just brew it! wrote:
not to mention hideous prices particularly on cables and accessories
for something you can get elsewhere for $2.18
isn't just hideous, it is completely divorced from reality. OK, so they throw in free shipping. But even taking shipping charges into account, I can get 5 of them from Monoprice for what I'd be paying Best Buy for just 1.
This needs to be put in global context of what you get in exchange for the privilege of having high-priced goods offered in pricey-looking shops. In an advanced economy with a growing population, defending high average margins is crucial to maintaining decent, high-paying jobs. There is a structural type of economy where private firms are worked hard to extract viable long-term profits from low-margin sales, and mainland China with its low wage structures and manufacturing terms pretty much owns that setup. I would complain about these things before, but once I began on purchasing missions to the PRC my premises went sideways.
Most asians outside of Japan and Singapore get by with little because they expect little. Even aspiring Chinese in the coastal regions don't usually enjoy spacious and clean stores in which they can try stuff on the shelves and demo things and game the warranty and promo systems as they please. Even in modern Singapore (from what I remember) and Hong Kong, most people walk or ride public transit to shopping streets or category-specific malls full of tiny shops selling mostly identical and oftentimes shoddy goods in more restrictive settings while watched over by pushy staff or shopowners.
Some may think this distributed operational pie is an economic and environmental advantage, but it doesn't seem so at point-of-sale if you purchase lots of stuff or a biggie requiring paid delivery. Retail purchases throughout China are normally settled in cash unless it's some flagship store like Apple. Electronics warranties can be numbered in weeks and returns are hassle free only at the more tourist-oriented shops. It can be a cool experience for the sociable and many promos and bargains do abound for those who know what they want. But an efficient and carefree retail experience it rarely is, and this is what piddly margins race down to absent market-distorting interventions like stiff regulations or shortsighted bailouts.