by Marianne Richmond on May 26, 2007

My youngest son has, shall we say, does not have the best track record with laptops. In all fairness, they have been hand me downs.

After the demise of my former Toshiba (after 3 hard drives and 1 mother board while I was using it, I will never buy another Toshiba) he began "borrowing" my MacBook.I alternate between the MAC and a Vaio and cringed every time he left with it.

Since he needs his own computer and will be able to take a laptop to school with him when he starts high school in the fall, I decided to give him a fresh start and buy him his own, brand new laptop. He seemed delighted and promised to uphold the oath of laptop proper care and feeding, that to date he has been impervious to.

So, I decided that an HP made sense. Since he was also interested in spending some of his birthday money on some XBOX 360 accessories, we went to Best Buy. I have written my opinion of Best Buy before. Being an optimist, I am am always hopeful that things will change there.

Here is what happened….I was happy to note that I was not bludgeoned by the sales person with the usual extended service offer.

We went to check out with the HP laptop and an XBox360 wireless adaptor. I had a $5.00 Reward Zone coupon that it seemed like I had just received. Sorry, that expired. OK. I also had a 10%-12% off coupon . I asked the check out person if it was applicable. She said it was.

Then the store manager joined the festivities…."Who is going to set up your laptop?", he asked. I said I was and asked why he was asking. Well for only $129 we can set it up for you and we include triple that amount of "free" anti-virus software.

I think I can handle it myself I told him. Well, he said, have you ever set up a computer with Vista before. His tone turn ominous. No, I said, why?

Well, it is very different than XP…you really need experts to optimize it correctly. Optimize it, I said…you mean I can’t just read the directions and call either HP or Microsoft customer service with questions. Oh well you could…but there are just things we know need to be done for it to run right.

Hmmmmm, I said….well I think I will just tough it out. Well, you will miss all that "free" software and we won’t "optimize it" but for just $29 we will start it up for you….


So, I guess I am to assume that instead of the you need the extended warranty or ELSE schtick, they are now flogging the $129 we take it out of the box for you schtick, which apparently they call optimizing.

I assured him I could take care of it myself but thanks for asking. We left and I checked the sales slip in the car. No, 10% or 12% deduction (ok, have no idea why it says 10-12%) for the coupon which they took at check out. I went back in. At 10%, this should have been over $100 off. The check out person said she would have to ask someone….it should have deducted she said.

Another manager joined us….she said she would go look into it and she went to an office. When she returned, she appeared to be much happier. You see she said…the computer you purchased was on sale. This coupon does not apply to sales merchandise. It didn’t have anything about being  on sale on the card, I said. Oh, she said…well it was. We change the prices all the time and don’t always get a chance to change the card. She handed me back my coupon from the register.


Nice to know things at Best Buy remain consistent.

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