’t have to hustle. For the average customer, the PC is a magic box, powered by gerbils for all they know. That’s not to insult or take advantage of, that’s to understand that saying “they can/should/could install X on their own, they should know more” is stupid. They brought it to you specifically because they couldn’t/didn’t know that they should or how to accomplish it. Your job as a tech is to assess your customer’s needs, perform the tasks required in a professional manner, and educate the customer – if they want to be educated – while insuring that the company remains profitable. If you don’t like it, find another line of work. Firedog sounds like the perfect combo of inept management that cares about profit to the detriment of the customer and whiny employees that aren’t that interested in the businesses’ success or the customers.

    No I’ve never worked at Firedog, but I’ve worked as and managed bench techs, and as I said, things are the same all over. It’s about creating positive culture and hiring good staff.

  65. firesign says:

    i do a nice side business fixing computers that firedog and geek squad fucked up. keep up the great work guys, and thanks for the eee pc you just bought me!

  66. Android8675 says:

    After working at TGS for a few years, and secret shopping a couple other geek squads, I find most of these things are true, but not usually all at the same location.

    Whatever store you’re (you were?) working at, expect a new district manager in a few months.

    Coming from a top rated store in our district, our precinct doesn’t suffer from what you describe, with some exceptions…

    10 – yeah, same with TGS, a CIA agent has no requirements technically/certificatly speaking (The in-home guys are required to be as certified as possible, usually Microsoft, Cisco, Apple, etc.), BUT I’m sorry, as you described in some of your other points, a chimpanzee could do this job, installing software, selling software/repairs/installs. Cakewalk. No one just jumps onto a computer and starts “messing around” if they don’t know what they’re doing.

    9 – we have something like that, but we use ours for labor hours, the more of them we get the more work hours our precinct is alloted. This is a good thing for people who enjoy working. Downside is you have to make more money due to higher budget for the week.

    8 – It may be “cake” to you and me, but some people just don’t want to deal with it. If someone asks about the installation, I tell them up front what I do, and if they balk at the pricing, I tell them how to do it, but I let them know that if they need help, I’m here for them. Maybe our store is the exception, and some people stick to the book of sales, but most of us don’t and we get a LOT of repeat business.

    7 – Go to BestBuy.com, click Part Search (at the bottom), order battery for your notebook and it’ll be at your place in 3-4 days (assuming it’s available), that’s pretty much all we do. If you’re under warranty after about 3 years getting another battery is a pretty sweet deal. If you remember to use it. (Note: BBY warranty USED to state you get 1 battery/AC Adapter per year, but now it’s 1 battery/ac adapter, period. Read fine print people.

    6 – YES, our store’s turnaround is 1 week minimum. It used to be 2-3 days, but our store is crazy busy, were not willing to sacrifice people who came before you just because you didn’t PLAN for your computer to FAIL. I will recommend people drive to another geek squad if they are in a rush. Some stores will help you if you pay more, but we usually do not. It’s like going to the post office and cutting in front of 40 people who’ve been waiting for hours. Next time, have a contingency plan if your computer is that important to you!

    5 – don’t know about Firedog, but Best Buy doesn’t stock motherboards so we send that stuff to service. if it’s something simple like a desktop CD-ROm drive or a HD failure, We usually use new parts off the floor, problem is our service center doesn’t always have new parts, but if your system is repaired to working condition, and it’s fixed for free, who cares if the part may not be new? Your computer isn’t new either. Live with it, or buy a new one. (Like you’re not in debt enough already, what’s another $500?) Some of those notebook motherboards cost upwards of $500 to replace so it’s a toss up, get a $149 warranty, buy a $500 motherboard when 1 of 80+ components breaks on it, or just get another computer every 2-3 years. Which one sounds the cheapest?

    4- whatever

    3- Yes, but it’s like the post office, you may only have to mail a package, but these other people were here FIRST. For simple things our precinct will usually give that job priority, but only if it doesn’t disrupt what we currently have on our plate, and it still makes people wait who’ve been there longer. CIA agents at Geek Squad also have to help people that come to the counter, probably why we usually start work at 7am to get things done while there are no customers. It’s a brutal gig.

    2 – No, really?! For what those salesmen get paid I wouldn’t be motivated to learn much either. That said, our salesmen are pretty up to speed with current tech, and if they have questions, we can usually help them out. Sucks you may of been posted at a Circut City that underpaid their workers or something, but you gotta make the best with what you’re given. A lot of customers are pretty well informed about computers (thank you internet), but what they don’t know there’s usually someone who has the right answer, if not we have internet terminals for your perusal.

    1 – Again, no kidding. If you ever drop your computer off at ANY service center, you know that sheet of paper they MAKE you sign, well at Geek Squad READ #10! That’s all I gotta say. Our store does everything in it’s power to keep your data safe, but I’m sorry to say, shit happens. BACKUP YOUR DATA IF YOU CARE ABOUT IT! Delete your kiddy/best porn too, we report that stuff to the authorities.

    sorry this sounds bitter, it is, but this is the only semi-anon place I can vent. Not every person that works for Firedog/Geek Squad/Geeks on Call are “Evil”. Sorry there are some that spoil it for everyone else, but next time you bring in your dying system, don’t start on us when we ask, “Have you done a backup recently?”

  67. slucas says:

    I screwed up my comp by changing the BIOS on a HP and didn’t realize it would screw up the install (Code Purple) I found out that meant that the tattoo data didn’t match between the hard drive and the motherboard. I called both Firedog and Geek Squad for quotes and yeah, the stupidity they both made me look elsewhere. I know had I not known just a little about computers I might of fell into the hole and paid the full system restore price as so many probably have.

  68. Epaminondas says:

    I worked for 6 years in a Best Buy service center in Kansas City (#64) during the 90’s. Man can I tell you horror stories, Best Buy wouldn’t always pay the bills on time so we would have vendors refusing to ship parts to us, In-store tech f’ups, and store managers calling us to try and make us take a hit for the customer… Beat the hell out of working in the store though, very little direct customer contact, straight commision, I miss those days sometimes.

    I had certs from every manufacturer we carried then (you had to be A+ just to get in the door) especially for the laptops, those POS Compaq laptops paid $93 for a MB replacement you could do in 45 minutes. Acer would pay you $75 for a memory swap, Packard Bell paid $65 for just about everything. Non-warranty work was sucked up by the stores so I never had to deal with it to much.

    I quit to go into networking about 6 months before they shut the place down (called the police to come in when they made the anouncment, just to show their love for the employees!). Never been happier with any decison I’ve ever made! Well, other than leaving Johnson County…

    Find a person you trust and stick with them where ever they go, but them christmas gifts, ask about their family, and take the time to bond with the person and they will always take care of you. I do the same thing with my mechanic…

  69. SaraAB87 says:

    As a consumer if I am looking for any kind of service be it computer repair, car repair or a haircut I am going to go to a local place INSTEAD of a big chain store. These articles only reinforce this belief. Local businesses know how to do things better, are more specialized and often you will pay less than the big guys who do not care about anything but the bottom line.

    There is a wonderful local computer repair shop here that does the work, only does what is needed to be done and does it right so that your computer doesn’t break again the next day. Obviously there should be some forgiveness for highly complex machines like cars and computers because even if one problem is fixed a different one can crop up instantly but if the place you are going to takes care of it then its all good.

    I don’t think local computer repair places have to worry about Geek Squad or Firedog competition any time soon because they have been on the news for customer distrust many times, and most smart people know to go to the local guy instead of the big chain. A family and locally owned business will not survive without customer service and if they have good service they will build a reputation, the business I went to for computer repairs has been in business for well over 20 years and is still family and locally owned.

  70. Kaiser-Machead says:

    @Android8675: It’s nice to get a little perspective.

  71. floydianslip6 says:

    @StinkyCat: Write into the consumerist after! Heh.

  72. UpsetPanda says:

    It doesn’t surprise me they would take personal photos off, but it’s actually really creepy. Though I wonder, how that you know what it is, will some people be offended they didn’t get the code put on their receipt (i.e. customer wasn’t good looking)?

  73. UpsetPanda says:

    This site makes my posts laggy… *now that you know…

  74. Absent Blue says:

    This tells me nothing I didn’t already know or suspect many years ago.

    I distinctly remember the first time I was appalled was when I saw CompUSA charge people $80 to install a hard drive. I was 11 years old at the time and had proudly accomplished many a hard drive installs and swaps.

    Curiosity was a powerful agent in learning computers. I always tell people, “If you knew how to plug in an NES cartridge you already know 90% of the process involved in building a computer.”

  75. assassinave says:

    Isn’t it really sad when NBC’s Chuck gets customer service right and the real guys don’t. Usually art imitating life it full of holes, but I bet the writers are a bunch of folks who got hosed by GS or Firedog and made it essential for Zach Levy’s character to actually fix problems.

    Amazing!

  76. Chagocal says:

    @t3mur: I charge 65.00 dollars an hour for all types of computer repair, recovery, hardware install, and have so much business, its not even funny. I don’t think 15.75 is anywhere near enough to survive.

  77. Dr. Wedge says:

    No surprise to me. Then again, I do all my own hardware and software tech, and don’t trust anyone else with my machines. Besides, I don’t want some doofus destroying my Dual G5 or my MBP.

  78. whootowl says:

    FIRE them DOGS!

    I know this older gentleman who lives in a senior community. The guy spends his time “servicing” the computers of all the widows. The guy always has a smile on his face.

  79. UpsetPanda says:

    @assassinave: I love Chuck and only wish I had someone as adorable as Zachary Levi come to fix my computer.

  80. Magiksreal says:

    I’m pretty skeptical that this person is an employee at CC, honestly, it sounds more to me like they’re a disgruntled former employee trying to “get back” at the man”

    As for the Firedog thing, I asked a CC rep once and they said the dog was for loyalty… and I forget what the fire was supposed to mean. Can anyone help me out?

  81. Trowble (XBL/PSN) says:

    @Hanke: Haha… Sounds like it, right? but it wouldn’t surprise me that they treat their customers like shit.

  82. shakes says:

    my friend worked at circuit city and sold mad divx players back in the day…what a scam..

  83. Wynner3 says:

    Now I know why Circuit City didn’t hire me, I knew too much. lol. I never go through Best Buy or Circuit City. I build everything myself and if the computer dies, I can usually fix it. I have never had a problem so major that I had to go to someone else to have it fixed.

  84. Fah-Q says:

    All this from a company that hangs banners outside their stores that say:
    “We fix and repair computers”.

    Can a Firedog tell the difference between fix and repair?

    Apparently not.

  85. The Stork says:

    @JJ910: Not to defend this crappy company, but WTF? 60% of their stores closed? They closed 70 of their Source stores in Canada last year that aren’t run anything close to their domestic operation; it’s practically a separate company. In the US they closed about fifteen or twenty stores in the last several years. The most generous (to you) math has them closing about 15% in the last couple years, and that’s not counting ones they’ve grand opened (not relo) in the last year.

  86. trongod05 says:

    So this article pretty much says that these techs are douche bags since they don’t care. If you don’t care about the job you are doing and you suck at it to begin with, please find a new job.

  87. yulorian says:

    Everything the “anonymous coward” said depends entirely on your store and location. I was a FireDog Technician two different times at the same Circuit City Store (I was actually part of the pilot program, back when it was going to be called *shudder* the IQ Crew) and originally, we had a very high level of product knowledge both behind the tech bench and in our salespeople. That changed of course with the layoffs. However, even after the layoffs, the people at the store I worked at maintained a very high integrity level. The folks there work very hard to keep up on their work load, and actually mandate that the calls me made every 48 hours to customers according to policy.

    However, at another store nearby, nearly none of those policies are followed. It all depends on location. Just because he and his compatriots are incompetent jerks doesn’t mean that all FireDog or Geek Squad techs are.

  88. PiningForTheFnords says:

    The danger of going through a customer’s drive looking for pictures is that you may find something “good”, but you’re equally as likely to cunearth something that makes you reach for the eye bleach.

  89. covaro says:

    I was required to take my Microsoft Certified Professional exam, but when I failed the first time, that was okay too. I never went back to take it again, and no one said a word.

    How??? Assuming they are talking like 70-270 or something similar… I mean how? I remember when I took that one day on a whim cause I needed another cert to add another point to my partner status. Anyone who is supposed to be qualified to charge you to work on a PC should be able to pass that test.

  90. Guizzy says:

    They’re called FireDog before at the start of their training, they’re given a puppy each, and in order to become a full technician, they have to set the dog on fire!

    Or I might have imagined that; still, it would be nice!

  91. goldaar says:

    Although most of the things said here were true (although the fake sku and other things are problems with specific facilities), the poster obviously knows absolutely nothing about the service industry and the common practices. Example, Circuit City not taking care of your data. No company will ever warranty your data during a repair. This would be a foolish act and is not industry practice (ask a data recovery firm if they guarantee anything).

    Protection plans are another example of this, if you know anything about the protection plan and the manufacturers warranty, you will see that the manufacturer rarely covers the battery more than 90 days, with a maximum of one year. The protection plan offered by the store is a 2 or 4 year plan with a max of 4 batteries (one per year of the plan, doesn’t matter if it’s dead or not).

    Maybe the process for hiring at your store required no expertise or previous knowledge, but this is not the case for many of the locations, and I met some fantastic techs while working as a Firedog Lead. I would also not brag about not passing your MCP as that was the easiest technical test I have ever taken. If people can’t pass that test they should honestly be fired.

    The Installations offered will not provide you with any savings or, and the New PC Setup is basically as described, but you must realize, it is the option of the customer to take care of these things, and most users, yes MOST users purchasing a PC from a brick and mortar do not know what they are doing with a PC. As for AVG being better than Norton, you are obviously a moron, AVG is one of the hardest to use and worst free AV programs out there, if you wanted to wow people with your “great tech knowledge” Mr. Can’t Pass the MCP exam, you should have done your homework. The best Free antivirus software is actually AntiVir, and the best pay for service is Kaspersky.

    Also this “tech” has never performed a new setup of a machine, and that is quite clear to anyone who has ever setup a machine. The recovery disks alone, if they don’t burn coasters (which the built in app has a tendency to do) takes almost 2 hours to complete by itself. Your 45 minute comment makes you look like an uneducated ass, and someone who obviously knows nothing about the services being offered. You honestly sound like someone who was just hired, and I would have “let you go” very shortly after finding out you were doing some of these things.

    Honestly, you don’t know anything about the business, or your job description or duties. You need to go back to basic retail training and figure out exactly what it is you are expected to do.

    As for this posting in general, the consumerist should have never even posted this crap. It is obviously the work of a disgruntled employee who was obviously the wrong person for the job.

    And to the author, good luck finding an enterprise job (if you want one that is) with an attitude like that. Maybe you should try to perform better, and actually take care of the customer instead of writing an “expose” on the practises you are performing yourself!

    Just to qualify myself for this post, I was a Lead Technician at a southern California location and was also in one of the concept stores, and later one of the pilot Learning Centers, for developing new models and practices in the bench.

  92. sethlite says:

    I used to work at Circuit City. Even though I knew a lot about the stuff on the floor from the start, I was stuck in the warehouse. They hire sales people for the floor to push product. They don’t want people out there who can tell their customers that they’re better off going to Newegg or just about any other online store.

  93. covaro says:

    @goldaar:

    As for AVG being better than Norton, you are obviously a moron, AVG is one of the hardest to use and worst free AV programs out there, if you wanted to wow people with your “great tech knowledge” Mr. Can’t Pass the MCP exam, you should have done your homework. The best Free antivirus software is actually AntiVir, and the best pay for service is Kaspersky.

    All I can say is let the AV software bashing begin! Interview 100 techs and I bet you’ll get at least 10 different opinions on the best AV solution (free or otherwise). Oh and NOD32 FTW. :D

  94. Buran says:

    @cobaltthorium: I’ve worn that to fixit jobs before. I get a few raised eyebrows. The “There’s no place like 127.0.0.1″ shirt gets laughs or blank stares.

  95. forshizzle says:

    this is 2008 now…if you cant service your own computer then you shouldnt own one.

  96. chop88 says:

    this guys is a complete idiot, since when is spybot search and destroy better then spysweeper. NEVER! spybot is soooo slow, it takes up a bunch of resources from your PC. I’ve used both and spysweeper is without a dought better. Spybot even froze my “up-to-date” pc, when i was using only spybot versus where i’ll have spysweeper running in the background and a bunch of other stuff and my pc will run smooth as a baby’s a**. I do however agree on AVG being better then Norton, but if you wanna go that far I’d take Kaspersky or even ESET NOD32 anyday over any other anti-virus software. And even though I work for FD’s competition, not everything he’s saying is true. He’s leaving out details.

  97. Rusted says:

    @llamastar: I do take of my own stuff, build, it, maintain, and so on. But that’s a bit extreme. It’s like saying I shouldn’t drive a car since I’m not an auto mechanic. Wrong. I PAY people to do that so I don’t have to.

    @SigmundTheSeaMonster: They are tools. Appliances are tools. Should someone who owns a stove be forced to have a culinary degree?

  98. elislider says:

    this completely parallels how compusa is, except i found that the full-time techs they employ actually know more than ANYONE in the store, including the managers/sales guys, since theyre the actual ones who have to know something about what they are working on. for the year+ i worked at compusa in the tech shop, all the tech employees were cool and i was friends with all of them, even the middle aged ones, and i was friends with none of the sales people, they were all dicks (especially the business sales guys… oh man dont get me started). i was also friends with some of the cashiers and front end people because they were friendly and just there for a job as opposed to being pressured into sales or pent up like all the managers were

  99. Oracle989 says:

    @mac-phisto: LOL! I’m in High School, and in one of my computer classes, we do tha tto anyone that stays logged on. Well, used to be gay porn until the county got wind of it, now we just put goatse and 2 girls 1 cup and stuff on it. BTW, most kids in my classes are more qualified than one of the bog box techs, with certifications to prove it.

  100. uricmu says:

    Can anyone tell me how much a Firedog/Geeksquad “installer” makes?

  101. strife1012 says:

    Firedog makes around 12.50 an hour.

    We mostly find people who work on the sales floor.
    So does Best Buy.

    Almost all Retail Tech Employees work Best Buy > Circuit City > Fry’s

    What I call work the Retail Circuit.

    Best Buy Pays Way more than Circuit City.

  102. DJJS says:

    @uricmu: You Can Make Way more. With Best-buy
    (i worked there before)
    and Circuit City 2 ).. I know of Some Geeks Making pretty ok, money..
    .. but in best-buy u kind of have to prove a bit more.. in Circuit City.. honestly.. U can just lie your hole way trough the interview : )

  103. thecodebenders says:

    I worked at circuit city for a while… I have a thing for cameras so the manager kept me up in the cameras section most of the time.. at least there I could tell the people the accidental protection plan was worth something on a camera with a straight face. The whole time I was there the “techs” kept dragging me back behind the bench asking me how to fix something or other… by the time I left they were actaully using safemode for virus removal, using the admin tools in xp to clean out startup instead of MS config and knew the difference between not working and not having drivers installed..

  104. ActualConsumer says:

    I would suggest finding credible sources. This is clearly an employee who was terminated or left to a competitor as most of these things do not occur at a typical Firedog tech bench and if they were the employee would lose their job as this one clearly has.

    Read each of these reviews carefully, specifically noting things like “honestly U can just like your hole way trough the interview.” and you judge the credibility of someone who does not know the difference between whole and hole.

    Every customer service industry has problems with contacting the customer as regularly as preferred, it is something that is being addressed and I’m sure every customer service field aims to improve.

  105. mastafalse says:

    Yeah, I feel about FireDog the same way I feel about Circuit City’s auto shop. they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, at least not the jackass who did my install. His shit breaks and all he can do is tell me he didn’t make the mistake, it’s probably a problem with your speakers. Didn’t even check. We did, it was his fucking mistake. Dipshit doesn’t know how to solder. The line output converter he put in was bad too. The install was extremely messy as well. He kept trying to shovel shit on my friend’s subwoofer instal which has not broken once. And he made he box too, all for free. Circuit City’s business is in the shit if something doesn’t happen soon.

  106. FessLove says:

    I was a firedog tech. I was there when they started performing those services, and quit because of them. Sadly enough, this is pretty much all true. Never heard of the courtesy check before, but it definately sounds like something that would go on.

  107. xtraspecialj says:

    Well, I can tell you what this guy says is not what is supposed to happen. It sounds like he works at a terrible store with a terrible management staff. The store I work at is great and not one of the things he talks about happens (although the Norton/Webroot/Optimization comment is pretty true). Also, the things he talks about could and does happen at any computer repair facility, whether it be a local mom and pop store, Geek Squad, or even a Firedog Tech bench. It just depends on the quality of individuals in that particular store, not the companies as a whole.

  108. mimog3 says:

    i don’t know what kind of circuit city you’ve been working at, but the one work at isn’t like that, I’m a computer salesman for them but are cool with the technicians,when they say they will call you, they will call you, if we do diagnostics they will even give you a call to tell you whats wrong and if you want to do repairs, about hard drives, we ask if you want to have the data backed up, especially if your having your OS reinstalled, the circuit city i work at also has very knowledgeable people in the departments they are in, my department has very smart people, we of course try to offer people the best computer for their needs, of course thats why we have our buyers guide, but ya some people want something cheap and thats all they’ll take, even if quality suffers, but i believe the services are well worth it if you are clueless about computers, i mean not everyone knows how to reinstall an operating system, or know how to install software, some people just know how to get on the computer and check their email, thats it, so i mean firedog is pretty helpful for some people, and for the tech savy you see it as a rip off because you have to pay for it in general.

  109. blowjustinup says:

    I was a technician for Staples a little over a year ago. All this is true for them as well.

  110. miwahall says:

    Once again a tribute to why Circuit City is dying a slow and miserable death…

  111. unklegwar says:

    @wimpkins: What’s a Firedog? I’m assuming this is to elicit the image of a dog jumping through a flaming ring, like in a circus. As in: we’ll just through hoops for you to fix your problems.

  112. exodus1999 says:

    I’m a FIREDOG in-home tech. i went to RIT for information technology , so i think this article is partially bias. The prices have gone up, and they do sell you norton and spysweeper. But honestly..are they riping you off? they offer you a service in which it is up to you to buy or not. I spend my day teching people how to use remotes and plug simple shit in. People here reading this are usually somewhat “computer savy” but a larger portion of people are clueless. For my store (one of the top in company) it does take a few days to get a computer done..the techs work as fast as they can with what there given. Im sick of people always hacking away at techs “ripping you off” there just trying to do there job. sure circuit city and other big box stores could lower prices..and then what? increase work load..fire off ppl they cant afford to pay..and now im jobless.

    Also alot of this varies store-to-store. I’ve worked at CCity for 4 years now and never head of FD COURTESYCHECK nor have i ever looked at personal photos unless necessary for backup.

    I do believe the knowledge of the workers is decreasing..CCity does have one of the best E-learning processes with about 20-30 hrs of training.. but honestly what do u expect these guys to know at 7-9/ hr?

    so i reiterate what a few people have said..it’s indivdual stores/people not a company as a whole. If you scream “LOWER PRICES” the quality of service, amount of knowledge etc goes down.

    • Bs Baldwin says:

      @exodus1999:

      With the pay rate they pay these guys and geek squad, CC and BB could care less about anything but the bottom line. You aren’t going to get anyone that is knowledgeable if you pay people less than 13 or 14 an hour starting out. The public at large thinks that these people know what they are doing, and it will be done fast; epically for how much they are paying.

      Come on, $50 to show someone how to use an iPod? $80 to install Tivo on your network. $160 for on-line Mac training for an hour. This is just wrong.

  113. heavylee-again says:

    @llamastar: Can you change the connecting rod in the engine of your car?

  114. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I started working for Firedog call center in Billerica, MA. To be honest, I have never been in a Circuit City store, nor have I been asked to do so. I worked at the call center for several months, and I will tell you, I received not much more than complaints. My job was to schedule installations, and to assist with scheduling online services. The majority of my calls were simply recall for previous installations gone wrong. 9 out of 10 calls were screaming and dissatified installations. I did my best to rectify the problems, and reschedule appointments to fix previous messes. So, long story short, I was discharged, now unemployed, and fighting with them to collect unemployment which I totally deserve. Alas, they have me listed as terminated. So, my collecting of unemployment has since been denied. Anyone else had this experience?????

  115. Anonymous says:

    I’m an (ex) firedog… some of this is true while i feel like I should defend myself on others.

    10 is true, but it doesn’t mean that every FD tech is inexperienced… I personally do not have all the certs on paper, but I feel I can troubleshoot most issues, and the rest I had my lead tech to back me up on, who has been in IT for over 15 years. As for the installations, I feel the software can be worth it (Norton 09 is excellent, and you can choose what software to have installed) and some people have NO clue how to install stuff. Its hard to believe it, but there are still people who cannot work around a computer at all, and are willing to pay people to do it…

    As for call backs and neglecting computers, it really just depends on if you’re lucky enough to get a good team of techs! My store had a two man team and I was mostly the one doing repairs, but there was never a point where I purposefully neglected a customers PC…

    Anyhoo, not that it matters anymore.

  116. Anonymous says:

    Alright, as an ex-firedog, I have a few things to say about this. Call me a troll, but here’s my two cents:

    10. This is true.

    9. I’ve never heard of this “SKU”, nor have I or any of the other techs I’ve worked with ever copied info off a customer’s system. This is illegal for one thing.

    8. Obviously this man was not following SOP for this setup package, nor does he know anything about malware. As an independent malware researcher I would much sooner (and do) trust my machine to Kaspersky or Webroot or Sunbelt VIPRE than to AVG and Spybot S&D. Also, the optimization he is referring to also involves many startup alterations and registry changes that the average person simply cannot do.

    7. Um, accidental damage?

    6. This is true.

    5. This is not true. If we had any “off the shelf” parts we would have had a lot fewer customers upset becuase their new part was taking a long time. The fact is that once an order for a part was made, it would take weeks for us to receive the part through no fault of our own.

    4. This is true, although SOP dictated that we were supposed to contact the customer every 48 hours minimum.

    3. Not true. Some extended diagnostics would take up to 48 hours to complete, if not longer, especially extended hard drive health checks if they have large or multiple drives.

    2. Depends on the salesmen. I have heard some crazy sales pitches in my experience, but for the most part the people I have worked with were very knowledgeable and were always building their knowledge.

    1. This is true. But think about it. You aren’t required by law to sign the waiver. All this does is make sure that if some tragic accident occurred that resulted in a loss of data, Circuit City would have been covered. Besides, you shouldn’t just back up because your PC is going in for repairs: you should back up anyway!

    I no longer work for Circuit City, as of almost a year ago. I now work for a major competitor, and I can tell you that the poor customer service antics that existed there are not an industry standard. I love my place of work now and am so glad I am no longer a part of Circuit City.

  117. Anonymous says:

    As a Former Circuit City Computer Salesman (My store closed yesterday), I can say, without a doubt, that most of the above is 100% true, and that the part about salespeople not knowng diddly squat is also true.

    I’m proof. I didn’t know anything about the products, only how to pitch them.

  118. Anonymous says:

    As an ex-Geek Squad City employee I find this humorous to read as really, the exact same thing goes on there. I can’t speak for the precincts although it seems like 60% or better don’t really know what they are doing either [judging by the "problem comments" they sent them in with like calling a hard drive issue a failing motherboard or simple software issues they couldn't figure out]. Looks like the average joe is pretty much in trouble either way it goes.

  119. Brad Smith says:

    These “confessions” are definitely from a store that had NO ethics at all. In our store, there were no FDCOURTESYCHECKS, we were careful with our customers’ data and their machines, we made every effort to do the work quickly and efficiently, and we did stay in touch with the customers after I took over the bench. After my predecessor was fired, I brought our average open orders down to 40 from 100,and after I was promoted to in-home tech, my successor brought that down to around 25, and we made sure we stayed in touch with our customers about their machines. We never dragged jobs out just so we could look busy, and that enabled us to provide quicker and more efficient service. It’s true you could be hired by saying you know what you’re doing, but in order to be able to work on the bench, you still had to pass a “firedog certification”, which wasn’t that difficult, but did make you demonstrate the basic proficiencies needed to do this work. I’m now running a Tech Bench for another retail chain, and if you bring your computer to me, I do my utmost to get it back to you in a reasonable amount of time, and in good order. In my opinion, the guy who wrote these “confessions” is an idiot, to put it lightly, and really makes honest techs look bad.

  120. Trinity04 says:

    I know this is a bit old, but I figured I’d respond anyway. Throughout my CCity Career, I was a Firedog Tech, In-Home tech, Tech Supervisor, Dept manager, Sales manager.

    10. This is the fault of your hiring managers. In Our store, Nobody was ever hired straight to the Firedog bench w/o prior experience, or working on the sales floor for an amount of time. As far as the test goes, your manager was Lazy. he is the one that confirms that you pass the test. Shame shame.

    9. So your bench was prone to breaking the law it seems. Thought this was just a Geek Squad thing.

    8. Nothing there is worth it? Those free programs are free for a reason. They are good, but not great. Most Pay for AV is better than AVG and S&D. Maybe a 3 year old CAN do it, but ask some random middle age person if they know how to create a restore disk. Chances are they don’t even know what that is or why they need it. And apparently, you guys weren’t doing your job on the optimization.

    7. Factory warranties cover Defects, that is all. the Plans covered much more. Yes, they will replace a defective battery. The protection plans sold by CCity covered a free battery every year regardless of status of said battery.

    6. WoW, you guys sucked. If anything took longer than a few days, we really were backed up, or were waiting on parts. Usually had from 5-25 (Up to 8 Laptops) computers being worked on at one time at the bench. (Yea, we customized our setup a bit)

    5. We would never use a display, After discussing with the customer, we may pull a new part off the shelf or out of a new Computer, but never one that has been used.

    4. Again, you sucked as a tech. I would have fired you on the spot. We did all of our status calls every morning before starting on the work, and every evening.

    3. 99% ? maybe if you have nothing else going on and no computers ahead of it. Some repairs can take longer.

    2. Again, this shows the fault of your management and yourselves for not properly training.

    1. This bit of fine print is on anyone you have work on your computer. even manufacturers. Your HDD goes out? The Manufacturer may replace it IF it is under warranty, but they will not reinstall any software.