Friday, December 3, 2010

Fear 'The Geek Squad', or just don't use them.

Hello again,
Well we were in town (Dallas area) for Thanksgiving (actually it was the week before Thanksgiving) and I heard two more tales of how The Geek Squad screwed people. As you may know I came from the IT industry and in the past have worked for support companies that do computer work, installs etc. During these days it was not uncommon to hear that we were taking an account over from the geeks to fix all the issues they caused. I thought those days were over. Apparently not as long as anyone who knows me keeps using them.

Now for the two new examples of why not to take 'yo sh*t' to Best Buy's cadre of fools. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Story 1: A home install. So you get a nice big LCD TV and they offer to install it. When they are through however you have two large bolts sticking through the wall. Yes they used huge bolts to attach the TV on the wall in one room, and the ends of the bolts showed in another...yeah I know. I mean really not to be snobby cuz 'm building a freaking house but cmon! This is someone's home and they came in and F'd it up. Good job boys.

Story 2: I was handed a laptop that they had 'worked on'. The idea was to backup and transfer stuff from the old laptop to a new one that had been purchased there. Ok look, as a sidebar to this story, go online and make sure to check out all the deals before you go to BB and spend your cash. You will find better deals and avoid the rest of this story.

So, as I'm filled into the background of why I am holding a dead laptop I am told that they did a backup, but files are missing. They transferred iTunes, but music is missing, and now the laptop is dead. Awesome. But you know that is par for them as they employ peeps I would not hire in any IT setting, which is why they work there cuz BB isn't that choosy.

So then I am told that they 'attempted' to bring it back to life but could not over the course of weeks or something. I bet you are thinking so why doesn't someone get angry and force them to fix it...well the rub is that when you turn your stuff over to them you sign a form, a contract as it is called, that says if they f@ck yo sh*t up you said it was ok to do so. So the end of the geek squad part of the story is when they offered to take more money in order to attempt another fixing. Are you pissed yet? I was and it wasn't even my laptop. It is amazing how peeps can keep their jobs and do their jobs so poorly. Isn't it or is it just me? I also heard the manager was involved who also did nothing but offer to take more money. Are you listening yet?

ANYWAY. We make the long sojourn home and I take a look at it. It's BSOD'g (meaning when it comes on it shows the Blue Screen Of Death and then reboots over and over which is never good). I did manage to catch what the error was saying and did a little research to confirm what I thought. More than likely when it ran out of battery power and they closed the lid it scrambled XP's ability to boot correctly, thinking it was already booted therefore it wouldn't start again. Kinda like when you turn the key in your car when it is already on and it goes SKKKKKRRT grinding the starter saying "Umm I'm already on, you can't do that now."

Continuing my research I came upon a command that I haven't used in a coon's age (maybe longer) that checks the disk and repairs errors it finds. It's an archaic command used in the DOS days when checking drives having issues (the crowd says, "What's DOS?") For your records it was the CHKDSK /R command. ie "I told it to check the disk and find any errors, and then repair them." And whalla don't you know after about 2 hours it came back saying it found errors and corrected them. Uh, yup that's what I said to do (isn't it amazing how computers will do what you tell them to do, unlike many people you run across in life.) After a reboot an amazing thing happened- XP fired up and the laptop is happy again, all data is there, iTunes is there en mass and all is well.

You might be saying wow, that seemed easy, why didn't they just do that? And you know all I can logically deduce is they have no idea how to deal with anything. Yeah, I said anything. When I used to teach A+, which is a computer certification class that teaches you about hardware and operating systems, I could almost pick out the people that would go on to being 'geeks'. They didn't get it and never would, but in this twisted reality in which we exist there are jobs for those types out there, at Best Buy. Caveat Emptor my darlings.

The morals of these stories is to never allow them into your apartment, home, laptop, or life. Period. They don't have any useful knowledge or skills and the worst part is they could not care less about your stuff. Why on this earth would you give them money? So stop. Even if you have been lucky and they didn't screw you royally at some point they will, they always do.

I have a myriad of these kinds of stories going back a decade. Please, I beg you, if you know me and I am your 'in family' IT guy call me first before you do anything with your PC. If nothing else to give me the chance to talk sense into you on your way to BB.

Oh and a final chastising. Backing up your important "I can't live without this picture" stuff is not a myth. Do it, and do it often, or else. You have been warned. For even I with all my mage-like magical powers of PC fixery, I cannot pull files from a dead PC. In most cases dead is dead. Jesus saves, and so should you.

Ta ta for now, I have a house to build.
Thanks for stopping by,
Jimily

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