For most purchases I’m not a “whim” type of person. There are only two instances where I will go for what I want without thought; food and movies. By movies, I mean purchasing DVDs. When I want a particular title, usually I’ll just hop in the car and go to Barnes & Noble because once I purchase my movie, I usually like to see if there’s a book I want… along with a Reese’s peanut butter cup cookie.

AMC Star Southfield 20
Liza Lagman Sperl via Compfight

On Sunday I found myself wanting the newest release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which had come out early last week. For some reason, sticking in the back of my mind was the reality that buying DVDs had changed over the past year.

Two things changed a lot. The first is that the price of new DVDs has jumped a lot. For something that only costs $3 to make, paying $35 for a new DVD is extreme. The second is that if I’m going to pay that much for a DVD, I want 3 specific versions of it in one package; DVD, Blu-Ray and digital. Many new DVDs have dropped either the DVD or Blu-Ray version from the package, and in some circumstances they don’t even produce the DVD version, saying they’re saving money because fewer people have standard DVDs anymore.

So, for the first time I actually shopped online for a movie first. And I was surprised by what I saw.

B&N had the highest price for the movie. Even with my 10% discount it would have remained the highest price; so much for that.

Amazon had the movie for around $19, which sounded good until I noticed that it only for those who either were already Prime members or those who signed up for it. I’m hesitating to jump on that bandwagon so I refused. I couldn’t find a price for it without Prime. I saw where some of their other sellers had the movie for $15, but each of those were individual options, and none of them had digital; sigh…

Most places had the movie for its recommended price of $38, but I found two places that looked pretty good, at least online. those two choices were Target and Walmart. Both listed the movie for $19, and for a new movie that seemed like the best price I was going to find. I also looked at the possibility of buying only the digital version, but the prices weren’t all that low and I knew that wouldn’t work because my wife and I wouldn’t have been able to watch it together via digital.

Since Target is closer and I’m more familiar with their movie section, that’s where I decided to go. As soon as I walked in the door I saw they had the movie displayed… and only two versions of it, DVD or Blu-Ray. It didn’t say that online, and now I was irked. However, I also knew that they often had other versions of the movie in other places, so I started walking down the cashier aisles to see if they had what I wanted at the end of one of their counters.

I got lucky; the third counter had the movie, and the version I wanted. The price was $24.99, but from my perspective, I was getting 3 versions of the movie at that price instead of only one version for $19; that wasn’t a bad deal at all. It might have been possible that Walmart was selling the version I wanted for the $19, but I was already at one store and getting a better deal than I would have at B&N so I was fine.

In today’s retail world, it’s becoming the smart thing to do some research before buying almost anything, including foods that are packaged well enough to be shipped out. For some of my diabetic supplies, eBay has become my store of choice. For CPAP supplies I’ve found that each vendor has a special price for different replacements. Loyalty to one outlet for such items doesn’t make sense anymore, although we need to remember to look at shipping prices when we order things.

Of course nothing stops impulse buying; when you want something, you want it NOW! If you can temper that with most of the things you want to buy, you can afford those times when you just can’t wait.

The internet is a wonderful thing sometimes isn’t it?

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