The Smarter Shopper

It’s quite evident that shops will up-sell over-priced accessory items when selling a large item at a lower price.

Every type of trade seems to have them. IT people are aghast at the prices high street chains charge for USB cables, those in the know will shop online in technical stores. What might cost you £20 in a well-known purple world of PCs can be bought online for less than £3, often including delivery.

We sometimes have to be careful not to buy too low. I tried some incredibly cheap USB cables (think 50p each) and they were useless. There is a quality associated with these things; high street names will pick good enough and up-charge. You have no such guarantee online – cheap really can be too cheap.

The usual accessories seem to be:

  • Camera shops and lens protectors (the little glass add-ons you put in front of your expensive lens);
  • Computer chains and USB cables;
  • Audio/visual shops and ‘gold plated’ HDMI/audio cables;
  • Most high street shops and batteries;
  • Printer companies and ink;

Some are about being in the right place at the right time. Computer devices curiously come without cables; many electronic devices come without batteries. Of course, you’re in the shop and you’re likely to buy them irrespective of the price.

For the canny shopper, though, it’s quite possible to buy online or through smaller traders for the accessories while getting the main item in-store. The usual choice might be Amazon, but is this always the best? I’d like to imagine a website where a user could select the accessory they’re looking for and be pointed in the right direction by reviews. Need batteries? This place is brilliant.

My usual choices for cables (computer and audio) are eBuyer or Amazon. I haven’t bought batteries online yet but I suspect Amazon will again be a good choice (well-known brand or are there lesser-known ones that work fine?)

If you have any suggestions please let me know and I’ll put them on here.