Warning: This one's long.
This past Friday my mom came up from Mexico (where she lives) and so I drove down to Corona to meet with her, eat lunch, and help her to purchase a laptop from the Best Buy there.
It starts out like any other Best Buy trip. We enter and pass by the guy at the front door who, at least half the time, tosses a grunt your way while he's trying to spit game to the girl who works in Cell Phones ("You know, I can control all the cameras in the store from here. Awesome, huh?").
I take my mother to the computer section where she and I pick out a laptop for her. Easy enough. Before she ponies up the dough to pay for the computer, I ask whether or not they can transfer the data from the hard drive on her old computer (which we have in the car) to the new laptop. I know that the "Geek Squad" can do this, but I want to get a monetary estimate. Beforehand I told my mom that a hundred bucks or less would be acceptable, but $100 is the ceiling. I've done data transfers before, and they're easy. The guy asks us "What kind of data?" I tell him there's not much on there, it's mostly pictures. "Oh, okay, that's $99." Well, that's about what I had figured, so my mom bought the data transfer thing.
See, normally I would do it, but we were in Corona and she was heading back down to Mexico that day and I wouldn't have the time to do it so that she would be able to have it all ready for her to take home that day.
Everything up to this point is going just swell.
So, we take the newly purchased laptop and her old computer to the "Geek Squad" counter so that we can get her information transferred. Then we meet Chris. Chris is a disgruntled man who's probably pushing 40 and looks like if he wasn't working the "Geek Squad" counter at Best Buy he'd probably be watching his 12-year-old daughter's friends go swimming while drinking a beer and sporting a raging erection. As we walk up, Chris has a sneer on his face like his wife just told the girls that it's time to go home. I tell him that I need to specify how I want the information transferred to my mom's laptop. Before handing me the necessary paper to fill out, he jerks off and as he climaxes he yells out, "Okay, Becky, I can drive you home," then he starts crying and mumbling about how he's a terrible man and needs to go to prison.
I explain to Chris that I just want all of the stuff on my mom's old computer to be transferred into a single folder on the laptop and that I'll work out setting everything up. I write the same thing on the paper I'm given.
Chris relays that information to somebody in the back who then has him come back out and tell us this.
"That's going to be $169."
"$169?," I ask. "But we were told it would be $99."
"Yeah. That's for up to 9.9 gigs of data. If you want the whole drive transferred over, that's going to be more than that."
"But nobody told us that," I respond.
I can see the panic in his eyes. He knows that the manager is going to have to come out in a minute and he hasn't thrown away his tissues.
I ask to speak to the manager and, after a couple of minutes, Chris comes out flanked by Ryan. Before I continue, let me explain to you a little bit about Ryan.
Ryan's an alpha-nerd. To the naked eye, it's easy to tell that he's a nerd. He has a faux-hawk and a pale, doughy face. But Ryan has an edge. It's the edge of somebody who is pissed off that, at 27, he's amounted to charging old ladies $75 to put RAM in their computer--an act which takes all of five seconds. He also convinces them that they need to buy a battery backup, uninterruptible power supply, and a cryogenic freezing chamber for their computer so they don't lose an email from their Grandson about his baseball game. So he hates himself.
Ryan stands across the counter from me. He's flanked by two other employees, the aforementioned Chris and the guy who originally sold us the laptop who I'll just call Chip because I don't care about him enough to give him a name that isn't condescending. They flank him like giant, flesh bookmarks for one empty, stupid fucking book.
Ryan explains to me that, though I was told it would be $99, that was because I said that it wasn't much, just some pictures. But now that I've said that it's the whole hard drive, he says that's going to be more than the 10 gigabyte limit which I was never informed of in the first place.
I explain to him that Chip never said anything about a limit and that, since I was sold a data transfer for $100, I wanted it.
This is where Ryan loses it.
I ask him why it costs $70 more for anything over their pre-determined, arbitrary limit.
"Well, it's a totally different process."
"A totally different process?" I ask. Only, when I said "totally" I used my hands to make air quotes.
Ryan's not a fan of air quotes. In fact, the anger which arose in his eyes when I used them makes me believe that air quotes raped his mother in front of him when he was a child.
The tone in his voices changed and he starts to sweat.
"What's that about?"
"What's the totally different process?"
He then describes two processes which sound very similar to one another about transferring hard drive data which I won't bore you with. Needless to say, they aren't totally different processes.
"Well, since you want to copy your whole hard drive, copying your Windows folder onto one of our hard drives for the transfer can corrupt our systems."
This, my friends, is a complete fucking lie. Do I look like an 80-year-old woman? So I call him on it.
"That won't happen."
"Look," he says, "I've been doing this for ten years."
"So have I." I respond. I've had my own computer since 1996 and have assembled my own for nearly as long.
"I've done data transfers before, it's not very hard."
"Well then why don't you do it?" He asks me.
"Because I don't have the equipment. I live in LA and she lives in Mexico and we need to get this done."
Keep in mind, the whole time he's staring at me, unblinking, his face beet red. The faces of his shoulder gargoyles, Chip and Chris, never shifting their gazes from me.
And I wish I could remember what I said, but I was blinded by a haze of anger and an eight ball of coke that my mom and I split as our dessert from the lunch we had at Chili's. Regardless, whatever sarcastic remark I said next sent him over the edge.
"Forget it." He pushes the newly-purchased laptop sitting on the counter toward me. "We're not selling this to you." He storms away and toward the back, his two henchmen closely behind.
Figuring that this was where it was headed, my mom was already over at the counter on the other side talking to a cashier.
The main manager of the entire Best Buy comes over to refund the money to my mom. I don't remember this guy's name, but this is all you need to know about him. He comes over to my mother and I, and I begin to explain the situation to him.
"So, we bought this data transfer and we weren't told that there was a 10 gig limit and..."
"Woah, woah, woah, woah." He says to me. "Look, I don't know anything about computers."
Yeah. The manager at a store with various computer-related themes and products readily admits he doesn't know a thing about computers. What the fuck?
"Great place for you to work, then." I reply, sealing my fate as the guy who almost gets physically removed from Best Buy for his rampant use of sarcasm.
I decide that I'll give my mom my laptop and I'll just take her computer to my apartment in Burbank and transfer the stuff there, but she'll have to wait to get it until the next time she heads up here.
On the day after the incident, Saturday, I transfer my mom's hard drive into my computer so that I can then transfer that information onto my computer's hard drive and then finally to my laptop and, to my surprise, I see that her hard drive only has 7 gigs of space taken up on it.
Motherfucking Best Buy.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Warning: This one's long.