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Highway Robbery

I needed an HDMI cable so that I could plug my TiVo in via a digital connection instead of a component analog one. Because it’s the closest electronics store, I went to BestBuy.

I walk in and find the display rack with all the video cables, and find an HDMI cable made by Monster Cable for $99. I find a douchebag in a blue shirt (I mean “BestBuy Employee”) and ask if this is the only HDMI cable they carry. He asks me what I want it for, and I explain that I want to plug my TiVo in via HDMI. He says that they do have a “generic” one for “only” $79, but that he doesn’t recommend it.

Douchebag: You really should get the Monster cable-- you don’t want to waste a beautiful plasma screen by feeding it a crappy signal. You’ll get all kinds of interference with the generic one because it’s not oxygen free, and it doesn’t have gold connectors.

Me: Dude, it’s a digital signal. A higher quality cable isn’t going to make it “more 1” or “less zero.” It’s binary: it will either work perfectly, or not at all, in which case it’s completely defective. The quality of cable will not in any way impact picture or sound quality for such a short run.

Douchebag: No, that’s a total myth. You can totally tell the difference on any good quality HDTV monitor. It’s like night and day.

Me: Um… yeah. So, Anyway… $79 is the cheapest HDMI cable you have?

Douchebag: You won’t find anything cheaper anywhere– in fact, you’ll pay over $100 at any local store for the generic one, so why not buy the better cable for the same price? You’ll be glad you did when you’re getting the best possible picture on your plasma screen.

Me: You know, business must be a very different world when you learn to really embrace the contempt you feel for your customers.

Then I drove a few blocks to the Apple store, and bought an HDMI cable for $19.95. (Yeah, I know I can get one for $5 at monoprice.com, but I wanted to check this little upgrade project off as “done.”)

I can’t believe they get away with this shit.

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