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Best Buy Abandoning "Optimization" Service?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the lipstick-on-a-pig dept.

Businesses 156

ddillman writes "According to The Consumerist, Best Buy is apparently dropping some of its 'optimization' services, and will instead provide the 'Best Buy Software Installer,' a new tool that the company says will 'radically simplify how you set up and customize your new PC or upgrade an existing one.' Translation: instead of you paying Best Buy to delete trialware from your new PC, Best Buy will get paid by software makers to try to get you to install it. A page on the Best Buy web site states that the new installation tool will be available January 17th, and 'gives you choices and options to configure your computer, and saves you time by making it easy to discover new software, then download and install with a single click.' According to an alleged internal Best Buy document obtained by a technology blog, Best Buy stands to make an extra $5 per PC just by including BBSI."

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last post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714574)

last post ?

Opportunity (3, Interesting)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714588)

Great chance for noobs to try removing crap until something breaks, and then see if they got a usable "recovery disc" with their OS. That's how I got started with computers.

Re:Opportunity (4, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714658)

I hate to bring cars into this (obligatory car analogy?) but it's kind of like saying that it's an opportunity to become a mechanic if the new car you buy needs a lot of "under the hood" tweaking to get to run correctly. Obviously, you can always tweak anything you buy to make it better (aftermarket parts) but the thing should be street worthy straight out of the box.

Some people don't want to be mechanics, they just want the damn thing to work after you pay lots of money for it. If they wanted to put in the effort they would have bought a kit car (newegg or other such a la carte setup) and built it themselves.

I dare say that those who visit a store such as best buy to get a computer (laptops not included, can't do much about those proprietary pieces of *grumble*) generally need a lot of hand holding. You really can't expect the people who fall into that demographic to be the kinds who want to put in a ton of effort.

Buying from the likes of Best Buy (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714826)

While it does not happen often, sometimes pre-built PCs actually have an attractive set of hardware. In that case, buying the thing and reinstalling the OS and the applications from scratch may be attractive. I remember a discount PC from the early 2000s that actually had components from reputable brands. A friend asked "can you recommend that?", I said yes and the PC actually worked fine for several years.

Of course, that requires a user that CAN do a reinstall if necessary. A DRM-free pirate version of your preferred software may also help ;-)

Re:Opportunity (1)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714894)

<quote>... they just want the damn thing to work after you pay lots of money for it. </quote>

I couldn't agree more. I'd like to see a way of quantifying this type of pain and aggravation (dealing with pre-installed trialware/crapware) into the cost of a PC.

It's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715674)

Buy a Mac. There is no shovelware/trialware/bloatware installed.

Re:It's easy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30717310)

Buy a Mac. There is no shovelware/trialware/bloatware installed.

True, but the mandatory switch to homosexuality for new Mac owners who were previously straight is the part that's hard to swallow.

Re:Opportunity (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715014)

I hate to bring cars into this (obligatory car analogy?) but it's kind of like saying that it's an opportunity to become a mechanic if the new car you buy needs a lot of "under the hood" tweaking to get to run correctly.

The problem with the car analogy is that, with computers, there isn't as great a divide between "using" and "maintaining". Though few people do as much as installing their own car stereos or even changing their own oil, most people install software on their computer at some point. The skills of installing or uninstalling applications and moving/copying files are central to maintaining a computer, but they're also part of a normal user's repertoire.

Though I fully understand that most people don't want to know the ins and outs of computer repair, I do advise that all computer users learn to back up their files, reformat the hard drive, and install their system from scratch. With modern operating systems, it's not even a difficult process, and if you don't know how to do that much, then I don't know how you could be sure you're backing up everything you need to.

All users should know how to back up their own systems, at least. If I had to compare computers to car repair, I wouldn't compare system backup and reinstallation of the OS to something like replacing an engine. It'd be more like learning how to control a skid, or maybe knowing how to change a tire.

Re:Opportunity (2, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715592)

Your sentiment is correct on it's face... but fact is, nowadays, people (for the most part) do not pay "lots of money for" computers. They pay near nothing, and part of the costs are subsidized by the crapware that comes on the machines. After all, how much do you think it costs to make that $299 laptop at BestBuy (hardware and OS and such)?

Re:Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715856)

Actually, Buy a chinese scooter, they always need tweaking to run right. Look up Lance. Hence, I don't buy them.

Re:Opportunity (2, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716158)

Every car I've ever bought new has needed an immediate ad-ware removal (bumper sticker & license plate frame).

Almost all of them, in my opinion, also needed an immediate brake pad replacement as well. Most people are satisfied with the crap that comes on there from the factory, though, even though they spend the first 20k miles scraping gunk off their wheels from the crappy pads, without even getting very good performance in exchange.

Many people buy a new car, and promptly shell out for "dealer options", such as rust proofing, scotch guard, that newish transparent film stuff that is the new version of a car bra, extended warranties, etc...

Really... Buying a new car isn't much different from buying a computer.

Re: New car ad-ware (3, Interesting)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716234)

When I buy a new car, I add words to the contract that state: "Dealer shall affix no decals and will remove any dealer markings that are on the car. Dealer agrees to pay all costs of removal."

One car I bought had to go into the body shop so they could the holes created by the screw-on decal.

Re: New car ad-ware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30717400)

>When I buy a new car, I add words to the contract that state: "Dealer shall affix no decals and will remove any dealer markings that are on the car. Dealer agrees to pay all costs of removal."

One car I bought had to go into the body shop so they could the holes created by the screw-on decal.

Dude, you are one BAD ASS. Will you be my friend on MySpace?

Re:Opportunity (1)

diefuchsjagden (835254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716676)

NOT everyone who buys a Desktop at Best Buy is a novice that needs hand holding just the vast majority, I my self recently purchased a Desktop, the only reason I went to Best Buy is because I had a networking schematic due the next day and did not wish to sit in the library until close go home, turn around and get up a few hours early go to the library, go to work then hopefully head straight to class with a finished assignment if not head back to library! I couldn't wait for a new MoBo and PS to be shipped to me, it was just easier to drop 400$ on a decent box throw the HD that came in the box into my scrap heap toss my HD in and jump right back into Linux, with a total down time of maybe 3 hours between diagnosing and up and running. Needless to say this is not relevant to the car analogy one cant just yank an engine out of one chassis and drop it in the next but with some minor modifications you can yank a Hard drive, I may also add I was luck I had not built the Linux kernel I was running optimizing it for the old mother board

Re:Opportunity (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714668)

Great chance for noobs to try removing crap until something breaks

Except the "noobs" don't want that. They want to play games, watch porn and get on with their lives.

Re:Opportunity (4, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714690)

Except the "noobs" don't want that. They want to play games, watch porn and get on with their lives.

Then wonder why their computer is getting slow, and eventually think "i should just buy a new one".

Re:Opportunity (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715244)

Why should they have to learn when they can solve it with money? It keeps the economy going.

Re:Opportunity (2, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715424)

Because thats a broken window fallacy, by investing in new computers they wouldn't need if their current system was properly maintained they're expending money on something that could otherwise be used for the purchase of something else they do not already have, or even invest it (even if its only to the tune of a small government bond or guaranteed interest certificate style investment).

This holds double for items that have a tendancy to either be primarily imported or made primarily with imported parts.

Re:Opportunity (1)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715708)

Because... it's bad for the environment? :-P

Re:Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715290)

*sigh*

I cannot condone the use of pornography, but since I'm posting anonymously I'll just go ahead and say that maybe safe porn will be one of Ubuntu's main features? If it boots up fast and it gets you online securely.. *shrug* If someone gets themselves in trouble online by looking at porn on Windows, my advice is going to be.. ditch Windows.

Re:Opportunity (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716756)

I cannot condone the use of pornography

I can.

Re:Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714882)

If all they want is play games, they can buy a game console, or if they want to watch porn, they can buy a dvd/blu-ray player, and if they want to get on with their lives, they can find a gf/bf and don't waste time on chair.

Re:Opportunity (1, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714716)

I still am amazed if that document is true about the $5 just to put it on people's PCs. This is marginally better than "Forced optimization" until people realize they're probably charging extra just to put this best buy installer on the pc.

I am not 100%, but I'll bet there's a charge for "setting up the best buy installer".

Re:Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714788)

Great chance for noobs to try removing crap until something breaks, and then see if they got a usable "recovery disc" with their OS. That's how I got started with computers.

Actually you have it backwards. The PCs are going to come from he OEM with no crapware pre-loaded on it, then Best Buy puts their installer software on it so that when you first boot the PC you get to go through a bunch of menus and decide what crapware you want installed. For a technically savvy customer this would be a good thing, as their PC would be de-crappified from the word go. Of course, those people don't buy at Best Buy, so in reality you'll get newbs who don't know what they want/need from what they don't and who will select "install every piece of crap you can find" as their option. That's how BB expects to get $5 more per PC from them. Then they'll get calls to the Geek Squad to pay for de-crappification service on top of it. It's a double win for them.

Re:Opportunity (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715040)

I would be willing to bed 3 internets that they will come with crapware anyway, then just install more as "security updates."

Re:Opportunity (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715302)

Funny, I got my first Windows PC (A 486DX running Win3.1) because the guy that had it owed me $100 and had gotten it full of malware and didn't know how to fix it. He figured it was a good excuse to lose the debt and at the same time give him a reason to shell out nearly $3K! on a brand new P100Mhz to play...was Heretic or Hexen first? Ehhh one of the two.

I got into doing PC repair for a living when I stopped by my local shop to score some RAM sticks and heard the boss cussing his brains out. He got stuck with a truckload of Gateway Astro [thejournal.com] from some guy that owed him a grand, and while they all had restore discs no OS was installed and it refused to take the restore discs. I told him "why don't you just use a standard Win98 disc?" and he swore to me because of the funky USB everything on those it couldn't be done. I bet him the RAM sticks I wanted I could do it, and after the Win98 install simply stuck in the restore discs and installed the drivers manually. He handed me the sticks and said "Grab a seat, there are 40 more of those in the back". I ended up being "the scary biker guy in the back that does great work" for 5 years. It was funny to hear little old ladies go "is the scary biker guy here?"

But back to the topic at hand, the problem with Worst Buy (other than they suck of course) and these other groups that offer "optimization" is they don't actually understand the customer. I too offer optimization, and my customers love it and talk about me like I walk on water. The secret? The average customer does NOT want a faster PC! I repeat, they do NOT want a faster PC they want an easier to use PC. So what I do is basically set them up a "toaster". Any customer that pays the $55 for optimization gets a PC that autoupdates, has AV set to autoscan and autoupdate, it automatically cleans the registry and temp files, defrags itself, has all the codecs (thanks to K-Lite Mega) installed, flash, Java, .NET, Silverlight, all installed, Firefox with ABP and ForecastFox installed, and finally Go Open Office and GNUCash.

When I'm done all the customer has to do is "flip a switch and go" and THAT, not squeezing an extra couple of notches in some benchmark, is what I've found the customers REALLY want in a PC. Unlike my old boss I don't get folks coming back in a month or two infected like a Bangkok whore, but I have found the referrals more than make up for that. Give folks a good value, let them know you care about more than just their wallet, and they will go out of their way to brag on you and send business your way. Worst Buy doesn't care how bad your experience is, once they have your money and that is why they have a bad rep. Well that and the shitty service, pervs that go through your files looking for porn, geeks that don't know the right end of a screwdriver....

Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715540)

This isn't the first time you've posted this rant. Stop tooting your own horn.

AC reads everything and forgets nothing. Entertain us better next time.

Re:Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716268)

Bad idea. First, let me tell you that I work at best buy. Second, let me tell you that not everyone working here even realizes what optimization is. So doing things like "auto-updating" software in which might break compatibility with other software or just generally cause issues is not a good idea because hardly anyone on the sales floor would recognize or be able to easily explain what "might" happen. And if this DID happen, then they would come back and the consumerist would go off on this aspect of best buy as well. It WILL happen if this were to come into effect, no question.

Also, the current method of "optimization" is a disk anyway that's written by our own programmers. I fail to see how Best Buy would all of a sudden get "Best Buy will get paid by software makers to try to get you to install it.". Now, if this were to come into effect, what I believe we'll see is a slimmed down version of the current discs the Geek Squad uses with a much simpler GUI.

Re:Opportunity (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716442)

Funny, I got my first Windows PC (A 486DX running Win3.1) because the guy that had it owed me $100 and had gotten it full of malware and didn't know how to fix it.

I call BS on that! Malware/Spyware didn't start becoming a problem until around the year 2000. At that time, most consumer PCs were still running Win98, 98SE, and the occasional WinME. It was usually bundled with shareware programs (Limewire and other P2P apps) and downloadable games. The other vector for getting them was when using Internet Explorer.

A few things about Win3.1 and Malware/Spyware doesn't add up...

1. Win3.1 home machines had between 4 and 8 MB of RAM maximum. I suppose you could add more, but SIMMs were expensive in those days. I seriously doubt a single instance of Spyware running could fit in that space (let alone along with the OS).

2. Malware/Spyware was coded for the Win9x shell and created entries to the registry hive. Win 3.1 did not have a registry hive nor was the GUI (Explorer) coded the same. Also, the installers were not cross OS compatible between Win 3.1 and Win9x to my knowledge.

3. Almost every Win 3.1 box on the internet used Netscape. At that time, you couldn't get Malware/Spyware over the internet.

Re:Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716686)

You're fucking joking right? Jesus Christ I hope so.

Re:Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716732)

You just love trolling don't you AC?

Re:Opportunity (2, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715844)

I find it actually easier to build from scratch and install from scratch than to try and figure out what Dell components are standard or not, what leads the PSU has... and get rid of all the junkware. It's cheaper, too, strangely.

I've taught a couple of friends to assemble their PCs too. The key is Adamesque: Don't panic ! If you don't try fancy coolers or other things, you won't have to touch a jumper, just be careful to lay out everything, find where it fits without having to force it, and spend half an hour calmly doing all the cables. A bit harder than Lego, but easier than Mecano or model building. And then the Windows install is fully automatic, and the Linux one should be, if you've carefully chosen your components.

After being found out they drop it but now what wi (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714612)

After being found out they drop it but now what will they do with systems? bill you $20 to put on windows updates? and they will still pre install them be for selling systems and only have systems with that added service in stock?

Re:After being found out they drop it but now what (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715484)

Former GS employee here:

The whole "pre-setup" thing was a crock from the get-go. It was SUPPOSEDLY so people who wanted the service could get a computer faster, but it just ended up being wasted labor. Myself and MANY other employees railed against this practice from the start, and of course management refused to listen.

What would happen is we would get the ads for the next week a few days early. Of the notebooks in the ad, a certain percentage of each we got in were to have the pre-installed garbage done to it. This started out fairly low, but soon we were being pushed to have 40% of each model done this way. And of course the people on the sales floor were told to push the HELL out of these systems. Why? Because technically, if the customer truly did not want the service, we were to restore it back to factory, or simply not charge them for it. Obviously this becomes a problem when a lot of customers don't want the service and they end up getting it for free. This is where they stopped having the in-store people do said service because it was wasted labor to do something for free, and also wasted labor to remove something the customer didn't want. The solution? A heavy internal push to have all of this done by the much-hated "Agent Jonny Utah".

Who is "Agent Jonny Utah", you might ask (other than a crappy Point Break reference)? It's nothing more than Geek Squad Outsourcing. They hook the computer up to the network, and use a customized version of LogMeIn to let someone in Bangalore or wherever do their job for them. Only half the time they don't do anywhere NEAR what a store employee would do. For example, when performing the service upon request, we would remove ALL trialware, make sure ALL updates were applied, and run a few scripts to generally make things a bit quicker and less resource-hungry. I could do about 5-8 computers at a time and have them all done inside of an hour. Agent Outsource? It would be up to 2 hours before they would even TOUCH the system, and then they would proceed to install the updates and give it a GWB-esque "Mission Complete." This meant we STILL had to do work to the computer when they were done, because they didn't really do anything to begin with.

AJU is also the reason you don't take your computer to the store to get it cleaned up. The VAST majority of the time, they will just hook it up remotely (unless it's so infected it can't get an IP, in which case they'll just want to do a restore) and let the remote guys take a whack at it. Surprise, surprise, more often than not they botch the job. And of course when it took 3x as long because of having to re-do the work, customers got upset and WE got the blame. We were NEVER to let the customer even THINK that the machine was worked on by someone other than the people they see behind the counter.

And this is why there is such a backlash anymore. Of the people who were there when I started in GS, only one is left. In my store (not sure about any others), we thought of ourselves as techs first and foremost. Those with that attitude were forced to change or leave, as they don't want techs. They want salesmen wearing a shirt and tie using the perception of knowledge to hock more crap. In the end, all we were there for was to sell services, but not perform them. Software? Have AJU do it. Hardware? Do they have a service plan? Ship it to Louisville. Only a manufacturer warranty? Give them the MFR number.

When I was new to GS, it was a culture of "help the customer, get them what they need, and build lasting relationships." When I left, it had become nothing but "milk as much money out of as many people as you possibly can."



On a final note, if you DO make the mistake of taking your PC to them for service, point blank ask them if THEY will be cleaning it, or if they're just going to hook it up to have some hackjob in Hyderabad run a few scripts and say it's done...

How did they do in store hardware upgrades? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716834)

How did they do in store hardware upgrades?

and they shipped out systems that you hard the parts in store to fix sounds like a waste on shipping costs.

Re:After being found out they drop it but now what (2, Informative)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715640)

CompUSA used to do that ($20), but we'd actually optimize the various settings (all the tweaks that a power user would do to increase performance), remove the crapware, install all the updates, activate Windows (and Office or whatever else was bought/came with the machine), activate and update the AV/AS software, configure the network settings so the machine would go online right out of the box (keep in mind this was back in the day when Windows post-setup would pop up an idiotic list of choices on how to get on the Internet that made little to no sense to the average user, followed by the first time you ran IE, it trying to get you to sign up to AOL or connect to their site to choose an ISP... you know... their older, useless, "sell someone else's Internet service for them" Internet Connection Wizard crap, and so on... and it was never mandatory for the customer.

Wasn't too bad of a deal back then, considering just how difficult it was to even get online for the average user without being suckered into an AOL or Earthlink subscription (especially on the HPs which included their own Internet Wizard and post-install full screen pop-ups that hitting exit would just reload a different variant of them until you did that a couple times or went through the steps).

No they didn't! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714620)

What actually happened is that they ran the optimization service against the geeksquad and it deleted itself in a massive explosion that killed everyone, which solved the problem.

Simple Solution to this Dilemma (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714622)

Learn to build a PC yourself. Once the PC is built installing Ubuntu will be a breeze.The advantages will be the satisfaction of building a system with no malware and no ties to M$.

--
Friends don't help friends install M$ Junk.
Friends do assiste M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

$5 per PC (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714642)

Best Buy will make an extra $5 per PC? How many PCs do they sell in the course of a year? This would just barely cover the wages for one of their Geek Squad dorks.

Re:$5 per PC (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714754)

Um, my guess would be millions. For a lot of people, Best Buy is the only physical retailer selling computers that have decent specs at a decent price. Yeah, some people will buy things online, but many times you can find pre-built systems cheaper at Best Buy than at any other retailer online or otherwise. It is really, really hard to beat a $300 laptop that does everything an average person wants while having a decent sized screen (15 inch) and decent sized keyboard.

Re:$5 per PC (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715596)

The problem with that is the laptop will be a smoldering hunk of plastic two minutes after the warranty expires, which kinda kills the savings. Working PC repair I have had to deal with MANY Worst Buy and Staples "$300 specials" and a good 7 out of 10 on the desktop and probably closer to 9 out of 10 on the laptops I have to tell the customer their best course of action is to shitcan it.

Why is that? Let me count the ways they bone you on those "$300 specials": Laptops- often they will use desktop chips in the laptops, and while Intel has thankfully killed the Netburst (although as late as last year I saw a Staples special with a netburst Pentium in a laptop) even the core desktop chips are WAY too hot for the small plastic laptop cases with those pissy little fans, which equal burnt chips, melted wires, just a mess. Speaking of fans, they screw you hard on the fans for both the desktop and laptop. Shitty fans that don't cool in badly designed cases is a recipe for disaster. Again fried chips, cooked HDDs, just nasty. Shitty plastic and substandard parts. I don't even have to explain what is wrong with that. Shitty heatsinks, again no explanation needed. Starving the OS, ala "Vista Capable". Thrashed drives, overheating, sluggish performance, and that is without the crapware.

Hell I could go on all day probably, but you get the picture. Those "$300 specials" are the most bottom of the barrel scraping junk they can throw together and frankly if it lasts 90 days past the warranty it is a miracle. I would recommend an off lease box before I would recommend a Worst Buy or Staples "$300 special" as they are 90% of the time anything but. Once in a blue moon you can a good deal on last year's model when it comes time to roll out the next one, but even then you would probably get a better deal just buying directly from the manufacturer. Just about every PC I have seen from Staples and Worst Buy that was a "$300 special" was nothing but E-waste.

Re:$5 per PC (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716640)

I don't really expect this laptop to last that long, but in general, cheap laptops have served me a lot better than expensive ones. For example, a few years ago I spent all my birthday money to buy a nice $700 Dell laptop, it was pretty good for its time (512 MB of RAM, early Pentium M, nice case design, and a high-res screen) and ran fast... until 6 months into using it the power cord broke, not much of a problem, I sent it in and they sent me a new one. About 3 months after that, the motherboard died. Thankfully I had the extended warranty and they replaced it. About 3 months after that, the replacement power cord they got me broke. When I called, they said that my warranty had expired and they had discontinued my laptop but they gave me the name of a third party supplier of power cords and told me the exact name of what I needed so I bought it and the cord worked for about a month. Then when I came home one day after letting it charge for an hour I smelled a burning smell and all the plastic on the tip of the cord had melted and my motherboard died. As my warrenty was up I just said "screw it" salvaged all the parts I could and used my aging desktop for a while until I bought one of the first EEE PCs and then later this Toshiba. Even if this Toshiba (which is now 6 months old) breaks in a few more months of use and I replace it with another $300 laptop, I still saved $100 compared to when I bought a "good" laptop.

Re:$5 per PC (1)

darien (180561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716832)

Yes, poor build quality can catch cause problems, but a tenner says you can't provide a link to a laptop on either the Best Buy or Staples website that uses a desktop CPU.

Re:$5 per PC (4, Informative)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714782)

The margins on PCs are ridiculously thin.

That's why manufacturers have resorted to bundling crapware, and now apparently retailers as well.

Apples and Oranges (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716190)

The margins on PCs are ridiculously thin.

That's why manufacturers have resorted to bundling crapware, and now apparently retailers as well.

Very true, but I think the greed of all parties (including the crapware developers) plays a stronger part than survival. It's not as if they weren't aware the industry has thin margins. One problem is, if a piece of technology functions well and does everything you need, there is no further consumption until a need arises.

There are thin margins on groceries/produce. It's made up for by sheer quantity because food is a rapid consumable. I think computer quantities are doing pretty good these days despite the cost, and relative longevity. Apple certainly doesn't have a problem with increasing their margins and factoring planned obsolescence. A lot of people find that objectionable, but I can't even use up a whole hand counting the amount of Mac crapware I've been subjected to.

And unsold groceries, like unsold computers, lose their value over time ("shrink"), and can be sold cheaper to avoid 100% loss.
Unless you only buy bagged produce (off the shelf computers), you can choose the best of what's available, piece by piece.
Hmm, time for lunch I think...

Re:$5 per PC (5, Interesting)

acedotcom (998378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714906)

well thats the thing and always has been. there is no profit in computer sales. i worked at BB for three years and learned that every time i sold a computer. it was always about the accessories and services. One time i got dragged back into in office and given a warning about my salesmanship because I helped a customer make their computer package better. They had bought $2000 worth of computer and $2500 of accessories (printers, cables, ink...all kinds of stuff). however i got yelled at because i swapped a piece of "learning place" software for a router, they had the same dollar value, but of course the router was less profit. But that wasn't the issue the REAL problem was that it lowered our stores daily sales numbers when applied to other Best Buy stores in the area (not against competing stores).

I was instructed time and time again to "walk" customers if they weren't getting additional accessories or services, and at least once a day i did. So even though we weren't "on commission", something we were told to tell every customer, that didnt matter because we treated everyone like we were.

i know these stories are told every time an article about Best Buy pops up, i just wish more people could hear them. It has never been about providing "exceptional products and services in a user friendly environment", it has ALWAYS been about the fact that BB loses money when they sell computers without attachments.

Re:$5 per PC (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715602)

When I'm in a big box store like Best Buy, I just politely tell the salesperson to take a walk. Of course, I rarely buy from such stores, tending to go through a few trusted online sources that treat me fairly, and keep the background sales buzz to a minimum.

Re:$5 per PC (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715702)

CompUSA was much the same... but more so with printers... if you sold a printer, it BETTER go out the door with a USB cable and a set of ink cartridges.

Now some people would say "Well, duh, they need a USB cable since they dont come with printers anymore" but the simple fact is most people dont come in to buy their first printer, so most already have a printer cable, and a large portion of those people have a USB cable (while the rest had parallel).

But again, same reasons... $0-$5 a printer doesnt make the store much money.

Funny thing is, if the merchants made a concerted effort to sell the stuff at slightly higher margin, these issues wouldnt arise. Instead, in their zeal to compete with each other and drive each other out of business, they've shot themselves in the foot as they've decreased their profit margin on the stuff to near zero. Yeah, the Internet helped with that... but even there, Internet prices are so low to compete with the store where you wont be paying shipping.

Re:$5 per PC (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30717170)

Instead, in their zeal to compete with each other and drive each other out of business, they've shot themselves in the foot as they've decreased their profit margin on the stuff to near zero

The real problem is that computers are a commodity item, and they're trying to sell commodities at retail with a luxury twist. A couple of grocers can get away with selling organically grown corn, but everywhere else, corn is corn, and comes in a cardboard or wood box on a shelf. You can try and sell butter and salt and pepper next to the corn, but as a shareholder, if you're expecting tons of growth from the corn sector, either you're an idiot, or you were lied to. Sadly, Best Buy shareholders are probably largely the former.

Re:$5 per PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716378)

Sadly, I have a much worse story that happened not too long ago. (tl;dr at bottom)

For me, when I first started, I was told to be the person's friend and to help them with what they really want. Well, of course not everyone NEEDS or even should get services attached, but if we don't sell them, we get "talked" to. I saw the store and sales floor slowly going from helping people to trying to attach services and black tie (the big one, yet not much of an advantage when looking at desktops...).

Anyway, the real horror of this story comes with a couple buying a family computer. At first they were interested and looking at a $800 computer. After settling for a more suitable $510 computer (because we are in a transition period of old/new computers, so the best ones for them we didn't carry and they wanted it NOW. Happens.) and getting services (advanced security and performance, 1 year of antivirus, and software install (this one made me feel bad because it was $30 to install a simple piece of software, but after explaining how easy it would be for them to do it themselves, they just wanted us to do it. The reason was they were looking at a $1400 to walk out the door with everything, but I brought them down to a good $1000). They also got accessories in which we make some good margin (rocketfish). Yes, besides the software install, I felt this family needed this.

Here's the horrible part. The couple needed an email address for the antivirus. So I would set them up with a simple temporary gmail account. Now, I can't go into the back geek squad room (the only computers that didn't have gmail or any other nice online email service blocked) so I asked my manager to do it because my geek squad buddy was busy as hell up at the counter. So my manager (not knowing much about computers and ALWAYS looking at the bottom line and how we compare to other stores) saw that I didn't attach black tie (even though they got $150+ in services and a some accessories that we make nice margin on) and said I should charge them $15 for creating an email address.

tl;dr - charged $15 for email address creation in which took about a minute and a half to create. I felt like total shit after that.

Re:$5 per PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715862)

But read TFA again, they're dropping a service that keeps the Geek Squad dorks employed, so count on their labor expenses to drop too.

Thanks for the warning (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714646)

of the new Virus.

No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714648)

In related news, if you buy big-ticket items from Best Buy, you get what you deserve.

I used to feel bad about the way they take advantage of people who don't understand electronics, but then I realized those people don't understand anything about electronics because they make no effort to. I can't be bothered to feel bad about people who choose to not even attempt to inform themselves about $1000+ purchases.

Re:No kidding (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714812)

$1K for a PC? What decade are you from?

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714838)

$1K for a PC? What decade are you from?

PC

add: big LCD monitor

and then: Cheap shitty inkjet printer

Totals: ~$1,000

How many people buy just the box when they get a computer?

Re:No kidding (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715390)

The Canadian Best Buy website has at least 3 dozen PC + monitor bundles between $400 and $900, throw in another $50 for a printer.

I expect the US dollar would go even further.

The margins on this stuff are razor thin, or even a bunch of jerks like Best Buy wouldn't be resorting to bundling crapware for a measly $5/unit.

Re:No kidding (3, Insightful)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715960)

How many people buy just the box when they get a computer?

People who are upgrading from an obsolete computer but already have a decent monitor and accessories? Good LCD monitors have been out long enough to outlive a PC's 18-month built-in obsolescence. My monitors turned 4 last month, no desire to replace them yet. And a 4-year-old printer will probably outlast a new disposable one...

Interesting (4, Insightful)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714676)

"preinstalled on most PCs, except Dell and HP"
Wonder if they are going to install it on Macs.

Re:Interesting (4, Informative)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714696)

It's not on HP because HP has so much junk trial software already, any more it's going to explode. Well, at least the battery will, assuming it's a laptop.

Agreed (2, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715598)

I did a reinstall on a friend's HP Vista laptop, and I was shocked and appalled by the amount of junk on there. The long interactive Flash video that plays when the computer is first booted would also be extremely misleading to a novice, as it appears to be offering software choices, but it's really just a bunch of advertising. This was far worse than any Dell or Sony I have worked on in the past.

The reinstall was needed after I attempted to work on her computer and noticed she didn't even have SP1 for Vista yet. I ran all the MS updates, and ended up with a corrupted NTOSKRNL.EXE and an unbootable Vista at the end of the process. Wiped all that junk and installed a fresh Windows 7 Ultimate. :)

suckers (4, Insightful)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714684)

Other than needing a router, cable or something else on an emergency basis, you get what you pay for at BB. I watch in amazement when I hear someone purchasing a computer and the blue shirt drone is trying to force them into buying all the extra crap.

Re:suckers (4, Interesting)

S-100 (1295224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714800)

There's not a big enough emergency in the world to get me to pay $79.95 for an HDMI cable at Best Buy. For emergency routers, external hard drives and such, I go to the 24-hour Wal-Mart SuperCenter. Always funny going up to the cashier at 3AM with milk, eggs and hard drives...

Re:suckers (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714804)

Actually, I've compared prices and for a lot of things and Best Buy generally has some of the cheapest computers. For example, I am typing this on a Best Buy bought Toshiba that I picked up for $300, for a 15 inch screen, Celeron 900 CPU (at 2.2 ghz), 2 gigs of DDR2, a 160 GB HDD and 100% Linux compatability, its hard to beat it for the price if you are like me and are a student with minimal income. Yeah, for $100+ more you could get a really great laptop, but really, this laptop does everything I want, I can type all day on it without feeling strained (unlike a laptop) and runs all my programs just fine. And I just told them I don't want anything else and they didn't force it on me (not that I use my Windows partition anyways....).

Re:suckers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714932)

I am typing this on a Best Buy bought Toshiba that I picked up for $300, for a 15 inch screen, Celeron 900 CPU (at 2.2 ghz), 2 gigs of DDR2, a 160 GB HDD and...

I can type all day on it without feeling strained (unlike a laptop)..

Your laptop isn't a laptop?

What will they think of next!

Re:suckers (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716202)

Gah, I meant netbook.

Re:suckers (2, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714978)

For example, I am typing this on a Best Buy bought Toshiba that I picked up for $300, for a 15 inch screen, Celeron 900 CPU (at 2.2 ghz), 2 gigs of DDR2, a 160 GB HDD and 100% Linux compatability,

My son has that exact same one. Bought in August. It's in for a new HD right now.
The GeekSquad dude was surprisingly non-pushy about extra services and crap. When he asked about backups and reinstallation, "Nope, I just need a functioning hard drive". 'OK, come back Tuesday'.

Re:suckers (2, Interesting)

superslacker87 (998043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715020)

I bought my last laptop from Best Buy. It wasn't for me, it was for my wife. She's perfectly happy with all the crapware that's installed. I shudder at it. The computer I purchased for myself came from a military base and was too (probably) loaded with junk. I wouldn't know. I had wiped it before I even had a chance to read the Vista license agreement. Now that said system dual boots Windows 7 and Ubuntu. Not a single bit of crapware in sight on either one.

Oh, as for my wife's system, the only thing I did when she wasn't looking was remove Norton and put in Microsoft Security Essentials. She hasn't noticed a thing.

Re:suckers (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30717538)

Not a single bit of crapware in sight on either one.

Wait...you just finished saying Windows 7 was installed...

Ba dum tsh!

Thank you! I'll be here all night! Try the veal!

(P.S. I actually like Windows 7, but, the joke popped into my head, and I'm tired...)

Re:suckers (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30717426)

That's why I love buying online and picking up at the store. Purchased an LCD TV for my parents for Christmas and didn't have to deal with anyone trying to push me to purchase an extended warranty, over-priced cables, TV stand, receiver, DirecTV service or anything. I probably could have saved $50 by purchasing from a reputable online store, but it was pretty darn convenient to pick it up that same day. I also got to laugh at the 50+ people in line buying stuff while I was in and out of the store in 10 minutes.

Best Buy Sucks (4, Interesting)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714820)

Having worked for Geek Squad one summer while in college, I can say that the services they offer are overpriced and not a good value. Management told me time and time again to sell more of their 300 dollar advanced diagnostics tests to people that were suffering from simple issues. They try to package everything into ridiculously priced "package deals". Meanwhile, we werent given the tools to solve many of the problems they claimed we could do, and also encouraged us to try to fix. Its a simple problem of idiotic management, over-zealous marketing, and crappy tools. Don't use Geek Squad, and dont use this stupid utility they are trying to push on everyone. I would bet its just another attem

Re:Best Buy Sucks (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715232)

I would bet its just another attem

Shit! The Geek Squad already got him!

Re:Best Buy Sucks (1)

ddillman (267710) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715738)

It's hard to sell a $300 service package when a new computer is $300.

Re:Best Buy Sucks (1)

ddillman (267710) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715782)

Not sure, as I don't iPhone at all. However, all of that crapware you see is there because back in the day, people were pissed that the new $2000+ computer they bought had no software, so they had to spend $1000 or more on that before they could do anything. Retailers like Best Buy made big deals with the PC makers and software companies to preload this junk so they could rightly advertise that the machine came ready to run with all of that software. Unfortunately, the software loaded was never top-shelf stuff like MS Office or Lotus 1-2-3 or Photoshop, but always cheap 3rd-party knockoffs, or at best, MS Works. Now people complained about the quantity of shovelware, and that it made the new computer slow, so retailers decided they could charge to remove it...? BTW, side note, MS Works was (IMNSHO) one of the better pieces of software ever to come from MS. It's only drawback was being made purposely incompatible with any other software. It did what 90% of people needed it to do, had a small footprint and was easy to learn and use.

Best Buy's stance (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714830)

Geek Squad employee here, I read an internal document that said the complete opposite. I thought about making a copy for myself and taking it home, but I'm not quite that ballsy.

From that memo, it seems that Best Buy admits that there's not much of a speed boost in it, certainly not $40 worth, but they still justify it as a time-saving procedure. That is, if you're some CEO and have a shitload of money but little time, then you don't want to waste it uninstalling trials of NetZero and Microsoft Works (which we don't actually uninstall anymore, we just prevent it from starting up automatically, since some customers complained that their new computers came without the great software trials that HP/Sony/Toshiba advertised).

It didn't seem like they wanted to stop the service, although they DID remind everyone that optimizing more computers than are likely to be sold and then making customers pay for them even if they don't want it is illegal and a bait-and-switch. Which is great, because the managers here in a central North Carolina store were seriously considering optimizing 90% of stock and trying to get rich that way. Bastards.

hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714918)

Why don't you scan this document and put it somewhere online [wikileaks.org] ?

tl;dr proof or gtfo

Re:hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715064)

I have work today, I'll see if I can still find it (it was a hard copy, not a digital document). Although to be honest, I don't know how legitimate it will seem if there's a 12 hour delay between me saying it exists and having proof of it.

Re:hello (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715654)

I'll believe you.

App store? (1)

whoami9801 (765798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714902)

Isn't this similar to the iPhone Apps store? No-one has a problem with it there. I know it's Best Buy and they suck and all but if this is done right it could streamline the installation of software onto computers. It could be the end of 8 o'clock on a saturday night panicked support calls when your parents have to take a plane in the morning and used the "system restore" feature to roll back from a minor problem they were having and reset the computer to factory... 1 click to re-install all the applications they had previously... I'm not saying that Best Buy is going to build an actual useful program. But they could.

Re:App store? (1)

ddillman (267710) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715790)

Not sure, as I don't iPhone at all. However, all of that crapware you see is there because back in the day, people were pissed that the new $2000+ computer they bought had no software, so they had to spend $1000 or more on that before they could do anything. Retailers like Best Buy made big deals with the PC makers and software companies to preload this junk so they could rightly advertise that the machine came ready to run with all of that software. Unfortunately, the software loaded was never top-shelf stuff like MS Office or Lotus 1-2-3 or Photoshop, but always cheap 3rd-party knockoffs, or at best, MS Works. Now people complained about the quantity of shovelware, and that it made the new computer slow, so retailers decided they could charge to remove it...?

BTW, side note, MS Works was (IMNSHO) one of the better pieces of software ever to come from MS. It's only drawback was being made purposely incompatible with any other software. It did what 90% of people needed it to do, had a small footprint and was easy to learn and use.

Not too bad (1)

QA (146189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714956)

I purchased an HP from BB as a gift this past Christmas because I couldn’t build the same thing cheaper (i5, 8gbDDR3, wireless, 1TB, Nvidia, and 23” monitor under 1k CAN).

They attempted to sell me the optimization service first, then a printer, then an HDMI cable, then at the counter, the extended service plan. I’ll bet I burned half an hour of my time telling them to fuck off in a nice way.

The baby geek dude I had to deal with (all of 17 maybe) was just going through the motions, we both knew the score but there was a floor boss or something hovering around, so he had to do it.

The bitch at the checkout was relentless on the other hand. One of those obnoxious people that drank the company Kool Aid and spouted off every tag line she could remember. It was depressing.

Surprisingly I only had to clean off Symantec crap (shudder) and a few HP game demos and that’s it. It was really quite painless.

Shame I had to do it twicethe machine would BSOD every 5 minutes. It was instantly obvious that it was a memory issue so I ran the bios integrated mem test and boom, it found the problem..sort of.turns out it wasn’t the stick of ram because I swapped em around, it was a bad memory slot on the board.

Pete

No kidding they dropped it (3, Insightful)

eples (239989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714992)

Yeah, no kidding they dropped the program. This type of fraud is called "bait and switch [wikipedia.org] ", and it is ILLEGAL.

Re:No kidding they dropped it (1)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715978)

It's not bait and switch if they stop offering a service in favor of suggestive selling. If they claimed they still offered it that would be another thing, but since it came to our attention, obviously they're not hiding it.

Re:No kidding they dropped it (1)

eples (239989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716024)

Right, but BEFORE they dropped it, it was certainly bait and switch. Which is why they dropped it. Which is what I said.

Re:No kidding they dropped it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30717138)

To elaborate for the GP, the "optimization" service was installed on EVERY computer. You go in to buy the latest deal they're offering, and they hard sell you the service. You refuse, and they say that they're out of computers that don't have it. So, you can't get the deal as advertised... hence bait-and-switch.

Re:No kidding they dropped it (1)

jvberg (1392643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716194)

It was never bait and switch. Ever. Not even a little. Read your own link...

Britney Spears analogy... (-1, Troll)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715086)

... this is like running a hair salon and then letting Britney come in and cut her own hair. And charging her only $5 for it. And selling the photos.

If you buy a PC from Best Buy and don't immediately boot it into a Linux install then you are an idiot.

Then it would be more like running a hair salon and giving your male patrons something for the weekend and your female patrons some root conditioner.

Re:Britney Spears analogy... (1)

JaneTheIgnorantSlut (1265300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715202)

Who?

Re:Britney Spears analogy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715368)

Its britney bitch

Sweet (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715160)

At the local computer shop I work at, we make a killing cleaning up after Geek Squad's mess for their disgruntled ex-customers. Keep it up BB! Thanks to you business is booming for those of us who actually care about the work we do instead of just shaking customers upside down by their ankles.

Incorrect summary (3, Insightful)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715472)

instead of you paying Best Buy to delete trialware from your new PC, Best Buy will get paid by software makers to try to get you to install it

The summary is incorrect. As we learned in the previous Slashdot story, Best Buy's "optimization" service DID NOT delete the trialware for you. They just hid the shortcuts so that the 30-day Norton would still nag you to buy it when the time was up.

If these changes from BB mean trial trash is actually NOT installed, but rather a Best Buy app that links to the trial download, then this is absolutely a step in the right direction - especially if you can get your hands on your parents computer to uninstall the BB app before they try any of the "helpful" suggestions. Bestbuy still gets their software industry kickback to subsidize the system's low price and mom and dad's new PCs don't run like shit.

Misunderstanding (4, Interesting)

Mostly Harmless (48610) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715794)

The problem with the Geek Squad is that Best Buy managers are often so far removed from what the Geek Squad is and how it should work that it becomes a poorly managed mess in many stores. This is the crux of the issues many people have with the Geek Squad.

The truth is that the optimization service is a good one for many people. Best Buy creates the specifics of the optimization service based on feedback from their customers and from the Geek Squad Agents who work on their computers. You must realize that for the majority of the Geek Squad's customers, a computer (tower) is a "router," Toshiba is "Toshibia," Linksys is "Linksky," Windows 7 is "Windows Veesta 7," and that's only if they know the difference between Windows and MS Office (which MANY do not). We're not talking about people with even passing computer knowledge. For these people, not having an icon for Internet Explorer or My Computer on their desktop (as is the case in many freshly-purchased machines) is akin to having a car with no steering wheel or pedals. The optimization service is designed to maximize the usability of a new computer for those customers who need it.

The optimization service takes some time (30 minutes to an hour) to complete. To save customers some time, the Geek Squad will "pre-optimize" a small percentage of their computers. In doing this, they are not violating any laws provided they leave any minimum available quantity (if stated in the weekly ad) unopened. If you attempt to purchase a computer and all they have left are pre-optimized units, they are required to sell you the computer at the normal retail price. They can not force you to pay the optimization fee. They do have the option, however, to restore the computer to factory defaults before they allow you to leave with it, and they do not have to give you an open-box discount. If employees are breaking these rules (laws) it is because of the poor management I referred to earlier, but it is certainly not company policy.

The real villains here are Microsoft and the computer manufacturers for not providing a consistent and customer-friendly experience for new computer buyers. Some of it comes from simply economics and marketing: manufacturers can reduce selling cost by including loads of trial software, not including MS Office and antivirus software, etc. The savings are then (misleadingly) passed to the customer. (I am sure, though, that Best Buy's enormous purchasing power has some say in what the manufacturers do, though.)

Re:Misunderstanding (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716082)

The real villains here are Microsoft and the computer manufacturers for not providing a consistent and customer-friendly experience for new computer buyers.

I believe they tried that once. It was called "Bob", and as I recall, it didn't go over so well.

Re:Misunderstanding (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716164)

Actually, all the crapware on machines is allowing is to make good money reimaging machines.

Assume we have a small customer, that orders 20 or so computers. Then we additionally sell him Software Assurance (to get reimaging rights and MAK keys), and then reimage all the machines to a company baseline. That's about 8-16 hours for creating the image doing QA on it, plus another 8 hours to do the image rollout.

This way, selling computers actually still makes sense for us as a company.

Mandated Optimization by Corporate Management (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30717230)

This information comes straight out of the mouth of three Best Buy (store 483, Rego Park, NY, US) [bestbuy.com] employees, a blue shirt sales guy, a white shirt manager, and a black shirt Geek Squad guy, on exactly 2009-08-30 and it was said front of myself, my wife, and my mother. Some of the quotes I am paraphrasing from memory since I did not record the conversation, this time around.

BB: "You cannot buy any of the HP G60-445DX that we have [about 8 in stock] locked away in the cage [in front of you] because they all have been pre-optimized and you need to pay for the optimization package already installed." - Best Buy Employees - Blue Shirt and Black Shirt Walking by to Assist

Me: "I want to buy this model HP G60-445DX shown in your circular and also shown on your web site as available in-stock from the Best Buy web site for the advertised price in both places for $529.99 USD. Wipe the machine and use the restore disks to bring it back to the original factory configuration and sell me the laptop."

BB: "No, you have to pay for the optimization package already installed on these laptops. We cannot sell you the laptop and we cannot wipe and restore it. Why don't you leave and come back next week on Thursday when we get another laptop shipment and try to come early and call ahead to get one before we start optimizing all of the ones that come in." - Best Buy Geek Squad Employee (Black Shirt)

Me: "Why can't you sell me the laptop that you have right there in front of me in the locked case behind the gray bars?"

BB: "We [Best Buy employees and management] are ordered by the company to pre-optmize most or preferably all incoming laptops, especially the ones that are advertised in the weekly circular newspapers and we cannot sell them without this package." - Best Buy Employees & Manager

That day I went to purchase a HP-Laptop with AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor - Model G60-445DX (SKU: 9377104) [hp.com] for $529.99 USD for my mother to replace her old Dell. I wanted the laptop without any optimization package, pre-installed software, or warranty service since I am a senior server admin with experience and certifications for the Microsoft OSes and also laptop hardware certifications (including HP ASP) for the HP laptop hardware and I have access to HP's part replacement system for my own repairs.

We walked out of the store after wasting almost a full hour arguing with employees and managers to buy the laptop. I did not give up but instead used my HTC Mogul web phone to get on the Internet and I placed the order for the laptop on the Best Buy web site for a pick-up in the same store 483 for the original price of $529.99 USD + $47.04 tax for a total of $577.03 without any optimization charges. We paid by credit card on the web site. Magically the order was accepted, and a few minutes later as we were shopping in the mall I got the "Your order is ready for pick-up" e-mail on my phone.

All three of us stormed into the store and walked straight to the Customer Service counter on the right side. We told them we want the pick-up the order number and they went and got the laptop. The white shirt manager who was arguing and refusing to sell us the laptop half an hour past was the one who brought it over to customer service and he did a double-take to see us again. He looked at the order information and my mother's name taped to the laptop and noticed that the total price was $529.99 without the optimization charge. He walked over to the Customer Service girl and told her to hold the laptop while he want to talk to the store manager to verify that he can actually give and sell us the laptop for the original and advertised price. He did not look happy to see us again. After maybe fifteen minutes he returned and told the girl to release the laptop to us. He then walked over and told us that the online order should not have been accepted and that the laptop was already pre-optmized so it should not have been sold to us for the price without the optimization cost. However, since the order was accepted his store manager told him that they had no choice but to sell us the laptop for the paid for price on the web.

We walked out of the store with the laptop and when we got home I burned three system restore DVDs using the HP Restore utility then restored the laptop back to factory settings wiping out any software they installed or settings they changed on it.

This was my real experience with Best Buy optimization service. Last week I purchased a HP d7v laptop for my wife from HP's web site instead of Best Buy that has the same model in stock. They lost a customer and a sale because of their corporate optimization policy for laptops.

Its only a matter of time. (1)

codejunky (728012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715816)

I wonder how long till someone finds a cute little exploit in the software and all these best buy app boxes become part of some fun botnet.

Delete trialware? (3, Insightful)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715820)

.' Translation: instead of you paying Best Buy to delete trialware from your new PC,

I thought the Best Buy optimization thing only removed the shortcut icons to the trialware, and didn't actually uninstall or delete any of it?

You need only one program to remove trialware (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716160)

New or used PC, download and run The PC Decrapifier [pcdecrapifier.com] Below is a list of programs it will remove. Very simple to use.

AOL Install
AOL UK
AOL US
Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI
Corel Photo Album 6
Corel Snapfire Plus SE
Corel WordPerfect
Dell Search Assistant
Dell URL Assistant
Digital Content Portal
Earthlink Setup Files
ESPN Motion
Get High Speed Internet!
Google Desktop
Google Toolbar
HP Rhapsody
Internet Service Offers Launcher
McAfee
Microsoft Office Activation Assistant 2007
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
MS Plus Digital Media Installer
MS Plus Photo Story 2LE
MusicMatch Jukebox
MusicMatch Music Services
muvee autoProducer 5.0
NetZero Installers
Norton AntiSpam
Norton AntiVirus 2005
Norton Ghost 10.0
Norton Internet Security
Norton Internet Security
Norton Protection Center
Norton Security Center
Norton Symantec Live Update
Office 2003 Trial Assistant
Orange Internet
PC-cillin Internet Security 12 Trial
QuickBooks Trial
Quicken 2006 Trial
Remove Empty Program Folders Looks for and removes empty 'Program Files' folders
Wild Tangent Games
Yahoo! Music Jukebox
Yahoo! Toolbar for Internet Explorer
Reset IE Home and Search Pages
Roxio Express Labeler
Roxio MyDVD LE
Roxio RecordNow
Sonic DLA
Sonic RecordNow Audio
Sonic RecordNow Copy
Sonic Update Manager
Tiscali Internet
Travelocity Gadget
Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 14
Vongo
Wanadoo Europe Installer

Re:You need only one program to remove trialware (1)

GarrettK18 (1200827) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716436)

... Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003 Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003

Microsoft Office home and student 2007 and standard 2003 seem very important to me, as does Nortan Ghost. Hopefully the program lets you select which programs you want to remove.

Re:You need only one program to remove trialware (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716514)

No worries. It doesn't just start nuking programs without asking you first. In fact, it walks you through some lists with program check boxes. Simply review your options prior to executing the removal.

If you're in a corporate environment, they even let you interface with it via CLI for making batch jobs. You have to pay for that version though.

best buy is great for (1)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30717466)

Best Buy is a great place to buy music CD's and (if the price is even remotely competitive) a TV. Best Buy is NOT a place to buy computers. When purchasing from Best Buy you will NOT be told the truth, You will be told whatever the manager has decided the truth will be today as it affects the inventory that needs to move (If you know enough about them, buy online and get exactly what you want for a cheaper price. If you don't know enough, find someone who does and have them help you. If your even reading this, you know more than anyone working at Best Buy(selling Computers) anyway.
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