Monday, August 9, 2010

Learning The Hard Way At Radio Shack

In 2 months, my daughter and I both burned out power cords for our respective laptops. I went to a local Radio Shack to get a cord for my daughter's notebook, the kind with the little box that steps down the power from 110 volts to 18.5 volts. The sales person at Radio Shack sold me an iGo laptop wall charger, which had a sleek green logo and a bunch of adaptors so you could plug in any laptop you want. It was a lot more bells and whistles than I wanted, but I was in a hurry. The eager young salesman rang up the power cord. It was $99.99 plus tax. I was shocked, but I had never replaced a power cord before, so I bit my tongue and paid the price.

This morning, my power cord died. I couldn't check my e mails. I could have run around the corner to Radio Shack, but I wanted to find an alternative to a $100.00 cord. So I went to a local computer repair shop about 3/3 of a mile away from where I live. The guy is independent. He doesn't own a chain of stores.

His walls are a jumble of cables, peripherals and accessories. I showed him my dead power cord. He went over to a hook on the wall and pulled down a power cord with tiny writing on it. Sure enough the specs matched my burned out old cord. I winced as I asked him how much the thing cost. "$25.00 plus tax", he replied. I paid him with a smile and said, "Thanks on 2 counts. First, you had the cord I wanted. Secondly, now I know how badly I got ripped off at Radio Shack."

I can't say I'll never shop again at Radio Shack. But I will look at local merchants and at Staples before I ever go to Radio Shack. Usually, Radio Shack will have a hard to get item that I am looking for, but it is all too frequently overpriced. If the sales person at Radio Shack would have sold me a reasonably priced item, he would have had a repeat customer. Since I was overcharged, it will probably be a very long time before I go back to Radio Shack. Who wants to pay $100.00 for a computer power cord when I can get one for $25.00? Not me.

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