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by
Ed Driscoll

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February 14, 2012 - 3:13 pm
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Taking the Amazon Plunge

In his recent deconstruction of Best Buy’s looming financial woes in Forbes, business analyst Larry Downes wrote:

It’s not competition from Amazon that’s killing Best Buy here; Best Buy is doing most of the damage to itself.  But let’s compare the two to see how retailing–online or otherwise–is done correctly.

First, it’s hard to imagine anything so pathetic happening at Amazon, and even harder to imagine the company failing to own up to its errors.  Amazon does not take orders it cannot fill, and it does not wait until the last minute to cancel them without offering any kind of solution.

Amazon lives and breathes the customer’s point-of-view. It completely engineers its business practices, its systems, and its people to support it. When they make a mistake, they admit it and they fix it. Immediately. Once, when I had a problem with a new TV that turned out to be a manufacturing flaw, the company begged me to let them pick up the unit, send something else, and install it for me. That was more solution than I needed, let alone asked for.

It’s not just Amazon’s prices that are better, in other words.  Its customer service is superior in every way.  And unlike traditional retailers, it recognizes its own potential disadvantages and innovates ways to overcome them.  The company has no retail locations to pick up merchandise, but it ships instantly, often for free.  It has no on-site sales experts to answer questions, but the pages of its products are filled with videos, FAQs, and customer reviews and answers.

After reading that glowing report about Amazon and large consumer appliances, I decided to take the plunge myself, in part to serve as a guinea pig for articles such as this. What I found was that Amazon will arrange for the set this size to be delivered during a time window that you choose when ordering the TV. In my case, two delivery men dropped it off, uncrated the set, plugged it in, made sure it worked, and then left me to do the rest. While they didn’t do much beyond that, I didn’t need the help, as my wife and I could hoist the 72-pound LG 55LK520 up to its stand once we had prepped the home theater for it. And other than running out and buying a couple extra HDMI cables (which which Amazon also sells), hooking the LG 55LK520 up to my HD DirecTV box and other home theater components was relatively straightforward.

Currently selling at the time this review went live for just under $1000 on Amazon, and a bit more than that at Best Buy, the LG 55LK520 is an extremely capable LCD TV set. If it’s time to replace the TV in your den or home theater, and you’d like to get out by spending around a grand, you could do far worse.

 

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Blogging since 2002, affiliated with PJM since 2005, where he is currently a columnist, San Jose Editor, and founder of PJM's Lifestyle blog. Over the past 15 years, Ed has contributed articles to National Review Online, the Weekly Standard.com, Right Wing News, the New Individualist, Blogcritics, Modernism, Videomaker, Servo, Audio/Video Interiors, Electronic House, PC World, Computer Music, Vintage Guitar, and Guitar World.
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