Buying at Apple Store (physical location) or Web Store: Pros & Cons?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Ryvius, May 18, 2004.

  1. Ryvius macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2004
    #1
    I'm going to be using my Apple student discount to get a new Powerbook soon. Which would be more ideal in terms of price configuration: getting it on the web, or getting it at an Apple store?

    I'm not aware if Apple stores honor the education discounts the web does. It would surprise me if they didn't, but I figure I might as well check anyway.

    --Ryvius
     
  2. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #2
    Answer

    Ever thought about just calling and checking? They do, by the way, but only on hardware and hardware related items (app, airport).
     
  3. Elan0204 macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #3
    If you want to customize your powerbook you need to buy it online. So only buy it at the store if you want the default configuration. Also, sales tax at the retail store will be slightly higher than buying it online. The Apple online store charges sales tax at the state rate (for example 6.5% in IL). Buying your computer at an Apple retail store means that you will be charged the local sales tax rate, which is the state rate plus county/city rate (for example this is 8.75% where I live in IL). The real advantage of buying at the retail store is instant gratification of buying your powerbook and taking it home with you, instead of waiting for shipping.

    To summarize:

    Pros and Cons of Buying Online:
    +Customize Powerbook
    +Lower Sales Tax (probably about 2%, depending on location)
    +Free Shipping
    -Waiting for your computer to ship and be delivered.

    Pros and Cons of Retail Store:
    +Instant Gratification
    +Easier return if computer is DOA (no shipping it back to Apple)
    -No Customization
    -Slightly Higher Sales Tax

    That's all I can think of. Anyone else have more pros/cons for each option?
     
  4. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus

    AmbitiousLemon

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Location:
    down in Fraggle Rock
    #4
    Frankly I would never buy any LCD online unless the deal was really great.

    The advantage of buying at a physical store is that you can open the product out and test it before using it. This eliminates the risk of getting dead pixels on your lcd and any other DOA type problems.

    Buying online you can sometimes find deals, but usually they aren't worth the risk. If you do choose to buy online I would suggest looking into buying from a third party vendor (but a reputable one). Third party vendors will usually not charge tax and often include free shipping (apple includes free shipping). Third party vendors will also offer a lot of freebies (printers, digi cams, etc) that might sweeten the deal (even if you just end up selling them or giving them to friends/family).

    So check online and see if you can find significant savings or deals that appeal to you. Then weigh whether it is worth the risk of getting a defective product. Remember many problems will be covered under warranty (though a hassle you don't lose any money) but some problems (like dead pixels) you are stuck with and have no means of fixing the problem.
     
  5. Elan0204 macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #5
    If you buy from a 3rd party vendor online you will most likely not qualify for any student discounts. Additionally, I highly doubt an Apple store will let you open a powerbook, look at its screen for dead pixels, and then not buy it if you are unhappy with the results. If one or two dead pixels (below the eight or so required for a lcd replacement) are that big a deal to you, you may have to pay a restocking fee if you want to get a different powerbook.
     
  6. DJ Tony Psalms macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Sun Valley, CA
    #6
    Buying at Apple Store (physical location) or Web Store: Pros & Cons?

    If you want to buy a stock model, by all means go to the Apple store. If your gonna do some up-grades, you can do it at home via Apple's on-line store. I purchased an iBook 12" in AUG '03 with the assumption that I could 've brought home that day. I was mistaken, and had to wait a week or so for it. ALSO, if you opt for upgrades, YOU CANNOT RETURN IT! even if it's still factory sealed!!!

    :(

    P.S. Any info on how to post a new thread? I'm a newbie and... I just can't figure it out :mad: Someone please reply and advise! Thanks!!! :D
     
  7. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus

    AmbitiousLemon

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Location:
    down in Fraggle Rock
    #7
    True but because you pay taxes when buying from Apple and Apple's edu diso****s sucks, it ends up being cheaper to buy from third party vendors (at least in my experience with CA taxes).

    This simply isn't true. I have been to many computer stores and have always opened products before buying. I have never been asked to pay a restocking fee. Also the store is in a much better position to deal with defective products than you are. They can get Apple to fix things that you would not be able to. And as a last resort they can always but the computer on display. I assume this is why they are so agreeable to allowing people to check out the machine.

    Now if you are socially retarded [not directed at anyone here] and just run in and start opening boxes yelling that you are looking for dead pixels you may have a problem, but if you talk to a sales rep for awhile and let them feel like they are making a sale and then simply ask to see the machine start up you will have more luck.
     
  8. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #8
    Apple's retail stores honor the educational discounts on hardware but not software
     
  9. Elan0204 macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #9
    Anyone know if an Apple retail store will let you do this? I can understand a smaller independant retailer being more flexible, but this just seems like something Apple wouldn't permit.

    AmbitiousLemon, have you done this at any big chain store, or only smaller independant shops? Just asking because if it is a store I could find here, I'd like to shop there.
     
  10. abhishekit macrumors 65816

    abhishekit

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Location:
    akron , ohio
    #10
    just goto any section, there is a button on top left, which says new post..

    cheers
     
  11. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #11
    physical apple stores will not let you open the box for inspection. there may be lucky exceptions but it's not an official policy.
     
  12. remingtonhill macrumors member

    remingtonhill

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #12
    You should call 1-800-MY-APPLE

    Chances are, you are going to want a custom configured computer.

    Especially with the memory sales on new apple desktop systems, you want apple to at least install one 512 module in your new Imac.

    It's cheap to upgrade a 15 or 17 powerbook with a 5200 RPM drive and 128 Megs of video ram.

    Powermacs also benefit from upgrades. Memory sale makes it cheap to have 1 gig installed in your G5 (why wouldn't you want that?) and an ATI 9600 Pro is only a $50 upgrade over the Nvidia 5200.

    Wait the 5 or 7 days or whatever and order the computer you really want. You're spending alot of money for something that you will likely have for quite awhile.

    One last thing, call 1-800-MY-APPLE rather then ordering online. Jobs depend on it.


    ----
    12" Thinkpad 760ed. 133 Mhz P 1
     
  13. denm316 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #13
    You cant custom configure anything at the Apple store, that means no custom hardrives or video card changes. The only thing you can change is RAM, but why would you want to because they charge so much for it.

    Go for apple.com, thats what I did for my recent powerbook order.
     

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