John Jaworski

Black Friday Crowd

That guy way in the back? He was just looking for some diapers for his kid late at night. He picked the wrong night to run out...

I have been watching, listening, and reading all of the great after Thanksgiving sales that will be going on in the consumer electronics market. I have seen numerous amazingly priced items, too good to pass up, and yet I look at them with a cynical, cautious eye.

Have you seen the ads for the 40” LCD TV’s for $248, or the 15” laptop for $198? Have you been enticed by these ridiculously priced goods that seem too good to pass up, and require you line up in the middle of the night, or on Thanksgiving to get them. Well not to bust the happy bubble, but I must be the breaker of shopper’s hearts and give you an idea why these prices are not what they appear.

Let us look at the Wal-Mart deal for the 40” LCD TV at $248. I would love to have a new TV myself, as my old 35” tube TV is starting to have color and clarity issues, yet I will wait for something even better than what is being offered, and I will explain why. First the brand that is advertised, Emerson, does not conjure top-of-the line products, or state-of-the art technology. To the contrary, you will be lucky you can get 2 years out of this product without significant problems. Not that I am guaranteeing it will break, but if I were betting the Craps table I would bet the point. The picture quality is so-so, and the general build lacks any real quality workmanship. Now I can understand if this is your first TV, or you are on a very tight budget, but to protect you from what could happen, I would have to say pass this item up.

The $198 computer! Sounds amazing, well it is not. The computer is a Compaq Presario. Yes it is a name brand, but a name that should be avoided like the Ebola virus. There has been a track record of immeasurable fail of this product over the last 3-4 years. Even though HP owns this company, it is not to the standard of most HP products. The computer is also packed with all sorts of obsolete technology, like an AMD dual-core processor and a whopping 2GB’s of ram. Wow I almost want to get this, so I can use it to prop open my garage door when I take out my garbage.

Yes I have been facetious, and I am probably coming off as a snooty, self-absorbed individual. However, that is furthest from my true reason to bash these and other door busting deals for the after Thanksgiving sales. I am not a technology hound, I do not need everything that is shiny, new, or is the next must have item. Yet I am technologically savvy enough to know what to buy and what not to buy. Not all deals are deals, when you end up having to replace, repair, or cry because nothing else can be done. Keep your money and wait until you can truly afford something that has a better reputation and a better service record.

Just to help you out a little during this Holiday season, if you are going to buy some technology items, a quick guide of what to look for when dropping your hard earned money.

  • LCD TV’s should not be purchased with anything less than 120Hz. The refresh rate will enable a much smoother life-like picture than the 60Hz can. Also Xbox and PS3 will look much sharper.
  • Go with a reputable name brand, and say no to the “house branded items” when it comes to technology. Yes a $400 60” LCD TV sounds amazing, but have you ever heard of PooDong as a reputable manufacturer?
  • Research, research, research. Know what you buy, before you buy it. Know that you had looked into all available resources, and even asked your local electronics dealers what to buy, and surprisingly you will find they will rarely mention the so called deal breakers.
  • Never buy a full size computer that has less than 4GB’s of standard RAM. You will be disappointed with the lack of performance. RAM is what generates all power processing needed to run not only the hardware of the machine, but the operating system and any software, or processes you will be running on the machine. Skimp here and you will find an Abacus and note pad will do a better job.
  • Get the latest processors available when purchasing a computer. The newer the processor, the longer it will stay compliant and compatible with the newer software and hardware. It will be truly frustrating to find out that a new office program, or gaming software cannot work because your machine is obsolescent as soon as you walked out of the store you purchased it from. *Just a small hint: the Intel i3,i5, i7, and AMD Phenom processors are some of the latest available.
  • Don’t be lured into buying on credit cards. The mind plays a terrible trick on you when you pay with imaginary money. You will buy what you can’t afford, or do not need simply because you have the credit to do so. Poor decisions are made and you will buy on impulse rather than true discretionary reasoning.

I wish you the best for the Holiday season, and I hope whatever electronics you purchase, bring you many years of enjoyment. Happy Holidays!