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500 Words – You've Just Lost My Business

I was in Best Buy when I overheard the following conversation at the Geek Squad counter:

Geek Squad: So, I understand you would like some data extracted from your hard-drive?
Man: Yes. What’s all involved with that?
Geek Squad: We have to pull out your hard-drive and remove the protective warranty sticker.
Man: So how much will that run me?
Geek Squad: Approximately seventy dollars.
Man: What? Seventy dollars just to pull out my hard-drive? That’s robbing me blind!
Geek Squad: Sir, if you do it yourself, you will void the warranty of your system. We are an authorized service repair shop, so if we do it, your warranty is still intact.
Man: That’s ridiculous. You’re charging me seventy dollars for something I can easily do myself.
Geek Squad: Sorry sir. That’s the price we are charging for the service. You get the satisfaction of having your warranty intact and having the service done by professionals.
Man: That’s not good business. In fact, that is just ridiculous. I can go elsewhere and have it done for much less.
Geek Squad: Sir, our prices are very competitive. In fact, you may find that we are cheaper than most places. And a lot of those repair places are not authorized, so you’ll pay them and have your warranty voided.
Man: I can’t believe you guys are unwilling to work with me.
Geek Squad: I’m sorry sir. That is what Geek Squad charges.
Man: Well, you’ve just lost my business.
The man and his woman leave Best Buy.

When I finally reached the counter, the two guys behind the Geek Squad counter were shaking their heads in disbelief. That is a classic scenario when the customer is not right. I will point out two examples of what the customer did wrong.

The Customer Assumed the Price Was Flexible

As with most businesses in the U.S., the price paid is told to the customer up front. The customer requested a service, and did not like the price he had to pay. A reasonable customer who opposed the price would’ve just cringed, bit his lip, and walked away. The two employees behind the counter had no control of what Geek Squad charged. Vocally making a grievance to the employees over price is like me getting pissed at an employee because Best Buy charged fifteen dollars for a certain CD. Employees don’t set the price in most businesses, especially Best Buy. Why oh why did the customer think he could talk down the price?

The Customer Assumed the Service Was Routine

In my experience, removing a hard-drive and extracting data is never routine. The hard-drive on a computer is the most sensitive component inside a computer. It is so sensitive that if a grain of sand interferes with the hard-drive, you will lose all of your data.

The service at Geek Squad was in place so that the customer didn’t lose his warranty. Now what if the customer decided to remove the hard-drive himself? What if something happened and the hard-drive was rendered useless? Now the customer has a broken hard-drive and no warranty in place to fix it. Something tells me this particular customer would still come in and rip on a Best Buy employee.


Customers like the one I described above need to be dragged out of the store, chained to the nearest “No Parking” sign, and given fifty lashes slapped with a wet noodle for being an ignoramus.

That’s my 500 Words.

Writer and software engineer Ronald Huereca has been a developer at notable agencies like iThemes and 10up. His varied background has him working with WordPress since 2006, eventually creating his own plugin which, of course, lead to more. He spends quite a bit of his time volunteering with the WordPress project as a core and polyglot contributor. With all of his passions, writing has been the way Ronald expresses himself best. He has written both technical books as well as fiction. Some of his works include Project Mayhem, Mindefusement, and WordPress and Ajax. “You can only delay the inevitable” is his favorite quote. Ronald enjoys reading Stephen King and John Grisham. When he’s not writing, Ronald dreams of building websites filled with cats yawning, disclaimers his strong opinions, sings karaoke, and advocates for empathy surrounding mental health.

6 thoughts on “500 Words – You've Just Lost My Business”

  1. Granted, the man overreacted. When I worked at Best Buy, a cleaning was a $50 charge, and there was a $50 charge if nothing was wrong with the unit (have to cover costs for shipping the unit around). Replacing the optical pickup in a DVD player cost (if I remember correctly) $100 for labor, plus the part. What the customer has to remember, he/she is paying for the tech's expertise. Sure, the person who owns the DVD player could replace the pickup, but how long would it take? And would he/she do it right? And it would void the warranty. So, even though the price is high, it is justifiable.

    On the other hand, overreacting to something is hardly a reason to whip someone. You in a bad mood when you wrote this, Ronalfy?


  2. I think the shop screwed up, not the man.

    Man: That’s ridiculous. You’re charging me seventy dollars for something I can easily do myself.

    That's when they should have said: "Fine – Well go on then!"

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