Best Buy: That Laptop Isn't "Open," It's Just "Optimized"

Shopping for laptops in Missouri, Patrick noticed an odd, unwelcome feature — a sticker on the box, pictured, identified the computer as ‘optimized’ by the staff.

He writes:

Today we went shopping at Best Buy in [redacted], MO. We recently remodeled our kitchen and needed a laptop for internet access while cooking and eating.

Anyway, we found a cheap laptop with nice features and proceeded to pick up a box from the floor. When I looked, though, the laptop had been opened and a sticker placed on it saying Geek Squad had “optimized” the laptop and created the recovery disks.

I asked one of the floor guys why they do this and he explained, “Computers don’t ship with CDs anymore, so we do this as a service.”

When I asked about the optimization he shrugged.

I explained to him I was uncomfortable buying a laptop that’s been opened and logged onto. While I have no reason to think poorly of Geek Squad, all it would take is one rogue employee to begin installing a key capture program or other malware. The staff member told me they would look for one in the back that was unopened.

Since I haven’t bought a laptop or PC retail in over a year, I am unsure if this is standard industry practice. When I order from Amazon the computers always arrive unopened.

We’ve seen this complaint a few other times, notably at Staples where they claimed to have optimized all of the laptops in stock.

The consolation for Patrick, judging from Best Buy’s other optimization practices, is that the optimizers probably didn’t do all that much to the computer, other than possibly making it unreturnable unless a restocking fee is tacked on.

I bought a laptop off the shelf of a Tucson Best Buy last year and found it thoroughly un-optimized. Have any of you found these silly optimization stickers?