Jul 11, 2006
RAM? I Don't Need No Stinking RAM!
My theory is that most people prefer one thing over another given a choice between them. You either like Coke or you like Pepsi, Cheez-Its or Cheese Nips, NFC or AFC, Venus or Serena, Windows or Mac. You get the idea. At the moment I am thinking about Best Buy or Circuit City (we don't have Fry's). Based upon sales, it seems most people prefer Best Buy for their electronics needs. Go to any Best Buy and the joint is packed with shoppers. Circuit City? Not so many. I used to try to support Circuit City because they are the underdog. That's changing. My pocketbook is now voting. I bought a Compaq Presario desktop computer from Circuit City about three or so years ago. It came with 128K of RAM. I didn't know much about the inards of computers when I bought it, but I thought I was living large. I soon found out I was wrong. The thing was so slow that it was painful. So I added a 256K memory chip in the available expansion slot in an effort to speed things up. It brought my RAM to384K and worked pretty well. Now I was cooking with gas! The thing about electronics stores is that they make the real money on the extra stuff like cables, cases, batteries and especially on extended warranties. Hardware and othe major items, like TVs, are so competitive that they have a low markup. My 30G Ipod is between $289 and $299 no matter where you buy it. The crappy case that costs about a buck to make is marked up to $30. That's the big profit. You will also notice that the salespeople at these electronics stores use a gambit I call the "yeah but it is really a piece of crap" to upsell you. For instance, I would not normally spend that $30 bucks for the $1 case for my Ipod, except that the salesguy tells me that the Ipod is prone to screen scratches, so you gotta have the case. Despite its techno-appeal, the Ipod is really a piece of crap. See? Sunday I see in the Circuit City ad that they are having a real deal on memory chips. It occurs to me that I can buy another 256K card to replace the original 128K one for my older Compaq Presario and have 512K of RAM. Minimal by today's standards, but my Compaq keeps working fine so I do what I can to squeeze the last mile out of it. Mostly, I use my laptop, anyway. So I go into the Circuit City store near my home and listen to some mind-numbing explanation of RAM from some kid. The upshot of the deal is that my "older" memory isn't on sale. The new stuff is. The cost for mine is $90. I sugggested to the kid that they ought to sell the older version cheap, because no one wants it...except me. No go. He tells me check online, because I can get it cheaper there. What I did instead was to march over to Best Buy, where they had the same damn memory chip, same brand, same packaging,on sale for $39 bucks, down from, drumroll please, $89. What this tells me is that there is a huge markup on this stuff. I also needed an extension cable for a USB 2.0 port. My old Compaq was built before USB 2.0 so I had to add 2.0 ports to my unit. They are on the back of the computer, so I figured I would get a cable long enough to reach the front so that I could easily use one of them for my external hard drive. The price for a stinking cable? Best Buy $37, Circuit City $37. It occurred to me to check at Target. They had one for $9.99. Again with the markup. My point is that it pays to shop around. Don't let that burning desire to have it now, get the best of your wallet. Merle. Tag: Daily Life Personal Finance Humor