11 More Confessions Of A Circuit City Firedog Tech

Yet another valiant former Firedog writes in to share insider info that will help you successfully navigate the rough waters of big box computer repair. The most important takeaway—Don’t let them “preinstall” anything on your new computer. According to our tipster, it’s both expensive and pointless. Lots of good stuff inside.

1. Every Saturday night we would be forced to “preinstall” half of our laptop inventory for Sunday, which would be the beginning of our new sales week. We would have to preinstall maybe 20-30 laptops in one night. When customer come in on Sunday looking for a laptop, the sales associate is trained to only offer “preinstall” laptops even though we have new ones still in the box. This is what consists of preinstall: Open up the laptop box, power up the laptop, and go through the Windows installation screens, once the desktop loads, install all the critical windows updates, and your done. Firedog charges $100 for this service on top of the cost of the laptop. They say that the laptop has been “optimized and ready to go”. And i’d say half the customers fall for this tactic.

2. We would have to help the sales associates put out new price tags for laptops and desktops every Saturday night, the price that is listed online and in the flier gets hidden behind “B Tags”. “B Tags” are the same as the original price tags, but the price is jacked way up. The laptop is offered with an Full In Home Installation option. For example if a laptop costs $800, the $800 would get you the laptop and your out the door, no firedog installations, no warranty, no nothing. The “B Tag” would list the same laptop for $1149 with the “everything installed firedog package”, and it would be covering the original price tag. Consumers who did not research the laptop or did not look in flier are tricked into paying more. If consumer did not want any Firedog installation, the sales associate would tell them that Circuit City was all out of stock.

3. Firedog techs are deprived of the correct tools to get the job done, we do not get supplied with soldering irons, screwdrivers, glue guns, we get nothing, we would have to bring all the tools from home, as far as software tools, you may be fired because it is against policy to use any kind of software that is not provided by Circuit City directly. All they supplied us with was a trail version of Spyware Doctor and CCleaner. If you were caught by a District Manager using different tools you were fired. I personally used my own arsenal of tools, but the other guys that I worked with used the ones supplied by the Circuit City, all I can say is we had alot of customers come back for re-work because their computer still did not work. We are not provided with any data recovery tools incase your harddrive is malfunctioning, our store had to use a BestBuy Diagnostic CD that we found in a customers computer. How sad it that?

5. Once the customer signs the Firedog work order, they sign their computer away, on the back of the work order are the legal terms, basically telling the consumer that if Firedog lose or damage your laptop or desktop, Firedog is not responsible, if any data gets lost, Firedog is also not responsible.

6. If a computer is left at Circuit City for more than 60 days, it is considered abandoned and by the legal terms, it becomes Circuit City property, the firedog technicians do not keep their promises when they tell consumers that the computer will be ready by such and such a time. 8. Average turn around time for a computer is 1-2 weeks, 2 weeks especially if the Firedog technician does not know how to fix the problem, maybe even more. Firedog had computers from 6 months ago.

7. Circuit City will hire anyone to be a Firedog Technician, the Hiring Managers dont know anything about building/repairing computer hardware or software, if a person of the street came in and made stuff up and sounded like they knew what they were doing, they would be hired by the clueless hiring manager.

8. 95% of the work done by Firedog Technicians is Windows Operating System reinstalls, HP supplies us quarterly with recovery disks for every laptop/desktop system that we sell. If a consumer comes in with a simple problem, the computer is reformatted. Firedog offers data backup for $100, plus another $100 for the reformat. What is so hard about putting factory supplied restore disks in a computer? If a consumer does not have a recovery disk available, Firedog will install a retail copy of Windows thus resulting in the loss of all OEM software.

9. Firedog works strictly on Windows platforms, no Mac or Linux

10. Warranty work is done though a third party. If consumers buy a Circuit City warranty, their best bet is to take care of it themselves by calling the Circuit City repair service. If a customer brings in a laptop for hardware warranty repair, Firedog is not authorized to fix it, it must be fixed by the third party, even if a key fell off a keyboard, if the customer wants us to send it out for them, we have to put a claim with the service provider, the warranty company would have to review it, send us a prepaid box, we recieve the box, ship it back to the warranty service and then we get it back supposedly fixed, Firedog had a couple that came back still broken, customers are looking at a minimum wait time of atleast 4 weeks for laptop warranty repair.

11. Firedog services are not refundable, if a consumer brought their computer in for a diagnostic, and the Firedog technician told the consumer what they already know, they will not get a refund.

For more Firedog confessions, click here. Wanna play Firedog tech for free? You can download CCleaner here. It’s a nice little program, and the new version is thumb drive portable so you can take it over to grandma’s house and delete her cookies while you’re eating her cookies.

(Photo:wingless girl)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Nealjs says:

    Paragraphs would be nice.

  2. karlrove says:

    Hit return! or some
    s, yo!

  3. karlrove says:

    (that is html breaks)

  4. oakie says:

    @Nealjs: enter key must’ve fallen off his keyboard.

  5. rpm773 says:

    12. I skipped English class (to play Doom, no less) the day the teacher talked about paragraph structure and writing mechanics.

  6. savvy9999 says:

    Who knew James Joyce was a Firedog tech?

    That’s still pretty sad that there are no tools or software provided to fix a computer. What a scam.

    I often think I could open up a little repair shop on the side, sort of an only-in-my-neighborhood, after-work thing, but then I hear horror stories of mom & pop techs everywhere and it seems like the whole biz is just not worth it.

  7. kayfox says:

    You really should not be using a soldering iron or hot glue gun on computers, these days most manufacturers recommend replacement of the broken part. It takes alot of skill to reliably solder stuff, I know, I do it for a living.

  8. tedyc03 says:

    Grammar would be nice too.

  9. tripleR6 says:

    cliffs: you’re better off searching for help on google

    stupid people who bring their stuff into CC deserve what they get, though.

  10. johnwilliams713 says:

    I think there is already too much punctuation up there. That block of text is LITTERED with periods and spaces and commas. What more do you animals want!! LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE

  11. NotATool says:

    Now how do I convince my older parents that just because a service has a cool, flashy name (firedog or geek squad) that it’s not a total scam?

  12. shocker says:

    Damn CC doesn’t even provide spell-checker, paragraph-inserter, or bullet-number-counter to its employees!

    I’m not one who normally complains about length or clarity on this site, but this one is just out of hand.

  13. Traveshamockery says:

    Wow, major wall of text. I can’t read that.

  14. zibby says:

    They sound like dogs all right.

  15. EDogII says:

    Wow, they suck.

  16. Beerad says:

    @savvy9999: “Who knew James Joyce was a Firedog tech?”

    That comment is full of win.

  17. mgy says:

    I have to personally thank Firedog for making my job as a tech support guy THAT much harder. You guys really know how to screw stuff up.

  18. Nissan288 says:

    i can’t read this until its been formatted. is the editor slipping on his editing duties?

  19. I’m no longer surprised by information like this. It does make me glad to know that I supply my college student workers with better tools that Firedog.

    Can we also not attack the e-mail’s format it is a “wall of text”? It could very well be that the e-mail clients of the sender/recipient didn’t play well together and thus caused the wall of text.

  20. AaronC says:

    I love it. They were using a Best Buy diagnostic CD. So who is worse. Geek Squad or Fire Dog using Geek Squad software.


  21. Noiddog says:

    Darwin strikes again!!! Evolution is true. Humans evolved from Firedog Techs. Hooray for Trained Monkeys!!!!

  22. jtheletter says:

    There is no #4 in the list, but if there were I would add it based on this gem of a quote: “our store had to use a BestBuy Diagnostic CD that we found in a customers computer.”

    #4: Firedog technicians steal CDs from your computer and keep them.

  23. frankspin says:

    I bought a laptop from Best Buy last year, and while not CC, I still experienced the same type of bs about anti-virus crap. I had the guy behind the counter tell me I needed to get PCillian and I explained to him I already use an AV client. When asked which one I replied “AVG”. At this moment another guy behind the counter chimed in “Oh, those free ones aren’t good and wont work well with Vista” to which I replied “I’ve been working with computer for the past 7 years, I think I will be fine”. His response was “Well Vista is different”. At this moment I was felt compelled to inform the guy he was going to lose a sale because of his coworker but refrained.

  24. bluewyvern says:

    @Sean Et Cetera: “Can we also not attack the e-mail’s format it is a “wall of text”? It could very well be that the e-mail clients of the sender/recipient didn’t play well together and thus caused the wall of text.”

    It doesn’t matter how it was composed, sent, or received; the editor can very easily insert a paragraph break between each numbered item before posting it on the site. Not too hard. Pretty silly not to. Then we could actually be discussing the content instead of collectively rubbing our eyes.

  25. Noiddog says:

    How about a #12. Don’t buy anything from Circuit City.

  26. NcSchu says:

    Anyone notice the numbering pattern going 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11? I guess they really do hire anybody.

  27. jdame says:

    The best service they offer sounds like its part of point 8:

    “If a consumer does not have a recovery disk available, Firedog will install a retail copy of Windows thus resulting in the loss of all OEM software”

    Getting rid of OEM crapware is always a good thing to me.

  28. Concerned_Citizen says:

    This is why it is important to release software as freeware for non commercial use only. It’s disgusting that circuit city is making a ton of money off of someone else’s work.

  29. Coelacanth says:

    @savvy9999: Are we talking about young or old James Joyce. If it were written in the Ulysses manner, each confession would be written in a new style. :)

    Instead of inserting paragraphs, remove all capitalisation and punctuation from the original post.

  30. Pro-Pain says:

    Wow. Talk about a bitter employee. Get another job man. It’s really that easy. As far as opening the computers, I don’t know if I buy into that. I’ve never seen/heard of it happening. The vendors/manufacturers wouldn’t allow this. I wouldn’t buy ANYTHING with a broken factory seal. I’d just go some place else. I just bought the laptop I’m typing this on at Circuit City. I got a hell of deal too. It was it TWO factory sealed boxes when I got it. I’m calling some bullshit on this dude…

  31. wackyvorlon says:

    In all reality, what part of computer repair involves a soldering iron? Nobody does board level repairs, it’s a complete waste of money and time. Fixing a computer isn’t like fixing a radio, they’re incredibly complex circuits. It requires very specialized equipment and knowledge to do that sort of repair.

    I’m not sure whether I should be more horrified by a firedog tech working on a computer with a soldering iron, or a glue gun.

  32. unklegwar says:

    Paragraph breaks? Formatting? Anyone?

    I would think being an editor means you, ya know, edit?

  33. SuffolkHouse says:

    What a scam.

    What can someone take from this website on a regular basis? Don’t do any business with Best Buy or Circuit City. Both exploit ignorance to rip people off.

  34. gqcarrick says:

    What happened to number 4? it goes from 3 then to 5.

  35. savvy9999 says:

    @COELACANTH: I was thinking Ulysses, but it’s been 20+ years since I battled Joyce so maybe the post resembles Finnegan more? Dunno.

  36. m4ximusprim3 says:

    At least they’re aptly named. It sounds like the same service you would get if you let a dog who was on fire run around with your computer.

    It wouldn’t get fixed, it would smell funny, and there would be charred shit all over it.

  37. I’d never bring my computer anywhere for repair. They are so damn simple. How can people be so clueless as to pay $100 for free windows upgrades?

    I should get a part time job as a fire dog tech. I’d mess stuff up and when customers got pissed I’d just shrug my sholders.

  38. words words words

  39. Ariah says:

    Here’s a novel idea: A person called an “editor” could “edit” confessions to make them readable!

  40. Android8675 says:

    “3. Firedog techs are deprived of the correct tools to get the job done, we do not get supplied with soldering irons, screwdrivers, glue guns, we get nothing, we would have to bring all the tools from home, as far as software tools, you may be fired because it is against policy to use any kind of software that is not provided by Circuit City directly.”

    HOLY SHEI*, I can’t believe they have people trained at CC/FD to SOLDER ANYTHING! Damn, our local Geek Squad sends out anything that needs “soldering”, or “gluing” to an authorized service center. While we do have authorized Mac techs that can service all aspects of Apple problems, we leave the PC stuff to the higher paid guys. Damn if I took my computer to a CC or BBY and someone whipped out a soldering iron I’d get the HELL OUT!

    As for software tools, yeah, you should only use software you are licensed/have permission to use. Geek Squad has a phone line, if you know a tool will fix a problem that were not authorized to use, a phone call usually grants us permission and a higher up deals with the logistics of licensing the program for use.

    These confession emails are all, “Well, no duaa.”

  41. Android8675 says:

    I remember when Firedog first opened we went in to “Check it out”, they were using the Geek Squad software (MRI), was hilarious.

    All the sales stuff mentioned BTW, when I got my job I was told it was a tech/sales job, and we do the pre-load stuff. As well. People buy it, it makes sense to pre-load it so when they buy it they don’t have to wait to get it. At least thanks to this site most people know you don’t HAVE to buy it if you don’t want it, and you could end up with free software if they don’t have any non-pre-loaded versions of the computer you want.

    Dude… Enjoy what ya got.

  42. RvLeshrac says:


    I’m in no way defending Circuit City here, but rather most repair shops:

    It isn’t “paying for Windows updates,” but rather paying someone else to handle the downloading and installation.

    That’s like asking how people can be so clueless as to pay someone to mow the lawn, plant some bushes, re-shingle the house, or paint a room.

    Then, of course, there’s the “it isn’t FOR you” factor. If you can fix your own PC, a PC repair shop isn’t for you. Knowing how to change your own oil means you don’t need to go pay Jiffy Lube to do it, but I don’t see you yelling about that.

    Have you EVER not been capable of repairing something? If so, well, you must be clueless, because the repair guy usually finds it pretty easy.

  43. G-16 says:

    I have to agree, a glue gun??? I am sorry but these places are just big scams and it has been known for awhile. People should just avoid them all together.

  44. RAREBREED says:

    “3. Firedog techs are deprived of the correct tools to get the job done, we do not get supplied with soldering irons, screwdrivers, glue guns, we get nothing, we would have to bring all the tools from home”

    This actually could qualify you for a different rate of pay, assuming you’re in California! The DLSE has set standards for how to properly pay employees who are required to furnish their own tools needed to complete the job.

  45. grayskies says:

    As a current firedog employee, this guy was clearly not doing his job. The Pre-OP procedures are indeed stupid, but are more than just installing updates. Plus, a store cannot force you to buy a preoptimized laptop, only a net saleable one. So if you’re lucky enough to be one of the last few buying a model and only the preopt ones are left, you’re just getting some work done for free if you flat out refuse to pay for services.

    My current problem with firedog is that alot of the newer technicians (after the massive layoff, which I managed to survive) are lazy and stupid. Firedog as a whole is leaps and bounds better than the competition but it’s always on a case to case basis, just like any other corporate chain. Most firedog technicians are MCP certified and A+ certified, which means they may be able to handle most minor computer problems. I currently work at CC part time only because the pay is decent (better than Wal*Mart) and the management is laid back at my store. I’m doing this to pay for school, not as a career.

    People are often to jump on the whole on the act of one retarded member (see CC destroys shitty Honda) and act like its a systemic problem. This is a problem in the computer repair industry as a whole.

  46. ChuckECheese says:

    @grayskies: People are often to jump on the whole on the act of one retarded member (see CC destroys shitty Honda) and act like its a systemic problem.

    And yet it is a systemic problem, but it’s not a problem of isolated acts. It’s a problem that looks like this, at least in America:

    People are undereducated and do not receive meaningful training in their jobs. They don’t have the tools to do their jobs properly. They are brow-beaten and threatened by incompetent managers for merely trying to do the job properly. They are unmotivated because they are underpaid, untrained, under-resourced, have no job security, and are abused on the job. They have no integrity as they are forced to lie about things in order to take money unfairly from customers, which has a way of killing your soul. These things are true in many different work situations these days–Firedog, fast-food, engineer, public defender, social worker, acoustics engineer, or call center agent.

    Your burrito is dropped on the floor, and firedog can’t fix your computer, which they then drop on the floor, charging you $300 for the privilege. Child protection takes your babies and can’t give them back because nobody knows where they are. Your bridges fall down because nobody was paying attention. You call 911 and all they say is, “Did I provide you with outstanding service today?” And you desperately want to sue somebody, but it seems like everybody is laying face-down in a puddle of their own fail.

    Have a nice day!

  47. veganvelma says:

    The whole time I worked with CC/Firedog it was not like this. Then again, this was when Firedog had just launched. I’m not surprised at all that they do these things now.

    Our main problem was that sales associates kept promising that the computer could be ready at x time without checking with the firedog technicians first.

  48. SeraSera says:

    Firedog technicial is sounding more and more like an excellent summer job.

  49. WraithSama says:

    Wall of Text FTL. Still, interesting article.

  50. Smitherd says:

    “You can take it over to grandma’s house and delete her cookies while you’re eating her cookies.”

    Classic comedy!

  51. mounty3166 says:

    Your post is wrong from the get go, or you don’t do your job right. The service described in #1 is a FD SYMCUST at the least (24.99) or 39.99 at most, I can’t remember the SKU. When I was a Firedog that service (updates, initial Windows boot etc, was the easiest thing to sell, but it certainly wasnt 100$.

  52. mounty3166 says:

    these posts make me so mad because half the things you former CC employees are pointing out are blatantly wrong, dishonest, terrible, or you are simply stating facts, i.e. of course a diagnostic isn’t refundable, if you already know your power supply is dead or motherboard is fried, why would you pay a red cent to have someone perform a diagnostic?

  53. CSUSam says:

    I have a lot of issues with what this guy said. I work at a Circuit City store 3376 in Fort Collins, (and have for a year, I just got my losery paper weight and key chain.) I by no means am a company shill, but a lot of this stuff is generalizing. My store has some awesome techs.

    1. Every once in a while, my supervisor decides we have to do the pre-install on some of the ludicrously cheap laptops. But it costs $40, not $100. I would like to know this guys store number, because there is no set up SKU that costs $100. They could be charged for a data migration, or they could adjust a price up, but that is it. There are a lot of fees from Fire Dog that are just stupidly expensive, but that one is NOT universally true.

    2.Again, the store he works at must have the newer POS system, called Magellan, or the newest one rPOS, becuase my store has none of these “B” tags. The only tags like that we have are ones for desktop packages. You know “Computer + monitor = x.” We have full size pieces of paper in plastic holders by the display laptops that have all the services stuff in the ad offered at a discount, but the actual laptop price is the only tag we have.

    3. This one is, unfortunately, largely true. But, NONE of our techs follow that. They use all of their own tools, and the district fire dog manager has seen it constantly, and does not care. We have HDD Regenerator, plenty of back up disks, etc. The store bought a soldering iron and other tools with petty cash. I guess what I am still trying to say is that none of what this guy is saying is company wide. He should stop saying “Circuit City” and start saying “My Circuit City.”

    4. Can you find a computer repair shop that won’t have that warning? That is a standard CYA letter.

    (By the way, is it just me or did his thing go from 3 to 5? I may be retarded, but that is what I saw…)

    5. I think the lesson here is don’t leave your computer somewhere for 2 months. If you took a car to be repaired, how long before they have it towed away? If you are going to be gone for that long, just tell them and they will make arrangements for you. At least should.

    6. That is not true, again. Maybe at his store they would hire anybody, but my supervisor and one of the really good techs would interview anybody going for a Fire Dog position, both of whom are very capable of doing so. I have never seen a tech at our store or any of the three in our district I have been to that would hire “anybody” for a tech position.

    As I said, a lot of the fees Fire Dog charges is ridiculous. I try really hard to not charge people for crap like that, because I am a consumer before I am a Circuit City employee, and charging that much for things like that is unfair.

    7. Yep. Would you take a Windows computer to the Genius Bar? No, because they know Macs. The warranty service is true, and does largely suck. We got a lot of people complaining about how long it takes, and I know our techs get really pissed that they can’t do some easy fixes. If you have an HP, however, CC does warranty work on them, under the manufacturer warranty and the Protection Plan. If your computer is having issues and you got the protection plan, again, at least at my store, our techs will do as much as they can with software and other stuff without charging you. If you do need any other Fire Dog services, you get half off of them too.

    8. The last one is true, especially of the diagnostic. The money you pay for a diagnostic goes against any other services you get if you do need more though. So, if the diagnostic costs $60, and you need something that costs one hundred to fix it, you only owe $40 more. But if you bring it an for some other type of service, those are refundable at our store. Just a few days ago we tested a guy’s Power Supply and it was bad. He wanted us to install it, so the power supply and service totaled like $70. It turns out his MoBo was fried. So, he returned the power supply for a refund and the tech gave him the money for the install back.

    As I said before, I feel no need to defend CC against attacks that are legitimate, and there are many. I’m not a company loyalist and hate a lot of the changes that seem to be made every damn week. But a lot of this is just not true of the store I work at. At every chain there are going to be crap stores with managers that just want to get good numbers regardless, and there are going to be ones with employees that are just there to pay for beer that will help the customer as much as possible.

    As long as they aren’t pushy and mean.


  54. whitespider says:

    @wackyvorlon: When the DC Jack (The part of the motherboard on a laptop that takes the “Power cord” (AkA AC Adaptor) needs to be jiggled to get a good connection; that needs to be replaced. It’s an easy solder job, and it works. Done it a few times myself.

  55. Oryx says:

    All I can say is thank you Firedog. You and the Geek squad are one of the biggest aids for my college tuition. (And I only charge $15/hr, usually about 1-2 hours for most issues…which says something about the sheer number of screw-ups I see.)

    I think about half of the computers I fix on campus went to these guys first. I also tend to pick up a decent amount of work from BB/CC guys who screw up home theater installations.

    I actually had a good friend who tried to get a job (in-house repair tech) at both Firedog and Geeksquad after he got his A+ cert. Both places told him he was overqualified for the position.

  56. Oryx says:


    And also, you sir/ma’am are a god among men.

  57. cypher814 says:

    I used the circuit city warranty on my laptop and got it back in a few days. They found the problem pretty fast.

  58. redhelix says:

    “Every Saturday night we would be forced to “preinstall” half of our laptop inventory for Sunday……(snip).”

    I call bullshit. When I worked for Geek Squad, we did something similar to this on black friday every year to help prep for the sales morning. (Only we didn’t charge for it.) When the customer bought the laptop, they had to sign a waiver acknowledging that they were buying an open-box product for MSRP.

  59. baristabrawl says:

    i thought it was written by e.e. cummings.

  60. Suttin says:

    @Oryx: Same thing happened to me. I have my A+ certification, and they said I was over qualified. I guess they dont want o fix computers?

  61. DJRanmaS says:

    @savvy9999: The same can be said about Geek Squad and EasyTech. We have to bring our own tools and hide them when corporate or any other district tech comes by.

    @mgy: I concur.

  62. ellis2x says:

    @DJRanmaS: My friend, you must be mistaken. Geek Squad actually does provide their precincts with a very powerful array of software utilities and hardware tools. Everything one needs to get the job done. The catch is that you need competent techs to use them.

  63. Darkenedstar says:

    I am currently a firedog technician. I cannot vouch for other techs at other stores, but I can tell you my experiences at my store.

    Preinstalls. The only time I had to do this was Black Friday; and we only do half. This was a corporate order so don’t blame firedogs for this. We are just doing what we are told to get paid. Also, on the preinstalls I actually “optimize” them; not just turn them on. Quick overview of what I do for optimize.
    1) msconfig. Duh.
    2) services.msc – set some stuff that doesn’t need to auto start to manual, disable superfetch…that garbage.
    3) disable system restore. Anyone who knows computers knows that windows system restore is garbage. And on vista it causes alot of “Disk Thrashing”
    4) disable transparency and some other various things.
    those poor integrated graphics cards weep with it on.
    5) Regedit – local machine – current control set – control – session manager – memory management – prefetch parameters – set superfetch to (1) and prefetch to (2)
    This basically makes system only cache boot files, for faster boot, and more free memory. Yay!
    6) delete worthless icons, trialware, etc. done. pretty much

    SOFTWARE! Yes. our available software is terrible. Do I take one for the team and use my own software? Yes. I do what I have to; to get the job done to MY standards.

    for the record CCleaner is NOT a program we can use; further showing this ex firedog is a complete trashbag.

    Spyware Doctor is surprisingly good. But 95% of the time it takes much more then just it to remove malware. *cough* combofix *cough* *cough* avira *cough* Hijackthis. theres more but im not naming everything.

    As far as Mac and linux goes. I’m typing this using Ubuntu 7.10 which I am quite fluent with. And if 65yr old grandmas can use Macs; im pretty sure I can fix one? The whole mac linux thing is different store by store. (Like I said; I can’t vouch for other stores.)

    anyways. I’m tired of typing. Don’t believe every ex employee you hear. Hes probably just pissed because he got fired because he didn’t know how to use those hp recovery discs or something.

  64. Rents says:

    Like all companies, there are horrible stores, and there are ethical, decent stores. Reading this article and relating it back to my own store is ridiculous. Nearly every single thing is wrong, or is simply being done by a horribly unethical management team.

    1) Quickstart, “pre-optimization” basically includes disabling some processes using msconfig/reg edit, Windows updates, uninstalling some useless bloat ware. It’s also $39.99. A little bit more than “simply running windows updates”. While this isn’t incredibly complicated, you’d be surprised at the number of people who simply do not know how to do this.

    I do not wish to waste time typing up a counter-point, but nearly every single thing the author said is simply wrong, or is only a case in his horrible store.

    Unfortunately, the author of this article must work in an insanely corrupt Circuit City store.

  65. Doctor Cathattan says:

    5….on the back of the work order are the legal terms, basically telling the consumer that if Firedog lose or damage your laptop or desktop, Firedog is not responsible, if any data gets lost, Firedog is also not responsible.

    Every state has consumer protection laws in place against this sort of thing. I believe there’s an expectation that a repair shop has to take reasonable care of your property while it’s in their possession. Contract clauses that violate local/state/federal laws are illegal.

  66. blackmage439 says:

    Argh… No paragraphs make my eyes bleed.

    Moving on. I can personally vouch for the incompetence of Circuit Crappy. I once tried to get a job with them that the website listed as “tech repair” or something along those lines. I get to the interview and I am notified that I would have to begin in a “mostly sales position” with the possibility of moving up as time went on. The manager was kind of an ass, and this made me even more aggravated.

    Since that debacle, I have not set foot in a Circuit Shitty to date. Although it pains me to set foot in the store, Best Buy trumps their prices and selection any day. I actually grilled my grandparents for buying their LCD TV @ CC, complete with Firedog install. I knew they only shopped there because my cousin works there, but still, watching people waste money like that is irritating.

    Just curl up in a ball and die already, CC.

  67. Spyder71205 says:

    I am not one to actually respond to these posts but the majority of what you said is not true. Maybe your circuit city there just sucks. Because the one I work at where I am a Firedog Tech is not like yours.

    Do I think we have crappy software to work with, yes, that is definitely true, I also use mostly my stuff. However we do have more then Spyware Doctor and CCleaner. Your prices are jacked up a little to high there to buddy, its 40 dollars for a preopt computer, not 100. We also do more then what you stated we do, so I wouldn’t recommend one of this guys pre-optimized computers.

    We are also not trained to say, “I’m sorry but we only have pre-opts left”. I personally give them the option, oh and the customer always sees the actual product price first, behind that tag we have a in-home and a in-store sale tag. I would also like to note that my average turn around time is not 2 weeks. I think you speak in general about circuit city when maybe its just you or your store that has the issue. I will bring a computer in and out in an average of about 3 days.

    The correct price for an OS install is $129 and it will be back to OEM conditions. Unless the customer asks for it. If we do not have the Disc for their computer then we will be unable to perform it, we won’t throw a retail disc on their anymore.

    Again not anyone can be a firedog tech, you must be able to pass some general questions, atleast they were general for me. Also it was the lead technician that was doing the hiring, not the manager. Maybe your one of the ones that slipped through the cracks and got hired wrong, who knows. But don’t generalize about all circuit citys when maybe yours is the one that went to crap.

  68. Ben Popken says:

    A writes:

    “I just came across the article “11 more confessions of a circuit city firedog tech.” And I just want to say, he works for a fucked up store. I am also a Circuit City Firedog tech, and while most of his complaints are based in truth, there is some serious hyperbole.

    1. We do these pre installs as well. But in far fewer numbers. He says 20-30. We do 5-10….and the sales associate offers the pre install as an option not the option. I should know, I started out as a sales associate. As for, the little work we do on these, sounds like we have a slacker on our hands. When we do pre installs, we do everything he mentions (1. Open up the laptop box, power up the laptop, and go through the Windows installation screens, once the desktop loads, install all the critical windows updates) but then we also remove superfluous trial software, (pre installed trial versions of AOL, MSN, Net Zero) basically all the ads that the manufacturer has been paid to put on. We leave the trials of Norton and office, since those are, you know, useful. And we do all Windows updates, not just critical. We then install a variety of software bundles. Usually one of each on every type of Computer specifically on sale that week. (3-4) One is just office home and student. Then Office and Norton, then Office, Norton and Spy Sweeper. All said and done it takes us about an hour-hour and a half to complete. So lets do some math. For the low end. Just the “optimization” as he describes it. At $16 an hour for an hour and a half that’s $24. The cost of a pre optimized system is an additional $60 not $100. So the company is paying me for my time while making $36. Sure a little steep, but really this is just a time saving measure. Because people, while completely informed of what we will be doing to the computer pay us the $60 to do it after the fact, So they end up getting their computer in 2-3 hours. (it takes longer because when it happens on the sales floor, we can never devote our whole attention to one computer, so instead of coming in and picking their system up in a few hours they can take in now. If they want software installed, then all they pay for is the software itself. Software installs cost $30. So all of the software is discounted by $30-$35 when they buy a new computer.

    2. As for putting the “B Tags” going on top. That’s not how it works. The OTD price is on top, followed by the in store set up price, (the optimization + 2 software installs (Norton and Office) followed third by in home setup. Where we send a technician out to your house, who delivers your product, does the “optimization” and software installs at your house, Sets up the system (i.e., moves your desk, puts up monitor, plugs in tower, hauls away your old system if you want.) Then sets up a secure wireless/wired network for you with the router and cables included on the price, or you can opt out of the network setup if you want. And all of our services are offered ala-carte as in store or in-home or many common services are offered in a discounted bundle.

    3. Correct, we do not have soldering irons, or glue guns because we are not an intensive hardware repair center. It’s not like we will charge you for a motherboard repair and the not do it. We have a third party that does that kind of stuff, so we don’t need those tools. You don’t have a screw driver? What kind of fucked up store do you work for? We have several store-supplied tool kits at our disposal. And software tools what he listed is somewhat lacking. We are supplied with full, commercial versions of spy doctor, spy sweeper, CCleaner, Spybot S&D, Fixit 7, Registry Mechanic, Norton and McAfee removal tools, Stinger, PC Checkup and PC Tools. We also have the Firedog Console, which has an automated, offline windows update utility, and system restore ability, among other things. As for getting fired for using anything else. He must be one evil sonofabitch for a DM. And the only time we have people bring their systems back to our store after a virus removal is six months later when, after ignoring our advise of getting an anti virus (we even suggest AVG free) their system is clogged with new viruses and spyware. And we have an entire arsenal of store provided hardware diagnostic tools as well.

    4?? Where’s #4?

    5. True. We are not responsible for what you have done to your computer. It is hard to differentiate between what we may have done and what is a side effect of the shit on your computer. And have you ever read a EULA? Basically all say the same thing. “If installing this program causes your system to implode, tough”. That being said, our managers will usually do their best to accommodate you if such a thing happens.

    6. And yes, if you leave your computer at our store for 2 months after the work is finished, without ever contacting us, the yes you have abandoned it. We are not a recycling/disposal service. But remember this, If you lose your wallet it only takes 30 days before legally I can claim it.

    8. (whoever wrote this cant count) Again WTF kind of store do you work at. Turn around is 3-7 days. But keep in mind, there are at most two of us there a day, working on anywhere from 10 to 20 computers at a time. but he’s right 2 weeks or more if it is a serious problem or is we have to send it out for repair. (that’s the manufacturers fault, not ours)

    7. (??) Firedog hiring is overseen by the Technology supervisor who asks real questions and there is a 30 probationary period to see if you lied or not. As for the “fact that 8.95% of our work is OS reinstalls. That’s probably true. When someone brings in a computer that will not boot, even into safe mode yes, we will reinstall the operating system, if we you don’t have your restore disk we will put a retail copy on there. And OH no! you’ve lost that Toshiba branded copy of the Inter-actual DVD player! That is, until we re download all of the OEM software from the manufacturers site!

    9. We do only work on windows systems because we only sell windows system, because Apple does not pay us to carry their systems, because THEY HAVE THEIR OWN STORES! We will not send out your broken computer to our third party repair company and charge you for the repair when you can have it done fro free by the manufacturer. The gall!

    10. True. If you have the warranty it works like the manufacturers warranty. You call them they send you a box. Put your computer in said box. Mail box. Receive new/fixed computer in a few weeks to a month. Or you can come in, drop off your computer and we call the number for you.

    11. Right again, if you come in, tell us your computer is broken. We spend the next week figuring out exactly how and where it’s broken, only to confirm that, yes, it is indeed broken. We still need to be paid for our time. But if you came in and told us. My motherboard is dead, or my memory has burned out, or my power supply has gone bad, a specific problem. We will perform a free on the spot confirmation and then MAIL YOU A BOX!

    I ask that you please put this on you site so that people will know what really goes on behind the desk, or at least that the kind of stuff described in your article doesn’t happen everywhere. Circuit city is a great place to work. great pay, great benifits and they promote from within the company. Easily the best place I have worked.

    Thank you for your consideration.”

  69. Schmeg Peg says:

    1 and 2 are wrong. This guy is terrible at writing so I just skimmed over the rest, but here:

    1. An optimization is not $100, it’s $40. And if the tech was doing it right, they’d also use msconfig, regedit, and services.msc to disable unnecessary startup entries and services that come preloaded on the computers, giving the customer a faster computer. Sure it’s easy, but anyone that would pay any money for computer services doesn’t know how to do it, so it’s a fine value for them.

    2. “B Tags” are not a certain rip-you-off kind of price tag, B is simply the size. There’s A, J, K, and more. And the combo price tags that show a package with installation and everything are listed at the bottom tab as just that, a PACKAGE. You can flip behind the tag to the tab labelled COMPUTER and see the price of just the computer. And while I haven’t seen anyone denying that a computer is in stock because a customer wasn’t getting a setup package at my store (it’s certainly not company policy), I’d understand if someone did because we usually lose money on a computer if it’s on sale, or only make about 3% margin if it’s not.

  70. Peter Jones says:

    Well./. working for the geeksquad, a lot of these are similar.
    For example:1,5,6 are exactly but we give 120 days before we throw your pc away.