Since I first started building my own computers, I've used these specific rules:
1. Look for a small shop owned and run by a Chinese guy.
2. Do not expect excellent service. As long as the service is efficient and quick, it will be sufficient. You should be able to walk in, buy your parts, and walk out all within 15 minutes.
3. Play stores off of each other to get a lower price.
4. Do your research and know what you're getting before you buy.
5. The store should not have a reputation of cheating the customer.
6. At all costs, avoid Future Shop, London Drugs, or any other big retail chain.
Of course, as the years passed, it was more plausible to shop at online stores. Especially since it was the online stores that carried all the hot deals. I'm not a hot deal hunter like Ted or Vlad, but it's still nice to reap the benefits of one now and then. :)
This is not Let's Diss Rom Day. The poor guy was just unfortunate to get a job at Best Buy in the computer section. :)
I extraordinarily disliked my experiences with Future Shop computer salespeople.
PakG1: So, what's so special about this RAM? The store down the street sells RAM for half the price.
Future Shop Whipping Boy: It comes in a box! That store will give it to you in a bag!
PakG1: ... That's cool. But I want to buy the RAM. Not the box.
Future Shop Whipping Boy: If it's in a box, it's more reliable!
PakG1: ... Hmm, thanks. Well, gotta go!
Mind you, there are some excellent diamonds in the rough. Not all Future Shop computer salespeople are ignorant about what they're selling. I have some friends who are quite capable of selling what they have to sell (and they work at big retail chains). My big question is why oh why does that not seem to be the norm?
The 80/20 Rule has been long known in business. It's not anything new (well, it might have been new to the Best Buy execs). 80% of your profits are generated by 20% of your customers. Thus, a huge percentage of your customers actually cause you to have losses. Strategies have long existed to deal with this issue and cull customers that are not profitable. I repeat: what Best Buy is doing is nothing new. But how many companies come out and say, "We're going to actively try to lose some of our customers"? It makes no PR sense whatsoever! Every other company has spun it in a favourable fashion; CRM (customer relationship management) systems perhaps comprise the latest and best method so far. But Best Buy has to come out and put mud on its face. It looks lovely on you, dude.
So you gotta love Dell. Heh.
Yeah, so I haven't bought computer parts at Future Shop for a long while now. Nor at Best Buy, its new parent company.
Did you know that Bill Gates gets 4 million e-mails a day? Now we know why he got the R&D department to invest in anti-spam technology. :D