Friday, 9 May 2008

Rue Montgallet

Rue Montgallet is worth visiting, at least if you're a bit nerdy and want to see how the competition and free market works when it's hardest. The entire street, and some of the side-streets are filled with computer shops. Most shops have long home-made price lists hanging in the windows. Often they look like the family songs and invitations which the family father made when he got his first colour printer. Large pictures, coloured fonts and a price that jumps into your eyes.

When you enter the shops it becomes even more special. Most shops are owned by Asians and don't ask me if it's Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Vietnamese or what. Paris is such a wonderful multi-culturel. The Asians certainly makes me think that they can get stuff from back home to a price that beats anything us Europeans can get. You'll see other people in the shops as well, there's a group of them who're nerds, very stereotypical as taken out of a satire comic. It's quiet entertaining and surely an experience that you can't find back in Denmark.

The competition is tough and that's very visible on the prices. We visited the nearby computer-supermarket Surcouf which sells IT equipment when I recently was out looking for a new computer. You can find practically everything there, but the shop has ordinary people as targetgroup and the prices follow. The monitor I wanted cost more than 300€ in the bit shop. On rue Montgallet I found it for 230€ and I could have found it cheaper if I had wanted to go through all the shops looking for a cheaper price.

What really surprised me was how you find the cheapest price. You simply make a detailed list of what you wish to buy and then you walk from shop to shop and show the list and tell them you want an offer. Without raising any questions they start calculating you an offer which you're given on a piece of paper. Perhaps there'll be some special discounts or even something for free, if you're buying many things. This way you walk from shop to shop and collect a huge pile of offers. Be prepared to spend several hours because there are many shops. If you see something that's especially cheap it's worth checking how much they have in stock, because just an hour or two later it might be gone again. When you're tired of wandering, find yourself a café get an espresso and go through the offers and decide where you wish to buy your new computer.

If you're just out to get a few things it's certainly worth visiting the homepages first and see where you can buy it for the cheapest. You can find USB keys, smartcards, ram etc. very cheaply. You can of course also just wander from shop to shop and ask what the price of the day is. The prices changes day to day and the web doesn't always show the latest development.

Practical information:
Web: - you can also find practical information about the shops and places. Not all shops are on the website but it's a good place to start.
Metro: Montgallet, line 8. The stop is at one end of the street, so it can't be easier.
Gare de Lyon is only a few blocks away from rue Montgallet so it's rather easy to find and get to.

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