Putting Tech Under the Tree
These days, it might seem as if everything on your child’s, spouse’s, friends’ or even employees’ holiday wish lists comes with a plug and/or a port. No one ever said that buying technology for someone else was easy – and that is perhaps even more the case when you are considering holiday gifts. Why? Because the lead times are longer, the likelihood of getting a duplicate item is stronger, and your chance of nailing exactly what the recipient wants is even slimmer.
Still, those factors aren’t likely to stop Santa (or you) from trying to make the tech dreams of the people on your holiday shopping list come true. Here are a few factors to consider to keep you on the nice list.
These days, technology is not one size fits all.
Don’t be offended. This is the point that we want to drive home more than anything else. These days, technology is not one size fits all. From the aesthetics of choosing the color of a phone to selecting the perfect memory/processor package on a laptop, there are personal choices that the recipient of your gift might want to make themselves. That doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate what you gave them – it just means that it might not work as well for them exactly as the device they envisioned. If that’s the case, just read below and understand that your gift is truly appreciated, even if they switch it out for something else.
Get permission. Particularly when you are dealing with a child (and you are not the child’s parent) make certain that what they say they want is what they are actually permitted to have. With all the technological advances out there, some parents might shy away from their children being too connected. And that doesn’t apply to only kids. Your great Aunt might not want anything to do with Alexa because she feels that the device is spying on her (true story!), so make certain that you gauge the tech comfort level of the adults on your list as well instead of just assuming that everyone will want the latest and greatest gifts.
“Some tech devices come with strings attached in the form of monthly contracts or subscription fees.”
Strings attached. Some tech devices come with strings attached in the form of monthly contracts or subscription fees. So, make certain that the person you are buying that device you got a great deal on wants to keep up with a monthly contract before you obligate them to do so (or, pay for a certain amount of time upfront so they don’t have to worry about it).
Return policy. Sure, those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals may look too good to pass up, but make sure you carefully weigh any return policies before you hit the buy button. While many reputable online (and brick and mortar) retailers have liberal holiday return policies that will take you from pre-Thanksgiving to post New Year’s – don’t assume that is the case. Some stores may return the item but charge a restocking fee, others might not accept a return past a certain calendar date unless the item is nonfunctional. (On a side note – definitely explore return and exchange policies if you are dealing with a cell phone carrier, as they can vary widely. And ALWAYS ask what that “free” or deeply discounted device is obligating you to in terms of a monthly fee or contract.) The bottom line is to ask and make certain you understand any nuances of a store’s return policy before you purchase an item.
Give the gift that keeps on giving by purchasing an extended warranty with the device. Check out our blog post on whether or not extended warranties are worth it. – Vinnie Sanchez, PCS Computer Technician
Show me the plastic. Yes, it’s true that some credit cards can definitely extend the warranty period on a technology purchase, and others may help you if you have to return a broken item. But again, don’t assume that using a particular card will automatically cover you for a gift return if there is nothing wrong with the item other than the fact that the recipient doesn’t want it.
Spend wisely. Just as you would with any other purchase, do your due diligence and explore all of your buying options before purchasing a tech device at this time of year. With so many sales and so many package deals, it can be difficult to make an apples to apples comparison on tech devices. If you see an offer that you like, a little research – whether in the form of a simple Google search or asking a tech savvy friend – can go a long way toward saving you some money (and possibly the aggravation) of buying something only to discover it for less later.
In the end, taking the time to do some research and to ask the recipient for clarification (either yourself or through a trusted elf) will go a long way toward ensuring that what’s under the tree is the perfect package.