"I bought an iMac on Sunday at the Tukwila, WA (Seattle) CompUSA store for $999.99. It was a 'manager's special'. I was not required to buy anything else. Good for me and my nine-year old as we had already decided he wasn't getting one for xmas since Apple had not dropped the price yet. I found out that CompUSA had this special when someone on the internet in Portland, OR said the CompUSA there was selling them for $999. When I called the Seattle store and was disconnected three times, I almost gave up. On the fourth try, I reached someone who knew what they were doing and they told me the iMac was $999 through 12/20/98. So we rushed there to find stacks of iMacs for $999. They were selling, but not at the rate CompUSA probably expected.
Perhaps that was because the Sunday paper CompUSA flyer was only advertising a $1500 bundle and made no mention of the $999 iMac-only deal. Just thought you'd like to know.
We had two excellent reports from Demo Days volunteers at Best Buy that pointed to more confusion in the ranks of Best Buy managers:
"On Sunday I had a couple come by that was doing some comparison shopping and was told that they were at another Best Buy location (within 20 miles) and they were selling the iMac @ the $999 price. Once I got done talking to that couple I informed the manager. Later on he came to me and told me he called that other store and they promptly set the price to $1279.99.
We then had a discussion about what was going on with Best Buy's pricing, and he showed me a couple of memos. In the first memo it said that they were lowering the price of the iMac to $999 in order to move out existing stock to make room for the new iMac due in January and was encouraging the sales people to push the iMac in a big way as it was the best deal on a fully loaded computer anyone could get at Best Buy. The memo from the next day wasn't as detailed but just asked managers to raise the price to $1099, and I never did see the memo that referred to the price increase that was on the iMac Sunday."
On a slightly darker note, John B. tells us a Best Buy manager didn't want to get any more iMacs in after current stocks were sold.
"The curious thing, is that when we asked the computer dept. manager when they would be getting more in, so we could at least tell prospective buyers something, he said he didn't WANT anymore, and claimed that they didn't know if or when or how many they would get if they got any. (So we sent people to the CompUSA down the street if they wanted to purchase one!). He said that BestBuy had just gotten into it for the money, that they wanted to cash in on iMac Mania, and they were just wanting to get rid of the ones they had before January.
This person was also telling us that BB would not be carrying iMac anymore, but a different desktop model. We kind of doubted this, but went along with the story. I mean, they sell virtually no support products like peripherals, cables, etc. and it would seem a bad idea to have them 'carrying' one of the new G3 models. We figure he had heard something about the next iMacs with the 300MHz G3, which is officially still a rumor AFAIK.
I told all this to a friend of mine who is an Apple employee and is reponsible for the SWAS in over ten CompUSA's, and they said that BB definitely had more in their shipping center and know what they have coming in.
Now maybe this person at the BB didn't quite know what he was talking about, maybe he was repeating something he had heard through BB, but was not official, maybe he was misinformed. Who knows. But it does complement another story I read today, (at Webintosh), where BB was just trying to get rid of all their iMac stock in a panic.
Whatever the bottom line is or was, it sure seems funky to me, and I guess we will know more facts as the next few months roll through, and we see what Apple has up its sleeve wrt to new models, etc.
I should also mention that this dept. manager at Best Buy and another employee in the computer department were of great help to us, and were thankful and appreciative of our presence and assistance. Neither were even nominally Mac-savvy but were not negative about Macs to us, and were not disinclined to learn. They did treat us pretty well there."
Pricing information is stillnot available on Best Buy's web site.
The Mac Observer Spin: As we theorized earlier, Best Buy seems to have officially come back to Apple's pricing plan, though it may not have been filtered all the way to the store manager level at all locations.