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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 12, 2012
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The Good Life
with Eli F.J. Tajanlangit

Age of [staggering] choices

The Good Life
with Eli F.J. Tajanlangit

“These days,” says Good Friend C, “Buying a television set is such a bitch!”

I had left him at the appliance store at around 4 p.m. to buy an idiot box for a room he was refurbishing, and when I came back three hours later, he was still there, agonizing over the choices presented to him. There were HDs and LCDs, LEDs and even 3Ds, then there were those that can read USBs and those that can only read DVDs. You don’t understand these acronyms? That’s just what I mean: it is just way too difficult to buy a television set these days.

To understand High Definition as against those using Liquid-Crystal Display, Light-Emitting Diodes and three-dimensional and the upsides and downsides of each one, you might as well bring a teen-ager with you, who speak these gibberish like it was his or her second language. The only problem is, the teen-ager does not exactly care about costs, or cannot really appreciate the difference between four or five or even six figures. All the teen-ager cares, it seems, is the latest, and the latest comes with a difficult acronym and a steep price besides.

Deciphering the meanings of these acronyms and what they really mean as applied technology is just one of the many hurdles you have to take to get to the final phase of the process of buying a teevee set. The other hurdle is: which brand? From two or three brands during our parents time, there are countless of brands out there, too many in fact that you can get mental paralysis just trying to figure out what to get.

What really complicates things, well, for us, aged 30 and above, is the fact that brand loyalty as we knew it can no longer be trusted. Our parents had preferred brands, remember, and they had already, so to speak, pre-screened what’s available in the market before they even went to the store.

These days, the old reliables no longer live up to their name, sorry. I’ve bought a lemon of a CD player trying to stick to one brand, and since then opened myself to other, even newer, brands in the appliance market. After all, brand loyalty is not something that is rewarded in the appliances business.

It is always, as in anything, wise to have a full range of choices before handing over your plastic card to the cashier. Wise, yes, if you do not get paralyzed trying to winnow down the choices presented before you.

Then you have the matter of how big a screen you want or need, a question that in the past was settled solely on the question of cost – screens bigger than 24 inches were exclusively for those who can afford. Not anymore; there are now big screen sets that are accessible cost wise, what with liberal credit terms available.

Of course the next question that arises after choosing the big-screen teevee is: can that fit in your sala? While one may be able to afford a big-sreen, that might eat up all the space in your house – watching a head that appears bigger than yours on the screen can cause migraines.

But truth to tell, the choices can be staggering as well as dizzying, as we live in a world where things are getting too specialized to cater to the different preferences in the market.

Television set manufacturers, as with the rest of consumer product makers, are trying to tailor their products to individual tastes – the thing to do now is to find what works best with you and your lifestyles.

I don’t know when it happened, but haven’t you realized, there is no more “best” teevee brand these days, or best brand for freezers and fridges? Now, it’s all about what works best for what our needs are. It’s all about knowing what you need, what you want, and finding out what’s best for them.

Trouble, of course, starts when you confuse need and want.*

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