Leaving Best Buy

I remember about two years ago I started thinking about the day I would leave Best Buy. I used to wonder how it would feel and what I might say when the time came. I ran through a series of different ways it would go down and not one of them was a simple as the reality of it.

Little did I know on October 27th, 2002 that I would be at Best Buy for so long. I had gotten the job out of necessity during a time when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life. I had just left a job working at a grocery store and after starting at Best Buy, I quickly realized how much better it was. More importantly, I saw potential growth in my field of interest: computers.

I started as a seasonal sales rep for digital cameras. I was already impressive on my third day, as stated by one of my friends. I remember it like it was yesterday. He says to me after just teaching me how to do something, “You better slow down, man; you’re gonna make me look bad!” I’ve always had strong work ethics and I feel that if someone is paying me to do something, I better do it right and quick. It was already paying off.

I will admit that in the beginning, I didn’t know what my future held here. My main concern was getting through the Christmas season of 2002. Afterward, I got the news that I was staying onboard as a part time employee and I kept on selling those digital cameras! I was still young enough at this point to be caught up in the party scene and hanging out with my co-workers produced many friends in my contacts list. We also had a lot of great times.

Over the years, I’ve held various positions that eventually led me to becoming a Special Agent within the Geek Squad. I felt that I had found my calling and I was headed in the right direction with my “career” although I never intended on staying at Best Buy to satisfy it.

During this time, I was working as a field agent in a company car doing IT work for various clients. It was considered by some a dream job and even though it started out as one, it eventually took it’s toll. Retail politics, good people leaving the company, unruly clients and strange management hierarchies all helped to create a less-than-desirable workplace. It became less and less about the client and more and more about the money. Granted, a business needs profit to stay alive, but I don’t think they should go so far as to risk losing good customers as a result. Anyway, that’s another story!

I ended up working back in the store in February of 2009 due to some of this drama and it was then that I realized I was done. I needed to get out of there because I felt I wasn’t going to be able to reclaim my old position and not only that, but I didn’t think that even if I did that I would be helping my future much.

The job search began, but with the economy heading downward, it was glaringly obvious that this move wasn’t going to happen overnight. I eventually found that job and got it.

I am out of Best Buy come January 29th and it has been a long run! I was so happy to be able to walk in there and drop the news that I found a new job. I felt so liberated. I feel a little sad about leaving because its a comfort zone and I’ll be missing quite a few people, but I have so many memories to take with me.

This is a new chapter in my life and I can’t wait to see what happens next! The two best things that happened to me at Best Buy was the experience and friends I gained and the meeting my girlfriend.

Unfair business practice

As a computer user, I can usually separate scams from reality when dealing with things online. I  help people all day long that can never seem to figure out how they get viruses on their computer when they have an antivirus program running or how their FaceBook account was hacked, etc, etc.

Or they wonder why all of a sudden their getting spam and pop up windows telling them they need to purchase some software to fix the problems and then their credit card is now being charged weird amounts of money at random times. The first thing they blame is the computer, then usually the credit card companies and lastly, their email provider. Who they should be blaming are themselves.

This post is particularly interested in unfair business practices by some businesses to extort extra money out of people when it comes to services. In fact, most businesses don’t make much, if any profit on most of the products they sell, so they rely on services and other high-margin items to make up the difference.

One specific issue happens to be the way antivirus (and possibly other software makers) companies try to attach an “extended download” service to their customer’s shopping cart at checkout. Essentially this service claims to allow for the customer to be able to download their purchased software anytime within the time frame as defined by each company. What this implies is that when you purchase your software online, you can access the download for about 15-60 days, but if in the future you restore your computer or get a new one, you will NOT have access to the software in order to re-install it UNLESS you purchased the extended download service–this is simply NOT TRUE!

First of all, this sounds very illegal. If you purchase software, you are entitled to its use as defined by the user agreement and I have never ran into a user agreement that did not allow you to install the software on another computer provided that you removed it from the first one.

Anyway, back to my rant. Let’s clear something up while we’re at it. When you buy software, either online or from a store, you’re not actually buying the software (the disc, the download, zip file, etc.)–what you’re really purchasing is the license to use it and in order for them to verify your “legal usage”, they issue a product key. What this simply means is that you’re able to plug that product key into any matching version of that software.

In the case of antivirus software, if you bought a product key from a 2007 version of the software and have kept it renewed to this day, you do not need to go and purchase a new 2010 version to update your software; you just need to go download the 2010 version and use your key and voilà, you have a legal copy of the software. “But, how can I download the new software?!”, you ask. Well, I’ll tell you…

You can download the software by simply going to the manufacturer’s website and look in the support section. Some make it easy to find, some a little harder. If for some reason, you can’t find it, you can always download the trial version and just enter your full version key to unlock it.

What makes me sick is that they tack these charges onto your shopping cart automatically, so if you don’t catch it and remove it, you might mistakenly pay for it and this can cost anywhere from $4.99-$10. What makes it even more sickening is if you click on the “What is this?” link, you might see something like this:

When you purchase downloadable software from Symantec’s online store, Digital River, Symantec’s authorized online retailer, automatically grants you 60 days from the date of purchase to download your software order.

If you add Extended Download Service to your downloadable software purchase order, Digital River will keep a backup of all the software on your order for ONE YEAR. If you need to re-download your software, or access your Serial Key; it will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for ONE YEAR from the date of purchase by going to www.symantecstore.com/orderlookup.

This is the actual text from Symantec, the makers of Norton AntiVirus. If you read this, you might actually be worried that your software will only be available for 60 days! But how can this be if you’re able to go over to Norton.com right now and download the software? And what about storing your product key? For one, you can store it yourself on your own computer, but if you don’t, you’re able to access it from your Norton account over at www.MyNortonAccount.com at any time anyway–and you’re forced to setup this account when installing!

At least Kaspersky does it a little different. They charge you $9.95 for a backup cd. I still find this to be a rip off, but at least you’re getting something for your money. Also, when you buy this cd, it literally comes to you in a basic cardboard shipper and the disc is a poorly made CDR. It looks like someone made it at home with a crappy cd printer. At any rate, why do you need a backup cd when you can download your program anytime from their site? And when you have this download, you can make your own backup cd! Others that offer physical cds are McAfee ($12.95), AVG ($10.95) and Webroot ($8.95).

I just don’t understand why a company would participate in such a dishonest act. I know there’s an old saying that says “Never let a sucker keep his money.”, but is that how you want to imagine that corporations view the public?

Direct download links for the latest antivirus programs:

Congrats to Webroot as they are the only one from above that does not try and charge you for free downloads!

Lessons learned today:

  • No matter where or what you’re buying online, always, always, always review the entire contents of your shopping cart before submitting the payment.
  • Do not be suckered into purchasing “antivirus” software from popup windows or junk emails. Legitimate companies (if you can still call them that after reading the above) will not spam you for business.
  • Don’t believe the hype! Think logically.
  • Backup your downloads and product keys. They really don’t take up that much room.
  • If all else fails and/or you’re still worried, always buy your software from a retailer. Not only will you get the same price as online, but you will also be saving money by not having to buy that backup disc.