If your credit card flies from your wallet racing straight for your keyboard, grab it before you buy on impulse from the so-called Black Friday/Cyber Monday carnival of discounts.
This weekend, the electronics industry aims a direct transfer from your account to their stock prices. Before leaping at a tantalizing deal, be aware that the special price might last through the holidays or return unexpectedly in a week or month. In fact, some prices might be lower closer to Christmas depending upon holiday sales volume.
All of this month, retailers and Amazon posted black Friday prices ahead of black Friday. Don’’t be suckered by the “today-only” mentality.
Incidentally, although it is called Black Friday, the day when merchants finally make a profit for the year (thus, being “in the black”), it would be nice if they could find a more appropriate name for this sales orgy.
Meanwhile, the best bargains flashing across my computer screen are the LG OLED TVs that cost about $200 less now than when they were on sale last summer.
The first OLEDs cost $4,000, and pundits claimed they could not be manufactured economically. Now, a 55-inch OLED TV costs about $1,200.
Other bargains include a couple of models of excellent Sony noise-canceling headphones and the competitive Bose QuietComfort 45.
Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and local stores such as Good Vibes seem to match each other’s’ prices fairly closely, but it doesn’t hurt to comparison shop. Amazon placed nearly all of its proprietary products on sale.
Most of the hot smartphones remain unavailable, so if you’re searching for a Google Pixel 6 or Zenfone 8 before Christmas, you may be disappointed.
Good Vibes celebrates its 50th anniversary for three more days with a chance to win a great prize while supporting a local charity. Visit the store at 2010 Round Barn Road any time in November. Donate $20 at the store directly to one of these three charities: Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, Empty Tomb or CU at Home. Your tax-deductible donation is passed through 100 percent to the charity, and a ticket goes in the box for the prize you want. Prizes include premium large-screen TVs, quality speaker systems and a receiver/turntable pair. The drawing will be Dec. 3.
The last column on “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” struck a chord with many of you:
“You might like to hear about our Pioneer TV we purchased from Good Vibes on Oct. 5, 2007. It is a top-of-the-line 50-inch plasma flat panel 1080p that cost $5,747 including tax. It has had lots of use and still works perfectly. The picture is still competitive with any of the new sets we see. No repairs in 14 years. Too bad they do not still make them.”
“I totally agree (with the column). Microsoft’s Windows 7 was a much better program than 10. Including the seven games. My husband and I use the computer for word processing, email and looking up information from reputable sources. We don’t need or want all the extras. Same with the smartphone. I have deleted many of the programs I don’t use.”
Finally, if you’re looking to save a few dollars any time of year, consider T-Mobile. Previously the scrappy underdog, since absorbing Sprint, it provides service comparable to AT&T and Verizon, usually at a lower cost. When AT&T told me that 5G data would raise the cost of my plan, I switched to T-mobile, where 5G data is standard with all of its plans. It also saved me $10 a month.
Plus, it threw in free Netflix and a free year of Apple TV Plus. If you are over 55 years old, T-mobile’s post-paid plans will save you money over AT&T’s prepaid plans.
Just be careful when ordering service from the local T-mobile franchise on North Prospect. Some of the salespeople there are not well informed about the details of T-mobile’s various plans.
Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.