Your Opinion: What’s Your Brick-And-Mortar Electronics Store?

This article is not about the things we buy online but rather the traditional stores we use to buy our electronic stuff.

With electronics items, you can either go to a store that’s specifically deals in electronics, an office supply store, or a department store.

In the United States, these are the choices we have (this is not a complete list but covers most of them):

Electronics specific

Note on CompUSA: Yes, they still exist, but only in very particular areas as there are only 23 of them left, most of which are in Florida where PCMech is based.

Reasons to go to electronics stores:

  • They will have electronic items on display that other stores don’t have.
  • Better choice of electronic items.
  • Prices for most products are similar to what you can buy it for online.

Which do you think is the best of the above three electronics stores? Post a comment.

Office supply stores

Reasons to go to office supply stores:

  • If nobody else has the inkjet cartridge specific for your printer, an office supply store most likely will.
  • Less lines. Faster in and out.
  • The parking lots for office supply stores always seem to be better for some strange reason? Hey, it’s a perk. Less door dings is a good thing.

Which do you think is the best of the above three office supply stores? Post a comment.

Department stores

Reasons to go to department stores:

  • Cheapest of the bunch.
  • Stupidly easy no-questions-asked return policy if whatever you buy doesn’t work.
  • Whatever you want is almost always in stock and easy to get.

Which do you think is the best of the above three department stores? Post a comment.

Tell us what you think about the above choices, good or bad. If there’s a store you’d like to mention not listed above, go right ahead. Make sure to note if it’s regional or national. Your opinion will help out those who like to hear about store experiences for tech products.


  1. Steve Stone says:

    Electronics stuff: I only go to local brick and mortar stores if I need something right now or something is one sale. Best Buy is my local choice though it never has been the total solution. Non sale items can be way overpriced compared to online shops. I once purchased an 8 port 10/100 switch online at NewEgg for one third the asking price at Best Buy. I only go to Radio Shack if I need a small part or an unusual battery. Otherwise they are useless unless you want to buy a cell phone plan or a RC car. I avoid big ticket items at Radio Shack after purchasing “new” items that once the box was opened I found they are actually reboxed returns missing plugs, cables, covers, scratched, etc.

    The only office supply store in my area is Staples. Watch their rebates. They’ve switched from rebate checks to debit cards that take 6 months to get in your mail box and those debit cards can be difficult to use if you go over the balance left on the card or you are stuck with a buck or two left on the card.

    Big box stores: locally I prefer Target to Walmart. Walmart rarely has what I need and has that picked over feel to everything on their shelves.

  2. Similar to Steve – I only make a trip out to a “brick and mortar” store if I’m looking for something that day. Best Buy is usually where I head, because of location and their selection. Their prices, however, are appalling compared to online retailers. I order from newegg whenever possible.

  3. Bruce Johnson says:

    Southern California (Los Angeles): Fry’s ( Can be a total geek store; can find components on up to computers and everything electronic.
    Office supply: Both Staples and Office Depot. Can usually find what I need between them.
    Department Store: Target (2 of them) are close, so tend to go there. However, a reasonable drive gets me to Wal-Mart with a larger selection.

  4. CompUSA is actually owned and operated by TigerDirect now. They have the same deals and prices and stock as which is one of the best places to buy online. Not only do they beat Wal-Mart and other stores’ prices, but you can go to the brick&mortar store, shop around and have the same prices as online. If they don’t have what you want in the store that’s near you, there is an awesome option, not offered by Wal-Mart or others, to browse their entire website right there in the store on any of the display computers, order the product in the store and have it shipped to your house…for FREE. beat that 🙂

    • Best Buy is my first stop if I need something right away, but as everyone has said it tends to be more expensive. Usually I end up at Tiger Direct, but only if I know EXACTLY what I’m looking for. Tiger tends to sell throw back items. Be carefull because Tiger can be difficult with their return policy. Best Buy has the best return policy – no questions asked.

      Nick is correct in that CompUSA and Tiger are the same. They are both owned by Systemax which has also bought Circuit City for their grand reopening.

  5. Fry’s in Indianapolis for me!

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