SECRETS OF SEMAR
One Man’s Old Is Another Man’s New
By by Dan Semar
Posted on Feb 8, 2006
It’s that time of year again, when everyone starts getting antsy and ready for spring. Being cooped up inside all winter gets under our skin, making us want to do something new and fresh! Most of you have already started on your projects by now or have at least planned them, I hope. With the CES show right on top of us, the market is being swamped with all of the newest, latest, and greatest products. What does that mean to you? Getting great deals on last year’s stuff!
As most retailers will be making room for new merchandise, they’ll be cutting prices on last year’s gear to do so. By knowing what you want and where to look, it will help ensure that you to get a great deal!
Want or Need
Being caught up in the jubilee of spring gets us excited. With a little extra money burning a hole in our pockets, we ache to buy something new. The temptation of all the new products coming out pokes and pinches at our brains, begging us to spend money. “Man O’ Man do I really want that!” “If I get that before anyone else, I’ll be the shit around my town!” “Honey, I need this to complete what I’ve started.”
Who doesn’t want what’s new and hot at the time? That’s the way we draw attention. But, sometimes, having the newest products isn’t necessary, especially when you can get last years model’s for half the price, or less!
Think about what you actually need most at the time. Are you replacing something existing? Does that product actually need to be replaced? Is there something else you need or want more? Decide what you would like to have the most at that time and go that route.
Knowing your product
One of the first steps to getting a great deal is knowledge of the product you’re going to be purchasing. Compare the product that you want with other similar products to determine if you’re getting everything you actually want and need — you may find that another company offers something that you really like. This will allow you to get the most for your money and you won’t regret making the purchase later on down the road.
One of the worst things that you can do is go into a retail store without knowing anything about a particular product. By doing this, you’re only going to gain the knowledge or opinion of the salesperson.
The best thing about purchasing last year’s models is the benefits of more manufacturer and consumer testing. When a product has been out for a longer period of time it will let you know how it withstands the test of time. When buying a newly released product, you never know if it will have bugs or manufacturer’s defects. Hopefully this will never be the case, but these things do happen. You’re more likely to find more reviews on a product that has been out for a year as opposed to one that was just released. By researching the product you’re inquiring about beforehand, you can check out specifications, pricing, and critical reviews. You may find that the product you’re interested in has had nothing but problems.
When it came time to build my home entertainment room, I searched for reviews on all the TVs that I was interested in. I narrowed it down to two, and, after some further research, I found that the one brand that I was leaning toward was having nothing but problems. The lighting element was burning out prematurely, costing people half the price of the TV to get it replaced. It proves that researching before purchasing can be more rewarding than you think. At most times, I’ve found that by researching a product beforehand, you’ll tend to know more about the said product than the salesperson. Don’t be led to believe a product will do more than it’s supposed to. Having this knowledge will allow you to know if the salesperson is being honest and giving you a reasonable deal.
Knowing Your Seller
It’s a good idea to be familiar with the reputation of any company that you’re dealing with. Shop only from companies you know or from Web sites recommended by trusted sources. Make sure the Web site contains a physical street address and a phone number to call for additional information. Ask friends or other people who may have dealt with the company before. You can often find helpful information about companies from Internet directories, rating services, local forums, and the Better Business Bureau.
If you decide to shop online, make sure that you only buy from those companies with secure Web sites. If you look at the top of your screen, where the Web site address is displayed, you should see (https://) — the “s” that’s displayed after “http” indicates that the Web site is hosted on a secure server. Often, you don’t see the “s” until you actually move to the order page on the web site.
After placing an order online, you should receive a confirmation page that shows your entire order. Print out at least one copy of the Web page(s) describing the item you ordered as well as the page showing company name, postal address, phone number, and legal terms, including return policy. Keep it for at least the period covered by the return/warranty policy. (You may also want to save a PDF of the screen as further proof - ed.)
When purchasing gear online, go with your gut instinct. If a site seems fishy or faulty in any way, stay clear of it.
Remember, It’s Still A New Product Even If It’s Last Year’s Model!
Selling The Old – Don’t Get Scammed
Just like retailers, you have to make room for all of the new gear that you’ve just purchased. In doing so, most enthusiasts sell to friends or friends of friends. The other route is to sell it online. Most of us will sell our stuff on eBay or frequented forums. Before doing so, I’d like to give you some insight on a reoccurring scam. Now, some of you may or may not know about the “Nigerian 419” scam. This is a scam that has been around for a long time and people are still falling for it.
A few years ago, I put my car up for sale on a Web site and received an e-mail stating that the buyer wanted to give me $10,000 more than I was asking for the car. He said that he would send me a cashier’s check in the mail and I was to wire the remaining money to a charity that he had chosen in Nigeria. This immediately had me suspicious. I Googled the person’s name and found that it was a fictitious name used frequently for this type of scam. With a little more research, I found that this was happening to people all over and that they were loosing thousands of dollars to these people. The bank will allow you to cash the check, but when it comes back as a fraud you’re responsible for any money spent. The unfortunate part is that there’s almost nothing that you can do about it after it has been said and done.
Don’t let this happen to you. Search the net and read to protect yourself.