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 Post subject: Geek Squad bashed in Information Weekly
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:59 am 
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I found this in my mailbox this morning, thought I'd share:


Dave Methvin, Information Week wrote:
My PC stays busy 24 hours a day, with various chores like backup happening during the middle of the night. That makes an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) a must-have accessory. When I experienced three short power outages in a single windy day, my old UPS didn't carry the load at all despite a recent battery change. Facing the prospect of more unexpected afternoon de-lights, I ran out to Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) during lunch to get a replacement.

When I glanced around the Best Buy computer section I didn't see any UPS units, but I figured the Geek behind the counter would know. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Where are the UPS units?
Geek: ...?
Me: You know, the uninterruptible power supplies?
Geek: Oh, I was thinking the delivery guys. OK, we carry two, a Big one and a Little one. Here's the Big one, it's ... (he looks at the box) ... 1285 VA.
Me: What kind of batteries does this model use?
Geek: Uh ... (reading the box) ... it says it uses sealed batteries ... I don't think you can change them.
Me: I think what they mean is that it uses sealed lead-acid batteries.
Geek: ...?
Me: Never mind, where did you say the other UPS is?

He motioned me over to a shelf that had some of the Little ones on display. The shelf tag for this model actually told me most of what I wanted to know. This 875VA model used two 12-volt sealed-lead-acid batteries, and the batteries can be replaced without powering down the equipment. That's a pretty convenient feature.

While I was pondering Big or Little, another blue-shirt walked by and volunteered help. I asked if she knew about UPSes; she pointed to the Counter-Ensconced Geek of the Big UPS. Since I'd already tried him, she left to find someone else. After a couple more minutes, a third blue-shirt came by and volunteered assistance, but he didn't know about UPS units, either, and he didn't know where his comrade had gone. This Best Buy had entered an Infinite Loop of Customer Service; all of the employees in the store were now in a futile search for employees more knowledgeable than themselves. I grabbed the Little UPS and headed to the checkout.

Buying this UPS was a pain, but using it is not. It has a great on-screen display that shows both the load and the current battery state of charge in a bar graph. A numeric readout can show either the current line voltage or the actual load in volt-amps. I checked its numbers against my trusty Kill-A-Watt meter and they were in close agreement. I wasn't that impressed with the run time, though; it said I would only get 10 minutes of run time with my 200VA load. Still, I could live with that.

What I could live without is the software bundled with this UPS. Like a lot of units, there's a USB connection so that the PC can monitor the UPS and decide whether to shut down before the battery drains down to nothing. In order to use this feature, you are expected to live with a big red X tray icon staring you in the face, all 24 hours of the day. I have to get around to editing that icon using a resource editor, because it's driving me crazy!

It turns out that Best Buy offers several other UPS choices. About a week later, I visited the same Best Buy and was wandering around the aisles. What do you know, in the very back of the store near the Geek Squad desk was a five-foot section of shelving with all sorts of UPS units from companies other than Best Buy. The associates in azure didn't seem to know about these. Why am I not surprised?




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Unfortunately, most people with a lot of computer experience are probably out doing real work (instead of just sitting behind a counter).
One thing I have noticed is that during down times(times when they aren't helping people), many people who work at the Computer Superstores aren't learning too much about new things, they seem to be 1)Jawjacking or 2)playing with their cell phones (they are pretty good with texting).

Maybe management at these types of places should have them learning more about the technology during down periods of the day. Learning what a UPS is from the real Geek squad folks who do work there. Might have helped Circuit City fight off Bankruptcy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:11 am 
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That's why most of the knowledgeable people on these forums wouldn't do well at Geek Squad or whatever service corporate America thinks the public needs.

If I got into a Geek Squad job as the n00bie, I would be fired in no time I would imagine. My supervisors better have two things or I get pissed off/frustrated quickly and start railing on them.

1. More experience than me so they can teach me something and answer my questions when I'm stuck.

2. A method by which to improve my knowledge of my job when I get bored/have downtime. If I'm bored and/or have nothing to do, then I get restless and get in trouble. Even at 39 years of age, this remains true. I will actively seek ways to improve my job performance, experience and knowledge. As my supervisor, YOU better be ready EVERY TIME I ask you, "Hey....I've done every thing that needs to be done. What can I do to get smarter/improve my performance?"

If I'm the supervisor, be ready to have your friggin slow time filled with things to do so that YOU aren't always having to bother ME to answer things your should ALREADY know from working hard on your OWN. :lol:

Lazy/stupid/self determined ignorant people piss me off. Which is 99.5% of the people who work in Geek Squad.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:44 am 
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Quakindude wrote:
Lazy/stupid/self determined ignorant people piss me off. Which is 99.5% of the people.


Fixed that last statement for ya, brother. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:14 pm 
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I think one of you guys that worked at one of these places mentioned that being technical was frowned upon, and you're pushed to sell more than be knowledgeable.

With these business closing doors (Circuit City) and competition from online vendors, you'd think they'd be pushing this education already. Most good companies already send their employees to job specific training, so I just think you could get some training once you've been there long enough.

But it's up to the employees as well. I'm not sure why someone that's not a tech type would want to work at BestBuy unless just to get a paycheck. Even the all mighty Fry's is full of employees hiding in the boring isles having coffee and laughing it up. They're just there to be there. You tell them to move and they get offended. "find another hiding place" didn't seem to go off any better either.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:23 pm 
Little Foot
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I think Circuit City primarily went out of business because they tried to expand rapidly into areas that were already pretty saturated with such stores. That never works well.

Sadly having helpful knowledgeable employees isn't very profitable for stores. They have to pay those people more, and they aren't likely to push goods the customer doesn't really need; extended warranties, overpriced 'premium' cables, cd scratch insurance etc etc.

Most customers aren't knowledgeable enough to know they're basically being ripped off. And those of us that are shop there anyways out of convince, despite being annoyed when they try to sell us crap we don't want or need.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:38 am 
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Chumly wrote:
I'm not sure why someone that's not a tech type would want to work at BestBuy unless just to get a paycheck.

Bingo! That's why many do work there. Or anywhere.

I remember reading about working in some European countries, Germany in particular. The example given was being a sales clerk in a stereo shop. These people don't just apply for a job as stereo sales clerks because they couldn't get a job selling cars or shoes. Pretty much any job over there requires formal training, education, and specialized apprenticeship so that you can answer any question that any potential customer puts to you, and you know your products and your field inside out. Of course, the customer pays more, but the customer actually gets knowledge and service in return.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:44 pm 
Boy in Black
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Then that would bring up the question as to why these companies hire folks that don't know what they're selling? Is it to just point at the stuff they want sold, or to make the customer happy? Can't they do both? I think they can...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:35 am 
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You know I have a feeling that places like best buy and circuit city hire not based on aptitude but how they do on the Unicru hiring survey's.

I imagine in these dark economic times there are plenty of people that would be willing to "suck it up" and work at places like that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:24 pm 
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I agree that some folks would take the job, but it's the company's side that strikes my curiosity. Even in good times, I just think you'd want people on your sales floor that's knowledgeable. In hard times, I'd also think they'd cut back and only keep the good employees...thin the herd if you will.

There's nothing at all wrong with working in retail, so don't think I'm bashing any employment on any level. I just think a person would have a slight amount of desire where they work. That's on the other side of my debate though and really doesn't matter to me. If I were hiring people to sell widgets, I'd really like them to know more about widgets than what shelf they're on. And in the case of the original story, they didn't even know that much.

When I was shopping for A/V equipment, BB's dudes pointed me away from all the stuff I ended up with. Told me I don't want a Plasma, H/K aren't good receivers, and that the Klipsch on the floor were what I wanted instead of just ordering the ones I wanted, and that one 12" is better than two 10"s. AVS forums pointed me in the right direction though and didn't spend a dime at BB. That's just due to their sales people, not their products.

I just feel companies should fill themselves with the best employees they can find. It's baffling to me that some don't.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:51 pm 
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Ok, we have to take a little bit of this in stride. WOuld I get fired for working for best buy, oh hell yeah.
Then again I work with ProLiant servers and such, yeah I got all the certificates, that pretty much mean dick, after a year the certificates are stale.
Do I read and keep up with it all the time, hell yeah, I have to.

Lets keep in mind, when you call my buisness over for some service, I charge about $100.00 per hour. And I am supposed to know my stuff.

When you go to best buy and ask questions, what the hell do you expect for an answer at minimum wage??? C'mon, think about it.

You can't expect someone who makes minimum wage to answer an obsecure question about a UPS. They are only there to sell the damn things.

Now if you called me, I'd be asking a some questions to get you a unit that fits your needs. I'd be asking, what do you have plugged in and needs to be on batteries and for how long. Any other devices that need to be on batteries as well. Then after that I'd ask how long you need the equipment up in the event of a power outage, do you need an email informing you of problems, etc.

See the difference here? So the the original posterm you should have already known what you were getting in to before you even went to the store. Of and btw did you get a decent unit, say like APC, MGE or some crap unit?

Sorry my 2 cents, don't expect the world from a teenager, we were all there once.
Johhn


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:21 pm 
Monkey Fed [PC]
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The point is, it's not the kids that are the problem. It's the company. They don't care enough to train their representatives (employees) properly. Hell, they can't even help their customers properly. There is no difference between what you do and what they do.

You help your customers find the best possible solution, and receive monetary payment for doing so. Best Buy's employees should do the same damn thing. They are getting PAID to make Best Buy's customers happy. Unhappy customers=no more business for Best Buy. Unhappy customers for you=no job. No difference. Merely the quantity of money in which you get paid.

Also, it has to do with the kids. They don't give a shit about what they are talking about. They are just there to earn a paycheck. Occasionally you do find someone there that really knows there stuff. Solution? Teach your employees, or screen them better before you hire them. Same thing goes for YOUR job. You either get taught or get tested before you're hired. I fail to see how your job is any different.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:18 pm 
Little Foot
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The kids don't care because the manager/company doesn't care. If they cared the kids would care or they wouldn't be working there. That simple.

The business doesn't care for several reasons, all of which come down to money.

1. Hiring knowledgeable people creates a demand on the job pool (oh knowledgeable people) The more demand there is the more they have to pay people. When you train people, that costs money and time, and it also creates a knowledgeable person. That person now has more demand in the job market than before they were trained. Meaning salaries have to remain competitive or they can work somewhere else. Nitwit kids are a dim a dozen, there is no demand for them and you don't have to offer a competitive salary. Their training consists of being told to push warranties, accessories and specific products.
2.How can they get away with this and not lose customers? Simple most people don't know jack about what they're buying. They wouldn't know good advice from bad advice so the businesses have no reason to pay the extra money to hire knowledgeable people. If the customers knew enough to know when they were being screwed things would be a lot different, they don't. I'd assume most of the people on the Maximum PC forums have much better technical knowledge than most people, this puts you in the minority and best buy isn't going to spend the money necessary to make their employee's helpful to you. Or put another way they want to find the minimum amount they can spend to reap the maximum amount of profit. Think of it in terms of diminishing returns.

Running a business isn't about running the most convenient, honest or knowledgeable business, its about running the most profitable. In some business environments those things matter a lot more, in others not so much. If all of Best Buy customers were MXPC readers they'd probably have to have a much more knowledgeable staff to stay in business, unfortunately for us, and fortunately for them, they aren't.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:25 pm 
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Ya know, you have a point there. If it weren't for places like that, there would be no need for us.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:27 am 
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John_551 wrote:
Of and btw did you get a decent unit, say like APC, MGE or some crap unit?


It was an article out of Information Week, not a post by a forum member.


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