Where is the best place to buy a notebook? In short, someplace with a well trained and specialized sales staff.
For most consumers buying a new computer is a bit confusing. Manufacturers like AMD are attempting to make buying a new notebook easier with their AMD VISION program, but overall most consumers still want someone’s help to buy a new computer. This couldn’t be clearer to the Notebooks.com staff who regularly answers emails and phone calls from readers, family and friends about what computer they should buy. Since not everyone has access to a friendly computer expert, many shoppers are instead relying on the salesperson at their local store.
PC World has put the plethora of notebook and desktop retailers to the test and found the best place to buy a laptop is Amazon; followed closely by Best Buy which received a good rating both online and in store. Retailer were rated on In-Store section, Online Selection, Return policies, Quality of staff responses to phone inquiries and Quality of overall shopping experience. These all combined to reveal which store is best prepared to sell you a notebook.
I wasn’t surprised to see Best Buy come out as the top in-store place to buy a notebook or laptop as the retailing giant has steadily been expanding the number and variety of notebooks and netbooks in its stores. And despite the few bad apples who have given the sales staff and Geek Squad a bad name, most of the employees do know what they are talking about.
PC World also ran down the best places to buy all kinds of electronics including;
- Best Place to buy an HDTV
- Best Place to buy a Digital camera
- Best Place to buy a Desktop
- Best Place to buy a Hard drive
- Best Place to buy a Printer
PC World also shared the “Best and Worst” of their consumer research calls which offer a revealing look into the front line individuals offering consumers advice on computer purchases. Unsurprisingly the worst experiences for computers occurred at department stores like Walmart and Target.
PC World reporters appeared genuinely upset when the lady working the electronics counter at Target couldn’t tell them if a hard drive worked on both PCs and Macs, and just as perturbed when Walmart employees working in electronics were clueless about LED technology and what you need to do to watch videos online.
Personally I don’t understand the frustration. In many stores the specialized sections don’t signify specialized employees, just a specific cash register. You wouldn’t expect the guy working the hardware counter to be an expert in HVAC repair, so why would you expect the lady working in electronics to be a computer specialist? I spent 3 years working in the garden center at KMart and I couldn’t tell you the difference between an annual and a perennial without double checking Wikipedia. Interestingly enough, I could help you find the exact electronic device you needed and the lady working the electronics counter at the time had enough garden knowledge to fill a book.
Lesson: If you want specialized computer assistance, go to a store that specializes in selling computers.