Never jump too soon

Harman Kardon HK3390 amplifier - I've got one coming

I was at Lakeside Joondalup shopping centre yesterday. What an enormous place! I actually got lost at one stage – there are so many entrances and exits I couldn’t find my way back to my car. I reckon it’s bigger than Whitfords, and that’s pretty big.

Anyway, I was only after pillows, sheets, rubbish bins and mundane stuff like that. But having found there’s a JB HiFi, I couldn’t resist a browse around.

I was sorely tempted by two items, and that’s the reason for the title. Luckily I didn’t jump at them.

One was a Pioneer A10 stereo amplifier. I’ve been one amp short of a symphony since I had the big garage sale in 2011. I’ve got two speaker systems, but only one decent amp. Here was a basic stereo amp, plain and simple, marked as on special (big yellow and red sticker) for $497. Being a fan of Pioneer’s musical sound, I was interested. I asked the salesman to confirm that it has a remote control. Yes sir, he said. Well, he didn’t actually say Sir. I think it was more like, “Yeah, mate.”

Well, no, actually. When I got home and checked, I found that no, this does not come with a remote, and that “special” price of $497 is only $2 less than the full recommended retail price. So, beware.

While checking this, I browsed other amps and other brands and found a Harman Kardon tuner amplifier with equivalent specs (better, actually). Harman Kardon is a long established and well respected brand in hi-fi, so I took note of the price – $311 from Amazon. What?!

Long story, but I found that the Australian rrp is $599, and even paying $100 freight from the USA or wherever their distribution centre is, it’s still $100 cheaper ordering it on line.

So I did. Therefore I’m getting a very fine 80W per channel FM/AM tuner-amplifier with a full remote control and better specs for nearly $200 less than the Pioneer from JB at Joondalup.

I try to support the locals, but when the difference is that big, it’s very hard.

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Likewise, I was also attracted by a 50″ Panasonic plasma TV, marked as “last one” at $797. It’s true, Panasonic are quitting the plasma TV market. Too much competition from the Koreans, Samsung and LG.

But a little research has shown a similar story – $797 is no bargain and it’s not the performer I thought it would be. It’s a year out of date and LED backlighting has taken over to produce better results. Again, don’t jump too soon.

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I had to change my Medicare address and found that they offer 24/7 phone service. So at 5 past six on a Sunday, I figured I wouldn’t have long to wait.

Hah! First, twice I was dumped by Vodafone – Network Busy.

So I tried again 10 mins later and got to the recorded messages, but even at this day and time it still took me 19 minutes of waiting to finally get a human voice. This is terrible. Obviously, there are not enough staff being employed to answer phones at any time.

I still need to contact Centrelink, but they are Mon-Fri 8am – 5pm for this kind of thing. Ho hum. I think a personal visit will be needed. I reckon my sympathy stick (walking stick) would help here, but I can’t find it since about Thursday. Damn.

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