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Old 12-09-2008, 10:00 PM
Vincent Ferrari
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Default How Amazon's App Will Hurt Retailers This Christmas

I don't know what it is about the WRT-54G and I that makes us not get along.  I truly like Linksys' flood the market" router and find it to be a great device when it works.  I usually burn through one every 6-8 months and have come to accept that as a cost of doing business with the internet.  Recently, I lost another one and decided that I would move up the scale to the WRT-610n, a dual-radio N-class monster with all kinds of bells and whistles.  In the back of my mind I was concerned, but I figured even if this much pricier monster failed, I would just go back to regularly buying WRT-54G's again.

I priced out the 610n on Amazon and found that it was $144.99.  I was ready to pull the trigger on it, but I really wanted to get it in person so on Thursday night, my wife and I headed down to Best Buy.  I was expecting to pay a few bucks more, but I was totally not prepared for how much more Best Buy was charging.

No, I'm not kidding.  On Thursday, they were charging $199.99.

Out came my iPhone.  "Who are you calling?" Beth asked me.

"I'm not calling anyone, I'm buying the router," I said as I popped open the Amazon app on my iPhone and looked at the shopping cart where I had already saved the router and a cable splitter.  She started laughing hysterically as the reality hit that I was about to order something online from the store I was looking at it in.

A few clicks later, and we were walking out the door secure in the knowledge that we hadn't been ripped off by Best Buy to the extent we easily could have.  This little incident got me thinking, though.  How many people, like me, are going to go into stores this holiday season, iPhone in hand, and just buy the item on Amazon after looking at it in the store?  It's not that foreign a concept for me; in February we bought a 40" Samsung LCD TV on Amazon after checking it out in Best Buy and saved over $400 in doing so.

Amazon's mobile play may very well have proven that the "take 'em for every penny" model of retail as we know it is unsustainable and the more easy and accessible Amazon makes it, the more nails they're putting in the coffins of companies like Best Buy who thrive on being the only game in town.

Vincent Ferrari is an Apple fan, videoblogger, blogger, writer, and all-around geek from the Bronx. He works in the IT Department of a cellular phone company that shall not be named, and lives in a very comfortable apartment with his lovely wife, two lovely cats, three Macs, two iPhones, and God-knows-how-many iPods of varying age.

Current Apple Stuff: 24" iMac, iPhone 4, AppleTV (original), 4gb Shuffle, 64gb iPad 2.
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