Tech savings elusive for Black Friday shopping

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Tech savings elusive for Black Friday shopping

A lot of Canadians will be heading over the border to Washington State this weekend for Black Friday sales.

A big part of those sales will involve consumer electronics and gadgets. Will these shoppers save money? Not necessarily. retailers for the same products was long a sore spot for shoppers north of the 49th. Prices finally levelled out, more or less, when the Canadian dollar reached parity with its American counterpart and Canadian consumers complained.

In general, Canadians still pay more for the exact same device. no matter what the currency exchange rates have been. but $419 in Canada. The Apple TV is $99 for Americans and $109 for Canadians. and $1,349 for Canucks.

Apple is not alone. The Fire, while considered a good tablet, is a sour example of paying more for less since the Canadian

version does not have access to Amazon’s music or video stores, two key services for which the Fire was designed to showcase.

Often the differences in pricing make no sense. Dell sells its Venue 8 Pro tablet, an apparent sleeper hit, for $299 on both sides of the border. and $549 in Canada. Why?

In other cases, the prices for the same products are exactly the same. Want to buy an Xbox One? Save gas and get it at home because it’s $499 on both sides of the border. The same goes for the PlayStation 4 at $399. Microsoft, by the way, seems to be one of the most Canada friendly of tech brands. Its Surface tablets cost exactly the same in both Richmond and Redmond.

You can see a pattern here. For the major brands, few of the differences in price between north and south are enough to make you jump into the car to Bellingham, unless you’re buying in bulk. At most the differences are enough to be annoying, as if the Americans are reminding us they’re still peeved we didn’t join their republic. One other point: to the best of my knowledge, none of the devices I’ve mentioned here will be discounted for Black Friday.

So why cross the border at all for consumer tech? The reason is much greater choice and a range of cheap, no name products and accessories you’ll never find at home. and here in Canada and you’ll wonder if you’re dealing with the same retailer when it comes to inventory. The same goes for brick and mortar stores like Best Buy. Americans simply have more stuff to sell.

Televisions are a good example. The Canadian Best Buy site offers products from eight manufacturers. The American Best Buy offers more than 50 brands. A lot of them are small, no name knockoffs, but in an era when most modern TVs are good enough for the great majority cheap jerseys of consumers, these smaller brands are where savings are found. But they are for sale only in America.

There are a couple of other points to consider before you decide if you’ll head south. On Black Friday, real savings will be found in Washington State, but you’ll have to rely on smarts, luck and (in true American style) aggression against other shoppers in finding bargains. A lot of the sales seem to work exactly the same as Boxing Day, that is deeply discounting a few, often obsolete items to attract hordes of shoppers into the stores where, once the discounted items are gone, they’ll find regular prices for everything else.

Another consideration involves returns and servicing. Products you buy at an American Best Buy must be returned to an American Best Buy if you want a refund or need servicing. Best Buy Canada won’t do it, so be prepared to make additional trips south if you want to return that iPad or get it replaced if it doesn’t work.

Categories: Columns

Added: Monday, June 7th, 2010 at 0:58


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