I hadn’t realized that crazy-quilt pricing, perfected by the airline industry, had moved into the land of white-bread electronics stores.
Sure, I know that you have to bargain when you buy in the low-rent camera stores on Market, Grant, and Kearny streets. When you buy at specialty stores like Wolfs I expect to be rewarded when asking for bundles, cheaper extended warranties, or items to be “thrown in”.
But, I didn’t expect the pricing at Circuit City to vary depending upon where you are when you ask the price.
Unfortunately, the pricing bounces around depending on where you are. On the product page, the cost of a particular camera is $249.99 with a teaser to try for a lower price.
The tease works! Look, the camera is down to $214.99 when it’s nestled in the online shopping cart.
I could have checked out and used Circuit City’s guaranteed ready-in-24-minutes in-store pick up. But, I wanted to look at and touch the product first. So, I abandoned the cart and drove to CC.
I got into the store, (begged for service so I could buy this item), and absentmindedly asked the price. The in-store price was back to $249.99, taxes still not included.
I pulled out a print out I had made of the shopping cart price which I had brought to keep the model numbers straight in my mind. When the clerk saw the print out he said that he couldn’t sell me the camera for the Internet amount. However, he said he could (and did) take me over to a computer hooked up to the Internet and let me buy the camera online. I typed in my credit card, wrote down the order number, went to the pick-up desk, and collected the camera. I saved something like $37.98 for buying online while in the store.
“Hiss, Circuit City. Hiss!”
I just don’t want to have to be this vigilant in watching prices.