By Don Lindich
Week 9, 2017
Q. I was recently in Las Vegas and went to an electronics store. A very savvy retail associate convinced me I needed the latest thing in headphones, and that they were the exclusive purveyor of this new gadget. I had buyer’s remorse and tried to return them 8 hours later, only to find out that they do not accept returns. “You buy it, you keep it!”
Now I’m stuck with these very pricey headphones (although at a $100 discount from their list price, part of the hook that caught me) and am wondering if I really got a good deal or just another of “if it happens in Vegas, it stays in Vegas.”
-T.L.M., Minneapolis, MN
A. I looked at your headset on Amazon, which is the only place I could find it. It was shown at high list prices, but that does not mean much. Many accessory companies set unrealistic list prices for their products, with an actual street selling price that is far less. It is a marketing technique that has no relation to the product’s quality or value. Given the slick sales pitch, the pricing games, and the unwillingness to take it back I don’t think you got a great deal or the product is particularly noteworthy. If it is doing the job as intended, I would not worry about it and just use it for as long as it lasts. Your best friend in these situations is your smartphone, where you can truth-check the seller before you hand over your money. The lack of a manufacturer website may have been a red flag that tipped you off.
The Las Vegas Strip is one of the worst places I know to buy electronics. For example, there are some camera stores on the strip between the casinos. I was there last year and one of them had a new-in-the-box Olympus E-P1 for sale, at full $800 list price. This camera was introduced in 2009 and though it is a great picture taker and one of my all-time favorites, today you can get a much better Olympus camera for less money. That was only one of the many out of date, out of production cameras I saw on the shelves, waiting for an unwary, uneducated customer. This E-P1 has been there every year when I stop in, so at least no one seems to be falling for it.
Given, this, you may wonder why I bother stopping in these stores at all. I stop in because it is like visiting a museum! I love to see all the old cameras on the shelves, and remember when they came out and what was going on in my life back then. It’s a trip back in time for me.
If you are in Las Vegas and want to buy electronics, fortunately one of the best places is there, too. West Coast readers are familiar with Fry’s Electronics, but those in other parts of the country may not be. There is a Fry’s on Las Vegas Boulevard about 2 miles south of Mandalay Bay, and The Deuce and SDX buses that run the strip will take you there in minutes. (It is the Town Square stop.) If you love electronics and have not been to a Fry’s, you should make it a destination the next time you are in Las Vegas. It is 300,000 square feet of electronics of all types, as well as dozens of aisles filled with accessories, music, and movies, all at great prices. You really need to see it to appreciate it, and I never leave empty-handed when I visit. frys.com