Monday, February 1, 2010

Let's Talk TV

Pmo and I have been thinking about getting a bigger TV for some time now. We saw some deals around Black Friday, but we weren’t committed to the idea yet. Plus, we really didn’t need one. I mean, who really needs a bigger, flat screen TV? It’s purely a want at this point. And we like to wait and cash in on a good deal when we can.

We’d been talking about buying a Wii for some time when Walmart decided to sell them for $199 and give away a $50 gift card with it right before Christmas. So when I saw some Super Bowl bargains on TVs in this week’s newspaper ads, I decided to get serious about the purchase. We thought we could manage a 32 or 37 inch, but after measuring the cubbyhole where the TV sits, we discovered we had more room to work with. 41 inches in fact.

Target’s new promotion allows you to buy a 32 inch TV or bigger, open one of their credit card accounts, and pay no interest until September. Perfect, right? I can pay off a TV in 8 months. And even though the interest rate after September is pretty high, I can close the card or just keep the balance low so I can pay it off every month. So after running a few errands on Sunday, we ended up in the electronics section at Target. We found the 42 inch TV for $499 that was in the ad. We measured the floor model and discovered we had just a few centimeters to spare on each side, but it would fit our space. And the price was right.

I found a sales associate and told him what I wanted and how I wanted to pay for it. He told me I could get the TV and I could open the account, but I couldn’t put the purchase on the account. What? That’s the whole point of buying the TV and getting the card! He said there was some sort of glitch in the system. I could pay cash for the TV then come back later, get my money refunded, and put the purchase on the Target account after the glitch was fixed. Hello! If I could pay cash for the TV, I wouldn’t need the 0% interest on the credit card! I told the sales guy I would think about it, and he walked away. Then I stood there and mulled over it for a bit, and decided to wave the guy back over to discuss it again. It didn’t make any sense that a store would advertise a promotion, then turn around and say, no, we can’t do that. Even if there is a glitch, they have to appease you, right?

After arguing with the sales associate some more, I discovered he really didn’t explain the situation to me very well in the first place. Turns out I could buy the TV with a different method of payment, like another credit card, and also open the Target Account. Then when the glitch was fixed, I could come back and get the purchase taken off my credit card and put it onto the Target card. Now we’re talking. Why didn’t he say that in the first place? His whole attitude from the beginning gave me the impression that the store was offering something I couldn’t have. And the whole pay with cash thing just threw me for a loop.

But here’s the kicker. I bought the TV and opened the Target account, which is super easy by the way. They just scan your license and you fill out a few questions on the electronic pad and boom, you’re done. No paper application to fill out, it was so sweet. But the TV purchase ended up on the Target card, so I didn’t have to put it on another credit card after all. Or fool with cash. The sales associate was surprised and said, “It wasn’t supposed to do that.” Seriously? I went through all that confusion and crap, and the damn thing works? But it wouldn’t let him scan the 0% interest form which I will have to go back and take care of later this week. You know, when that glitch is fixed.

We got the TV home and went to work on setting it up. It’s a tight fit, but it’s in there. I prefer to think of it as maximizing our space. And it’s a bit crooked. We can’t determine whether it’s our TV stand or the stand that’s attached to the TV. I don’t know. We’ll figure it out. But we got a big TV for a good price and I won’t have to pay interest in the long run. That was the goal all along. Just took awhile for it all to make sense.

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