Print 65 comment(s) - last by therealnickdan.. on Oct 5 at 2:24 PM

  (Source: DualShockers)
Want us to upgrade your firmware? That'll be $30

It's understandable that margins are often slim on certain items in the retail business, and companies look to offer additional services to help bolster the bottom line. However, Best Buy seems to take things to the extreme at times.

Best Buy's Geek Squad division often comes under a lot of scrutiny for high-priced services. Earlier this year, The Consumerist called out Best Buy's “worthless” $40 optimization service for new computers. Today, however, the electronics retail giant is being called out for PS3 firmware updates according to DualShockers.

A Best Buy in New York is offering customers a service which tacks an extra $30 onto the purchase price of a new 120GB PS3 system that has been upgraded to the latest firmware. According to Best Buy, the firmware update includes:

  • Play(s) all Blu-ray movies and PS3 games
  • Eliminates bugs and glitches
  • System runs smoother
  • Improves connectivity to Facebook
  • Power save settings
  • Photo gallery and video editor
  • Adds PlayStation Plus
  • Improved system settings

For PS3 users, performing a firmware update on the PS3 is simple as going to the system menu and selecting system updates. All of this is of course free to the user and requires nothing more than a few button presses on the controller (and an internet connection).

Of course, Best Buy's firmware update is an optional service and no one has to purchase it -- just like customers don't have to purchase optimizations services for new PCs -- but it just seems a little off-putting to say the least.  

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Best Scam
By Synastar on 10/3/2010 10:17:19 PM , Rating: 5
I wonder if Best Buy has a Scam R&D department. Someone gets paid to think up these things.

RE: Best Scam
By METALMORPHASIS on 10/3/2010 10:26:18 PM , Rating: 4
Sounds like it maybe in the Geek Squad division.

RE: Best Scam
By Samus on 10/3/2010 11:03:33 PM , Rating: 5
I used to work at a company that did shit like this. Provide a service (usually something that would otherwise be free) and make it sound like a good deal by listing 'features.'

It was legal because it's a service. You're not selling the firmware update, but the man hours to install it. It's like like how a Jiffy Lube provides a 14-point inspection free of charge, but that inspection is just an opportunity to find things to charge you for, like windshield wipers, a fuel system cleaning, power steering flush, coolant flush, brake pads, and so on.

Nothing is going to stop Best Buy, or any of these companies from "ripping off" consumers, except for people becoming more aware. Just say NO.

RE: Best Scam
By tastyratz on 10/3/2010 11:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
sad but true. This is a scam and of poor taste for best buy. The good news is the article cites 1 best buy for doing it. Has anyone heard of their local best buy doing this?
Hopefully its just 1 lowlife local manager and not a corporate directive.

RE: Best Scam
By quiksilvr on 10/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Best Scam
By MrBlastman on 10/4/2010 9:36:15 AM , Rating: 1
Good catch!

RE: Best Scam
By Brandon Hill on 10/4/2010 9:41:09 AM , Rating: 3
That is a separate promotion on a separate piece of paper... also notice that is mentions a second controller as well.

RE: Best Scam
By quiksilvr on 10/4/2010 3:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
Gotcha, I missed that second controller bit.

RE: Best Scam
By paydirt on 10/5/2010 11:32:23 AM , Rating: 1
I had HUGE problems trying to install this update, I think my PS3 still isn't updated, so for companies to offer to install it for $30 is reasonable.

RE: Best Scam
By therealnickdanger on 10/5/2010 2:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
A) No one is required to buy this.

B) Not everyone has Internet access.

C) Some PS3 updates have been known to brick consoles.

All that said, $30 still seems excessive.

D) To each his own.

RE: Best Scam
By MrTeal on 10/4/2010 10:40:35 AM , Rating: 2
It's everywhere. I went to Wal-Mart the other day to get some pictures taken of my son at 3 months, and while they offer a cheap $8 package of 4 sheets, they push hard to sell you on "enhancements" for $30. The enhancements consist of pushing a button and making the picture black and white, or sepia, or adding vignetting. Maybe people here can't imagine people paying for these kind of services, but some people obviously do or they wouldn't be offered.

RE: Best Scam
By invidious on 10/4/2010 9:52:53 AM , Rating: 2
I would say this is almost definately a geek squad initiative, I don't think corporate management would be smart enough to think this up. Anyone who has worked in IT knows the level of ignorance that most of their customers are opporating under, whereas most people in corporate management fall into the ignorant customers category.

Ultiamtely they are only screwing over people with too much money and not enough inteligence. Buyer beware.

RE: Best Scam
By vol7ron on 10/4/2010 10:07:38 AM , Rating: 2
Have you worked in IT? What do you "opporate" under?

Is that where you acquired your "ultiamte" "inteligence"?

RE: Best Scam
By Breathless on 10/4/2010 11:46:52 AM , Rating: 2
You "definately" forgot more errors from his post.

RE: Best Scam
By cjohnson2136 on 10/4/2010 4:18:26 PM , Rating: 2
So what he had spelling errors. I work in IT and I can not spell to save my live. Spelling and working in IT are not related lasttime I checked.

RE: Best Scam
By morphologia on 10/4/2010 4:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
Correct spelling and grammar were once required of adults. They were two of many characteristics that separated competent adults from kids who didn't know what they were talking about. Now, laziness is rampant and spelling & grammar are not important. Essentially, there's less of a difference between adults and kids, between competence and incompetence.

It's sad; it's like watching evolution go backwards. Pretty soon the average techie will be able to hotwire a spaceship with one hand, but will be unable to read, write or dress themselves...and they'll all work for Geek Squad.

RE: Best Scam
By Samus on 10/4/2010 7:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
...because everybody I know in IT is widely applauded for their spelling proficiency.

RE: Best Scam
By stburke on 10/3/2010 11:26:01 PM , Rating: 5
I used to work the floor at a Best Buy (And hate myself for it) these services actually do benefit a few number of people. The same thing is offered on most blu-ray players now, some movies won't even play without a recent update. So for those who bought a BD player, and don't have an internet connection, which is surprisingly common here, this is justifiable. When they take their shiny new toy home and pop in the shit that is Avatar, that movie won't play and is usually followed up by irate phone call to the store or a return. Plus when I tell grandma and grandpa they need to connect their player to the internet and download a firmware update I usually receive a blank stare back. So I tell them we can do it for $$ and they usually go for that. But for the majority of us tech savvy DT readers this is kind of moronic.

RE: Best Scam
By jithvk on 10/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Best Scam
By StevoLincolnite on 10/4/2010 1:58:52 AM , Rating: 5
Why the hell are your grandma and grandpa using PS3? They play God Of War??

Why not?
My Granny' plays PC Games like: StarCraft 2, Dragon Age, Neverwinter nights and such.
She kicks my butt in StarCraft 2 almost daily.

Most people of her age usually only play the casual games like Bejeweled however.
But she was into gaming since the original NES before I was even born...

RE: Best Scam
By solarrocker on 10/4/2010 7:30:49 AM , Rating: 5
Wow, go granny!

(useless post that I felt had to be posted)

RE: Best Scam
By stburke on 10/4/2010 7:43:05 AM , Rating: 3
Do you live in North Korea?
Close. I live in North Dakota, which still has many rural areas where only dial up or satellite internet is available albeit at a premium some farmers just don't want to pay. People would also buy them for their lake houses to have some entertainment on rainy nights, having internet there would induce a second internet bill for many.
Why the hell are your grandma and grandpa using PS3? They play God Of War??
I was using a common BD player in the example but older people do buy PS3's. It makes a nice all in one solution for a BD/DVD player and something for the grandkids to do when they come over.

I've done my time working for that soulless corporation, the real scam is HDMI cables and "black tie" protection.

RE: Best Scam
By wallijonn on 10/4/2010 3:09:12 PM , Rating: 2
when I tell grandma and grandpa they need to connect their player to the internet and download a firmware update I usually receive a blank stare back.

So what you are really saying is that BestBuy, et. al., should provide a service whereby they can pay $2 to have the latest firmware burned onto a CD.

Or they can bring in their BD players, connect up to BestBuy's Internet connection and have it updated for $5.

RE: Best Scam
By thrust2night on 10/3/2010 11:34:35 PM , Rating: 2
And what's wrong with this? There are plenty of idiots out there who don't know how to update their console. If companies can charge for things like removing spy ware and viruses (which you can remove using free programs) why not charge to update your console?

RE: Best Scam
By Aloonatic on 10/4/2010 2:42:55 AM , Rating: 1
And I'm sure that you know everything about everything right? These ignorant, stupid fools almost deserve to be ripped off, am right?

Why am I know surprised to see a comment like yours on here?

I'm sure that you would be happy to be ripped off in some other market/business area that you are not 100% knowledgeable and would just write it off you you knowing everything?

RE: Best Scam
By JazzMang on 10/4/2010 8:52:32 AM , Rating: 5
Whether you are knowledgeable about that area is almost irrelevant.

If you put in TIME to research your options in ANY situation, you will always avoid being ripped off.

Laziness leads to getting ripped off, typically.

RE: Best Scam
By eskimospy on 10/4/2010 12:58:51 PM , Rating: 1
A huge reason why America is such an attractive place to do business is our buyers protections and anti-scam regulation. When you go to a store in the US, you can be pretty safe in knowing you won't get ripped off, and if you do that it will be made right. This is a HUGE boon to commerce for both consumers and businesses. People who don't feel like they need to research every little thing before they buy it in order not to get ripped off are far more likely to buy things.

Shady business practices like these hurt everyone, not just the foolish.

RE: Best Scam
By Schrag4 on 10/4/2010 1:37:08 PM , Rating: 3
When you go to a store in the US, you can be pretty safe in knowing you won't get ripped off, and if you do that it will be made right. This is a HUGE boon to commerce for both consumers and businesses. People who don't feel like they need to research every little thing before they buy it in order not to get ripped off are far more likely to buy things.

If by "ripped off" you mean overpaying, then I'd argue that if you go into a store and expect not to overpay every time, without doing any research, you're getting ripped off every time you leave your house. It's your responsibility to weigh your options when deciding which product or service fits your needs, and then to shop around to find the lowest price. NOBODY should expect to just walk into any store and get the best value.

Shady business practices like these hurt everyone, not just the foolish.
Actually, they really only hurt the uninformed consumer. Everyone else benefits.

I really couldn't disagree with your post more...

RE: Best Scam
By eskimospy on 10/4/2010 5:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
That's because you've probably never visited a country with weak consumer protections. It's absolutely false that everyone else benefits, you're just confusing your microeconomic benefit of paying less once for a macroeconomic benefit of having a smooth running consumer product sector.

I couldn't disagree with your post more.

RE: Best Scam
By thrust2night on 10/4/2010 1:21:53 PM , Rating: 5
How are they being ripped off? If someone does not know how to update their console they can pay $30 to have Best Buy do it for them? It's a service, get over it. If you're too lazy to cook food aren't you gonna go to the McDonalds down the street? Just because there is a service for something you and I feel is trivial or not needed, doesn't mean it's the same for everyone else.

It's not about being happy to have to spend money; it's about being able to get service for something you don't know how to do.

Please don't use the term "ripped off" so easily since it sounds like Best Buy is doing something wrong. And what's up with the personal attacks dude? Chill out; go get laid. Damn! I'm not a Best Buy messiah or anything.

I personally will never have to use it and I might not agree with the price they are charging for it, but I am happy that something like this is available for people who might need it.

RE: Best Scam
By Aloonatic on 10/5/2010 4:12:22 AM , Rating: 2
I can't say I expected anything different from the conceited, know-it-all, DT crew.

I have nothing to "get over" by the way, I just find you amusing, but still hope that you don't find yourselves being exploited like this some day, even thought many of you seem to revel in the knowledge that others are in cases such as this, and think it's OK because they are "idiots", simply because they don't know something that you do, which you think everyone should know, as if you are the grand arbiters of common knowledge.

By the way, are you really calling something that will happen automatically, which you will be forced to do if you intend to use your console on-line as a "service", comparable to receiving an actual tangible product from McDonald's? Seriously?

Far from me having to "get over it", I fear that many of you here need to get over yourselves.

Of course, seeing as there are many of your ilk here, we all know which way the ratings will go here, but in a wider sense, I would suggest that they are somewhat hollow "worth reading" ratings.

RE: Best Scam
By Hiawa23 on 10/4/2010 9:13:18 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, why not just update when you get your console home & update when you plug it in. If you fall for this you should get shafted..

RE: Best Scam
By masamasa on 10/4/2010 10:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's called the 'Stick it to you plan' and you can buy warranty for that plan as well; 1, 3 or 5 years.

RE: Best Scam
By Dug on 10/4/2010 11:32:40 AM , Rating: 2
It says it includes Playstation Plus. Which is $50 a year isn't it?

RE: Best Scam
By BaronVonAwesome on 10/5/2010 1:41:01 AM , Rating: 2
Remember this is the same store that listed one price on the internet and listed a different price in its intranet.

No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By Cubd on 10/4/2010 3:53:46 AM , Rating: 5
I currently work for Geek Squad and can definitely see why a lot of people would think this a "scam"; I know I would have before I started working there.

You guys would be surprised how many people don't know how to do simple things on their electronic devices. Bluray players are the one of the most commonly returned items mainly because consumers don't know how to (or can't) connect it to the internet for firmware updates. Wireless routers are even more commonly returned because people can't follow the simple instructions to set it up.

If you're too stupid or lazy to figure you're out, I see no reason why Best Buy shouldn't charge you a premium to unbox your PS3, make sure it's working, and update the firmware for you. It's an OPTIONAL service, and of course Best Buy is going to try to highlight as many benefits as possible and try to sell it to you because hardly any money is made on a PS3 console sold by itself.

TL;DR: If you're not smart enough or too lazy to figure how to do something simple like update your firmware, you deserve to be charged a premium at your discretion. It will actually probably keep you from getting frustrated and/or returning the product.

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By Bonesdad on 10/4/2010 4:51:59 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe you should just tell these folks HOW to do it, instead of taking thier $$

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By JazzMang on 10/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By Brandon Hill on 10/4/2010 9:20:21 AM , Rating: 4
Poor comparison... this would be more like a mechanic showing a customer how to add new windshield wiper fluid.

Adding wiper fluid is something basic that almost anyone with a heartbeat can do -- just like doing a PS3 update. Changing the oil would likely be akin to changing the HDD in a "fat" PS3.

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By Iaiken on 10/4/2010 10:41:12 AM , Rating: 2
Changing the oil would likely be akin to changing the HDD in a "fat" PS3.

Even that was really easy, the hardest part was figuring out which of the arcanely named options in the recovery menu to select in order to reinstall the OS.

If you did a drive to drive copy, it's as simple as removing and replacing 3 screws and a cradle.

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By Schrag4 on 10/4/2010 1:08:33 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, easy for you. However, I KNOW that you'd be surprised at what percentage of people wouldn't DREAM of trying something like that.

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By Iaiken on 10/4/2010 3:21:04 PM , Rating: 1
However, I KNOW that you'd be surprised at what percentage of people wouldn't DREAM of trying something like that.

Those peoples parents should have purchased them a set of Lego, you know, the ones with instructions.

Want to install a bigger/better/faster HDD in your PS3? Ask Google to find you a set of instructions and follow them. The information is out there, people just need to have the will to learn how.

I'm not a mechanic by trade, but I know how to do a brake installation, tire rotation, change all my cars fluids and other things simply because I spent the time to learn how. Helps that each hour I spend doing is not only enjoyable, but saves me $90-120 of technician time.

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By Bonesdad on 10/4/2010 6:52:33 PM , Rating: 1
If that's the case (and I'm not arguing that you aren't right), then there is nothing wrong at all with BB charging $30 to install the fw update. I still believe, with a bit of hand holding, that any Tom, Dick or Dumbass could do this, and probably should do this update.

By thrust2night on 10/4/2010 11:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't agree with you. To a person who does not know how to update their PS3, doing the update would probably be the same as changing the oil in their car; both of which the person might not know how to do.

Too often we inject our perspective when we talk about others. "If I can do the update, then anyone should be able to." With proper instruction yes, but not every one has the time nor the energy to "figure" it out. It is just easier and convenient to spend the $30 for them. Is it just their lazy attitude or a social trend of throwing money at every problem no matter how trivial they are?

Maybe it is a bit of both and some other things. No reason why someone can't make some money off it if there is money to be made here.

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By martyrant on 10/4/2010 4:59:52 AM , Rating: 5
I worked for Geek Squad...I don't know now...5 years ago? The best career move I ever made was quitting that Hell hole. I wasn't even making bad money there--I was a "DCI" (the deputy something something, I forget their brain-wash names of the positions) and was making $20 hourly, and working 55 hours a week so overtime wasn't bad, but sadly, if you are smart, or have any sort of real amount of knowledge of computers, networks, you generally don't look at $20/hr as much, but at 18 I didn't think it was that bad. However, I ran my "precinct" as they call them (can you believe the names? lol) differently and didn't charge people for things like this and I brought up revenue by 60% in 6 months simply on making return customers out of the people who bought products and services from us that we did things 1) first the right time, even if we had to use "unauthorized tools"--the tools the "agents" get are basically useless by any sort of veteran standards of virus/spyware removal. their solution is to usually backup/wipe/install os and charge a shit ton to do it. I often told my "agents" to just do small things like this as a courtesy, even when we had SKUs to charge people for them, simply because Best Buy doesn't know anything about making a loyal customer base in locales.

Anyway, this is a rip, and you, sir, working for GS, are a d*ck for not doing it for free. Do yourself a favor while you work there--learn something, not from the people who work there because generally nobody that works at GS knows jack about computers, networking, or anything worth their salt outside of someone's home. Learn about that, do good deeds for you fellow mankind, because it's not all about the big dollar bill, then move on and make some more dollar bill for yourself.

Best Buy is brainwash, don't buy into the propaganda. You'll end up a lifer. I still know so many people that were good friends from back then that still work there...

By Quadrillity on 10/4/2010 8:25:14 AM , Rating: 1
I often told my "agents" to just do small things like this as a courtesy, even when we had SKUs to charge people for them, simply because Best Buy doesn't know anything about making a loyal customer base in locales.

BB wouldn't be a crap hole of a store if they would let you run a few things. You are exactly right, they have no idea what customer service is.

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By JazzMang on 10/4/2010 8:50:49 AM , Rating: 2
While this situation seems silly and greedy to most of us here at DailyTech, you'd have to look at it from the point of view of the common consumer. They are stupid and lazy. You guys do realize that most people don't even know what firmware is, right?

As readers on a technology website, we aren't the demographic that ANY Best Buy/Geek Squad services apply to. I can fix my own computer, update firmware, put together my home theater system, etc... but for every technically proficient person out there, there are 1000 people that are totally clueless in every way about technology .

If BBY wants to charge them for something they aren't comfortable doing *and it's optional*, then whats the issue?

RE: No big deal. Charge em, I say!
By Schrag4 on 10/4/2010 1:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Agree 100%. Many here think 30 bucks is way too much to pay, but I guarantee that's the "right" price because enough people are paying it that BB doesn't feel they have to lower it! The only people who have room to "complain" are people who genuinely need this service. And I doubt any of them could figure out how to post a comment on this site if they can't do a google search and then follow directions on updating their firmware.

By sprockkets on 10/3/2010 11:55:47 PM , Rating: 4
I don't really call this a scam.

What I call the REAL scam is when Best Buy tells you all the PS3's or more commonly, the notebooks you want are out of stock, EXCEPT for these that have been "tuned up" by Geek Squad for $40 extra.

Yeah, right, and those cheap $399 laptop deals are never in stock either.

RE: eh
By StevoLincolnite on 10/4/2010 2:00:23 AM , Rating: 3
the notebooks you want are out of stock, EXCEPT for these that have been "tuned up" by Geek Squad for $40 extra.

That's where I walk out and go elsewhere, great thing about the free market is you are not limited by choice. :)

Time is money
By Jonh68 on 10/4/2010 10:24:08 AM , Rating: 5
From a business perspective, time to do this is still a cost regardless of how easy it is to do. I don't see anything wrong with it. If someone can't google or read the instructions that comes with the console, I don't think telling them how to do it would sink in either.

Terrible Company
By kaosstar on 10/4/2010 10:56:28 AM , Rating: 2
As a younger lad, I worked many dirty jobs - most of them being manual labor related. None were dirtier than my job as a Best Buy computer salesman, however. The profit margin on PCs is almost zero, so they rely on their salespeople exploiting the ignorance of their customers to sell them worthless services and junk they don't need. Ultimately, I chose to be unemployed rather than be a lying scumbag.

RE: Terrible Company
By OBLAMA2009 on 10/4/2010 3:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
here is a young man who saved his own soul...shame on you best buy and geek squaders

good service, bad price
By MerlinRML on 10/4/2010 9:28:19 AM , Rating: 1
I think this is a good service. Similar to applying all hardware, operating system, and software updates on a computer, this should just be included as part of selling the device.

Charging $30 extra for what should have been done all along is just rediculous.

RE: good service, bad price
By Schrag4 on 10/4/2010 1:18:02 PM , Rating: 2
You're allowed to think it's a bad price. You vote with your wallet. Don't pay for it. If you really know how to do the updates yourself, you should wish BB charged double that so you could undercut BB, doing firmware updates for family and friends on the side and make more money.

Or are you just wishing someone else would do it for you for less? I don't have a PS3 but I bet you could figure it out since you figured out how to post here...

No Internet
By Alexstarfire on 10/3/2010 10:58:41 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if you don't have internet at your house then it might make a bit of sense. Though, I wouldn't be getting a PS3 if I had no internet connection, but maybe that's just me.

By Belard on 10/4/2010 7:30:35 AM , Rating: 2
... but what happens a few months down the road and the PS3 needs to be upgraded because of newer BD discs, games etc?

Isn't the update process part of initial setup or automated?

How about this, offer the customers a $5 guide on BASIC, how to turn it on / off and updates.

... but yeah, I've seen a 14yr old boy look confused on how to connect the power brick to his new Xbox 360. I wasn't impressed.

Only a scam if...
By Schrag4 on 10/4/2010 1:14:41 PM , Rating: 2 already (accidentally) updated the firmware yourself without realizing it and they still charge you full price. I can even agree to them charging 5 bucks just to tell you that it's already updated.

If you don't want to pay 30 bucks, update the firmware yourself. Or how about you pay for a storefront so you can do firmware updates for everyone for free? That sounds like a good plan, go do that instead. Don't get me wrong, I hate BB as much as the next guy (had to deal with ther customer service before, it's a long story) but I really can't blame them for offering and charging for a service.

Ignorance is bliss...
By Synastar on 10/4/2010 1:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
Until you go to Best Buy and pay for it.

By fuzzlefizz on 10/4/2010 2:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how old the picture is since I just bought the new PS3 Slim and it was $299 for the 160GB version, not the 120GB.

If it's recent, then that's a rip-off even without the firmware upgrade.

i hope bb goes out of business
By OBLAMA2009 on 10/4/2010 3:19:38 PM , Rating: 2
the geek squad is nothing but an army of parasites and criminals. i cant believe that they can even find people crooked enough to do that for a living. thanks for exposing their latest predator practices

What's the matter?
By corduroygt on 10/3/10, Rating: 0
The State AG's are probably lining up?
By Beenthere on 10/4/10, Rating: -1
By JazzMang on 10/4/2010 8:55:43 AM , Rating: 2
Really?! Is this your mentality? What the heck criminal charge would this fall under?

By cjohnson2136 on 10/4/2010 4:39:50 PM , Rating: 1
Dude there is nothing illegal with what they are doing. I think 30 would be high with how simple it is to update the firmware. I would 10 to 15 would be more appropiate. But you have to remember some people that get a PS3 are parents for there 10 year old who won't let the 10 year old onto the internet. Yes I agree a PS3 with no internet is pointless but people still do it and that is why BB can charge for the service. Just because you and I can do it in five seconds doesn't mean everyone can.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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