This weekend I was moved by Black Friday to attempt to purchase a flat screen television to mount above my fireplace. Right now, I am rocking an enormous DLP that dominates the room. I love my television, but in some ways it seems like I am overcompensating or something. You know. Like the guys from Orange County that have the huge-ass Dodge Rams tricked out to look like monster trucks. Small wiener disease.
For those reasons I thought I could utilize the economy to slip into a more reasonable television purchased for reasons other than being able to play four simultaneous Halo death matches on one screen in full size.
I rolled into Wilshire Home Entertainment on Moorpark in Thousand Oaks, California. Right off the bat, I knew this particular salesman (who will go nameless) hadn’t gone to the bathroom after his Thanksgiving meal. Know how I know? He was full of shit.
So there’s a good rate on a Sony television and the guy says that there is an added perk. Sony is offering to give you four free Blu-Ray players if you purchase this set. Four? Immediately I was intrigued as I was hoping to find a cost effective way to raise my bed five inches and this way, I could do so for free. We were told essentially that Sony was giving these away. According to Wilshire, some stores chose not to tell their clients about this deal, instead they decided to pass the deal onto us, the lucky customers. Good thing I was at an honest store. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get the opportunities to replace the three wise men and one of the animals with Blu Ray players in the nativity scene this year.
Then they told me installing the television would cost just under 800 dollars. Apparently that is the going rate for drilling four holes into a concrete beam. That’s a lot of money. For that price, I could buy a second television. I was pretty sure everything was fishy so we asked if they’d match a lower price. Of course, they would. At the same time, they said they had the lowest price that Sony allows them to sell at. The lowest possible price on the planet. It was a price so low, we’d never, ever beat it.
We left. We checked out another place and surprise, they were selling the same television for 250 dollars less. I asked them if they were also hemorrhaging Blu-Ray players like Wilshire was. They said if we wanted, we could pay the same price as at Wilshire and we’d get one Blu-Ray players and a 5.1 surround system. I was pretty sure they’d hook up the four BR deal if we wanted, although I am also pretty sure anyone who demands that many BR players gets arrested for public insanity.
Basically, there is the lowest price. There is the less low price that includes a bunch of stuff Sony can’t sell. Then there is the magical MSRP price that really stands for Money Stealing Rape Possible.
We call back Wilshire. They tell me the other place is breaking the rules with that price (which is code for we didn’t think you’d go to that store). After we explained that we don’t give a shit about the rules, they matched the price. Obviously they don’t care about “the rules” either. Actually, I am pretty sure there are no rules. It’s probably commerce. They get sets from Sony for X amount of dollars. They have to sell their sets for X amount of dollars more.
We asked if we still got the 273 BR players with the new price. Nope. Essentially, Sony wasn’t giving away the devices. They were packaging in 240 dollars worth of BR players. If they were giving them away, you’d get them no matter what the price of the television was, right?
All this does is make me miss the good old days I probably wasn’t even alive for. When you went in somewhere, they got excited to do business with you, and were remotely honest. They’d say, look, here’s the best price. We’ll help you out because we value your business.
I think the worst part is the installation costs. Certainly with Wilshire, you know their installers are on fee. These are “soft costs”. Essentially, knocking 100 bucks off the price doesn’t hurt anyone. I think right now everyone is buying televisions. They are taking the Scarface approach. You wanna play rough? Okay.
The real discount will be when the weather turns, the beaches open up and there’s no football on television. We’ll see how many extraneous Blu-Rays are being offered then. Look, a price is a price. Maybe let’s just say what that price is and skip the first date, the jitters, the “where should we go to eat”, the “it’s getting late”, the “I don’t have anywhere to be”, the “I don’t normally do this”, the twelve shots of Apple Pucker and go straight for the bedroom. Yeah?
Wilshire is a good store and they do a good job with installations. At the same time, they are also good at trying to run you in circles to justify ludicrous installation fees and “deals” that are essentially a deal for them. Give me a bottom line. Give me all the options. Let me pick. If I want to build a tower out of Blu Ray players in my backyard so I can run surveillance on the neighborhood like Batman, then I’ll ask you for my options.
Hey Sony, if you really don’t care, send me over 500 of them. It think having a driveway paved with devices that can play movies in stunning clarity would really “one up” my asshole neighbors.