Shopping Online vs. Brick and Mortar

I mentioned a few days ago that I was interested in getting a new keyboard and mouse. Through my own research and the comments on that post, the Logitech S 530 seems like the best fit for me. Normally, I just buy tech stuff online (from Amazon when I can), but a keyboard and mouse are very much personal preference items and I wanted a chance to try them out in the store before I bought them.

A few online searches showed that CompUSA was the only local big box retailer to carry the S 530 (nothing at Best Buy, Circuit City, MicroCenter, Office Max or Office Depot), and they had them at all of the local stores except th one closest to me.

So I called the number for the next nearest store, followed the prompts to check product availability, and was transferred to a central operator who told me all of the local stores were sold out except for one ~25 miles away.

This was surprising to me for 2 reasons:

  1. It means that the inventory information on the web site (including the option to buy online and pick up in the store) is wrong, and there is updated information available internally.
  2. Calling the local store will route you to a central operator instead of getting the local store you called.

I asked the central operator how I could get in touch with the local store, and was told to hit ’0′ when I got the IVR. So I called the local store back, and hit ’0′ at the IVR. Sure enough, I got transferred to someone in customer care at the local store.

I asked this fellow if he could see if an item was in stock for me, and he told me he was very busy and that I’d have to hold. So hold I did, for 13 minutes, until I was hung up on. I called back, sat on hold for another 5 minutes, then got through to a different person who transferred me to a “sales rep”. Another 3 minutes on hold, and the sales rep confirmed what the central operator had told me – there was no stock available at the local store.

I asked if he could check the other stores in the area, and he told me that he couldn’t. He told me to call the other stores directly. Since it took nearly 30 minutes to get the info from this store, I decided it wasn’t worth it to do the same song and dance for the other stores.

Instead I went online to Amazon, and with a single click ordered the Logitech S 530 to be delivered overnight for $15 $24 (including tax) cheaper than the local brick and mortar stores had it listed for.

Sure I didn’t get to test drive it first, but quite frankly I’d be a lot happier if I’d never even bothered with the local stores and had just ordered it online to begin with. Even if I don’t like it and have to send it back, it’s still less hassle.