Best And Worst Places To Buy Tech Gear

PC World has compiled a list of the best and worst places to buy a range of gadgets, including digital cameras, laptops and printers. While many of the results may not be surprising (Amazon ranked at or near the top in almost every category), there are a few interesting wrinkles, including a Best Buy victory for HDTV shopping.

One reason for the Best Buy win is sheer practicality: In a store, PCW points out, you can “test-view the TVs in action.” However, the mag also gave Best Buy an edge for some other qualities:

Nationally, the highest-ranked retailer for large HDTVs was Best Buy, which im­­pressed us with the range of models it had available. The Best Buy salespeople we spoke to earned high marks for their answers to our HDTV questions. The best information came from staffers who worked in the store’s television department; they usually explained technical details–such as refresh rate and contrast ratio–with accuracy, clarity, and patience.

The study also includes a list of some of the best and worst answers PCW’s researchers received when calling retailers for the story. Our faves:

When we asked a Target team member in Memphis whether a certain hard drive was compatible with both Macs and PCs, she replied, “I have no idea; my husband does these things for me.” Great–then why are you the one working in the electronics department?

One sales clerk at at Walmart in Minneapolis was a little behind the times when it comes to laptops. He told us to “go to Walmart.com, you know, on the Internet” to look at the retailer’s selection, because he had no idea what was available. To watch videos online, he advised, we should “download some programs” first; and he had never heard of an LED backlit screen, volunteering that it was “probably something new.” Imagine our shock when he confided that “We are actually not computer specialists; we just sell them and know the basics.”

Best Places to Buy [PCWorld]