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Thread: Retail is DEAD!

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Retail is DEAD!

    I just made what will be my last trip ever to a local consumer electronics store. Hello retail, you dont even know that you're dead.

    Having received a new remote I ordered for my father in laws HD setup the other day, I wanted to get his system rewired and setup to use it (system was originally wired by the guys that sold him fancy gear and it looks like monkeys were working back there) and I knew that I wanted a hdmi to DVI cable so that I could get the best picture from the receiver to the TV (which is old enough not to have hdmi) The 2 connection standards for HDTV are compatible, HDMI just uses a USB style push in connector which is much cheaper to manufacture.

    I priced them online at around 30 bucks for a good quality cable, but they wanted me to get things up and running for them ASAP so I thought I'd stop in the local Good Purchase to pick one up. I expected to pay a premium for buying it there. Maybe an extra $10 or even $20 bucks.

    I was rather surprised to find that the cheapest HD cable that they had was more than 4 times as expensive as I could order the same thing for. The CHEAPEST HD cable they had was $100!! The one I needed almost $130!!!

    over a hundred bucks for a cable?!?! I dont care how O2 free your copper is or how fancy your internal shielding is or how your cable ends world hunger or any other such garbage.

    A hundred bucks for a 6' cable?!

    I walked out and told my inlaws they had to wait. I can have the online folks second day air it to me and still have the price be less than a third of what I would have paid at Good Purchase.

    It's probably a good thing that there were no sales people in evidence in the TV section as I was standing there dumb founded at a 3 digit price tag for a cable.FOR A CABLE! As I'd have assaulted them and been asked to leave the store. Which would be no bad thing.

    I solemnly swear on the sanctity of my limited gadget budget that I will never shop retail again. Good Purchase can bite me.
    -James

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  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Icebreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Don't hold back, James. Tell us how you really feel.

    I think I can buy a microwave, a small TV, a DVD player, and a cheeseburger for about $130.00.
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  3. #3
    Flashaholic* bobisculous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Would it make you feel any better to know they get the cord for a few bucks? I had a buddy working at Best Buy, he was able to use the store discount obviously. He was able to get a 6ft firewire cable thats normally $29.99 for a whopping buck sixty five. They make a killing on that crap cause they know people will still buy it...or most people.

    Cameron

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* greenlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    They're not dead if people are paying that for cables@!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    BTW, the movie industry has just decided to use HDMI only in the future, so everybody who bought HD TVs and equipment without HDMI interfaces are screwed. Component won't cut it.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Litemeup: I hadn't heard that, but I can guess the reason There are recorders available for componant, and HDMI can carry encrypted, or at least broadcast flagged content so you can't record it.

    The record and movie industry are another group of people that will find themselves so far back in the dust as soon as the general populace catches on. And that is happening also... There are enough people not connected and not paying attention that this stuff takes a while, but people really aren't stupid, they are just busy and not able to give the more minorly evil people in their lives the attention that they deserve. But they really do hate to be treated stupid.

    it really was a very pretty cable But I could have that and a romantic dinner out AND the mail order cable for the price of that Good Purchase cable.

    On the up side I started programming the remote I bought (which I had ordered as I stated and got for over $100 less than Good Purchase was selling them for) and it looks like it will work for everything. So now as soon as we get that cable in the mail, all will be well. Just hope there aren't any Duke games on before I can get this all sorted out. My father in law charts his life by Duke games
    -James

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  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* KevinL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Apart from the sticker shock, I have to put up with piss poor service, salespeople glaring at me like I'm gonna steal something, or the overly annoying kind who bug the crap out of me.

    Plus, I never have full specifications available when I'm in the store, salestwits are generally completely ignorant about the product and go "but X is the same as Y, just take it" - (if X really *WAS* identical, I'd have just asked for that in the first place instead of Y, right?!).

    I've even had salespeople argue with me that they were right, that there was no newer version of the product, and that the price was 2X that of MSRP. Guess who won the argument and lost the sale.

    The only place I enjoy buying from these days is my camera dealer, the guy has mad clue, takes his time to explain stuff to me, lets me play with the gear till I'm happy before purchasing, and doesn't try to rip me off. Which is a whole lot more than can be said for other places.

    All hail the Internet. I'd be dead or worse without it.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    The main reasons I prefer to shop online:
    1. You get more information about the products. I first do the research to find the product I want, then I find a place that sells it.
    2. Saves a lot of time, I don't have to go from store to store asking if they have the product I'm interested in and eventually finding out they don't, but they can order it for me. If they need to order it then I could just as well do that myself and get it delivered at home without having to take the trip to the store.
    3. The range of products is always limited in retail stores.
    4. It is often cheaper, but this is not the main motivation, I often can't get what I want in retail stores.

    However, there are stuff I prefer to buy in ordinary stores, i.e. fresh food, shoes and clothing. I have bought clothing online, but then I have been sure about the fit before I bought it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Sometimes you can find a reasonable price at Best Buy, but generally I'd agree that you have to be very careful to know what things sell for elsewhere before going in. I bought a Canon color printer there last year. I probably only paid 5-10% more than I could have gotten it online, but it was worth it because I did need it right then. However, a sales guy intercepted me as I was walking up to the check-out telling me that this printer didn't come with a USB cable and that I needed to buy one. I informed him that I had plenty of USB cables at home... He started trying to instill doubt saying "are you sure you have the right kind of USB cable?" I responded, "You mean the $25 kind you sell?"

    It's fairly clear they really push their accessories, which as James S notes, are often ridiculously marked-up. That kind of excessive pricing is usually a sign of either strength or weakness; because they can or because they must. Since the Circuit City closed here, I think BB is in a relative position of strength, locally at least. However consumers seem to be bifurcating into those who shop online and know they're being ripped-off and those who don't and will apparently pay $25 for a USB cable. By trying to wring a profit out of this latter group, they may be tipping their hand and showing how weak they really are. Time will tell, I guess...

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Arkayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Most of the electronic shops around here make the 'high-quality' $100 dollar cable counter very easy to find. You may have to walk around but they usually have a spot with the cheapy inexpensive no-name cables. Probably at the other side of the building.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* LumenHound's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    I always think of those super high markup cables as a sales tool. Retail chains may not want to budge on the price of the electronic components in a package so they will sweeten the deal by throwing in so-called hundreds of dollars worth of cables for next to nothing.

    "Wow, look at this honey, $500 dollars worth of premium cables thrown in for only an extra $40. That's too good a deal to miss. We'll take the whole package!"

    I did retail at a mega mall audio/video store, you know, the kind of store with the wall of speakers across from the wall of tv's, 25 years ago and I saw this every single day. It was the easiest way of setting the hook during the close of the sale. Some things never change.

    Thank goodness for Monster Cable and cheapy cheapy gold plated connectors.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic Ras_Thavas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Litemeup: I hadn't heard that, but I can guess the reason There are recorders available for componant, and HDMI can carry encrypted, or at least broadcast flagged content so you can't record it.
    Yes, but that may change. There is an interesting thread over at the AVS forum addressing this. There are two major concerns. One is that the HDMI plug is not robust enough, they are pulling out of the sockets and having general connection problems. The second, and worst of it IMHO is the connection problems caused by the digital rights management scheme. Many components are not talking correctly to each other. DRM is interfering with the "handshake" given off by components to identify each other and work properly.

    I would love to get a HDTV, but crap like that just makes me want to wait.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* KC2IXE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Not ALL electronics retail is dead. Just mostly - admittedly, the case I'm about to talk about is not "normal" consumer electronics, but I'm a ham - About 1 mile from a friends house is a retail ham radio store - His prices are usually within 1-2 percent of the cheapest price out there - yeah, if I walk in, I have to pay the tax man, vs if I mail order, but....

    He gets a bunch of my business, and as I actually live in a different state, I often mail order from him.

    I'll also retail shop at some of the big name mail order electronics houses here in NYC - there are advantages to having B&H and J&R electronics in town

  14. #14

    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    All cables are a rip-off in retail stores. They make a ton of profit on them to make up for the relatively smaller profits they make on electronics. I've seen USB printer cables for $40. Gold-plated and all that jazz. Now tell me, has anyone EVER had a problem printing that would require a gold plated USB cable to fix it? Does a gold plated USB cable give you better printing performance? Why do people buy this crap?!

    Ethernet cables are notoriously overpriced. Buy them online when you don't need them so you're not forced to buy one in a retail store when you DO need one.

    Monster Cable - modern day snake-oil peddlers. And they aren't even the worst, I've seen cables reviewed in high-end A/V magazines that run in the hundreds of dollars *per foot*! I've seen a blind comparison study on the Internet that had groups of people listen to the same audio on the same equipment with different speaker wire and choose which sounded the best. High-end expensive products were found to be no better than plain old LAMP WIRE that you can get at Home Depot for like $.25 a foot.

    There's one born every day...

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* LumenHound's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    Yes and without them I wouldn't have been able to afford to put gas in my rust-o-rama POS beater set of wheels I drove way back then.

    I was all the way to the bank.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    If I can get Monster Cables for a decent price, I will buy Monster. Why? Because I've found that Monster Cables are more durable than regular cables (I've broken the clips on ethernet cables before)... but not for a huge premium.

    Anyway, retail is not dead... sometimes you just need something *right now,* and retail is still the only way to get that. Electronics stores really mark up their stuff way too much, though. Any little dongle will run you about $20, whereas I've been able to obtain them for one or two bucks... A single shoddy LED? $7 at RadioShack...

    I'm amazed brick & mortar stores can get away with prices so high.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    I was looking for the power adaptor for my iPod Nano at Best Buy - they wanted $40 for that little Apple white wall wart. The brick and mortar Apple store and apple.com sells their own product for $29. I don't get it ?? Why is Best Buy $10 over Apple's price on Apple's product ?? Prolly cause they can !!

    Circuit City is $35

    eBay is $10-$20

    duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, shame on the consumer that doesn't shop around.
    Last edited by mikel; 01-17-2006 at 05:42 PM.

  18. #18
    * The Arctic Moderator * Sigman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    I really don't need to add any wood to the cable fire, but I totally agree. I started buying my cables off of eBay a long time ago!

    $30 for a printer cable that can be had for a couple bucks - HA! Again, though there are so many uninformed folks getting taken advantage of!!
    -"Must control self"-
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    I think Congress is considering legislation to start charging sales tax on internet sales. Internet sellers would have to keep track of where each buyer lived, add that sales tax, and send the collected tax to that state somehow. If such a law passes, it will make internet sales less attractive to the buyer and very much less attractive to the seller, especially small specialty item sellers.

    So retail isn't dead yet, and it's fighting back in Congress!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Retail is DEAD!

    IMO, Monster products are garbage, and cost about 10x more than they should. Blue Jeans cables are much better and reasonably priced. Monster is a crap company, constantly suing people who use the name monster in their business or product name, even though they are older or have nothing to do with electronics. Like monster tacos. Gimme a break. I hope they go belly up.

    LMU

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