Geek mafia?


I’ve been doing a little computer shopping recently, drawn in by prices about half of what they were when I bought my computers back in the late 1990s. But I’ve noticed something insidious about those sticker prices. It’s almost like buying a car. Once one of those golf-shirt clad sales associates walk up to start discussing the details of the deal with you, that sticker price shoots up. It appears it’s very dangerous to buy one of those babies straight out of the box, what with all those viruses lurking out there in cyberspace. Pay us to “vaccinate” your baby with some virus protection before you take it home, they say. But, I have Comcast. I tell them. I can get McAfee virus protection for free with Comcast. Oh, beware, they say. That will only protect you from viruses that attack through the Internet. What about viruses that come through an infected disk? Well, I don’t know about that, I’d have to check with Comcast. But I figure, I don’t generally put any disks that don’t come from a manufacturer into my drives anyway. I’ll risk it. Then, they lay on the clincher. But you need us to go in and take out all the spyware that’s already on the computer. What? I say. It’s not even out of the box. How is that possible? The companies pay the manufacturer to load spyware onto the computer. You pay us to take it off and make sure the computer is running smoothly. OK, now this is sounding like something out of the Sopranos. Companies pay computer manufacturers to pre-load spyware onto their computers. Then computer retailers make me pay them to take it off. And those Geek Squad guys look so innocent in their crisp white shirts and black slacks.