Sunday, November 14, 2010

Microwave - Part Two

Well, as I told you in my last post, it was time to replace my 16 1/2 year old microwave. It had served me well all those years, but it was time to move on to a newer model.

I did a fair amount of research to see what was now on the market. I knew prices had come down and the quality had also improved. I read Consumer Reports and various online forums and purchase feedback on a number of retail sites. I looked at several models in stores and talked to several friends and family about their current models to see what they liked and didn’t like.

Once again, I decided to go with a Panasonic. It seemed to get very positive feedback both online and from my friends. I settled on a 1.2 cubic foot 1200watt (model # NNSN668B) and watched for it to go on sale. The suggested list price for the model I chose, was $169.99Cdn. That was also the price listed at Future Shop. Best Buy sold it for $159.99. London Drugs sold it for $149.99. The price at London Drugs was good, but I had a feeling that if I held out a little longer I could get a better deal.I couldn’t wait too long though as I had to start the Christmas baking by the beginning of November at the latest and I’d need a little time to get used to a new machine before starting the chocolate making.

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long. In mid October, the London Drugs flyer listed the model I wanted for $129.99. I couldn’t order it online and the store doesn’t deliver. It was too bulky and heavy to carry on the bus and too expensive to take a taxi home. I would have to figure out another way to get it home.

I mentioned the dilemma to a few friends – adding that without a new microwave there wouldn’t be nearly as much baking this year. Two friends volunteered to help me get one home! Amazing what the thought of no chocolate treats can do! LOL!

The next part was a bit trickier though. The friend with the more flexible schedule lived on the other side of the city and I couldn’t ask them to drive that far just for me to save $20. I did a bit of checking and realized that Best Buy and Future Shop both had price match policies. Once the item is confirmed to be on sale at an authorized dealer and available at the competition, both will match a sale price plus 10% of the difference.

I called London Drugs to confirm availability on the day we were to go pick up the new one. Unfortunately, it was out of stock till the following day when another shipment was expected. I decided to call the competition and lay out the situation and see if I could still get the discount that day since I already had a ride lined up.

The woman I spoke with in customer service at Best Buy confirmed that the item had to be in stock at the other store to get the discount. I explained my circumstances – that I was legally blind, couldn’t drive but did have a ride available that evening. Could they please make an exception? The woman asked when I would be coming, then told me to come to customer service when I arrived and ask for her. She gave me her name and said she would personally see that I got the discount!

We arrived at the store at 6:30 that evening and the woman was true to her word! She personally took us to the microwaves. I also wanted to get a power bar so she went and got a guy from the electronics section to come over and help me pick out a new power surge bar! She then carried the new microwave to the cashier for us and explained that I was to get the price match. After I had paid, the girl at the cashier carried the box to the door for us. My friend went to get the car and when she pulled up front, yet another staff member carried the box out and put it in the car for us.

Best Buy and other electronics stores often get a rough ride for being large and impersonal but the staff at this location could not have been nicer to me. They were under no obligation to give me the discount given that the product was temporarily out of stock but they recognized that this was a unique situation and stepped up.

My friend and I got the microwave home and set up in no time. We tried boiling some water to make tea then defrosted some frozen cookies to celebrate! We also took the old microwave down to the dumpster before she left!

I’ve had about three weeks to get used to it now and I must say that I am really impressed! This one is slightly larger and stronger than my old one so I do have to adjust some of my old times, but I am really enjoying this new microwave and its features.

One of the features that made me choose this model is actually tactile. The top row is all raised buttons. Below that, each horizontal row is divided by a slightly wavy line. Visually, it gives the impression that the center column is raised, yet it isn’t. It is the horizontal bar that is raised. The fact that the line is waved and raised actually makes it much easier for someone who is visually impaired to find the appropriate buttons by feel.

The Christmas baking and chocolate making is well under way!


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