Are these genuine bargains, or a pile of garbage?


One of the great things about being a blogger for Wisebread is that I have a large community of people to call on for help and advice when I need it. So far I've rarely called on your sage advice, but today is different. I have stumbled upon quite a few deals in the last 24 hours and they all look good to me. But are they?

I have published my shopping list below. If you think the item is a good idea, I'll jump on it (and so should you if you want it). If you scream at me that I'm a moron for even considering such an obviously crappy buy, I'll avoid it. I'm hoping they are all steal, but hey, 2 out of 5 would be fine.

1 - DVD Home Theater System - $20 - Office Depot

Every piece of common sense in my brain is screaming that this sytem probably sucks. But for $20, what if it really is a deal?


2 - LaCie 500GB External USB Porsche Hard Drive - $119 with FREE S&H

This one looks great. 500GB of storage from a known hardware maker like LaCie. But is this one a complete waste of cash?


3 - Sharper Image Woofi Power Subwoofer - $9.95 at Sharper Image

Seriously, can this be all that bad? I know it's reduced from $70 to $10, and there must be a reason for that. But it looks like such a steal!



4 - KitchenAid Hand Blender, Onyx Black - $17.99 -

I usually trust KitchenAid, but why the huge drop in price on a great hand blender? Should my spidey-sense be tingling on this one?


5 - Compound Miter Saw with Laser - $53 -

I'm a sucker for tools. But I worry cheap tools will break and sever a finger or other appendage. Is this one a steal?



Well, that's my shopping list. Prices were correct when I published this article. If they have since gone up, I will obviously not be buying them anyway. I am a deal hunter after all.

Main photo by The Stock Exchange.

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Guest's picture

I use the LaCie Porsche drive (albeit only 250GB) and it works great. I have also ordered stuff from B&H and have never had a problem.

Guest's picture

here in germany a computer magazine (Computer Bild 1/2007) tested 16 USB Hard Drives and also the 500gb LaCie Hard Drive Porsche which landed on the to 8th place. Here are the facts:

+ Very fast (Read/Write 31,24/26,29 Megabyte/second) (fatest drive in test)

- Very loud (Idle/Read - 2,0/2,1 sone) because of built-in fan (loudest drive in test)
- Defect after drop test

Paul Michael's picture

it has both good and bad points. Certainly don't want a noisy drive. I'll have to think about that one.

Guest's picture

I wouldn't touch that saw with a 10 foot pole. It may end up working fine, but with tools like that you're better off with a "name" brand for quality. Even a cheap Delta would be better than that one.

Guest's picture
Tina P

I have to agree with Tim on the fact that a quality name does have to be taken into consideration. So for me, the saw and the DVD system would be out, but the sub-woofer and blender would be in. Good names and dirt cheap prices.

The hard drive is kind of a conundrum. I also have the 250 from La Cie and love it. When it got it, it was on a similar bargrain basement sale at Best Buy. I the noise is an issue for you then I'd guess it's a no-go. FOr me, though, I'd jump on it (several in fact!) and sell them to local business to hold routine weekly or nightly back-ups. Plus one for myself, of course...

Guest's picture

Can't speak much for the 'tronics, but anything KitchenAid will hold up well as long as you're not using it in an industrial kitchen (i assume you are not). Cheap Tools (Power and Other Wise) are good for cheap work. Except fot the frequency of use there is not much difference between tools at home and tools on the job. When you are deling with tools there is more at stake than your wallet safety and reliability should be the biggest concerns. Look for a good deal on Great tools ( I have Always preferred Makita and DeWalt) not a great deal on OK tools. KYLE

Guest's picture

The hand blender just went up to $44.00

Guest's picture

Agreed on the saw. And they might be a better deal if it wasn't for the interchange fee...

Paul Michael's picture

I planned to buy the hand blender this eve. Ah well. Thanks for all the good advice folks.

Guest's picture

sometimes in life what appears to be too good to be true is really just a typo waiting for some hype.

Guest's picture

I have a hard time resisting deals... but really it's not a deal if you spend $10 to save $50 on something you don't need. It's also not a deal if you're expecting good quality (dvd system) and end up with sub par performance. KitchenAid and LaCie are great brands (two of my personal favorites actually) so if you need those items, you'll get a great deal on a quality product you will use. But if you have no need for another hard drive or don't really have a clue what to do with a hand blender, don't bother.

Cheap tools scare me.

Paul Michael's picture

I'm a deal junkie. I decied in the end to go with...none of them. I know, ironic right? Buy your post grounded me to the very reason I write for WB. The DVD theater system is obviously nothing special. I rarely use a blender. THe woofer, although cool and cheap, would probably be relegated to the garage in a few months. My wife already has a 250GB hard drive and myself a 100GB. So, by the time those are full, a 1 terabyte drive will probably be about $100. And Lowes is doing a BOGO today on tools, so I can get a saw and drill for a cool savings. I need the saw, but would prefer to go with a brand I trust. Anyway, thanks to all who helped me out. Cool stuff guys.

Guest's picture

be wise - save your bread. or better yet, give some away - free.

Guest's picture

Amazon does that periodically with the KitchenAid hand blenders, a food blog I read pointed it out once. They're generally $45-60 but every so often they'll drop it just for a day or so. If you really want one, just keep an eye on it and wait.

Guest's picture

I'm not as convinced as to the quality of the LaCie drives as others here, or at least the Porsche version of the drive.

I have 1.5 TBs of storage, all using Acomdata drives. Acomdata was the first external drive I bought, and I figured all else being the same it can't hurt to have the drives from the same manufacturer (superstitious, I know). I tend to pick up new drives when they fill up by looking at what's for sale. I saw an amazing price for the Porsche LaCie drive (350GB?) for something ridiculously low like $65, and picked it up even though it wasn't an Acomdata drive.

So far it's the only external drive I've bought which failed, and it failed right out of the box. I bought it from MicroCenter online (I can't say enough about their house brand of desktop computer) and they were very good about returning the drive for credit. And while it probably isn't important, I am planning to stick with Acomdata.