Buying from a Brick-and-Mortar Store
While the Internet can seem attractive and may offer a slightly lower price, the best and safest deal may come from a local store. There are many more stores that offer digital cameras than you may realize. Call around to see if your chosen make and model is available on the store's shelves.
Buying from a store in your town means you can try out the camera before you buy, since most stores have demonstration cameras that you can look though and test out. Also, when you buy in your local area, you can see whether the box containing your camera was sealed by the manufacturer and was never opened. And returning a camera to a local store is generally much easier than returning one to an online retailer.
Even in small areas there should be plenty of stores to choose from:
Large discount department stores such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Tar-get typically carry the most popular brands and lines of digital cameras. They also may carry a number of accessories.
Electronics stores such as Circuit City and Radio Shack should have a good selection.
Office supply stores often have an excellent selection of cameras, accessories, cases, software, and books on the subject. Check out your local Staples, OfficeMax, and Office Depot stores.
Local chain stores often have an online catalog. You can order online but return the item to the store if there are any problems. As long as you return the item within the return period, there may not be a restocking fee.