Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Buying Computers at Best Buy

Many customers of mine ask me for advice what computer to buy. Often I have to send them to a Best Buy store simply because BB sometimes has rock bottom priced offers that can't be beat anywhere. 

Best Buy has perfected several techniques of power selling. As every big company does they see to their own bottom line first and customers are an unavoidable means to that end.
Here is some advice derived from my own years of experience at Best Buy stores and from stories customers told me. The following is not said to blackmail Best Buy, it is an attempt to help you to protect yourself. 

Their sales people are excellently trained to push additional "stuff" on you that you don't need. 

They use FUD to confuse you, especially when they realize that you don't know much about computers and/or are insecure.

Go there well prepared, best with a printout of the first page of the description of the computer from their own web site. Say "I want to buy THIS computer and nothing else, absolutely nothing else!".
Do NOT accept any additional "offers".
  • You do NOT need any of the anti virus or security programs they offer.
  • You do NOT need a worthless extended warranty.
  • You do NOT want ANY extras.
  • Be stubborn, buy the computer ONLY.
  • If the sales person gets too obnoxious ask them what part of NO they don't understand.
As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

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Slow Computer? Boot Your bleeping Security Suite!

In the last three days I had three customers who were complaining about their slow computers. Customer number one had an older but fairly well equipped Windows XP machine with paid AVG, number two a Vista computer with Kaspersky Security Suite (paid) and number three was running Windows Vista Basic on a computer with limited main memory and Trend Micro Security Suite (paid).

In all three cases the machines were between four and six years old, that is just on the border where I begin to evaluate the worth of investing money into an aging computer versus buying a new computer.

In all three cases the customers choose to have me try removing the installed "security suites" and replace them with Microsoft Security Essentials before they made their choice between fix old or buy new.

Number one was a no brainer; original words of the customer: "Wow; that box NEVER before worked that fast!". He still is using Windows XP and he is a happy camper.

Number two was trickier because his machine had over time caught about 340 pieces of malicious software, among others two very nasty Rootkit viruses, a couple of Trojan horse programs and it was missing half a ton of updates. The clean up and updating took some time, I removed Kaspersky and installed Microsoft Security Essentials and guess what, the customer said he'd happily pay me, give the computer to his daughter in college and asked me to advise him what to replace his computer with!

Number three is so happy they gave me an excellent tip in the form of home made dill pickles, yummy! Thank you Fred and Judy! They will keep using their computer until they can afford a new one. And I got an additional job from them, thanks for that too.

Why do I tell these stories? Because that's the reality out in the field of home computing, not what I witnessed last (Black) Friday in a local Best Buy store where almost every customer who talked to the Best Buy sales people about a computer got pestered to buy one of  Kaspersky's security suites.

All these by now massively complex programs in my opinion are not worth the money compared to Microsoft Security Essentials.

MSE "speaks" only understandable English,
MSE is absolutely unobtrusive,
MSE does not slow down your computer,
MSE does not block your computer while it is scanning,
MSE updates in the background when the computer is otherwise idle and on top of all
MSE is free, free as in no money!

Sounds like a no brainer to me.

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

Click here for a categorized Table Of Contents.