Editor’s note: ‘Sanity Check’ is a new addition to the regular list of Guest Opinion contributors to Local Tech Wire.

Terri Grauer is a consultant and writer specializing in the application of network technologies to business challenges. Her column will be a regular feature on Mondays.

Grauer started her technology career in the U.S. Army serving six years active duty as enlisted in Germany before going to college to get her degree in Management of Information Systems.

She has worked for EMC Corporation, SAP-America, IBM Corp, Canon USA and other Fortune 500 organizations as a technology consultant and trainer for the past 17 years. She now works for a small, profitable, non-dysfunctional organization in Charlotte.
_____________________________________________________________________The holiday season historically has been more than a time for family and friends to gather and share their own special kind of joy (or whatever).

It has been a time for great shopping sprees and incredible deals on just about everything. The official spending season kicks off on “Black Friday” which has been when the retail stores pulled out all the stops for “After-Thanksgiving Day Sales”. I’ve enjoyed many trips to my local mall (without dragging my husband along) for early Christmas shopping during the post Thanksgiving holiday.

Auto makers have offered their best incentives to purchase new models in December; often showing the wife giving their husband a new car for Christmas. (Let’s face it, that only happens in the commercials, since no woman I know would dare pick out a car for a man without him test driving the thing three or four times.)

There are other spectacular deals that the holiday season unwraps across the technology sector as well. During my career in high-tech I have capitalized on industry sales specials between Black-Friday and New Year’s Eve too.

My organization has purchased storage, switches, network adapters, servers, software and even services for dimes on the dollar in December. All year long I ‘overpay’ on parts and pieces that I can’t postpone until year end, so I can ‘stick it to them’ at the end of the year. I know this; they know this, and this how we play the game.

The largest vendors have offered the greatest holiday incentives, usually cutting their pricing by at least one-third if I’ll purchase before “Christmas”.

I had no idea these guys even knew there was a Santa, and here they are ‘acting like Old St. Nick’. The end of year reporting and Wall Street analysts have been the ‘high motivators’ for this ‘giving’ spirit of the vendors.

‘Do the Deal’

The analyst want to see a strong ‘year-end’ report showing ‘great numbers’ for the fourth quarter from the technology vendor, despite the ‘margin’ of the deals they must do in December to ‘get those numbers’.

Sales people have been trained to ‘do the deal’ no matter what the cost in December; and management has been trained to ‘push push push’ the customer to close no matter the cost! Here’s the flip side of that coin.

As a customer I have been trained to postpone major technology purchases until the end of the calendar year, when pricing will be best for me and my company. I have been trained to postpone, postpone, postpone. I know if I hold onto my budget, to my purchase order, to my money until the last possible moment I’ll get the best possible deal.

Vendors will cut their margins, throw in ‘maintenance’ and give away perks like ‘training’ or ‘implementation services’ in order to get the deal done. I know this, they know I know this, still we play the game.

Sanity Check

Imagine if other industry sectors behaved this way:

January thru October at your local grocery store milk and eggs cost an average of $2.89 each (half-gallon and one dozen).

November and December the same milk and eggs cost $20.89 each because the demand is greater to make holiday cookies for St. Nick.

Would you stock up in October and refuse to buy in November? Or would you just say, “Well I got a great deal last January and I should be happy about that and pay the price in December?”

Yeah I don’t think there would be a lot cookies being baked in December.

So here’s my question: If big technology corporations can find it in their collective “Holiday” hearts to cut me a deal in November and December, why can’t they just give me a decent deal in July?

Why do we have to play this ‘game’ every year?

Terri Grauer can be reached via email at terri@sandirect.com