Helpful Best Buy Employees Recycle Van Full Of Computers, Delight Customer

Mindy writes that she had all of the elements for a disastrous morning lined up: she visited Best Buy with a preschool child, an infant, and a van full of old electronics for recycling. However, she found herself in a parallel universe full of helpful Best Buy and Geek Squad employees willing to accept more electronics than the usual limit and give helpful advice.

I had a wonderful experience at best buy and thought that alone was noteworthy. I went to the closest best buy with a minivan full of electronics. I went in carrying an infant and keeping up with my 3 yr old. I told them I was interested in recycling our old electronics since we are moving. I said I understood they have a policy to only take 3 items per family. They all smiled and said no problem.

Geek squad guy goes out to the car with me and loads up one of their big carts and pushes it up to the desk for me. The customer rep asks if the computers still have hard drives. I said probably, so he took them to the back and removed the hard drives.

In the meantime my 3 yr old needed to use the restroom, so I told another rep and went to the back of the store. The rep actually walked to the back of the store to hand me the two hard drives and instructed me to physically demolish them.

Everyone we dealt with was beyond helpful. Note: this was 10:15 on a Monday. The results may not be the same if I had tried this during their peak hours.

No, probably not. It was still very kind, and helpful of them, though. Well done, workers of this unnamed Best Buy store! You saved some electronics from going to the dump and delighted a customer, all in one morning.


Edit Your Comment

  1. JakeChance says:

    It’d be amazing if this was business as usual at Best Buy.

    • XianZhuXuande says:

      The employees are human beings just like you and me. They’re generally interested in seeing other people happy and not being jackasses. It just so happens that upset people are far and above more likely to complain that happy ones.

      • ThinkerTDM says:

        Riiiiight. I don’t think you’ve ever been in a Best Buy. All the ones I’ve been in had employees (if you could find them) talking amongst themselves, not even caring that customers were there, let alone making the customers happy.

    • magus_melchior says:

      Usually the difference between a great store and a crummy store in the same chain is the managers. The manager for this particular store ought to be named and lauded, as well as the employees who helped out this lady.

      • Tongsy says:

        Careful, naming the rep might get the attention of best Buy and they might get rid of him for doing something outside of protocol.

  2. SonarTech52 says:

    Good job Best Buy!! … They probably are taking the electronics for themselves. Id be happy to “Recycle” electronics for ppl. :) Use, them or parts from them and get rid of the rest… I do think that was nice of them to give the HDDs back to the customer though.

    • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

      Yes the HDD return was huge.

      Who knows what data was left, or recoverable on those drives.

    • PunditGuy says:

      From my experience with their recycling, SOP is to reject any computer that has a hard drive still installed. I’m sure this is a liability issue for them. It was way beyond the call of duty for them to remove the hard drives.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Well, as a tinkerer myself I think taking them for yourself still counts as recycling. As long as it’s not going into the ecosystem.

    • Shadowfax says:

      Yeah, that’s me. Every once in awhile the news does a story on the county’s big electronics recycling day. I see old Trash-80’s, IIgs’s, and I’m pretty sure I even saw an Altair getting tossed in the junkheap once. It’s tempting to go down there and pre-inspect everyone’s dropoffs, but the SO would shoot me if I brought any more old computers into the house.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I was thinking exactly that. Either they’re going to use the parts for themselves or profit by selling the used electronics.

  3. TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

    Very cool they went the extra mile. Now if only all Best Buys were to ascribe to this theory of “Customer Service” we might have something.

    Also good on her for recycling electronics. I have several pieces I may try to take in since our neigbohood only does a recycling every year or so, and I missed the last one.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      your local county may have a monthly or weekly drop off site if they don’t have a dedicated facility. my county recently expanded to accepting any corded electronics [desktops, not laptops, etc] every weekday at the two main “multi-material” recycling centers.

  4. E-Jungle says:

    This might just be the first good experience at BB i’ve read about on this site…

  5. Unclaoshi says:

    Hmmm this being Best Buy and Geek squad Im going to have to say pics or it didnt happen. The other thought I had was this must be a PR stunt orchestrated by BB but that maybe just be my cynical side.

  6. Gizmosmonster says:

    It is important to remember that while we may believe that certain corporations are evil, (Best Buy, Walmart, any health insurance company, Jiffy Lube, every phone or cable company…) there are, in fact, real people working for those companies on the front line.

    And sometimes, despite their best efforts, the evil corporate overlords have not succeeded in breaking the spirits and humanity of their employees.

    This is a beautiful example. Thank you for posting it.

  7. danmac says:

    On the one hand, it would be nice if we knew which Best Buy offered such excellent service. On the other, part of me feels that their identity needs to remain a mystery to avoid possible punitive action for violating policy.

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I guess the Mayans had the date wrong.

  9. pinecone99 says:

    I’d like to see a photo of Mindy. Just sayin’.

  10. _UsUrPeR_ says:

    I am surprised she didn’t comment about the audible “cha-ching” and dollar signs rolling over the Geek Squad guy’s eyes. Dollars to donuts, these computers ended up in the back of someone’s car by the end of the night.

    • jeepguy57 says:

      I’m ok with that. I don’t care if the Best Buy employees take them home – that is still recycling. Better than ending up in a landfill somewhere.

    • Tongsy says:

      Old computers really aren’t worth that much to resell. Honestly, who wants the buy a 5 year old computer when hardware is dirt cheap these days?
      Chances are if they took th em home they would just repurpose them to be a media server or something

  11. katarzyna says:

    Excellent! I usually have good experiences at my local Best Buy. Quality of service seems to vary quite a bit location to location.

  12. friendlynerd says:

    Fired for violating policy in 3…2…1

  13. comatose says:

    No, this was the alternate universe where Spock has a goatie and Archer pilots the NCC-1701 original. /end geeky reference/

    It’s all about the people. If you get douchy management combined with douchy employees, that spells FAIL all over it. It sounds like the stars aligned and you had actual human beings helping you. Good for you and Best Buy..this time.

  14. ToKeN2k6 says:

    Yeah, this whole 3 limit a day thing really sucks. Last weekend, I had to help my mom clean out her garage that had 2 13″ tvs. and some stereo equipment, a laptop, etc. Totaling up to about 10 items. Figured, it was me, my wife, and my mother, so 3 items per person might be in line. I get there and they are like, ‘We can only take 3’ I was like, ‘there are 9 or so items, there are 3 of us, this shouldn’t be a problem’ Then he replied, ‘There just isn’t any room in the back..’ Luckily I knew a manager there and had her come over where she politely helped us out.

    My point being is that I’m sure the limit is to prevent people who maybe stole something (but why would they recycle it and not try to get some $$ for it..b/c believe me, a $10 BB gift card for a TV just doesn’t seem criminally logic to me) but if its simply so they don’t have stuff piling up in their wharehouse, then they need to seriously re-think offering this service..

    • BannedInBrittan says:

      it’s more likely to prevent businesses from pawning off a ton of outdated electronics. A 3 item per day limit for consumers is a reasonable limit in most instances and deters businesses from using it as it’s not really meant for them.

  15. Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:

    They probably swapped out her hard drives for some junk from a box in the backroom.

  16. augiet65 says:

    This Best Buy is a new CIA hub. They need to bring in an old BB employee to set things on back on track.

  17. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Old electronics can be a pain to deal with. When my company finally got around to cleaning our storage locker (filled with ancient computers, digitizers, monitors, plotters, and printers) we had a very hard time finding anyone to take them. Most were broken, very old (286 – 486 era), or at least damaged from sitting so long in a non-climate controlled storage locker. After dozens of phone calls, we found a Good Will in a neighboring county that recycles electronics.

    Old cell phones are a lot easier to deal with. Every two years, our entire staff gets new phones and the old ones just get put back in their boxes. A local domestic violence shelter is always excited to take them off our hands.

  18. sendmoney2me says:

    they’ll probably be swapping her stuff out and selling it as new next week

  19. sopmodm14 says:

    i’m surprised they didn’t didn’t charge her

    but they’re probably just gonna use the old parts to “optimize” them or something

  20. Beeker26 says:

    But did they offer to recycle the infant and toddler as well?

  21. apasserby says:

    I volunteer for an organization the rehabilitates laptops and desktops that have either been donated or retrieved from the local transfer station (the dump). We get maybe 5 or 6 items a week that have Best Buy stickers on them. All of them came from the transfer station. Very few have parts missing. Usually hard drives are always there and not erased.

    • BannedInBrittan says:

      Really they might have stickers on them from bestbuy but they’re not the green colored recycle stickers they use. Per Bestbuys web site they have another company which comes and picks up the ewaste and they don’t bring it to local dumps. These computers you speak of might have the little pink stickers you get at the door or the repair work stickers geeksquad uses but bestbuy wasn’t the one to recycle them in that situation.

  22. Rachacha says:

    Hey, I know that BestBuy! It is the the one in Bizzaro World at the corner of Hell and Frozen Over.

  23. dg says:

    Strange… Was a vehicle marked NCC-1701D in the area? Or a TARDIS in the parking lot? Maybe someone slid in from a parallel universe and….

    Or maybe, she found the mythical WorstBuy store that actually gives a crap and is what Corporate thinks all the stores are like…. Was it in [redacted], Minnesota just down the street from HQ? That could explain it. The stores close to HQ are usually the best in any retail chain…

  24. Bush2012 says:

    Pretty depressing to see how jaded and bitter all of you are, as if people in retail positions are incapable of human emotion. Retail workers are trash, anyways. Subhuman. Make sure they have no benefits, no healthcare, nothing!

    Here’s something to blow your mind; about 90% of the time when someone is rude to you, whether it’s retail or just people in general, it’s probably your fault. If you find yourself in situations repeatedly where people are rude and disrespectful to you, perhaps you should take a look in the mirror.

    • dg says:

      New to this site are you? WorstBuy has a lousy track record, and for good reason – they lie to, and cheat their customers more often than not. This is a very UNUSUAL situation, so it’s caught everyone off guard and has us wondering.

      If it was the norm at those stores, then sure – why be bitchy? But honestly, the way they treat their customers and employees – that’s why a lot of people get pissed off just being in that store.

      When a store sells a computer as new, the customer gets it home and finds “BAD PC – DON’T SELL. BAD RESTORE DISC – WON’T INSTALL” written on it in blue marker, he’s supposed to be extra friendly because he enjoyed the 30 minute drive each way, standing in line for 40 minutes, and had a manager tell him that he was a liar? Not!

  25. Mcshonky says:

    I bet she’s a MILF extreme.

  26. mhutt says:

    I was at the clear lake store 242 Webster, tx. Sorry, I didn’t take any photos of efficent workers in action.

  27. czarrie says:

    It’s amazing to actually hear some positive news. Good job, guys. I appreciate it when people who actually do a good job in retail get rewarded — more often than not, everyone is ready to jump down your throat for anything, so this cheered me up a lot.

  28. majortom1981 says:

    I bet this bestbuy is by a metal recyler that accepts computers .A van full of them could get you maybe $1000 or so.

  29. wellfleet says:

    Far be it from Consumerist to actually include any information about Best Buy’s recycling program, so here it is. Now, speculation and misinformation in the comments can stop. Cynicism is not a viture y’all.

    Best Buy promotes responsible environmental stewardship by requiring all recyclers retained by Best Buy to comply with standards regarding the reuse, refurbishment or recycling of products collected through our programs and the disposal of waste generated from the recycling process.

    Environmental, Health and Safety
    Environmental Management System: Recycler actively manages an environmental, health and safety management system in order to evaluate risks in a systematic manner and support continual process improvement.
    Regulatory Compliance: Recycler completes all recycling activities in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and ordinances and holds all applicable licenses, permits, authorizations or approvals from governmental entities.
    Workforce: Recycler employs only competent personnel that are knowledgeable in the services provided, and does not employ forced, bonded, indentured or involuntary prison labor.
    Recycling Process
    Recycling Hierarchy: Recycler uses available processes and techniques which minimize the waste and environmental impact generated during the recycling process.
    Incineration or Land Disposal: Recycler does not utilize incineration or land disposal for equipment or components and will not use these technologies as a primary management strategy for waste generated during the recycling process.
    Reuse and Refurbishment: Recycler screens all equipment and components to determine if it is practical to reuse equipment or components or refurbish equipment or components to be reused for the original intended purpose.
    Data Security: Recycler processes all hard drives and similar data storage devices in a way that renders all data unrecoverable.
    Recycling: Recycler responsibly manages the recycling process and material in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts for all equipment and components that have reached end-of-life.
    Export: Recycler and downstream service providers do not sell or export outside of developed countries (the OECD) any non-working equipment or components.
    Reporting and Record Keeping: Recycler systematically differentiates and tracks data required by Best Buy.
    3rd Party Audit: Recycler provides access to all documentation, personnel and facilities necessary for Best Buy or a third party auditor to assess performance and compliance.
    Downstream Due Diligence: Recycler utililizes environmentally responsible subcontractors and can provide documentation that demonstrates due diligence in selecting subcontractors.
    Recycling Partners
    Recycling Partners Corporate
    Headquarters Website
    Electronics Recyclers International (ERI) Fresno, CA
    Material Processing Corporation (MPC) Mendota Heights, MN
    E Structors Baltimore, MD
    Regency Technologies Cleveland, OH

    Recycling Partners Corporate
    Headquarters Website
    Environmental Field
    Services National (EFSN) Chicago, IL
    Jaco Environmental Snohomish, WA

    Rechargeable Battery
    Recycling Partner Corporate
    Headquarters Website
    Rechargeable Battery
    Recycling Corporation (RBRC) Atlanta, GA