Rockler clamp sale- Major dissatisfaction

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I drove forty-five minutes from my home in Napa to the Rockler store in Pleasant Hill, CA with the sole purpose of buying the K-Body Kit that was on sale for $99.99 for four hours only today. I arrived at the store at 8 AM, granted this was one hour after the doors had opened, to find three clerks standing behind the counter and one other shopper in the store. I did a quick loop through the store and didn't see any K-Body kits so I asked the clerks. They gave a slight chuckle and said that they had sold out of their meager quantity of kits within the first ten minutes after opening the door. I expressed my disappointment but since they weren't offering rain checks there was not much the clerks could do. I browsed around for few more minutes and then approached the desk again- in the meantime they had taken a phone call and turned away one other customer in the store for the K-body kit. I mentioned to the clerks that if they could pass along some info to their manager that I was very disppointed that they hadn't planned well and should have had more stock on hand. They shifted the blame saying it was a manufacturer's promotion and that Bessey had only supplied the whole chain with a limited amount of kits to sell so after they were gone that was it. It seems that this is a common tactic these days, not just in the woodworking field but in electronics and other sectors as well- i.e. offer a special limited promotion with a limited number of units to sell at a great price to suck people into the stores thinking they will buy other merchandise as well. Well for me it just pissed me off and made me even more likely to buy my woodworking supplies from on-line suppliers- competitive pricing, often free shipping and rarely do I have to pay sales tax. And because of my bad experience with Rockler's store it will make me think twice before ordering anything from them on-line when I can get the same or similar product from another supplier. I told the clerks that if they continue to turn away customers empty handed and upset then maybe Rockler should think twice before participating in any more "manufacturer's" promotions such as this. I should have bought some of the Jorgie cabinetmasters when Home Depot was closing them out. Sigh. Out to the workshop for some therapy.
Dale
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Dale wrote:
Lots of word the stores should read and digest!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Badger adds:
Thats whats known as a loss leader, its only function is to get bodies through the doors, a bit like the January sale at Harrods, a few VERY desireable items as much less than cost, loads marked down to average price elseware (so still a good margin)....
Niel (Badger).
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I am with you; I can't figure out why the stores have these dumb sales that only antagonize customers.
OTOH - I passed by a store yesterday about noon, and stopped in to see if they had sold out their $270 computer/monitor/printer specials. It was about $200 below the normal price, so I figured they all went in the first 10 minutes, but I got one!
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Maybe several people need to point out to them -- forcefully -- that they are antagonizing customers -- and potentially their best customers.
If the corporate offices hear it from several sources in different parts of the country, they may listen and make some sort of adjustment.
If it comes directly from you rather than being passed on by store personnel it is likely to have a large effect. My wife was an assistant manager for a fabric/crafts store for a number of years and she quickly discovered that management was much more willing to listen to suggestions from customers than they were from their own employees.
--RC
Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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I did not see the original promo, but most qualify "limited supplies" or some such way to weasle out. Some even mention "25 per store" or whatever. Personally, I don't see a problem with it. I'm old enough to know that is is a promo, supplies may truly be limited and if they are gone, they are gone forever. If I get one, I get a bargain.
If Bessey provided a limited number, you can't blame Rockler for bad planning can you? They had a good deal and they advertised it (they should have mentioned limitged quantities. Did they?). To me, that is not shifting blame but telling the truth. None of these store can stay in business selling merchandise below cost. When they offer a free lunch, you know you have to pay for it somehow. Ed
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wrote in message

I'm witchya on this one, Ed. The stores are very careful to advertise "limited quantities" or "only 10 per store" so the alert customer will know that early arrival is required. I once camped out next to the door of a CompUSA to get a free (386) computer with purchase of another one. I was third in line, and the manager came out just before opening to ask each of the standees what promo they were going for. He then gave a purchase authorization slip to each one in order until they ran out. I appreciate the disappointment of the OP, and the OP of an earlier post, but really can't blame the store or the chain for this one.
Bob
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Paul O.
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Think about it for a moment...why would Bessey mark the products down to less than cost if they didn't have anything else featured? I doubt it was Bessey's promotion.
I think someone else hit it right on the head when he said it was a loss leader for the specific purpose of generating store traffic. The clerks at the Pleasant Hill store probably just didn't want to catch the flak so they passed the buck.
Rockler has a web site at http://www.rockler.com . It has their customer service email address, the toll-free phone number and the snail mail address. Contact corporate management and complain.
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Chuck Hoffman responds:

From my short experience in the woodworking retail world, I'd guess it was Bessey's promotion, brought on by pressure from its retailers. Often, such sales cycle through major retailers, taking place at one corporate entity one month and at another the next month. The stores love 'em because they bring bodies in, and any pissy feelings disappear in relatively short periods of time.
Charlie Self "Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good." H. L. Mencken
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wrote:

The problem is that they are annoying people who are potentially their best customers. You can argue whether this is unreasonable or not on the customers' part, but that's the bottom line.
Personally I'd argue that if you've only got extremely limited quantities available, it is not unreasonable for the customers to be annoyed. The key here is 'extremely limited.' If you know you can't meet demand for more than the first 15 minutes and you don't make a big point of telling your customers how small your stock is and that there will be no rain checks, then you're asking for trouble and you're going to get it.

You sure as heck can. In fact most customers are going to blame Rockler, not Bessey, and with a great deal of justification because Rockler set themselves up to be blamed.

It may in fact be true, but Rocklet still created a problem for themselves by advertising an item without pointing out with great emphasis that the stock was so limited it would be gone within minutes.
There's also a matter of marketing strategy here. The purpose of the promotion is to pull people into the store, but not all the company's stores need the promotion equally. In a case like this you're supposed to think strategically and allocate the supply of the product to those stores where it can make the most difference. In other words, not all stores run the promotion, but the ones that do have enough to last for at least a few hours.

Actually Ed, there's an entire industry that makes a practice of selling merchandise below cost. It's the grocery business. Those real low prices you see on specials in the grocery stores week after week include loss leaders, a fair number of which are actually being sold below cost. (Either by the producer or the retailer, depending.) The trick, of course, is that they make it up on other items they know you're likely to buy. Woodworking stores can do the same thing.
Of course making the strategy work requires some marketing intelligence. Just getting a good deal on a popular product from the manufacturer and spreading the available supply equally to all stores doesn't.
--RC
Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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As I stated, I've seen this type of promo enough that my expectations are low. So low I'd not get out of bed early for any of them.

Sure, but how many times have you seen "free T-shirts for the first 25 customers" or the like. Maybe I'm cynical, but I don't get excited and expect to get the free shirt.

How? They said while supplies last. They did not last long. Plan on being in line early for the real bargains. An Ikea store opened in CT a few weeks ago. People were in line the night before to get the freebies.

You just piss of different people at different locations. If you were a store manager, you'd want your share of the promo items, as would your customers.

Not every item at every time. Somewhere along the line you are paying for the bargfain. Sure, you can just grab the deals and head to the next store, but as long as you continue to eat and b uy food, you pay for it along the way. If you don't, your neighbors are.
Those real

Rockler did just that. Woodcrarft has monthy specials but I don't know that they are "loos leaders", just a discount.

You mean they should have more of the bargains where you shop? I don't necessarily agree. Distribution should be either equal for every store, or pro-rated on store volume, but every store should have some minimum.
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rcook responds:

I'll agree with that. The aim is fairness, I guess, but the effect is stupid.
Charlie Self "Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good." H. L. Mencken
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"Charlie Self" wrote in message

Makes you wonder just how many "employee's" got first pick the night before? I'd be willing to bet that is the reason for much of the "low availability", especially when you see number like only two in stock for the sale.
It's not like these stores hire topless dancers who don't need "more clamps".
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Retail employees often get better pricing than ANY public sale, all the time. <G> No need to pick the day before.
This is the primary reason for many people to take part-time jobs at places like Rockler, Woodcraft, REI, EMS, etc... I work 3-6 hours a week in a local bicycle shop for the simple reason of getting my gear and clothing at incredible prices. In fact, I often can buy my bikes for _less_ than the store does, directly from the manufacturer, via pro sponsorship deals. I am limited to how many I can buy each year and they have to be my size.
The only exceptions I know about are BORGS. Due to employees reselling merchandise, the stores in my area have "employee purchase days" 2-4 times a year.
One of the part timers at my local Woodcraft works at the millwork shop where I buy my wood. A few hours at the store saves him a ton on tools and supplies for his personal work.
Barry
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"Ba r r y" wrote in message

Agreed ... but with 'smart' POS terminals, indexed to inventory, some 'special sales items' can't even be rung up at the sale price until a certain date/time. I know for a fact that is often abused in favor of store employees, who can always "get there first".
As I implied, maybe these woodworking stores should take a hint from HOOTERS ... at least disgruntled latecomers would have something else to think about. ;)
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I worked at CompUSA years ago and we could buy at cost.
I don't know about today, but HP laser printers then were sold at or below cost pretty much all the time to the public. It was at times cheaper to buy stuff at retail than buy as an employee.
I seem to recall we were not allowed to buy loss leaders at any of our sales, although friends and family members certainly could.
Brian Elfert
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Swingman responds:

No comment. I really don't know how store employees wanting sale product are handled at any of these chains, but I do know that Woodcraft, not my favorite company, offers an excellent discount program for corporate employees, so there's no need for sales most of the time.
Charlie Self "Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good." H. L. Mencken
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Odds are none of them got first pick. Management is obviously going to have a say in any given store, but a few years ago when moving from Minnesota to Wisconsin, I worked for a couple of weeks at the local K-mart while looking for a better job. The second week I was there was during the "Black Friday" promotions, and employees were not allowed to purchase anything that was on the 3-hour sale (or whatever the time length was) They pulled the same crap as anywhere, of course- most of the good sales were stocked in quantities like 5 or 10, and were sold out within minutes- but it wasn't because employees were taking them home.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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I'm a former Walmart employee (8 years-sentence over), and we were never given any beforehand options to purchase items. We were told to have spouses or others show up just like the general public. ( I wouldn't ask an enemy to go into a battlegrounds like that).
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"ToolMiser" wrote in message ...

I wouldn't call Wal-Mart and Kmart "typical" retail outlets, until the past few years. I know for a fact that we did it at Sears a good many years ago, and although I find it difficult to believe that things have actually become more ethical and kinder since then, times do change, sometimes even for the better it appears. :)
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