Where Is The Best Place To Buy A Mac?

by Hadley Stern Dec 03, 2003

imageUs loyal Mac users can be a strange breed. We slap Apple logo bumper stickers on our cars, use our Powerbook in public wherever we can, proud of the shining light emanating from the Apple logo. Heck some of even get tattoos! And we have always been conscious of where we buy our Macs. We have been encouraged in the past to go into stores that sell only PC software and ask if they have any Mac software.

Which leads me to this question, for the Mac user who is concerned with supporting Apple in every purchase they make where is the best place to buy a Mac?

In the pre-Apple store universe I always thought it was best for Apple to buy the computer from a retailer. Comp-USAs success helped to build the Apple brand more than ordering from MacZone because my purchase helped ensure that the Apple boxes stayed on the shelf for all the world and PC-buying drones to see. Maybe one of them would see a Mac on the shelf, try it, and see the light.

The Apple retail stores inevitably complicate the issue. The stores, after-all, feed directly into Apples bottom line so buying from them seems to make sense. It also helps ensure that that Temple to Apple, the Apple store, will remain in the Malls near us, presenting the Apple product and brand better than anyone else.

But what is more beautiful a platform for a new G5? A glass table in a wonderfully lit Apple store or a drab counter in a local Best Buy? Buying from chains such as Best Buy helps keep Apple out there in the public eye, not just within the cloistered confines of the Apple store.

Then there are the many online outlets, from amazon.com, to the great Mac-specialist retailers like Smalldog and my personal favorite, Powermax. These smaller retailers (online and offline) provide a lot of expertise and have the same passion we do about Apple.

Maybe it doesnt really matter where you buy a Mac, after-all the days of the struggling Apple economy are well past us now. What do you think, where is the best place to buy a Mac?


  • I like to buy locally if at all possible, just because I’m the kind of person who wants to be able to touch a product before I buy it. However, in buying a new Mac, another big factor comes into play, and that is reliability.

    I just bought a 15” Aluminum Powerbook, and I got it at the Apple Store in Salem, NH. The reason is that the Apple Store will let you return a machine you’ve bought within the forst 10 days for any reason. That includes defects. It seems that the build quality of Macs have gone downhill in the past few years, and if I bought my PB from a regular local retailer, and upon opening it up found the now common spots on the screen, or any of the other defect, it would be an Apple repair issue, whereas at the Apple Store I can just get it swapped out.

    It’s too bad that’s the way it is, because Apple is just damaging the small dealers with policies like that. 

    ncrego had this to say on Dec 03, 2003 Posts: 1
  • I agree with you—buying online or from the Apple Store seems to hurt those mainstream stores where Apple could appear to be less “elitist”, more accessible.

    Nevertheless, I would never buy one from our local CompUSA. I can’t, in good conscience, reward their bad behavior. The Apple section is always deserted, the display Macs locked up or shut down, and if you should ask someone for help, you’ll most likely be advised to buy a PC.

    I bought my PowerBook through Creative Computers (aka MacMall). They offered a free printer with purchase, but they never honored the rebate. I have read that such dishonesty is very common in those types of outlets.

    Our dollars are votes. Vote for the store that serves you best, and leave the others to learn their lesson or give up. I think that is one of the reasons for the existence of the Apple Store—to show ‘em how it’s done, and offer Mac users a place to buy a Mac without dealing with all those undesirables.

    kennylucius had this to say on Dec 03, 2003 Posts: 6
  • I have always had outstanding service from MacConnection. For larger purchases I tend to buy online to avoid sales tax. Here in SF it is around 8.2%, which adds up real quick. I have bought my Airport, mice, batteries, etc. from local Apple resellers. I cannot say that they have been accommodating, which was already commented on in an Applematters article a few months ago.

    It is interesting that the retail Apple Stores allow you to return within 10 days, and will replace and not fix/refurbish. Definitely valuable for first revisions of a system. It is always the case that overall quality of technology leading products is lower than commodity products.

    Nathan had this to say on Dec 03, 2003 Posts: 219
  • First, I stay away from the Apple On-Line store. I have had issues with them in terms of returning defective products and their deals are often the worse on the web. Also, no break on sales tax there.

    Second, the Apple Store in my local shopping center is a nice place to visit and the staff is reasonably well informed (but not superstar quality). I tend to buy accessories there since the Apple Store has a decent selection and I get to touch and feel the stuff before I buy.  I also buy from other local Apple dealers, but their stores are pretty drab in comparison to the Apple Stores and they have less “stuff” to touch and feel.

    For larger value hardware purchases & for software I tend to buy on-line from some dealer (other than Apple). For hardware, I check out the prices and deals reported by [url=http://www.macprices.com]http://www.macprices.com[/url] first. For me, MacConnection, and MacWarehouse and have both been good places to purchase products.

    starfighter had this to say on Dec 04, 2003 Posts: 1
  • hi there,

    i just ordered an emac from apple’s online store and from here out, i consider the online shop to be the best place to buy mac products.

    our local shops in town ask for a +$100 markup on all items and that’s out of the question.

    i’m from london, ontario, canada and aside from having no itunes music shop access, we’ve also no apple stores. i’m surprised there are none in toronto, montreal and vancouver, but what can you do?

    when i go into bigbox shops like bestbuy and futureshop (both owned by the same company), i’m insulted by the macs on display. i’m not sure how many macs they sell in stores. apple needs to rent a section of the stores and appleise it. with people who know what they’re talking about, etc.

    or open a store in our area.

    mathew had this to say on Dec 05, 2003 Posts: 1
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