August 27, 2006

The Joys of (Near-) Commodification

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- they've actually had some good stuff lately -- recently had a nice article on how to shop for electronic goods. The trick, as The Times' clever correspondent notes, is to search for the best deals in an industry where prices fall as a matter of course. Damon Darlin writes:

Wait even longer to buy any electronics. The cardinal rule of the industry is that prices always go down. There is no reason, despite increasing inflation pressures elsewhere in the economy, for that to change this year. Remember that you rarely need new electronic devices.

When you do — or you think you’ve waited long enough — you can turn the makers’ and merchants’ competitive natures to your advantage. The market for digital cameras, flat-panel TV’s and external hard drives for backing up data, an emerging category, are especially tumultuous right now.

Manufacturers are adding myriad features and making pricing more opaque, but there is a method to cut through the confusion to spot the bargains.

Do give the article a read; it should prove especially interesting to my audiophile and technosavvy readers. It was even interesting for me, a famous technofeeb, as it contained information about products I had given a passing thought to buying. Of course, if I've gone out and purchased an electronic device, it means the device in question has not only become uncool and commodified, but that the entire industry which makes it has decamped to the Far East.

I mean, I'm the guy who got a cell phone a mere 22 years after its introduction onto the broader market in 1983. I'm still amazed I've managed to do things like access my voice mail with it. As for doing fancy crap like text messaging or sending e-mail with the phone -- well, I'm just not very good at it, as shown by this Actual Test Message I sent a few months ago:

THANKS stop Sorry for text msg ineptitude stop pls clarify last part of msg stop tyvm bjk

Not only that, but I can't think of any major electronics purchase since then, thus providing additional confirmation for my technofeeb status. In fact, I think my last major electronics purchase was -- well, perhaps it was 2004, when I got that new 24" television, to replace the 13" set I had in college. Yeah, that's right. Also that was the year I finally signed on for high-speed Internet. Yes, it took me that long. Shut up.

Anyway, give the article a look; it's got some good tips and neat ideas. As for me personally, I have a feeling I'll be taking one of its key lessons to heart -- wait, wait, and wait ...

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 27, 2006 09:51 PM | TrackBack
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