Right around the holiday season last year, I noticed that HDTVs on the market were finally starting to combine all of the best features. Full 1080p resolution, low-latency/burn-in free LCD panels, built-in HDTV tuners, 1920×1200 RGB support; it looked like it was almost time for me to enter the market. Oksana always said I could get an HDTV when the price dropped to $1500…
I decided that 2007 would be the year we upgraded, but we had to wait until August 20th before we found the model with the right price/performance ratio.
Months before, Costco had sent out a mailer with upcoming coupons. There it was, finally! $200 off a 52-inch Vizio with all the features above and more. Waiting three months was torture.
I researched everything I could about the Vizio and its competitors. There were few other 52″ models on the market and the only other two I entertained buying were from Sony and Sharp. Both were probably better than the Vizio, but they both cost at least $1500 more, too.
As the magical date neared, I began seeing reviews of the Vizio appear online. Apparently some Costco warehouses were selling the TVs before the coupon went active. On Friday, August 17th, I went to my own Costco for a look-see. Sure enough, on the top shelf, four giant boxes sat wrapped in cellophane – they had the 52″ in stock three days before I could use the coupon.
I decided to see if I could pull a fast one. I talked to one of the floor managers, asked him if I could buy one that day and then “price match” it the following Monday with my coupon. In effect, I would pay $200 more, but get that $200 refunded after the weekend. Unfortunately, not only wouldn’t he do the price matching, not only wouldn’t he even sell me the TV, he wouldn’t even let me reserve one! “I’m sorry, we only have 4 of them in stock and if they’re already sold out when the coupon drops, my customers will kill me.” His suggestion? “Just be there when the doors open at 10am and you’ll be sure to get one.”
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