Microcenter Tries To Sell You A Replacement Plan For Thermal Adhesive

Reader Joe says:

Monday I bought 1.75 grams of thermal adhesive at Microcenter for $2.99. At checkout I was asked if I wanted to buy a replacement service plan. I was dumbfounded.

The clerk says, “the computer says I should ask you in you want to buy a replacement service plan.”

And I thought Best Buy was bad.

Hey, you want to protect your $2.99 investment, don’t you, Joe?


Edit Your Comment

  1. hubris says:

    Does that mean I can use my AS3 on like 100 computers (you need VERY little) and then get a new tube?

  2. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    The company thinks its employees are too stupid to think for themselves; and the employees are too stupid to object to these types of directions.

  3. dlynch says:

    to microcenter’s credit – they had thermal adhesive for sale, and that’s a good price. their computer may be stupid, but i sincerely doubt that the cashier really tried to sell it to you.

    i was in circuit city the other day, and they wanted $33.99 for a 14″ length of ethernet cable. i almost vomited in disgust.

    /i love you, microcenter. i’ve just been staying away because i’m trying to save money. soon, my pet.

  4. apotheosis says:

    Because obviously, one product in the database mis-flagged as a warranty sale item makes MicroCenter at least as grand-mal douchebaggy as Best Buy.

    Slippery slope. Next thing you know, they’ll be demanding receipts at gunpoint.

  5. jwarner132 says:

    The employees aren’t necessarily too stupid to object. They may very well know how stupid it is, but if the computer tells them to offer it and they don’t offer it, they will get written up if a manager is watching.

  6. timmus says:

    This is why I hope Best Buy starts selling steaks.

  7. timmus says:

    I mean MicroCenter!

  8. ???/??? says:

    omerhi has a point. One tube of AS3 can last you till kingdom-come :)

    But if you worked in retail, you’d understand. Percentages, percentages…. percentages. One of the reason I got the fudge out of Borders. Damn you Rewards Cards!

    I always just say no. I feel for the cashier, that they have to ask, so ya don’t make a big stink about it.

  9. homerjay says:

    I’d like to think that the cashiers said that to you with some humor injected.

  10. picshereplz says:

    Who cares?

  11. Phildawg says:

    This is not presented as such, but it really should be taken as a light-hearted story and making a comparison to Best Buy is completely out of place and shows quite a bit of ignorance.

  12. apotheosis says:

    If MicroCenter sold steaks I’d lease a cot in their stockroom, because I’d have everything I ever needed.

  13. davere says:

    I see that computers have started the revolution. It’s only a matter of time.

  14. It’s like how my one prescription would always make the Rite-Aid computer spit out a “Your pharmacist suggests a laxative” print out. I kept annoying the pharmacist so much asking him why he recommended a laxative, he started crossing out the line on my script insert just to shut me up.

  15. Riddar says:

    I want to know how much the plan costs. How can we judge it without knowing the price? He may have made a serious error in not buying it!

  16. apotheosis says:

    @Git Em SteveDave:
    I wonder if laxative sales trigger a receipt suggestion for toilet paper and magazines?

  17. gnubian says:

    Compusa did that to me a few times on computer cases (just a case, no power, nothing that would be covered under any extended warranties ..). We know where they went.

    The employees may be getting trained to sell extended on everything, similiar to liquor stores that have decided to card everyone, even 90 year old people.

    Add to that an internal secret shopper program and employees might be paranoid enough (who’s want to lose their job right now) to go ahead and try to sell you the replacement plan on the thermal paste.

  18. katylostherart says:

    exactly riddar.

  19. The Porkchop Express says:

    @apotheosis: damn you for that comment.

    but, the toilet paper could lead to bathroom cleaner and glade plug ins.

  20. John Whorfin says:

    I always ask places like this if they will deliver the item, no matter how small it is.

    It really confuses them, but often times they agree and quote me the price.

  21. nursetim says:

    I would of said yes, just to see what would happen. Even better, have the cashier call a manger over and have him/her explain in detail what the plan covers.

  22. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    I don’t think this story has the merits to be on Consumerist. It gave me a chuckle…but that’s all.

  23. I want to know if the replacement plan also covers replacing everything that was the result of the product failing.

  24. yourbffjill says:

    the only time I’ve been to a microcenter they asked me if I wanted to buy a service plan on a $6 cable…

  25. mindshadow says:

    Sometimes employees will ask you for warranties on things that are obviously dumb, really as a sorta sarcastic gesture saying “It is stupid of the company to ask this.” When I worked at CompUSA we were supposed to ask customers to get replacement plans on the stupidest stuff. The best was the items that were right above the cut-off for a cheaper level of replacement plans, so you’d be asked to spend $30 on a $50 product for a replacement plan.

    I can’t wait until this trend goes away, or at least is injected with a sense of honesty instead of being nothing more than a scheme to up profits. I’m not holding my breath though.

  26. EllenRose says:

    I shop at Micro Center all the time, and can’t remember ever their trying to sell me a service plan. (Mind you, they probably have – but it wasn’t something I had to fight off. THAT is what sticks in my memory.)

    Must be a locality thing.

  27. oakie says:

    does this guy have nothing better in his life to do but to whine about a non-issue like this?

    i wish MY life were so easy.

  28. ironchef says:

    They will offer rust proofing coverage for your PC if they could get away with it.

  29. bdgbill says:

    I have been offered service plans on all kinds of weird items. Comp USA offered me a plan for a USB cable, Fry’s wanted to sell me one for a $30.00 travel alarm clock and a five foot long power strip, Best Buy tried it on a $24.00 battery charger.

    I would simply rather pay for repairs or replacements out of my own pocket then spend god knows how many hours on the phone trying to get some sleazy comapany to honor my agreement.

    I buy a lot of tech products, from laptops to dvd players to Plasma TV’s, both for myself and for work. I have not purchased an extended warranty since 1999 and I have not once regretted it.

    I should send Best Buy a note thanking them for taking 4 months to replace the hard drive in the only laptop I ever bought a plan for. This experience taught me a very valuable lesson which has paid off nicely.

  30. cparker says:

    The only time that Microcenter has pushed (with a person) an extended warranty with me was when a computer was purchased. I planned to chop the computer into pieces and dole them out between two machines. I asked the salesdroid how the warranty would cover that. He was dumbfounded.

    Of course, that was about 100 times better than when I went to compusa and they said that NO laptop they sold had more than a 30 day warranty because of “overclockers”, and none of their manufactures would honor a warranty on a broken hard drive. Thats when I told him that they carried such crappy computers I didn’t want to buy one from them.

  31. @Lo-Pan: Or candles.

  32. LawyerontheDL says:

    I wish that the customer had asked how much the replacement plan would cost. That’s my favorite. I once got into a fifteen minute argument with a salesman who insisted that I buy a $200 service plan for my $300 computer. I told him I had a friend who repaired computers – he said I would void my warranty. I told him my friend was Compaq certified – he said that the parts alone would make it worth it. I told him that my friend worked for Compaq and I could get parts at cost – he said that the parts at cost were expensive enough I should get the plan. In hindsight, I should have just asked for a manager. I did complain later.

  33. RokMartian says:

    Whenever I am asked about getting an extended warranty, I just say if the product needs an additional warranty, it must be a piece of crap, and I don’t think I want to buy it now. That usually changes the tune pretty quick.

    I’m at Microcenter on a weekly basis. Not everyone pushes warranties. Many times I see the extended warranty pop up on the screen and they just go right past it and never mention it to me.

  34. picshereplz says:

    @LawyerontheDL: Why didn’t you just say “No, thanks.”?

  35. Nytmare says:

    @picshereplz: I prefer not to “thank” salesmen for pushing low-quality high-profit add-ons at me.

  36. aka Cat says:

    I’m betting (ok, hoping) that someone flagged that for a replacement plan as a joke.

  37. rdldr1 says:

    Exactly, WHO CARES? Its not like Micro Center is forcing you to purchase the Replacement Plan.

  38. radio1 says:

    Well, if the Replacement Plan cost less than a new tube of AS3, you’d be ahead, no? That is, when you actually need more…

    It would be an instant discount!

  39. redragon104 says:

    Oh come one, Microcenter is great!

  40. As much as I utterly adore MicroCenter (which I do), this is very silly. Something tells me the person offering it had no idea what thermal grease is. Good for a larf.

  41. Morton Fox says:

    You laugh now but when your thermal adhesive fails, you won’t get your $2.99 back. :)

  42. linoth says:

    A tip on that: Shop stupid. I worked for an office supply store that was selling a six foot USB A-B (AKA Device Cable) for around $18-22 depending on the season. It’s a natural printer attachment.

    The local grocery store had them in the stationary section in the exact same package for $8.

  43. TechnoDestructo says:

    Can I buy a replacement service plan on a tank of gasoline?

  44. rdldr1 says:

    @redragon104: I agree that MicroCenter is great. There is a video on the web in which a consumer group tested Best Buy, Circuit City, and Microcenter to see if they had any competence in fixing a simple computer problem. Microcenter was the only one that passed the test. When my sis had her PC fixed there, it was fixed without any fuss.

    Also, you cant blame the cashier (who does not always have the knowledge of someone on the floor) for doing HIS JOB. I used to work retail. No matter how stupid, if the store says its your job to interact with a customer over another possible sale at the register, you do it.

    Hey “Reader Joe,” so you were more annoyed than amused by something so trivial? You should instead shop online, it requires no human interaction whatsoever.

  45. RvLeshrac says:


    The replacement plan on a $3 tube of thermal paste would actually come out to $5, I believe. I think that’s the cheapest plan we sell. I don’t haul around plan brochures with me when I go home, though.

    I hope that most of you (and it seems a large number of you DO) get the joke.

    “the computer says I should ask you in you want to buy a replacement service plan.”

    I really doubt the cashier was *seriously* pushing the plan. The system also tells us to offer plans on $3 mice and $5 heatsinks (no fan). We roll with it. As someone earlier pointed out, these things:

    a) affect store numbers
    b) affect one’s job.

    We have to (or are asked to) offer plans on a lot of things that we’d rather not. You can buy a plan on items with lifetime warranties, even (there are some times, rare as they may be, that these are useful, but… no).

    If you don’t like it, [www.microcentersurveys.com] – please. We don’t like offering plans on $3 tubes of thermal grease any more than you want to hear about them.

    On the flip side, there are plenty of people who *DO* buy the plan on a $5 mouse or a $2 pack of screws. So you see why they’re offered.

  46. RvLeshrac says:

    Oh, and please, please, please fill out those surveys if you ever buy anything from Micro Center. Employees can’t stem the tide of Stupid Service Plan Offers, but YOU can.

    Trust me, plenty of people in the company read every last one of those surveys top to bottom. The comment you leave today may be the service plan you don’t have to hear about tomorrow.

  47. Kraln says:

    I was offered this too. I asked her what happened if the tube mysteriously became empty – her reply “I’m pretty sure you’d get a new tube”. So, I went for the three year plan. I went home, used what I needed, then emptied the tube into the trash. The next day, I went back to the microcenter, showed the tube and the service plan, and promptly got a new tube.

    Could be a good deal for someone building a lot of systems? *snicker*

  48. RvLeshrac says:


    Except that the replacement plan is considered fulfilled once you have a replacement.

    Nice try, though.

  49. CaesarThymoetes says:

    as a microcenter associate i’ll explain.

    first up: the cashiers up there are just that. cashiers. they really don’t know what can constitute a warranty sale or not. they’re not sales people. when a certain sku is flagged at a certain price, the warranty plan screen pops up. i suppose doing over 200 of these transactions a day will put you in a trance then they just say whatever is programmed into their heads.

    now if one of the communications associates asked for a plan, you’d have reason to complain.

    i mean…we know nobody is going to buy warranty plans on thermal grease…or cds…or consumables period.