Thrift Score

A day or two ago, I took Oldest and Middlest with me to the library, as I had to pick up a book that had come in for me.

On the way home, we stopped in at a couple of thrift stores, as is fairly common for us to do. We got Oldest a couple of books, and Middlest picked herself up some little Nerf contraption (she’s figured out how to ask for a toy from the Free Toys bin before she can be stopped). I considered getting her a stick horse-giraffe, before deciding it would be best to consult with Those At Home about it, first.

There was also a Rather Large Telly, which I described to Those At Home as having a screen size rivalling the size of picture we’re getting from our projector downstairs. The TV was on hold til Thursday morning.

So, this morning, I headed back over there. A bit later than I meant to, getting closer to 11 when they opened at 9.30, but still morning.

Both TV and horse were still there, and the TV still had the “on hold til Thursday morning” note stuck to it. I asked a lady who worked there about the TV, at what point in the morning it would stop being on hold. The person who had holded it had apparently called, and sounded like she’d cancelled the hold, but the message was a bit unclear, so they were contacted just to make sure. They didn’t want it after all.

So the next question is, “How much is it?” When I’d mentioned it at home, the instructions were “If it’s still there, I’d pay $30-$40 for it”. I figured if I’d needed to, I might be able to squeeze a bit extra out of my own reserves.

What I was told next, wasn’t the price, however. The person who’d donated it said there was a problem with it, that often after a time of working (which could be from 5 minutes to 2 hours), it would go dark and unresponsive, and you’d have to unplug it from the wall and plug it back in, to get it working again.

Could be tolerable, could be the other thing. All of a sudden, $30-$40 was sounding a bit much on a gamble.

“Well, I don’t want to spend too much on it, if it’s going to have problems like that”, I said. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d charged $15-$20 for it. I’m glad I kept my trap shut, she offered it to me for $5. If it cut out a couple of times during a movie, it’d probably still be worth that. “I’ll take it for that”, I said.

Apparently they’d sold a working one for $100.

I was told that if it didn’t work for us, to not bring it back, but to bring the receipt for a refund. Well now there’s absolutely no risk. Plus it had remote and manuals.

While she was running the till for the TV transaction, I went and got the horse. Said $1.50 on it. I’d fished out $1 from the quarters bag, and was reaching in to fish for the other .50. “Just a dollar”, she said. Can’t argue with that. Welcome to New-Favourite-Person-ville.

Getting the TV into the car was tricky. Another person who was helping in the shop, helped me out to the car with it. We tried a bunch of things to try and get it in the car. Eventually I had to let the back seats down, which gave just enough extra space to stand it up diagonally in the back (it didn’t need to overlap the back seat much). From the driver’s seat, I could only see slivers of the back window. Fortunately, it wasn’t very far to get home.

We stood the TV up on the dining room table (on a towel, to protect the table), thinking we might need to set the TV face-down on the tables, to get the back open. The TV was slightly wider than the table (inspection of the manual revealed it to be 55 inches). It ran fine all afternoon without going dark and unresponsive. My uncle-in-law researched the problem, and a few people have had it, with a lot of speculation about what the cause of the problem might be. Overheating is a likely suspect, with someone solving their problem by rigging up a computer fan to the back of their TV.

We turned it on, it worked, hooked up a laptop and the kids watched a whole film, then my wife and I fiddled with document layout for service books (well, she did all the work, I answered a couple of questions and helped look through it). We set up a “Welcome Home” screensaver for when my mother-in-law returned home. We eventually had to take the thing off the table, so we could eat the evening meal at the table. The only problems we’d encountered were the colour being set to a weird setting, and some background bits of DVD looking pixelly.

This evening, I tried hooking up the Blu-Ray player to it, mainly to see what resolution it could handle. We’d hooked up the player to a High-Def TV that was only capable of 720p (watching a 1080p signal sent to it was quite interesting). Initially, I forgot to change teh settings, but The Lego Movie Blu-Ray definitely worked. It actually resumed from where I’d stopped it a few days ago, after I’d tested the sound-without-picture. I switched the player settings to 1080p. And the TV handled it just fine. Tried a little more of The Lego Movie, then some of Star Trek Into Darkness. Looking good!

So, $5 for a working 55-inch TV, and we can finally watch Blu-Rays at home. I call that a win.

The challenge now, is to find a place to put it.

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