Buffoon of the Week: The Geek Squad!

13 Aug

As I spent much of the business day yesterday preparing to be away from the office for the rest of the week, I pretty much had a heart attack upon learning that my work laptop had become infected with a virus.

While preparing my daily to do list, drinking the customary cup of Dunkin’s coffee and reading the latest online news stories, a link popped up indicating that my computer’s antivirus protection had been compromised and that a malicious Trojan horse was now galloping all up and through my system and potentially cataloging my passwords.  Like any practical computer user, I was pretty upset.  Not only do I regularly engage in safe online behavior, but I have pricey antivirus software installed on my machine, and I’ve only had the darn thing for about 40 days!

So yeah, with my computer popping up 20 error messages per minute and in need of a Roman Catholic Church exorcism, I could only sit at my desk (on the verge of tears) and contemplate how in the world I was going to be able to complete all of my work for the day before leaving to spending the next four days at my family reunion.  But before I completely fell apart, I remembered that my laptop was still under warranty and that when I purchased it, I included Geek Squad services for 6 months.  With that bit of information and my purchase receipt in hand, I made a quick dash from the office down the street to Best Buy to get my PC exorcized.

When I reached the service desk, a knowledgeable young man who totally embodied all things geek (we’ll call him Ralph) asked how he could help me.  After explaining that my machine was possessed and needed a virus purged from its innards, he took a look at it and pretty much confirmed what I already knew.  My computer did indeed have a virus known as a rouge antivirus.  This crafty little bugger first issues pop-up upon pop-up announcing that the computer is infected, embeds itself into any repair software (making it useless), then poses as an antivirus solution with the hope that the unsuspecting computer user will purchase it using their credit card.  Once the credit card numbers are logged, the virus’ creator has everything he needs to begin fraudulent credit activity.

Once I was able to pop my eyes back in my head, I asked Ralph what my options were.  He eased my mind (a little) by sharing that the virus was likely not logging any of my password information, but the virus only said it was as a way to encourage me to use the bogus antivirus purchase prompt.  He did say however that I was not going to be able to access any of my computer’s hardware, software or internet components until I got the virus successfully removed from the laptop.  Resigned to the fact that I’d have to spend more than my lunch hours at Best Buy waiting for the repair (which would ultimately mean getting back to work and playing catch-up well into the evening), I told Ralph to do whatever he needed to do to get my PC back to basics.

Of course things would not go this easily; that would be too much like right.  After drawing up all of the necessary paperwork, Ralph dropped the ultimate bomb…

“Five to seven days?!” I croaked, startling the man behind me with the prettiest inverted bob haircut I’ve ever seen, Coach Messenger Bag and matching wedges.

Ralph began explaining patiently, as if he expected my indignant outburst.

“$200.00 to expedite the service, and I still won’t get my laptop back until tomorrow? Tomorrow I will be out of town. I need my laptop today.”

Clarifying further that the soonest he could have the work done would be in 24 hours, Ralph slid the paperwork across the counter for me to review and sign.

“Wait. What???  What is this $300.00 for?  I have a warranty and I’ve paid for Geek Squad coverage!” surely Best Buy security was on standby at this point.

Ralph said that the warranty was only for basic computer issues and manufacturer’s oversights and that the purchased Geek Squad service did not cover repair costs for malicious viruses. *Blank Stare*

Weighing the actual cost, the time and my own personal plans, I politely told Ralph that I appreciated his help, but wouldn’t be requiring his services at the moment.  Leaving Best Buy feeling completely defeated, I hopped in my car and headed back for my office.  When I returned, I called our in-office Tech/Media/IT handy guy to see if he could make heads or tails of what was going on with my PC.  After telling me that he’d be able to stop by in about 2 hours, I sat flustered at my desk and tried to figure out what non-computer related work I could complete while I waited for him.

And then, like Chrisette Michele…I had an epiphany.  Turning on my laptop, I logged in as a guest user as opposed to using my corrupted normal login.  Once set-up, I immediately noticed that not a single pop-up was displayed within the realm of the never used guest login.  Crossing my fingers, I proceeded to access System Restore from the start menu.  When it queued up, I waited patiently as restore points from the day, and even the week before were displayed.  Deciding to play it safe, I selected the restore point for last Tuesday.  When the computer then began going through its machinations and abruptly shut down, I was a little leery.  Still, I took a chance and powered up and logged on as usual.  Holding my breath, the background of me, the honey and a grinning babychild was displayed, pop-up free.  Tempting fate, I opened up an internet window (or two) and checked a few webpages.  When still there was no evidence of foul play, I began (again) the process of knocking out my now seemingly insurmountable to-do list.  7 hours and a 9:05pm “where are you?” call later, I scratched the last action item off of my sticky pad and proceeded to lock up the office and head for home.

The moral of this story: 1) Computer virus creators are the devil, 2) If you let a dude in glasses, a shirt and tie and an orange name tag get away with charging you $500.00 for 2 minutes worth of work, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I think would be a nice added asset to your portfolio 3) Fear of the technologic unknown will in many cases override common sense, oh, and 4) Ralph and The Geek Squad are without question the most offensive buffoons of the week!


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