Electronic Shopping – Retail vs Wholesale

In General on August 1, 2006 at 11:08 pm

Few months back I was shopping for a multimedia home theater movie projector. After quite a bit of research I was left with these 2 choices, an Optoma MovieTime DV10 (left) and an Epson MovieMate 25 (right).


Both of these projectors from the research perspective looked great to me even though MovieTime had an edge over MovieMate in terms of popularity and user reviews.

I wanted to try MovieTime first and I found a good, comparable pricing at local Circuit City store and visited the store to give it a try. To my disappointment the Circuit City store didn’t have a demo piece working. Since I wanted to try this first before commiting for quite a bit of money I was little skeptical. The same was the case with our local Best But store.

Then I’ve decided to try MovieMate which was available at our local BJ’s Wholesale Club at a great price and to a surprise, a working demo piece. It was pretty impressive and along with the 92" screen and a sub-woofer (I have a better home theater, but) it was a great deal. I went ahead and bought that home and within a matter of 15 minutes or so I was able to project an image onto m basement wall. With the lights on it wasn’t that great but when I turned the lights off it was an impressive projector. I thought I’ve got the one I was looking for, for a while.

But then it striked my mind. One day when we were watching a movie I literally saw a burning sort of spark within the projector and it shut it off by itself. I thought it might be because of excessive heat or something. Then I realized that BJ’s don’t have an extended warranty or service plan and I started thinking if this is the case being just having the projector for few days. I immediately felt insecure and decided right at the moment to return it. Went to the store and returned it and everything went thru fine.

Then I was left with one and only option, MovieTime. I went to the local Circuit City store and decided to give it a try. I somehow managed to convince the sales guy to take it back if I don’t like it since there wasn’t a demo piece. He agreed and I went ahead with the purchase since CircuitCity was able to give me an extended service plan. Brought it home and was even quicker to get started on this one. It was sleek and before I projected the image on to my wall everything looked great with this purchase. Once I had the image onto the wall it wasn’t that catchy as MovieMate.

But then I started comparing apples-to-apples and I had to keep this MovieTime even though I wasn’t that impressed. Why? I felt secure with the Circuit City Extended Service plan, which BJ’s doesn’t have, which gives you some piece of mind. That’s important as small issues with these projectors costs a great deal of money. Just the replacement bulb itself costs well above $300. So I’ve decided to keep this MovieTime and BJ’s lost a sale, even though I personally liked MovieMate from BJ’s than the MovieTime from Circuit City.

Moral of the story: I’ve called up BJ’s and Costco and other whole sale clubs. They don’t offer these extended service plans and quite honestly they might be loosing quite a bit of business (particularly big ticket electronics) because of that. On the other hand, the retailers such as Circuit City and Best Buy offer an extended service plan (even though it might not be that plain vanilla to make use of it) which gives us at least some piece of mind, in case if something goes wrong and in that process might be winning those businesses. If those wholesale clubs realize this problem and provide some sort of an extended service plan I think they would win in terms of pricing. And they probably know that customers would be willing to pay for that extended service plan if they provide one. At least I wouldn’t mind. Think about $150 for the service plan compared to $300 for the bulb (the sales guy said the bulb is also covered, I have to see how Circuit City honors that). That’s makes it a winner to get the service plan. Do they (the wholesale giants) listen and provide this service to their customers?

I would recommend Projector Central for anyone planning to buy any home theater movie projectors.. This site has reviews and good comments about the projectors which would aide you while shopping for a projector within a budget. Check it out..

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