when looking around for open box buys on modems or monitors, I came across an older Acer Aspire PC. It was a desktop job with the old black case with Lorraine Swiss cheese holes on the sides. The specs stated that it was a Pentium 133 with 32mb of RAM and a 1.6Gb hard drive. Price: $159. I’ve never bought a PC from Best Buy before and when I lifted the case up off of the shelf, I heard something rattle around inside. So I brought the unit up to the attendant at the “glass case”. (you know, the place where they keep the hard drives, cd recorders and memory and processor upgrades) I asked him if he knew what was broken on it and he told me to bring the computer to the service window. I did just that and the technician immediately hooked up the computer to a keyboard, mouse and monitor. He then went on to running some tests on it to identify the capabilities and worthiness of the unit. “Everything seems to be running just fine!”, he exclaimed. I then asked if he knew what was rattling around inside. He had me fill out a form before he would open the case to find out. Once I did, he proceeded with opening the case and doing a visual inspection. At first, he said that he didn’t see anything out of place but upon a second examination, he noticed that the modem card was not anchored down with a screw. After removing both the modem and the sound card, he finally found the screw and yes, was the correct one for holding the modem card in place. It then took this individual about five minutes to put the case cover back on. Alot of brute force smacking the thing and when that failed he realized how it was supposed to anchor and finished putting it back together. He then wrote out a sales receipt and explained that he was giving me a discount because he didn’t spend a full half hour working on it. Total bill: $21.11 after state sales tax.
So I gave them my Visa and paid for it. At this point, I suppose I could have taken my receipt and the computer and walked right past the store security at the door. I declined to do so as it was never my intention of “scamming” Best Buy out of a computer in the first place. Instead I took the computer, receipt and the little printout of the system “specs as tested” back to that glass counter in sales. One thing of note about the “specs”; they listed the amount of RAM at 16mb not 32! I decided that it would be a good time to talk turkey with the salesman at that glass counter, the same one who had me take the computer to service in the first place. I showed him the specs sheet that I’d been given and explained to him what had been rattling around inside the case. I pointed out this memory discrepancy to him and he poked around a little on his own computer and explained that the computer had originally been equipped with only 8mb of RAM. “They must’ve upgraded it.”, he explained. Who were “they”? I asked. “Oh, the people who owned it.” So this computer is used? “Yeah, they bought the extra coverage warranty and once it had been returned three times, we gave them a new computer because of the ‘lemon’ clause.” So this computer is a lemon? , why should I buy it? I said. “Oh, but it’s fine now.”, he then pointed to the top shelves in the store full of big boxes labeled with the Compaq brand name and said, “I’ll bet you that half of the computers up on that top shelf have something wrong with them. They come in that way, at least this one’s fixed.”, he said proudly. I then told him that I would be happy to pay $80 for the computer. He said that he just couldn’t sell it so cheaply. I asked what the problem was with that as I didn’t feel that $159 was a just price for “a lemon”. He still refused to negotiate the price and I wasn’t going to offer more because remember, I’d already paid over twenty dollars for the unit.
Well, no computer in hand anymore, I went to the returns/customer service desk and asked for a refund of the money I’d paid for Best Buy to “service” their own computer. When I was asked why I explained that “Well, you’re keeping it.”. “We’re keeping what?”, she said. “The computer.”, I replied. She then went and pulled both of the service technicians out to the returns desk who were completely baffled. I explained to them where the computer was now located in the store and they brought that salesman up front. Once these people figured out that they’d been asked to fix their own computer, they proceeded to process issuing me my refund but… with a very large attitude. I guess I got four Best Buy employee’s upset with me just for listening to what one Best Buy employee told me to do. I’m tickled pink.
I really don’t understand why Best Buy employees are so angry. After all, I’m the one that should be slightly perturbed. They lied to me about the specs of a computer they tried to sell me. The computer had not been properly assembled and was very “used”. And to top it off, they charged me to work on their own machine, although I did get a refund. Where are you going to buy YOUR computer from?!
Best Buy ~ Part Two:
Here’s the interesting side bar to this freak article; I’ve actually purchased an entire computer system from Best Buy since this main article was written. The one in this article was nothing but the main box. The one that I purchased also included speakers, keyboard and mouse. It’s a much better system (faster & more memory). It cost $30 less than the featured Acer thing but has as I suspected/inspected a bunk hard drive. It too had a screw floating around inside the case. Here’s the ringer: When purchasing this, I received a “free checkup” from the Best Buy service department who after twenty minutes of doing whatever it is Best Buy’s service department does, gave the machine a clean bill of health!