Friday, September 04, 2009

Weekend Assignment #283: Major Purchase

I have good news for a change, and that's the inspiration for our latest Weekend Assignment.
Weekend Assignment: #282: What was your most recent major purchase, that is, of a durable good worth $400 or more? (Yes, cars and houses count.) Was it something you researched and agonized over for weeks and months, or did you go through the whole buying process in an hour or a day?
Extra Credit: Are you generally an impulse buyer, or do you prefer to take lots of time to consider your options?
This question comes about partly as an excuse for me to tell you my personal news of the day. After three months of bureaucratic delay and confusion (mostly theirs rather than mine) about what unemployment compensation I'm due, if any, how to apply and whether it will actually be paid once approved, the State of Arizona's Department of Economic Security finally approved payment on my third or fourth attempt at a current unemployment claim. The money should hit my state-issued debit card next week for filings from the second week in June onward. That being the case, we were able to replace our only television set, which died the death a just under a week ago. No picture. No channel changing. No audio save for an electronic buzz. Kaput. Now with a couple thousand dollars coming in, we can at least partly pay my dad back for the car repair and still manage to buy a reasonable quality tv at Costco. This one:

Couldn't get a decent picture at night without the flash, because of the
contrast between dark console and bright screen.

It's not the largest of the HD television sets Costco had on display, but it's not the smallest, either. In fact it's several inches shorter than the Magnavox, although it's also wider. It also cost about the same as the Magnavox did, all those years ago.

Da box. Note the obscure brand name.

This purchase originated when the old tv failed last weekend, but the bulk of the process happened today (Friday). I did a little research into used televisions on Monday (mostly on Craigslist), and left a voicemail at a used tv and repair shop. They never called back, and it soon became clear that John wanted to hold out for a new one, even if it meant waiting for my unemployment situation to be resolved. So all this week our computers were our tv sets, including the Commodore 64 monitor in the bedroom.

But when the money was finally listed on the DES website as "Electronic payment" instead of "unresolved issue," we decided not to wait any longer. John, who had already scoped things out at Costco a couple of days ago, read reviews online while I went in to work at the church office this afternoon. Then we went to Costco, considered several different models and spoke to a sales person. I was initially taken with a Panasonic, but ultimately we settled on Costco's top seller, a Vizio 32 inch, LCD-based tv with 1920 x 1080 pixel Hi-Def resolution. No plasma, not a huge screen, no famous brand name as a dubious promise of reliability. But we ultimately decided that given the modest price, it would be silly to not get HD, and feel compelled to buy yet another tv when I get a full-time job.

All in all, this purchase represented a blending of John's buying habits and mine. John likes to read up on what's available, think over all the possibilities, including not buying anything at all, and work himself up to spending the money. I like to research as quickly as possible, possibly even just looking in a single store and asking questions. Once I have the idea that a particular model will do what I want, I see no point in delaying, assuming I have the money to spend. I want to walk out with the thing, then and there. In this instance, John had already done a lot of research over a period of time, and the fact that we had no access to broadcast or cable tv for a week, plus a sudden infusion of long-delayed money, pushed him to cut the mulling over phase of the operation short!

How about you? Did you spend months pondering the purchase of your car, your house, your computer or what-have-you, or did you make a snap decision and go with it? Do you suffer from buyer;s remorse afterward? Tell us about it in your blog, and please, please include a link back to this entry. I'll be back next Friday night with a roundup of your responses. Like this!

For Weekend Assignment # 282: I CAN HAZ LOLCATS?, I asked you to design a LOLcat (or LOLdog or whatever), one of those cute pictures with humorous captions in fractured English that are frequently seen on the Web. These are to be seen in situ on people's blogs, not excerpted here, but here's what we've got:

Florinda's dog Gypsy has a request for Santa, and later goes fishing.

Julie's cat is a Basement Cat, with peculiar ideas on how to be helpful.

Mike brings us the comments of a bird and a squirrel. No moose. Sorry.

That's it for now! Many thanks to Florinda, Julie and Mike for their LOLentries. If you're reading this (and you are), I hope you'll follow their example, and jump in with your own Weekend Assignment entry. Here are the guidelines if you'd like to participate:

  1. Please post your entry no later than Friday, September 11th at 6 PM. (You can also post your response in the comments thread, but a blog entry is better. )
  2. Please mention the Weekend Assignment in your blog post, and include a link back to this entry.
  3. Please come back here after you've posted, and leave a link to your entry in the comments below.
  4. Visiting other participants' entries is strongly encouraged!
  5. I'm always looking for topic ideas. Please email me at mavarin2 on if there's a Weekend Assignment theme you'd like to see. If I use your idea, you will be credited as that week's "guest professor."

That's it! Simple, huh? I look forward to shearing about your big-spending adventures. Meanwhile, look for my Round Robin entry in a few hours.



barrettmanor said...

Congratulations on the pending payment, and the new TV. I've heard good things about that brand. I'll be back with an entry link in a day or two.

Margaret said...

I hope that you meant for the deadline to be the 11th not the 4th!!?? Here is the link to my Major Purchase:

barrettmanor said...

Mine's kinda boring...

Florinda said...

I don't think I can get this in as a blog post this week, so you'll get a longish comment instead. (The same thing will probably happen next week, due to my participation in Book Blogger Appreciation Week.)

Anyway...I think our last major purchase was my husband's new car, back in February. It was one we had to make in a hurry, after his old car was totaled in an accident, but he was ready and knew what he wanted. He's a car nut and is always reading up on them, so he'd done plenty of research and it came in handy.

We're kind of like you and John in how we approach these things. He does a lot of studying and is usually not in a hurry to make the purchase. I do enough research to know what's going on, and once we've decided what we want and have the funds worked out, I'm ready to go ahead and buy.

Enjoy the new TV, and I'm glad the claim finally went through (probably not as glad as you are, though)!

Mike said...

Mine is up now. I hope you are enjoying the new TV!