Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Black Friday Massacre

Saturday morning, the paper was filled with reports of people injured and arrested (mostly at Wal-Mart for whatever reason) trying to get the Black Friday loss leader, and it was noteworthy that for many of them, the loss leader was a DVD player--apparently as usual.

Now this is very interesting, as apparently 80% of American households have at least one, and at $50 or less, they're practically giving them away already.  I just bought a DVD/VCR player for $60 at a much safer store, Sears.  So why are so many people so excited about saving a few bucks on a player?

Well, hype certainly has something to do with it, but I'd suggest that another reason is product quality.  My new Magnavox looks, to put it charitably, like the plastic used to make it (there is little metal in the unit, it appears) is a side business of Fisher-Price or Mattel.  So I have to guess that one of the big reasons for the rush to get a new DVD player is that the buyers know their old units are not long for this world.

It's a far cry from the days when your VCR would set you back $500, but would last through ten years of normal use.  And ironically, this happens just as more and  more companies learn how to do accelerated reliability testing to design for long term reliability.


Gregory D. Rothbard said...

So sad that people loose their minds for the material things of this world.

Brian said...

I think I'm on my fourth DVD player since 2002 or so. The current model was by far the cheapest (I think I paid $30 for it) and is the longest-lived (three years and counting.)

I can't imagine why anyone would need to fight over that.

But I have to admit I don't really "get" shopping, generally. I've bought soap online to avoid going to Target.

tobin said...

We just replaced our aging DVD player. It was the only one we had ever owned - I bought it in the year 2000 for just under $300.

The one we replaced it with was another basic model, but was a Sony, from Amazon for...$29. Regular price.

Yeah, I'm not going to fight over that in a store either.