I went to an official Sony store (Sony Style) today to check out their Sony VAIO notebooks. I explained what I had in mind to one of their friendly salesmen, and he helped explain some of the differences between notebook models and prices. When I asked him why their notebook prices (from the official Sony store) were higher than the exact same Sony VAIO notebooks from Best Buy and Circuit City, he said that's because the notebooks sold at official Sony stores are configured better and are made of higher quality materials than those sold at Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. In other words, Sony sells the lesser quality notebooks to retailers while reserving the higher quality merch to customers that buy direct from their official stores.
Now, I know this is true in the automotive industry (e.g. buying car parts directly from the dealer vs. from say Pep Boys or Checker), but I wasn't sure if it were true for laptops, or whether it was simply a sales pitch he was trained to use.
What are your thoughts on this?