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Be an Informed Consumer (Or Keep a Few Around) | The Gadget Consultant

Freddy Cloud

Frederick (“Freddy”) Cloud has had a passion for all things electronic since he “accidently” caused the class Commodore PET to malfunction in 8th grade. “I swear. I didn’t do it on purpose” He was quoted as saying to a very unhappy computer teacher... Read his full bio

Be an Informed Consumer (Or Keep a Few Around)

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I remember many moons ago my wife and I visited a Home Theater store when that type of store only really catered to people who had quite a bit of expendable income. She was looking at one rather expensive television, when one of the salespeople walked up to her and proclaimed that the set she was looking at was “The best television on the market, bar none”. She looked at him, and with a straight face, said one thing … Why.

For some reason, he wasn’t expecting that.

She saw his face, and seeing that he was a bit … perplexed … by the question, broke it down a little more for him; Why is this “the best TV on the market”? What makes this one “The Best”? Explain it to me.

He couldn’t. Not to her satisfaction. He was using marketing jargon and technical terms, but wasn’t doing a very good job in explaining to her why she should spend several thousand dollars on a 34 television when at the time HD was in its infancy.

Fast forward to a few months ago, we were in the mall and stopped by the Apple store. You would think by this time I would just not leave her alone to spare the employees of whatever store we visit, but again, someone who worked in the store walked up to her telling her how wonderful the new iPhone was, and how it was so much better than its predecessor. Her response? OK, but why is it better than my Galaxy S3? I was actually surprised that the employee couldn’t defend the iPhone. My wife KNEW why she picked her phone over the iPhone, but the person whose job it should be to sell the iPhone couldn’t tell her why she would consider their device over her current one. It’s as if she thought since we were in the store, our minds were made up and her job is done … just ring us up and move on to the next person.

Last one … a couple of weeks ago, we were in Best Buy to check out the Samsung Experience kiosks. I walked over to the display of the HTC One, when a Best Buy employee walked up to me and said “Don’t get that one. The GS4 is a much better phone”. Now, I know that isn’t a true statement; the HTC One isn’t a bad phone by any stretch of the imagination. It really boils down to personal need and preference. But when I asked why they felt that way, the employees response was just that; personal preference of Samsung over HTC.

I’m telling you these stories to drive home a point: before you make a purchase, PLEASE do your homework. Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of a salesperson that may have a bias towards a certain brand because of personal preference, employer pressure to sell one thing over another, etc. Know what you want before you walk into the store, or at least know what questions you want to ask about the things that you’re considering. And most of all go to a place where you can actually see and use the product that you’re interested in. If you’re looking for a phone, and the place you go to only has dummy units (the ones that are plastic and only have a sticker on the screen), ask to see an actual working device, or go somewhere else. Don’t assume the person in the uniform has your best interest at heart because unfortunately this isn’t always the case, and you can’t always depend on them to give you the best answer. Don’t be afraid to walk out of the store if you aren’t being serviced to your satisfaction.

Be an informed consumer. Or at least take one with you. My wife seems to enjoy making the store employees sweat a lil’, but we’ll have to check her schedule for availability …

Talk to you soon!

Freddy C.

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