About 2 months ago, our old Sharp TV really started acting up. Sometimes the image would tremble; other times everything would go Black and White. I don’t know how many times I found myself banging on that thing.
We figured we needed to get a new TV pretty quickly. My wife and I are, after all, TV junkies and avid film enthusiasts. In a classical rationalist fashion, we concluded that if we were going to invest in a new TV, we might as well do it right. Prices are dropping, transmission is shifting to digital in 2009, and we love pretty, bright colors – Hi-Def it is!
After visiting several retailers and settling on the TV size, I went to work on finding us a good deal. Our best estimation was that anything less than a 40-inch TV would look dorky in our living room. The prosumer in me wanted a 42′, but that is why I have a wife. The problem was decent and affordable 40-inch TVs are not that easy to find. At least not with our budget…
Amazon.com, as usual, was a great resource with great pricing, great info and great visuals. But there’s just something about not being able to touch it before you buy it, that irks me. Don’t get me wrong- I order stuff online like books… and books. But with a major purchase like this was gonna need some close contact. A little bit of sugar.
Especially after finding that the only 40-inch TV’s we actually could afford were manufactured by obscure, mysterious brands like Dynatec, Optoma and TruTech. Not that these are bad brands… I just don’t know them like I know Sharp, Sony, Panasonic and Phillips, for example.
Things weren’t looking very promising, so I let a few days go by. The next Friday, I took my wife and daughter out to eat. As we debated dinner, we drove by our local Comp USA and saw liquidation signs all over the front. “Final Sale, Up to 70% off, Store Closing, Must Sell” – all seemed like reasonable statements that would justify a visit.
We walked in and to my surprise; the entire store, after less than a week in liquidation mode, was stripped down to the bare bones. Sections of the store were closed off because they were empty. Metal bins of electronic cabling and connection plugs now flooded the front half of the store, while portable white steel cages filled with Vaio, HP and Apple laptops created new aisles of dream-come-true discounts. Digital Canon cameras slashed to half its original markup; Bose systems that regular folk could actually afford, storage cards, portable drives, DVD players, modems, printers, in other words a Geek Squad member’s paradise.
It was then I saw it. Halfway through the store, I saw a small section taped off crime scene style. The section was the TV holding area. Three flat screen TV’s were mounted on the wall, flanked by huge neon-colored poster board signs. As I walked up, my eyes immediately locked unto a particular set on the wall. This TV set hanging on the wall was a Sony Bravia 40-inch, LCD, High-Definition flat screen. This TV set hanging on the wall had a sign next to it that read, “Sony Bravia LCD 40-inch $750”. I almost fell over.
The model I was looking at normally retails at $1,647 on Amazon and you can find a used one for $1,200 – $1,350. This TV had been outside our budget, much to my dismay. At $750, there was no way I would find this price anywhere else.
So I asked, “What’s wrong with the TVs?” One of the managers explained that all they had left were display models, all inspected and good to go. The only conditions were: I wouldn’t get a box, a user manual, the TV’s mount and the sale would be final. I simply stood there looking at the manager dumbfounded, still shocked by the price. It paid off, because the manager said they would even throw in a $150 wall mount for $20.
Roughly 4 hours later, I was cleaning up my mess after installing the TV in my Living Room.
It was beautiful.
We were at the event horizon. We would never leave our home again. One of the first thing we tried on for size was watching Discovery Channel’s riveting documentary series, “Planet Earth”.
We would never leave our home again.
About a week later, we noticed a strange shadow on the bottom right-hand quadrant of the TV’s display. The shadow, ever-present on every channel and every show turned out to be a small burn-in, which typically doesn’t happen with LCD screens. A thing to consider is that as a display model, the TV was probably On for countless hours. And there was no chance for an exchange, because all sales were final back at the Comp USA.
I immediately visited Sony.com, which I’ve always found to be a highly comprehensive and accessible portal to everything Sony. I quickly found Support resources for my TV and discovered a very cool Product Exchange Program.
The program sends you a Certified, refurbished television and pays the shipping for you to send back your damaged model. Since the model we purchased was a display, a factory Certified refurbished set sounded very much like a win. A quick phone call & we were well on our way to resolving this thing almost effortlessly.
A little snag came up. The phone rep informed us that our TV model was out of stock.
They could, however, send us the next best model, which they only had available in new sets, not refurbished.
A new (not refurbished), more advanced TV set?
At no extra cost?
For the $750 I originally paid for?
Well, if you’re gonna twist my arm like that…
No questions were asked with the exception of how I liked the TV. No hassle; not even a survey.
Sony has always been a very smart company. Although some of their more recent products haven’t shown the longevity of some their older ones, Sony has managed to remain an agile and renowned organization, leading the industry in many keys areas, such as producing affordable, high-quality electronics. Its good to see a strong focus on what will truly maintain their company’s viability, good service. Not only do you develop a business relationship with the consumer, but you also establish a long-standing link of trust that makes any connection that much stronger.