Going to a retail store for consumer electronics purchases can be both exciting and frustrating. After working at Best Buy for two years, I have a few opinions to share that you might want to consider before your next shopping trip.
1. We have no formal training in the field of consumer electronics. Upon transferring to the computer department from home theater, I expressed concern to the manager: "Will there be time for someone to train me on laptops/desktops? What do these specifications mean?" His reply was simple: "Just do your best. A good salesperson can just read the labels and compare specs." Ouch.
Salespeople are not necessarily experts in the products sold in their departments, even if they are expert salespeople. Though many express a strong interest in the products they sell, your time spent at a retail store fishing for information about a future TV purchase could be better spent online researching the products yourself (I heard CNET has pretty great reviews).
2. We make little off the big-ticket items, so we smother you with accessories. Remember the story "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"? Well, if you tell a salesman you're going to buy a TV, he's going to want to sell you a DVD player to go with it. Once he sells you the DVD player, he's going to want to get you to buy an HDMI cable, too.
Managers at Best Buy (and possibly all retailers) tell employees that the store profits surprisingly little from video game consoles and computers. Cables, accessories, mice, and other components, however, have a huge profit margin-- stores can make about $120 from a $150 Monster HDMI cable. Angry yet? The point is, we're going to work really hard to convince you to purchase that big item, but once you've said "OK" you've opened Pandora's Box.
Here's my advice: Grab the big item, and run. Purchase all accessories online, including memory cards, cables, traveling cases, and so on. Amazon, Monoprice, and Newegg are all reputable discount Web sites. You'll find what you need at a much lower price.… Read more