Geek Squad Will Turn On Your Ebook Device For You For $29.99

The best way to understand Geek Squad is to realize that they will help you with anything if it means they can charge you a fee. Want batteries in your remote control? Having trouble putting a USB plug into its port? Need to know the time? OPTIMIZE IT WITH GEEK SQUAD. Those are just solid business ideas and not (yet) actual services, but Geek Squad’s real offerings are almost as absurd. For example, Nate from snapped this photo of their newish “eBook Device Setup” service for your Nook or Sony Reader, which promises to turn it on (“provide a functionality check”) and show you how to read (“what to expect when you take the device home”).

The company also promises to install any updates for you. Here’s a shopping tip: if you need professional assistance to update a single use device, then either that device is badly designed or you need to find something that’s more suitable to your tech level. Snark aside, you’ll save yourself frustration and money in the long run.



Edit Your Comment

  1. morehalcyondays says:

    But will Geek Squad wipe my butt for me?

  2. BannedInBrittan says:

    No where does it mention optimizing the eBook reader in the ad. Frankly I don’t see the problem with them offering a service to update the firmware and show people how to use the device. How many people do we know who don’t read manuals? It’s not as if people have to take them up on this. It’s nice for those type of people who also don’t feel comfortable doing things like GPS map updates; believe me these people exist.

    • TVGenius says:

      Seems completely reasonable to me. Geek Squad has figured out how to make a few bucks off the grandparents with no grandkids nearby to teach them everything (or none with the patience to constantly be teaching them stuff)

      • Akanbe says:

        Pretty much. The people buying these services are usually the type that are scared to touch technology (older folks).

        I don’t see a problem with their services as long as the salesman aren’t pushy about it. The problem is, many of them are.

        • Conformist138 says:

          I just sold my old laptop. My best friend wanted it and so did my roommate. Now, my roommate would have come with a great perk of getting our modem/router out of her room since she’d have wifi. But, I sold it to my best friend because the idea of trying to teach my 50-yr-old tech-tarded roomie about how it works was enough to induce a migraine.

          She saw my new laptop recently when I was in the kitchen. I was watching a show on hulu in fullscreen. She stopped to marvel at it and just wouldn’t stop going on about how amazing it was. I’m tempted to set up my N64 in her room and see if she pees her pants with those amazing 1990s graphics.

    • bearymore says:

      I have a nook and when a firmware update is available it will update itself.

  3. dbeahn says:

    I remember when doing this sort of basic, basic service was part of the sale, and the salesman did it for you. How times have changed.

    • BannedInBrittan says:

      yeah that was back when electronics had more margin; meaning the store made more money by selling you the device. That’s why times have changed.

      • TornadoRex says:

        A good salesman can still make plenty of profit off a sale by including add-ons. Just because they don’t want to pay more than $7/hr for someone whose out of high school doesn’t mean they should run around pushing useless “services”.

    • Griking says:

      I remember when people would read manuals.

      • Rocket says:

        Manuel, relay instructions. Manuel?

        • dreamfish says:

          Chico: “Maybe that book’s no good”
          Groucho: “Of course this book’s good – it’s an engineer’s manual”
          Chico: “But supposing the engineer’s name aint ‘Manual'”
          Groucho: “Then he’s got to change his name – you can’t make a fool out of this book”

          Go West (1940)

      • Dutchess says:

        I remember when they used to include actual manuals with devices. Now you get two sided sheet of paper at best and a CD or a link to a website for FAQs.

  4. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    “…Tips and tricks on what to expect when you take your device home.”

    Did they just copy this out of a pet store ad, and substitute “device” for “puppy”? Do they also provide Device wee-wee pads?

  5. MDSasquatch says:

    At least this way, you minimize your risk of getting home and finding floor tiles or a brick in the box

  6. Cameraman says:

    Yes, but does the Geek Squad teach me how to read? If not, that’s a rip-off.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      How would you know what useless service to sign up for, if you couldn’t read their sign?

  7. GMFish says:

    Snark aside…

    I usually complain when this site gets snarky. But in this instance I have to agree. If you lack the knowledge to use the device/product you just bought and you lack the time or ability to learn how to use it yourself… don’t fricken buy it!

    Seriously, if an ebook reader is too much for you, stick with real books. And watch out for the paper cuts.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Agreed. Giving Geek Squad your money to get you through the first step won’t change the fact that you have a bunch of other processes that you’re not likely to figure out on your own if you’re not the brightest lightbulb in the pack and need help with turning on an e-reader.

      I once had a co-worker who, upon starting his very first day of work, needed help to turn on his computer. Not a good start.

      • tbax929 says:

        My parents call me whenever they’re having problems with electronics, which is quite often. Anyway, they asked me to come look at their TV, since it wasn’t working. I drove an hour to their house, plugged it in, and turned it on. It seems my mother had unplugged it when she was vacuuming and forgot to plug it back in.

    • zandar says:

      users have to start somewhere, don’t they? Did you know instinctively how to turn on your very first computer?

      Oops, that came out wrong.

  8. brinks says:

    I spent a few years in electronics retail (not at Best Buy). You would be surprised at the stupidity and/or laziness of people. It’s often a combination of both.

    A lady bought a laptop, looked at the power cord, and said, “Is that the internet?”

    People were always looking for ink for their computer. “It’s a Compaq Presario. What type of ink do I need?”

    I could go on for hours.

    People want these devices because they think they’re cool devices, not because they actually have the mental capacity to use them. By all means, Geek Squad, capitalize on the stupid masses. The smart people won’t pay for this. The dumbasses get what they deserve.

    • zandar says:

      in a more sympathetic vein, i can see this service actually being useful to someone like my mom, who is literally afraid pressing any button on an unfamiliar electronic device could result in total destruction. $30 is a small price to pay for someone like that who is too afraid to even turn the thing on. These people DO exist. And it’s not stupidity, just basic distrust and fear of new tech.

      I usually help her with these things, but I can’t be with her 24/7.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        That’s actually the difference between “passive stupidity” and “active stupidity.”

        “Passive stupidity” is not knowing how to do something, but blundering forward. You might break something, but chances are good that it can be fixed.This is the guy that tries to build a PC, but plugs in all the front-panel connectors wrong.

        “Active stupidity” is not knowing how to do something, and *wilfully resisting learning how to do it.* That’s the type of stupidity I absolutely cannot abide, under any circumstances. This is the guy that asks you for “help” with something, then two seconds later throws his hands up in the air and screams at you because you won’t wipe his ass for him. These are the people that most Geek Squad services are designed for, and I *ABSOLUTELY DO NOT FEEL THE SLIGHTEST PANG OF PITY FOR THEM.*

    • lukesdad says:

      Yeah, I worked at Radio Shack for a few years and — man, have I got stories. I can’t count the number of times people would walk in, tell me they needed “an adapter” or some other ridiculously generic term, and stand there befuddled when asked “what kind?”

    • Dutchess says:

      My aunt was in tech support for HP for a few years during retirement and my favorite story is when someone called in because they couldn’t get their printer set-up.

      They were complaining because the cord from the printer wouldn’t reach the outlet. My aunt suggested moving the computer closer and the customer said the cord is only like 6 inches long and wouldn’t reach.
      She was baffled and finaly asked, did you remove the TWIST TIE on the cord? The customer answered, “You can do that?”

      She had to stifle back a laugh. So yes, I can only imagine how stupid some people are.

      As my friend likes to say…..”The masses are asses”

    • bdgbill says:

      Well said. Anyone stupid enough to pay for this service probably has an actual need for it.

    • Destron says:

      That’s pretty damn funny. My favorite story in retail – someone walks in with a netbook and wants to exchange it. I ask him whats wrong? He says the internet quit working on it. I asked him to explain, he says he set it, the internet worked fine, then suddenly it quit working. I ask, did you check with your internet provider and make sure it wasn’t a temporary outage, look at the router, basic questions like that, he looks at me like in retarded and tells me he does not have internet, that’s why he bought a netbook because the internet comes with it.

      After further questioning I was able to ascertain that he was getting his internet from his neighbor and the neighbor locked down his router so his netbook wouldn’t connect anymore.

    • Akanbe says:

      Exactly. That’s the one thing that kind of bothers me about some people at this site. They don’t understand (or just plain hate when it happens) why salesmen talk to them like they don’t know anything and offer services they don’t want or need.

      It’s simply because most (I’d say above 90%) of the customers they talk to are Moms and Dads from Middle America who don’t know what an HDMI cable is and still has (and uses) an aol email address. You get in the habit of explaining things because the majority of the customers you talk to don’t know what you’re talking about.

  9. ptkdude says:

    My guess is that the Nook and the Sony eReaders are poorly designed. Here are the steps required to update the firmware on the Kindle:

    1) Stare at device as it automatically updates.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You forgot:

      2) ???
      3) Profit!

    • Bort says:

      2) Stare longer and watch your books be deleted by “Big Brother”

    • selianth says:

      The nook will automatically update, eventually, provided the wi-fi/cell service is turned on. But it can also be done manually if it needs to be done NOW or there is no wireless network available. Most of the time when an update is released, B&N tells users that an automatic over-the-air update may take as long as a week to initiate.

  10. rpm773 says:

    If Best Buy/Geek Squad wants to make its money this way, that’s fine. I don’t really have a problem with it. The problem is that the knuckledraggers working there don’t have any tact when pitching these value-added services.

    I don’t appreciate being aggressively upsold by Tubby the neck-bearded salesguy or some zit-faced 16 year old, smirking at me like I’m an idiot when I tell them I’m not interested.

  11. backinpgh says:

    Now if you didn’t know how to read already that would be a pretty damn good deal. Bring your small children!

  12. photoguy622 says:

    Don’t people do any research about a product or open the manual anymore? When I sold electronics at Sears I was amazed at the motives people had for buying a certain product. “It’s pink”, “It’s cute”, “It’s cheap”… and two weeks later they were returning it. When I was actually able to convince someone to buy the un-cute product that was technically superior, and show them how to use it, they were happier.

    I know that when I buy something, no matter how trivial, I always make sure I know my options and what I’m getting myself into.

    Granted I’ve just come across as a pompous know-it-all, but whatever happened to personal accountability and taking pride in doing a job yourself?

    • backinpgh says:

      When you think about it, almost any tech product that comes in bright pink has a superior, boring-gray counterpart for the same price.

  13. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I think most of the commentators are forgetting that not everyone was born during a period when computers and electronics were already an established part of our culture. There was a time when most purchases didn’t require firmware upgrades, activation, registration, etc. and just worked. I can’t comment on what Geek Squad actually does for $29.99 but I suspect there are many older readers, who would be intimidated by an eBook and would want somebody to set it up and show him or her how to use it. Ideally, it would be a friend or family member but not everyone has access to people who can help.

    I do most of my own work on my car and house. If somebody doesn’t know how to wire a new circuit, sweat a pipe, or install new brake pads or spark plugs, I don’t think he’s stupid. Younger people especially seem to lack what I consider very basic skills in these regards but on the other hand, they can configure a home network or pick up any piece of electronics and start plugging away.

    Times change and at some point, we’ll all be the ones who are completely overwhelmed by new technology.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Uh, it explains in the picture what Geek Squad does.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Yes, but I’m not entirely sure what “tips and tricks” actually entails or how much instructional time they give to the customer.

    • TheWillow says:

      I am not an electrician. I know jack all about how to be one. However, if I walked into a house and the lights were turned off, I think I could figure out how to turn them on.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I think most people could figure it out.

        But there are a lot of people who, upon seeing a flickering fluorescent light, change the tube, still have the problem and then immediately assume it was the wiring and call an electrician. They have no idea that it’s just the ballast and a very quick and easy fix.

        There are also many people who freak out upon realizing that a half dozen electrical receptacles don’t work, at the same time there’s no tripped breaker — they assume it’s an expensive and complicated fix and call an electrician. But in reality, it’s just a tripped upstream GFI on the same circuit.

        A huge portion of an electrician’s work are calls like this. Checking a ballast or a tripped GFI are very intuitive and logical troubleshooting steps for most of us but there are a lot of people who just have no idea.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          Intuitive if you’re an electrician, or if someone showed you all that at some point. I can do most of this stuff to a reader or a computer, or look it up online if I need help, but I don’t have clue one about a fluorescent light or GFI circuit, blahblahblahblah. The only thing I know how to wire is a dollhouse.

    • kalaratri says:

      Oh please, don’t you know the elderly who are more timid about electronics are just stupid? It’s not like they’re unaccustomed to the way modern gadgets work and are afraid of bricking the thing by pushing the wrong button or anything.

    • random123 says:

      Agree – I used to pay for oil changes on my car. After reading on rip off report about how many people have to replace engines because the chain places use the cheapest oil filters they can get – and especially with the cheap filters the gasket can come off and stick to the car – If the gasket sticks to the car and the person replacing the filter does not notice and just puts a new filter on on top of it it can dump the oil on the road and kill the engine in a matter of minutes. Of course it is the service stations fault, and sometimes with lots of headaches you can get them to replace th engine, but often they just won’t. I decided to learn how to change the oil myself to make sure this will not happen to me, which I now do, and it takes less time than going to the service station – also costs much less. I know it is done correctly, and I use better oil/filter, and I let the old oil drain all the way which the chain places often dont. Anyone with a more or less functional body who is not mentally disabled can change their own oil but just because someone chooses not to is not a sure fire indication that they are stupid. There are lots of reasons why people pay others to do things that they can more easily do themselves. When I hit 70 or 80 – even if I’m able I probably won’t want to lie down on the ground and fiddle with the car so I’ll probably pay someone. As long as geeksquad is honest about the service that they offer, and actually provide the service, who cares?

  14. MrsAnnieProffitt says:

    I bought a screen protector for my Blackberry for $19.99 at Best Buy. The kid was telling me how it was really difficult to “install.” I was pretty sure I could handle it, but when he offered to do it for me, I said yes. As he’s ringing it all up, he says, “It’s definitely worth the $8 to make sure you don’t put it on crooked.”

    Um, no thanks, I’ll “install” it myself.

  15. NoThankYou says:

    Geek Squad fees are really mostly a “dumb tax”. I consider myself average and most of the things they charge for I can do myself with little to no effort. Maybe I am dumb for not charging people for the same service. Heck I can get a polo with a snazzy logo too!

  16. Bob Lu says:

    “if you need professional assistance to update a single use device, then either that device is badly designed or you need to find something that’s more suitable to your tech level.”

    Not always true.

    Updating firmware, even the official one, can void your warranty!

    I learned this in the hard way several years ago when my HP PDA died during an official firmware update. I took it to the service center and was told so. I asked how should I apply the newly released firmware then? The answer was: bring/mail the device to us and we will do it for you.

  17. kobresia says:

    In other breaking news, water is wet.

    I really hate “geeks” (and businesses hawking so-called geeks) who go out of their way to make technology seem so confusing and out-of-reach that people feel they require assistance for even the most trivial tasks. I pride myself in being so good at what I do that I’m able to help people understand technology and find it more approachable, less magical and mysterious.

    • photoguy622 says:

      Amen! I love teaching my continuing education digital photography class and having people realize that digital cameras are not that hard to figure out.

    • photoguy622 says:

      Amen! I love teaching my continuing education digital photography class and having people realize that digital cameras are not that hard to figure out.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Yes, it’s much easier now. I remember when personal computers were a new thing and it was like “Oh, you have to be a programmer to use this.” Now anyone can do it.

    • Chaosium says:

      “I really hate “geeks” (and businesses hawking so-called geeks) who go out of their way to make technology seem so confusing and out-of-reach that people feel they require assistance for even the most trivial tasks. I pride myself in being so good at what I do that I’m able to help people understand technology and find it more approachable, less magical and mysterious.”

      Those aren’t “geeks” those are marketers and poorly trained and paid retail consultants.

  18. DanKelley98 says:


  19. wooster11 says:

    Ha. If you buy the Nook from Barnes and Noble, they’ll do all of this for you for free. Plus you can always go back and they’ll help you for free too. Silly Best Buy… I knew there was a reason I haven’t shopped from them in years.

  20. AllanG54 says:

    Whatever happened to reading the instruction manual?

  21. PeteWa says:

    I question this “Lets open the box for you” as a possible way to ensure they get the 15% restocking fee?

  22. blueduckconsumerist says:

    This is really no different from the people who can’t set the clock on their microwave or their VCR (some of you may need to go look up VCR on wikipedia). Many people want to be USERS and nothing more.. they want any appliance to be a ready-to-use / turnkey solution.

    As others have said, setup assistance should be a basic service provided by the retailer or the manufacturer (and probably IS provided by the manufacturer, via telephone) for free. The issue here is not that people might need this help, but that Best Buy has the audacity to charge people 10% of the purchase price for it.

  23. vastrightwing says:

    Next DVD opening and making sure disk plays $19.99

  24. Interpol says:

    Just wait until car dealerships take on this same model. You’ll shell out tens of thousands of dollars to buy a car from them, and then they’ll charge you an extra $100 on delivery to show you all the features of the car and turn on the ignition.

  25. tundey says:

    I actually disagree. I think because we are so used to computers, we imagine any computer service that doesn’t involve tinkering with the hardware to be fraud. Some people just don’t know how to do these things and would rather pay for the service. I am a software developer that consults on govt contracts. Do you know how many govt workers who use computers on a daily basis can’t even change the resolution on their monitors? Sometimes I see people using 640×480 on a 17 inch monitor and it just makes me cringe. Those guys would gladly pay Geek squad $30 to setup their e-readers.

    I am sure mechanics also snicker when they see Merchant Tires’ charging $30-40 for an oil change. Am sure they must say to themselves “dude, you can do it yourself in 10 minutes”.

  26. jedifarfy says:

    Is it lame? Yes. But, if you are dumb enough to fall for these or incapable of updating your item, it’s time to stop buying things. You don’t need things you don’t understand.

  27. Duct Taped Goat says:

    I’m against GeekSquad to the fullest.

    200 dollars for flat rate minimum computer repair? Absurd. I began a quest to fight and destroy GeekSquad about a year ago.

    Free computer repair – tips appreciated.

    People are so shocked when they find out that what would have cost 200 dollars was actually a misplaced hard drive jumper, or conflicting USB devices. I’m proud to say that I’ve stuck it to GeekSquad by stealing customers by offering free service and brief explanation of what was wrong.

    I am waiting for the day when I am either hunted down by GeekS mobwar style, or offered a job in exchange for stopping my service.

  28. MustardTiger says:

    I actually got that sony e-reader the day this was posted… the instructions were so absurdly simple I would honestly call this is techno-robbery… But then again there are so many things people pay for that can be done at home.

  29. khooray says:

    They’ll even charge you $99 or more to “install” a computer monitor. Last time I checked, all I had to do to “install” my monitor was plug it in and turn my computer on. My computer is smarter than they give it credit for, even one running XP. It can even find my barcode scanner without help from the Geek Squad! Wow!
    Check out their brochure sometime and Office Depot and Office Max charge the same crazy prices for things a monkey could do.