Monday, June 21, 2010

Money Laundering at Best Buy

by Pa Rock
Victimized Philanthropist

I stopped by the Goodyear, AZ, Best Buy yesterday to inquire about giving them my old Sony Computer and assorted peripherals. The lady at the Geek Squad desk told me that they would be happy to accept my old computer for recycling, but that I would have to remove the computer's hard drive myself or pay them $19.99 to do it for me.

You know the old saying - if it looks like a scam and walks like a scam, it's probably a scam. But, nevertheless, I needed to get rid of the old computer in preparation for my move overseas, and I knew that if I just threw the damned thing away, the park manager would write a minimum of six more rules for the poor and downtrodden residents of the Wheezin' Geezer Trailer Park.

So today I bundled up the computer, keyboard, and monitor and drove back to Goodyear to pay the Geek Squad to accept my gift. The nice young man working the door at Best Buy put "recycle" stickers on my stuff, and then gave me a friendly lecture about how I should save the twenty bucks and remove the hard drive myself. He assured me that even I could do it in "about a minute," to which I replied that if that was true, then the trained technicians of the Geek Squad could do the same job in mere seconds. Twenty bucks for twenty seconds - hell, some congressmen don't even make that kind of money!

One member of the Geek Squad then took the computer into the back room so that he could remove the hard drive unobserved, while another told me that I would need to pay a ten dollar fee (in addition to the $20) for making the donation. But, she added, Best Buy would then refund my $10 in the form of a gift card.

"I don't know why they do it that way," she giggled.

Well, honey, I do. They sell you a gift card so that you will purchase something else while you are in the store - hopefully something more expensive than the offending ten dollars!

And, if that wasn't confusing enough, they then let me use my purchased ten dollar gift card to pay half of the fee for popping the hard drive!

So when the dust settled, I was still out twenty dollars - I think - and I left the store with the hard drive from my computer. I went into Best Buy for the sole purpose of getting rid of my old computer, got caught up in a weird money laundering scheme, and still left with the hard drive. For twenty bucks, couldn't they at least have had the courtesy to throw that away for me?

Being an environmentally correct philanthropist can really be a bitch - especially if you try to do it at Best Buy!

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

The average hard drive yields a half pound of aluminum. Wait for the fallout when the beancounters at Best Buy realize they've been giving back a fortune.

I'm surprised they didn't take your twenty, give you ten (write off for charitable contribution) and set up a box for recycling, to scrape the last few pennies off the table.