I printed out the CompUSA web page this morning (before they removed it.)
At lunch I went to CompUSA. Last time I was there the price was marked $199. Today it was $50. There were contracts on the side of all of them, and the "IMPORTANT" sticker stating the contract needed to be signed in store. I took one up to the registers.
The cashier lookd it over, presumably for the bar code to scan, and was about to ring it up when the cashier from the next register came over and asked my cashier "Do you know how to do these things? There's a contract they have to sign."
I showed them the web page printout and the cashier went to talk to someone about it, then came back and said that to get it at $49 I had to sign the contract. The price without the contract was $199.
I said, "Fine, forget it" and walked out of the store. Then I thought, what the hay, I'm here already, I might as well complain at the service desk and see what happens.
I spoke to someone who went away to presumably speak with a manager. When they came back I was told that the unit was useless without the service, so why would I want it? I said you could use it with your own ISP. I asked if they would sell it to me for $49 with no contract, and was told yes. They told me to go to the upgrade counter and tel them that so-and-so (presumably a manager) said it was OK.
I took one to the upgrade counter, where it rang up at $199. I told the cashier I had just gone through this at the service desk, and I was supposed to get it for $49. The cashier went away, them came back and sold it to be for $49, cash, no contract, but told me it probably wouldn't work without the service.
I never got nasty about it. I was ready to leave the store if the manager had said no, but I guess I got lucky. :)