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The Almighty Buck United States Hardware

Getting A Laptop With The Low U.S. Dollar 1039

Posted by timothy
from the used-to-be-volvos-in-sweden-this-way dept.
An anonymous reader submits "I am heading to the U.S. pretty soon and am keen to take advantage of the low US$ to buy a laptop. The differences in prices are astounding - on dell.com (US) you pay $2049 for a Precision M60 - in the UK this costs 1620.33UKP, or $2999. That is a fair difference! It makes it cheaper for me to fly to the US to buy it and carry it home than it is for me to buy it in the UK. Now, that said, it isn't particularly easy to find a place to buy a laptop from, since most of the places don't ship to the UK (or it takes weeks) and it is difficult to get stuff delivered to your hotel ... any suggestions of how I can get a good laptop in the New York area when I am only there for 4 days?"
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Getting A Laptop With The Low U.S. Dollar

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  • Easy answer (Score:5, Informative)

    by SeanTobin (138474) * <byrdhuntr@ h o t mail.com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:48PM (#8637695)
    First off, I'm assuming you want a mail order dell laptop. The simplest way to go is to get a mailbox in New York via a company like The Mail Box or a UPS store. They give you a full address that is not a PO box, and they will sign for packages for you. Pre-pay for 1 month. That's step 1.

    Step 2 is order your laptop and have it sent to your brand new address. You are going to want expedited shipping here - probably next day shipping because it might take a few days for them to ship it.

    Step 3, pick up your cheap laptop when it arrives and consider the difference as... profit!
    • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Informative)

      by jazmataz23 (20734) <jazmaticianNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:50PM (#8637722)
      except that it takes as much as a month to get a laptop shipped from Dell, but nice try...
      • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Informative)

        by SeanTobin (138474) * <byrdhuntr@ h o t mail.com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:53PM (#8637764)
        I ordered 2 laptops from Dell last year. They both shipped the business day after I ordered them.
      • Re:Easy answer (Score:4, Informative)

        by endx7 (706884) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:19PM (#8638134) Homepage Journal

        except that it takes as much as a month to get a laptop shipped from Dell, but nice try...

        On some occasions even longer... A friend of mine's family ordered a Dell, and Dell kept pushing the shipping date further back from the original week. After about 3 months of waiting, and still no Dell, they canceled the order and got a computer from someone else, who shipped them a computer in a few days (which wasn't problemless either, but that's another somewhat happier story).

        Granted however, it wasn't a laptop, but sometimes it can take absurdly long for a computer to get to you.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:51PM (#8637738)
      I'll mail you a laptop , Please sir to be sending me a money order for $400.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:29PM (#8638255)
        Greetings and salutions!

        My name is Dr. Bongo Bongo Dworkin and I am the Minister of Laptops in Nigeria. Owing to recent civil war we have recently discovered TWO MILLION laptop computers that have been secretly deposited in warehouse that only I have the keys to.

        Etc etc...
      • by GunFodder (208805)
        I will mail you a money order for $5000 sent to me by a business associate. Please deposit this and send me the laptop plus the excess funds.
    • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Informative)

      by wallclimber21 (563789) * on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:53PM (#8637781)
      I just opened a mailbox at a UPS Store. You have to fill in a bunch of documents before they can sign for packages. You also have to provide official ID. I'm not so sure this can easily be arranged without being there.
    • Step 4 (Score:3, Informative)

      by DAldredge (2353)
      Pay a large chunk of change to Customs...
      • Re:Step 4 (Score:3, Informative)

        Customs typically doesn't tax unregulated personal-use items up to a certain value (I forget what that value is); this doesn't include cigarettes or booze, but it does include laptops.
        • Re:Step 4 (Score:5, Informative)

          by legoburner (702695) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:09PM (#8638009) Homepage Journal
          The allowance per trip is just GBP 145 according to the London Heathrow website.
      • by DABANSHEE (154661) on Monday March 22, 2004 @10:33PM (#8641227)
        Mail the accessories, instructions 'n guarantee home, using USMail. Then just carry the bugger on board, odds ons customs won't even notice, particularly if you wear a business suit while flying back.

        If you know anyone with the same laptop, you could ask them if you can clone their hard drive before you leave to go to the US (back in the W98 days I use to make cloned HDD backups using some Powerquest or Quarterdeck program), then when you buy your laptop you make some ghost image backup of the new Dell default install on the HDD & put it on a CD, & then install the clone. Then if on the odd chance that customs challengers you on the laptop, you can show that all those pre-trip dates on the HDD. Even better ask for a copy of your mate's receipt & stuff it in the back of your wallet & cover it up with old train tickets & supermarket receipts, then you can say "actually I haven't cleaned out my wallet since then, so I've probably still got the receipt"

        Or while you're in the US you could buy a pair of official looking overalls & then have some sort of 'quarentine' marking put on it. Then you get some bong water from someone & stick it in one of those little spray things that people use to spray their indoor ferns. Then you can walk along as people are queuing up to book their luggage in, & spray the stuff along the luggage, like ailines use to have to do on flights coming into Oz about 20 years ago. Then hopefully customs in London will be destracted by their dogs going crazy with half the luggage coming through.

        I use to bring professional Nikon cameras & Sony Camcorders (like the DCR-VX2000) into Sydney from abroad just by carring then in as luggage & never got pulled up by customs. Mind you'd I'd always pre declare some Asian wood carving so I'd go through quarentine instead, where they paid less attention to synthetic & mineral based products. I'm not sure you can pull the same stunt at Heathrow.
    • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by legoburner (702695) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:04PM (#8637942) Homepage Journal
      Step 4...
      shout DAMNIT as you realise that the power adaptor does not work so you need a new plug adaptor (cheap but inconvienient).

      Step 5...
      shout DAMNIT even louder when you try to type something and discover that the punctuation keys are completely different on a US keyboard to a UK keyboard. You can get round this with mappings but it is very annoying (not $1000 annoying but annoying nonetheless). If you were not aware of this already, then be aware as you will need to re-learn a few keys, and it can be very annoying if you are switching between US-UK computers/keyboards.
      • by legoburner (702695) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:07PM (#8637978) Homepage Journal
        replying to myself as I forgot...

        Step 6
        cry as you come back into the UK and pay 2.5% tax on electronic goods, and then 17.5% VAT on top of that to the boys in customs and excise. Best not look too guilty if you walk through the green 'nothing to declare' area (or say it was a gift or something, I am unfamiliar with the law in this respect).
        • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JoeZeppy (715167) on Monday March 22, 2004 @06:02PM (#8638709)
          If you take it out of the box and put it in a laptop bag, install some software on it, browse a few porn sites, finger the whole thing up with potato chip grease for a few days and hang a luggage tag off it, how are they going to know where/when you bought it?

          Seriously, I'm not trolling here. How could they tell by a cursory examination whether you had this with you when you left home?

          • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Informative)

            by Xugumad (39311) on Monday March 22, 2004 @06:34PM (#8639163)
            For expensive items, I believe they give you a note saying you had it with you, when you left your home country. If you can't produce such a note going back, tough luck, you have to pay a small fortune in tax.
          • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Informative)

            by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @06:37PM (#8639208)
            Well, the sort of thing Customs do is get from the manufacturer the serial number ranges that they assign to different countries, so they can tell if a particular machine was manufactured for the US or UK market. They don't do this for everything - but pricey laptops are exactly the sort of think they might consider worth doing.
            • by nick_davison (217681) on Monday March 22, 2004 @08:29PM (#8640364)
              Well, the sort of thing Customs do is get from the manufacturer the serial number ranges that they assign to different countries

              Yeah, because they really do care that much...

              Here's a genuine conversation from the days of 128bit SSL being US only, at Philadelphia airport:

              "Did you pack your own bags today, Sir?"
              "No, my work packed it for me."
              "Have you been with your bags at all times, since they were packed?"
              "No, they were sitting around an office building all day."
              "And what's in the bags, Sir?"
              "This laptop. It has 128 bit encryption on it. It's currently regarded as a US military secret and can't be exported to anywhere else in the world."
              "Well I don't know anything about that."
              "It means it's illegal to take it out of the U.S."
              "Sir, you're causing a scene. Please move along."
              "But it's illega-"
              "Please move along."

              Granted, that was in the days before nail clippers and breast milk became terrorist weapons.
          • Re:Easy answer (Score:4, Informative)

            by jon_eccleston (591876) <joneccleston@@@mac...com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @06:45PM (#8639320) Homepage Journal
            How could they tell by a cursory examination whether you had this with you when you left home?

            They don't. In the UK at least, the onus is on the traveller to prove you left home with the laptop; a purchase receipt or a valuation are accepted.

            In reality, though, I'd like to think that having a UK power adapter and/or some signs of wear on the hardware would be sufficient proof.
          • by devphil (51341) on Monday March 22, 2004 @07:16PM (#8639684) Homepage


            ...I'd be a little suspicious when looking at a keyboard with a dollar sign instead of a pounds sign, American punctuation layout, etc, etc.

            Pity "export LANG=en_GB" doesn't affect the hardware. :-)

      • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Informative)

        by AlaskanUnderachiever (561294) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:36PM (#8638345) Homepage
        All you actually need is a socket with a US pinout. All dell laptop power adapters have been 50/60hz and 110-240v adapters for quite some time now.

        I agree totally on the mappings bit. Pain in the ass to use certain keys "

    • Re:Easy answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by magarity (164372) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:55PM (#8638632)
      The simplest way to go is to get a mailbox in New York via a company like The Mail Box

      No, the best way is to have it sent to the hotel where you'll be staying. Assuming you will be at a reputable international brand (Hilton, Sheraton, etc) and not one marked 'men only' in Harlem. Big hotels have recieving departments where shipments are logged and accounted for. Just call the concierge or bell captain and tell them you're arriving on the x-th and are expecting a package delivered a few days (or whatever) before you arrive. This gives you time to account for backorders and other delays in shipping.
  • Why?? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ifreakshow (613584) * on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:49PM (#8637700)
    Not sure why this warrents an ask slashdot when a quick search found this:
    Gateway Stores [gateway.com]
    Circuit City [circuitcity.com]
    Dell Direct Stores [dell.com]
    Or if your feeling artistic:
    Apple Stores [apple.com]
  • by ubeans (449308) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:49PM (#8637706) Homepage
    Try J&R near city hall.
  • Apple Store! (Score:5, Informative)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:50PM (#8637717) Homepage
    any suggestions of how I can get a good laptop in the New York area when I am only there for 4 days?

    Try the Apple Store in Soho. [apple.com] They'll have great laptops.

    <tongue_in_cheek>Don't forget to declare your new laptop to customs [hmce.gov.uk], though--if you don't, you'll be a damned, dirty tax cheat. Nobody likes a damned, dirty tax cheat.</tongue_in_cheek>

    (Oh, bear in mind--you'll be stuck with a US QWERTY keyboard. No Euro key or Pound key, among other things--you'll need to remap and remember...)

    • (Oh, bear in mind--you'll be stuck with a US QWERTY keyboard. No Euro key or Pound key, among other things--you'll need to remap and remember...)
      You can buy keyboard stickers [kidglove.co.uk] to label keys.
    • by thumperward (553422) <thumperward@hotmail.com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:56PM (#8637827) Homepage
      All Apple machines use US keyboards anyway. This is why UK customers have email addresses like toomuchmoney"mac.com .

      - Chris
      • No they don't (Score:3, Informative)

        by Biotech9 (704202)
        All Apple machines use US keyboards anyway. This is why UK customers have email addresses like toomuchmoney"mac.com .
        My two powerbooks have Irish keyboards, the Swedish G5s i've used have swedish keyboards, and the '' symbol is where it belongs, over the number 2.
    • by Mateito (746185) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:57PM (#8637840) Homepage
      As far as the US is concerned, the "#" is a pound sign, so you can always just use that.

      And who in the UK needs a Euro key anyway? Filthy contiental imported crap....
    • Re:Apple Store! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by grotgrot (451123) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:58PM (#8637862)
      bear in mind--you'll be stuck with a US QWERTY keyboard
      As another Brit, that is fantastic. I like the logical layout of {semi-,}colon and the {single,double}-quotes on the US keyboard. I always go out of my way to get US keyboards wherever possible!
    • Re:Apple Store! (Score:3, Informative)

      by rampant mac (561036)
      "No Euro key or Pound key"

      For the Pound key, use option-# (Get it? Option-Pound?).

      Apple has supported the euro symbol since the introduction of Mac OS 8.5 in October 1998. See here. [apple.com]

    • Re:Apple Store! (Score:4, Informative)

      by diggitzz (615742) <diggitz@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:14PM (#8638085) Homepage
      (Oh, bear in mind--you'll be stuck with a US QWERTY keyboard. No Euro key or Pound key, among other things--you'll need to remap and remember...)

      Yes, but since you suggested the Apple Store, it's wise to point out that Mac laptops give you really easy keyboard shortcuts for the "special characters" and you can even open a little picture of the keyboard on your screen that shows you which modifier keys do what, as you type! (in case you forget how to get umlauts, for instance)

      So, Alt-3 gives you a pound symbol, and Alt-Shift-2 gives you a euro. No remapping required.
    • Re:Apple Store! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by njdj (458173) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:27PM (#8638230)
      Oh, bear in mind--you'll be stuck with a US QWERTY keyboard.

      Actually, although I'm a Brit living in Europe, I slightly prefer the US keyboard layout. I'm a programmer, mainly in C++ and Perl, so I use $ a lot more than the pound currency sign.

      The real disaster is the Swiss keyboard. A bunch of characters you would never want to use (and I don't mean accents, I mean stuff like the paragraph sign and the degree sign) are really easy to type while essential characters like [ and { are odd contortions and ~ is a real challenge (as in, ask 10 Swiss-keyboard users how to type it and over half won't be able to answer even after 5 minutes experimentation).

      But if the original poster wants a UK keyboard, you can buy keyboards separately in Europe for something in the region of $15, negligible in comparison with the saving on the rest of the system.
    • by cjsnell (5825) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:40PM (#8638412) Journal

      1) Call the Apple Store ahead of time and make sure that they will have exactly what you want set aside for you when you arrive.

      2) Purchase a UK power adapter from a UK Apple dealer before you go. The day before you leave the US for home, ship all the manuals and paperwork back to the UK, along with the US power adapter. Take nothing but the laptop and a UK power adapter in your bag through customs.

      3) Call your credit card company beforehand and make sure that they will clear your charge for the purchase.

      4) When you get back to the UK, look into buying a UK keyboard for your PowerBook. IIRC, the key faces can be detached and replaced from the notebook fairly easily.

  • Order early (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LookSharp (3864) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:51PM (#8637731)
    Order laptop in advance via credit card. Have the laptop shipped to a trusted friend or colleague. Pick up when you are in town.

    Many retail establishments can offer mechandise on the spot here, thought not always the same level of customization that Dell offers.

  • Reminder... (Score:5, Funny)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:51PM (#8637737) Homepage Journal

    That in the USA we have different voltages, frequencies and plug shapes for power than you do in the UK.

    Also, we drive on the right; you should catch the hang of it quickly if you cross your hands before putting them onto the keyboard.

  • Uh, CompUSA? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#8637741)
    Maybe Best Buy or Fry's? You know, small little niche shops like that.

    Seriously, unless you're hung up on Dell, any computer store will fall over themselves selling you a laptop.

    Or am I missing a US/UK difference here? Does the UK just not have these kind of "walk in and buy it" type shops?
  • by Dot.Com.CEO (624226) * on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#8637748)
    and still looking to benefit from the extra-low US dollar, I wholeheartidly and unreservedly suggest they try a forwarding agent. I use MyUS [myus.com] myself and they have flawlessly delivered everything I ordered from the US whereever I happened to be. It's great for these bargains that only seem to available to US citizens - I got an extra-cheap Zaurus from amazon.com last month for what is half the price of its price in Europe.

    It goes without saying I'm not affiliated with them in any way, just an extremely happy customer. The inicial cost might appear steep but it's offset by your first major spend, really.

  • by mocm (141920) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#8637749) Homepage
    if not other customs payments. So it is a little more than the $2000, but probably still less than $2999. Or you could smuggle it in, but a large notebook may be hard to hide.
    • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:56PM (#8637834)
      Never flown internationally, but here's my question: How would they know?

      You show up at the airport after your four days in New York, lugging a laptop and carrying bag. Just like probably 25% of the other passengers flying that day. How do they know you just purchased this laptop last night? Couldn't you just say "Yup, headed home from my business trip" or something? Or do they make you declare everything you have on you before entering the country? Seriously curious here.
      • I don't know how this is handled in the UK, but in Brazil you have to fill out a form and provide the serial # for any equipment other than photo cameras and other small appliances (shavers, etc) that you're taking with you, or risk having to pay duty on your way back.

        If you don't have proof of purchase, they have their own price list for the most common things that people carry (which is, obviously, marked-up a lot).

        And the customs officers really like to go through the baggage of people arriving from th
      • by Obfuscant (592200) on Monday March 22, 2004 @08:36PM (#8640411)
        How would they know?

        You are required by law to tell them.

        If they even begin to think that you didn't tell them about something you ought to have, they can pull you aside and search you and your baggage. They have zero sense of humour about this kind of thing. They have every reason to want to catch you, since the fines are much higher than the taxes, and they look good catching smugglers. It's their job.

        If they ask you, and you lie, you can be easily caught. They will look at the data plate on the laptop and see the country of origin is the US. They will notice how new it looks and ask you to prove when you bought it, or when you brought it into the country and paid the VAT on it (you better have an accompanying entry stamp in your passport). They can also trace the serial number and determine when it was manufactured and sold.

        This is why it is a good idea to register any foreign made products prior to leaving your home country. The US has a form for this; I assume the UK has one, too.

        I can attest to the lack of humor. I was re-entering Australia after a two-day side-trip over to New Zealand. I had two food items in my bag -- a bag of US chocolate candy that had already cleared Oz quarantine where I had been told it was no problem, and a bag of Oz-produced, Oz-purchased chocolate easter bunnies. I didn't report either one. They have an X-ray machine that detects chocolate. :-( They were not amused.

        The person who mentioned "personal item" if the computer is used while overseas is wrong. This exemption is for people who have resided abroad, not just visited. Governments, especially the US, are quite nit-picky about the difference. It is intended for people who have lived overseas and in the normal course of living have bought things like clothing and furniture to use while residing overseas, but want to bring them back home.

    • by HungWeiLo (250320) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:00PM (#8637886)
      You wouldn't have to worry about customs/taxes if you open it and carry it with you, right? (Just like what you should do with jewelry)
    • by value_added (719364) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:22PM (#8638164)
      Reminds me of the old Mexican joke about a man who crossed the US/Mexican border every day with a wheel barrow full of dirt. The customs officials asked him each time he crossed whether he had anything to declare. Pointing to the dirt he would reply "Nada" and the guards would let him pass. In time they became used to his crossings that they no longer thought anything about what he was doing.

      Turns out he was smuggling wheel barrows.
  • by CarrionBird (589738) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#8637754) Journal
    Brand new, just fell off the truck....
  • Watch out for Taxes (Score:3, Informative)

    by MerlynEmrys67 (583469) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#8637758)
    Well you might end up paying sales taxes on top of the purchase price.

    Also depending on the value - and your opinion of smuggling of course - you might have to declare the laptop as a foriegn purchase on returning to England. In that case you might have to play duties on the laptop.

    I would hate for all of your "profit" to be eaten up in random taxes - so find out what taxes, duties, shipping, etc. you will end up paying. As I recall England has a VAT tax rather than a sales tax - might be where much of the 900 dollar difference lies

    • The idea is to skip the duty.

      You just carry your laptop in a laptop case and tell the guy that it's your work laptop.

      • by SoTuA (683507)
        You just carry your laptop in a laptop case and tell the guy that it's your work laptop.

        Be sure to "customize" it a little bit, put a different background than default, put a few prop files around, make it look like it's not factory bare hdd. Sometimes customs makes you boot it, so it better not look like its brand spankin' new (i.e. no "first time" wizards and that).

    • by Rosyna (80334) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:17PM (#8638112) Homepage
      The thing I've noticed when people say it costs $XXX in the use and XXX in the UK is that they don't realize that US prices do *not* include tax. All the UK prices do. They never add the US tax to the US price or subtract the UK tax from the UK price.
      • by mithras the prophet (579978) on Monday March 22, 2004 @08:41PM (#8640445) Homepage Journal

        The UK VAT is uniform across the entire country. The US has no national sales tax -- a sales tax (if any) is applied by each state. So the additional tax could be 0% to ~ 8.5%.

        Hence it makes sense not to include on a list price or web page. But note that services like Pricegrabber do, if you punch in a shipping postal code, try to calculate and include the applicable sales tax for you

  • If you declare it (Score:3, Informative)

    by DR SoB (749180) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#8637759) Journal
    It will cost you a crap load of money for customs. If you don't declare it, it would be illegal to "carry" it across your border. If customs questions you, they will want proof of purchase for your laptop, if you can't prove it, and they find out your lying (i.e. checking the serial #), then you will be charged with lying to a customs offical and be fined well over $2000. Make sure you do some research, it's not your buying a $50 sweater and wearing it across.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#8637760)
    Make a sign that indicates you have a couple thousand on your person and that you are in the market for a laptop. I helpful citizen sales rep will shortly arrive to arrange your purchase.
  • OMFG...... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ellem (147712) * <ellem52NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:53PM (#8637770) Homepage Journal
    The US has become Mexico.

    People are coming here to exploit our weak currency!

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
    • by MrScience (126570)
      Does this mean overseas corporations will start outsourcing to us?
    • by SmackCrackandPot (641205) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:20PM (#8638140)
      Reminds me of a joke I once heard:

      North Americans like crossing the border with their Southern neighbor because despite the high crime rate and poverty, prices for medicines and electrical goods are cheaper.

      Canadians like crossing the border with their Southern neighbor because despite the high crime rate and poverty, prices for medicines and electrical goods are cheaper.
    • Re:OMFG...... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mtrupe (156137)
      Uhh.... I think you are missing something that is very important-- we are free from the oppresive "VALUE ADDED TAX" that other countries have. Sure, we have sales tax, but we know what we pay and its pretty low considering what other countries pay. Socialistic governments have made paying taxes part of your purchase, so the consumer never realizes the government exploitation.
      • we know what we pay

        But you don't! I found visiting the US highly confusing because I'd expect to pay the price on the tag, instead of the quoted price plus some awkward percentage that varied from place to place... You never know quite what you're going to have to pay.

        Instead, here in the UK everyone quotes the price you actually pay, including VAT! (They have to, by law.) After all, that's the most important thing at the checkout. You can work out how much of that goes to the government if you want to, but that's hardly a major concern when you make a purchase.

        VAT is hardly exploitation. It's not as if we don't know it's happening. Look on it as a public contribution to ensuring our country is run reasonably well and that it looks after its people. After all, you generally get what you pay for -- if you don't pay much, then you get a country that doesn't look after its people very well, as the US has found...

        (Oh, and please don't call all other governments 'socialistic'. It doesn't do much either for international relations, or for your image here.)

  • by j-turkey (187775) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:54PM (#8637788) Homepage

    I believe that Costco [costco.com] sells Dells now...here's their computers & peripherals page [costco.com]. There are a few of these stores in the NYC area. Go to their site and find a retailer closest to you. It's far easier than doing it mail-order (with your specific case in mind). You'll also (unfortunately) need to get a membership there which will cost you about $75 -- unless you've got a friend in the area with a membership or are really crafty.

  • by dr_dank (472072) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:54PM (#8637797) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, the best place to buy stuff. I got a genuine Rollox wristwatch from a dude there.
  • Export Restrictions? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dekaner (72280) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:54PM (#8637800) Homepage
    Doesn't Dell ask you to affirm that you will not export the computer from the United States as part of their checkout process?

    From Dell's shopping cart:

    Export Intent
    I WILL NOT export this order outside the United States.
    I WILL export this order outside the United States.

    The export of any product and software purchased from Dell must be made in accordance with all relevant laws of the United States, including and without limitation, the U.S. Export Administration Regulations. This may require that you obtain a formal export license or make certain declarations to the United States Government regarding product(s) to be exported, their destination or their end-use.

    Ship-To Prohibitions: Please be informed that your designated ship to address must reflect the address of the ultimate end-user. Dell will not process any order which specifies an address of a freight forwarder, warehouse, distribution center, airport, hotel or PO box.
    • by Dekaner (72280) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:00PM (#8637904) Homepage
      Apparently if you click yes you get the following:

      Intent To Export

      You noted you will be exporting this order outside the United States. Please complete the following information to continue checkout.

      Product End-User Information
      First Name MI Last Name

      Country
      -List of Countries-

      Intended Use
      In what country will the product be used?
      -List of Countries-

      This product is for use in
      Home
      Commercial
      Government/Civilian
      Government/Military

      Will the product be used in connection with weapons of mass destruction, i.e. nuclear applications, missile technology, or chemical or biological weapons purposes?
      Yes
      No

      Is the product to be used to upgrade an existing system?
      Yes
      No
  • Good hotels do this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by costas (38724) on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:55PM (#8637808) Homepage
    Any good hotel (4 star and up, and good chain 3 stars) will sign for packages for you; just call the hotel, tell them you have a reservation, and ask how can you send a FedEx package to them for your personal delivery when you check-in. Get the name of the concierge/manager that gives you this information and ask for them by name on any follow-up calls. Give the info to Dell, make sure they put your name and "(Guest)" on the delivery and make it c/o of the person you have the name of, if possible. And don't forget to tip.

    I can't imagine a decent NYC hotel not doing this; as a long-time business traveler, it's a perk you expect and is quite common.
  • VAT & taxes (Score:3, Informative)

    by morcheeba (260908) * on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:56PM (#8637822) Journal
    The $2999 includes a 17.5% VAT ($446), whereas the $2049 price doesn't include 8.625% NY tax ($176). I don't know the UK import laws, but be prepared if they ding you with an import tax (which may be the full VAT) when you come back with your new computer.
  • J&R (Score:5, Informative)

    by JohnGrahamCumming (684871) * <slashdot@NosPAm.jgc.org> on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:56PM (#8637835) Homepage Journal
    The best reputable dealer in NYC is J&R Music and Computer World [jandr.com]. They have a good selection of laptop computers that you can buy and take away right there; naturally they don't have Dell since Dell sells through the web only.

    You can start by taking a look at their selection on their web site here [jandr.com]. You'll pay the relevant sales taxes for New York (under 10%) but you'll get a much better deal than the Dell you are looking at.

    Of course it's totally you to you whether you declare the thing when you arrive back in the UK and pay the relevant UK taxes.

    John.
  • IBM eBay Store (Score:3, Informative)

    by niko9 (315647) * on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:57PM (#8637846)
    Follow this link [ebay.com] to IBM's Authorized eBay store.

    Heavily discounted new laptopts, directly from IBM. Usually 35 bucks for next day air.
    They set up this site to clear old stock, old as in 3-6 mos.

    There's also the IBM Ebay Global financing eBay (seach the eBay stores section) store, they do all refurbs. That's were I got my X22 almost 2 years ago, still runnning without any problems.

    Disclaimer: Thinkpads are my favorite laptops.

    Good Luck.
  • J&R, Best Buy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Randar the Lava Liza (562063) * on Monday March 22, 2004 @04:59PM (#8637882) Homepage
    Try Best Buy on 23rd & 6th Ave for your generic hp's, compaq's. J&R on Park Row - www.jandr.com [jandr.com] is a great source for everything else. J&R will also have deals on close-outs and refurbished models. A friend of mine recently got a Dell laptop there for $600, some 1.5 GHz processor, DVD-ROM, 15" display.

    J&R is a good place both for new & refurb units, I'd definitely go there. The other big chains (Best Buy, CompUSA, etc) might be worth a visit, but J&R will price match any local competitors.

    If you're also looking for a camera, be sure to hit B&H Photo & Video [bhphotovideo.com]. They have the most amazing conveyor system for moving things around the store, it's worth it to stop by just to see that!

  • by wdavies (163941) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:00PM (#8637891) Homepage
    Hey, be very careful, or Her Majesty's revenue collectors will nab you off the plane and charge you VAT on it.

    I had that experience coming back to the UK during a break in working in the US, and the SOB's saw my newish Apple 5300, and whisked me off to a cash machine (ATM) to pay 300 quid (450 dollars). Which for a research assistant was a lot of money. Mofo's. They know their stuff, and the guy who got me (I wasnt hiding it btw, just wasnt declaring it either), said it is something very common to happen.

    Anyway, I got the last laugh as their delaying me in the middle of a British Airways transfer from the international flight to a domestic one ending up costing BA a 2 hour security related work stoppage and a 737 sitting at its gate for 2 hours while they argued about who would take my dangerous transferred luggage off... apparently around a million quid.

    Winton
  • by EnglishTim (9662) on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:02PM (#8637917)
    Find out in advance if the power socket on the power suppy is detachable. If it is, buy a UK lead for it before you go out. If it isn't buy a UK power supply for it before you go out. Also bring a US->UK plug converter. Make a CD of any of the kind of software you'd normally have installed, plus a selection of your normal documents/family photos etc that you'd have on your computer.

    After you've bought your laptop, install the software and copy over some of your documents. If possible swap the backdrop to a picture of your kids or Mum or something like that. Change the regional settings to match the UK.

    Then throw away all the packaging, CDs US power lead etc before you leave the hotel. Just keep the kind of things you'd normally take with you on a trip.

    When you go through UK customs, it's not that likely you'll be stopped. If you do get stopped, the UK power supply and the fact that you've got lots of crap installed already will make it look like you just took your laptop with you anyway.

    Lovely.

    Er. I didn't say that.
  • by vasqzr (619165) <vasqzrNO@SPAMnetscape.net> on Monday March 22, 2004 @05:18PM (#8638125)

    As a former Best Buy employee, I've seen this happen a lot.

    It happened mostly during the holidays. People are visiting relatives in the states, and they're taking advantage of after-Thanksgiving sales and such.

    Let me first say, the pricing has very little to do with the 'weak US dollar'. It's just simply cheaper to buy things like computers here. How many computer manufacturers are based in England, compared to the USA?

    Basically, they'd give us the same reasons you are. They'd typically buy a machine for $2000 which would cost $3000 or more in England/wherever they were from. They'd buy a notebook bag and pack it all up and leave the box and everything at the store, so it looked normal when they went back through the airport.

    We actually had some repeat customers every year, and they would buy more than 1 laptop, and sell them when they got home!

    • by batkiwi (137781) on Monday March 22, 2004 @06:03PM (#8638730)
      You're missing the point.

      He wants to buy it now because his money is in GBP. Right now that 2000$ USD laptop will only cost him 1082 GBP. 1 year ago it would have cost him 1280 GBP. It's 200 GBP cheaper now than a year ago for HIM (NOT for you, with USD as your base).

      The cost difference is only part of it. Look at the international money scene: The US dollar is DIEING. HORRIBLY. No one wants the greenback. It will recover (we all hope), but for now it means getting stuff from the US can be REALLY cheap, even cheaper than usualy.

      http://finance.yahoo.com/m5?s=USD&t=GBP&a=2000&c =1

      http://finance.yahoo.com/m5?s=USD&t=AUD&a=2000&c =1

      Imagine if those were stock charts... they'd be firing the board of directors!
      • by Jon Abbott (723) on Monday March 22, 2004 @09:59PM (#8641000) Homepage
        The US dollar is DIEING. HORRIBLY.
        [Someone has to do this, right?]

        It is official; International Monetary Fund confirms: the US dollar is dying

        One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered US dollar community when IMF confirmed that US dollar market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all people. Coming on the heels of a recent IMF survey which plainly states that US dollar has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. The US dollar is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Money Magazine comprehensive currency test.

        You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict US dollar's future. The hand writing is on the wall: the US dollar faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for the US dollar because the US dollar is dying. Things are looking very bad for the US dollar. As many of us are already aware, the US dollar continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

        All major surveys show that the US dollar has steadily declined in market share. The US dollar is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If the US dollar is to survive at all it will be among dilettante numismatists. The US dollar continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, the US dollar is dead.

        Fact: The US dollar is dying
  • About Duty (Score:3, Informative)

    by alphakappa (687189) on Monday March 22, 2004 @06:02PM (#8638711) Homepage
    If you are buying a laptop to take home to India, do not worry about duties, since according to new regulations, a single laptop is permitted per passenger. (which means that it won't be written down on your passport).
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Monday March 22, 2004 @07:38PM (#8639896)
    I saved about 300 Euros / 500 Dollars a few months ago by buying an iBook in the United States. The voltage is not a problem -- Apple's transformers are 110/220, and if you take off the "corner", you can plug in any normal electronics cable. The DVD drive is not a problem -- it picks up the first regional code you use (I haven't checked about getting rid of the RC altogether yet, though; Apple still enforces it in hard- and (!) software, I'm told, which would be dumb thing to do). The warranty is not a problem, as Apple's standard one-year is worldwide on portables (not, however, on desktop computers). The keyboard is not a problem -- if you can touch-type (and you should be able to), the trick is to never, never think about what you are doing. It's just like climbing a mountain: As long as you don't look down, you're fine.

    Customs was not even a theoretical problem in my case, as there are no duties for importing computers to Germany. If you bought your iBook in a U.S. state that doesn't have sales tax [yes, my European children, there are whole states in the U.S. where there is no VAT. Remember this when your politicians try to tell you why your national sales tax has to be raised to 18 percent], you might have to pay a certain amount so they are satisfied you paid at least some sort of tax to somebody. This is the Einfuhrumsatzsteuer and German customs describes the details here [www.zoll.de]. In my case, the Euro was high enough that it was still well worth it.

    Other advice: Go on Apple's website (come on, you don't really want a loud, heavy, ugly Dell, do you), find a store in easy distance of where you are going to be, and email or call a few weeks ahead. IBooks are currently assembled in Taiwan, and take five to ten days if you want anything but the standard model (larger harddrive, for example). Remember, too, that America might have the most advanced stock market on the planet, but its bank system still hasn't gotten beyond the stage of sending little slips of paper around by mail: Most Americans have trouble understanding how an EC card even works, and happily go throught an 18th Century ritual called "balancing the check book" [newsforge.com] once every few days without complaint. You will have to pay cash (don't worry, these amounts in cash are not considered unusual in the U.S.), or better, get yourself a credit card.

    German readers will want to take a look at this article about importing iBooks from the consumer test group Stiftung Warentest [www.test.de]. Note that there are some minor mistakes in there, however, like the need for an adapter for the plug.

    In my case, there was no question that it was worth it: In fact, I could have probably flown there and back just to pick up the computer, and still saved money. And best thing: With 220 volts, my iBook is twice as fast as it was in the States. No, really. The trouble is, it sends my fingerprints to Donald Rumsfeld every time I touch the escape button...

  • by rixstep (611236) on Monday March 22, 2004 @10:11PM (#8641083) Homepage
    Hi,

    I'm from Belgium and am planning to be in Tijuana later this month. I will be there for about four hours.

    My employer would very much like it if I could get our company a good grid of either IBM eServes or Apple Xserve RAIDS. The Mexican peseta is cheaper than ever.

    I was chosen for this assignment because I speak pretty good Mexican. I've been listening to the US president's speaches in Mexican and I can follow along pretty good.

    Anyway, my question is: are there any good/big IBM/Apple outlets in Tijuana? Are there any Apple Stores there? If so, how many?

    We'd like to buy somewhere between 64 and 96 units. We run an illegal gambling establishment outside Antwerp. We need to save this money if at all possible.

    Slashdot, please help!

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis

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