A few weeks ago: The big TV had finally died and My Sports Guy was ecstatic. He had been campaigning for Bigger/Better/More Inches for some time now. A trip to the Mega Electronics store revealed a ridiculous amount of choices, including all levels of “smartness” i.e. built-in internet capabilities, features, bells and whistles galore.
In spite of all the options, My Guy zoomed in on just two sets in a room of seemingly hundreds of screens like a house of mirrors all displaying the same show – a football game. Target marketing, right? No coincidences there.
He asked Armand, our very accommodating sales guy – maybe three questions, and then said, “OK, we’ll take this one.”
“Whoa, whoa…time out,” I was caught off guard.
“What?” he said, looking clueless.
“Don’t you want to comparison shop? Go to a few more stores – look around a little?” I was sure that this would have been the plan.
“Nope, this one’s good. He was whipping out the charge card.
That was that. The purchase was made: Bigger/Better/More Inches had been scheduled for delivery. Mission accomplished in record time. Happy Consumer.
Apparently TV sales always soar just before The Big Game on Super Bowl Sunday.
Now, if the TV dies totally (as in our case), it’s a green light. However , if there is nothing wrong with your existing TV, rationalizing an upgrade can be a little tricky.
Picture scores of guys staring at whatever TV they now have. No matter what size it is currently, they are still thinking…they want a bigger one. It’s like a collective consciousness of male desire – size matters.
So, in order to plead the case for an upgrade, a typical discussion with the other decision maker in the home might go like this:
Him: “Wow, honey, look at this. Best Buy has a ----- inch TV on sale for only $-----. Can you believe how these prices have come down? That’s a great deal.”
Her: “Uh huh.”
Him: “You know, the HD is so much better on these new sets…and we are getting an income tax refund..it would be a really good investment.”
Now, my guess is that in most of the households where this conversation is being played out, it will pretty much fizzle. A more thought out strategy is required.
Namely, there might be some successes if the guy is smart enough to implement some negotiation skills in his pursuit of the Bigger/Better/More Inches.
My advice: Start out big – really big – I mean a second mortgage will be needed big.
Be philosophical and then segue into the calculated pitch.
For example: “You know, honey…I’m a simple man, right? I love you, I love our family, and I do enjoy watching sports on our TV. At home. No sports bar shenanigans with endless pitchers of beer and floozy women. Just sitting back in my easy chair – simple pleasures, right?”
(Don’t expect any response yet – just keep talking.)
“So, sometimes I think about this – and I know it’s just a pipe dream…but a man can dream (maybe throw in a hard-working man)…
If I could have one thing, and I know it’s insane because it would be too big a splurge for us – I would be the happiest guy in the world."
(Now, go for the mother-lode.)
“What if we could buy one of those giant media room size TV’s? They have them up to 100 inches! Do you believe it? The screens even curve on the sides now. A really state-of-the-art, high tech – internet ready – 3-D – with total surround sound – with those comfy, leather theater seats – a popcorn machine – Wow – what do you think?”
(Now, just look at her with puppy dog eyes, and wait until she replies. )
“She’ll probably say something like, “Are you out of your mind? We don’t even have a wall that big. And how much would that be? Are you crazy?”
(Then you reply):
“I know honey, that’s just my fantasy. I would never even think of spending our money on something that extravagant. That would be totally selfish, are you kidding. No way.“
Your next move – you give her a hug, tell her how beautiful she is, and then with a hint of sorrow, quote the Rolling Stones and start singing, “You can’t always get what you want”…
Now, point to the sales paper, and humbly say,
“Look, here’s a 55” Sony TV – nothing elaborate.. in fact kind of bottom of the line, but I would totally settle for that and I would be grateful to have it…of course, if you would be OK with that”…
Then whisper in her ear, “Would you?”
If she doesn’t immediately reply with an OK or even a maybe, quickly sweeten the pot with, “Hey I'm sorry, it’ not all about me, what about you? What do you want? A trip to the Mall of America in Minnesota? You got it. I know, let’s invite your mother to stay with us for a couple of weeks”…
Or whatever – you get the idea.
Of course, a tactic like this isn’t always sure-fire, but odds are on Super Bowl Sunday, there's a chance you could be kicking back watching the play by play on your new 55” Sony TV. Whoohoo.
Of course, you’ll be on the couch, because your mother-in-law will be reclining in your easy chair because she needs to elevate her feet. Oh, and don’t dread your upcoming Mall of America shopping spree – it’s all worth it.
Then, there’s the worse case scenario – if all of my advice backfires – you might be sitting there Sunday squinting at your old set where the 22 players on the field will look like ants with helmets.
All I can say is, “You can’t always get what you want.” Go to the Sports Bar.
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