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Another category of retail store where you can buy PCs today is the office store. These are stores that sell primarily office supplies (paper, pens, office furniture and the like) and include chains like Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot. At one time, PCs were a "sideline" part of these stores. Today, as computers continue to play an increasingly important role in the office of nearly every business, these stores have expanded their selection of computers and computer-related peripherals greatly.
Office stores are a good place to shop for peripherals and supplies, though prices may not always be the best. For whole PC systems, you are limited to pre-packaged retail PCs, though selection is better than department or warehouse stores. The advantages of office stores include:
Tip: Some office stores will price match even the prices of online vendors, as
long as you can prove what the online price is and that the item is in stock at the online
Disadvantages of office stores include:
Office stores are a good choice if you want to buy a retail pre-packaged PC, especially if you have no stores in your area specializing in computers. I have had good experiences buying what I call "hands-on" components at these types of stores, especially printers and monitors. Prices are reasonable and you can see what you are buying before you put down your money.
Tip: Some of these stores are
now offering the option of custom-building PCs. If you explore this option, you should
assess this part of the store the same way you would consider any other local PC shop. (They usually don't have as much selection or
expertise as local shops do though.)
Next: Electronics Stores