Emerging Tech

Why pay for Firedog and Geek Squad when you have TechRepublic?


IT support has finally hit the woof - I mean roof - at Circuit City, with the creation of its new services business called Firedog. Check out the news story: "Circuit City chases service with new Firedog brand."

According to the story, "Circuit City's Firedog push--featuring employees garbed in bright green polo shirts and the slogan, 'We make technology's tail wag'--comes as electronics retailers try to boost margins by getting consumers to pay extra for help installing, using, or fixing their new gadgets."

This type of computer support isn't anything new. For example, Best Buy has a similar IT service group called Geek Squad. Of course, both Firedog and Geek Squad have a price tag attached to them - you buy a product, and then you have to pay extra to get it to work!

Thank goodness that TechRepublic's membership is free, and all the IT information you need is available through various articles, downloads, and discussion threads. Firedog and Geek Squad? Maybe as a last resort. First, I personally would utilize the free resources available to me on TR.   

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

18 comments
Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

After reading the comments to my original post, I feel compelled to add another thought or two. I think some people have already touched on the fact that some TR members are computer savvy enough to just research a problem or issue and then fix or solve it themselves - without having to call in reinforcement (have someone do it for them). Obviously, there are times when a service call is needed - if you're lazy, you don't have time to fix it yourself, you don't have Internet connectivity to research the issue, or you ARE able to research but don't have the tech expertise required to digest the information that you find to solve the problem. Furthermore, I think most IT pros want it done the right way, and there's a healthy skepticism surrounding a lot of the "supposed" tech gurus that retail stores hire and pimp out to the general public.

hardcoder
hardcoder

Many of us know our way around the inside of a PC and can instinctively reload the OS, if necessary. Other TR members, like most of the general public, have always relied on others to do the grunt work. Don't lose sight of the fact that all of our Googling for gigabits continues to depend on connectivity to the Net. No matter how great the advice on TR or other sites is, it doesn't help if you "can't get there from here". Some problems are related to an issue that prevents connecting to a favorite source of online support. In those situations some people might feel the need for a physical human presence, not an avatar, to help.

DannyL
DannyL

This is all very fine but I have an inbuilt suspicion of the 'we are free' message. In my experience, in most walks of life, this migrates to 'we are about to stop being free so get used to it'.

jdw242
jdw242

if qualifications are the only reason the geeks work at either company, that explains the massive ego of the few techs at my local Geek Squad. Not only are they predisposed to getting the answer wrong by 'knowing' they are right, they also charge a (expletive deleted) load just to come to your house. Even then there is no guarantee they are capable of troubleshooting whatever issue the customer has while they are at their home. I've tested this theory by taking my issues with me and asking them what they think, in an honest test to see if they are willing to help or just there for the paycheck. 100% of the time they jump to an obvious answer, one that any newbie could get, and say that is the only way. "I been doin' this for 22 years boy; that ain't right." I'm thinking. I say support your local small business IT service; they're likely cheaper, and more motivated to do the job right and quickly. Of course, that assumes they all read, and are members of, TechRepublic! :)

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

can you compare a service company with a tack, sorry tech website. May as well give up all my maintenence and service contracts right now. TR has just nominated itself to carry out all the work for me at no price!

JamesRL
JamesRL

Personally, I would never use a company like Geek squad cause I'm very happy to be self reliant and if there is something I need to know, I will teach myself. But I do know people who work at home as self employed people who do not have the time or the aptitude to know everything about computers, and they find these services useful, though perhaps a little pricey. James

zetacon4
zetacon4

from this thread then many I have read here in a long time. I was wondering if anyone would pick up on the notion that a tech service is not the same as a tech info site. My guess is that many of these tech services provided by public commercial businesses are populated by poorly trained personel. I feel sorry for anyone who truly needs that type of service and are depending on these guys to help them. It appears that more and more, companies are just inventing new and more amazing ways to make an extra buck from their customers without actually rendering a valuable service or product. I would suggest the following: just ignore them and don't take the bait.

CG IT
CG IT

where do you think the Geek Squad gets their answers? here of course.

tatwh59
tatwh59

I think it all depends on the problem and how much time you are able to spend on research. For an example: I've spent way too many hours attempting to fix a problem, I've searched web sites, talked with others in the know and even spent 12+ hours with the software program techs and still do not have the problem fixed. So, maybe, just maybe its time to get some help!! Anyone?

wong_p
wong_p

Geek Squad dressed in black/white agent uniform with the Geek-mobile vehicle which is nice... but I think Geek Squad is over priced and they are trying to sell you something rather than fix your problem. I came across this small company Computersquad.ca in Toronto and they detected the problem and fixed my computer issue with an affordable price!

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

I only have trouble with software, and that can be fixed over the phone. I have thought of going to work for GEEK SQUAD, just to show them how it's really done, but I'm a bit to old to be trying to match chasing around town against those youngsters who are full of crap and don't care who they piss off. I work for myself, and do special jobs for a consultant. Once every month or so I work a long weekend upgrading someones system and get enough money to last for a couple months. That's as far as I care to take it. I started before computers were solid state and Cobal and Fortran were the bomb. I will tackle any hardware problem but the software is just too variable and prone to users deleting this and loading that. Hardware either works or it don't. I can fix that, but software can make it look like the hardware is bad when it's not. Tech Republic gives me answers to software headaches and I will try to provide hardware answers to those in need. A good trade as I see it.

dawgit
dawgit

Who they work for. Will they be able to work within a waranty when required? Or will they inadvertenly void one? If they're Store employees does that mean they are insured if they knock over Grand-mas' vase? Destroy your Data? Or even have access to your Data? It might work for some, But I can see getting calls at home, when one of those young, know-everythings, screws the (computer) pooch, and leaves a mess. (I hate following these types, and taking 4 hours to un-fix a what should have taken 5 min. to fix.)

zlitocook
zlitocook

Computer repair people were trying to cash in on all the people who bought computers in 05 and 06. These were mostly new people to computers and the computers sold had tons of extra cr@p installed. Most if not all the people who bought off the shelf computers did not know any thing about them. And thought all the stuff was great and never tried to learn what was on their new computer. And the companies that sold the computers never tried to teach them about the things they needed to know. Like the anti virus that was on the new computer was a trial and needs to be paid for after a few months. A training class should have been mandatory like with ATV's it would have stopped allot of the bots and Trojans that have been so much of a problem on the net. I had a few friends go for jobs with this type of contractor and they said the company sends out the best person they have for the problem but most of the time the problem is not what the customer has. It is some thing completely different and the tech on hand tries to do his job but is lost.

PaulRChapman
PaulRChapman

I love reading the comments from all the people that think they know everything because they have figured out their own personal minor issues. Or perhaps been able to help out a friend or family member here or there with some minor detail. Who do you think is supplying the online answers to be googled to begin with. People like me that are "poorly trained" that you feel sorry for anyone that uses my services. I am a Lead In Store Technician For FireDog. I have been fixing computers since DOS 5.2. I was there for the first version of windows and know how to solve problems on every version since. You think you are so intelligent because you can type a problem into google? Or come to some forum board where someone before you knew how too google. I have 4 Different Microsoft Certifications and I forgotten more about computers than all the web site searching will ever provide you. When Vista is released and is totally locked down it will be that knows the structure of Microsofts OS's That will be able to solve the problems long before even Microsoft figures it out. So while you are fixing a driver issue or reinstalling an OS I want you to know that there are real Computer Technicians out there and Yes I work for Circuit City.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I mean, look at some of the questions that come by, really... But, that means that without knowing anything, we can start our own company and charge a lot, to read answers from TR members.... That sounds like a plan.

joerocks_gurly
joerocks_gurly

I have been working with computer's since the Dos system also. I have always found myself needing help on some issue's all the time. Thank God for people like you. Nice meet you Sheila North Carolina

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Okay, we've established your credentials. How many of your co-workers have similar resumes?