Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My brother often tells me that everything is going to eventually progress to online shopping.  I have a hard time believing that after this past weekend.  After a month of wrangling with Sharp, we finally were able to return our broken tv to Costco (11 months after purchase) for a refund.  We didn't find what we were looking for at Costco.  Although I love Costco, one of the hardest things is that there aren't sales people with detailed knowledge of their products.  Such was the case for us on Friday when we really needed some helpful advice about picking out a new television to replace the broken one.  So, we headed over to Best Buy.  God was very gracious to us and we ended up with a young man who wasn't intent on selling us an LED tv.  He explained the differences to us between Plasma, LCD, and LED.

Plasma was the first to come out.  It has a glass front so it can get glares from lights or reflections from the light from windows.  But, it has the best colors of the three.  Panasonic and Samsung are the two primary makers of plasma televisions.  Panasonic's technology actually came from Pioneer, I believe the salesperson said.  There used to be huge concerns about leaving the television on because it would burn the image into the screen.  Our salesperson said the technology has improved so that you don't have to be as concerned about this as one used to.  The frames are 600Hz as opposed to the much lower Hz available in LCD and LED at the same price.

LCD (which is what we used to have) is good technology and came out after plasma televisions.  Samsungs and Sonys are the highest thought of brands with LG often being one of the top ones as well.  You want 120 Hz if you have a BluRay player because of the speed of the frames.  The 60 Hz won't show the picture to the fullest capability of the BluRay player.

LED televisions are the newest technology.  They use the least amount of energy and are the flattest screens of the bunch.  It was an amazing picture.   With the LCD and LED televisions, you do not get the glare that you can get with Plasma televisions.  Again you do want a 120 Hz or more if you have a BluRay player.

I am not technologically savvy enough to explain the difference between LCD and LED televisions.  I can say though that we ended up buying a Plasma.  For the same size screen, plasmas are significantly less than LCD and LED.  The biggest downside I see for the Plasma is the glare from the glass.  But, we don't watch a lot of television.  We primarily like to use it for movies at night, so it works great for that!

I was very thankful for all the help our salesperson gave us and that he didn't try to pressure us.  I am thankful I was able to walk into a store that had a helpful sales person and get the answers I needed to the questions we had.

Our second experience was at Guitar Center in Towson, MD.  Musician's Friend is an online music store that has been around a long time.  But, Guitar Center is a chain that continues to stay in business.  I learned on Saturday why.  My husband needed to purchase an acoustic electric guitar for church.  We've been looking around and it finally seemed the right time to do it.  The thing about guitars is that they all play a little differently and it isn't something that can easily be bought online--you have no idea how the strings and guitar will feel in your hands.  A review by someone else can't tell you that.  We had a great experience at the store and we found a used guitar that someone had just decided they didn't want to purchase.  I am so thankful for it!  I am also thankful that the shopping is done!

So, I'm still of the mind that I like being able to shop in stores and don't have to do it all online.  And--I am very thankful for good customer service.  It will very often persuade me to make my purchase at one store over another.

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