Sunday, December 14, 2008

Picture Shopping Saturday

This Saturday began just like any other for me, with a trip to Costco. I noticed it was more crowded than its been for the past few months, most likely due to Christmas shoppers.

Since the boss (Julie) has somewhat lightened up on her anti-new flat panel TV stance, I took a look at what was on display at Costco and spied a Toshiba 37" for $599.99 after a $50 instant rebate that expires on 12/21. That's the same instant rebate and price they had last week, expiring 12/6. After fawning over the sets for a while I came back to reality and did my shopping off the list.

There were only a couple of "new" items I bought today. One is an old Christmas standby, the heavy box of Belgian cookies that are oh so yummy. I got a few boxes to give as gifts, since everyone likes to eat.

The other item was a package of AA batteries. The Kirkland brand is cheap compared to other alkalines and they seem to last just as long, if not longer than the more expensive Duracells and Energizers.

I came to the checkout area from the east side of the store and saw a very long line of people. However, this line was all for the east-most register and the lines for the other registers were a lot shorter. I just pushed the cart to a different register where there were only two customers in line, as opposed to the 8 or 9 in the far east register line. I stood there looking at the people in the longer line, wondering why they were all waiting there while the other lines were shorter. They stood there glancing at the other registers but not budging. Was there something special about that line that I missed?

I can only conclude that they all must have arrived in that line from the same direction I did, and figured all the lines were equally long. Or, when they saw the shorter lines at the other registers, they thought by the time they changed lines, other customers would have beaten them to it. Or, they were just plain stupid or had nothing better to do on Saturday morning than wait in line.

When I left, that line was still long and the other ones shorter. Go figure.

In the afternoon I decided to go on a fact-finding tour. Since Best Buy and Circuit City are both very close to the house, I didn't need to feel guilty about using up too much gasoline to drive there. Besides, it was a mere $1.639 per gallon this morning at Costco.

First I went to Circuit City since I don't particularly like Best Buy, plus I feel sorry for them since they are going out of business. I looked at the 32" and 37" LCD panel televisions and honestly wasn't overly impressed by any of them. The images of people looked like claymation or a Pixar production, or like they were a video game. The Samsung models seemed to have the best picture.

This morning when I saw the Toshiba on sale I was already plotting how to get that into the house but when I saw it on display at CC, the picture quality was disappointing relative to the others. To CC's credit, I was approached by 5 or 6 friendly employees who asked if I needed any assistance.

Thinking maybe the sets were not adjusted very well, I decided to look at what Best Buy had. Only one person asked if I needed help at Best Buy and she was more like a "you don't need any help, do you?" type of person. The TV's weren't set up very well either so it was hard to compare. But like at CC, the Toshiba didn't fare as well compared to the other brands. Sony and Samsung looked the best. But again, like CC, people still had a claymation appearance to them.

I had my eye-fill so I left. I feel like Best Buy is an evil place. The day was crisp and clean - downright windy at times with rain threatening to fall at any moment - and was beautiful.

Sigh, I suppose unless I were to purchase an expensive Blu-Ray player or get some other HDTV device that played at 1080 resolution, I suspect the picture on our good old Panasonic CRT is going to look better than any LCD, at least the ones in my price/size range.

I was thinking if and when we get a new TV, the inaugural program will be the Star Wars DVD. Given the way things looked on the screens today, I hope it doesn't come out like this video:

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