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Buying A Laptop from Best Buy, or The Second Circle of Hell

My wife recently got a new job with an insurance company and will no longer be able to get by using my desktop for work, as her job will have her visiting clients (and trying to work during my gaming time). So, we decided to get her a new laptop.

Her requirements were fairly modest: she’d need to use Microsoft Office, stream video from the web, etc. Basically, a modern mobile processor, a fair amount of RAM, and an integrated video card would suffice. I looked around for specials from the usual suspects and then turned to weekly ads from the brick-and-mortar retailers in the area.

I ran across an add for an ASUS computer that I though fit the bill and it was even burgundy, which my wife thought was neat. It was one of the few laptops that had 4GB of RAM and was still upgradable [8GB max]. So, we loaded up into the car and drove on down to Best Buy.

After telling the sales person that no, I did not need his “expert” assistance in choosing a laptop, I found the model on the floor fairly quickly. That’s when I noticed something interesting: Best Buy stores its laptops on a shelf just under the display model and all of them have been opened by Best Buy and–more than likely–loaded with bloatware and tons of other crap that I/my wife will never need/want/tolerate.

I asked the salesperson if they had any boxes in the back that hadn’t been opened (to which he responded in saying they hadn’t been, forcing me to show him both the broken tamper-proof tape and the giant sticker on the side noting that the laptop had been “set up by the Geek Squad”). After trying to convince me that I wanted one that had been “tainted” (my word, not his), he finally admitted that all of the one’s in this store were like that. To his credit, he did check the stock in other local stores to see if they had some without asking.

We drove to the Tustin store and found that the exact model we were looking for was not on display. After standing in front of the ASUS machines fro 10 minutes or so, the rather busy salesperson came over and asked if we needed help. After giving him the SKU and model number, I was able to explain that I wanted a factory-sealed box and he ran off to the back to try and find one.

A few minutes later he returned, a factory-sealed box in his hands. He still tried his Best Buy overselling on me, but quickly caught on that I was having none of it and was actually quite agreeable from then on. He explained that I’d have to sign a paper declining all of the extra setups, Geek Squad service plans and warranties, which I didn’t want. He still had to give me an anti-virus disc (Kaspersky, I believe) and a Geek Squad FAQ disc. They make nice coasters.

Other than the initial wait inside the second store, we were in and out fairly quickly. While I still agree with xkcd that there should be a code word for professional techs that gets you past the defaults, I was lucky enough to get a salesperson that figured it out fairly quickly.

Published inFamilyHardware