Monday, August 15, 2005

Escape from Taxachusetts

Over the past couple days, Massachusetts had its sales tax free weekend. I had heard all the press about it during the weeks leading up to it, but I hadn't thought seriously about making any serious purchases. I would enjoy getting a nice surround sound system tax free, but I had to save, and I wanted to pay off my credit cards. . ..

Well, now we have a nice Yamaha 6.1 Dolby (and other encoding) surround sound Yamaha receiver with 100 or 105 watts per speaker and a Bose surround sound speaker system, including a nice sized subwoofer and five small speakers, all of which can handle about 200 watts each, allowing us some room to upgrade our home theater, sitting in our studio, waiting to get set up this Wednesday after I get back from the career counsellor.

We made the purchase on a spur of the moment, but we reasoned it out pretty good, even though we went through some annoying adventures to get it.

It went something like this: Yesterday, after getting back from the diner in Watertown, we already had plans to take our bikes to REI for their free tune up (wiggly handlebars, loose gear wires, my U-lock holder got loose and whatever else they can find). If you live around Boston and visit the AMC Theater a lot, you've probably seen the REI and Best Buy next to the theater. For awhile now, I've wanted to get the first season of The 4400, as it looked pretty interesting, and the Girl wanted to get some other DVD.

So we drop off the bikes at REI then head on over to Best Buy when the Girl mentions something about checking out the home theaters and maybe, hey, why not, it's Tax Free weekend. . .maybe we want to get one. I immediately say no but then think about it. . .think about it a litle more. . .think some more. . .then reach the conclusion: why not? We've put off the home buying idea for a couple years, until we've gotten settled into Chicago and found good paying jobs that we enjoy. Sure. . .I wanted to pay off the credit cards, but can we really wait two or three years for a nice home theater when the one given to us by an old roommate wants to die soon? And we may not know our job situation when we get to Chicago, so who knows how long after that we'd have to wait until we could afford one again. After all, I've got my Best Buy credit card, so we wouldn't have to "worry" about interest for a good 18 months (from my experience, they do tack on some kind of fee, but everyone disputes it).

I got into the home theater section then started talking with a couple sales guys. They show me some good options for Yamaha receivers, talking me up about features, comparing it to other brands, telling me how Yamaha pretty much yoinks the technology from higher end companies then makes them affordable for the regular consumer and so on and so forth. Sales guy then shows me the nice Bose system, telling me how it works great for movies but not necessarily the greatest for music because it doesn't really have a great low/bass end because they make the speakers so small then demonstrate the set of speakers on the car chase scene in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, blowing me away then Sales Guy plays some rock music. Sounds fine to me, but for the sake of comparison, he switches over to another system that has better low end. True, it does, but the Bose speakers work awesome for movies and well enough for music. They had clarity. I like clarity and even though I like bass, too, I think I've gotten to the age when too much bass just really wrecks the music rather than enhances it.

Anyway, they've sold me on the receiver and the speakers except. . .I don't have my wallet in my pocket. Crap! Not really out of the ordinary with me. . .the Girl always says that I would probably lose my head if it wasn't attached to my head. So the wallet could have slipped of my pocket in the car, so I run out there. Funny thing -- remember what I just said about my absent mindedness -- I forgot where we parked the car! I ran around the parking garage for about 5-10 minutes looking for the car, panicking that someone might've stolen it, but I banked on my forgetfulness, which is what happened. No keys, though. =(

Run back up to Best Buy. Find the girl. Confer, trying to figure out how to pull it off. Maybe we could charge it on my account without the card, but I figured that wouldn't work. . .kinda sketchy, isn't it? No ID, no card. . .yeah, sketch. We find it worthwhile to go back home, get my wallet then come back, but. . .doesn't Best Buy close at 6 or 7 on Sundays? At that moment, it was about 5:30 or 5:50. I check with a sales guy. He tells me that they'll stay open until 10 because of Tax Free weekend. Woohoo! And myabe we could go buy the stuff at the Best Buy in Watertown. After all, they might stay open, too!

Did I mention that we had a thunder storm watch going and heavens poured down crazy rain? Yep, that's the situation. Still, the Girl and I wanted that system. . .or maybe I really wanted it, and she wanted to entertain me.

Another consideration: We had planned on going grocery shopping that night but at some point, decided that we'd just get hot dogs at Spikes then grocery shop tonight. We needed to save on taxes!!!!!

Takes us about twenty minutes to get out of the garage because of the Sales Tax free traffic and probably some stragglers from the rained out from the Red Sox game. Nothing we hate more than dealing with friggin' Red Sox traffic. . ..

After we get out of there, takes us about 30 to 45 minutes to get home through the pouring rain with poor Baby, the Plymouth Neon, grumbling and grunting because of the water getting into her engine. Gallant gal, though, she made it through the whole thing even though, this week, she got some horrible gas mileage, but we blame that on all the stop and go traffic over the weekend compared to my gallavanting from Boston to Newburyport to Brattleboro, VT and back again.

Grabbed the wallet then bolted over to the Best Buy in Watertown. Ran into a couple friends who wanted to take advantage of Sales Tax Free day, too. They had a stereo picked out and everything. I told them my purpose, ran to the receivers, looked around, ran back to the guys, said something more then bolted back to the receivers. Took awhile to find a salesperson, who really helped a bit. Too bad they didn't have the receiver we wanted in stock and didn't even have the Bose speakers as something they sold at their branch. I would have gladly ordered and paid for them both there, but if they couldn't set it up for the Bose speakers, I wouldn't do business with them. The store didn't have the stereo our friends wanted in stock, either.

We both went over to the Fenway Best Buy but didn't know that the other group went. We ran into each other, joked around then got our respective pieces of equipment. Andres, the sales guy, rocked. He set us up with the systems and cables and chatted us up about the whole thing. He told us that, at least on Saturday, he worked 13 hours straight and the place had gone crazy busy over the weekend and felt wacked and tired. We got great value from him, though, and he made the experience just great and easy. So, if anyone wants to get anything in the home theater section of the Fenway Best Buy, ask for Andres.

So, the Girl and I got the receiver, the speakers and the wires into the car, drove over to Spikes for some amazing dogs (I got the veggie. . .of course I did. . .I'm vegan!) the went on home, stowed the system in her studio, did our respective things then watched two eps of Family Guy and an ep of American Dad! then went to bed. We wanted to watch an ep of The Daily Show, but the night had grown too late. We went to bed then woke up for work today. Ugh!

(Part of me feels silly telling this story, since I could just as easily go on up to New Hampshire sometime when visiting my parents to pretty much get the same benefit. After all, they don't have sales tax.)

I feel like a pitiful synecdoche of Modernism, which makes me feel ashamed because it has caused a good deal of destruction to our societies and our planet Earth. My shame will have to wait for another day, though, because I have to do my finances, work on some career counselling assignments then put together the new home theater.

Does that make me Postmodern, the fact that I'm willing to brush aside my shame in this way?

1 comment:

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