Yesterday I decided not to spend $300 to fix my 50″ Vizio, which may or may not have died due to the slovenly Sajan Patel (i.e., the sublessee who all but ruined my apartment during my Telluride-Toronto-New York trip), but either way it’s definitely not working due to some kind of power board outage. So I went to Paul’s TVs on Sawtelle and bought a 60″ Panasonic Plasma for $950 plus tax. For some idiotic reason I paid an extra $50 for a professional set-up, but when the guys arrived with the set they didn’t do squat — they just attached the stand and plugged it in and handed me the remote. I figured the set-up guys would know a little bit about fine tuning. All they wanted was to screw it on the stand and head off to the next job. And then I realized they were serious morons because they didn’t even know what correctly proportioned images and aspect ratios are supposed to look like.

No one watches analog channels any more, of course, but I do every so often and so I want them to look right. I told the delivery guys to hold on a sec. When I tried an analog channel I saw right away that the images were horizontally distorted so I said “whoa, whoa, whoa…the aspect ratio is all wrong and the images are taffy-pulled.” I tried finding the controls that control aspect ratio and screen size and whatnot (4 x 3, 16 x 9, zoom), and I got a little angry when I couldn’t find them right away. I don’t want a TV that doesn’t allow me to control aspect ratio and screen proportion really simply, like I’m an idiot. I don’t want to go to night school to figure stuff this out. I got angrier still when the zoom function over-magnified the 4 x 3 aspect ratio so that portions of the image were buried. And angrier still when I noticed that window-boxed analog bars were light gray instead of dark gray or black — I won’t stand for light gray. And then I got really pissed when the guys on the truck shrugged their shoulders and said they didn’t know from taffy-pull or what was wrong with the aspect ratio, and then called their boss and said stupid shit like “the customer doesn’t like the way some of the channels look,” etc. Like it was some personal peculiarity of mine rather than a failure of the TV set to work right.

You know what? We’re done here, fellas. Put the TV back on the truck. Bye! I called Paul’s and cancelled the purchase and the surplus fees and everything else. That’s it for Panasonic — never again. And Paul’s can also suck it for the time being.

So yesterday I went to a Best Buy on La Brea and bought a 60″ Samsung Plasma for another $950. We’ll see how it goes when they deliver on Tuesday but if there’s something I don’t like I’m sending it right the fuck back. I told the salesman that in so many words. If I see any light-gray windowbox panels, that TV will be returned to the warehouse so fast your head will spin…no offense, just sayin’.