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Best Buy Cuts 650 Geek Squad Techies

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-who-will-install-my-monster-cable dept.

Businesses 143

tripleevenfall writes "Best Buy has cut approximately 650 jobs from its Geek Squad division, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The cut represents about 4% of Geek Squad's total workforce. The consumer electronics giant said the workers primarily service televisions and appliances in consumers' homes. Best Buy's performance has struggled to keep up with changes in consumer electronics, as the weight of its big-box format inhibits it from fending off competitive pressure of online retailers."

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Beginning of the End (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569441)

When you cut support you begin to cut your own throat.

Re:Beginning of the End (5, Funny)

Glothar (53068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569465)

Good thing they only cut Geek Squad people, then.

Re:Beginning of the End (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569483)

Double teamed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571505)

Double teamed ouch!

And they probably didn't even give the poor bastard a reach around.

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569473)

Then they must be doing great, GeekSquad has been anything *but* support since the BB buyout.

Re:Beginning of the End (5, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569637)

I thought charging for support accounted for around 90% of their profit?

If they are losing money on support they are totally fucked.

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40570791)

Maybe their goal is to eliminate physical stores and operate completely online.

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40570863)

Well, they'll keep *charging* for support, they just won't be supporting anything.

Re:Beginning of the End (2, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569687)

I wouldn't call Geek Squad "support"

Re:Beginning of the End (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569991)

When you cut support you begin to cut your own throat.

The beginning of Best Buy's end started with the end of Circuit City. Best Buy thought that they were now free of competition, so they reduced the variety of the products they stocked and focused only on high-margin stuff (for example, Monster Cable and in-house brands). They thought that their customers no longer had a choice and so they tried to stick it to us.

Now you hear them whine about being "the internet's showroom" - they think people come in to look and then go buy online instead. That's almost a complete fallacy because almost all of their products are commodities, you gain basically nothing from a hands-on experience with just about everything they sell. Even things like TV's, AVR's and speakers don't really give up much useful information from the show-room experience because performance in your own home is always different from in the show-room. You are almost always better off reading a variety of reviews than trying to make subjective judgements yourself in the store.

Re:Beginning of the End (5, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570183)

You sound like an informed consumer, not their target market. People do walk around and then buy online, or at least comparison shop. Some people do it by sending teams to different stores, and the lowest price feature compatible item gets bought.

People don't want a hands-on experience - they do want to window shop, though. And it helps to stay organized if you have a limited selection, and maybe tiered pricing in several physically separate locations. Once you narrow it down, you find something similar online and buy it. Not that item, just something like it.

It started with people checking out specials on their website while in the store, and noticing price mismatches. Now word has gotten around that you don't buy without checking the price first - and while you're at it, why not check someone else's store too?

They did cut inventory and act like they were the only choice, and people started window shopping there and buying online, and it was entirely their own fault.

Re:Beginning of the End (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570395)

Now you hear them whine about being "the internet's showroom" - they think people come in to look and then go buy online instead.

Not to mention that they hardly showroom any real hardware anymore. When I bought my mp3 player 7 years ago I bought it in a retail store because I wanted to interact with it first to see how I liked the interface, and if the hardware felt flimsy. Now I walk into a retail store, and the "display units" all have cardboard screens.

Re:Beginning of the End (2)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570497)

Exactly this. It's now pointless to try out some gadgets at Best Buy. I couldn't even try a phone the last time I was there. I knew it ran Android and I liked the physical keyboard, but the screen was a plastic image.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570511)

This time I just bought the Samsung Galaxy SII directly from Sprint because it was the highest-rated.

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40570959)

All the local Sprint stores here have real phones. All the AT&T stores have the fake plastic image of a screenshot glued on the shell of a phone.

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40572413)

That's because CDMA phones don't work on any other network, so if you steal the phone, you can't activate it.

The GSM phones (AT&T) on the other hand can be stolen and used without any ability to be blocked, yet.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572979)

It's not like there's a whole lot of choice of carrier there. You could go with T-Mobile or a more local carrier, but that's only viable in very limited areas.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

HawaiianToast (618430) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571485)

Well, the last time I went to Best Buy was to try out a Kindle Fire. I quickly found out, from use in their store, that it's far too crippled for me to purchase as a general Android tablet device. I had no intention of buying it there had I liked it. I may even have placed the order for one at amazon.com from my phone while still standing in their showroom. Sorry?

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40573005)

I didn't even have to go to Best Buy. I read online that the Kindle Fire is too crippled as a general Android tablet.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571575)

Now you hear them whine about being "the internet's showroom" - they think people come in to look and then go buy online instead. That's almost a complete fallacy because almost all of their products are commodities, you gain basically nothing from a hands-on experience with just about everything they sell

Err...what? Go back over the past couple of years on Slashdot and find any one of several stories about Best Buy. You'll find piles of comments from people all saying this is the only reason they go to Best Buy. I realize that Slashdot is not the majority opinion, but still...

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

nighthawk243 (2557486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571899)

Well... I go to Best Buy to just laugh at their plight and make snide comments about how anything above 5 dollars is retarded for a HDMI cable.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572809)

Well... I go to Best Buy to just laugh at their plight and make snide comments about how anything above 5 dollars is retarded for a HDMI cable.

You know, that probably makes you more mature than 90% of the other Slashdotters posting on a Best Buy story.

Re:Beginning of the End (2)

pLnCrZy (583109) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571731)

Now you hear them whine about being "the internet's showroom" - they think people come in to look and then go buy online instead. That's almost a complete fallacy because almost all of their products are commodities, you gain basically nothing from a hands-on experience with just about everything they sell. Even things like TV's, AVR's and speakers don't really give up much useful information from the show-room experience because performance in your own home is always different from in the show-room. You are almost always better off reading a variety of reviews than trying to make subjective judgements yourself in the store.

Yes, but not entirely. I still wander through Magnolia when I'm shopping for something. If they have it for me to demo (speakers, TVs, etc.) then I will give them an audition.

Where they are really shooting themselves in the foot is that they won't price match. I gave them numerous opportunities to make a sale, but they wouldn't price match online prices from Frys.com, Amazon, or other online stores. They claim it's because those prices can't be verified or validated. In one case (an Onkyo receiver that BB wanted 899.99 for and I found it on Amazon for 549.99 with free shipping and no tax) they claimed that selling it to me for that price would actually be less than they paid for it, and would violate their contract with Onkyo -- which I doubt in both cases. But they were arrogant, and the manager thought he was going to bully me around and I would do what he said, and he was wrong. He told me I was a fool to trust online markets. So I went and bought the receiver from Amazon, and the next weekend I needed to go to another store in the same center as the BB, so I brought my receipt with me. I asked to speak to the GM of the store, explained what had transpired the week before with the Home Theater dept. manager, and showed him my receipt, and told him that I was glad to be a fool who saved $400. He was fairly irritated with his manager.

THIS is why Best Buy has failed. Not "is failing" -- "has failed." Being the Internet's showroom would be fine if they would price match and keep the people IN THEIR STORE -- that's when the added opportunity for impulse purchases kicks in. If I buy a Blu-ray player in the BB store because they price matched it and I didn't have to wait for shipping, as I'm walking toward the check-out line I'll pass by the Blu-rays and maybe I'll let my judgement lapse for a short time and pick up a couple overpriced titles for the sheer convenience of "I can go watch this RIGHT NOW." Hell, they could even con the masses into upgrading their HDMI cables while they're at it. No, the informed consumer won't bite, but they don't need EVERY ONE to bite, they only need a few of the dumber ones to bite, and that's who their target is anyway.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

jafo (11982) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572569)

Many of the receivers I have looked at say that they won't honor the warranty if it is not purchased through an authorized reseller, and the authorized resellers all seem to have the same price for the units, including online and brick-and-mortar...

If you want to save a ton of money, it seems like buying last years higher end model, which likely has very similar features to this years lower-end model, can be a huge price savings.

Sean

Re:Beginning of the End (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570019)

It's more like their throat is being cut for them, so they got rid of some throat.

The Geek Squad isn't about support, it's about selling you services you don't need that slow down your computer to produce additional business.

It's been said before that consumers of today are actually savvy and well-educated. Well, I think that's a load of horseshit; some of us are, but most people are as ignorant as ever about things that matter. Most people are merely better educated than ever before on what celebrities are doing and on what corporations want them to purchase. I would like to think that the Geek Squad is failing because consumers are wising up, but I suspect it has more to do with people having less computer problems because they're abandoning antiquated systems that can't reasonably be maintained or secured.

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571031)

Can you name one service that Geek Squad performs that "slows down" its clients' computers?

Re:Beginning of the End (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571119)

Can you name one service that Geek Squad performs that "slows down" its clients' computers?

Loading crapware in the name of security. If you had google'd for "geek squad slows down computer" the top hit would probably have been this article on the geek squad optimization service slowing down computers [geek.com] and then you wouldn't have had to ask this question.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571123)

Installing most well known consumer Antivirus products or especially security suites.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572141)

When you cut support you begin to cut your own throat.

That happens to be a national problem, not just at Best Buy.

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40572385)

Unfortunately, the 'Geek Squad' staff are little more than High School students in most cases. Anyone can get an A+ certification, and that's all it means to Bestbuy is the difference between minimum wage and minimum wage+2$/hr more.

All you ever do as a Geek Squad person is get taken advantage of by sales staff pushing crapware like Norton on everyone, and you end up doing nothing but reinstalling windows on laptops all day.

Literately, there are thousands of Compaq/HP restore discs, with barely anything different on any of them. Yet you can't use a disc from X on machine Y because the OEM preinstall key is wrong. Windows Vista and 7 made it an obnoxious dance to install the OS, and then let the machine pull update after update because we also can't create slipstreamed install discs to bypass this waste of time.

Here's how to save yourself visiting geeksquad:
1. Don't pay for the service plan (saves 15% of the machine price)
2. Before you power on your machine for the first time, buy an external USB hard drive to backup the virgin state of the machine, this will be cheaper than visiting geeksquad.
3. Once windows self-installs itself or runs for the first time, sit there and keep running windows update until there are no more updates, don't update any drivers.
4. Optionally uninstall any cruftware installed by the OEM.
5. Create a backup of this state of the machine to your external hard drive, forget relying on system restore, as it will delete restore images after a while.

Now anytime you think you should take your machine into geeksquad, just restore that backup image over your machine. This is little different than what happens at Geeksquad. All Geeksquad does is reinstall windows, because head office doesn't give a care about providing good service, just profitable useless service.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572877)

TV sales are down and they are restructuring aggressively. They are trying to survive amidst a bitch-slapping from Amazon. Management has been slow to react, it will be interesting to see their progress. They are testing new store layouts and an Apple style of store/support using Geek Squad personnel to assist customers. Employees are going to get intense training for several straight weeks to bolster the transition. Best Buy is a good gamble for people with a little money to burn as their stock is a selling pretty low and they're making a serious effort to keep it going.

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40573073)

Yes, just look at McDonald's...

First Post (4, Funny)

CompMD (522020) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569443)

Brought to you by Monster Cable.

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569539)

The most expensive 'first post' ever.

Re:First Post (4, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569685)

Can I get a one year replacement warranty on that for more than the product is worth?

Cool! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569467)

well-qualified McDonald's workers ready for the job market!

Headline incomplete (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569497)

The headline is incomplete. It should read, "Best Buy Cuts 650 Geek Squad Techies. Nothing of Value Lost."

Very Shortsighted (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569517)

You know, the customers' porn isn't gonna watch itself.

Which technicians were cut? (5, Interesting)

Rone (46994) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569545)

Which technicians were cut?

The ones with the lowest technical aptitude, or the ones who pushed the least amount of unnecessary service on their customers?

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569591)

Actually, like most other job cuts, it was random.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569783)

Correction: most job cut decisions are geographical, either on the earth or on an org chart.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571881)

I couldn't find a video clip, so the text will have to do. [subzin.com]

Re:Which technicians were cut? (3, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570097)

Most are certainly not random.

My guess is those that sold the least amount of protection plans. All BestBuy is based is upon sales metrics like 80% of the rest of retail. Credit card sales and protection plans are YOU OUT OF THERE.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569601)

The ones that had been there the longest and thus cost the most for the company. Just like Circuit City when they were circling the drain, cut your best people because they are "expensive".

Re:Which technicians were cut? (4, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570033)

Then GeekSquad is like the rest of the IT field.

Remember back in the good old days when a System Administrator who had 7 years experience pulled in $120,000 a year? Now if you make over $40,000 you are eyed to be axed. After $45,000 you have to walk in water and know everything to justify to keep your job. They can find some guy with 1 year experience in help desk to always replace them for $32,000 a year to manage their mult million dollar IT infrastructure ... rolls eyes.

I guess cost centers are always treated like crap even if they generate revenue and actually hurt the company when cut

Re:Which technicians were cut? (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570761)

They still do, maybe you just suck? Or maybe you're just some guy that grabbed a perl book and called himself 'Sys Admin'?

Re:Which technicians were cut? (3, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570849)

Uh, thanks for the offensive reply.

  I do contracting and I am not a sys admin. I have seen all too many times some young 28 year old who was help desk do sys admin for 1200 computers with outdated domain controllers with stale OUs all over the place because the senior guys who made 70k were let go due to economic times etc.

I have not seen any respectable sys admin make more than 55k in years which is shocking since having a crappy help desk costs little compared to having the network down!

Re:Which technicians were cut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40573101)

Have you ever considered that maybe the companies that keep the senior guys who make 70k don't need to go and hire you as a contractor?

IME some places keep the 70k guys and hire fresh-faced youth as contractors when things are busy, others keep the 28 year olds and hire experienced contractors when things are complicated. You probably only end up working for the latter.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571091)

That's ok by me. Because it takes someone like me making 60+k a year to come in and cleanup the mess left over by the 32K guys fresh out of college. It breaks my heart having to cleanup after epic failure... Ehh, not really.

Lesson learned. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571953)

Actually the lesson learned from the good old days is that the service provided just isn't worth $120k per year. Our company of 30 can get by fine with a monthly visit by a consultant for 8 hours. He can still make $120k or so, but we pay about $13k. Our total support costs, including my time and another guy that spends a few hours a month settin guy new computers and rotating backups adds less than $20k fully burdened to the equation. We could scale to 80 people in one location before our total IT labor outlay would exceed $45k per year.

That isn't to say there isn't more we could do with IT.. Just that it is diminishing returns.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571403)

...you have to walk in water...

What's so hard about that? Even a little child can walk in the water. Now walking on the water, that's a whole different kettle of fish. Of course, back when I was working in IT, I preferred to part the waters and cross on dry land. Maybe that's why it kept getting harder and harder to get new jobs as time went on. Interesting.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572011)

    Walking on water, and wielding a magic wand that fixes any sort of technical or mechanical issue, doesn't help much any more.

    As one CEO said, "Why should we keep paying him $50k/yr, when I can hire a kid from McDonalds at $16k/yr to to keep the same chair warm?" The mention of "Well, the guy making $50k knows how to do the job. The minimum wage kid doesn't have a clue" is answered by "He'll learn."

    Companies would prefer to cycle through people working for the least possible money, regardless if they can do the job or not. They'll eventually get lucky, and get some kid who has learned something on the topic on his own, and be able to struggle with the job. Of course, by the time the kid hits 25, he'll either have a nervous breakdown, or a serious case of hypertension. I've seen both of those happen, to those who didn't bail when they were in over their heads.

    The boss never cares that they got quality work from the more expensive skilled employee. They care that there's more money to go towards their own salary.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

cluedweasel (832743) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569629)

I'm assuming this is a rhetorical question................

Re:Which technicians were cut? (4, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569819)

Which technicians were cut?

The ones with low agility, the others moved out of the way fast enough.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570057)

"no animals were harmed during the making of this movie. we tried, but that monkey was just too darned fast."

(colbert, I think).

((not the monkey. I don't think...))

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569863)

Single skilled in home appliance and TV techs were cut (I being one of them). Dual trained (as in repair both TV and Appliances) were not impacted as much

Re:Which technicians were cut? (4, Funny)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570793)

Which technicians were cut?

The most emo ones. They volunteered to do it themselves.

Re:Which technicians were cut? (1)

JimCanuck (2474366) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571037)

None, because Geek Squad has nobody worth calling a technician.

Geek Squad? (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569573)

*spits drink*

Heather Number One just looked right at me!

Geek Squad is where what we are threatened with (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569595)

My boss often joked that if we screw up too much at our office, we can always find a job with Geek Squad. (A few of the fired part timers had, in the past.) Perhaps not, any more.

Re:Geek Squad is where what we are threatened with (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569933)

Urgh, just noticed the double pronoun in that title. I'm on my second rum and coke in anticipation of a final exam this evening. Good for programming, bad for English!

Re:Geek Squad is where what we are threatened with (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570603)

. . .what where we. . .

. . .in anticipation of a final exam this evening.

. . .bad for English!

I really hope that after two drinks, that this evening's final exam isn't in English. :-)

Re:Geek Squad is where what we are threatened with (1)

McGuirk (1189283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572441)

". . .in anticipation of a final exam this evening."

I see the problem in with the other two, but not this one. Enlighten me.

What to do with the space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569679)

Best Buy, a few options to consider for how to address the problem of retail space not returning its cost to you, to enable you to return to a position of dominance versus online only retailers:

o Partition it into little rooms, and get ladies to give "massages" in them.
o Make a deal with a pizza place, offer free WiFi and make it into a study-pizza destination for teens
o Install a basketball court inside, let people rent shoes with built-in superconducting magnets in the souls, and install electromagnets under the floor, allowing 5 foot tall electronics fan-boys to dunk in real-life, an experience that cannot be replicated exactly on a Y-Box or a PF3
o ... Best Buy can obtain grow-lights, right? ...
o Go into business of selling grow-lights, potting soil, potting potters, and of course... pop corn.
o Turn the center of the store into a classroom and teach people how to code, etc.
o Use the back-room for extra warehousing space, and start using those little B&W VW Bugs to deliver same-day purchases faster than the post office can
o Start selling gasoline for some reason, then accidentally (oops!!!) burn yourself down and collect the insurance money

Hope that helped!

Re:What to do with the space... (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569835)

" built-in superconducting magnets in the souls"

I believe Massive Dynamic has a patent on these actually.

Re:What to do with the space... (1)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569861)

built-in superconducting magnets in the souls

Is that how ghosts are made?

As an expert in business (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569701)

I concur with the other posters that should never *ever* cut any part of a business, and especially never fire large number of employees.

This is based on the two principals of economics that (A) there is an infinite amount of capital available so a business should continually invest in and expand every part of itself, and (B) there are no other opportunities for shareholders to invest their money, and all money should be re-invested in a business, no matter how small the return.

Re:As an expert in business (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570389)

May I ask which "other posters" you are talking about? I mean real ones, not imaginary ones.

Re:As an expert in business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571769)

This [slashdot.org] for starters, and this post [slashdot.org] implies all cuts are arbitrary and unfair. Usually there are more comments like this in articles announcing cuts/job losses etc., this article has a higher proportion of comments mocking the Geek Squad...

No Faith (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569723)

The soon-to-be former chairman just resigned and is looking to sell off his 20% stake in the company. If the rest of the board adopts a similar attitude, this company will end up going the way of Circuit City.

"Best Buy Cuts 650 Geek Squad Techies..." (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569743)

Arrested for Multiple Counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon. PNGs at 11.

wait, what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569753)

Geek Squad are "techies" now?

Re:wait, what? (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569789)

Technicians. There really isn't a better term for "lowest rung of the totem pole in a technology company that isn't a retail associate" in English.

Re:wait, what? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572275)

flunky comes to mind

Oh NO! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40569985)

Where else can I find these all so valued IT professionals? They are the only ones who know about these gold plated MONSTER grade $120 HDMI cables and those $60 power outlet extenders for superior computer performance and TV picture quality.

It's not like there's any competition (2)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570177)

Things have gotten really bad. Back in the day, I worked in a stereo store. We had products that could be demoed, Salesfolk who knew something about those products, and within the rules of salesmanship, could oft match a customer with the right gadget. Fast forward to today. Retail electronics sales is dead. When Circuit City died/fired the old timers, that was the last gasp of mass market audio sales. I now go to BB, and they have mass market crap in audio, while the Magnolia side has Meh audio for big audio prices. You either have to go to a top end audio retailer, of which there are few, or buy blind off the net. I bought a HSU subwoofer, which is lovely, but it was the first item I'd bought "UN-auditoned". BB is the last one standing. The rest of us have to read internet forums and buy based on that.....it's crowdsourcing, but for audio, everyone's ears are different. There's nowhere to go to audition mid to low high end audio anymore.

Re:It's not like there's any competition (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570799)

Magnolia. Were they supposed to be anything more than a scam? There was one around here that last for about 2 years. I went into it when it first opened. It was when HD screens had just started to come down in price, but before mainstream adoption. I had noticed that most of the Wide screen TVs did not yet offer keyholing of 4:3 pictures. They just stretched everything out to look like Mario Bros. characters. I asked the sales person if they had any models that didn't stretch strand format pictures to fill the screen. They guy looked at me like I was crazy and asked why I would want that and explained the wide screen was a better picture. That pretty well told me everything I needed to know about that place.

Re:It's not like there's any competition (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571501)

Before Best Buy bought them, Magnolia Hi-Fi was actually a pretty well-regarded retail chain. It was not a high-end audio boutique by any means, but they had knowledgeable sales people with a choice of numerous premium brands. If you were in the market for a $4000 Pioneer Elite RPTV or a Yamaha Natural Sound amp, Magnolia was a good place to look.

It was not considered good news among home-theater enthusiasts when Best Buy bought the company, put it that way.

This should come as no surprise... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570199)

...because Best Buy has demonstrated a lack of respect for this particular group of employees by giving them a derogatory title.

I think Best Buy and the author missed the point (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570283)

"the weight of its big-box format inhibits it from fending off competitive pressure of online retailers."

If I'm in the mood to save money, or be patient, I find it hard to save less then about 40-60% off of the price at Best Buy. Amazon/Walmart/Meritline...

The layout/pricing/(lack of)knowledge of the stores make me cringe.

I don't know how companies like Fry's can possibly compete...

Re:I think Best Buy and the author missed the poin (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570601)

Because Fry's, unlike Best Buy, has low prices and a great layout. Their support is horrible to non-existent, but as long as you know what you want, it's a great place.

Re:I think Best Buy and the author missed the poin (1)

SirTicksAlot (576078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570717)

Fry's is amazing. If they ever expanded out of the West and to the New York area I would probably go bankrupt. ICGAC about Best Buy.

Re:I think Best Buy and the author missed the poin (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572081)

    Everyone who's ever been to a Fry's, but now lives in an area without one, wishes they'd expand to their area. The nearest one to me is 470 miles.

    On a work sponsored road trip (transporting servers), We stopped at 5 different Fry's locations, just because we could. I picked up all kinds of crap that I didn't "really" need, but I wasn't going to find elsewhere for the same price. :)

And (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570341)

Nothing of value was lost.

Do you suppose... (2)

bschorr (1316501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570361)

...they'll be able to get their old jobs back at Foot Locker?

Sorry...that was mean. There probably are some Geeks that know what they're doing and I'm sure they're brilliant at getting Grandma on Facebook. I just get the call when one of them has screwed up somebody's server or line of business application because they had no idea what they were doing. Which happens way too often.

Who cares? (1)

neptune612 (851897) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570463)

If the Geek Squad kid did anything of value, I would say this is significant, but they are hired lackeys to do nothing but be a face for an overpriced and underperforming scam operation! When Best Buy bought the original Minneapolis-based Geek Squad, it was the beginning of the end of their integrity and reputation. This is just Best Buy trimming the fat. To many of these kids behind the counter aren't any better than if your neighborhood lemonade stand did computer repairs too.

Re:Who cares? (2)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571215)

Right I lived in MPLS when Geek Squad was an independent entity. I never used them because I never had a need, but I know plenty of people who did.

They actually were staffing people who knew how to do things like run mem maker and configure emm386 to get your kids DOS game running properly. I know people who did have them do things like recover files of corrupt FAT floppies with hex editors. I am sure most of older slashdot'ers have been their done that and got the t-shirt but it really was a valuable service to lots people. Then Best Buy bought the company and turned it into a complete joke.

Likely to become 3rd party contractors (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570473)

Likely to become 3rd party contractors doing the in home stuff. Like the cable CO's and staples.

yes staples does farm out some of there in home stuff to 3rd party contractors.

wonder what kind of knofe they used (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570507)

oh..they just let them go. /pout

Re:wonder what kind of knofe they used (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570527)

knife, even....

oh no! (3, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40570509)

great. who am I going to get to exorcise the virus from my power supply unit now?

Re:oh no! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571167)

A priest with holy water? Stand back, it could get ugly!

Re:oh no! (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571295)

great. who am I going to get to exorcise the virus from my power supply unit now?

For $30 an hour I will, just wire me your bank details and I'll do the required rituals remotely, I've got the pentagram and candles already.

i am disappoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40570667)

I was expecting jokes about circumcision or eunichs.

Article is extremely misleading... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40570963)

Best Buy is announcing a restructure of its Geek Squad precincts tomorrow. Part of this is hiring MORE Geek Squad agents. The entire purpose is to refocus on improving the client experience. Some positions, especially for in-home/field agents, were eliminated, and those employees were offered severance or given the option to drop down to a lesser role. But personally at my store I was given a promotion, we are changing our labor model to give our agents more hours, and we are hiring more agents. All this article does is bash Best Buy but doesn't explain ANYTHING that's ACTUALLY going on. Yes, the company is in a terrible position right now and it would be difficult to make an argument that it hasn't dug its own grave. But come on, at least make this discussion interesting instead of a bash-fest.

Re:Article is extremely misleading... (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572133)

In-home service is about the only place they can provide value though. My mom paid $500 to get her TV installed (cheaper than me doing it!), and I wouldn't think twice about paying $150 for someone that would put on the wedge anchors, mount the wiremold, and make it look pretty, short of carpentry or painting. They could have gotten an extra $100 from me for the hardware (50% margin) as well!

But, I would want the job done right-- none of the using a 5-20P where it should be a 5-20C, etc.

Avoid the unemployment office ladies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571739)

Unless you want ogled at by some fucktard neckbeard wearing a shirt with a penguin on it.

The Best Buy Conundrum (2)

bratwiz (635601) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572021)

Best Buy is the only company who can lay off 650 of its technical support staff and have its IT competence remain exactly the same.

buy more? (1)

Goraek (398392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572509)

Nerd-Herd... NOOOOOoooooooo......

Its not the end OF Circuit City that ended it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40573145)

When Circuit City closed and their "major competition" went away and they went with stupid monster cable crap and in house brands, I was already gone. My joy with worst buy went away a few years before that. I went there no more than about 6 times in more than 10 years. What finally ended it all for me was "Instant Rebate". Its a giant pile of crap, and I got tired of it. The price is listed at $69.00. But you have to mail in this thing and you only get the $25 back from the $94 you paid after you send it in and then phone and phone and phone and you might get your $25 back after 16 weeks, or maybe not. I went in to get a DVD player. It said $89 in the small print. I said I can get a better deal at another place who sells it for $76. The sales guy said "No, its only $59 (as he pointed to the mail in rebate price). I asked if I could go to the cashier and pay $59. He said I had to mail in the thing. I asked him if he could mail it in for me. He said no. I said that that was my answer too. And that's my answer to anyone who asks if I ever went back there. It was before the demise of Circuit City. I *have* used flyers from them to price match TV's at Sears (where the warranty is good and the price is as marked and there is no mail in shit). They were useful for about $12 off a TV.

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