Sometimes you DON’T get the best deal online

I've found this rather counterintuitive, so I thought I'd share for bargain hunting posterity.

Since I spilled a cup of coffee on my laptop (a Lenovo 3000 N100) recently, a few of my keys either stopped working completely or began to stick something fierce. As a result, I've been living without easy access to the '-' key in most programs (exception: MS Word, where I was able to map an autoreplace shortcut to get it; for others I've either gone without or pasted in the dang thing from a text file that I keep at hand), which has been quite irksome at times (you don't realize how many words are hyphenated until your hyphen stops working) and has resulted in a lot of unsightly tildas (i.e., '~') clogging my file names and account.

Anywho, I googled this quite a bit in search of a bargain for the replacement keyboard. A few places offered it for $40~60 (note the tilda~~my replacement has yet to arrive), and others demanded an absurd amount (highest: $225). None of the former outfits turned out to have it in stock (contrary to their website's claims) and I'll be damned before I pay the other prices.

Someone on a Lenovo forum agreed that this price was ridiculous and suggested I call them and inquire. I was sceptical of the use of that, but I did.

I tend to assume that you're always better off cutting big companies out of the process and scouring the Internet for bargains, but to my shock Lenovo not only had it in stock, but was charging less than them all.

The moral: Check traditional sellers when bargain hunting, too. I tend to use the big box shops and major websites for scouting and then order from places like, but that didn't work here. Don't automatically assume the big guys will charge more and leave them out of your search. In this case, the big guy can charge a lot less become it keeps a lot of these in stock for repair shops. Had I followed my gut instinct that the part was just rare now, I'd have ended up paying 400% of its normal price ($200 instead of $50).

P.S. is a place you can still order Windows XP to escape the bloated and buggy Windows Vista malfunctioning system …sorry… "operating system".  We just, to use Micro$oft's parlance, "downgraded" Shabana's new but sluggish Dell XPS laptop to XP Home.  Runs much better faster and smoother now. (Note: Some customers who got had the misfortune of getting Vista preinstalled can even make this switch for free, though not us. Check with your seller.)

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