The LCD TV that I bought
Singapore will soon have high definition television (HDTV) broadcast. One thousand households recently participated in a HDTV trial. With the prices of LCD and plasma TVs dropping every month like there is no bottom
My experience is that shopping for a HDTV can be quite an ordeal for the less tech-savvy. The first few basic decisions you probably need to make are - whether to buy a plasma, a LCD or a DLP TV, what size, what model, what features and what price. When you do more in-depth research, you'll find that you need to understand industry-speak such as 'contrast ratio', 'HDMI', 'progressive vs interlaced scan', '1080i', '720p', 'response time', 'judder', 'PIP', 'brightness in cd/m2', 'resolution', 'viewing angle', just to name a few. (A comprehensive glossary of HDTV terms is available here.)
Next, you've got to decide which retail outlet you would like to buy your HDTV from - neighbourhood shops where prices are cheaper but perhaps lacking in service and variety; or megastores where prices are likely to be higher but where service is probably better and where there are a wide variety of models to choose from. I chose the latter.
First, my wife and I visited one of the two electrical megastores in Parkway Parade. We were served by a seemingly helpful salesman. I thought to myself, "We're in luck. It's so hard to find a really professional salesman nowadays." It started off quite well. He took pains to explain the differences between plasma and LCD TVs and also the features of various models. He spent about half an hour talking earnestly to my wife and I. Then I asked him one question: "How will I know if I can't get this same model cheaper outside?" That question seemed to have got on his nerves. His tone and attitude took an abrupt turn. This was our exchange:
Salesman: "I know sometimes customers complain about salesmen cheating them. But a lot of times, I feel that it's the other way round, that is the customers cheating the salesmen instead.
Me: Huh??? What do you mean?
Salesman: "I stand here for half an hour explaining to you and you can think of buying from outside. Can you just let me know this - are you going to make a decision to buy a TV today or not?"
Me: "I am still finding out more information. Look, a TV is a big-ticket item. How can I decide so hastily? It would be too rush and too rash.
Salesman: "In that case, you have wasted my time."
Me: "What? If you consider serving a customer as a waste of time then I am so sorry to have wasted your time.
You are in the wrong job. If I lodge a complaint, I would have wasted your job as well. But I am too kind to do that."
With that, he just walked off and so did we, vowing never to buy anything from this store again.
Two weeks later, we passed by an outlet of the same megastore in Bishan Junction 8. (Those of you who frequent both shopping centres that I mention here will know which megastore I am talking about.) We saw a TV model which we were quite interested in. We were served by another salesman. This salesman was really helpful and was not irritated by whatever silly questions I threw at him. Sometimes he would just laugh them off. He even threw in a HDMI cable and a wallet/key-chain set free. You guessed it, we ended buying our TV from this outlet in Bishan.
The name of the salesman with good service was Mr Alan Teo from Junction 8. (I am saying a big "THANK YOU" to you here.) As for the man with the poor service and attitude, I shall not name as it might cost him his job.