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Home Depot vs. "Real store"

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Our old wooden garage door is not in good shape. Saturday we went and had a look at the Clopay doors at the local HD and got a price including installation. In the course of conversation I said, "Why Home Depot? You're not the only people who sell Clopay. According to the Clopay Web site, <company name here> sells their doors too." HD guy says, "If you buy from us, they're the people that do our installations anyway."
Today I went to the other store and got a significantly lower price (including installation) for what is in all material respects the same door but with a different model number -- and they don't use (because they don't recommend) the EZ-Set spring system that can be adjusted with a power drill.
So two conclusions:
1. Buying from HD -- and the same quite likely applies to Lowe's as well -- doesn't necessarily mean that you get some dumb-ass lowest-bidder installer rather than somebody who knows what (s)he is doing.
2. Buying from HD -- and the same quite likely applies to Lowe's as well -- doesn't necessarily mean that you get the best price.
Perce
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I would add number 3:
3. Bying from HD doesn't mean you get the best quality hardware either.
Case in point: My well pump went out, and the pump store had to order parts (which eventually took like 6 weeks to get). I needed water right then, so I went to HD and bought a pump. Little did I know that they stocked the worst quality (and cheapest) crap pumps that money can be wasted on. I thought it was actually defective, but later found that it was just a very poor quality pump. It was a FloTec, and never again will FloTec products contaminate my garden :)
I went to Mom and Pop hardware and bought a Star pump, and it's been going strong every since. Moral of the story - don't buy stuff from HD without first doing a bit of homework. Sometime they stock the cheapest crap they can get.
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Zootal wrote:

--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can\'t make them THINK"
  Click to see the full signature.
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On 12/29/08 04:50 pm evodawg wrote:
<snip>

But sometimes it's the same "China crap" (with a famous US brand name on it) as the "real <whatever> store" across town is selling for twice the price.
Perce
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I would never have expected the best price from HD.
My experience has shown that by talking with "real <whatever> stores" you can typically get a better deal. Based on the specs for the windows I bought from a real window store, I paid what would have been "in-stock" HD prices for windows that would have been at least the second level of "special order" windows at HD or Lowes.
You can typically get better lumber for the same or lower prices by going to a lumber yard.
Plumbing supplies? I'll take the parts counter in the back of a Kitchen and Bath Design Center over the plumbing aisle at a home center any day of the week, except after 12 on Saturdays and all day Sunday. :-(
The same goes for electrical supplies - use the parts counter at a lighting design store for the best prices, selection and expertise.
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On 12/29/08 04:22 pm DerbyDad03 wrote:

The reason I thought that I *might* get a better price from HD is that HD -- the whole chain -- must buy a lot more stuff from Clopay than our 3-store local "chain" and would therefore be able to negotiate better prices. And *perhaps* HD would deal with Clopay directly rather than having to go through a regional distributor -- IOW, cutting out a middle man.
Perce
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re: "...and would therefore be able to negotiate better prices."
And perhaps they did, but that doesn't mean they're going to pass on their savings to you. It merely means more profit for them.
They put their stores up on every corner, they drive out the majority of the neighborhood stores, and then set their prices wherever they want. There are fewer and fewer of us who will drive the extra mile and spend the extra time to find the few places that are left that sell quality at reasonable prices. That allows the kings of the borgs to charge their lazy subjects higher prices for the same (or usually lower) quality.
All that said, I'm not naive enough to think that my buying my windows from a contractor supply house or dedicated window store is going to have any impact on the borgs. It would take millions of people like you and me to put a dent in their profits and that's just not going to happen. They are just too convenient for the average consumer to pass up.
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Key word here is "average" There are a lot of average people that think mediocre stuff at a perceived low price is a good deal. The big box stores sell "average" stuff, not the best. For every god story of how HD did on a contracted job, I hear 10 bad ones. If you want the best brands of the best merchandise, go to a good shop.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

My key word is best value for the buck. Most often it does not have to be the best for typicalaverage use. (over kill can be wasteful)
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wrote in message

True, but cheap can be even more wasteful. Ideally, one should be informed as to what is available and how it suits your needs and the big box stores don't carry it all.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Agreed, Most of time I stick with prosumer grade.
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On Mon, 29 Dec 2008 17:36:58 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

You're probably right in your second paragraph, but I am doing my part to encourage everyone around me to patronize local businesses. Recently a colleague was talking to me about replacing his kitchen floor and mentioned he'd gone to HD. I told him not to waste his time or money with HD and to go to a local flooring place I'd used. He eventually did just that and was very happy with the price and installation and told me that the guy who laid the floor said he thought he'd laid the original floor in the house, 20+ years earlier. I've already told my story of buying my Weber Genesis Silver B grill from a local merchant for the same price as HD was charging, but ALSO getting a partially full tank of propane and a jar of BBQ sauce. Now that's customer relations.
Plus, I don't have any objection to the local hardware stores charging 18% restocking fee as this drastically cuts down the likelihood that I myself will walk out with a defective product or an item that's missing parts, as often happens with HD. In fact, I have such a good relationship wth my neighborhood hardware store that I can exchange items without this fee, again good customer relations.
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Bull$hit. There are plenty of us who will drive the extra mile, except when we get there, they're only open from 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. I happen to work Monday through Friday from 7AM to around 6PM or so... Now I have to take a vacation day just to go to the mom & pop hardware for a 2x4 or a piece of wire?
Oh they're open on Saturdays too... from 9AM til noon. Except when I get there I get snarled at by the angry old man that runs the place, or I stand at an empty service counter for an hour and a half while the old lady, in plain sight, does her crossword puzzle, or I get told how stupid I am, or I buck the crowd of people who also work on weekdays.
Home Depot and Lowes are open from 7AM until 9PM EVERY DAY. I can get in, get what I need, and get out without being snarled at, berated, trampled, or ignored.
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On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 07:59:33 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

There are several HD's within 30 minutes of where I live. I find they are all quite different. They all seem to have different product mixes. They stores are all organized differently and the quality of help differs as well.
I think HD must give the local store managers quite a bit of lattitude. My only complaint is that The stores all have somewhat individual layouts, so I have trouble locating what I want in different stores. It would be a big help if they standardized that a little more. There is enough walking involved in a trip to HD without having to do a lot of reconnaissance just to figure out where they stashed some item. An example would be one store keeps 1/4 inch supply lines in the section with the faucets they would be used with, and another puts them halfway across the store in the general plumbing section. Neither is wrong, but they should all pick one "filing system" and stick with it.
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On Dec 30, 10:13am, snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

This used to be true, now it is simply not true, maybe there are a few "straggler" stores in your area. But HD made a conscious effort to "standardize" all their stores some years ago. IMO they were a much better outfit when they let the local manages decide what to buy and stock un-standardized. If I go to a HD store in Chicago I expect the electrical aisle to be full of rigid conduit, whereas in Kane county I would expect it to be full of Romex stuff. Now you cant find exactly what you need for local codes because every store is identical and compromised.
Menards here (IL and WI) is a far superior big-box outfit, way bigger than HD stores and the merchandise varies across stores (and time) and they have more commercial building products like rigid fiberglass, etc. And they have a great selection of prefab houses, garages, sheds, stick-build-kits that you can load or have delivered.
But I agree that the local professional suppliers are the best, but you will pay dearly unless you have an account and do volume.
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On Wed, 31 Dec 2008 17:31:55 -0800 (PST), RickH

Hardly the case. I've been to at least 7 HD's in my state and no two were laid out the same or had the same product mix.
The quality of employee seems to vary by store more than by individual as well.
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RickH wrote:

So, HD attempts to sell snow blowers in Miami?
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No, but the blowers they do sell will be largely the same models across snowy states. Nor will they be selling Chrismas trees in July. The HD standardization was a big project written about in financial papers about 5 years ago, implemented by the CEO now running chrysler. In my area there is not enough appreciable difference in products to make multiple HD trips worthwhile. About 10 years ago there was a big difference before they standardized suppliers.
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On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 07:59:33 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

You must not live in the city of Rochester (based on your email addy), where this is not the norm in my experience. The hardware stores I frequent have full Saturday hours, and several are open Sundays from 9-3. Many of the serious contractor places are open at 7 am weekdays, so if you delayed the start of your work day by an hour, you could get a lot accomplished in terms of shopping for your project needs.
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On Dec 30, 10:59am, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Please, if you are going to take part in a discussion, at least use some reasonable examples.
"I stand at an empty service counter for an hour and a half while the old lady, in plain sight, does her crossword puzzle"
"I get told how stupid I am"
I get "...snarled at, berated, trampled, or ignored."
First off, I don't know you, but I doubt you ever stood at an empty counter for an hour and a half while some old lady did a crossword puzzle.
Second, I doubt anyone told you how "stupid" you were, berated you or trampled you. Getting snarled at or ignored may have happened, but that can certainly happened at the borgs also - especially the ignored part.
But wait - If you really did stand at an empty counter for and hour and half while some old lady did a crossword puzzle, then perhaps you deserved whatever you got. I don't know, I wasn't there, I'm just saying...
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