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Computer Purchasing Tips - Retail Store

written by: Jesma•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/19/2011

Keeping up on the latest technology requires our constant attention. How do you know when you're getting the best deal? How do you know you're not getting scammed? How do you know what to buy and where to buy it? We'll begin this series by looking at purchasing a computer from a retail store.

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    Purchasing a Computer

    Buy new laptop or desktop In today's computerized age, keeping up on the latest technology requires our constant attention. Oftentimes, it also requires a constant cash flow straight out of our wallets. There are many reasons to purchase a new computer, and it is truly always nice to know we have the latest and greatest available, but how do you know when you're getting the best deal? How do you know you're not getting scammed? And, possibly most importantly, how do you know what to buy and where to buy it? This four-part series will answer these questions.

    If you find yourself in need of a computer, you may choose to head to the nearest retail store that you know sells computers. Regardless of what that store is, there are going to be positive and negatives to doing so. By weighing these factors, you will have a better chance of getting the best deal and ultimately, being as happy as possible with your decision.

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    Cons

    Higher Prices

    As previously mentioned, while it is possible to get lower prices at retail stores, that is definitely the exception to the rule. No matter what product they are selling, retailers of all types earn their money by marking up prices. Sometimes this markup is negligible, and sometimes it is big. Again, research is your greatest tool. Don't allow yourself to be taken advantage of by not fully researching your purchase.

    Salesmen

    Many avoid retail stores simply for the fact that they know exactly what they want and they don't want someone else trying to push their agenda on them. It is an unfortunate fact that most computer retail store clerks work on a commission basis and thereby pay their bills by getting you to spend more money than you need to. They may knowledgeably, or out of ignorance, convince you to buy something that is either far beyond your need or far beyond your budget.

    Warranty "Scam"

    The biggest way most retail stores make money is by selling in-house warranties on nearly every product they push out the door. This absolutely includes computers. You may be told that it is the only way to protect your computer investment, and they will neglect to tell you that your purchase probably comes with a warranty from the manufacturer that is every bit as good, if not better. Now, even with full knowledge of this, some opt to buy the in-house warranty purely for convenience. Whether you do or not is, of course, your decision, but make sure you have all the facts before purchasing a so-called "extended warranty".

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    Pros

    Retail stores can often warranty and repair your computer It's Convenient

    Assuming that you don't live too terribly far from a computer retailer, the biggest benefit of purchasing a computer from a local retail store is that it is incredibly convenient. You can walk in, pick out what you want, and walk out again, usually in under an hour. There are even sales people there who will (you hope) steer you towards the best computer for your needs and budget.

    It's Local

    Some people may choose to purchase from a local retail store simply because they feel more comfortable dealing with locals. Perhaps they even know someone who works there, putting them all that much more at ease.

    Repair and Maintenance

    Most, though not all, computer retailers have an in-house repair department that is equipped to solve most computer related issues. As a result, when they sell a computer, they may offer special deals or discounts on their services. Included in this may be a maintenance plan, or package, that could be very helpful to you. Most retailers also offer their own warranty on computers they sell that sometimes exceeds or out-lasts that typically provided by the computer's manufacturer.

    Price

    The majority of the time you are not going to see a price-break on a computer sold in a retail store. In fact, most of the time, you will pay more for the same computer out of a store than you would if you bought it directly from the manufacturer by phone or online. However, there are occasions where you can get a very good deal. When a retailer needs to move out older stock to make room for new computers, you may be able to pick one up for nearly wholesale. It may not be the absolute newest model on the market, but it will be close, and you might find yourself paying hundreds less than anywhere else. At other times, retailers will run department-wide sales that you may be able to take advantage of. Research is your most powerful tool in determining what the best price is. Do not make hasty decisions.

Computer Purchasing Tips

Keeping up on the latest technology requires our constant attention. How do you know when you're getting the best deal? How do you know you're not getting scammed? How do you know what to buy and where to buy it? This four-part series is designed to answer these questions.
  1. Computer Purchasing Tips - Retail Store
  2. Computer Purchasing Tips - Direct from Manufacturer
  3. Computer Purchasing Tips - Custom PCs