- Nehmo -
Of course not all homeowners are jerks. But a homeowner is less likely
to understand the ethics of buying from a supplier. Eg: One of the
managers of the Home Depot in Merriam Kansas, told me HD was going to
change its policy regarding the return of paint sprayers. He said too
many homeowners were buying the machine only to return it after the job
was done. (These people could have rented the machine, but they would
have had to pay to do that.) The manager told me he's developed an
intuitive sense about this. He said if he talks with the customer before
the purchase, he can even predict if the customer will return a machine.
He said he doesn't have this problem with contractors because
contractors need to keep the machine for the next job.
The conversation later led to him admitting it was unfair to charge
homeowners and contractors the same price.
My first sales job was in a large discount store selling cameras. The
lease company I worked for also had the sporting goods department. One day
while filling in at the sporting goods department a customer came in to buy
an expensive set of golf clubs. While I knew nothing about golf he knew
what he wanted. He was also drunk as a skunk. I tried to discourage him,
but he wanted them. I figured he really did not know what he wanted, he was
just picking the most expensive and I really did not know enough to be sure.
After he left everyone said I should expect that they will be returned
within 10 days. His wife would find out and send him back when he was
sober. I guess he was not married and too embarrassed to return them, or
maybe he liked them, but they never came back.
Actually, at least in our area, contractors (the scumbags) are the worst
ones for pulling this sh*t on the home centers. Roofing contractors in
our area especially will get a bunch of jobs lined up and hire on a
bunch of their drinkin buddies to knock the work out. They will go to
the home center and buy a couple extra roof nailers, shoot the roofs,
and then return the nailers when they get caught up.
You would always see TONS of recon. nailers there as the returned
nailers, perfectly fine, would have to be sent out, reconditioned, and
then sold for pennies on the dollar (for the manufacturer) with full
My philosophy is as long as the home centers can force the manufacturers
into accepting, without question, ANY return it serves them right. I
actually hope it continues at an escalated level as then the
manufacturers will have no choice but to tell the home centers to screw
themselves as the manufacturer cant absorb a 100% return policy as
foolish as this.
These practices will either result in the tool market going to sh*t or
the home center taking the hit themseleves rather than being able to
pass it on to the manufacturer. As soon as the home centers have to bear
the brunt of their own return policy it will end instantly or they will
go out of buisiness.
Either way, while I dont do it, I say scam the crap out of the home
centers and maybe we will be lucky enough to sink a few of them.
Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:
I watched a similar drama unfolding at the return desk at Home Depot
yesterday--a rather dusty and malfunctioning nailer, a nice clean box,
and a receipt from two days ago. The authorities were attempting to
check serial numbers when I left.
>==> Reply to the name above at poboxes dot com <==<
returns. Answer: In some cases they return them to the shelf to sell at
full price. Example, a toilet returned after being installed complete
with smashed wax ring in place. A sewer line auger already used and
retracted into its holder. A piece of trim molding with the nails still
in it. Those are just a few I have stumbled upon myself. I have not seen
any used paint sprayers but that would not be a surprise.
In the case of the toilet, the box was open and I wanted to measure it
to see what size lids fit it. I discovered its condition and brought it
to the attention of one of their "floor walkers" who said, "Isn't it
nice that HD has the policy of taking things back if the user is
dissatisfied!" She then took no further action far as I could see, so it
is waiting on some innocent victim to buy it and probably bring it back
for a repeat.
On the other hand, I was looking for a new entry threshold complete with
the rubber insert. Every one they had of the size I needed had been
opened and the insert was missing. Stolen by the homeowners? Conclusion:
Check to see that what you are buying is not used and has all the parts.
<lots of whining snipped>
I'm sorry that you didn't get the contractors discount until you lied. I
don't suppose you'd like to tell me what is fair to charge by the hour, what
percentage I can make on materials, AND how I'm going to pay my payroll,
worker's comp, liability insurance, unemployment tax, social security tax,
income tax, and save a few pennies to live are you?
Here is my opinion: You fit into one or both of these categories either now
or during your life - Self-employed or worked for a company. If you
were/are self-employed, you made too much money and are now bitching about
someone else trying to earn a living. If you work/worked for another
company, your companies owners charged too much because they were able to
pay you a wage and make their living at the same time and now you're
bitching about someone trying to do the same.....
Wait a minute bub... I never lied. I discovered the "discount" by
accident when I ordered over the phone by item #, when I asked to
confirm the price, to my surprise it was bout 30% less than when I
first called, and had sounded like a neophite. What was I to do at
that point? say, "no wait, you should be charging more"? I caught on
to their game, and played it. It is clear that who gets teh discount,
and who doesn't is based on an informal arrangement, don't fault me
for fitting in with the old boys, and getting a good price. If the
store wished to, they could have some sort of card, or something that
woudl identify me as a contractor. They don't, so don't blame me.
Also, I never say anything about being a contractor, and if I were
asked I would say I was not, but they assume I am, and freely offer
the discount. Why should I turn it down? (BTW, I assume more of a
"contractor's errand boy" type deamour, not actually trying to be a
"contractor". I come in friendly, talking about the weather, tar
stained clothes, they assume I am "on the job".)
What are you talking about? I am just a homeowner who gave up 2 weeks
of my vacation time, and many hours reading, even attending a class at
the community center on how to do a roof, and did my own roof. I hold
no ill-will against you or any honest contractor, but I was able to do
it myself, why shouldn't I?
No, I am actually a media executive, and sit behind a desk all week
doing my job, just like all the rest of this land's working stiffs.
I just choose to spend my hard earned money as wisely as possible, and
got some pride out of doing my own roof. You need to chill out
It could be that the discount is not for contractors, the discount is
for people who know the item numbers and all the details of their
order, and don't require "customer service". When you called and
asked a lot of questions, and needed to be educated about what you
needed and how to place an order, you got one price. When you called
and "were in a hurry", had all your info ready to go, and were able to
place your order in a professional manner, you got a different price.
Seems straightforward to me.
You see this in a lot of businesses. For instance, go to an
automobile dealer, ask lots of questions about different models, ask
for a test drive, ask more questions about financing, ask questions
about options, test drive a different model, and see what price you
Now, fax a dealer and give them the model and all the options listed
by item number, so all they have to do is type the order in for you,
and see what price you get.
(Better yet, tell them what price you want ($200 over wholesale), and
say, "Will you type in the order for me?" $200 to type in an order
Personally, I think it's un-ethical to go to one dealer and get all
the customer service, and then place your order at another dealer to
get a better price. But many people do it. Just like many people
will go to a "real" hardware store to ask questions about what they
are trying to do, and then buy the materials at a big-box or on the
life long employee or a sociopath. Self employed people in any field (who
are not also sociopaths) generally "get" this on the first shot because it
happens to everyone eventually.
This is not shopping for the best price like you would do in a supermarket
or electronics store. Read the quote again. "go to one [full service] dealer
and get all the customer service". This is taking up someone else's time,
time they are hoping to be paid for. Time their boss has factored into the
price of the product. Then you walk out with that work under your arm and
bring it to their warehouse ethic competition. This is an issue similar to
"intellectual copyright". If you buy bootleg software you are doing the same
"When the revolution comes - everything will be free" (1970's joke).
Well, I think a 30% difference in price is WAY too much to charge for
taking 5 minutes to help someone order the right product.
I get very good prices because I won't buy until I get a good price. To
me a good price is from invoice up to maybe $500 over invoice. With all
of the "under the table money" these days, the dealer's still make a
good profit even when they sell at "dealer cost."
I'd probably pay more this way.
I agree and this is roughly how I buy cars.
I agree again. This is a real scumbag approach in my book.
You are comparing apples and oranges. Shopping for the best price is
not being a scumbag. Going to the supplier who has higher prices but
more knowledge and asking them all sorts of questions *knowing* that
you are going to buy from the cheaper supplier who cannot answer any
of those questions... that's what's scummy.
Contractors are regular customers and DIYs are generally one time
customers. A DIY has a ton of questions and needs a lot of handholding
whereas contractors know what they want. Thus the difference in price.
Makes sense if you think about it.
If you have ice dams you may need to increase the insulation in your
attic. Snow on the roof may be melting from heat escaping from the
house and refreezing once it hits the eaves. Adding insulation is
usually the fix for this.
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