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What Do Geek Squad Technicians Actually Do?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the are-they-worthy-of-the-name dept.

1065

Zenitram asks: "I am a lead technician at a company that repairs computers for various vendors. Many of our systems are from Best Buy's Geek Squad. Based on the systems Geek Squad sends us, it makes me wonder what, if anything, do they actually do? We get systems that have issues that we simply shouldn't have to work on, like: installing device drivers, OS reloads, and reseting CRUs (Customer Removable Units). Additionally, we get systems that are misdiagnosed such as: bad hard drive when a system has faulty RAM; no POST when it simply won't boot into Windows; or no boot when it won't power on at all. So, what is the scope of technical repair that Geek Squad techs do?"

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Hand holding. (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617936)

Some people need that kind of support.

Re:Hand holding. (1)

cloricus (691063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617990)

What kind of support? Can some one please out line who these squads are in more detail...I keep hearing about them here though we don't seem to have anything similar in Australia so I don't get it. At our versions of Best Buy, like Harvey Normans etc, the one or two techs they have are mostly knowledgeable for the basic tasks they have to do.

Re:Hand holding. (3, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618025)

You (or more typically, your elderly parents) ring up and say "my mouse won't work", someone comes around to your house and plugs it in / cleans the mouse ball / upsells you an optical mouse.

download (1)

JazzLad (935151) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618306)

The Geek Squad CD was on usenet a couple weeks ago, if you have sufficient retention grab it and see.

I didn't, of course, that would be wrong :)

-
Karma=bad
I care=no

Re:Hand holding. (5, Funny)

ericdano (113424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618319)

Plus they have those really neato cars. I see them on the freeway sometimes.

I think Apple should buy them, and then when they make a call, they replace the PC with a Mac. Simple, and then there would be no return call.

Who cares! (2, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617938)

They are paying you, right? Who gives a leap about what they do and don't do.

Re:Who cares! (5, Insightful)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618008)

Who cares? I, as a consumer, care. If I take my computer to Geek Squad (I wouldn't, but speaking hypothetically) I don't want to be paying $150 just so they can take it to someone else whom they pay $75 to fix the problem. I'd rather take my computer straight to the guy who only charges $75.

Moreover, if I were the guy who submitted the ask /., I'd care because I could, theoretically, market directly to Geek Squad's customers and raise my prices, but only to a level where my company would be undercutting Geek Squad.

That's just the first two reasons I can think of. I'm sure I could think of more.

Re:Who cares! (0, Offtopic)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618110)

The naborhood geek kid could do it, or maybe they (/you) could learn about your computer and ask on support forums. Nether is foolproof, but both much better then a "Professional Repair" place, be it the GS or otherwise.

Re:Who cares! (3, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618157)

Moreover, if I were the guy who submitted the ask /., I'd care because I could, theoretically, market directly to Geek Squad's customers and raise my prices, but only to a level where my company would be undercutting Geek Squad.


I've never heard of them before, but if Best Buy's "Geek Squad" people are as incompetent as they appear to be on this thread, I'd leave a virtual copy of my business card on the customer's desktop, with rates for repair.

- RG>

Re:Who cares! (4, Interesting)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618203)

The sad thing is, after two repairs, you've lost the entire cost of the system.

You can get a brand new computer for cheaper than it costs to repair the broken one. At a certain point it's so cheap to buy a new one that they should just switch the harddrive over and upgrade them. I mean, if they misconfigured windows, so it stopped booting then they need a new harddrive with a new install.

I think it would be easier to just sell a service where they take the contents of your old harddrive and pour it into a directory on a brand new system they sell you for 400 bucks.

Hardware it too cheap to pay to repair it.

Re:Who cares! (5, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618206)


I care, because they might give geeks a bad name.

wipe and install (1)

novastar123 (540269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617940)

they make you sign a waver saying they arnt responsible for lost information,
then wipe the hard drive and re-install windows, if they can.

Well... (5, Funny)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617944)

We know they use Winternals software [sysinternals.com] . :)

My Guess... (1, Informative)

Jedi Master Cody (660096) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617946)

Not much. Seriously. I know a few Geek Squad techs, and a lot of them are not real bright.

Re:My Guess... (0, Troll)

alshithead (981606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617997)

You know a few of them well enough to judge their intelligence? What does that say about you?

Some people do their jobs well and others don't. I've heard that most of the Geek Squad members are people. That being said, there some really interesting horror stories on the bestbuysucks site (wwww.bestbuysucks.com).

Re:My Guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618120)

I've heard that most of the Geek Squad members are people.

Well there's the problem right there. (Urkle laugh) Hee hee hee snort

Re:My Guess... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618164)

You know a few of them well enough to judge their intelligence? What does that say about you?

Smart people can't associate with people who aren't smart? What the fuck are you trying to say?

What it comes down to is the meager compensation and bullshit hoops that Best Buy and related companies force their employees to endure means that any employee who is worth their salt will soon be an employee of a much better organization. Ergo, Geek Squad employees are going to pretty much be idiots, or at least extremely inexperienced.

Re:My Guess... (0)

alshithead (981606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618231)

Well, if I speak veeerrryy slowly maybe you'll understand. Maybe I was flippantly trying to say that the poor phrasing of his comment could be construed as a measure of his own intelligence. It might be a little deeper humor than you're capable of comprehending.

Re:My Guess... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618278)

Honestly, Fatty Fuckpants, you wouldn't find humor if you shoved your tongue up your father's asshole and poked around his prostate for an hour. It wasn't funny when you originally wrote it and it became substantially less funny when you attempted to explain it. Let it die.

Re:My Guess... (0, Flamebait)

fufubag (935599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618257)

You use Apple because it has the best style don't you? Also, you only talk to people who are members of MENSA, your shit smells like roses, and, oh yeah, you're a douche bag.

Re:My Guess... (0, Troll)

alshithead (981606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618313)

Are you one of his Geek Squad buddies?

And if it matters, I haven't used an Apple since I had an Apple II+ and it was hardly stylish. I'm sure I talk to a lot of people who aren't members of MENSA as I care so little about it I don't bother to ask someone if they are member. My shit smells like...shit. As for being a douch bag...look at my login name. I think it's more apt.

They job is to collect money from (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617948)

people more clueless than themselves. Maybe they should go to Apple's Genius Bar to get actual help with their PC:)

Actually, I suspect, based on your summary, that they find it cheaper to contract out to you guys than having knowleable people on their staff. Best Buy just charges the customer anyway (a premium) so it's not like it's coming out of their pocket. If they knew what was wrong with it in the first place, like a faulty harddrive, wouldn't they just replace it themselves? It's not like they don't have the parts.

Re:They job is to collect money from (4, Insightful)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617982)

One thing I always wondered about. Since Macs are so easy to use, why does it require a "genius" to fix one?
The problem with "the Geek Squad" and any other computer service (including CompUSA sales for example) is that the pay is so shitty that if an individual actually knows something about computers they won't be working there.
I remember one incident where a customer had brought a network card to the support desk at CompUSA and asked "Does this card support Linux?". The tech answered "Yes, it has Windows NT drivers. Windows NT is like Linux so it will work." The mindboggled stare of the obviously more savvy customer was priceless.
Geek Squad has a great model. People pay them to fix their computers, they break it worse and wipe out the data. Then the people don't have to blame themselves for the data loss, they can blame Geek Squad.

Re:They job is to collect money from (5, Insightful)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617994)

One thing I always wondered about. Since Macs are so easy to use, why does it require a "genius" to fix one?

Well, my car is easy to use, but I wouldn't want to fix it myself. I'll leave car repair to the car geeks, and most people should leave computer repair to the computer geeks.

Re:They job is to collect money from (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618036)

>> "One thing I always wondered about. Since Macs are so easy to use, why does it require a "genius" to fix one?"

Simple: It's Apple's way of using marketing to inspire customers' confidence in the services provided. Of course, the Mac Geniuses are light-years more knowledgeable than your average Geek Squad member (and I'm quite convinced that the Genius Bar is the direct inspiration for the Geek Squad). However, customers still need to have the feeling that their problem is in good hands.

Also, a computer is a computer, regardless of the operating system or manufacturer. Even if Macs have much lower failure rates and have much less problematic software issues, the fact remains that customers don't want to have to deal with computer problems themselves... so they turn to an expert--er, that is, a Genius.

Re:They job is to collect money from (3, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618175)

If the customer was so fucking savvy about linux, why is he wasting everybodys time in the store?

I'm getting a little bored of the "does it support linux" analogy to show how stupid somebody is. Everyone uses it, and it's dumb.

Linux is a fringe operating system. I've used it for about 15 years, and I've come to realize that nobody in a big box store has been trained to support it, or knows if device X works with linux. This is because nobody comes in looking to spend money on linux hardware.

They really don't. Real geeks order their parts online. Not just because it's cheaper, but because the actual ordering is the culmination of maybe an hour or more's research into the particular products suitibility for linux. I just went through this looking for a TV tuner to use in a MythTV project. Most dont work, or arent fully supported, so I'm not going to walk into a store and ask somebody who won't know - most linux users wouldn't even know.

In fact, I bet I could pick some random card off the shelf, walk up to Linus Torvalds himself, and ask "does this work with linux?" and he wouldn't know, and would probably blow me off with the same sort of answer.

Or I'll ask you, and when you're so smart and smug, after you answer "of course it works with linux", I'll ask "does it work with BeOS? NetBSD? How about OS/2? Does it have native 64 bit drivers for Windows? Vista drivers? MS DOS?" And the second you don't know I'll be like "A HA! I GOT YOU SUCKA!"

It's the customers job to educate him/herself, and the salesmans job is to sell. If grandma and grampa huckleberry bought a $5000 Vaio just to check their e-mail, because the salesman made up some techincal jibba-jabba, then it's on them. If he managed to sell them an extended warranty and a set of monster cables to hook it all up, then thats a job well done.

Re:They job is to collect money from (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618281)

If he had answered that he didn't know, then he would have been off the hook.

mod up (1)

pikakilla (775788) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618348)

i always seem to read comments such as these after blowing my mod points -_-

Re:They job is to collect money from (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618323)

In fact, I bet I could pick some random card off the shelf, walk up to Linus Torvalds himself, and ask "does this work with linux?" and he wouldn't know, and would probably blow me off with the same sort of answer.


In fact, I bet I could pick some random card off the shelf, walk up to Linus Torvalds himself, and ask "does this work with Windows?" and he wouldn't know, and would probably blow me off with the same sort of answer.

And either way, that comparison would be a complete non-sequitor, as Linus doesn't purport to sell hardware. There was a time when minimal knowledge of the product you were selling was a good thing.

Re:They job is to collect money from (1)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618263)

I was driving by Best Buy the other day and wondered what it would be like to work there and actually have customers with 'fixed' computers.

Then I came to my senses and laughed at myself uncomfortably and had an awkward silence afterwards.

Been a slow few weeks in the onsite IT scene, I must be delirious.

Coincidentally, I've had at least 5 incidents in the past year where I was paid to fix something a 'Geek Squad' tech screwed up. The best was on one of my existing business clients' home computer, that taught him not to call me first.

Has anyone else experienced the opinion that getting it fixed by the 'Geek Squad' has reached the lunacy of the 'Cup Holder CD tray' id10t legends?

Cheers.

Re:They job is to collect money from (1)

formerly exchange fo (985257) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618086)

You are probably better off ignoring their 'advice'. The Geek squad speaks in a cocky way on their party line, but knows little beyond their indoctrination course on the hardware. I was attempting to purchase one of their PC's at their store, but was actually discouraged from purchasing it. After ignoring their 'advice' I took care to voice my displeasure to the manager of the Geek squad, and to his boss & am happy with the purchase which the Geek grudgingly recorded.

Re:They job is to collect money from (1, Flamebait)

leon.gandalf (752828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618183)

For fuck sake its
THEIR job is to collect money from

Re:They job is to collect money from (-1, Troll)

fufubag (935599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618291)

No shit? Thank god for Slashdot and leon.gandalf. Otherwise I might spend the rest of my life thinking you should say 'they job is to collect....'

Piss off. EVERYONE knows what the correct fucking grammar/spelling is!!! Go back to teaching your 2nd graders, we already know the fucking rules!! But we are better, because we can actually adapt to MINOR errors, still grasp the meaning and continue with our lives.

What the Geek Squad does (1)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617949)

Seems like I remember that they (used to?) pirate tons of software, but other than that, they seem to be a serious rip-off in the actual system maintenance and repair.

Not just Geek Squad (4, Funny)

SIGBUS (8236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618264)

I remember a now-defunct white box computer shop some years back (think K6 era), where I overheard a tech talk about "warezing" (he pronounced it like the English rendition of "Juarez") software.

Meanwhile I was thinking, "why go to Mexico for software :) when there's Linux?"

Overworked? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617953)

Maybe they just put down any BS answer they can so they get to ship the system off to your company under some "too difficult" escape clause. As long as what you charge Best Buy is less than what the customer pays Best Buy, they'll continue to offload work to you. It might even be more profitable for them.
 

Their Clothing (5, Funny)

BobNET (119675) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617958)

Haven't you seen their ads? They wear ties. You know, 'cause all geeks wear ties! (Just look in the mirror, fellow /. readers!) And if they wear ties they have to be computer experts!

Re:Their Clothing (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617970)

You know somebody isn't a repair tech if they're wearing a tie.

When I worked professionally as a repair tech, I wore a tie for exactly one day. They dangle, and get stuck to the pins on the back of a PCB like velcro. Work on one machine without being careful about your tie, and it's ruined with dozens of pulls. If you're lucky, you didn't ruin whatever it is you were working on.

Re:Their Clothing (1)

alphastryk (929216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618139)

real geeks don't wear ties... especially if working on computers...

Re:Their Clothing (2, Insightful)

Icyfire0573 (719207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618156)

I do wear a tie at work, although we are mostly in the business of taking care of software we do replace hardware pretty frequently. Fortunately I am also enlightened enough to put on a tieclip as well towards the bottom of the tie. It is quite effective at keeping the tie out of the case that I'm working on.

Re:Their Clothing (5, Interesting)

ilsa (197564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618256)

You know somebody isn't a repair tech if they're wearing a tie.

If memory serves, IBM field techs used to have a no-real-tie policy. They all wore clip-ons for safety reasons. If your tie gets caught in a printer, do you want to lose your tie or lose your neck?

Of course that was in the days where computer rooms had raised floors and separate air conditioning systems. Dinosaurs may also have been roaming the earth, but I was a child at the time.

Re:Their Clothing (2, Informative)

chuesk3 (979958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618349)

The Geek Squad do wear clip-ons (I suspect it has to do with a stereotypical nerd motif, short-sleeved white shirts, black clip on tie, calls to mind crewcuts, horn-rimmed glasses, and pocket protectors a la Reveng of the Nerds].) A friend of mine is/was a Geek Squad tech. Mostly he's snide and more than a bit insulting to customers, and he gets a Best-Buy flash drive that looks like a stripped-down version of a "Techie Toolz" CD. I know my buddy can fix most stuff, he's an even better hardware tech then I (and I have a "real" computer job!) However, I know several of his co-workers as well, and those guys couldn't even figure out how to take a processor off of a mobo, let alone hack anything more than a hairball.

Re:Their Clothing (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617977)

Hey! I wear a tie and frankly I find it offensive that... nah, I can't pull that off. :)

And Rocket Packs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618005)

Don't forget the Rocket Packs!

They work for Best Buy... (3, Funny)

Raistlin77 (754120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15617971)

'nuff said.

Make real geeks look bad (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618001)

... I can only hope they don't actually dress like on the ads, and that they actually no a lot of computer stuff. But I am pretty sure they don't walk around with a Knoppix cd.

Re:Make real geeks look bad (0, Troll)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618029)

I know what you mean. They are nerds (yuck!), not geeks.

I just got a job there (5, Informative)

beyonddeath (592751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618002)

I havn't started training yet but from the managers explanation of the work, it seems pretty ridiculous. Ie: returned products must be tested, and when we say it simply wont boot up, it will get back we have to be more specific and say what wont boot up like windows or the hard drive. I guess it just goes to show you gotta do what you gotta do, at least when you have to pay rent.

Re:I just got a job there (5, Funny)

Rob_Warwick (789939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618267)

+1 Sympathy Karma

Have you ever looked at these guys? (5, Funny)

two_socks (516862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618004)

Honestly, I think they're a step up from "I roll my poo into balls".
God help you if they ever make you speak to one to explain what's wrong with something purchased there.

The nerve. (1)

RonaldReagan (112997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618016)

How dare you insult a professional with an A+ cert, you anti Buy-ite bastard.

In _my_ experience ... (1)

really? (199452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618017)

... they are people who couldn't hack it as level 1 tech support, mainly because their reading level was too low to follow the script.

Please, no angry mails from current or past Geek Squaders, I did say in _MY_ experience; I am sure there are _some_ Geek Squaders with IQs above room temperature.

Re:In _my_ experience ... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618052)

There has to be at least one who writes internal Geek Squad software. My only direct experience with Geek Squad is software to remove some crap called U3 off my USB stick.

Re:In _my_ experience ... (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618167)

Well, I live in California in late June. Room temperature is getting close to genius level (without ac).

geek squad story (2, Insightful)

thexdane (148152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618030)

i used to work for nerds on site, the original tech group in beatles, anyways one of our guys decided to call the geek squad one day to see what they were like. he showed up and had to reformat a drive and install windows. seemed simple enough, however they never installed any drivers or updates for windows, that was extra per driver/update, and so was resetting up the basic networking features of the computer, not share drives just the basics, yup it cost extra, any extra software, yup more money.

now comes the time for the bill, now being a "geek" you figure they would do it via the internet with auto-adjusting price based on the services ordered, something nerds on site has had for a while, no they did not have this. since our man was paying by credit card, the geek squad guy had to pull out one of those old credit card slider things. now in order to calculate price he had to use a calculator.

now i don't know if they've improved recently but you would think a large tech based company would use some basic stuff that a geek friendly company should already be using, personally why go with an imitation, go with the original nerd in a bug, http://www.nerdsonsite.com/ [nerdsonsite.com] and yes they are world wide and constantly growing

Re:geek squad story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618258)

In the original Geek Squad days (before Best Buy purchased and ruined them) we did have online credit card payments and an awesome call center where you could call in and schedule an agent for onsite. They were even able to determine if you may have failing hardware and warn the Agent before they arrived onsite. *Gasp* All techs in those days were very good at fixing computers. Apparently when you scale it up and just put bad techs in a tie you get *drum roll* bad techs! It also seems that nobody cares or maybe it's just lost in the corporate world of Best Buy.

well... (5, Insightful)

zxnos (813588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618033)

geek squad charges too much to do what any family nerd can do. install components / software and run malware/virus scans.

my question is what the 'repair' centers do. i had to send a laptop out to have the power jack replaced. laptop came back with scratches and superglue and a 'new DVD drive that didnt work and was covered in glue (my previous drive worked). i then sent it out to have a fan replaced. i used geek squad again because they said thye would replace the DVD with one that works and wasnt covered in glue. computer came back with new drive, scratches and note that says 'unit overheats and shuts down after two minutes. needs fan.' (that took 2 weeks) i sent it back out to have the fan replaced (again). laptop came back after another two weeks with more scratches and missing rubber feet. fan works.

during this time i wrote a few letters. it only took 2.5 months to get back my working, yet cosmetically damaged, laptop back. the only good thing is that all 'repairs' were free, a stack of DVD-R's and a 200$ refund on my only big purchase at best buy.

apparantly geek squad is building their own repair center.

lastly the guy there stated that when it comes to notebooks, geek squad is a glorified shipping center. they also just write down the symptoms that the customer tells them. so the customer could be wrong

Re:well... (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618090)

Not if you have more money than family nerds. My dad, for example, lives far enough away that it would cost him much, much more just to fly me out than to just call Best Buy. Plus they probably have some guarantee of service, whereas he'd still have to pay to fly me back out again. If you have a friend or family member then sure, use them, but there aren't many tech savvy people in my old man's peer group, and I don't live at home. (Don't let that get out though or I may lose my geek quals).

Re:well... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618356)

Maybe he could ship the computer (just the tower, thanks) or notebook to you? They fit in a nice little box without oxygen holes....

They try to make us think Geeksquad is a good biz (2, Interesting)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618040)

I took this awful management class and they talked about Geek Squad like its some sort of Business miracle. We even had to watch a video where they talk about the company and its structure. Aside from their marketing they are really nothing special and time will tell on that as well. Geek Squad is just one of many essentially empty shell IT service organizations that charge a high rate to the end users who go to them because they have established a recognizable brand and then contract most if not all of the actual work out to others.

  If you want to see even more disturbing examples of this trend sign up as a provider at onforce.com where a so-called free market for IT services is little more than a way for these empty shell providers to route low paying service calls to "independent contractors" except that marketplace is deliberately skewed so that the providers don't get to enforce their own rates but rather find themselves racing to accept low paying work orders from companies that are nothing more than a catchy name and a 800 number. One of the lowest paying of these companies suspiciously operates out of the same building as Onforce.com (formerly ComputerRepair.com) while routinely violating even the weak rules Onforce setup to guard against abuses, such as requiring that clients pay contractors at least 1 hours time and paying a fee for customer no-shows.

Re:They try to make us think Geeksquad is a good b (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618260)

I took this awful management class and they talked about Geek Squad like its some sort of Business miracle. We even had to watch a video where they talk about the company and its structure. Aside from their marketing they are really nothing special and time will tell on that as well. Geek Squad is just one of many essentially empty shell IT service organizations that charge a high rate to the end users who go to them because they have established a recognizable brand and then contract most if not all of the actual work out to others.

Sounds like a good business case to me. The company does nothing, contracts out the real work, and focuses on building the brand among the clueless masses.

What is value of Coca-cola? What does Coca-cola do? They sell sugar & water, and license others to sell sugar & water. Is there any real difference between coke, pepsi, and all the others? Not really.

The real value in Coca-Cola is that red & white logo. The brand. It's recogizable around the world and it's worth billions.

Re:They try to make us think Geeksquad is a good b (1)

dieman (4814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618273)

Actually, they were somewhat highly regarded in the twin cities area until their post best buy implosion/sale.

Haven't you seen the commercials? (1)

Kyeo (577916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618044)

Jetpacks.

A classic mistake... (4, Funny)

cyranoVR (518628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618048)

They hired nerds, not geeks - stupid, stupid, stupid!

Clasic anti Nerd Propiganda (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618307)

Here is the heirarchy of social imptitude and intelligence Nerds,Geeks,Dweebs. In College. we refered to Physics/math majors as Nerds, Chemistry majors as Geeks, and Biology majors as dweebs. It was very true, in the physics dept, not a single one of us had a girlfriend. Chemistry majors dated occasionaly, and Biolgy majors were ... well lets just say they were well versed in human anatomy.

Outsourcing for many reasons (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618059)

I work for a first-line repair center analogous to GeekSquad.

We offer warranty support under our own brand and for several manufacturers. Some vendors let us obtain parts and do authorized warranty work. Others require us to ship the computers to them or to independent authorized repair centers. When we are the middle-man we still find a way to make money.

There are some problems we don't have the skill or equipment to repair on-site. When we can't do the job right we subcontract that work out to someone who can. Our customers expect quality results and that's what we deliver.

This should explain some of the reasons you get machines from Geek-Squad. As for the misdiagnosed computers you'll have to ask Geek-Squad about that.

Nothing competitive (2, Interesting)

TLouden (677335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618060)

They're kinda like buying milk for your restaurant from 7-11. You get no selection for an exceptionally high price. What the geeksquad does is advertise to the ignorant and rake in the unproductive profits. Note: I am a technical consultant who does everything geeksquad claims to do and much more for reasonable prices so this is just their competitions opinion. Seriously though, using them is like buying an iplod because you think it's the only portable media device in existance.

Depends on the area (5, Insightful)

Enigm0r (655410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618075)

I really depends on the store and it's staff. There are some that are filled with very bright and knowledgable people. Then there are some filled with idiots. I think it depends a lot on the IT industry in your area. If your area has a booming IT trade there are less of the smart, just out of college, but smart people to work a low rung job like Geek Squad. However, if you work in an IT deadzone, what you will find a lot of times in those Geek Squads is very talented *geeks* who are working there as their first IT job because there aren't that many opportunites for IT in their area. Just my 2 cents --Former GeekSquad'er

Re:Depends on the area (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618212)

However, if you work in an IT deadzone, what you will find a lot of times in those Geek Squads is very talented *geeks* who are working there as their first IT job because there aren't that many opportunites for IT in their area.

Relocate! If you can't find good work doing what you want (getting paid near minimum wage isn't "good work"), and you're not willing to do something else instead, then it's time to move. If you are such a smart and talented "geek", you should have no problem finding a job elsewhere.

Just my 2 cents --Former GeekSquad'er

You fail the apostrophe test [angryflower.com] .

I applied once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618094)

about 2 months before geek squad partnered with best buy when you actually needed to know what you were doing and they got the cool cars, I applied for a job with them and was told "We don't want you. You have no idea when it comes to anything technical, why don't you go and get a job at best buy like all the other posers out there"**.

I still get a smug sense of satisfaction when ever I see a best buy ad.

** I have an A+ and MSCE certifications a BS in CS, and have worked in various techfields my whole life

We love the geek squad! (5, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618095)

Really, we do. They bring us soooo much business it's funny.

We have determined that the Geek Squad geeks are people hired off the street the day before, and are instructed to look at the computer, and recommend that they buy a new computer. (from Best Buy, of course!)

Every attempt that we are aware of that they have actually tried to fix something, we see it a week later to fix what was wrong, and to fix what the geek broke while trying to fix it.

Some of the latest episodes:

- geek browsed customer's computer to a nasty web site and got it infected with spyware and viruses (two weeks ago)
- geek took laptop apart and failed to reconnect cardbus slot connector (that one was today)
- geek told customer he needed a new computer when he needed a new power supply (this happens somewhat frequently)
- geek told customer he needed a new computer because this one is slow, was actually rampant with spyware and viruses (happens all the time)
- geek sold customer another copy of XP because this one was showing it was no longer registerd

The list just goes on and on... funny thing too, we are quite expensive for on-site service compared to others in our area, (we're expensive, but we're good) but the Geek Squad actually is more expensive than we are. I don't see how they get any business, they must have a killer marketing campaign.

Re:We love the geek squad! (2, Funny)

patio11 (857072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618144)

geek browsed customer's computer to a nasty web site and got it infected with spyware and viruses (two weeks ago)

Yeah, suuuuuuure... "Oh, I have no idea how that porn site got into my history. I know I never visit porn sites, and my husband/son/dog are morally upstanding individuals... it must have been the Geek Squad!"

Re:We love the geek squad! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618266)

- geek told customer he needed a new computer when he needed a new power supply (this happens somewhat frequently)
- geek told customer he needed a new computer because this one is slow, was actually rampant with spyware and viruses (happens all the time)
- geek sold customer another copy of XP because this one was showing it was no longer registerd


And there you have Geek Squad's true purpose, to sell customers extra products and services.

What they repair (4, Funny)

tansey (238786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618100)

I think it's pretty obvious [geeksquad.com] they're here to repair our poor fashion sense! Remember, dressing like an extra from Revenge of the Nerds is the first step towards mastering your computer!

Well, Mr Smarty (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618118)

They ship things to you.

I've sent electronics out for "replacement" and gotten the exact same machine back, months later, with nothing fixed. I've sent machines out for "repair" and been returned the wrong machine.

My question, sir, is What do YOU do?

The whole PC service business is corrupt from Geek Squad and up. If I cant fix it myself, or RMA it for a brand new piece of equipment, it's junk. Even the masses have picked up on this. I claimed a PC on it's way to the trash a week ago, with nothing wrong except being clogged with malware. I've been told that it had been sent to both Best Buy and to the manufacturer, and that it couldn't be repaired.

So the story ends with me owning a fancy new (to me) 2.0ghz Celeron box, which makes a fine media server for the home.

Every "technician" is an idiot and a constant frustration for people who actually use and understand computers. They couldn't hack it in real computer science, so they fall back on their skills with "inserting PCI cards facing the right way" as their claim to geek status. This is true whether they "lead" or follow.

Re:Well, Mr Smarty (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618355)

I think it is hasty of you to suggest that the person that asked the original question is corrupt and stupid and cast everyone in the entire industry as such too.

Obligatory Office Space Reference (5, Funny)

poobread (826669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618125)

Geek Squad: Well, look, I already told you. I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to!! I have people skills!! I am good at dealing with people!!! Can't you understand that?!? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!!!!!!!

HOWTO GUIDE: Getting a Good Maintinence Technician (2, Informative)

Stalli0n (921471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618131)

Clearly state in proper English "Do you have an A+ certification from Comptia?"

If they answer "Yes"
Make them show it to you - if they won't, presume they don't have it and skip to below. Otherwise, congratulations, you've found a reputable maintinence tech.

If they answer "No"
    1. Walk away without saying anything more.
If they boisterously laughed or asked you what A+ certification is, pelt them in the abdomen with your right knee, then proceed to step one above.

Re:HOWTO GUIDE: Getting a Good Maintinence Technic (0, Flamebait)

windex82 (696915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618141)

You're a dumbass.

Re:HOWTO GUIDE: Getting a Good Maintinence Technic (1)

SenorChach (953550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618192)

I do agree, to a point... A+ is far too simple to get. I have had this since I was 16 (yes from CompTia+). It is sad that the good technicians out there, the ones that have a passion and a knack for computing, get a bad rap from customers who have been subjected to these no talent jokers. I have found out that the only way to get respect from the Human Resource department is to have vendor certifications. IBM Certified Tech, CCNA, and MCSE are good ones to get right now. Good luck on getting hired,

Re: A+ Cert != Practical Skill (2, Insightful)

JackStrife17 (982300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618275)

While it is true that any technician who doesn't know what the A+ cert is should probabally be laughed at, that does not mean that it is worth anything. Sure, it's all nice that I know that the little black thing in a floppy disk is called a mylar, but that has nothing to do with actually making a computer work.

The only way to really know what you're getting in a tech is to talk to his (or occastionally her) previous customers and find out:

1. Is he willing to be patient with explaining what he is doing before, during, and after the job?
2. Does he charge a fair price for his skill level?
3. Is he a nice person in general?
4. Does he actually know what he is doing?

Which gets me on another topic entirely. Even the most basic of newbies can do well in the support world if they are willing to treat their customers right. Back when I was a 7th grade hot shot who knew how to replace a stick of RAM in under 2 hours, people would still hire me, and even pay me more than my asking price because I fit categories 1,2, and 3, even if I still had to grown in number 4.

Re:HOWTO GUIDE: Getting a Good Maintinence Technic (1)

DarkestDream (848582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618297)

You dont really need to be A+ Certified, A+ Cerification is a worthless piece of paper prove that they good at it.

It's a risk management strategy (3, Insightful)

miller60 (554835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618137)

Skilled computer techs who will do residential site visits are hard to find, so instead people default to a choice that they believe will insulate them from the worst-case scenarios. Most non-geek users have trouble assessing whether or not a computer consultant is capable or will muck up their machine even worse. Rather than taking the risk that they'll hire some dimwit or crook, they go to Best Buy (or CompUSA) and pay extra for their service in the belief that this gives them options if the repair goes badly. The crooked consultant can disappear with their money before the "fixed" computer blows up. It's not that easy to move the Best Buy store, so the guy is likely to return and demand satisfaction.

What does PCMCIA stand for? (1)

JimXugle (921609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618147)

See Systm Episode 6: Maker Faire [revision3.com] .

Captcha = Attest
(lol)

In my experiences... (2, Interesting)

stigmato (843667) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618179)

They tell the customer it will take two weeks no matter what the problem, and charge them a (high) minimum fee. After that, the data is typically erased and Windows is reloaded using whatever recovery CD the system needs. Thats one thing I personally think is nice about Geek Squad, they seem to have access to every system recovery CD for all manufacturers and are able to install fully legal copies. Most customers of mine lose their CDs, or their HDD went back & lost the recovery partition. A lot of customers come to me simply because they can't wait two weeks or don't want their data lost.

DOH (1)

ezwip (974076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618181)

It's part of Best Buy's procedure of screening applicants online. By doing this they ensure the only people that they actually talk with are full of crap. Why? Because anyone with a real resume wouldn't be applying online at Best Buy in the first place... therefore ya get what ya get. Certified piece of...

I've worked the squad (5, Informative)

skam240 (789197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618184)

I worked in the Geek Squad at Best Buy for a little while back when they first took up the name. A few fun things I noticed while working there.

-In changing over from being a computer sales person to a tech, absolutely no form of test was administered to assess my proficiency before putting me to work formatting people's computers (I could have literally not known how to do this before being assigned to this job.)
-The only training that was administered to me upon transfer to the department was an abysmal program that failed to teach me the ins and outs of the database I would be using (and there were gaps in my knowledge about computer tech work that needed addressing at the time).
-Almost without exception the only thing done by Geek Squad members to computers which were brought in was a reformat and reinstall of the OS. If that didn't work the computer was almost always sent out of the store for weeks on end for repair.
-My boss spent over half of his time at work in various hiding places yakking on his cell phone. He was never held accountable for this.

Eventually my complete disgust with our lack of service, outright hatred of all levels of management and just general dislike of being forced to con people into buying things they don't need drove me to leave. I now work quite happily (at a dollar less an hour) at a locally owned supermarket while I finish me degree. Of every part time job I've ever had (high school included) this was by far the worst.

I could go on about all kinds of other things about Best Buy outside of the context of the Geek Squad but I'll stay on topic. Also, it should be noted that these are only my own experiences working in one store.

Re:I've worked the squad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618344)

I now work quite happily at a locally owned supermarket while I finish me degree.

I hope your degree isn't in English. :-) Maybe you are studying to be a pirate?

What Geek Squad actually does... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618196)

It was initially a good idea with good intent, but since it was purchased by Best Buy, it has become little more than their technical marketing arm. Competence aside, the "geek squad" image gives Best Buy a degree of legitimacy in the eyes of vulnerable customers. Even though it "generates revenue," that's about all it does.

Going by their name... (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618233)

...I'd guess that they post to Slashdot.

Re:Going by their name... (1)

tonyr1988 (962108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618269)

Yeah, but they get modded -1 and move on to Digg.....

They drive around in funky little (0, Troll)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618243)

german vokenvagons looking like desperate nail biting middle age out-of-work-for-a-year leftovers that were sold a bill of goods during the .com boom. What they do, not much but drive them VWs around and pick up machines, log them into their system, subcontract out to folks that are likely not more qualified but have a bench and diag tools. GeekSquad is front line support, basically the same as a service writer at a car dealership. They give a quick and easy diag, get the product out of the customers face and into some part swapping monkey in the back (or in some other part of the city/country) who will use 'years of experience' to fix the problem. 99% of the world doesn't even know what a device driver does, let alone how to install it or even care about the above. GeekSquad techs serve a purpose to the aging @home boomer set that doesn't want to spend retirement ratcheting a commodity to death.

The name "Geek Squad" (5, Interesting)

anotherone (132088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618255)

Does the name "Geek Squad" kind of offend anyone besides me, even just a little bit?

Re:The name "Geek Squad" (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618343)

Not as much as Niggerchinkkike Squad

If it were me (1)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618265)

I'd quote them a price to fix whatever they say needs fixing, then fix that. If they did a good job of troubleshooting it, they get a good deal and you get business. No problem. If that wasn't the cause, ask them if they'd like further troubleshooting for additional cost. Then ask if they want to pay you to really fix it. Otherwise, they should be agreeing to have you troubleshoot the system to begin with, then fix it. Of course, I haven't been in the retail business of PC repair for years so I don't know how the billing works nowadays but if they are being paid for troubleshooting it, you should trust their word or else be paid to troubleshoot it for them.

What Geek Squad does (3, Funny)

Megane (129182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618287)

They get to drive around in this way-cool VW Beetle with the words "Geek Squad" on the side. That's soooo l33t.

What Geek Squad is really up to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618294)

I'm a computer consultant myself, and every time I've had a client whose system had been looked at by Geek Squad, they had inevitably done nothing but bought a lot of shiny new Best Buy(TM) equipment. Like the woman whose computer-savvy husband had died, leaving her six computers in various states around the house, and she needed to get her ducks in a row. They bought her a powerful, expensive wireless router and the external USB bridges to get every computer connected to it.

Geek Squad is really just a front-end for Best Buy's sales division.

they bill (1)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618302)

They took my mother's money, reformatted and reinstalled her OS (losing all the family photos she'd been sent), and rendered her laptop unable to dial out. They said that there was nothing else they could do.

So, yeah, they're good for that.

DT

What do slashdot posters actually do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15618321)

I've heard that sometimes they have an issue with a vendor, so they'll make a post claiming that their service sucks and they don't know what they're doing online, and almost insultingly pretend it's a serious question they want help with. Can anyone help me understand why they do this?

God, I hate you.

This is in no way a defense of Geek Squad--I've never done business with them. But please. If you're going to try and flame someone in public, don't pretend it's something else. And, please--if you're a Slashdot editor, don't be stupid enough to post this.

I worked for BB (2, Interesting)

The Lost Supertone (754279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15618336)

Worked for best buy last year. And geek squad is essentially there to install SpySweeper, Norton, etc. Generally they're supposed to be A+ certified, but they tend to have a lot of computers come in. The guys in our store were generally pretty knowledgable. They tended to have to wipe a lot of HDs. That's essentially their job. I was kinda like the subsititue geek whenever Macs came in. It's stand back and tell them what to do because they recognized I knew far more than they did about them, but of course it was their job and I was a sales guy.
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