Taking Advantage of Post Holiday Open Box Specials
So, the holidays are over and you may have a thing
or two you really wouldn’t have bought for yourself. The good news is that almost everyone is having the same experience which means there are lots of marked down returned goods to peruse through.
I have just recently become a lover of the open box special after torturing myself for months over which laptop to buy. I must have gone to the Apple store, Microsoft store and Best Buy at least 15 times just looking and not having the gut feeling I needed to pull the trigger on a buy. I talked on the phone with my buddy James who does the same thing but less torturously and with ads. He especially watches Office Depot and Walmart though unlike me.
I have become more of a Best Buy fan in recent times after watching them survive when Circuit City died along with so many others. I like the experience of being able to handle a product before I buy it. I am not the biggest fan of their young employees who are often obviously looking around and craving to be elsewhere when I am looking through the open box section though.
It does not bother me that I know what I am looking for and am picky. Cheapskates have 50% the rate of divorce that people that just throw money around do and I think it is about the mindset.
Here is how to best take advantage of open box specials.
- In Store Open Box Specials: I recommend going to the actual store if you can because I have gotten stuff through the mail only to find out the fine print says I can’t return it when I find a defect I can’t tolerate. BestBuy, Target and Walmart always have clearance and or open box areas. Have your smart phone handy so you can research the products on the fly. You might find out that a product was discontinued like the recent Pebble watches I am so fond of meaning that the software wont necessarily be updated a year from now. There are downsides to open box deals. As I mentioned before the young employees may cut corners and not inspect an item properly. Sometimes the savings really aren’t good enough to justify the buy such as $10 off a laptop like mine which was a display model. Mine was in super condition but sometimes they are a bit worn. Open box specials are not repaired like refurbished deals. You also have to make sure that the return policy counts for these items and they still have their warranty.
- Online Open Box Specials: If you do go online now Best Buy shows open boxed options for items. I don’t know if they did it before but they do it now. I am not being reimbursed in any way by them I promise. I just want them to continue to exist. The downside to online opened box deals is that you can’t inspect them.
- Garage Sales: Some stores like REI have events like their garage sale where they set a date and open to the public to go through all the returned products at great discounts. Rei has really great gadgetry for outside orienteering, solar chargers for outdoors people and they are another of my favorites.
- Buying Refurbished: I have had a little luck buying refurbished products in the last few years but some bad experiences too. Generally when something is refurbished I ask myself why they have so many of a new product refurbished already. I bought a Garmin GPS 3 years ago that was really slick looking and a really good deal. It responds to voice commands and is really minimalistic in design. I have to admit I am still using the thing but more than once it has almost gone out the window of my car. It is slow and it quickly shattered when I stepped on it forgetting I put it on the floor of my car so it wouldn’t get stolen.
- The above mentioned stores all sell refurbished items on their website I believe. I know for sure that Apple and Best Buy do. I bought the Garmin from Groupon.com. I also bought a MacBook from Groupon this year and was really disappointed to realize that it was a 2010 model. That is 6 years old and Apple is one of the worst at updating software so fast as to antiquate products that are still relatively new. I had to send it back and it took a good while to get a refund. There are also online stores that specialize in refurbished electronics. Just google refurbished electronics or refurbished whatever you are looking for and see what pops up. Here, Newegg.com is one example of a store specializing in refurbished electronics.
My main thing is to just scrutinize everything. Even when the 22 year old pimpled testosterone laden kid is pacing while you look through the shelf because he has the key to unlock and lock it back you have to be vigilant. Read the small print and read between the lines and please share if you find any really good deals in the comments section below. 🙂 🙂 🙂