Big box store pricing.

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The question of who has the best prices often come sup here, it is Home Depot or Lowes. Today, I had reason to be on both stores and checked the price of an item I bought locally earlier this morning.
Taco circulator pump Home Depot $86 Lowes $79 Supply New England $61.48
I still wonder why people line up at the big box stores thinking they are saving a lot of money. If it was Sunday and I needed that part that day to get the heat back on, I'd have paid it, but given the opportunity to go elsewhere, it pays to do so.
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I think a few years back, they did have low prices, and subsequently put a lot of small stores out of business. Since then it seems the prices have crept up incrementally to the point that they are no bargain anymore

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You can't beat Menards! I wonder how Lowe's and Home Depot stay in business with the prices they charge. I guess people just don't know any better!
JK
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My guess is HD and Lowes build the bulk of their stores in the 39 states that Menards isn't located

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I am shocked that both Lowe's and HD were able to build a presence where I am in Milwaukee, since, in general, their prices on nearly everything is higher than Menards. As I have thought about it more, I am coming to the conclusion that Lowe's and HD gear much of their marketing towards the consumer, and Menards just doesn't. I am much more of a "pro" and I often feel that my presence at Lowe's or HD is a hindrance. I can't often move freely down the aisles because the have piled up special order mechandise or other clutter that makes it hard to push a big cart through. My mission is to get in, get what I need, and get out. I don't need a central air quote, or a class on flooring, and I especially don't need to look around the store for 20 minutes to find a cart big enough to carry 4 sheets of drywall.
I agree with the other poster who said that Lowe's and Home Depot carry a broader range of SKU's. When they first came to town, I was excited to see that they carried a much broader range of copper fittings for plumbing than Menards, but they have whittled that down quite a bit, and for the few fittings that they still carry that Menards doesn't, it is cheaper to go to a well stocked small hardware store.
I also think that they miss out by not letting the dept managers and store managers make decisions as to what they carry. I needed an A/C disconnect with a built-in GFCI, which is necessary by code on installations where there is no receptacle nearby. I asked the dept manager why they didn't have them, and he told me that he would love to carry them, and saw the need, but "Headquarters tells us what we can and cannot carry". :-(
They also have a knack for getting rid of products that I really like, but I could go on and on.
JK
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I think the whole big box diy model has changed over time. When they first showed up, they stocked they exact same material and brands you'd find at a good supply house. The convenience of being able to get that all in one location with staff that knew what they were talking about was what led to their popularity.
Unfortunately, once they reached critical retail mass, they could start demanding manufacturers provide consumer grade products that had better margins. That and optimizing the product mix for profit instead of completeness make them less useful stores.
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wrote:

It may have to do with the individual store itself. I've noticed that the Lowe's in Bellevue, where I used to live, carried a smattering of plumbing products that I needed. When I moved across the way I noticed that the store nearest me carried lots of plumbing, but little electrical. Overall it seems that each store carries what sells in their area rather than a single product line across all stores. I don't know about HD, I only buy Leviton switches and outlets from them - nothing else if I can help it.
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Big_Jake wrote:

In the Chicago area, I haven't found Menard's to be significantly better on pricing, and their selection is often limited. When I can get what I need, Menard's is okay. But having several Menard's stores within ten miles doesn't reduce the number of times I drive ten miles to get to a Lowe's or HD.
--
Martians drive SUVs! <http://oregonmag.com/MarsWarm307.html

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A lot of it probably has to do with convenience-- the box stores are open 7 days a week, and til 9:00 on 6 of them usually.Dunno about your area, but for probably half of the population of San Antonio, there is either a HD or Lowes, or often both, within about 5 miles. Larry
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Same in Sacramento I can drive to four HD and two Lowes in 20 minuets Two of the home depot are about 3 miles apart. I also have a Ace hardware 1/4 mile but they are so expensive it's a I need one screw store.
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wrote:

larger selection of many items, such as light fixtures, but Menards has more heavy building materials, adn less selections of the smaller stuff. Menards is almost always cheaper, but there are exceptions. Like any store, there are always some items that are cheaper at one place over the others. Last week I wanted a flood light bulb for my outdoor garage light. The local dollar store is usually cheap, but they wanted $8 for a halogen flood light. I was not willing to pay $8 for a bulb and wwent to the local (normally expensive) hardware store and got an indecesant of the same watttage for $3. Sure halogen is supposed to save a little energy, but it will never make up the $5 difference and I have had halogen bulbs in the past that cracked from the heat when snow fell on them, so I was not highly impressed. I just wanted a bulb and not to spend a fortune. I probably could have gotten it cheaper at Menards but my nearest store is many miles away, so I would have spent all savings for gasoline. I normally have a running list of needs to get at Menards, but for one low priced item, it's not worth the drive, and I needed the bulb immediately.
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wrote:

I guess they don't, since Menards does a lot of business. I always say that Menards is the Wal-Mart of home improvement. Lots of cheap chinese made garbage.
They are cheaper than HD or Lowes though. NewsGuy.Com - $19.95 Unlimited Bandwidth
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I'm just glad there's not one in my area. Just one more choice and place I'd have to go to price compare. I'd be better off if there were no Home depot close. That way, I'd just go to Lowes (where I end up every time anyway) and have it over with.
--
Steve Barker




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Except that the bigger War-Mart gets, the lower their prices go

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RBM wrote:

Sez you. Especially after having seen a show on PBS where a Wal-Mart exec admitted that their prices are often not the lowest available, I shop Wal-Mart the same way I shop Joe's Hardware; I check the price and quality before I buy anything of consequence.
It's especially bad since Mr. Sam died. Practically before he was in his grave, a quart of Pennzoil went from 97 cents to about $1.40 overnight. There wasn't any change in the price of oil, there was a change in management greed.
Ever see those cards of cheapo stuff they sell in out-of-the-way gas stations? Gizmos on a card that says, "Total value $9.57, your price ____" and the price is filled in at $1? Where the station paid about $4 for the card of 20 items? Shortly after Sam died, I saw one of these cards in a Wal-Mart store in Northlake, IL, little kits of eyeglass screws and a tiny screwdriver. It said, "Total value $8.57, your price _____" and Wal-Mart had dutifully filled in, $8.57. That's when I knew Sam was rolling in his grave.
--
Martians drive SUVs! <http://oregonmag.com/MarsWarm307.html

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I put a 5 1/2" MDF base board in my house Home depot $1.59 lnf local lumber/hardware Meeks $.99 lnf. If your buying just a little bit of stuff there convenient but any major purchase shop around.One thing they do that just pisses me off Lowes and Expo do it to they want $60 to come and measure you carpet. I brought a detailed drawing to the 1/2" of three rooms door closets every measurement you need, they said they have to come out and measure themselves. My answer was if you can't give me a price from that drawing your to stupid to put in my carpet. I've got prices on all kinds of flooring when I was in the remodel businesses never was charged for an estimate. There the stores you love to hate.
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Ed,
I see this almost every day. My local Ace or True Value are less on many of my home repair parts.
cm

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Yesterday I was trying to remove a Moen faucet from the sink. It reqires a special tool to reach a nut that is way up on a thredded piece. The tool comes with the faucet, but I don't have it because the builder's guys didn't leave it. I stopped at my Local Ace. Nope they don't seel that item. They would lend me one. The deposit? Write your name and phone number on a file card. Tell us your name so when you return it we can throw the card away. Try that at HD.
After I got the old fauct out I returned the tool. Then putting in the replacement faucetI decided the old supply lines were too long and snaked around the cabinet. Time for new supply lines. Did I go to HD to save a buck? No way.
By the way This Ace is open Sunday morning and the folks there know what they are talking about.
Charlie

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Price is not always the issue- availability is- A part may be a couple $$ cheaper at a local store but will the mom and pop store have it in stock? If I need something I will pay a bit more to get it quicker. You used one item as an example. Some items like exterior doors are cheaper at home depot than lowes. Yes the prices have gone up but are more reasonable when there are lowes and HD near each other

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