New Technology… Finally!

We went out and bought a new LCD TV last night! I feel the need to preface this with a few background bits of information so I don’t sound like a wreckless, rich jerk. First, we acquired many pieces of furniture when my ex-roommate skipped town and left his HD tube TV, surround sound, leather couch and chair, dining set, and more – so we didn’t spend any money on those items when we got married. We also don’t pay retail for much of anything over $50 and shop at Goodwill regularly for our clothes. We have 3 months of savings, or a tad less if we earmark some for medical or taxes in January, so we do have the liquid assets for replacing items, but the funds were “technically” accounted for other purposes next year.

Okay, now you’re ready for my story, knowing that we don’t go crazy with purchases.

I’ve been wanting a new TV for a very long time. First it was because I was wooed by flat screens, but I’ve since become more satisfied with what we have and stopped trying to keep up with the Jones’.  Later, it was because we kept pushing our couch further back from the entertainment center to make room for a larger coffee table and later allowing us to play Wii without moving things to play. This resulted in us laying on the floor to watch shows to keep Kristin from putting on her glasses to watch with me because things were too small to read.

I have successfully put getting a new TV out of my mind for several months straight in an effort to increase our savings and build up our business account. Then, Kristin complained about it twice. The first time was finally an earnest complaint that it is too small. She was serious about that, but not getting a new TV because it still worked just fine. The second time was a text message while I was out stating that the sound was going out. I suddenly remembered some crackling earlier that day, thinking it was the DVR recording of the show. It wasn’t.

I tested the sound the next time by muting it. No dice. I tried turning it down. No dice. I tried turning it up to overcome the cracking and popping it was making, but that just made the noise louder. We were completely stuck and there was no way to bypass it using our stereo system.

For those of you who know, know… it’s not possible to watch The Game (OSU vs Michigan) with this junk going on and the thought of going over to my in-laws and have people rooting for Michigan just because I am for the good guys wasn’t an appealing alternative. I don’t mind coming over when they’re playing against their team, but to root against for the sake of not agreeing isn’t the same, you know.

My finding quite a deal was Kristin’s own fault, though. She sent me a link to a TV from work, and I immediately checked Sears as an alternative. I found a TV that was $250 off and the sale was going to end for Black Friday (though we didn’t know that at the time) and was at the mall on Monday to use wi-fi and approved of the picture and border. The idea was still being more or less poo-pooed as not the best use of our money.

After work yesterday, she wasn’t quite hungry yet, so we assumed the usual position to watch a show, and were greeted with the noise that wouldn’t stop. “That’s it,” I said. “We can’t be watching TV this way. We either have to stop watching TV and find something else to do or get a deal like the one I found.” After quite a discussion, pointing out that we had the money, but that it was earmarked for things in January that I have time to replenish with business funds, she finally left the decision up to me because the pressure would now be on me. She doesn’t like feeling guilty when we buy things (most of the time), but now I was the one beginning to feel guilty if I still continued with my reasoning. I calculated work in progress, payments receivable, and decided it was fine, based on how much we were looking at spending.

We drove to the Sears that I went to Monday since we knew for sure that they had that TV in stock. We walked straight to the TV, started discussing it, and then the salesman came over. I informed him that we were interested in THAT TV as soon as my wife was satisfied that it met her visual criteria. The next thing out of his mouth was that the TV above it was also good and pointed out how its colors were better and that it was only $50 more and that the price tag was wrong. After he pointed out that the pictures were different, I immediately looked to reach for the remote on the TV we wanted to see if the settings were jacked up, but the remote was gone! I got on the website with my phone to see what the full specs were and if there were good reviews for it. It appeared to be a new TV and there were only 2 reviews, but it was a 5-star TV.

We discussed it for a bit longer and decided to go with the TV that I’d spent so much time researching and told the man. He came back saying that he was pretty sure they were out of stock, so he’d have to check. He went down about 4 isles to “check” when there was a terminal right next to us. He said they were out but they could have one shipped on December 3rd. I immediately refused that idea and asked which store had one, since there are about 8 Sears within 45 minutes and several pretty much being in the direction of home. He “called” 2 more stores that were also out of stock of that TV, claiming that it was such a good price that they sold out. Kristin’s B.S. meter was already pegged to the max and went to the restrooms.

As I was rejecting his “help” and headed to the isle to wait for her, she texted me asking if we could get the other one for the same price. We really didn’t want to give this chump the sale, but we also didn’t want to waste our time or gas since she was fading quickly after taking some medicine for her allergies. I went and said, “We’ll take that other TV off your hands and give you a sale tonight if you can give it to us for the same price as the one we came her for (since we detected your BS about being out of stock and I really want to call you out on the carpet for it in a lame attempt to make an extra commission).

He said that decision was above his pay grade, so it would have to go through the manager, but he didn’t think they’d go for it… and he just stood there. “We’d like to discuss that with your manager because money is about to walk out the door,” I replied with in full confidence that managers are generally not stupid when it comes to losing a sale. The call went out to that manager, but another came over and I told him the situation, but he said that one would rest with the other manager, though he’d say it was okay if it was his decision.

Meanwhile, we got word that the manager wanted to know if we were getting an extended protection plan. “No, we don’t buy protection plans on electronics that lose value faster than Congress spends my money,” was the level of disdain I wanted to throw at that idea, but I left it at denying the attempt, even after he had the nerve to look up the price, which was 1/4th of the price of the TV.

Eventually, the other manager finally came out and was looking for her card, so it seemed evident that she wanted to cut us the deal without even discussing it (I KNEW it!) and another manager popped up on the other side of the computer terminal with his (or maybe her) card and the card reader popped up with the lower price for me to swipe my card. We just got 10% off the SALE price of the TV and 36% off the retail price that it was returning to on Sunday. Like I said, we don’t pay retail. Heck, we don’t even pay sale prices now. I was still in shock that I talked him down from a TV already marked down 25% because I wasn’t happy with the circumstances.

Okay, so for those interested, here’s what we did: we took a $699 TV that was marked down to $499 all the way down to $449! It’s a 40″ Toshiba with a ton of connections and features that I didn’t even know existed. After setting it up, I was amazed at the picture, even after seeing our in-laws’ HD LCD TV for the last 4 years.

I’m a very happy camper now. Some day this weekend Kristin will have time to sit down and watch some TV with me instead of sleeping off her allergy medicine or cutting and cooking in the kitchen.