It really irks me when people say things along the lines of:
The technicians are barely out of high school! How could they know what they’re doing?
I’m sorry, you brought your computer to us why? Could it be because you don’t know what you’re doing?
Shock horror, we (the present 18-24 demographic) grew up with this technology.
Ageism is a two-way street, y’know.
That all aside, I’ve heard far too many people articulate the double standard that goes something like this:
I don’t know anything about computers / phones / technology.
I don’t trust teenagers / college kids / young(er) people with my expensive stuff!
Like the person who said, verbatim, “I want to buy an iPad. I’m kind of in kindergarten when it comes to technology, though.” You don’t need an iPad. I can tell you that right now. What you need is responsible spending habits, and buying something you already know you cannot use is not at all responsible.
For the record, this customer then asked about our training sessions (which are expensive,) and it turns out she also fancies herself a fast learner. Hope that’s working out for her. To be fair, she had a PhD and I’m a dropout – but sssh!
You don’t go to Geek Squad, a company that uses the phrase “computer experts” liberally in their customer-facing literature, say you don’t know technology well, and then argue with our diagnoses.
Really? It’s not like we’re car mechanics who’re going to set it up such that it’ll break again and you’re forced to come back. In addition to being conniving and sneaky, tampering with a client’s computer or any internet-connected device (or any device that could contain personal information) breaks about twenty laws, probably more.
So if, as people say, we’re “just kids,” one would sincerely hope we’d have some degree of respect for authority and privacy, especially considering that we’re the most vocal demographic against things like “copyright laws” and government regulation of the internet.
Plus, if you actually have really really sensitive information on your hard drive that you absolutely need, and the hard drive (or the operating system or other files on it) isn’t / aren’t the problem…remove it! We can do that, you know. Sure, it’s $10 for us to do it for you, usually, but it’s nowhere in our policy that we have to offer you data backup (starting at $150) and if you decline, well, your hard drive is now officially nobody’s responsibility whatsoever. That doesn’t make any sense.
I do still tinker with computer repair business locally, I admit. In keeping with policy, I do not advertise or otherwise promote it in any way. “NullCoding Computer Services” is no more.
But it’s really NOT taking away any of our business, potential or otherwise, for me to offer various off-site computer repair services to people who, in fact, did not purchase their computer at Best Buy and/or do not have any kind of Geek Squad-issued warranty or support plan. Especially when those people don’t actually live within reasonable distance of a Best Buy in the first place. And when I offer services that we don’t actually do in-store anyway.
Fact: The average cost of sending a laptop to service under our standard protection plan is $85,25. Note that I said sending a laptop to service, not “repairing it.” That $85 is the average shipping charge! Granted, that’s UPS™ Next-Day Air™ to Kentucky, but still. Oh also, they ship it back to us (or to the client, which is a lot cheaper actually).What happens...?
Officially, the computer is “shipped” as soon as I click “Print UPS Shipping Label.” Seriously.
Now, the kicker is that even though I may have selected “Overnight” (aka Next-Day Air™), unless that package gets taken to the warehouse by closing time that day, it’s probably not going out the next day. And since shipping is technically only my responsibility (on paper), my co-workers aren’t necessarily paying attention to the stack of UPS boxes, instead directing their attention to things like, you know, customers and their broken computers.
That $600 laptop, meanwhile, goes out to our service center the next day at, let’s say, $85. Once there, it is received and assigned to a technician. That technician usually performs their evaluation very quickly, since I included a copy of the paperwork with the laptop (obviously). Provided the paperwork includes a detailed description of the problem, they can get right to work. In this case, it’s really not too hard. We said the screen was busted. The technician is going to assume that is correct, although they will probably also test to make sure it’s actually the LCD screen and not a motherboard component.
The part is ordered if it’s not easily available on-hand. Given that our protection plans apply to machines stocked by Best Buy, and that the service center deals with those same models, and that our plans extend the benefits of the manufacturer’s warranty, well…they better have the parts for those models available to the service center!
But the parts still cost money. A replacement screen for a relatively new $600 laptop is likely about $100. Could be $80. Could be $150. We’ll say $100, which brings our total repair cost up to approximately $185 at this point.
The technician replaces the LCD screen after verifying things like the machine’s eligibility and the part’s compatibility. That’s actually the easiest part. Replacing a screen isn’t exactly simple, but it’s a lot easier than all the paperwork and logistics and behind-the-scenes crap!
But remember, this technician is getting paid, and paid well, considering they have to be certified in a number of applicable fields and adhere to a lot of standards in every case. Oh and also, they’re working in America, which means they’re paid American wages, not the outsourced kind (just an observation), and if I’m making almost twice minimum wage, you can bet technicians at the service center are making at least what I make – hopefully much more, as they’re mostly full-time, from what I understand.
Then the newly repaired laptop goes through testing and double-checking, after which the technician(s) involved sign off on it and send it off to their shipping department, who process it similarly to me except they a) have the option to ship it to the store or directly to the client and b) will probably not send it via Next Day Air™ unless we explicitly ask them to. I think. Not really sure.
Either way, let’s say that’s another $60 in shipping, because after all, it IS a laptop, and it’s not ours, and now it’s worth more because it’s fixed, and also our work is guaranteed. Really.
That makes a total of about $245 to replace a laptop screen at no up-front charge to the client, less any taxes that may apply, and excluding the wages of all the people involved in that process!
Considering that $245 is just about what a 2-year protection plan might cost to begin with…not too shabby.
Moral of the story: If you don’t wish to provide compensation for services rendered, don’t ask for said services in the first place.
Also, if you don’t know what you’re doing, take it to somebody who does. Sure, you can just assume that every 18-year-old with a smartphone and a MacBook Pro “knows what they’re doing,” but then you might end up with your computer broken even more. Or, you know, stolen. But if that kid is working for a company that requires him to actually know what he’s doing (and demonstrate it in regularly administered assessments), and the company bills itself as “computer experts,” well, I think that’s just a bit more trustworthy…don’t you?