Astute flyers have noticed electronics superstore Best Buy has installed vending machines for its electronics in many airports. At first glance, they seem like a convenient way to pick up travel products such as headphones or smartphone battery packs—but if you check the prices, you quickly realize that with convenience comes painful convenience pricing.
It doesn't have to be that way. You can still get that merchandise for sale prices. All you have to do is read the fine print.
Take as an example one of the most expensive things on sale in the booth: Beats Studio wireless headphones. The kiosk's price list would have you believe that you'd pay an incredible $379.99 for a pair. That's a lot more than what they cost outside of the airport at a brick-and-mortar Best Buy store: about $299 there. If you simply stick your credit card in the vending machine slot, take the headphones, and call it a day, you would be paying the higher rate. You'd be giving away an extra $80 dollars for the sake of convenience of using an airport kiosk.
But fish around elsewhere in the screens of the Best Buy kiosk, away from the list of product descriptions. You'll find this page:
The first paragraph admits it: Yup, these cost a lot more here. Sorry.
The second paragraph, though, undoes that damage completely.
It says that anything you buy at the Best Buy kiosk is subject to the chain's "Price Match Guarantee." It doesn't tell you explicitly what that means--maybe because the chain doesn't want you to have too many of the facts.
But we'll tell you: Best Buy's Price Match Guarantee means you can take the expensive headphones to any Best Buy location within the normal refund-and-exchange period and if the same item is sold for less there, it will refund you the difference.
Despite appearances, you can indeed get an item in the Best Buy vending machine for exactly as much as they sell in the store. You just have to bring it to a store for your money.
But we'll let you in on a second secret: It gets even better.
The Price Match Guarantee also guarantees the price that other vendors offer. In the case of these headphones, Amazon.com was selling the exact same headphones for $269. To get that price, which was $30 lower than what Best Buy stores were offering and $110 less than the airport kiosk, all you had to do was show a Best Buy cashier your receipt and the webpage that stated the headphones were sold by Amazon itself and instantly available for shipping. The trick works for any major vendor (another good one is B&H Photo out of New York City) with a current product page or ad.
Using the Price Match Guarantee to its fullest advantage, those top-of-the-line $369 headphones would be price-chopped by 30%.
So go ahead and use those ridiculously priced Best Buy kiosks and buy electronics your vacation. No matter what the kiosk price menu tells you, you must only pay the cheapest price on the market. Technically, everything in that machine if on sale: You just have to take one more step of legwork after your purchase to enjoy travel convenience without feeling the sting.