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Arguably the best shoping experience I ever had.

Last response: in Opinions and Experiences
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January 16, 2002 2:56:58 AM

Here is my story:

->
Little had I realised 10 days ago looking at the pile of specs and notes on my desk, the volumes of information I had amassed. In the past couple of months I have been determined to locate a new monitor that I would concider ideal to replace a 10 year old 15" NEC standing, without doubt, on its last legs.

(Friends consider me one of the most carefull consumers around. All information on product, models, price, quality etc has to be collected and thoroughly weighed against all options before making a several hundred dollar purchase. All retail stores in a 150 mile radius have to be checked for the models they carry, and the web has to be combed day after day; from professional product reviews to user opinions and forum discussions. Bookstores have to be visited and technical documents have to be scanned for updates and education in CRT and LCD monitor technology... You get the idea? You probably don't want to be the salesman when Thomas enters the store...)

Last week the 10 year old NEC died (long live). I had found an excellent computer retail store 90 miles away. The only store I am aware of that has a large enough selection of professional grade monitors on the floor; from Mitsubishi Diamondtrons, to Lecie Electron BlueIII, to NEC FP series, to Philips Brilliance 190P etc (CompUSA can't even dream of these things).

Unfortunately, my customer experience in that store was less than satisfactory. I decided to only purchase a monitor that I have actually physically observed with my own eyes. It took me three consecutive days to make a decision while being carefull not to bother the salesmen. The second day the choice was narrowed in only two units and I compiled a price list through PriceGrabber overnight. The next day I finally asked a salesman to place the two monitors (an 18" and a 17" LCD of different makes) next to each other so as to make a decision. So he did. After that, everything went downhill. The salesman was not happy at all to see my "PriceGrabber" list. He immediately gave me a long face and made me feel unwelcome while mumbling under his teeth "bla, bla,...hooked up the monitor for nothing...bla, bla".

It was made loud and clear to me that the store was NOT, NOT, NOT willing to compete with online warehouses; only with other retail stores in the area (such as CompUSA, OfficeDepot, Staples... etc). The store was NOT giving-up an inch on its $900 asking price whereas the online stores had it for $777 including shipping. Needless to say I left that store bitter and desperate; I was ready to buy but "he" wasn't ready to sell.

Then.. in the spur of the moment (don't know what make me think of it) I decided to check and see if by any remote unlikely chance the other local retail stores were carrying the same LCD monitor as in the professional store(I already new what models they carry, but that was for their CRTs, I didn't know until the end that I would decide to go with LCD).
So I drove around. Checked CompUSA.. nothing. Checked ComputeCity... nothing (you should see the face of THAT salesman when he saw my PriceGrabber list "...oh Sh@#$" he mumbled). Checked OfficeMax.. nothing. Checked OfficeDepot.. nothing. At that point I was going to just forget it and order online, thus putting a stop to inflating my gas bill by driving around.

At the BOTTOM of the list was ..STAPLES (who would have thought)

Then a series of events knocked me off my shocks:

Surprise #1: Lo and behold, STAPLES did carry the model (who would expect?) not on dispaly, but on their website.

Surprise #2: The STAPLES salesman didn't even flinch when he saw my PriceGrabber list of online prices.

Surprise #3: STAPLES matched (yes they MATCHED) the lowest online price that could be found ON MY OWN LIST( it helps a lot that PriceGrabber lists the shipping cost for your ZipCode). So we are talking $900-$777= $123 savings right on the spot NO HASSLE.

Surprise #4: STAPLES would honor its regular return policy! Unlike the online stores, STAPLES would accept the monitor back, DEFECTIVE OR NOT, if not completely satisfied within 14 days (dealing directly with the actual physical store, no shipping back to anywhere).

I placed the order through that store immediatelly !
After being surprised 4 fold, I was beginning to feel weird, my legs were getting week. Too much excitment.

Surprise #5: Looked at the receipt. I said "what the..." Who could believe it, I was given a 10% DISCOUNT ON TOP of matching the lowest price.

Surprise #6: The monitor was purchased on a Sunday and scheduled to be received on Friday. It was actually delivered Tuesday evening (a mere one and a half days from the point of purchase)

Maybe it was the fact that I was already desperate that STAPLES seems to have saved the day...

..But will say this for sure; this store has earned a whole lot of new found respect from THIS customer.

They were able to absorb the demands of one of the most difficult consumers while keeping a polite smile.
NOT ONLY DID THEY ABSORB EVERYTHING I THREW AT THEM, THEY ACTUALLY SURPASSED ME in every imaginable way.

And on top of that, the brand new monitor has no defects, no dead pixels to be seen anywhere and none of the potential problems associated with LCD that would make someone loose some sleep hoping that tomorrow he won't be the unlucky new owner of a bad batch FlatScreen display.

Of course factors such as dead pixels are beyond STAPLES's control. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the coincidential spotless working condition of the monitor helped summarized what turned out be my best shopping experience to date!

This store has a lot of guts to go face to face with online competitors.

And yes! You bet it will be the first place to look for anything I need in the future !

Sorry for the long post, I couldn't keep this to myself any longer... I wanted to share this experience.

Thomas A.
February 9, 2002 10:55:04 PM

not bad. Who would of thought...Staples!
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Anonymous
February 12, 2002 2:05:46 PM

It's great to see that people can still have decent expierences at retail stores. I have all but given up hope. U should write staples a letter. It's also really good to see that others research before they buy.
February 18, 2002 5:49:23 AM

What was Staples original online price? Man, I thought they were overpriced and wouldn't budge an inch. Then again, I really never tested them like you did. Your an inspiration! I'll definitely try your technique out on my next purchase. I've got a Staples like 2 miles from my apartment.
February 18, 2002 4:03:16 PM

The Original price was $899.98. As far as I now most (if not all) retail stores have very similar prices in a lot of items and their prices are "always" higher than online warehouses. However, in this particular occasion the most expensive online store (from PriceGrabber.com -02/18/02-) is listing the same model for $(959.00+shipping).

The model was a NEC MultisyncLCD 1830. (I have to admit, this monitor is spotless and its a pleasure to have it)

Aaa..one more thing: When comparing prices between Retail and online stores, you would have to include the shipping charge for the online store (Fair is fair).<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Askitis on 02/18/02 01:18 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
March 23, 2002 11:11:24 AM

got a question for you. what do you do with the monitor. i'm looking at possibly getting one for medium gaming. how does this one do on rpgs (diablo 2) or an rts?
March 23, 2002 6:57:49 PM

i got my samsung 170T monitor from staples.com. they have a 110% pricematch so their overpriced items are you even save an extra 10%. they had the monitor for a 950, and i showed them that another place had the monitor for 760 after shipping, and they told me thay had to check this out, so after 1 hour they call back and we ended the dead, hehe. i got my item 1 day after the expected deal but that was not staples fault, it was UPS who who did a mistake. anyway, i will for sure buy from them again when they have such a good price guarantee. and if something is wrong, you can send it back and get a new one. hehe they are better then i thought, a wide selection online.
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