Why You Shouldn't Buy a TV on Black Friday
Millions of U.S. consumers will likely wake up early on Friday (some will head out Thursday night) in a mad attempt to cash in on Black Friday deals from retailers all over the country.
Many of these consumers might be angling to get a new TV for their living room. Indeed, the printed ads from major retailers like Target (NYSE: TGT), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) all have pictures of TVs prominently displayed on the first page.
However, wise consumers may wish to wait before dropping their hard-earned cash on a TV this Friday.
Obviously, TV sets offered by obscure manufacturers may be of dubious quality, but consumers generally know this going in. However, what can be deceptive is that models from more well-known electronic companies -- Sony (NYSE: SNE) or Samsung, for example -- could fail to live up to expectations.
In order to offer models at bargain prices, some manufacturers produce “derivative models” -- that is, scaled down versions of their normal TVs. However, most consumers don't realize this, looking only at the brand name, the size of the screen and perhaps what type of HDTV it is (LCD, Plasma, LED, etc).
These derivative models are toned down versions of standard ones, perhaps offering a reduced number of HDMI ports or lower quality components. However, it's hard to say -- it can even be hard to tell which specific TVs are derivatives, requiring a careful scan of a model number which could total eight or nine digits.
What might be most alarming about derivative models is their production run. The manufacturing companies produce the derivatives to sell for only a few days. They might manufacture them for only a few weeks, as compared to their normal models which they can produce for a full year. This short production run might mean that the TVs are more prone to error.
At any rate, Black Friday TVs might be best thought of with a couple popular phrases: “let the buyer beware” and “you get what you pay for.”
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