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I Saved $150 on a Samsung 32″ Television by Accident

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Last week, my wife said, "I think it's about time that we got a second television in the apartment." From time to time, I've been known to tune out what she's saying, but this time my ears perked up. Hmm, I think I can sanction the purchase of a television.

Here are the problems the I had looking for television on short notice:

  • I couldn't use Craigslist to save half the money. This is my typical plan, but I had to strike while the iron was hot (i.e. my wife agreed to the television thing).
  • I thought that Costco would have the best deal. It's impossible to know what they have until you get there. Once there, I don't have my computer to look up reviews online to see if it's a good set.

I was going to make a somewhat major purchase a little blind. This always gives me an uneasy feeling. Our first stop was Costco. Oddly, they didn't have many 32" televisions in stock and not one of them was 1080P (1080 lines of progressive scan resolution - the best there is). If we were able to go larger we might have gotten a good deal, but our bedroom simply doesn't have the room for anything bigger.

The next step was to go to Circuit City. Normally, I'd go to Best Buy, but there isn't one close to my home. Happily, Circuit City had about 5 or 6 televisions that were 32" and 1080P. The problem was that the 37" Samsung was their special of the week and was actually cheaper than this 32" one.
. When the salesman came over I asked what was up with that? He said it was just the way it is.

Once again, I felt uneasy about the purchase. It kills me to pay more money and get less product., just because our apartment has a weird layout. I hemmed and hawed for at least 20 minutes over it. Finally, the salesman comes over and says that he can chop off $100 on the Sony XBR one. It would still be $100 more than the Samsung that I was looking at, but Sony XBRs are nice. A difficult decision just got worse.

I hem and haw for another 15 minutes. At this point, my wife is wandering the store and probably plotting my death. The salesman can't even deal with me any more and went to help others. A new salesman sees me and asks if he can help. I tell him that the other salesman said he'd knock off $100 from the Sony XBR. This salesman then said something magical, "He must have been giving you the online price. Let me look that up." I was quick to ask if he'd give me the online price on the Samsung 32" as well. The other salesman didn't offer that. This salesman said that he'd be happy to give us that price.

It turns out that the online price was $150 cheaper. That sealed the deal for me. I was comfortable with the purchase. Of course, it made me mad that they didn't start with the online price. Oddly, just a couple of days later Circuit City would be running commercials saying that you'll find the same price in the store as will online. Odd that this is considered a selling point - it should be automatic. When you think about it, it simply makes sense. Many stores have a buy online and pick up in the store... That's essentially what this was.

The moral of the story here is to look out for weird pricing from the big chain stores. Perhaps print off a copy of the website and bring it with you to the store so that you can get that price.

Posted on October 17, 2008.

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20 Responses to “I Saved $150 on a Samsung 32″ Television by Accident”

  1. Lazy Man says:

    Why not? Are you saying it’s a good business practice to make your customer (who is ready to buy), leave the store, go home, order it online and then come back to pick it up?

    A store that does that simply isn’t treating it’s customers well.

  2. Ben says:

    This is exaclt why I got a smart phone. Whenever I am making a purchase in store, I look up the product online to see what prices I can get.

    If the price is cheaper online from that same store, I can order it online while still at the store and pick it up right there too.

    If I can find it significantly cheaper from a different store, the I just ask a salesperson or a manager if they are willing to match the price (almost never happens) or at least come close to that price (the cost of shipping, and the convenience of having the product now rather than waiting for it to come to me is something I am willing to pay for sometimes)

  3. Lazy Man says:

    I had my smart phone (Treo 700P) with me, but it’s hard to search a lot of websites when the pages are 200K.

  4. AFY says:

    The most amusing thing about this story is that Circuit City does indeed have a ‘buy online, pick up in store’ policy. Their gimmick is that it’ll be ready in 24 minutes or you’ll get a $24 gift card, to boot.

  5. kosmo says:

    If you’re not fond of Circuit City’s policy, are you aware of this Best Buy practice from a few years back? They had store computers set up to show a fake Bestbuy.com web site – with higher prices than the real web site! While Circuit City was guilty of a sin of omission, Best Buy was guilty of a sin of commission :)

    http://newsroom-l.net/newsroom/?p=149

  6. Lazy Man says:

    I was aware of this. Pretty good trick of Best Buys ;-)/

  7. Happy Steve says:

    And don’t forget that Circuit City has an awesome Price Guarantee. If you see the price of that TV go down within 30 days of purchase, you just show up with just the receipt and they’ll refund the difference back to your credit card. Easy peasy.

    My favorite site for this is PriceProtectr.com which will automatically keep track of that for free. They’ll track and email you as soon as the price goes down.

  8. I would have bought the Sony XBR… Then again I have a 61″ Sony in my living room and am extraordinaryly happy. Sony make the best Tvs. Watching the Sox in game 6 of league championship series at the exact moment.

  9. Bob says:

    I like Circuit City better than Best Buy.

  10. I bought my TV on Amazon. It was shipped to me, and they have everything. Plus, no taxes.

  11. Rich says:

    Circuit City….rumors are they might not make it, be careful with that warranty ;)

  12. Lazy Man says:

    Manufacturer’s warranty, I don’t care is Circuit City stays in business.

  13. Joe says:

    I got my 30″ TV from a dumpster :) Of course, it’s not flat panel :( but still, quite the bargain

  14. Flexo says:

    Funny, a week ago, I bought the same model (Samsung 32″ 1080p version 550) for the same price… went back and forth a bit but ended up getting it at Best Buy. It’s my 2nd HDTV, this one’s for the bedroom. :-) Checked today and Circuit City raised the price. Before buying I checked with Consumer Reports… looks like a good deal on a good set. I’m happy with it so far.

  15. Leah says:

    Almost the exact same thing happened to me… I bought a Canon Rebel xTi digital camera in June from Circuit City. I had done ridiculous amounts of homework on prices and stores, and narrowed it down to CC because they had $150 off, plus a free digital frame and 10% off any accessories.

    I wanted to buy it in store so I could have it immediately and not fret about where my $800 camera was in shipping, so I went in to the one closest to me that night. Saw the camera, but it wasn’t the right price! I asked what the deal was, and found out that I would have to technically order it online and have it “shipped to the store” (where, in fact, I was just bringing it to the register) in order to get the great deal.

    Luckily, the store associates allowed me to order the camera from the store’s computer so I didn’t have to go home and go back to the store.

    What a pain, though! You’d think they’d just automatically update the prices in the store when they went on special online. Something tells me it wouldn’t be all that complicated.

  16. Sani Moyo says:

    I thought online prices are supposed to be lower anyway because of the lower overhead costs.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Almost the exact same thing happened to me – I bought a Canon Rebel xTi digital camera in June from Circuit City. I had done ridiculous amounts of homework on prices and stores, and narrowed it down to CC because they had $150 off, plus a free digital frame and 10% off any accessories.

  18. Schwamie says:

    Hope you don’t need anything from Circuit City now that its gone!

  19. Elinor Rehfeld says:

    Just purchased a Mythic for myself and will likely be receiving a single for my wife soon! It has just the right mix of attributes. just brief of a total smartphone. I’m keeping an eye on the Captivate for any prospective long term cell phone…price ranges are way as well higher when released. I’ve been in higher tech for 20+ years and basically hack everything I very own to create it better laptops, GPS, auto navigation systems, etc. and yes cell phones as well. From the few days I’ve owned the mobile phone I’ve by now installed Opera Mini, Bolt 2.1, freecaddie, Google Maps w/GPS functionality, deleted all locked useless apps following backing them up and absolutely modified the menu method to my exact wants without all unproductive apps.

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