Friday, November 28, 2008

Blah Blah Black Friday

It's the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival, and the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he's watching us all with the, Eye of the Tiger...

Oh wait, not quite in the Rocky kinda way, but Black Friday is a huge adventure for die-hards.

That is, when there's good sales.

Like a lot of people on the Internets, I wasn't very impressed with this year's sales. But, like any avid Black Friday shopper, I went investigating things out there. Because, obviously, Black Friday is shopping for ME ME ME!

Since my current laptop has some problems with it, my first inkling was that I wanted to buy one of the laptops from Bestus Buyus. They had one for 379, an upgraded model for 479, and a cheaper model with a printer for 350. All appearing decent prices for laptops... Until I did further research... I found these models were just as cheaply made as my current laptop. Not to say it's a bad laptop, but if I'm going to spend that money, I want to have something that may last more than a year or two. I'm seriously lucky I got three years out of my current laptop. So I went around further. I found this pretty cool Acer laptop for 499. Then I had $20 in Best Buy RewardZone certificates, making my final price 479. Same price for the "upgraded" laptop. Except, it wasn't particularly upgraded with memory -- but it DOES have a BluRay player within it! Something all the other lappys didn't have!

Now, forgive me while I go out on a tangent here. The laptop prices didn't sound impressive. Then I realized the deals of $200 laptops came from an AOL instant rebate they gave if you signed up for a year agreement. AOL has since gone free, so they can't quite convince people to pay for their service to give said rebates. And the probability of the high-speed internet providors giving out these discounts is probably minimal -- especially because people probably use said providors and providors aren't interested in giving rebates to keep customers.

Thursday was spent at my friend Dave's for Turkey Day. I had a lot of fun. And I got to go through the physical sale paper ads. Yes, they've all been leaked on the Internets for a while, but there's nothing like the physical looking at the papers to compare. I didn't find a thing.

But, has (had?) Nintendo DS packages for $5 more than just the base console. Brain Age and Mario. I ordered the Brain Age version, along with some BluRays on sale. Completing most of my Black Friday shopping... without staying out all night in the cold.

Then I saw a Sony Home Theater Receiver that I thought I wanted to get. Bestus Buyus for $199. Except I did a little research and found it on Sony Online for the same price.

I understand the concept behind Black Friday doorbuster ads. They're to get customers into the stores and make them buy other things because they stood in line all night and they don't want to have a fruitless endeavor. Retailers get more money in because people go in for one thing, end up buying something else, see something else they want and buy that, too! A win for (almost) everybody.

I don't know what kind of help this years ads are doing for sales yet. I think they sucked, but my opinion of what I want is different from everyone else's ideas. I got my deals online, and saved my buttkus from greuling Black Friday lines. I didn't even go by and see what kind of lines were out there.

I know people went out to battle for things they want for Christmas gifts. I am proud of them. But, as I said before, I'm dissapointed in the sales this year. I think retailers need to start beefing up their ads.

So, what's my advice? Don't assume what's in a Black Friday ad is the cheapest you can get. Shop around still. Spend a couple more dollars and you'll probably get something a LOT better and will last longer.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How hard can it be?

Famous last words, right?

At some point during my MA escapade (quite possibly the day I returned since the awesome person who watched my house & Bradley while I was gone didn't know anything bout it), my garage door opener decided to stop working. So, I went to the local Sears to buy a new one. I was suggested to buy a Craftsman Belt Opener because they're quiet.

I got to the local Sears and there are two Craftsman belt models -- the more expensive one was on sale for the same price as the cheap one. The only difference I was able to quickly identify was battery backup. Knowing the number of times in the past two years and change I've been stuck outside of my garage because of power outages, I decided I wanted this option. Lo and behold, it's not in stock, so the sales associate helps me locate one in the area.

$220 plus tax later, I have one found for me on the other side of Atlanta. When asked if I wanted it "professionally installed for $110", I said "nnaa -- how hard can it be?" Besides, I knew I wouldn't have been able to get it installed until Saturday and that was too long for me to wait.

Sunday evening I took down the broken opener. What a pain in the butt that was. It was late, so I wasn't about to try to install it.

My week was full of long days of trying to find new clothes for the new job, checking in on cats, and just plain old getting into the hang of things of getting up early, so I didn't get to install it during the week. But manually opening and closing the door was definitely getting old.

Saturday comes and I decide it's definitely time to get this taken care of.

I begin this daunting task at 11am. I laid the parts out and began assembly. "This doesn't seem too hard, although the instructions are poorly designed," I said. Six and a half hours later, I was done. Kinda.

In all fairness, I think my ghost has been messing with me. Some of my tools randomly vanished, so I spent time searching for them. Add into that the fact the brackets for those sensor thinggies that reverse the door if a small child decides to walk under it are too short, so I need to get some extender thinggies. So, right now I have the most unsafest garage door opener in the neighborhood because the two sensors are taped to the ceiling pointing at each other. But it's nice and quiet! Although, I can't store my ID badge for The Company up behind my remote clip. It's blocking the signal or something, apparently.

Oh well, hopefuly I'll update y'all when it's safe again!