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     Buying an LCD TV - Sharp Aquos
    Engineering: Things that are built
    I finally pulled the trigger on a new TV to replace a 13 year old RCA Colortrak 2000 27" console TV. The new TV is a Sharp Aquos LC32G4U 32” LCD. A bigger DLP would be cheaper, but I really wanted the LCD.

    -Why the LC32G4U?-
    I had to act quickly since its replacement, the LC32GA5U, did not have removable speakers and was 38” wide. This one is 33” without the speaker mounted on the side and will fit in my cabinet. I ended up buying the display model at a local chain store. It did not go as well as I might have hoped; especially for the kind of money I was spending...

    -Locating the TV-
    We had a little bit of work trying to buy one once I found out near the end of January that the new ones coming in February (LC32GA5U) did not have removable speakers. A guy (named “Z” just the letter!) at a different branch in the chain told my wife over the phone that the speakers on the LC32GA5U were removable. My wife asked him to measure it without the speakers. He said he had taken the speakers off and that it measured 33 inches. I told my wife over the phone from work that I had just been to that particular store two days before and the cabinet was a one-piece molded plastic. She said that Z told her the speakers came off and he had taken them off. I told her that I was a little ticked that I was going to make a wild goose chase since she believed Z and not me.

    -Explaining what "removing the speakers really means"-
    So I went to the store after work and looked up Z. I said, “Z, you talked to my wife about the new Sharp LC32G5AU and said you took the speakers off. Will you show me how they come off?” Z walked me over to the monitor, took one look at it and then I think he took a crap into his pants as he realized the monitor was molded in one piece. He turned pale and then called over his friend, “You told me you took the speakers off this one.” Friend also took a look and then soiled his trousers as well. I said, “What the hell are you guys telling my wife about this when I was here on Sunday looking at this exact TV?!? The whole reason she is calling around is because the speakers don’t come off! How did you measure this and keep her on hold, while in fact no speakers were removable? Z, I want you to find me the LC32G4U which has removable speakers.” Friend mumbled something about the 48” right next to it with removable speakers, realized he was out of ammo and was looking pretty stupid. So he RAN to his PC and started searching around on stock and found a couple. Z got on the phone post haste and called the another store.

    Was that a bait and switch? No, it was pure stupidity and laziness; and I busted them. Ninnies….. I have always known that the electronics store guys know nothing, but it still pains me every time I have to deal with one to get what I want. My wife was feeling sheepish too and went with me and the kids to go get what I wanted.

    -Buy on your gut, not what the committee thinks-
    I probably would have been able to buy the TV without the hassle a couple of weeks ago, but my wife's niece works at a big electronics chain in town, and she thought she could get a discount. Unfortunately, My wife never called until Sunday when I told her that all the LC32G4U models I wanted were disappearing because of their replacement by the LC32GA5U. To top that off, said niece was leaving town for a week. The only way she could get the TV was if it was held somewhere. My wife started calling all her stores in town and no one said that they had the TV I wanted until she called the particular one and got “poopy pants” Z. At least I got the TV, but all the joy of spending the money really lost its luster.

    -The Delivery-
    I asked for delivery so that I could feel good about recycling the RCA. I paid handsomely for the privelege. The delivery guys ran two hours late. They called three times for directions from cab of their truck as they were driving; both the driver and the loader. The each called from different cell phones. They called at each turn they had to make. They missed the house and had to go around the block. I guess grey house with giant numerals on the front was too hard. I had to go out and wave them down.

    They carried in the packing box the demo unit was put into, but they did not want to set up the TV and moaned and groaned about it. They groaned about taking the old one away too. I said that I expected they were going to do it from the salesman at the store. They said they didn’t know how and all they could do was plug in the power and the cable. So I hooked up the antenna box and other cables. He grudgingly helped me lift it into the cabinet after they took away the old TV.

    They told me not to turn the TV on because it needed to warm up to room temperature. Also the guy wanted me so sign and say it wasn’t damaged. I said “How do I know it wasn’t damaged? I can’t turn it on.” He wanted me to sign. So I circled (yes) it was damaged and wrote that I could not turn it on and signed and initialed it. He was ticked. He grouched at me and said “whaddya mean by circling yes?!?” I lowered my head so that my eyes were a foot from his and said: “If it works, you’re off the hook.” And then I stared him down. He mumbled all the way back to the truck.

    -Damaged upon delivery!-
    I plugged it in and turned it on because it didn’t feel cold to me. As soon as I turned it on I noticed a one inch gouge in the LCD screen in the lower right quadrant. The driver could not have been 5 blocks away when I got right on the phone to his cell phone and said, “HEY! There’s a big gouge in my new TV!” He said he was going to call his dispatcher. The dispatcher called right away and apologized. He said a store guy was going to call me to work out how I was going to get a new TV.

    I did Review the TV anyway with the gouge and still had a favorable impression

    -Returned Damaged TV to store-
    In the end, it just was not to be. All the LC32G4U TVs are gone from every store in the region. It took a lot of calling on my part to even make them do their job of looking for one or doing something to make me happy. A manager at my purchasing store finally suggested this morning I just return it. I returned the TV for a full refund including delivery fee and recycling. They had already hauled away the RCA, so at least they I got that for no money. But, It really wasn't worth the hassle. They said it is not their policy to refund the delivery, but I said that I would dispute the charge on my credit card, and in fact a delivery problem is what brought me there in the first place. Instead of saying "I'm not going to pay that", I said "You should not pay that contracting company when they just caused a couple thousand dollars worth of damage by being careless." The customer service supervisor realized the wisdom of that, and authorized a full refund. By the way, Sunday is a really bad day to go in for a refund at a major electronics chain. Saturday afternoon is a big buying time. Sunday is a big return day. Employees have to work one or the other, if not both.

    There is a new Samsung LT-P326W and Sony KLV-32M1 both about 33" wide with speakers on the bottom that look like will fit in the cabinet. So I will start the research cycle again....
    Posted on Monday, January 31, 2005 @ 08:50:39 UTC by BB
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