Never in a million years did I think I would ever be that guy. I don’t hang fake testicles from stuff. I’m sensible with money. I drive a Ford Focus, for crying out loud.
Yet there I was, fidgeting in our living room, explaining to my wife why we needed an even bigger big-screen TV than the one I’d been authorized to buy.
The whole TV purchase thing developed very suddenly and unexpectedly. Yes, there had been casual talk about getting a new flat-screen for the living room of the house we’re building for occupation sometime next year.
Our 13-year-old, 27-inch cathode ray box has served us well, but we both saw merit in making the switch to a slimmer and slightly larger set sometime down the road. Neither one of us saw this as a pressing need.
But the conversation shifted gears on Christmas Day, when my mother-in-law said she’d like to help with this new purchase. We also received an extra boost in the form of a Best Buy gift card. With the looming allure of Boxing Day deals, there was suddenly pressure to move quickly.
So there I was on Dec. 26, navigating the crowded aisles of big box electronics heaven/hell, armed with one hour’s worth of Internet knowledge acquired hastily the night before.
I was searching for a tasteful screen, something in a 40-something size (inches, I mean.) I latched onto a nice 46-inch unit that seemed to be of very good quality and was on for a good price. I decided this was the one.
Yet, I lingered in the aisles with a nagging doubt: Is it really big enough? Even I could see that a 46-inch screen doesn’t appear all that big from 10 feet away. And according to the guidelines laid out by the experts (i.e. the stores that are trying to sell you the TVs), the TV should be sized so your sitting distance is between 1.5 and two times the screen dimension. This means that a 46-incher is good for 5.75 feet to 7.7 feet.
Hold on. Our couch is going to be at least eight or nine feet away!
So there I was, back at home, pleading my case for a 55-incher.
“What about the children?” I argued. “How can they enjoy their Dora if she’s only two feet tall?
Our house will be an open concept design, with a dining area and kitchen that lay beyond the living room.
“What if we want to watch the news during supper?” I ventured. “And it would be nice if I could see the hockey game while I cut vegetables.”
I got the OK.
So off I race to get Grandma, who wanted badly to purchase the set on her credit card, then back to the big box. Predictably, the set on which I’d set my heart (a smokin’ $1,500 unit on sale for a mere $1,000) was sold out.
“It’s OK,”I muttered. “Our lives won’t end if we don’t get that TV.”
But I felt like the life was ebbing out of my body. Within 24 hours I’d gone from casually wanting to buy a TV sometime to desperately wanting that TV … now!
There was a plan B. The set was on offer on the company’s website, not for the same $500 off but for $300 off. That’s better than nothing, right?
We race home. I fire up the computer and get the precious unit loaded into a virtual cart. What, I have to have it delivered, for $55? Yikes, my savings are flying out the window!
But there was no turning back — I was in such a buying frenzy at that point. The order went through and the TV will arrive sometime in the next couple of weeks, to sit in its box until we move sometime next summer.
I’ve always been diligent about slowing down over the Christmas season, about spending quality time with loved ones and appreciating the important things in life. Well, the spirit of Christmas died for me, for that one day at least. But the spirit of Boxing Day was alive and well to the 10th power!
And now, I just have to endure six long months before I learn whether this spirit gives way to buyer’s remorse … or triumph.
Cory Hare is the Gazette’s assistant editor.