Saturday, March 23, 2013

Do I need all this crap they try to sell me?

As an IT Person, I am always the one that friends family and neighbors call upon to help them with their computer equipment. I try to always make myself available if possible to help when people need help. Lots of times I will have already seen the issue elsewhere and can help them fix it quickly. There is one thing that i always hear time and time again and I get it so much that I thought it would be good to share what I tell people to respond with so it will help the PC buying process seem less daunting.

What I always get asked is "I was in the store to other day looking to buy a PC and the person wanted to sell me this and that and this and that, and even a mouse pad!" "Do I need all this crap?" "Are they trying to swindle me?" "Should I sic the dogs on them?"

I know its the nature of the business that these stores are in, profit margins on computers are razor thin and in order to make money they have to try to bundle all the extras with the computer. Just like when car sales people try to sell you the Clear coat paint option that makes the clear coat paint on the car bullet proof, or what ever the hell they say it does... I never go for it! In both industries they need to sell extras and options to make money on the product they sell. And some places like the big electronic chains, (I wont mention names as my attorney advised me I am unable to) they will try to sell you the "whole solution package!" This means that they want to get you a whole computer package with monitor, printer, anti virus protection, maybe a router as yours is too old even though you bought it last year! They will even throw in a mouse pad as "the new ones make the mouse soo much easier to use"! What???? A mouse pad is a freaking mouse pad OK!! Stop insulting the intelligence of the customer. Just say it, "We need to make lots of money and this is how we do it. Sorry!" This is also known as "up selling"

I wish I could go with all my friends and family who ask me to accompany them to the store to help get a PC. Sadly its not possible or I would not have time for much else if I went with everyone. "Sorry boss cant do that report, Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma need to buy a pc. This is going to take awhile!"
I personally have only bought one computer at a store. The rest have all been built or ordered through online channels. So I have never experienced the pleasure of listening to the sales person try to sell me the whole package. (I have heard the stories though!)
Now that I have thought about this for awhile I think I have an acceptable answer that most sales people will accept and understand.

When your at the store and your call your tech person and say"Will this work? It has xyz gigabits and teraflops and can launch standard size rockets". Now the sales person will say "You need this and that to keep the computer running well... just tell them that you already have those things, you bought them just last month at a big sale.
This will lead to the sales person saying "well then you should sign up for us to use this service to help you transfer this or setup that...." At this point you just tell them that you have your (insert random family member here) and he is your IT person and he does it for a living.
Then they will go on to the warranty for the computer. Now some of them may be good, I have not read about all of them. Although what I found is that most times you can buy an extended warranty directly from the computer manufacture and it will be cheaper and better than the one sold at the stores. I found this to be true with the last laptop I bought. It was an HP for my wife, and the online market I purchases from had an extended warranty for about 100 dollars that covered accidental damage and spills and repairs and everything for a year. I researched the company and found many great reviews. But then I went past the first page of results on Google.........and found a bunch of not so great reviews. Apparently the company was making reviews on different sites to try to keep its reputation up as being great. (Which it is not but that's for another day). So after seeing that I declined the warranty and looked directly at HP's site. I found the same type of warranty that covered spills accidents and other damages and it was for 2 years and it was just about the same price! And since I have worked with HP many times with warranty claims and issues I know they stand behind their product and try to always make sure to help the customer with issues.

As far as buying an antivirus, I have found the free one that comes with Microsoft works better than the paid versions. Its smaller and faster and works well to try to keep your computer bug free. Now of course its not immune to attacks and should be a part of a layered approach to security, such as a good router with the firewall turned on, and being aware of sites you are browsing too. And even better news for new computers and anti virus, You REALLY don't need one because in the new computers, Windows Defender, which is also MS Security Essentials, is already BUILT IN! No need to buy an antivirus, its just a waste of money and will use system resources on the computer that can be used elsewhere, (Like to help you get that extra farm built in Farmville!)

The same is true for those disc utilities and defrag programs and system upkeep programs like Norton Utilities and the countless others. They are NOT NEEDED! Windows was designed to do its own maintenance and up keep. Windows will do a disk defrag at a scheduled time, and the settings can be adjusted right in the control panels. So those utilities, especially that crap on that has its own TV commercial, does not need to be used and can cause more issues than it fixes. (I will have another blog post about that TV one, they are on my radar!)

Buying a computer is almost like taking your car in for service. They do the same thing, you need just an oil change but their inspection of the car says you need an air filter, the cabin air filter, and other things. Most of the time you get get these other items for much cheaper elsewhere and they are not hard to change out. So I do the same thing with this as well. "Sir you need a new cabin air filter this one is shot!"
"Yes thank you for bringing that to my attention, I do need a new one but I already have one, I just forgot to install it. I ordered it at a sale last week!"
Most car places accept this and if they know your knowledgeable about your car, they will back off on the up selling.

So when buying a computer, tell the sale rep, you have a tech person at your disposal and they are already setup and waiting to help you install and setup your new PC. They will transfer the files for you, and setup your antivirus that you already have, and they will also setup your new printer which you bought during the last big sale last week! Of course if your PC and printer and monitor are over 5 years old, then maybe you do want the whole package, see what they offer, but make sure to price around. Most stores will do price match and you can get a whole new system for a decent bargain. Just remember your IT person is busy helping everyone in your family as well as all his friends, so try to be patient with them when they come and feed them lots of coffee. (They probably have had little sleep since the new sim city came out!)

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