Do you guys have HMV in the States?
I love Amazon.ca for pretty much everything, not just DVDs/CDs, but cookware, books..
But after getting screwed by some crappy Game of Thrones paraphernalia I bought for a Christmas present, I'd resolved to get more hands-on with my purchases again.
I went into Future Shop, A Canadian electronics big box that was bought by Best Buy in 2001, and it is a mess.. It is basically a big cell phone and console video game store now, with all the electronics and DVD's stuffed in the back. And only new releases or popular DVD's at that.. Want anything outside the norm? Go online, was the subtext of every conversation I had with any of the staff (their online counter-part is just as bare bones, however)..
But back to my original point.. I was in the mall killing time while my wife did her thing, and wandered into an HMV.. Great selection of music and DVD's (international, obscure, cult fav's), I always have something catch my eye (and my wallet) when I go in there.. Great staff who never 'hover' but who are never far away.. And a nice selection of movie and music-related kitsch to browse and critique. Basically a chain that feels like a mom and pop, which is to say 'big box' done right... They don't try to do a million things half-assed, like Future Shop (major appliances, car audio, computers, TV's, phones, etc etc etc)..
It can be done, long story short..
So I'll be doing more in-store shopping from now on, IF I can find the right store (Best Buy/Future Shop/Walmart ain't it)..
That said, one thing I do appreciate about the big chains is their return policies.. Ever try to return something to a mom and pop? God help you if you don't have the receipt and the item has a speck of dust on it!! You have to fight your way through to a store credit (forget a full refund!) rather than a 20% 'restocking' fee... I can appreciate their reticence (THEY have to go through the hassle of returning it to the original supplier if it is defective, or trying to re sell it in their store, if you just didn't like it for whatever reason), but it still makes me reluctant to ever come back if I know I will have a pitched battle if ever I am not completely satisfied with a purchase..