Buying A New TV Or PC? Avoid Showroom Tricks That Cost You Money
Wondering why your HD TV isn’t producing images as good as in the store, or baffled you’re your expensive new computer isn’t as fast as advertised? The truth is, special techniques and tricks are used to persuade you to part with your money for hardware that you might have avoided under other circumstances.
One of my pet hates is shopping in a consumer electronics store. Over the years I’ve become more and more resistant to their tactics and approaches, thanks mainly, I think, to the realisation that they haven’t been entirely honest with me.
Throw in some experience working at a major electronics retailer in the late 1990s (where I picked up a few tips and tricks concerning customer-facing roles) and it seems apparent that what we experience in these stores is pretty much theatre.
Advanced Sales Techniques Target You
You are fodder. Your wallet is almost open, and you’re going to spend. Salesmen in electronics retailers might be compared with lions hunting wildebeest. Utilising several centuries of sales techniques and obfuscation, many consumer electronics salespeople are passionate about their jobs, their employers and the goods they sell…
…whether the goods are worth the money or not.
Electronics retailers know a sale when they see one (which is probably why I no longer get hassled on the rare occasions I venture into PC World) and they use a variety of clever tactics and ruses to get you to part with your cash:
Playing high bit rate MP3s on music systems – this, coupled with the occasional use of hidden enhancement units on lower-end devices, produces a much-improved sound.
TV/hardware repair insurance – even though it will probably expire before your TV does, stores always try to sell repair insurance. This may not affect the device you buy, but it will certainly affect your bank balance.
In most cases, these insurances don’t cover things that are likely to happen without you having to pay an excess. If the computer breaks for whatever reason during the warranty period, you have recourse for repair anyway, making most insurances worthless. Then there’s the Internet, a great place for finding repair guides and manuals for almost all hardware since 2000.
PC “setup” and virus protection upsells – you want a PC or a laptop, perhaps a tablet. You end up leaving with all manner of bundled software (that you pay to have removed as part of the setup), virus protection and damage insurance that you don’t need. Many stores sell “naked” computers, but these are often “unavailable” – so how do you get one?
Simple: tell the salesman you need a computer with virus protection and/or damage insurance, and then when you checkout, tell them you don’t need any of these things after all. You win.
You can also push a salesman into selling you a boxed, unmodified computer by telling them (after they’ve told you all about things like PC setup and insurance) that a “friend” who works in the store told you to ask for a “naked” PC or laptop. If they ask who it was, tell them you “would rather not say”.
Why Is Your HDTV Worse At Home?
I’ve been asked by friends and family to take a look at their HDTV, which they claim isn’t as displaying the picture as it should. The problem here is not with the TV, or even set-top box, but the room.
HDTV almost always looks worse at home because of the steps the stores go to in order to make their TVs look completely awesome.
This is achieved by positioning TVs in areas away from window reflections (in large retailers, somewhere at the back of the store) where the lighting can be subdued. The ultimate way to really show off a HDTV, however, is with a Blu-ray movie.
Retailer almost always connect their top-of-the-range Blu-ray player to their TVs, where special demo discs are used that have been especially mastered to show off HDTV, 3D TV and 4K TV to their full potential.
Computer Manufacturer Secrets You Need To Know When Buying A New PC
Buying a new computer can be particularly frustrating, especially if you manage to cut through all of the in-store nonsense to get the device home only to find that it is less powerful than you were lead to believe.
In days past, machines without an Intel processor were sold based on their CPU speed , as opposed to displaying the legend of an alternative manufacturer such as Cyrix or AMD. Fortunately, things have moved on and non-Intel processors are regularly found in new computers and embraced by salespeople and consumers alike.
Computer manufacturers will take advantage of their famous brand names to sell hardware that is less powerful than you would expect. A nice case and a high price tag doesn’t equate to a powerful computer.
Educating yourself about processor speeds and cores, RAM speed and hard disk space is very important when buying a computer. Don’t rely on the salesperson or the information cards displayed with the device.
Conclusion: Always Go In With Your Eyes Open
Ultimately, the best way to avoid being scammed is to do your research, know exactly what you want and order it from a retailer that will sell it to you direct. When it comes to desktop computers, building your own is the sensible choice.
Have you been misled when buying electronics in a big name store? Let us know what happened!
Image Credit: Slisalsok via Wikimedia, People in consumer electronics retail store via Shutterstock, Young couple in consumer electronics store via Shutterstock, Businessman or lawyer trying to sell misleading contract via Shutterstock
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