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Say What? Why I dont rely on Big Box Stores for technical knowledge

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Phyer Phyter, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. I've had 2 experiences in the last little while with a particular Big Box electronics store that just blows me away. (Different stores - same chain)

    1) I went to the computer service counter looking for a power supply for my desk top. After I couldn't find any on the floor. The "Tech" on the other side of the counter said...."Whats a power supply?" and then had to ask someone else if they sold "those things."

    2) Last week while waiting to acquire an 8 gig Ultra II card on a raincheck I was waiting my turn for an "Associate". I over heard him explaining to another customer that his images were coming out blurry because the camera was writing the data to the card faster than the cards write speed and therefore it couldnt keep up ~ hence the blurry images. The "Associate" was trying to upsell him to a 4 gig high end card that was 50$ more than my 8 gig Ultra II. When the accociate walked away felt I had to clue this customer in.

    Anyone care to share thier unusually good or bad experiences with out naming the merchant(s)? How about not the infamous NYC scam stores but the bricks and mortar walk in stores?
  2. Those are pretty funny, Bill. I don't have any stories myself, my trips to these stores have all surprised me on how well trained the people working there are. One time I was there on assignment for a technology news website to see how dumb tech people at brick and mortar stores were, so I went to two people and tried to fake them out; I was utterly surprised.

    Once I asked a camera sales associate why I wasn't getting sharp shots with my D300; he suggested many things that were completely rational, like tripod, shutter speed, DOF, even Fine Tuning. I was surprised.

    Then a few days later I returned to that same store and asked another guy at the tech counter what it means to have dual channeling RAM. He gave me the correct answer, and sounded confident. After that I probed him about Crossfire and SLI, and how they work. He explained everything in full.

    I had no idea they were this well trained. I hear horror stories all the time but I have yet to experience it at my stores.
  3. I am not by any means saying they're all this bad, my 2 seem to be the exception. As you said most sales people are fairly well trained in their respective departments. I do however cringe when I get near the P&S counter at christmas time and listen to the staff flog megapixels.
  4. Bought a new laptop from Best Buy the other week. Once I got home, I noticed my screen's refresh rate could only be set at 60Hz. I found this odd, so I went back to the store to ask one of the Geek Squad guys if there was some other way to change this refresh rate. He went to the display settings on the display model, and found the same thing I had seen. He then proceeded to explain to me that it couldn't be changed unless I switched out the computer's screen. Really? Change the laptop's LCD screen? You gotta be kidding me. I mentioned to him that I was pretty sure the refresh rate was based on the computer's video card, not the screen installed (which happens to be a 17" 1440x990 screen). He said that this computer used shared video memory, and thus was unable to go higher than 60Hz because of that, to which I had to politely inform him that while it did have 4GB RAM with just over 1GB of shared video memory, it did in fact have a dedicated video card with 64MB dedicated memory built in. He acted baffled, and said, "I don't know what to tell you then. I don't know why you can't change the refresh rate." I quickly realized the Geek Squad guys are no more than glorified store clerks. I looked at many of the other laptops on display, and saw they were also set at 60Hz with no other refresh rates available. Even the ones with 256MB dedicated video cards.
  5. A few months ago when I was debating whether to get a D200, I was looking at one in one of the larger B&M photo stores in town. Somehow the discussion got around to shooting in RAW and the sales person mentioned that the D200 RAW files couldn't be opened with PSE6. When I told him that it was ACR that opened them, he insisted that if I was using PSE I couldn't work with the RAW images. I stuck my card in the camera and fired off a couple of RAW images then brought them home and opened them.
  6. deadmeat


    Jul 18, 2008
    Sarasota, FL
    Let me know if you really want to change your refresh rate or if you finally found an answer to your question. I can help you out with that.

    Being a former Big Box employee, I always tried my best do to everything in my power to give a consumer an honest opinion and review about the products they were looking at. I'd tell them what TV's I'd see being returned the most, which ones never got returned, and THEN I'd tell them before buying, go look at a Consumer Reports magazine, AND THEN come back and buy what TV they wanted. But most of the time people would come in looking for a specific product.

    I've not really had any real problems so far with "technical knowledge" with store employee's yet lol

  7. If changing it in BIOS or whatever doesn't risk the integrity of my system, then sure, I would be interested in getting it around 75Hz to make it a little easier on my eyes.
  8. genera


    Oct 6, 2005
    His first response to you was correct. If he had hooked up a high resolution CRT higher refresh rates would have been available from the graphics card.

    Some CRT's need higher refresh rates because the glow created when the electron beams stike the phosphors only lasts a very short time. If they aren't refreshed fast enough the charge on the phosphors decays to a point where the screen noticeably darkens and appears to flicker.

    LCD's don't need to be refreshed until what ever is being displayed changes. 60 Hz is more than enough for most computer applications.
  9. Thanks for the info. As for changing screens, he wasn't referring to attaching a CRT though. He meant to physically change the built in LCD screen to a different one. I asked that question when he mentioned it. Again, thanks for the info. Still, I'm not sure why my wife's laptop, which is basically a 2 year old version of the one I have today, can change the refresh rate, and while reading web pages on hers set at 75Hz my eyes don't feel fatigued as quickly as they do reading the same stuff on my laptop set at 60Hz. I noticed this within the first hour or two of getting my laptop up and running. That's why I went to the Personalize Display Settings to check the refresh rate. Like I said, her screen is identical to mine. Her computer is pretty much even the same model number (HP Pavilion dv9000 series), but two years old. Any thoughts?
  10. genera


    Oct 6, 2005
    Sounds like a miscommunication to me. You gotta give the guy a little credit.:Love:

    Look at the LCD section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refresh_rate

    Your computer's LCD is static until some info on the screen changes, i.e. when the cursor blinks, you open, close, or resize a window, or edit something. The only time it might be useful to have a higher refresh rate is if your watching TV or playing video games and even then the LCD wouldn't be able to keep up and your display would look smeared (probably more so on an older monitor.) Ask HP why they eliminated the 75Hz option in the newer computer. My bet is that they'll tell you that it used more power and/or didn't do anything to enhance the display.

    As for your eye fatigue; are all the settings the same? Brightness? Contrast? Vividness? Sharpening? Is her color scheme the same as yours? Are you running the same applications? Is one used for more text based work and the other for more graphics? Are they both operating at native resolution? Is the room illumination the same? Same type of lights? Same amount of sun? Are you watching video on one and not the other? Maybe a problem with the backlight on the new one?

    Maybe you've noticed; I don't think it's the refresh rate. :eek:  The two biggest contributors to eye fatigue for me are too much sun and monitor brightness set too high.
  11. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    Not just the big box stores. A helpfull "associate" of a Bix Box store helped me out when I was looking for a multi region DVD player (this was a couple of years ago - today they're easier to find in the USA, although not on every street corner as in Europe). He referred me to a fairly large, reputable camera store in NYC that also sells audio and video equipment.
    Arriving there on a sunday, the audio and video expert managed to tell me that there is no such thing as a DVD player that can play DVD's from any region or any video system and output them in NTSC - it would technically be impossible to build something like that. I would absolutely need to buy a TV that was able to process PAL signals if I wanted to watch my region 2 DVDs.
    I did not bother to tell him that I had one like that in my appartment overseas, playing region 1 and 2, PAL or NTSC just fine and left the store, slightly dissappointed.
  12. Before I bought my D80, I decided to check one out at Circuit City. I looked thru the viewfinder of the display model and found that wherever I focused (AF was on), the view was extremely blurry.

    I asked the "tech" at the counter about it. He looked thru the viewfinder and decalred that "There nothing wrong. It must be your eyes". Funny that none of the other cameras on display seemed to have that problem "with my eyes".

    Figuring that the floor model in that store was defective and that the tech couldn't figure out what was wrong with it and wouldn't admit it, I went to another Circuit City store. Their D80 floor model's viewfinder was nice and sharp. I then discovered the diopter dial next to the viewfinder. The one at the first store was probably set by someone wearing glasses and was never reset.

    So, I learned both about diopters and about Circuit City "expertise" on the same day.
  13. I will not go into Circuit City. About a year ago they fired all their long time experienced sales "associates" because they were earning too much commission. Unfortunately, the quality went out the door with these folks.

  14. I agree with you. However, I believe this incident happened before the mass layoffs.
  15. pullbcarepull


    Apr 22, 2008
    Houston, TX
    A friend of mine recently bought a D60 from Best Buy and was not able to access the images off of the memory card when using the built-in card reader on his computer but had no problems downloading them if the card was in the camera and tethered to a USB port.

    He took memory card back to Best Buy assuming the card was faulty and wanting to replace it with another card. The person helping him told him the reason why he couldn't access the images off the memory card using a card reader was because Nikon cameras use a proprietary file encryption that only allows their products to access the image files.

    Anyways, it turns out that in his over eagerness, my friend forgot format his memory card. He simply took it out of the package, popped it into the D60, and started shooting away.

  16. If your friends memory card is an SDHC memory card 4GB or larger, it will require a new card reader as most built in card readers can't read them. That's why the newer SDHC cards are frequently sold with a micro mate card USB card reader.
  17. All settings are as close to same as can be expected for computers 2 years apart. Apparently Vista does not allow you to change refresh rates while XP does. At any rate, I think my eyes are getting used to the screen now. They don't seem to tire as quickly.
  18. pullbcarepull


    Apr 22, 2008
    Houston, TX
    I wasn't aware of that particular issue with SDHC cards, but alas the memory card in question was a regular 1GB SD card that was bundled in "free" when he bought the camera.
  19. Not sure why he had an issue then. I don't believe I've ever formatted a card before shooting on it, and I've never had a problem downloading the images via a card reader. :confused: 
  20. Big Box stores typically hire low wage employees. You get what you pay for. Typically the employees concern is clocking in and clocking out. Product knowledge is scarce.
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