Electronic Store Showdown

Walmart, RadioShack, and Office Depot all sell a wide variety of merchandise, and all three have their pros and cons. You should be able to find out which one will better suit your needs, based on what you are looking for in a store.

Walmart’s Selection: 4 out of 5

Walmart has more of a mainstream electronics section, so you probably won’t find any of the more “geekier” things like resistors, LED’s, etc. They do, however, sell video games, movies, music, radios, CD players, DVD players, etc. While this can be a good thing, sometimes they lack even the most basic networking cable. They often have multiple copies of whatever is needed, but it can be frustrating to travel out there only to find out they don’t have something most would consider simple.

Walmart Employee’s Knowledge: 2 out of 5

As far as employee knowledge, this is where it gets really frustrating. In most situations that I’ve been in, it’s been easier and quicker just to look myself rather than ask someone. As far as asking a question on the phone, you will sometimes have to wait 10 minutes just to for them to come back and find out they didn’t understand what you were talking about. The most costly situations are when they tell you they have a product they don’t. I once made a special trip because I was told they had the new “Seinfeld Season 1-3 Gift Set,” only to get there and find out they never sold it.

Walmart’s Pricing: 3 out of 5

When it comes to the pricing on electronics items in Walmart, I can’t really complain. Most of the time the price for any particular item is basically that of the average other electronic store, which is just that: average .

RadioShack’s Selection: 4.5 ouf of 5

RadioShack’s selection is much greater than that of Walmart’s. While you won’t find video games, you will find much harder to find items like Speaker Cable, Resistors, LEDs, Audio jack converters, etc.

RadioShack’s Knowledge : 5 out of 5

Every time I have gone into RadioShack or called them, they always seem to know what I am talking about. Most of the time, they are very friendly and helpful, and can point my in the right direction. I’ve had employees actually take products like a power cable out of a box and help me test it on my hub to make sure it will work properly. If only all stores could be like them, it would be excellent.

RadioShack’s Pricing: 3 out of 5

I hesitated to give this a 3, but I do have some problems with their pricing. Most of their items seem reasonable, but the LED’s are ridiculously priced. You can be guaranteed to find them cheaper on the internet, but this isn’t always an option. The rest of the items in the store are pretty good, and if it’s your only local option it may be your only choice.

Office Depot’s Selection : 4.5 out of 5

Office Depot seems to be somewhere in the middle of RadioShack and Walmart in terms of selection. Whatever products they have, they have a lot of. For instance, mice, keyboards, video cards, DVD and CD burners, burable media, and more. They don’t have console video games, but they do have plenty of computer games and software. Obviously, Office Depot also carries other office equipment like chairs and desks, and they also have a place to make copies and ship items (you’re local store may be different).

Office Depot’s Knowledge: 4 out of 5

Most of the employees I have talked to have been friendly and eager to help. They seem to have a higher general knowledge than that of Walmart’s, but sometimes they may not understand what you are talking about. Most of them seem to know the locations of all their items though, and phone wait times are fairly short.

Office Depot’s Pricing: 4 out of 5

Their merchandise is usually around the average price, rarely more. What stands out is some of the deals and coupons they offer fairly regularly. I once picked up, on impulse, a 50 pack of CD-R’s that were only $8.99 and were sitting by the counter.

Out of all three, each one sells specific things you may need. If need be, you may have to go to walmart, but most of the time you can make a trip to one of the other two instead. Overall, I’d say Office Depot is the way to go, and Radio Shack for your more specific needs.

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