March 31, 2010
Step One. Discover that the Ooma, an internet based telephone system that lets you make unlimited free calls forever, is cheaper at Bestbuy than online.
Step Two. Drive to Bestbuy in McAllen, Texas, with father and stepmother.
Step Three. Pick up an Ooma ($200).
Step Four. Wander by the netbooks. Mmm. Pretty. Listen stepmother ponders getting one. Pro: She and dad have been sharing a single computer for 10 years. By sharing, I mean not sharing. ;) Con: It's not free.
Step Five: Pick up a netbook ($300).
Step Six: Time to go wireless. Pick up a router ($50).
Step Seven: On the way to cash register, quickly scan prices for netbook on phone's internet and note that it's selling for $30 less.
Step Eight: Ask to speak to a manager. Cashier is a bit miffed, but explain nothing is wrong. You're just wanna make a deal. She acquiesces.
Step Nine: State case. The Netbook is cheaper on the Bestbuy website. Oh, and since you're buying $$$ in stuff, can he knock off anything from the other prices?
Step Ten: Smile as he reduces the netbook price by $30 and the Ooma by 5%, or $10. Congrats. In 40 seconds, you've just saved $40.
Consider that $30 of those bucks are money Bestbuy was perfectly willing to give up. They were selling the exact same product for less, online. So at the very least, check prices before you head to a store (or on a phone, while you're shopping, if you can) and see if they can match those. You never know what you're missing or what could be cheaper with a newton of effort.
As for the $10. Indeed, that's not a lot, especially given the starting price. In retrospect I should have asked back, for a bigger discount: perhaps a certain dollar amount, or a counteroffer of 10% or even 20% off. But hindsight is 20/20. And even that minimal effort resulted in, essentially, an almost-free router.