Or "Why Online Retailers are Way Awesome"...

I was shopping for a few little things and thought I'd whip up a quick comparison of what I was looking at. The results, while on the low end of actual cost, are a bit humorous (and ridiculous).

I decided to just look at something simple like a set of banana plugs for speaker connections. Surely there couldn't be too much discrepancy in price for something so small and simple? Turns out there is... So in this example, I'm looking at picking up 4 sets of banana plugs to connect my home theater speakers. That's 2 front speakers and 2 rear speakers, and with 2 wires each, that makes 8 plugs.

Banana Plug Comparison

Banana Plug Comparison

Best Buy sells their Dynex connectors in packs of 4. They're $10.99 each. Throw in tax and it would cost my just shy of $24 to make all of my connections. "The Shack" sells theirs in packs of 2 at about $8.50 each. Again including the tax, I'm up to nearly $40.

Monoprice meanwhile, also sells theirs in pairs. And if I'm buying 4 pair, the price works out to $1.67 each pair. Add in about $2 for USPS shipping and I'm at a whopping $8.76 for all 8 of my connectors. About a quarter more than RadioShack wants for ONE PAIR...

That means the plugs from Best Buy are a ridiculous 271% more expensive than the Monoprice ones. And RadioShack? An absolutely incredible 418% more expensive. Four times the price for practically the same product for being able to go in and pick it up off a shelf? No thanks.

I could choose Next Day shipping from Monoprice ($22.02) and still get them cheaper than RadioShack ($28.73 total, next day shipping).

Why more people haven't caught on to Monoprice's awesomeness is beyond me. Sure, if I absolutely need something right away, I may end up going to a physical store to get it - but if I can wait, I'll wait. Not only do I save on the gas to actually drive there - but I can save a ridiculous amount of money and still get a quality product. I at least know that I won't be shopping at RadioShack for anything else anytime in the near future... not that I did previously anyway.

Some possibly related posts...

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Convenience is an Upcharge”

  • Tomas - University Place, WA

    January 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Found exactly the same sort of price differentials recently while looking for assorted USB2, Ethernet CAT6, and HDMI cables in longer lengths.

    Most of the “usual places” (brick and mortar stores) were VERY high priced compared to the on-line sources – and this was often for identical product (same brand).

    Even comparing the on-line and local prices at stores that had both ways to shop was eye opening. Often times there was up to a 2:1 difference in price from the same company buying off-the-shelf in the store and buying on-line with “free shipping” for pick-up at the store…

    (The cables I bought to rearrange my data hub would have cost me over $250 bought locally at a big name store, but cost me about $40 delivered conveniently to my door.)

    I find myself buying less and less locally and more and more on-line.

    For those few items I need to see or handle before purchase I sadly often find myself using the local merchant simply as a “showroom” for the on-line merchant. :o(