Thursday, November 06, 2008

Problem of plenty - Random records of everyday life

I don’t remember the last time I did not do sufficient research before buying an electronic product. Anything more than Rs. 10,000 warrants you to read the numerous reviews, previews and stuff before zeroing-on a product. When it’s your hard-earned money, why not? Every penny matters. 

And so I decided to research, my own died-in-the-wool way, before buying an LCD TV. I’ve been fond of its clarity ever since I saw one some years back, and when my old TV started acting up, I know that was the blessing in disguise, and I knew what I’d have as its worthy successor. That is, until I started researching on the options. 

It’s like the coffee ad you see. Black or white? With or without sugar? With or without cream? Which blend? How much sugar? Piping hot or a little more tolerable? The list goes on, but then, the good thing about coffee is that you know what you want. And it doesn’t burn a hole in your already getting-leaner-everyday wallet.

The options are humungous when it comes to electronic products. First, there are a lot of reputed brands. Sony is costlier and probably more reputed, but does it justify the 10% extra money you put in? The marketing you learned back in the classroom clearly delineates products and positioning into two different things. In simpler terms, most products sold at a premium do not do real justice to the delta cost, but they are carefully ‘positioned’ that way by a sophisticated marketing team to give a 'sense' of extra ounce of quality. Doesn’t hurt if you manage to sell well, does it? 

Then there are features, sizes, panel styles, sound output, display static and dynamic, contrast ratio and so forth. The best way to start is to finalize your budget and look at options. I had 150-200 LCDs near the price range. No kidding. Suffice to say that you are bound to be befuddled with the options. That’s when I decided to go by product research rankings. I managed to zero-in on 5-6 highly ranked LCDs in the price range.

And then I met the sales guy. 3 of the TVs are ‘old model’ ones, I was informed. The rest had worthy successors, I was told. All I wanted was to buy something that was endorsed by some reputed entity out there. Every time you want to make an ‘intelligent’ decision without getting swayed by the sales guy [who revels in the sheer count of models], who was probably concentrating on his own sales commissions that could be higher for certain new-to-market brands, there are road-blocks. 

The picture clarity wasn’t too clear, the sound wasn’t rocking the floor, or the next TV out there always looked significantly better. Split second decisions had to be made, and I resorted to supposed common-sense: visual comparison of the displays placed side by side. Some LCDs from same brands looked exactly the same, even the specifications, with a price difference of Rs. 5000 for marginal sound improvement. I figured I’d go in for the cheaper model and permanently fit in a 3200W home theatre system that came in for Rs. 4000. In the end, I picked up the model, only hoping its brand wouldn’t let me down. No amount of research actually helped. For the record, I got a 32 inch LG.

Now, the question is: I NEVER resort to uninformed and un-researched buying when it comes to high-value products. I almost always research extensively and then go to the showroom just to negotiate the price and get the stuff. It’s time saving too. None of the websites seem to be of real help. When it comes to electronic products, are you supposed to do away with proper research and just go by gut-feel inside the showroom? That’s certainly discomforting and unintelligent! 

P.S: No real reason behind the post, just thought I’d keep writing! Honest! Hope you had a fab Diwali btw!

11 Comments:

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Keep the blogs flowing...
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