Layoffs To Leave Best Buy’s Geek Squad Short Several Hundred Geeks

UPDATE The Wall Street Journal has confirmed some of what our tipsters have already told us, and adds that 1,800 Best Buy retail employees are also set to be dismissed in the near future.
In the big media push that started with its most recent Super Bowl ads, Best Buy had been trying to position itself as a store that provided the one thing its online competitors couldn’t — knowledgeable, tech-savvy employees that can deal with customers on a face-to-face basis. Well, forget all about that hogwash, because the company has told its employees that it is laying off at least 650 Geek Squad staffers in the coming weeks.

A Consumerist reader tipped us off to the news over the holiday that several thousand Best Buy employees took part in a conference call, during which the company detailed its plans to lay off hundreds of Geek Squad’s techs who handle in-home installation and repairs.

“They were read a two-minute canned script about how they needed to wait for a phone call in the
next eight hours from a supervisor to find out if they still had a job,” wrote the Consumerist tipster.

KARE-TV in Minneapolis confirmed the news and the approximate number of layoffs with Best Buy, which said it was working out severance and work-placement assistance for dismissed employees.

Our tipster says they hear the package has employees working through August 1, though they will not be making deliveries or repairs during that time, followed by six to eight weeks of severance pay.

“At least they did one things smart not sending freshly laid off employees into customer homes to wreak havoc!” writes the tipster.

A second tipster who claims to currently work at Best Buy says that these layoffs — and the decision to keep these employees from visiting customers’ homes during the coming weeks — actually is wreaking havoc:

I don’t know exactly how many people they laid off, but I do know that once they took the people out of the scheduling system, hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs fell off of the schedule nearly instantaneously. And since Best Buy is Best Buy, they had no plan in place to take care of this mess than to have we, the lowly wage slaves, pull up each appointment, one by one, and call the customers to tell them that they had to reschedule their appointments because of “unforeseen circumstances.”

But because they laid off so many people, an appointment that was supposed to happen on, say, July 5, might not be able to be rescheduled until sometime in September. So we’ve had to contact pissed off customer after pissed off customer and apologize profusely for the asinine actions of upper management with nothing to offer as compensation but another appointment that the customer has no reason to believe will be actually take place and a Best Buy gift card worth anywhere from $25 to $50, depending on how much the customer complains.

Best Buy tells KARE that it is not getting rid of home delivery and installation altogether. “We know that clients will always need us to come to their homes, and increasingly their needs are more complex,” reads a statement from Best Buy HQ. “That’s why we’re evolving in-home support for a more specific customer segment.”

The second tipster also forwarded what appears to be a legitimate e-mail from Best Buy HQ detailing how these changes are all about helping the retailer to “accelerate change, improve operating performance, and dramatically improve the customer experience.”

The tipster questions how one intends to improve performance and the customer experience by “cutting down [Best Buy’s] workforce without warning and spreading the people that are left even thinner… allowing customers to wait even longer for poorly done services that may or may not actually happen, I guess.”

Adds the tipster, “I’d advise the customers to that time to come to their senses, get their money back, and pay someone else to do the job right.”

We’re sending this story to Best Buy HQ for comment and will update if/when they respond.


Edit Your Comment

  1. deathbecomesme says:

    Unfortunately this means the ones that push the warranties and upsells will stick around while the ones that actually do what’s right by the customer will be laid off.

    • rlmiller007 says:

      Exactly right!

    • RvLeshrac says:

      The ones who are competent will be pushed out in favour of the ones with “good attitudes” and “great customer service,” which means those that kiss the asses of customers rather than telling them the truth about an issue.

      The customer’s definition of “right” on a survey is usually far, far different than reality.

      • Upthewazzu says:

        When I worked in retail we had a saying, “perception is reality”. It was soooooooo true.

      • BBYOutSourcedMeToIndia says:

        Hey this is no different than what they did to their internal IT Department. They outsourced us to Accenture (which none of us wanted). And then over the course of 5 years Accenture (with BestBuy’s complete knowledge and support) move all of the jobs to India, Manila and Argentina. There is nothing like knowing your job is going to someone who can barely speak english, and that in your 10 years at BBY you have never received less than a 4 on your review. Yep, nothing has changed. BBY leadership is still completely screwed up. They don’t care about the employee, and they don’t care about the customer. Wake up – the only person that is going to take care of you is you… there is no longer anything such as corporate loyalty, in fact most of the senior executives are doing their best to not get caught lining their pockets with ill-gotten bonsues, kick-backs and other corporate greed scams. I guess want I am trying to say in my rant is that the Geek Squad issue is no different than what they did to us internally when they outsoruced us. Get over it, it sucks, but trust me your better off somewhere else!

    • Shadowfire says:

      It’s based on position (certain positions are cut entirely), and anyone who is threatened is let go based on seniority (least seniority let go first). It’s not based on anything subjective at all.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      In a related note, 650 ex Geek Squad employees have been seen whooping it up at local bars in celebrating of them having escaped from horrible jobs. WorstBuy has announced it will be hiring 650 monkeys to replace them because “Our customers are idiots, and wont notice the difference.”

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    “Layoffs To Leave Best Buy’s Geek Squad Short Several Hundred Geeks”

    I’m sure there’s an app for that problem.

    • wombats lives in [redacted] says:

      Most of my apps don’t take naked photos of me and sleep on my couch.

  3. Uncle Don says:

    Used GS twice and both times was unhappy with their arrogant, condescending attitude….and was especially unhappy with the price they charged. To the ones laid off: loose the attitude or you won’t get another job.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      You’ll have a happier life if you give less of a shit about the “attitudes” of other people and concern yourself more with the quality of work they perform. Did they resolve your issue? Great. Did they fail to resolve your issue? Then complain, file a chargeback if necessary, and move on.

      • alexwade says:

        A good attitude and good work are not mutually exclusive. Just because someone is good at their work does not give them the right to be condescending or a douche.

        • wombats lives in [redacted] says:

          Don’t feed the troll.

        • Overman says:

          My attitude has nothing to do with my ability to do my job.
          You don’t like me don’t hire me, good luck finding one of a
          handful of people with my skillset and expierence.
          This is why they keep me from the clients.
          That said, customer service is not listed on my job duties,
          but the ability to lift 50lbs is.

          • markw73 says:

            I think we could find more than a handful of people with better attitudes than yours AND the ability to lift 50 pounds.

            • RvLeshrac says:

              I’ve worked with plenty of people that had “warmer” attitudes toward customers than me. Someone competent always has to clean up their ridiculous fuck-ups.

              I was fired for not taking shit from a manager at a previous job, two of the other competent employees immediately quit because they didn’t want to pick up the slack from the incompetent ones that I’d had to deal with.

    • Kuri says:

      Unfortunately the ones with attitude problems are likely the ones to be keeping their jobs.

    • Jawaka says:

      Didn’t you see the price before you agreed to the service?

  4. Lennie Patrick says:

    So there will now be 650 fewer people to not know how to do anything except to look at the photos on the hard drives of computers of those foolish enough to bring them to Worst Buy.

  5. scoutermac says:

    I do my own IT work. In fact I have done IT work for others as well.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Perhaps Consumerist would be interested in your services?

      • scoutermac says:

        I would be more than happy to. Also for anyone else needing IT support. I charge less than Best Buy and do better work.

    • Extended-Warranty says:

      This is the most informative post I have read in some time. Keep us updated.

    • StarfishDiva says:

      CSB Time!

      I work doing “higher-level” technical support for a very famous company. We used to sell some NAS devices (Network Attached Storage, like a home media server where you can house a couple of hard drives for storing all your naughty videos).

      One of the engineers on that side came over to my side (I do voice) and was like “YOU! YOU used to work at the Geek Squad!!!”

      Me: Yeah, but that was like five years ago before I gradumatated from college!”

      Him: This lady took a $2000 NAS to GEEK SQUAD FOR SETUP AND NOW HER RAID IS DESTOYED!!!

      Me: WTF? They don’t even KNOW what a NAS is, let along different RAID arrays!!!!

      In the end I recommended we write device off as defective and tell her to get a refund from those maroons.

      And, yes, 90% of those Geeks interview with a non-technical retail manager. All they have to do is say “RAM” and “BIOS” and they have a job.

  6. chiieddy says:

    Okay, Consumerist, you need to fix your login/commenting. I was in the Kindle article and when I logged in, it redirected me here. I’m glad I noticed before making my comment.

  7. rlmiller007 says:

    Hey Best a former electronics supervisor( for another electronics retailer on the west coast) lets point out the obvious. When you have low paid, unskilled workers who ignore customers then you don’t make money and have to lay people off. If you don’t have knowledable staff when I ask a question you don’t make money and have to lay people off. When I need you after the sale and you won’t help in ANY way ( we used to ship repairs free of charge back to the OEM <example) you don't make money and have to lay people off.
    You still have a chance to survive! I would pay more, and shop less, at online retailers if you fixed these issues. I know you big corporations get stuck in "focus groups" and everyone chanting some slogan in unison before the day begins (and other crap). Just give me good value for the money and help me when I have a problem and I'll buy more stuff. Heed the words of other "Consumerist" posters. Problem solved. You're welcome.

  8. deathbecomesme says:

    I do tech support for an ISP and I had GS call us up and ask how to set up an email client. The customer paid them to call us and walk them through set up. Customer could have saved about $60 and just called us herself. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t know how to set up a client. I even gave them all the server info but they still needed their hands held.

    • scoutermac says:

      Depends on what kind of questions they asked. Where they asking for the mail settings pop3, imap, etc? or did they truly not know how to even begin?

      • deathbecomesme says:

        No. I figured at first all they needed was server settings. I gave them all needed info. Then the pimply faced sounding kid on the other line said “Ive never set up outlook live. Where do I put that?”. So I walked him through setting up Windows Live Mail in Windows 7. The kid couldn’t have been more than 17yo but sounded 13. He didn’t realize you had to select “manually configure server settings” to get the set up prompts. Even then I stayed on because he had other questions about getting address book formats to play nice from Windows XP.

        • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

          That was probably a blue shirt on the floor. At times when we are busy we will have those guys help with small client setups, especially ones that have to be done right away.

          It’s possible but doubtful that it was an Agent as if you don’t know how there are trainings for just such things that are easily accessible.

          • Costner says:

            So you mean to tell me it is Best Buy policy to put people who don’t know anything in front of a computer to “fix it”, and then turn around and charge the customer top dollar as if they were getting a real technician looking at their PC?

            What could possibly go wrong with allowing untrained staff to play around with customer PCs – I can’t possibly figure out why they are circling the drain. /s

            • regis-s says:

              Forty years ago when my brother was a gas jockey he’d work on customers’ cars between doing fill ups. I’m pretty sure none of those people got a discount because an uncertified mechanic did the work.

              This isn’t exactly new.

            • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

              Yes, that’s what I said. Except it isn’t.

              A) There was nothing to fix. It was a new setup. Turns out that the guy they chose was in over his head.
              B) I know it’s hard for you to believe, but there are some people in blue shirts, and a lot of us in white shirts, who not only know as much as you do but in fact probably know more.
              C) If circling the drain is putting 2.4 billion in the bank, then I guess we are.

              • Costner says:

                A) You are still assuming it was a blue shirt. It is just as likely it was a geek squad black tie idiot who was put in a position he isn’t qualified for.

                B) I never said I know more than all bb employees, but I’m also not in a position where customers are looking to me to be their “expert” and paying me to fix things for them. That said, sorry to say I’m grossly overqualified for a position at Best Buy. I can’t even begin to explain how much of a demotion it would be for me to work there – and it would require me to take at least a 70% cut in salary. No thanks.

                C) when companies are closing stores, laying off 1700 employees, losing 30% of their stock value / market cap, are losing market share to the competition, and having major shakeups with their management team, it generally isn’t a good thing. My advice… start updating that resume.

                • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

                  A) And the reason I am assuming that is because a blue shirt would have basic trainings available for little setups like that. An Agent would assume he could do it with minimal help. I speak from experience as I have had blue shirts do mail setups on devices when I’m busy.

                  B) I apologize if I misspoke. I must have mistook you for one of the other virtual assholes on here that condemn anyone who works for Best Buy as not being worth a damn and obviously low rung on the evolutionary chain.

                  C) I don’t doubt that there are some things that need changing. However, 2.4 billion is nothing to laugh at. I’m glad they are not sitting still. They saw changes needed to be made with a failing in-home business, and they got rid of a lot of waste. They saw that customers(and employees) felt employees needed better training, and they are taking steps to remedy that. They saw the receipt checking as a nuisance to customers and that is gone. They made changes to better the Geek Squad protection so the customers who do buy it get better advantages. There are lots of other things changing that will better the experience for customers and employees.

                  Losing to competition happens. No one stays on top forever, but if you get knocked down the real test is if you get up and how fast. It remains to be seen how it will go, but again a company that turns a huge profit the same year that “experts” call for its downfall is a tad ridiculous.

        • scoutermac says:

          I applied to Geek Squad once. I was told I was over qualified and knew too much.

        • Southern says:

          Not surprising, really. I would imagine most people *outside* of a corporate environment wouldn’t even use a POP3 mail client, as most home users are perfectly fine with web-based email such as Hotmail, Yahoo, or GMail..

          In fact I think GMail is the only one of the above 3 that even offers POP3 for free, the other 2 you have to pay for..

          I know I don’t bother with POP3 any more, as it’s easier and more convenient for me to access my email from multiple locations, including my phone, than it is strictly from my home computer.

          At any rate, I would imagine that outside of a corporate environment, most (new/young) techs don’t even know what IMAP/POP3 is.. let alone setting up something like Outlook for SMTP, Outgoing email authentication using TLS, etc.. If they were THAT knowledgeable, they’d be IT Support Staff for a corporation, not Best Buy. :)

          • deathbecomesme says:

            I wish this were true. You’d be surprised at how many people still don’t use webmail because they are afraid of change or just plain like their outlook. 90% of the calls we get on pop settings are from people who have been using outlook for 10years and don’t want a change. I always offer to help them learn webmail. They always refuse because it’s “too confusing”.

  9. layoffsmadeinusa says:

    Oh look a big American company laying qualified technical people off and destroying jobs for absolutely no reason. How original.

    Perhaps they should consider hiring some managers to train and build up their staff instead of sitting in meetings all day trying to prove to each other how important they are?

    Oh, and just keeping up with the conventional wisdom: if you lose your job for any reason, you are automatically an unskilled unqualified loser. It’s a very convenient attitude for the rich and the management class. Every firing decision is automatically justified and makes the manager a free market hero.

    Spreadsheets and Powerpoint have destroyed this country. Spreadsheets led to hyper-paranoid cost cutting and Powerpoint led to the salacious obsession with “meetings as entertainment.” Last one out turn off the lights and bring the flag.

    • Beyond Redemption says:

      Look, they wouldn’t have these problems if they didn’t hate their customers.

    • incident_man says:

      That’s exactly it! All the fresh-out-of-college MBAs with their fancy degrees and ZERO real world experience are teaching corporations’ boards of directors the World According to Excel and PowerPoint. Problem is that their fancy Excel Spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations don’t factor things in like “customer loyalty,” “customer experience,” and “product quality” so these things don’t make sense to these dashing young MBAs. As a consequence, they’re being ignored at the executive level in favour of higher profit and greed…..the only things that the dashing young MBAs and their fancy Excel Spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations show.

      MBA: “Well now, if we could just lay off these ‘over-compensated’ experienced, knowledgeable techs and hire young kids looking for their first job like we have shown here in this spreadsheet with this pivot table, the company can save $xxx million and the customer wouldn’t know the difference, right? Right??? Oooooh, look and see how we manipulate the numbers in this column here (points at spreadsheet with laser pointer), we can see a direct correlation in our overall profitability”

      Corporate suit: “Sounds like a good move to me, Bob. The company saves money, we all get raises and the shareholders who see the annual 10-K reports will be happy.”

  10. sparc says:

    Circuit City did something similar. They got rid of all their experienced and knowledgeable employees and then went bankrupt soon after.

    I’d be running away from this stock…

    • rlmiller007 says:

      Good point. We used to have a saying “If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.”. Knowledgable staff and good customer service before AND after the sale keeps you in bussiness.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        CompUSA, Circuit City, and Best Buy all fired their Commissioned staff and replaced them with Hourly staff. That’s why they have shit employees who know fuck-all about products.

        You’re going to see Micro Center moving that way in the next few years, too.

  11. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    “…it is laying off at least 650 Geek Squad staffers in the coming weeks.”

    Sounds like a win for the consumer.

    • MarkFL says:

      Not if you’re appointment scheduled for this week gets bumped to September. The only people likely to win here are independent computer consultants.

  12. CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

    Interesting. It’s weird how this is being reported, yet dozens of stores in my area have been on a hiring rampage for about 2 months now. Our store alone has added about 24 new employees, 2 of them in Geek Squad.

  13. oldwiz65 says:

    How does laying off hundreds of Geek Squad techs “dramatically improve the customer experience”? Unless the Geek Squad techs are worse than no tech at all. Then Best Buy will wonder why they get a spike in returns from people who expected service and got none. Personally I wouldn’t even let a Geek Squad tech in my house though.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      “Unless the Geek Squad techs are worse than no tech at all. ”


    • Costner says:

      “Unless the Geek Squad techs are worse than no tech at all.”

      Kinda answered your own question on that one.

      What Best Buy seems to ignore is that some customers become more knowledgeable about PCs and technology over time. So let’s say Customer A goes to BB and buys a new laptop. He pays for “optimization services” because BB told him it was a great idea. Then he needs virus software so he purchases Norton and BB installs it for him (for a fee of course). He needs a firewall, so BB hooks him up with that as well, plus he wants to install Quicken for his finances so BB collects another installation fee for that. He walks out with his laptop and several hundred dollars in excess charges… but he is happy because he got what he wanted right?

      Fast forward to a few years later. Customer A has learned a lot about technology and has become interested in computers. He dared to learn… and now he is ready for a new laptop. He has discovered he can download a high quality free virus software like AVG, and he realizes to install most software it is simply a matter of inserting a disc and clicking “next, next, finish”. He also realizes a new PC out of the box doesn’t need to be “optimized” because HP, Dell, Gateway, Apple etc are all more than capable of producing a product that works right out of the box.

      Do you think this customer is going to allow BB to screw them over again? No. They won’t go back because they realize what a scam most of those services are. Same holds true for people who have friends or family members who are technology savvy. The techie person will tell the non-techie person how they were taken advantage of and how they could show them how to install their software themselves etc.

      People dare to learn. People evolve. Best Buy doesn’t… and that is one of the many reasons they are failing. When a business model is built around pushing the most services and collecting the most revenue from a customer while customer satisfaction comes in as an afterthought, the “customer experience” suffers. This is why removing some GS techs and streamlining the model will actually improve the customer experience. Give a customer what they need instead of merely what you are able to push them to buy, and they will end up being more satisfied and will come back time and time again.

      It has been said good customer service doesn’t make a sale today… it makes a sale tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that. Best Buy needs to learn this before they find themselves following Circuit City, Ultimate Electronics, or CompUSA down the drain of failure.

      • Kuri says:

        OR they’ll just do what I usually do, not use the extra services and go right home.

        • Costner says:

          Yes but you are likely informed and not totally ignorant about technology. I’m the same way… but the typical person is a user and has no idea how to maintain the equipment.

          Not to mention when I did purchase a PC from Best Buy about six or seven years ago (the last time I will ever make that mistake), they flat out refused to allow me to take it home without the optimization services. Mind you it didn’t cost me anything more because the PC was one sale and optimization was part of the advertised package, but I still didn’t want it – and they told me they couldn’t sell one at the sale price without the optimization “package”.

          So I relented, and when I finally got the PC and took it home my desktop had some Geek Squad or Best Buy icon on it that was what the “tech” was supposed to use to optimize the PC. It even had instructions when you opened it telling the tech to remove that icon when done by clicking a button – but they obviously failed at that part. All they ended up doing was adding some bloatware to the PC, installing a cheesy firewall and internet protection software (which I removed almost immediately), and adding a few worthless icons. It took me all of about three minutes to undo what they had “optimized”, but many people would just assume they made things better. They didn’t.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            I guess you really needed the PC so you went ahead and bought it, which is fine if the price was good. I would walk out if they insisted on touching my computer though.

            I’m not even all that technical–just a user. Even I know that they suck. Most stuff I need to do that isn’t serious, I can just google. I got my little Satellite from Staples, and they asked once about a warranty and when I said no, they left me alone. When I told the guy I knew how to take care of the setup, he was like “Okay. Good for you.”

            • incident_man says:

              That was similar to my last experience at Staples. Bought 2 notebook computers that day. My wife and I were assisted by a manager and we were asked exactly ONCE about the warranty. After my standard, “AMEX gives me an additional year for free,” answer, there was nary a word about it. The manager was very pleasant and didn’t try to shove any additional “services” down our throats.

              Goodbye, Best Buy….hello, Staples.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        You lost me when you referred to AVG as “high quality.”

    • MarkFL says:

      “How does laying off hundreds of Geek Squad techs ‘dramatically improve the customer experience’?”

      You’re new to the world of business, aren’t you?

  14. Joedragon says:

    So will in-home installation and repairs now be farmed out to contractors??

    Like all the cable contractors?

  15. Extended-Warranty says:

    These kind of stories end bad in more ways than one.

    Everyone blames the executives, and believes they know the formula to keeping these jobs. Please, just shut the hell up. No one gives a crap what you think.

    Hopefully, the impacted Agents find new positions quickly.

  16. Sunshine1970 says:

    I always love how companies say this is to ‘accelerate change, improve performance, better for the consumer blah blah, blah’ It never is. It hurts the consumer, employees, and only helps line the pockets of the share holders.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      I’m pretty sure this one benefits the consumers who won’t be able to get GS “service” and will have to go someplace else. Anywhere else.

  17. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “…provided the one thing its online competitors couldn’t — knowledgeable, tech-savvy employees that can deal with customers on a face-to-face basis”

    Can’t see how as it makes much difference…GS employees, even when they are in large supply, are neither knowledgeable nor tech-savvy, and I sure as hell wouldn’t put one in front of a customer.

  18. Harry Greek says:

    I never understood the justification for a Geek Squad.

    Wait – sorry, that’s not true; when a new game is released, copies are usually held behind the Geek Squad’s counter, locked up in their cage.


    • Southern says:

      One exception to that for me – For large, heavy items that include manual labor (such as mounting a large flat screen TV on a wall bracket), if the installation charge is inexpensive enough, I will gladly pay someone to come in and pay to do that kind of labor.

  19. Ck1 says:

    Simple fact. most people do not know who the CEO/owner/etc. of a company is. the face of the company is the people we deal with on a daily basis. the sales persons, cashiers, etc. and the people that are the face of your company, the ones that are representing your company, are the lowest paid, least trained people on your company payroll. I am not saying everyone of them does not do a good or great job but if you are treated fair and make good or even great money you will attract a better level of employee and will be able to keep them. plus people would be willing to work harder because they don’t want to loose a good thing.

  20. yankinwaoz says:

    In my hometown, the local tech support company just closed their doors because of revenue issues. They were the company you called to come out to your home and business to deal with computer issues, etc.

    Perhaps it is not just BB?

    • Technopundit says:

      Eyep. It’s just too time consuming to take a PC and clean up all the crap installed by Mr. Somewhat-Below-Average, in order to make any money.

      I got out of the business because the average customer is barely technically competant enough to plug in a toaster. Then they wait until the machine is completely tied in knots before attempting to get it serviced.

      Now that BB is going away, I can’t simply say “Take it to Best Buy.” while thinking “GO F*** YOURSELF!” in my mind.

  21. Shadowfire says:

    It is not just geek squad loosing their jobs. There are other folks too…

    And fuck everyone who is celebrating. You should be ashamed for being happy about people losing their jobs.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      On the contrary, when the jobs being lost are from a group as wildly anti-consumer as GS, it is cause to celebrate.

    • Jawaka says:

      Agreed. Everyone here just likes to shit on and criticize BB whether they deserve it or not.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …and they chance that they don’t deserve it? Roughly about 0% as far as I can tell.

        • Raziya says:

          I work in the stores, and not GS, and you’re goddamn right I believe I don’t deserve it. I’ve been there four years, get tons of customer compliments and even though I am a supervisor, unlike some other supervisors I am out on the floor all the time, helping my people and making sure customers are being taken care of. I was coded in the gaming department but I worked in computers, mobile phones, cameras, MP3 players, and car electronics every single day.

          I’ve talked customers out of things that are unnecessary for them when they were ready spend, I really do listen to my customers to make sure they are getting the best experience you could hope for.

          Maybe you don’t care about Best Buy, which is fine and you have the right to your opinion, but PLEASE show some respect for the people who lost their jobs!

          • incident_man says:

            Sounds like you’re more of an exception than the general rule.

            Most of my recent interactions with typical Best Buy reps fall into one or both of the following categories:

            1. They give me false information, either by accident or design. Maybe they don’t have enough time to research things, or maybe they just want to give a quick answer to make themselves SEEM knowledgeable. Who knows for sure.

            2. They relentlessly push products/services I don’t want or need.

            Granted. I’m probably not a typical BB customer. I’ve been in the computer industry for 20 years and the telecom industry for 7. I keep informed on technology because it interests me and it’s part of my job. It would be a disservice to my customers for me not to be informed. If, by chance, I don’t know the answer to a question, I’ll freely admit it. Then I’ll get to the business of finding out the answer. I just wish that BB employees I deal with that fall under category 1 would be more apt to do the same. For the folks that fall into category 2, “NO” means “NO,” especially if they have to be told more than twice; after that point, I just walk away and go somewhere else.

          • I look at both sides of the story says:

            “I work in the stores, and not GS, and you’re goddamn right I believe I don’t deserve it. I’ve been there four years, get tons of customer compliments and even though I am a supervisor, unlike some other supervisors I am out on the floor all the time, helping my people and making sure customers are being taken care of. I was coded in the gaming department but I worked in computers, mobile phones, cameras, MP3 players, and car electronics every single day.”

            You’re the exception to the rule and I’m sorry that you’re losing your job.

            But you must realize that there’s a reason why so many people (such as myself) despise BB; because BB hates customers. Do you see such animus directed towards Costco? No. Because Costco likes their employees and customers. Employees enjoy the job (not because it’s easy) and the turnover is low.

            I’m not affiliated with Costco, directly or indirectly and I’m not a member.

            Another example: Aubuchons a relatively small hardware chain in the northeast. Even when Home Depot came to the area, they were the only hardware stores that not only didn’t go out of business but the two stores in my area actually doubled in size. Why? The customer service was insanely good. Off the top of his head, the manager knew what color I painted my house from years earlier. The employee turnover was nil. One employee was, ummm, quite slow. No matter. Customers cut him a lot of slack knowing he was slow but tried very hard. Sometimes the other employees had to help him out. He kept that job all the years I lived in the area. Aubuchons didn’t hate their employees and in turn, employees didn’t hate their customers.

            • incident_man says:

              You’ve raised a valid point regarding Costco. I am a Costco member and buy as much as I can there. Costco employees understand the nature of customer service better than BB and seem to realise to a greater degree that the members are the reasons why they have jobs. Their salespeople don’t badger customers incessantly about upsells and extended warranties, either.

        • Shadowfire says:

          See above.

  22. The Colonel says:

    Does this mean there will be a shortage of optimized laptops?

    • Billy C says:

      No, like most GS service they’ll just pull an untrained staff member off the floor, who is more than capable of inserting a disc and hitting “next, next, finish”.

      • SnowCrystal says:

        Already happened at the store I left. Most were untrained, and I used to work for the GS. I was only a part time tech, pushed FT hours, and was left to train the rather untrained FULL-timers they hired simply because they refused to transfer me to full-time. It is all about money…. less, inexperienced people for cheaper labor… they would have had to pay me a lot more than the people they hired on.

  23. incident_man says:

    nah, this move is designed to, “Accelerate revenue, improve operating profit, and dramatically improve the company’s bottom line.”

  24. kobresia says:

    “Geek” is a title that is not bestowed by corporations, it must be earned.

    I know geeks (might even be one :P ), and the people who purport to be them at Best Buy generally are no geeks.

    I’d wager that they’re going to go back to the old model, to at least some extent, of having GE Warranty or similar hire real computer tech companies to provide onsite service and setup for their customers, sending professional techs out. That was some of the low-end (but bread & butter due to volume) work for a company I subcontracted for a bit over 10 years ago.

    Best Buy’s problem is that they sold-out the Geek Squad brand years ago by hiring inexperienced kids whose jobs are to upsell rather than actual professional technicians who can just get the work done right, and get it done on the spot, in the customer’s home, rather than sending it out to some depot.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Exactly. I remember being really impressed by the Geek Squad concept when it first came out. But it’s cheapened by the fact that it isn’t really “geek.” It isn’t even GOOD.

    • SnowCrystal says:

      Some are geeks. The good ones who have been around for awhile are. A lot are not, and do not know what the heck they are doing. Back when I started there, it was full of good quality geeks. Now, I cannot say that insomuch anymore. Only maybe one or two quality agents left at the store. But that was last year (when I left), dunno how it is now?

  25. Lombard Montague says:

    Please tell me this is a hoax. How will I ever uninstall bloatware and install an anti-virus program on a new computer without the Geek Squad? I suppose the next time I buy a console, I’ll also have to download and install the updates myself. Unacceptable.

  26. Reno Raines says:

    When the Geek Squadders are gone with will upload the millions of amateur wife/girlfriend pictures they steal off of peoples’ computers?

  27. Starfury says:

    Usually your more technical people tend to have lower social skills and are more interested in doing the job/fixing the problem than being friendly. Finding someone that is technical and not socially awkward is difficult and they tend to not work for the pay rate that BB offers…they’ll be doing support work someplace else that pays much better.

    • exgsagent says:

      I spent 5 years in geek squad (college job). I graduated with a computer science degree and an aerospace engineering degree. I can confidently say that the majority of my colleagues were very talented and sharp individuals, most of who were also in school. Now from what I’ve heard from people who are still with GS, most agents are finding new jobs spanning from help desk techs all the way to network admins. Geek Squad agents tend to be hated and treated like trash by customers and management. I’ve always thought this was amusing because we break rules and bend as far possible for an angry pissed customer who has no idea or care that we have 20-50 computers in queue. Sorry man we can only work as fast we can we are also expected to “optimize” 50% of the inventory. As for the attitude that GS agents give? When the inexperienced blue shirts send somebody up to geek squad for problems that cannot be fixed or are services that we would not be able to do, we have to tell them no. Of course People are going to have a negative view. are completely obvious I’d like to see you take the brunt of the worst possible consumers imaginable.I’m so glad I went to college and got a sweet job. 5 years in retail honestly took away a lot of the faith I had for humanity.

  28. randomtask332 says:

    A message from Kris Rosen, VP of HR U.S. Retail, and Bill Thompson, VP of Field Change and Execution
    You’ve likely seen the press reports about the number of Geek Squad employees being impacted this week by our operating model changes. The media is incorrectly reporting 650 employees being laid off. The number is actually 600. As our PR teams work with reporters to correct the story, we’ll also need to inform them of how we’re impacting store teams this week as well. We want to ensure our leaders and employees hear the information from us first.

    As part of the announcements we made back in March about turning around the Company, this week we’re implementing the next big chapter in our new U.S. Operating Model (USOM) that will better position us to deliver an improved customer and employee experience through a restructure of our store teams and providing a Winning Culture in our stores and the field. General managers held one-on-ones with all of their assistant managers and supervisors throughout the week, and will provide all of the details and context to their store employees during their all-store meetings tomorrow morning.

    At a glance, here’s how our stores are changing:

    • We’re aligning the stores’ assistant managers, supervisors and departments with the Connectivity, Home and Services Business Groups and Multi-Channel Sales Support.
    • We’re putting leaders in a better position to lead, coach and train, and our sales and support teams in a better position to take care of our customers.
    • Extensive training is critical to the success of this model. After we’re done with the role training, we’ll share the new Learning Roadmaps and Learning Paths to best develop our teams and ensure they know what it takes to get to the next level – or wherever they want to go in the store.
    • The store operating model changes are resulting in a net loss of approximately 1,700 positions, in addition to the 600 Geek Squad in-home positions impacted earlier this week, this is approximately 2 percent of our workforce.
    • On Monday we will be posting a significant amount of roles in the Field organization as a result of this restructure. These employees are encouraged to apply for these positions within the Company. Those who do not find another role will receive full severance packages and job placement assistance.

    This is the first time we’ve built an organizational structure that runs from Corporate to the Field and to the Stores. We believe this new operating model will provide consistency and clarity to accelerate us in the right direction as our environment is changing. But it’s not just an org change. It’s a system that supports the recognition and people development culture that we’ve been missing. Click here to see how the Core and Community Store teams will be organized.

    Core Stores
    In the new model, our Core Stores will have a minimum of a Home, Connectivity, and Multi-Channel and Sales Support Manager. The assistant managers share leadership of a Best Buy store with the general manager, focusing on employee experiences, sustaining positive customer experiences while driving store profitability through direct two-way communication with the Business Groups. We’ll have very prescriptive business rhythms that will cascade Company direction and business plans quickly and effectively to ALL stores.

    The assistant managers (AMs) are specifically accountable for executing defined business group plans, analyzing business results, and for managing, coaching, and developing the supervisor team, enabling them to train, recognize, develop and coach their team members to provide exceptional customer experiences.

    The supervisors will also be aligned to the Business Groups and Multi-Channel Sales Support, but will report directly to the AM. They’ll dedicate their time to coaching and training their teams in the moment. This Operating Model truly supports a recognition and people development culture in our stores.

    In addition, the Geek Squad Precinct in Core Stores is now structured in four zones to provide an exceptional experience for our customers and will provide friendly processing of all returns, exchanges, technology trade-ins, recycling, answers to repair status questions, and explain Geek Squad Service offerings. Click here to see a description of these zones.

    Each store’s GM continues to lead the store, and is accountable for the Customer and Employee Experience in the four walls and is responsible for the end-to-end management of our stores for maximum sustainable profitability within the Integrated Frame (Employee, Customer and Shareholder) and through the Company Values.

    As mentioned above, we’ll be implementing new Learning Roadmaps and Learning Paths to best develop our teams and ensure they know what it takes to get to the next level – or wherever they want to go in the store. Improved selling skills will enable our store teams to create solutions for the customer no matter the department and no matter the channel. We’ll use all of the skills in our stores to ensure no customer goes unserved.

    Community Stores
    Community Stores will be set up differently, but with all of the guiding principles and intent of the Core Store operating model. The Business Groups still have a direct partnership with the AMs in the store because there’s a Home and Connectivity Manager in every store. Supervisors are also arranged differently with the Precinct’s DCI and the Sales Support supervisor reporting directly to the GM, not through an assistant manager, to allow for additional efficiency. It’s important to remember that the responsibilities will vary slightly in some of these roles because the Operating Model was built with an emphasis on efficiency intended to drive proficiency through the Business Groups and the disciplines.

    All of our stores – Core and Community – will also ensure that no employee goes untrained. Field and Store leadership for all stores will also use the same recognition program to reward and award team members for demonstrating behaviors that will provide exceptional customer service. It’s a unique model that we think will truly enhance our ability to serve our employees and customers.

    Store employees will learn even more about the model during their All-Store Meetings tomorrow morning. Role training will take place through August, so we’ll truly begin working in the new model in September. We look forward to seeing the results this brings in ensuring no customer goes unserved and no employee goes untrained as we deliver growth for the Company.

    • incident_man says:

      They say it……”customer experience,” but do they actually MEAN it? One can go from company to company, store to store, and hear the exact same thing, “customer experience.”

      Target, Dell, Sony, Sprint, Verizon, Sears, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy…..the list goes on and on and on……….

      but do they really execute on it?

      History shows they don’t; corporate culture, to most of these outfits, are just words on a wall in a corner office somewhere…….dull……drab……meaningless.

    • I look at both sides of the story says:

      This is pure poetry. Not just “prescriptive business rhythms” but “very prescriptive business rhythms”

      “We’ll have very prescriptive business rhythms that will cascade Company direction and business plans quickly and effectively to ALL stores.”

      I’m absolutely certain that one single sentence will definitely change the corporate culture overnight.

  29. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    No great loss here. I’ve found the “knowledge” of BB’s Geeks to be abysmal at best. Last week I went there looking for a new PSU, and the Geek who I approached to inquire about the difference between two units tried to convince me that it was actually my MB that was toast, and that I should just bring my computer in to them and “Let the experts handle it.” BAH.

    For the record, I purchased a PSU from a local computer store, installed it, and my computer’s working fine :)

  30. djkatscan says:

    ready fire aim…classic Best Buy policy.

  31. MarkFL says:

    “accelerate change, improve operating performance, and dramatically improve the customer experience.”

    (singing) One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…

    I was never impressed with Geek Squad anyway. I have a sticky “M” key on my notebook, and they said they would have to send it out, which would take about 2 weeks. (Which is why y “M” key still sticks, so no need for any gramar nazis to point it out if I have that kind of isspelling in my mmmessages.)

  32. professorwiddlekins says:

    As a current Geek Squad employee (not in-home), I find it extremely saddening that people are rejoicing over people losing their jobs. Unfortunately, a lot of the sloppy work I have witnessed comes from managers/corporate insisting we show certain numbers in our store. That means that we are expected to skimp on the actual service as long as we can keep our sales numbers up. That doesn’t mean that we don’t bend over backwards to help our clients – I have personally seen so much given to our clients and customers, so much work done for free, but unfortunately we have to “keep the numbers up”. That means selling, selling, selling – or lose your job and your income. Much of our “repair” work is outsourced remotely to people in Asia (so we can focus on being salespeople and not repair agents). I’m fed up with it too, but I also have no other means of supporting myself at the moment, and I like to be able to eat. Not many other jobs available in this area right now, and while I would love to move, I can barely save enough on the low BB wages to pay off my student loans from my BA degree, much less afford to pick up and leave.
    People don’t work this job so they can screw you over. Blame the company, not the individual.

  33. IraAntelope says:

    soooooooooooo…if I wanted to hire a geek who knows less about computers than I to come work on my PC…they have all been laid off? Maybe gone into computer repair business on their own? The X-Geeks?