Geek Squad’s In-Home Agents Fear Spreading Coronavirus To the Elderly


    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Employees for Best Buy-owned Geek Squad who visit people’s homes to install electronics are fearful that they may get sick or help spread the coronavirus as they are told to keep working during the pandemic. Many Geek Squad employees told Motherboard that their customers are most at risk of having a severe case of Covid-19, because many of them are elderly or have underlying health conditions. The news comes after Motherboard reported how Best Buy was running at “full capacity,” allowing hundreds of customers in stores at once and leading multiple employees to believe Best Buy saw a business opportunity in staying open during a time of crisis. After publication, Best Buy announced it would shorten opening hours and limit the number of customers allowed inside stores. In-house agents are tasked with setting up and repairing Best Buy customers’ electronics in their homes. That might include installing a doorbell, television set, kitchen appliance, or setting up their computer or home router, for example. “They’re expected to be in people’s homes where there are no personal boundaries, no social distancing, touching of product, etc,” one current Geek Squad employee told Motherboard. “They have compared their employees to ‘essential workers’ […] such as gas stations, hospitals, grocery stores.” An internal Best Buy email sent to agents and obtained by Motherboard reflected this, saying “The work we do is considered essential to our client’s and customer’s [sic] needs and we are being asked to continue to serve our clients in their homes.” Elderly people who cannot install technology themselves may wish to have such a service during the looming quarantine period in the U.S. But multiple Geek Squad employees Motherboard spoke to highlighted how they may be putting clients at risk because in-house agents cater heavily to retirement communities and senior citizens in general. Best Buy says if a customer is showing symptoms while an agent is in their home, the agent is allowed to cancel the current appointment. Agents can also ask in a pre-visit call if anyone in the household is experiencing symptoms. But as for the first point, “you’d already be at the potential risk of exposure!” one agent said. Another internal message said that customers no longer need to sign for completion of a visit, so as to minimize contact between clients and Best Buy employees’ phones. Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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