Plasma Screen Bargains: 50″ Panasonic 1080p

You may recall when I was shopping for flat screens, Best Buy was advertising the Panasonic 50″ TH-50PZ77U at $1799, but refused to honor that price, claiming it was a money losing typo. (See Inconvenienced By Best Buy! for the details). Their price was an absurd $2,899.99 — $100 over list.

This ultimately sent me into the arms of the delightful Pioneer Elite FHD1 (at a great price, thanks to a friend in the audio business) for a joint B-day/Xmas gift.

I noticed just before the holidays that J&R Music was advertising that very same Panasonic — the TH-50PZ77U 50″ Class 1080p Plasma Flat Panel TV and HDTVfor 1749.99 after $200 rebate. By way of comparison, the same set is $2119 at, far below the Best Buy pricing.


Talk about compartmentalizing: As an investor, Best Buy (BBY) is one of the few non luxe stores that is doing well.

But as a consumer, I continue to happily find alternatives to Best Buy — especially after reading articles like this one).

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Eclectic commented on Dec 25

    Oh yeah?…

    …If they sprinkled poison pixie dust at the BB, you’d be one dead fairy within a week.


    BR: Not me! If I am there more than 3X a year, its a lot . . .

    (Statistically, more like 4 months — and that assumes no clean up)

  2. Eclectic commented on Dec 25


    I’m ready for Aught-Ocho…

    I say the Ten sees 3.50 (touches it, even intraday) sometime in 2008.

    You want some of me?… Well, do you, punk?

  3. tim commented on Dec 25

    I still don’t get your completely emotional issues with Best Buy. But re: consumerist report

    Boy I’m tired of seeing this. All major companies have internal and external websites. For brick and morter retailers their online store is typically a completely separate business that run their own specials to a nationwide or international customer base. The so-called “secret” website is just Best Buy’s intranet that is dedicated to the stores. There is no evil doing here. At the very worse Best Buy is guilty of not training their employees well enough. Which is of no surprise in an industry with high employee turnover.

  4. Barry Ritholtz commented on Dec 25

    I do not like to be inconvenienced by any retailer. And I really dislike being treated shabbily. Best Buy’s failing to honor their circular advertised price managed to accomplish both.

    This is very consistent with some of the other bad corporate behavior I have witnessed from them.

    I don’t hate them — they just have fallen way down on my list of favorite stores. (the missus, on the other hand, totally HATES them)


    PS: I applauded Best Buy’s ending the inherently dishonest scam that is Rebates — so its not all negative . . .

  5. la grande poussée commented on Dec 25

    Best Buy – reminds me of “Crazy Eddie” if you remember – Very Hot – Then Not. Best Buy is a very long-term Short!

  6. v commented on Dec 25

    Don’t Plasma TVs use up a lot of juice? I mean enough for one to see a nice spike in the electricity bill?

    And I know BR can afford this, but what about us BR-in-training/BR-wannabes … should we opt for a nice LCD TV? Or do LCDs also use up mucho electricity?


    PS – BR and others, I’m sure yall have seen the AP report on credit card accounts. NSTAAFL.

  7. Richard commented on Dec 25

    best buy should always be shopped for instant gratification only. their prices are only competitive with other peer ripoff outfits like circuit city and pc richards. its great to touch and feel the products there and then go online and buy it from amazon or another reputable outfit at much cheaper prices. amazing these dopes manage to stay in business. actually not since most people walking around fit the same category.

  8. Eclectic commented on Dec 25

    Don’t try to change the subject. Do you or do you not have any balls?

  9. Strasser commented on Dec 25


    What Best Buy is doing reminds me a bit of Montgomery Ward’s tactics back in the late 60’s: they would advertise a sale item in the newspaper and when you went to the store to buy it, “Oh we’re sorry but, we do have this model for a little more money”. After a couple times of that rotten tactic, we never went back! Montgomery Wards? Oh they don’t exist any longer do they?

  10. ilsm commented on Dec 25

    Never got any satisfaction in a BB TV section, but honestly my TV habits suggest tacking a coupla Thousand $ Bills on the wall.

    BB is good for run in run out, decent to good service on small electronic sales.

    And they got Geek Squad!!

    Retail ain’t all in the price.

  11. Chief Tomahawk commented on Dec 25

    Sometime ago I came to the conclusion Best Buy is not really the best price… and often not even close to it. CostCo’s kicking tail, and I would’ve expected Best Buy’s sales to be off due to CostCo, though results released last week surprised me with Best Buy doing so well. Maybe it’s that “Rewards” program?

    Anyways, I was in a Best Buy last week midday, and spent 5 minutes walking through the TV section and for the first time in memory wasn’t asked by a single staff member if I needed help. There was plenty of staff about and customer traffic seemed mild.

  12. wunsacon commented on Dec 26

    V, LCD’s consume less energy than CRT’s.

    I don’t know about plasma’s. But, I bet even they use less.

    Note, however, that the extra energy for a CRT helps heat a room. So, the savings is not automatic.

  13. Ed Koch for Prez commented on Dec 26

    I know this is silly. But, I *loved* Crazy Eddie’s commercials. “Prices so low he’s practically giving it all away”. He and the Isuzu guy were cut from similar molds.

  14. Incog Nito commented on Dec 26

    No P-I-P on the Panasonics? I’m shocked! Wouldn’t own one without P-I-P.

  15. toady commented on Dec 26

    When Best Buy wouldn’t pay $4.33 cash on a $100.00 gift card that was very soon reducing in value because I hadn’t redeemed it, I decided that the store’s policies were crap.

    “All major companies have internal and external websites” and if the internal prices are higher, then its bait and switch and not legal.

  16. Rob Dawg commented on Dec 26

    Best Buy is a very successful consumer credit agency that operates out of a consumer durables storefront. It appears likely that the next shoe to drop is consumer exaustion and/or repudiation of personal debt. Add to that their recession sensitive product mix and I see nothing but woe for their business model going forward.

  17. ken h commented on Dec 26

    I’ve looked at B.B.’s model and if your shrewd and frugal, they don’t want your business. I can’t remeber the names of the catagories they put people into but your not on their list if your shrewd and smart.

    I was in the sinking Comp USA in our area and there were bukoo T.V.s from 10 to 20% off. If I was in the market, I would seriously look at them if you still have one?

    It’s not a fire sale yet, but good deals to be had.

  18. Donny commented on Dec 26

    I priced a Samsung 47″ LCD at Amazon, printed it from my desktop, took it to 2 BBs for a price match. The first Best Buy said “no way”, the second one said, “we welcome the competition”, and sold me the TV at almost $1,000 off.

    Though I had to pay sales tax, it was worth it to buy such a large ticket item, them have recourse with someone down the street, vs. a voice on the other side of the line, speaking 800 miles away. But that’s the extra insurance I’m willing to pay … I know people that bought TVs from Amazon, and had good experiences.

  19. Steve C commented on Dec 26

    Plasma TVs are energy hogs. Article on that a few days ago in W$J. What you save on a plasma TV over an LCD you’ll pay in increased energy costs over the next couple of years.

  20. Dervin commented on Dec 26

    The NYC vs. the Internet is one of the greatest battles of all time. I don’t think I’ve ever found a product from a reputable internet business that was cheaper than something from an NYC based store. The Strand vs., J&R&B&H vs. everybody else, Century 21 & Barney’s vs. Bluefly. Everybody says NYC is expensive, but they just don’t know where to shop.

    The Internet guys are lucky, they just have to compete with the malls and chains. Target, Wal-Mart won’t have the quality. Sam Goodie, FYE, Macy’s won’t have the price.

  21. mappo commented on Dec 26

    Richard’s got it exactly right. The ONLY time you should ever buy something from Best Buy is when you need it faster than it takes to ship it from an online retailer.

  22. Eclectic commented on Dec 26

    Can I ask all of you a question:

    If you were able to walk the isles of BB on a given day in which, contrary to their wishes but for whatever reason, you could pick up anything they had and walk out the door, anonymously, unseen, without paying and without any repercussions whatsoever… would you do it?

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