It’s an incredibly beautiful TV.
It’s HD, ultra slim, big but not obnoxious, and it’s LED, meaning its bright and doesn’t use much electricity. As far as TVs go, it’s about as eco-friendly as you can get.
I’ve wanted it since the moment I first saw it. But when I left Argentina a few months ago to spend time with my family in Colorado, these TVs didn’t even exist in Argentina. Nobody sold them here. And even if they did, I knew it would cost a lot more than it would in Colorado. As is the case with almost all electronic items here, things are way overpriced.
So while in Colorado, I went to Best Buy and bought myself one. It was On Sale for US $989, taxes included – an incredible deal. But how on earth would I get this thing back to Argentina?
Intellectually, I had always known that it was possible to bring such things on the plane as shipped baggage. But I had never tried something so bold – or perhaps so stupid – as to bring down a gigantic HDTV. So, what the heck, I figured. I called American Airlines and asked if I could bring the TV with me to Argentina. “As long as it weighs less than 70lbs and isn’t more than 115 inches (height x width x length),” they said. The box fit!
But it was fragile, very fragile, with practically no protective padding or reinforced styrofoam. So I got another box, grabbed the TV, still inside its original box, and stuffed it into the other box, lining it wall-to-wall with styrofoam. It was still under 50lbs and it totaled just 93 inches. Bingo! I was ready to go.
I got to the check-in counter at American, where they charged me an extra US $150 to ship the box as “an oversized bag.” I feared it would be destroyed during the flight or by the baggage handlers. But it arrived perfectly, without a scratch. The box didn’t even look like it had been shipped at all. Plus, the TV works perfectly here in Argentina with the local digital cable service.
At EZE airport, I got pulled aside by customs officials, who charged me the typical 50% import fee. The policy is simple. They charge 50% of the value of your item after US $300. Since the TV cost US $989, they charged me 50% of US $689, or US $345. I paid the tax with my Visa card. There was no haggling, no request for a bribe. Just a simple, quick transaction. The whole thing took less than five minutes.
All told, then, it cost me US $1,484 to bring the TV down to Buenos Aires. The TV now sells here for 9,999 Argentine pesos, or US $2,603. So even after all the hassle of shipping it, I still saved US $1,119.
That’s a decent chunk of cash, enough to buy another R/T ticket up to the States.