The One Thing to Never Buy at Best Buy
Or any other big box electronic store.
When I was in high school, I worked as a Best Buy sales associate. The best part was getting to play with all the latest tech, but the discount wasn’t so bad either. Employees would pay only an additional 5 percent over the wholesale cost of the products. But what made a good deal for me, meant that there were high mark-ups for customers.
The biggest mark-up I found? Cables—HDMI, AV, USB, you name it: Every cord I rang up, the employee price was at least 70 percent lower. While a customer would pay close to $30 for an HDMI cord for their new TV, I would pay less than $2. I learned that, at the time, the company’s model, as well as other big-box electronics stores, was discounting big-ticket items, like cameras, big screen TVs, and computers, to draw customers in, but then marking up accessories to make a profit.
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When I left my high school employer for college, it was a priority for me to find similar deals for non-employees, because once you pay $1.50 for an HDMI cord, you’re not wailing to pay $30 again. My Best Buy coworker’s preferred provider? Amazon, which they said had prices that were, on average, right around our employee discount price.
Now, this was more than five years ago. In 2010, Amazon Prime wasn’t the life-saving behemoth it is in 2017. When you ordered off of Amazon, you would save a lot up front for a non-name brand cord. You’d also likely have to pay for shipping. Today, the game is different: you can get a high-speed HDMI cable from the AmazonBasics brand for $6.50. And you won't even have to wait two days: Prime members get free one-day shipping if they spend over $35 on the site.
Amazon remains a great deal for cords, but should you still not buy your cords from Best Buy? It depends. Cord prices at Best Buy are a lot cheaper than they were six years ago. A Best Buy representative told RealSimple.com in an e-mail that the store's Dynex brand is the most comparable to AmazonBasics. Their 9’ 4K Ultra HD HDMI cable, retails for $7—only a 50-cent difference from Amazon. On average, the price difference between the store’s Dynex brand and Amazon Basics ranges between $0.50 and $3, usually in Amazon’s favor. So, if you’re out shopping at Best Buy and need an AUX cable, it might be worth the extra dollar or two for the convenience of having it now.
But if you’re looking for a better all-around deal, head to Amazon. Not only will you save a couple of quarters, but all their HDMI cables come with a lifetime warranty, and their other cables come with a one-year limited warranty. At Best Buy, all Dynex cables—including the HDMI cords—come with only a 90-day limited warranty. If you want more protection, you’ll have to pay for it. For an HDMI cord with a 1-year limited warranty (and additional HDR support), the price jumps up to $30 for an 8’ Insignia brand cable. For a lifetime warranty, you’ll need to purchase from the Rocketfish brand, which is $40 for an 8’ cable.
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When reached for comment, a Best Buy spokesperson responded that they do not comment on sales or strategy. However, they did share that Best Buy will match prices for identical products, meaning it must be a matching brand, model number, and color to qualify. To see their complete price match policy, check out BestBuy.com.