Well it happened again. Last Wednesday I needed a hard drive for a computer. Since I needed it NOW and didn't have one in stock, I safaried to North Charleston to see what kind of local deals I could find from a computer store. This became quite an adventure as you will soon see, but first a little history lesson on computer stores.
I say it happened again because then situation reoccurs about once a year, and that’s not too bad because if you run out of hard drives once a year, it means that the management of that inventory item is about right. You can read about last years safari by clicking here.
Well, so much for history, how about that; A quick look on the internet found a Seagate Barracuda 500 gig SATA drive with 32 megs of cache for $35.99 plus shipping. Best Buy offered the same drive for about $129.99. OUCH that hurt! Who said you couldn't make money on computer stuff.
So I made the trek back to Summerville along Rivers Avenue to Hi way 78 stopping at each computer store I found. The first couple of stores matched the Best Buy price on the same drive. The next offered a 320 gig for $70.00. OK - kind of old and small, that will work ring it up!. Your total is $106.48. WHATTT! How do you get $106.48 from $70.00??? "Sorry sir, I got the wrong price." The darn thing wasn't even in a box and the plastic wrap was torn. Thinking back, this same store tried the same thing on me last year. In fact, it looked liked the same drive.
The next store offered a 500 gig for $255.00. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; $255.00 for a 500 gig drive? I asked to talk with the manager. He was friendly, and we talked about the high price of overhead, and how shipping prices have doubled in the last year. As such he said “you seem to be a nice guy. I’ll tell you what, I’ll let you have the drive for $205.” The manager became visibly upset when I turned him down.
Next stop Wal-Mart: Main Street, Summerville.. They had 6 Seagate 1 Ter SATA drives 16 megs cache in the box with cables and documentation for 98.98 plus tax, and a guarantee that if it didn't work, I could bring it back. Eureka! I HAVE MY DRIVE AT LAST!!!
Not so fast! Last year when I purchased a hard drive from Wal-Mart, I had to take it back twice. They exchanged it quickly, but there was still the hassle of going back and forth to Wal-mart. But not this time. This time the first drive was good and my hard drive safari was over.
For many computer stores, the game has changed very little. If they sell a Dell with a 1 Ter drive, it may have originally come from the factory with a 350 gig drive. They take that one out and place it in a plastic wrapper and sell it for $150.00 plus $30.00 for cables. Then they buy a 1Ter gig drive for $59.95 with cables and mark the Dell unit up $150.00. The new cables that came with the drive are placed in new packaging and sold separately. That’s $305.05 in additional profit.
Perhaps if we run out of drives next year, we’ll write a “hard drive safari 2012.