Monitoring the situation

Jan 13, 2003

For months now I’ve wanted to replace the monitor we use with our computer – it’s so bulky and it long ago developed an insistent and annoying whine. Flat panel monitors are all the rage these days; the UNC journalism school has them sprouting up in many of the classroom computer laboratories. So I’ve been watching the prices, and Erin and I have had long discussions about spending so much money on something we really don’t need.

But then last week Best Buy advertised a mark down on the Samsung SyncMaster 151v, from $349 to $259. ”Let’s get it,” said Erin, giving me the go-ahead. Off I drove to Best Buy on a Sunday afternoon. I got to the store, browsed the monitor selections, and reached for a box on the bottom shelf. But something about this box looked different. I turned to find a salesman, and asked him why it had Best Buy tape around the seams. He turned the box around and showed me the special sales price on this box: $184.99. ”I had to open the box to use the power cord for the display model,” he told me. ”Buy this one, order the cord from Samsung, you’ll still get the $90 rebate, and you’ve got quite a deal.” When I went to the register, another 10 percent came off the price, a standard discount for open-box items, I learned.

It took me half a dozen phone calls the next day to find the right power cord. And then a week for the mail carrier to deliver it to our mailbox. With shipping, the cord cost $27.80. I cleared the desk and set up the new monitor, and skipped around the house so giddily. Somehow, through patience and luck, I have a $329 monitor for a mere $115. Yahooooo.

Anton Zuiker

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