At the last couple Hamfests that I've been to, people have told me that there is a Staples Outlet in Chambersburg, PA. They told me tales of the great deals there - $1 packs of DVD's, $10 webcams, $250 laptops.
So I turned to Google - and could find almost no trace of it. Pretty much the only reference I could find was a mention in an industrial property listing
. Staple's website showed the store - and interestingly enough, showed that it was only open Thursday-Sunday - but didn't say anything about it being an outlet.
Well, yard sale season is over, there weren't any good auctions this weekend, and I enjoy long drives and gas has gotten cheap. I figured it would be a good daytrip - some people spend their Saturdays boating or going to wineries, I spend mine hunting down cheap electronics.
So Saturday morning around 10am, I grabbed a cup of 7-11 coffee and hopped in the Ranger and headed West.
It was a nice drive - blue sky, changing autumn leaves, and the scenic curves and hills of I-70. I like driving, especially through areas that aren't densely populated. It sort of makes you appreciate life and how good I have it (single-ness aside) - that I can just randomly drive two hours each way on a Saturday morning - that I have the freedom, financial and political, to do that.
The Staples outlet was certainly as low-key in real life as it was online. It's in a typical aging suburban shopping mall, with a K-Mart and a bunch of small stores. The sign on the street says "Staples" in big letters with "outlet store" in small letters under it. The store itself has a normal Staples sign, but posters in the window say "Outlet Pricing".
Inside, it clearly was a standard Staples at one point. The shelves have been rearranged so about half the store is blocked off. There are computers and printers displayed in what used to be the copy center, and overhead signs still point to departments that no longer exist.
As far as the inventory - there are some good deals, especially on the office supply and furniture side of things. There are some decent deals as far as technology goes - not great for resale, but good if you are looking for those things. They had a ton of cordless phones cheap ($5 and up), some MP3 players, a handful of digital cameras. They had a ton of printers. They did have a few laptops (not on display, just posted on a board) - the deals seemed good, including a Dell RED edition with 3 gigs of RAM and a dual-core for $500 - but not stellar. They did have a ton of flash media (ok prices) and quite a bit of blank media (including $1 15-packs and $4 50-packs of Maxell DVD+/-r)
If you need stuff like pens, tape, paper, stocking stuffers, and the like, it's a great place. There are also some random one-off tech things that are good deals.
So what did madanthony buy?
-Targus 17" Titanium laptop case - $35 (not a great deal, but my MacBook Pro needs a bag it actually fits in)
-Panasonic transcriber machine - $20 (looks like it goes for about $50 on eBay - if so, it will pay for my gas for the trip)
-Staples 30-piece computer toolkit - $5
-Imation 25 pack floppies - $1 (we were looking for some at work to make a boot disk)
-Griffin clear case for iPod Video - $4 (will hold my classic, and unlike my current case, I can dock/charge it without taking it out of the case)
- 3 two-packs of Staples packing tape - $1 each
- Small first aid kit - 50 cents
- package of paper clips and binder clips - 50 cents
- Staples wordlock bicycle lock - $1
So would I go there again? Sure - just the drive was worth it, even if I came back empty-handed. And it's got lots of random stuff, which I love. I'm going to wait a few months before my next trip and see how much the inventory turns over. I think I'll also try to plan my trip better - maybe find some thrift stores in the area to stop at.
My other goal for this trip is one I have anytime I travel somewhere I don't usually go - eat somewhere that isn't around where I am. So I was happy to find a Waffle House on I-81 in Hagerstown. Two huge pecan waffles and a cup of coffee - $6.08 (plus tip). I love Waffle House, and it's one of those places I don't usually go.
In general, I should probably take more day trips. There are a ton of things near me, and I've generally avoided them because I don't like doing things alone - which is stupid, because doing stuff alone beats not doing it at all, and otherwise I end up sitting at home surfing the internet for hours. Getting out of the house - even if it's just going to a Staples Outlet - is a good thing for me.