Why It’s Usually A Mistake To Buy A Computer at A Big Box Store

If you or someone you know is thinking of getting a new computer at Best Buy, please STOP and watch this video by Dawid Does Tech Stuff.

Here are a couple of the bullet points from the video:

-- $150 just to build it, but they WON'T build it unless you buy a $20/mo Geek Squad membership. Basically, that's $400 just to build the system because you usually won't need their help.

-- $1700 vs the $1400 budget because they conveniently didn't have cheaper parts in stock.

What Irks Me About This Process:

--Upselling her parts on the spot. I've heard salespeople use language like it'll "work better," "provide better performance," "future proof," or something like that, and people can walk out the door with their computers that day instead of waiting.

--Bundled software. When they got home and turned it on, Best Buy installed software they never asked for, nor were told about, including bundled partner software.

--Setup. Best Buy didn't do much otherwise in terms of setup for that $400. Most users wouldn't know to check these things, and Best Buy knows that. It's a cash grab.

--She specifically told them the fairly basic game she wanted to play, and they didn't check the hardware requirements. They knew they could probably upsell her anyway.

My Own Best Buy Horror Story:

I HAD to get a PC at Best Buy a couple of years ago because I could only get financing there when I was starting up my new home business.

It's an off-the-shelf "gaming" PC that cost me over $2K. I got ripped off, and I knew it. When I got home and opened it up, I didn't trust the cheap power supply and a couple of other components, so that was another $400 in upgrades I felt the need to make.

Best Buy ONLY cares about making the sale. Know that.

They're well aware most customers don't know any better.

In Summary:

Best Buy, as with most big box stores, seems to ONLY care about making the sale. They know most people aren't tech savvy, and don't know what they actually need to buy to serve the desired purpose when they walk in the door. Customers feel pressured to spend a little (or a lot) more.

Future-proofing can be a good thing, but as Dawid points out, the system they sold his girlfriend is complete overkill for her needs.

Off-the-shelf systems tend to be cheaper in terms of parts used. I suspect this is why Dawid and his girlfriend bought parts one by one and had Best Buy build the system.

Most people can't put together the system themselves. I can appreciate the $125 to build it and supposedly set up Windows, but they rushed it, and they didn't setup Windows to her needs, so that's not cool. But that's irrelevant anyway, because, to reiterate, they won't build a system without the $20/mo fee ($400/yr) for the Geek Squad membership.

It's honestly better to pay for support as you need it, regardless of the company. Otherwise, it's a cash grab.

Simply put, I don't recommend going to Best Buy or most other big box stores for your new computer. My exception to that rule is Memory Express, which does things differently, and I have great respect for them.

Besides that, contact a local trusted small computer shop or home based business. They'll help you out and not rip you off.

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