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Circuit City goes head on with Best Buy

Circuit City has officially launched a service called Firedog, which is similar to Best Buy's GeekSquad IT services department. The Firedog team said Circuit City will not only be handling technical services for computer equipment, but also home theater installations and setup. The Firedog department operates very much like Best Buy's GeekSquad team and in fact competes directly.

The Firedog team is a 24-hour technology service that Circuit City says will be able to visit customer homes and provide on-site services. The company guarantees all technician work for up to 30-days and says that customers can also bring in their equipment for Firedog service at any Circuit City location. In Canada, the electronics retail chain Future Shop is owned by Best Buy but have not introduced any similar services. From the press release:

firedog(SM) technicians and installers have received extensive training to install, repair or optimize consumer technology products. firedog(SM) in- store and in-home PC services are available through Circuit City's more than 600 Superstores across the country. Home-theater installations are available within 25 miles of Circuit City locations.

Along with on-site and in-store services, Firedog will also service customers remotely if the situation presents itself. Software installations and system troubleshooting can be done remotely says Firedog if the customer has a broadband Internet connection. Dell also offers a similar remote-access service through its CustomerCare program.

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Geeks aren't always smart
By iamright on 9/6/2006 12:47:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think that the only qualification to work on the geek squad is being able to quote all starwars movies word for word. Who needs some geeky teenagers to come plug in a computer anyhow? I think best buy is sweet because you can buy like a car stereo, used it for 29 days and then go get your money back no questions asked, try doing that at COMPUSA! I've yet to find a sales person at any electronics store that knows much more than what's on the box of the electronics. I thnink the at home installation service is a gimmick, unless that is that a person just is rich or stupid.

RE: Geeks aren't always smart
By spwrozek on 9/6/2006 1:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
You would be suprised how many people pay to have a home theater installed. But it depends how complex CC is willing to get if the service is worthwhile. I was hanging 50+ inch plasmas all summer, installing surround sound, running wires behind existing drywall and hanging speakers out of the way. Setup up cable, satillite, dvd players, even video games so the whole area looks good. Of course as you said average joe is not going to pay for it but I know a lot of rich and even middle class people that have it done.

RE: Geeks aren't always smart
By rushfan2006 on 9/6/2006 2:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
On Geek Squad Experience
-You are right, they really don't have high qualifications. But you know what jobs like GeekSquad (and now I guess "Firedog", very lame name btw) are for...its for the entry level folks who want to get some kind of computer work on their resume hoping to get their foot in the door down the road into a real IT job.

On Electronics Sales Folks and Home Installation Services
-Both these points depend heavily on A) what kind of store you talking about? and B) how complex a HT system you want at home?

A) If you are talking just a Best Buy, or a Circuit City -- of course you aren't going to get truly knowledable sales staff. Its a general retailer that focuses on a wide array of products to the general public. If you are talking about a specialty electronics store you couldn't be more wrong. Those folks usually know their stuff very well (in fact they usually pride themselves on this).

B) Complexity matters a great deal with home installs. If you just want five speakers and a dvd player hooked up then fine I can see your point. However most people, who drop lots of coin on a major system at a specialty store usually want very precise and complex HT setups. Do you know for instance that a true THX system requires specific acoustical requirements in the room? I know a guy from my last job who had his HT THX certified and he walked me through the entire process. Also Just have a DTS receiver and throwing speakers in your living doesn't mean you have a TRULY accurate surround sound system. These home installers are geeks of audio. Some shops will actually have sound meters with them and test the resonance in your waves for how it reflects the sound in the room, this helps them to position the speakers correctly (and in some cases to suggest a type/brand of speaker that would work better). Point is there is a lot involved. Then of course there is the system reason too...some people just don't want to be bothered they rather spend the money and get it done with then waste an afternoon setting up their system.

RE: Geeks aren't always smart
By rushfan2006 on 9/6/2006 2:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
*resonance in your WALLS not waves....for the love of god and all that is holy , upgrade the forum software to include an edit button (and yes edit button is different than "preview").

RE: Geeks aren't always smart
By akugami on 9/6/2006 3:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
In Circuit City's defense, I find their sales reps are much more knowledgeable than Best Buys. Best Buys seems to go out of it's way to hire idiots.

RE: Geeks aren't always smart
By Xellos on 9/6/2006 3:31:06 PM , Rating: 3
I friend of mine went into Best Buy looking for a DVI to VGA adapter. After asking numerous people who had no clue what he was talking about, he was directed to a geek squad person. At some point in the conversation the Geek squad person said something to the effect of "oh that adapter doesn't exist, cause you can't convert an analog signal to digital". It was at this point in my friends storytelling I almost did that thing they do in Animes where they get "thrown back" with their feet up in the air.

By richeyje on 9/6/2006 12:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully CC will not make the Firedog employees wear such dorky looking uniforms like GeekSquad has to wear.

RE: uniforms
By LtFarva on 9/6/2006 1:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
And instead of driving beatles, maybe they'll have mustangs. That'll one up Best Buy.

RE: uniforms
By rpierce on 9/6/2006 1:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
They are going to use those box like Element cars! LOL

RE: uniforms
By rklaver on 9/6/2006 1:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
Hey now! No dissing the Element!

How about one of those box like Scion XB's :-)

RE: uniforms
By phaxmohdem on 9/6/2006 3:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
I was hoping for Hummer H2's with firefigher shield spinners. :)

Then again, I don't know how many "geeksquad" types I would trust behind the wheel of something like that.

Bash away but..
By bjourdo on 9/6/2006 2:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
What alternative does the average Joe have?

RE: Bash away but..
By rushfan2006 on 9/6/2006 2:42:23 PM , Rating: 2
Its a called a phonebook.

Unless you live in the boondocks, you'd be hard pressed to not find a pc repair shop...

RE: Bash away but..
By Master Kenobi on 9/6/2006 2:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Geeks on Call, atleast they are required to be certified in atleast A+, can't say the same for the other two!

RE: Bash away but..
By latino666 on 9/6/2006 3:33:38 PM , Rating: 2
Getting A+ certified is nothing especially when you can buy the answers online. They should hire people with experience rather then looking for people with just a little certification.

I'm happy with this new thing at CC. It's going to be fun going to CC and confusing the crap out of the people that work there.

RE: Bash away but..
By johnsonx on 9/6/2006 4:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
they can't afford anyone with experience.

the pits
By raisinbrainMMM on 9/6/2006 12:16:56 PM , Rating: 2
Weird name, but I hope it takes away from BestBuy's business....Best buy is the pits of customer service and I see Circuit City doing ten times better in this department

RE: the pits
By therealnickdanger on 9/6/2006 1:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
What geniouses work at CC anyway? Is a salesman supposed to keep a straight face when we offers "firedog service" on computers he sells? Stupid... try again.

All that comes to mind is that song from Ren&Stimpy: "Watch out man, here come them firedogs!"

RE: the pits
By captchaos2 on 9/6/2006 11:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
I hope Circuit City treats their employees well. Best Buy thinks they own their employees and treat them like slaves. That's why intelligent people don't work there.

RE: the pits
By ttowntom on 9/8/2006 8:38:26 AM , Rating: 2
Best Buy thinks they own their employees and treat them like slaves. That's why intelligent people don't work there
No, intelligent people don't work there because intelligent people don't work retail.

By teng029 on 9/6/2006 1:31:17 PM , Rating: 2
firedog? what genius came up with that name?

RE: wtf?
By rklaver on 9/6/2006 1:54:16 PM , Rating: 2

RE: wtf?
By Master Kenobi on 9/6/2006 2:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
GeekSquad is a joke, hopefully this FireDog thing will undercut them. One thing I hated about GeekSquad is that we charged people like 124 dollars an hour in-home (59 an hour instore), yet we only made about 12 or 13 bucks an hour doing home calls(10/hr instore). If they pay more, I'm sure the competant techs will jump ship in half a second.

RE: wtf?
By JazzMang on 9/6/2006 2:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, In-store agents start at $10.54/hour minimum. The idiots stay near that pay rate. In-home agents make $18-23 per hour. Yes, service calls are expensive, but so is providing a free car to each in-home agent.

Personally, I would never call on either of these 'agencies' to help out in any way, but I would rather go to BB than CC. CC disappoints me every single time I walk in there, either with bad attitudes or useless sales associates. But at least BB (in my interactions with them) only has the latter of these 2 issues.

I hope both companies die.

Do Better
By Scorpion on 9/6/2006 12:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully they are much more competent than the Geek Squad is.

RE: Do Better
By Scorpion on 9/6/2006 12:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
And I meant to imply that the Geek Squad hardly has any to begin with...

RE: Do Better
By TomZ on 9/6/2006 12:37:23 PM , Rating: 2
...thus proving that training does not equal experience.

Green shirts. Pretty nice car
By latino666 on 9/6/2006 3:46:02 PM , Rating: 2

I like the car they drive to "In-Home" jobs.

By Master Kenobi on 9/6/2006 3:59:42 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly they are pricing exactly the same as Best Buy. Ripoff both ways now.

By feraltoad on 9/6/2006 9:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I guess the logo explains the name: CC is willing to jump through flaming hoops for you. I too think the marketing people should be canned, I would expect better names out of a CC breakroom suggestion box.

But still, no cape? WTF!

By jskirwin on 9/6/2006 12:47:25 PM , Rating: 2
A service of underpaid, untrained geeks to compete with another service of underpaid, untrained geeks.

RE: Great...
By Davelo on 9/6/2006 1:03:19 PM , Rating: 2
As they say, you get what you pay for.

I will never understand...
By proamerica on 9/6/06, Rating: 0
RE: I will never understand...
By Alpha4 on 9/6/2006 5:25:51 PM , Rating: 2
Very valid post, but would you classify yourself as average JOE computer user?

By John Karr IS Creepy on 9/6/2006 5:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
I worked at Best Buy for nearly 2 years. Its just like any other job. Some coworkers are very good at what they do, while others are so incompetent.. they can hardly put their clothes on. Many of my coworkers knew a decent amount. I had worked back in the computer department for well over a year and during that time for the most part most of the people I worked with were knowledgible. But at the sametime I had some coworkers that did not know the storage capacity of a cd.... or had to ask what BFG was. Depressing I know. What happens to most retailers including best buy and cc the "good" talent that they have leave because they are either college students or they can get a MUCH better job somewhere else paying much more.

As for Geeksquad & Firedog. Those services will sadly always be there and will not go out of business. After working at bb and dealing with the general public. It made me realize how technology illiterate people are. It was ALWAYS FUN explaining the difference between a celern d that runs at 3.0ghz vs an AMD Athlon x2 that runs at 2.4 ghz and why the x2 is faster even though the ghz is lower. I'm just glad now that only time I have to educate people is family and even that is bad enough :S

The reason Best Buy sucks...
By Ars3nic on 9/6/2006 9:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
(I work there)
It's because the senior employees don't let younger guys like me work outside of printers because they've "been in-store longer."
And Geek Squad guys are pretty knowledgeable... at least at my store.

One last thing, how can you expect me, the $8.25/hour no commision salesman to know EVERYTHING about every product we get?

And yeah, Best Buy Training is literally non-existant, I got hired on the basis that I knew how to recommend Microsoft Office...

So yeah, I'm quitting after the holidays.
John Karr is creepy, I know EXACTLY how you feel.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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