Tag Archive for 'best-buy'

I might skip this Black Friday shopping

I have been in the market for a low-end laptop for a while and the preferred choice so far has been the Compaq Presario for $299 (after rebate) from Circuit City. However the more I look at my options the more it sounds like I might skip this year Black Friday altogether. Unfortunately it looks like none of the return rebuy tricks will work this season. Read what this FatWallet member says about Circuit City:

I remember last year, CC closed the customer care/return counters. All the cashiers were ringing up new sales. You might not be able to return on it that day

Here is another comment apparently from a former Circuit City employee in reply to a post where a member suggests to price match the laptop:

From previous experience of working at CC during black friday, our store had a specific NO PRICEMATCH policy during black friday. They would not pricematch because they are “limited” offers.

The other laptop I was considering is HP Core Solo for $379.99 from Best Buy. I actually went there yesterday to take a look at it and I should say it looks very stylish compared to the brick-like Compaq Presario. So I dug into Best Buy related discussions hoping to find some useful tips but so far I only see comments like this:

2 years or so ago I went to Best Buy as my 2nd stop or so because there’s wasn’t anything I was desperate to have. The problem was getting in the store or even getting the product… I stood in line for over an hour just to CHECK OUT. They literally had a line winding all around the entire store like that snake game you play where you try not to run into yourself. It was the biggest @#$()*! joke I’ve ever seen.

This is very discouraging and looks like this year it will not be different. Best Buy has pretty good deals compared to other stores and most people will be shopping there but… probably without me. I might still go just for the sake of shopping spirit (and if I find a company to spend long hours in the line) however I am certainly not as anxious anymore.

For those of you who have not given up the idea here is a good article with tips on how to make the most out of your Black Friday shopping.

Which laptop should I buy?

I am looking at the low-end Black Friday laptop offerings. My old IBM Thinkpad running 366MHz Intel Pentium II badly needs a replacement (yeah, I am that cheap ;-)). I will mainly use it for word processing, Internet browsing, and basic image editing (that pretty much sums up my midnight blogging :-)).

Here is a quick roundup of all promotions I have found around the forums and web sites. What do you think? I am leaning towards the Circuit City one since I don’t really need a 80GB hard drive. The only concern is the quality of these brands. I like my IBM laptop a lot, is Compaq going to be much worse?

CompUSA Compaq Presario
AMD Sempron 3300+
15.4″ high-definition widescreen
CD & DVD reader/writer
512MB DDR2 memory
80GB hard drive

$399.99 (after $230 mail-in rebate)
$199.99 with Motorola RAZR ($29.99) and 1 year service

Best Buy HP
Intel Centrino Technology 
Core Solo T1350
15.4″ widescreen
CD & DVD reader/writer
512MB memory
80GB hard drive

$379.99 (no rebates)
Ad Scan

Toshiba Satellite
Intel Celeron M 420
533MHz FSB, 1.6GHz CPU
15.4″ widescreen
CD reader/writer & DVD reader
512MB memory
60GB hard drive

$249.99 (no rebates)

Circuit City Compaq Presario
Intel Celeron M 420
15.4″ BrightView(TM) widescreen
CD & DVD reader/writer
60GB hard drive
free upgrade to Vista Basic

$299.99 (after $100 mail-in rebate)
$99 with 12 month Vonage subscription
Ad Scan

Staples Compaq Presario
Turion 64 Mobile Technology ML-28
15.4″ widescreen
CD reader/writer & DVD reader
60GB hard drive

$399 (no rebates)
Ad Scan

All stores open November 24, 5am except Staples which opens 6am
Here is a relevant discussion at FatWallet

Update 11/21: added unadvertised Best Buy Toshiba laptop

Black Friday CompUSA ad leaked

Finally the real stuff starts to show up. — one of the Black Friday companies I mentioned earlier — has posted a full scan of CompUSA Black Friday ad.

Among other things the ad features a Compaq Presario notebook for $199 and a 23-inch LCD Flat Panel HD Ready TV for $99. Both require a purchase of Motorola RAZR phone ($29.99) with a new service plan.

Make a note of these bargains. The company had to remove the Best Buy ad scan that they posted previously.

With prices dropping to these levels this shopping season is promising to be a lot of fun!

MIR, PM, AC, YMMV – Is it worth the hassle?

Forums at FatWallet and SlickDeals are full of shopping techniques that sometimes allow you to bring the product price into the negative territory. That is right – how strange this could sound – the store ends up owing you! The most elaborate ones I have seen require use of price matching, mail-in rebates, and stacked in promotional coupons – all at the same time.

While price matching sounds like a good idea when you need that warm feeling that you don’t overpay (and to get on deals like this) – it sometimes can end up costing you a lot of time and effort. I will confess, I myself took this route not once. It often turns into a challenge: “Will I be able to pull it off?” I am sure the “boasting rights to the best price” play certain role in it as well. But let’s face it. There are so many better things to do than arguing with the store manager over the price for that DVD.

Due to overall customer dissatisfaction with mail-in rebates some retailers are bailing out of the program altogether. The whole concept of mail-in rebate is so unpopular that certain web sites have used it to their advantage by offering only no-rebate bargains while others have been monetizing on the challenges you will face should you get on the MIR hook.

If you are still not convinced here is some must read material to get you started. In any case it is up to you to decide what you want to do with your time.

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