Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is it Still Possible to Get Cheap Electronics in Singapore?

Singapore has long been known as a good place to buy cheap electronics. With rising prices and all that sort of thing, many people wonder if it is still possible to get cheap electronics here... or anywhere else for that matter.

The short answer is... yes. The qualifier, of course, is that "cheap" is always a relative term. One can find affordable items here, but one shouldn't expect a very expensive piece of equipment to suddenly become inexpensive just by crossing a border. It won't. But, you can still find many items cheaper than what you might find in other countries.

One thing also to keep in mind is that one might find truly cheap pieces of electronic equipment. When that happens, it is always wise to keep in mind that you get what you pay for. In the US, I have seen prices as low for items that will last much longer than their cheap counterparts in Singapore, but they also are much bigger and bulkier. You always end up losing out somewhere when you pinch pennies.

But that often doesn't stop those of us who are gadget-happy in Singapore. Even though we know that we might get lousy equipment, we still shop for those money-saving deals. Sometimes, it works out just right. If you are looking for some gadget, and don't mind if it doesn't last very long, just as long as it serves its purpose, there are still lots of places you can go in Singapore to find what you are looking for. Lucky Plaza is one that caters to tourist. For locals, the prices are substantially lower than what tourists pay. I am not sure if it is that the shop keepers gouge the tourists enough to make it possible to offer better prices to locals or what, but I often get good deals on electronics there. A careful shopper can really find something worth picking up. Today, I was able to get a few mp3 players for friends at a really low price. I know it was less than the shop owner wanted me to pay, but he was willing to do so in hopes that I might bring some friends from overseas back sometime down the road. And I probably will too.

Shopping at places like Lucky Plaza can be lots of fun, especially if you are good at bargaining. After getting the good deals I did today, one of my friends said she noticed that the shop keeper who first spoke to me was caught off guard when his boss gave me such a good deal on the items I bought. When I left, the guy who was so surprised said to me, "You are a good bargainer. Next time I go shopping I think I better call you along."

So, my tip for anyone shopping for cheap electronic goods in Singapore is this: spend your time looking around and asking questions, then don't be afraid to push the price down as low as you can.

And of course, if you speak like a local it helps a good deal too.

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