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Computer Buying Experiences at B&M Stores 449

Posted by Zonk
from the hunting-red-shirts dept.
bob gnosh writes "The team over at [H] Consumer go into Best Buy, Fry's, CompUSA, and Circuit City and buy a computer at each store. They relate exactly what happened at each store, talk about warranties, and what to do to protect yourself or your friends when buying at these places." From the article: "Navigating these retail stores isn't for the faint of heart or those not armed with the right knowledge beforehand. As much as you'd like to go to your closest strip mall, have a salesperson discern your hardware needs, and walk out with a shiny new computer that does everything but load your dishwasher, such an experience is just not going to happen. Most retail sales people are simply not going to possess the necessary knowledge to correctly recommend or explain every nuance of a piece of hardware."
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Computer Buying Experiences at B&M Stores

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  • by alta (1263) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:57AM (#15196708) Homepage Journal
    As a geek, who sometimes doesn't have a life, one of my favorite pasttimes is to pull aside customers and explain to them the amount of bullsh*t that the salesperson just fed them. It's actually quite a lot of fun.

    My experience though is that best buy has a comparably small amount of BS. Circuit city certainly has more, but the worse is at the small mom-pop shops. These little places are TERRIBLE! They can't compete on price, so they stay in business by selling old hardware at inflated prices. They must hire used car salesmen to push 2 year old hardware. Buyer beware.
  • Not just computers (Score:5, Informative)

    by typical (886006) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:59AM (#15196746) Journal
    Most retail sales people are simply not going to possess the necessary knowledge to correctly recommend or explain every nuance of a piece of hardware.

    Yup, and this isn't just true of computers.

    Circuit City sells audio equipment, for example. How many salesmen there know the first thing about any of it? My experience has been zero.

    Try asking someone in a Wal-Mart a question about their bicycles.

    The replacement of speciality stores with larger, general-purpose stores has, in my opinion, vastly reduced the amount of domain knowledge that the salesmen offer. Of course, it costs more to have salesmen with domain knowledge, and general-purpose stores pass on much of those savings to you, so it's a tradeoff...
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:00AM (#15196750) Homepage
    I used to work at Staples during College. They didn't care how many computers, laptops, printers, etc. I sold ... all they cared about was warranties. Honest to gosh, and it really pissed me off, everytime a computer, laptop, or printer walked out of the store without a warranty, my on-floor manager would walk over and give me a lecture ... trying to tell me how to better pitch the warranty so that it wouldn't happen again. I even had one on-floor manager who told me I should never let a customer leave without a warranty ... tell them whatever it takes ... tell them the pc won't last, whatever ... just don't let them leave without that warranty.
  • by Manmademan (952354) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:01AM (#15196761)
    I can't speak for CompUSA (though it's unlikely) but Circuit City hasn't had comissioned employees since the first month of 2002, and Best Buy never has. There are minimum quotas everyone is expected to meet (otherwise, how can you tell if they're doing their job or not?) but you'll find that just about anywhere.
  • Printable Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonoid (863970) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:03AM (#15196791)
    The "printable" link, text is all in one page and no ads:

    http://consumer.hardocp.com/articleprint.html?art= MTAzOQ== [hardocp.com]

    On another note, I used to work at Best Buy. I really needed a job at the time and couldn't find work anywhere else. I certainly know my stuff about computer hardware and software, so did a few other employees. One was even a computer science major fresh out of university just waiting for a real job opportunity to come by. Of course, a few employees knew absolutely nothing. So it's sort of a mixed bag, you could get lucky and find an honest and knowledgeable salesperson or you could get someone who knows nothing about computers and just wants to sell you an extended warranty.

    On that note, stores are given a quota of extended warranty sales per day (usually they want 10% of profits to be extended warranty. Extended warranties are a major cash cow for these stores. Thus, employees (especially computer and home theatre) are told to promote the extended warranty and go through the checklist of it's features to EVERY customer, even if they flat out refuse upon first mention. So try not to go /too/ hard on the employee who mentions it to you, their job is on the line.

    My recommendation: buy online, avoid the sales pitch, do the research yourself.
  • by Entropy248 (588290) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:05AM (#15196811) Journal
    Ha! I love it! I work at a major store as a big-shot manager type, and I found this article interesting for a number of reasons. What the article describes is a very common problem. The people who truly know about these computers are not working in retail. So, you try to hire people who sound like they know what they're doing and sometimes train them on the rest. The stores with the best trained staff consistantly outperform poorly trained stores. A lack of training often implies a cost leader strategy by the company, and cost leaders rarely outperform quality leaders' profit margins. However, cost leaders can make more profit by volume. Best Buy, in particular, has isolated those who truly understand computers and created a "Geek Squad" that does not spend much time on the sales floor. They want the knowledgable staff to work on the higher margin tech support tasks rather than the low margin sales track. Geeks tend to be better geeks than salespeople.

    P.S. Commissioned sales staff tend to make a LOT more money than non-commission. Personal shoppers often work on commission, and their higher payrate gives them more weight to fight for you (the customer) when going through beauracracy or other paperwork functions.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:08AM (#15196834)
    Do people actually think that they will get great service and knowledgeable reps when buying a PC from a chain where they hire people at $5.00 an hour?

    Come on now!
  • by Creamsickle (792801) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:08AM (#15196835)
    Points in the article about reps giving out wrong information (whether it be through ignorance or malice) are all too true. I bought a Toshiba laptop at Best Buy a couple of months ago. Of course, when talking to the salesperson about purchasing it, they gave me a sheet of paper to sign up for all kinds of extra services.

    One service they (there ended up being like 3 reps talking to me about it all at once) tried to push was this one where I could get as many battery replacements as I needed for I think it was the next 2 years. I was interested until they said it was like $300 extra, but at that point they really wanted to sell me that thing. I decided to check their knowledge/honesty. Having done my homework and being armed with the knowledge that battery prices for that model were $100 - $150, I asked the salesperson how much a battery would run me.

    "Oh wow for those Toshibas those things are expensive. Gosh I think they're about $300 bucks or so, I personally recommend this one since its such a good deal".

    I politely declined the offer, bought the laptop (hey it was a great deal), and haven't walked back into Best Buy since.
  • Re:My issue with it (Score:3, Informative)

    by Secrity (742221) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:12AM (#15196883)
    Hint: if your kid isn't well behaved or routinely cries in stores; leave him at home. On a busy weekend, the last person that a salesperson is going to offer to help is the guy holding a crying brat.
  • Re:Office Depot Fun (Score:3, Informative)

    by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:14AM (#15196909) Journal
    My experience with Best Buy is much better. I had a sales lady telling me that the cheaper computers couldn't be upgraded, because the CPUs were SOLDERED to the motherboard. No joke.

    I told the Best Buy tech guys up-front that little story, and they laughed their asses off.

    It's sometimes funny just how fragmented and demented a single company can be.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:18AM (#15196949) Homepage
    The flip-side to this is that it tends to create an opening for a service-only business. After it became impossible to build computers for a profit, I found a niche recommending Dells and helping small businesses setup their computer, network it, and maintain software.

    There is definitely a market for smart helpful people, but I find that most people smart enough to help don't have the patience or interest in doing it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:21AM (#15196986)
    Circuit City is the same way (at least it was when I left in 2000). Sure, you were expected to sell what would meet their present and possible future needs (upsell, in other words), but if someone didn't want a product we would show them something else.

    Not so with "Extended Service Protection" (can you get any cheesier with the acronyms?). You were supposed to present it, recommend it, and keep doing so until the person told you flat out three times they didn't want it. This irritated me more than anything, because I was put into a position where I had to do something I would *hate* being done to me (if a salesman doesn't pay attention to my first "no," I leave).

    I think I've been back to the store twice in the past six years, simply because of the annoyance factor -- which is kind of a shame, because I had a lot of good friends there (all since gone, of course).
  • by Slovenian6474 (964968) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:47AM (#15197232) Homepage
    I currently work at one of these stores (Best Buy). I started out in the computer dept and have been moved to the Geek Squad and am currently working with cameras. I have to comment on what i've seen from my store. First off a little background, i am a pretty geeky person so i do a decent amount of technical info and have a hobby of keeping up on it. So i do not fit the general image of a sales person depicted. When hired, they didn't really want to hire me as much as some other people since i had no sales experience. My technical knowledge was not what they were looking for as much as sales experience. Thanks to a friend's reccommendation i did get hired. Best Buy generally hires salesmen and looks for technical knowledge second. I was shown that when i was hired and also have seen that when other people were hired.

    Secondly they move people around the store regardless of their knowledge. I wanted to go to the Geek Squad because i did know my way around the inside of a computer and the software. Again, many of the people hired up there didn't know to much. Some were meant only to run half automated "diagnostic" programs and install software. Only a few of us back there actually could fix a computer.

    Due to little hours, i was "forced" to go work in a different dept. I was put in Digital Imaging. This was not one of my more knowledgable area. The only reason i was there was to pay my bills. Thanks to a sparked interest in the area and lots of external research, i do know a lot more than most of the other employees in that area.

    Best Buy does not offer adequate training to its employees. The training provided is in the form of a online articles and quizzes. Although these are mandatory, they are easily skipped through. Also the articles for computer and cameras are generally outdated to the current hardware on the shelf. This is the only form of technical knowledge training given.

    Another thing to consider is that the majority of people coming in to buy a computer have little or no technical knowledge. When asked a question such as "what is hyperthreading?" Most, including myself, resort to a very simple non-technical answer as to not confuse the customer. This is adequate for 90% of the customers. The other 10% first see you as someone without a large amount of computer knowledge. When i can identify the person with a higher knowledge of computers, i tend to use more technical terms and more indepth explainations. Also i do understand that the majority of people at best buy do not have the knowledge for more technical terms and explainations.

    As a college student, this is only a job to pay the bills. Most knowledgable people in my store are the same way. The ones that actually know what they're talking about don't usually stick around that long. Just enough to get through school or land a good internship/co-op. All of these reasons would contribute to why many sales associates don't have much computer know-how.

  • by gerardrj (207690) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:49AM (#15197259) Journal
    It's not "retail stores" that are the problem, its the "big box" stores that cause these impressions.

    You have a choice when you shop:

    Big box: large selection, lower price, low service
    local store: smaller selection (in stock), higher price, excellent service

    A local retailer that only has a few stores tends to hire much more knowledgeable people. Granted, you're going to pay a bit more for the products, but that's what it costs to hire people who love what they do. The in-store selection will be smaller but chances are the local retailer can custom order almost any item you desire from their distributors if you are willing to wait a few days to a week or two.

    I emplore you, though, do NOT pick the brain of your local retailer's expert for 2 hours only to turn around and purchase the item on the internet or at a big box store. You've now wasted the person's time and effectively stolen consulting services from them. Again... it costs more money to hire people who know what they are talking about. The smaller stores are not trying to rob or over charge you, they just don't do the volume to get discounts from the distributors.

    BTW: It's not the large retailers, like Walmart, that put small stores out of business; it's the people who decide that low cost and mediocre service are more important than intelligent sales help.

    What gets my gall is when people purchase from a big box but expect me, in my local shop, to provide free technical support to them. Many people get quite pissy when I tell them this is why my price is higher, I actually know what I'm taking about and can actually help (in most cases).
  • What do you expect? (Score:3, Informative)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:58AM (#15197342)
    Does anyone expect a commissioned salesperson to provide unbiased advice?

    I put myself through college working at CompUSA by peddling 5 year warranties on PCs and laptops. I would concentrate on the three best PCs and 2 best laptops that were in stock and sell only those machines. Typically I'd sell the warranty before the people even saw the computer. I never really had to lie, people are wary of computers and would rarely balk at the warranty unless the salesman is an idiot. (Which most salesmen are)

    Was I selling the best possible product? Sometimes... the best PCs at the time were custom-configured machines from places like Dell. But I mostly sold Toshiba laptops which were top-notch. Even that wasn't really all that important... my job was to sell my employer's inventory.
  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:01AM (#15197372) Homepage
    I applaud the amount of effort the author(s) put into this research. I especially found their summary of warrantees a useful bullet.

    However, I think they approached this as if they were grading the marketing propaganda. What I mean is this: they zeroed in on specifics, marketing specifics: 64 vs 32 bit, Vista, video cards for games, memory upgrades. Asking these sorts of questions is testing to see how well the salespeople know the marketing icons, and if they are gamers.

    This is useless: no human being can explain how this marketing BS translates to real-world usage to a newbie in a 30 minute sales session, and no non-newbie is going to ask these questions.

    I worked in retail for about a decade and went to many sales conferences. One thing I learned is: it's all about price point. Everyone has a threshold they are willing to spend, and the sales/marketing force tries to push them as high as possible. In my experience in bicycle retail, ~80% of the customers would be more than satisfied with anything at their price point. Pushing them to the next price point serves no one but the salesperson (my commission!).

    In my recent experience recommending a computer to a seriously NON TECHIE people, I've found the same is true. Most of these folk were ready to fork over up to $1,000 (thinking there were no machines $1000). I've recommended this approach for 7 or 8 people, two were relatives. Basically, pick the best warantee and buy the machine at your price point.

    100% were happy (3/4 bought a DELLs, 1/4 bought an candy-colored iMac ;-). Yes, this is very anecdotal, but I tell this story to illustrate that nitpicking the salesforce at a B&M store is useless. In fact, unless you go to a specialty store, ANY GENERIC RETAIL SALESFORCE IS CLUELESS! This holds for kitchen appliances (Target), or power tools (Home Depot), bicycles, televisions, etc. I re-realized this when I was shopping for a table saw: The Home Depot doesn't know shit, they sell volume; but the Contracter Tool Supply store spent two hours with two staff members teaching me everything, in explicit detail.

    If you really want to be educated, go to a store that specializes in only what you want to buy. Don't rely on generic high-volume retail malls to give you any real information.

    I think that is the real conclusion of this B&M research.

  • by Flakeloaf (321975) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:06AM (#15197418) Homepage
    Gee, could that be because Best Buy is not a computer store, perhaps?

    If you want to buy a computer, go to a real computer store. We've all seen them, with the tiny shop space, store room in the back, fat white guy / skinny Chinese guy behind the counter, a few motherboards under glass and a price list printed out on a sheet of letter paper stuck to the counter with old tape. "We don't advertise" mumbles the sales guy, something about word of mouth being his best sales pitch, and from the looks of the greasy hordes in line behind you it seems to be working.

    If you want a job done right, go to someone who does only that job, all day, every day. That someone would not be Circuit City guy, unless the job you want done somehow involves MONSTAR CABEL.
  • by fossa (212602) <pat7@nOSPAm.gmx.net> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:14AM (#15197497) Journal

    Mindless link propagation: various composite and s-video cables [videohelp.com].

  • Re:My issue with it (Score:2, Informative)

    by pete6677 (681676) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:23AM (#15197574)
    Children do not want to be bored for an hour while you try to buy a computer, thus they will throw a fit. Nothing will change this. Don't buy a computer until you find something to do with your kids. Damn, must people take little kids EVERYWHERE nowadays?
  • by bnenning (58349) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:35AM (#15197692)
    If you go and buy a laptop, best to spring for the little bit extra for the warranty.

    I disagree. Yes, laptops fail more often, but the warranties are more expensive. The manufacturer knows the expected failure rates, and prices the warranty to make a profit. Therefore, on average you lose. One thing to remember is that if you buy a laptop for $2000 and it dies 2 years later, you haven't lost $2000, you've only lost its replacement cost which at that point is much less. It only makes sense to buy an extended warranty if you have unusual usage patterns that you know will result in a significantly higher than normal chance of failure.
  • Re:re (Score:4, Informative)

    by Deanasc (201050) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:37AM (#15197710) Homepage Journal
    There's a far cry between 5% comission on a $400,000 house and what the agent actually takes home. Half will go to the agency. There are few agents who still get both ends of the sale today. Most agents now represent a buyer or a seller but rarely both. Commission will be split evenly between buyers and sellers agent. So now the agent actually gets 1.25% of the sale or about $5000 out of which they deduct health insurance, SEP/IRA, license fees, membership dues, TAXES, gasoline, office supplies, dry cleaning, cellphone and in some cases, rent on their desk and phone at the agency. That's why there is a high turnover, 80% of all agents quit in their first year. Those who don't are still working another job for at least 5 years or have another income in the family. Smart folks may be attracted to a quarter of the $20,000 commission but the competition in the market place is such that many only sell 3 or less properties in a year. The few at the top who do well have been in the market place long enough to gain repeat business or very favorable word of mouth and other press. For the stress and irregular hours many would actually do better at $8 an hour wearing a blue shirt.
  • Re:One thing... (Score:4, Informative)

    by jp10558 (748604) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:42AM (#15197756)
    I work at Best Buy in the Geek Squad, and as far as I can tell, most machines we get when we open the box (for a functionality check) don't have install media. They either have a restore partition, or bug you on first startup to make DVDs. I've always thought that when I'm testing it out (I can't do the media burn unless the customer pays for that), and I click "not right now", it would ask again, and AFAIK, thats SOP - and we may be wrong on that...

    If they just don't have media, they come sealed in the box without it - we aren't taking it out at my store.

    I'm guessing what is happening is a combination of manufactuers *not* sending reinstall media, and customers either

    a) not making it at startup for whatever reason - they don't understand, don't care, or we said ask later and the program never asks later (got to check on that one)
    b) no option to make disks, manufacturer only provides partition (really bad if the HD goes, but I've seen this setup on some machines we sell).

    The Geek Squad doesn't charge "more" (per SOP and where I work) if you don't have install discs, we just insist that you have legal install media - we don't care where/how you get them. Our fee to install an OS is the same in any situation.

    The other confusion may be our modular fee structure (or maybe confusing). We bill per service, but it may be badly broken up, IDK.

    There is the HD cost if you are doing COD. Then there is our install fee for the HD - $39 for a desktop, $59 for a laptop IIRC. Finally, it's $59 to install an OS, but again, *you* MUST provide legal install media. We can sell you a boxed XP copy first if need be.

    If you have a PSP, the whole thing is covered under that, except you still have to provide legal install media. Due to what I think is beuracratic issues (could be legal, contractual, or just coporate is lazy) we cannot obtain restore discs from the manufacturers for you, the customer has to do that. Some manufacturers charge for restore discs, I've seen quotes from $20-$90 so that may also be the issue, but that clearly IS NOT going to Best Buy.

    What we CAN NOT do is pull a CD from the back, slap in your install code and go to town, Activation, and probably legal issues make this a non-starter. This is a PITA all around, and I wish it wasn't so, but those are the rules.
  • Geek Squad (Score:2, Informative)

    by miller701 (525024) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:48AM (#15197812)
    Geek Squad was an outfit in the Twin Cities, which is also where Best Buy is HQ'd. They weren't "created" buy Best Buy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:50AM (#15197829)
    like alot of posters, i worked in an electronics store when i was at school. It wasn't so long ago maybe from 94 through to 99. The store was part of a national chain of electronics stores named after an Aussie icon. This store sold everything from resistors to televisions, so at a minimum the sales people knew how to find the right little plastic thing when asked for a particular mosfet, and which cable went from the printer to the PC.

    When i first started I thought they didn't really give much of a toss about the product knownledge of their sales team, but what did i know i was just kid right? There were semi-regular sales meetings where we learn about new stuff and how to sell it. Reps from the bigger brands would visit and supply training and pizza for all. We were supplied with memos / bulletins / sales briefs / data sheets / channel magazines and encouraged (and sometimes forced) to read them. Probably two of us part timers were streets ahead with computer knowledge (we were both CS students), and actually did PC installs, and even customer training on weekends. Despite commision based wages, the most successful full time sales people actually knew what they were talking about. The store was always busy, the figures were always good (often very good), the customers were mostly happy.

    Then one day in last year of my employ there, I was a full timer myself by that point, some suit from the mothership office came to visit for training and we were presented with 'the extended warranty'. In a fairly short period of time the entire face of the operation changed. Product training sessions became 'loss reduction' sessions or 'how to add on' sessions. memos / bulletins / sales briefs refered less to Mhz and ohms and more about 'operational profit'. 'old timer' employees were discouraged from promotion (not sure if this was dileribate, or just that they didn't like them - but they were all loyal employees many with good leadership skills and knew the their stuff). lots of newb kids were hired as the oldies got sick of working there and moved on. When a rep visited, they'd put up some posters give us some glossy brochures and leave - no pizza - no t-shirts. We were told that the descrete component range was slowly being phased out and the cheap-ass television range was slowly being expanded. You know what: a few more unhappy customers but more profit through lower overheads and a sales team focused on puting as much through the till as possible as quickly as possible.

    So one day, it all finally got to me, and i got off my lazy butt and took a job in completely different realm (at a considerably lower salary initially) and went on my merry way.

    Now from the outside: everytime i went in there i saw different newbs. They frequently had no idea what i was asking for, usually looked pitty disinterested (would you like fries with that) and occasionally they were even rude. A friend of mine who stayed there a lot longer spoke of horror stories like the sales people being put on 'extended warranty quotas', the commission system gone altogether and replaced with 'bonus' for things like contracting mobiles phones or extending more than certain number of warranties.

    But you know something, thats not the reason i dont shop there anymore. Nope I don't shop there because from about 10am to 4pm the place is fucking packed, the lines are huge, the sales people are flat out just trying to take peoples cash and bag up their purchases. No one would blame them for not spending any time to explain the differences between various models of cordless phone or ink jet printer. If you asked, you'd be issued a 60$ 'hires colour inkjet', a spare cartridge, some paper and it would be bagged and on your Visa before you could say, 'wtf is DPI anyway'. And when the piece of crap printer dies on your second set of clip-art laden address labels, you wouldnt really mind because you've got that extended warranty after all.

    I dont think this change in retailing came from 'what the consumer wanted', it came from what shareholders wanted... It just turns out the average consumer can be fooled into being satisifed.

  • Re:Office Depot Fun (Score:3, Informative)

    by freeweed (309734) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:00PM (#15197922)
    Joke's on you. As others have mentioned, quite a lot of cheaper PCs used to be sold with the CPU soldered to the motherboard. e-Machines, PC Chips, and several other manufacturers have done this. Some to reduce cost, some to intentionally prevent upgrading.

    Of course, seeing as hardly anyone ever upgrades a CPU (hell, most geeks don't even bother), it's a moot point anyway.

  • Re:re (Score:1, Informative)

    by snoopyowns (963875) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:29PM (#15198214)
    Geez, even a few years back, most any waiter in a restaurant could explain a dish on the menu or special..of late, I've asked about a special, and they didn't have a fucking clue....had to go back and ask every time. This was not a new trainee either from what I could tell...just lazy. I'm a generous tipper...very generous, but, shit like that really does hurt what I give.
    I knew a girl that worked at an Olive Garden, and she wasn't even the waitress, but only the seater. They would give free meals to their employees whenever they want so they can try out dishes and learn them, especially when a new dish comes out. I'm not sure if that is still the case since it's been 3 years, and considering every business has cut down on training to increase their profit margin.
  • Re:One thing... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jp10558 (748604) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:25PM (#15202242)
    Don't know how long you've been working there, but from the post, you have *no* business calling yourself a geek! Working on customer machines when you don't know what the hell is going on in your own shop??

    As a part time employee at the retail level, I am not privy to coporate legal affairs, their contracts, or the specifics of said contracts.

    I also have no specific idea how customers are ending up with machines without restore CDs. I can, however, list what I believe to be the likely senarios - far more likely than the idea that every other member of the Geek Squad just waits for me to leave, and then goes madly removing CDs from sealed boxes...

    I've never been allowed to take out a machine just for testing at Best Buy to see what might happen over a week or so to see if a reminder pop's up. No one has mentioned any issues, and the last OEM PC I bought was 2 years ago, and came with restore CDs.

    I don't know where you work, but I get paid to follow procedure and create revenue for Best Buy. Not to question every procedure, or try and get manuals on corporate policys and intercompany contracts.

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