Geek Squad Agent Doesn't Have Time To Look For Multimeter, Let's Just Send Off Laptop For 3 Weeks Instead

The usefulness of Best Buy’s Geek Squad depends entirely on the competence of the employee you get when you go in for help, and unfortunately Scott landed one of the lazier ones. Here’s his sales pitch to Scott over a laptop that wouldn’t start: “It’s going to take at least 10 minutes for me to get the multimeter or another adapter. It’s going to be a problem inside the computer, let’s just send it in.”

What’s even better about this story, though, is how it ends.

The other day my laptop quit working. I noticed the LED display that shows that it is plugged in was not glowing. First I tried plugging my cell phone adapter into the outlet just to see if the outlet was working and of course, there was nothing wrong with the outlet (hooray for paying my electric bill), next I tried plugging the laptop into a different plug and still no luck. Through this basic troubleshooting I realized that either my AC adapter was bad or the problem was inside my laptop! Off to Best Buy and their Weak Squad, I mean Geek Squad.

When I got to Best Buy I told the Geek Squad / Mormon impersonator about my problem. I even suggested that all I needed for them to do was plug my laptop in with a different cord and/or check my adapter with a multimeter. The Geek told me that they did not have an adapter for my computer (an obvious lie, I have had my laptop worked on twice by the Geek Squad and both times they used their own adapter); however he did agree to check it with the multimeter. He then looked around for about 5 seconds and could not find the multimeter, so he did the next logical thing, he picked up my laptop, stared into the AC adapter receiver and then told me “It is definitely going to be a problem with the computer, we are going to need to send it in for three weeks.”

Obviously I was shocked. I told him before I sent off my computer for 3 weeks I would like to make sure it is not a problem with the AC adapter, could he please check it out first. “It is going to take at least 10 minutes for me to get the multimeter or another adapter, it’s going to be a problem inside the computer, lets just send it in.”

I thought for a second… 3 weeks vs 10 minutes… 3 vs 10… well, 3 is less than 10 (Shel Silverstein showed me that in his economy-based poem “Smart”)… Despite Shel’s frugal advice I decided I would wait out those ten minutes and see what happens.

Turns out, when plugged into a different adapter my computer turns right on! Now, I know all I need to do is buy an adapter, but to be honest I was pretty angry at the Geek Squad’s lack of effort in troubleshooting my computer, so I did not purchase the adapter from them.

Instead I went across the street to “The Shack” and started to explain my troubles to the employee there. Before I was done with my story he had already pulled out a multimeter and another adapter. He first plugged in the other adapter and it worked, so then he took the multimeter to my adapter and checked it in two places, before the transformer (from the wall to the plug was 110v) and then post transformer to plug (3.5v, when it as supposed to be putting out 19v). Not only did he confirm (by using science!) that the adapter was bad, he then told me “I’ll be honest with you, the universal adapter we sell here is more expensive than the one across the street at Best Buy.” To me, his willingness to do the right thing (and not send my laptop away for 3 weeks) was worth the extra 10 dollars.

“Radio Shack Sales Staff Unfazed By 2,400% Markup”
Approximately every third Geek Squad post on Consumerist
(Photo: shlala)

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