I've noticed the same here. I work in
Ottawa in Ontario, as well as in a
Quebec city across the river, where
there are quite a number of HDs and a
Quebec equivalent called Reno Depot.
I live in a very small town about 30
miles away, which has a local
hardware/lumber store. It's small, and
doesn't have near the stock that the
stores in the city have, but the prices
on almost everything are no more than
the larger centres, and at times they
are cheaper. If they don't have stock,
they'll often order for me.
It's not Lee Valley, and they don't
stock exotic woods. But then neither do
Plus, it's really nice to walk into a
store and be greeted by my first name.
That's been going on for more than ten years. 13oz? I haven't seen
anything bigger than 12oz in any grocery store in this century. The
one huge exception is Dunkin Donuts. They still sell a 1lb bag at a
fairly reasonable price--at Christmas, it's half price. Don't scoff.
DD is right up there with MickyDs for good tasting coffee. People who
think Starbucks is good coffee need not continue in this thread.
Duncan Donuts sells more coffee than anyone else in the US.
Surprising but true.
The best coffee doesn't come from any particular company though. It
comes by region. If you buy a straight cup of Sumatra from Starbucks
(no flavored corn syrup, frothed milk, etc) then odds are it's
essentially the same as Sumatra from say Java City or the Publix down
the street. Companies who roast their own beans don't make much of a
difference either. A medium roasted Sidamo will taste about the same
no matter who does the roasting. Also, Starbucks, Duncan, Brothers,
etc. all buy their coffee from the same markets.
Most starbucks coffee is made from crappy (cheapest in the current
market) beans that are dark roasted for a strong flavor. Then it's
labeled as their "expresso" brand. Once it's brewed with a bunch of
cream, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners then the flavor of the
coffee itself is lost. If you buy bags of their expresso beans you'll
find the taste varies from bag to bag. It's all really dark so the
difference is harder to detect but it's there.
If you haven't tasted different coffees from around the world then
it's hard to understand what a good cup of coffee really is!!
Agreed, I too shop for food. An average pound of pasta has been 12oz
for quite some time. Especially since the petroleum conundrum
companies across the board have been reducing the product while
maintaining the exact package size, and in many cases increasing the
price, to offset additional costs which they feel they can not pass on
to consumers through price alone.
The issue for me is attempted and willfull deception. I see both sides
of it. Kudo's to the marketing agency who gets a big bonus for coming
up with a way to save the corporation millions annually and yet I also
see the family who grabs the same box off the shelf they have been
grabbing for 15 or 20 years only to realize after a several purchases
that the company has rooked them.
This is a common practice across the board, that is no news to anyone.
The issue for me is as I said, willfull deception in an attempt to
deceive the consumer. In this case, a 250' box is basically an
industry standard and has been well established for decades. It is
further compounded by them changing the infomation on the packaging in
an attempt "not" to inform the customer of the quantity change rather
than to inform them.
This would be like you going to a rack of plywood and because it
doesnt say 4x8 on it, you get it home only to put your tape on it and
have it measure 45" x 93". The same would be true, buyer beware.
I understand what you are saying to some extent. But on the other
hand, the rule of the land has been "caveat emptor" in all dealings
since I can remember. I don't buy anything for a job without checking
out everything along the way as I make my order up. For example, I
have two roofs with all the goodies to install in the next couple of
I called my shingle vendor when bidding them, and found that not only
did we have a price increases in December, February and March, but we
are face with another from the manufacturer in April. I have dealt
with these guys for literally 15 years, and none of us has ever seen
the kind of profiteering going on right now.
But do they call me and say, "hey Robert, we are not going to carry
the Elk High Point Ridge vent, we are going to another that is more
expensive." Do they call me when their fuel surcharge goes up? No.
Does my local paint dealer call me when paint goes up? No. Do they
me and every other of their thousand contractors in their list of
clients when they modify or change their delivery charge? No.
I look at it this way. It is my money going out on a job. Period.
It is my responsibility to make sure it is protected; most likely I
won't get anything more than a sigh from my clients when I tell them
prices went up from the time I bid and the signed to the time work
starts. So I do the best I can, knowing I might take a little in the
shorts. But the point being, I do my homework up front and try not to
take anything for granted.
I understand your burning and obvious hatred of HD. I do. Most of
the time they are of little or no use to me as a contractor. But they
have a job to do as well, and none of us really know if their
marketing department didn't find in their research that all of these
people in the TV inspired home improvement wave didn't need the 250',
but would be fine with 200'. I don't know. I really don't care.
I think repackaging is part of marketing, and no retailer will shy
away from a chance to make more money. Being a contractor has made me
a better shopper everywhere, as I use the same techniques for personal
purchases that I do for my business. The first rule of course, is not
to take anything for granted when gathering prices.
In the face of the onslaught of hard competition from the big boxes,
my local hardware stores and lumber yards started playing stink finger
LONG before the big boxes.
I thought that "my boys" down at the local lumberyard would have lower
costs on things because the didn't have the overhead, didn't have to
pay any of the employees health insurance unless they were full time,
and they didn't have an advertising budget. Wrong.
I even paid more to them when I knew I was paying too much since I
wanted to keep the money local, and I did get a little bit better
service from them. But when I started paying waaay too much to them,
how could I justify it. So that they could keep their margins up to
the levels they had when they were the only game in town, they started
selling smaller boxes of nails, off brands of different staple items
like caulk and sealers, and a lot of different off shore stuff began
to sneak into the tool corral.
And if something breaks at HD, you take it back, and you are taken
care of. If it breaks that local lumberyard, they don't want to RTV
it, so they can make it a little harder. The manager of the hardware
store used to tell me, "awww come on... it's just Chinese crap and you
knew it when you bought it. How long did you think it would last?"
Now I am careful and suspicious with all of my purchases. I ask what
size a product is, I ask what amount is in the package, and I ask for
any price increases that might be in effect soon.
Just a few thoughts. Like I said, I understand what you are saying,
but there isn't a damn thing we can do about all of this but to be
aware of more and more aggressive marketing to get our dollars. So
indeed, it is up to all of us to be savvy consumers on point all the
time. A screwing will happen from time to time no matter what we do.
But if a box is marked in plain view, I don't know other than telling
someone how much wire is in a box (in writing) they purchase what a
retailer can do.
The surprise sure isn't pleasant, though.
Just my 0.02.
Actually, it is smaller part of the composition of a standard
laminated fiberglass shingle than one might think:
And remember, the apshaltic/coal residues used in shingle manufacture
are actually the by products of refining. And 25% of the overall cost
of goods to manufacture doesn't amount to much.
Even when they factor in the transportation costs, the .40 a gallon
raise per gallon of fuel doesn't translate in direct proportion to the
price we are seeing at the vendor.
And average truck brings in 190 or so squares of roofing. If they go
up on their prices about 20% in 4 months, that means an increase of
pricing to my supplier of a little over $1000. Owens Corning already
charges (and adjusts to fuel pricing - per load!) of $175,
to defray fuel costs from Houston/Temple. That will buy them their
entire fuel to the vendor, there and back.
Nawww... there is some monkey shines going on. That $1000 went in
part to cover the 25% cost of material in a shingle, but where did the
other 75% go with all fuel charges covered? And BTW, I also pay my
vendor to deliver and roof load as well as a fuel charge.
But again, who can stop it? I just call for prices, and then put a 15
day start clause in my short contracts to make sure I can be covered
on the costs.
Actually most of the oil pumped here in California is considered asphalt
grade and goes directly into asphalt based products.
All the major roofing products guys are here.
We do business with most of them.
As far as glass is concerned, energy costs have a major impact on the final
There may be something else, but oil not only as a feed stock, but also as
an energy source have a major impact.
> There may be something else, but oil not only as a feed stock, but
Sorry, Lew. But you have been outvoted.
The Combined Brain Trust of West Avenue Ice House (now with pool and
darts!) has voted, and we are getting the sausage.
Members of the trust include participants from the brick laying
community, as well as roofers, plumbers and even a painter. The
painter isn't usually sober enough to participate in our problem
solving sessions, but he was lucid until a good two hours into the
meeting this last time.
Before you dismiss this, all manner of pertinent facts were examined
at great length by the trust will many members not even in the
construction community adding their commentary as we went along. It
wasn't always on topic, but we didn't want to exclude any potentially
valuable information for future subjects.
No, I don't remember the exact details, but after the last meeting I
would bet none of the other members remember much, either. It was
a.... ahem... "busy" meeting with the Spurs playing on the big screen
But, ask ANY construction worker, contractor or vendor and they will
gladly tell you the same thing.
We're gettin' screwed, and that's that.
BTW, we don't keep the minutes, but about a month ago we peered into
the mystery of mortgage crisis, and we pulled back the curtains on
that as well!
With that, you're credibility went up a dozen notches! What is it about
painters that they must have a 12 pack of Bud Lite in the van? ;)
Must be raining in "dirty SA" today, eh? :)
Same here ... another day, another layer of mud on wood floors yet without
paint. But. I did get the flatwork done this past Saturday, which usually
means less of it.
I don't know, but it is a requirement of the trade, that's for sure.
One thing I always admire about the painters, though. When they are
having a bad morning and all of them are bitching a blue streak at
each other, they always manage to clear things up at lunch and come
back in a good mood and ready to work. Hey... wait a minute...
Yeah. Sadly. It isn't enough to do any good for us as we are already
in drought conditions. It has just been pissing all day, nothing of
consequence, just enough to keep us all inside.
Looking at the radar, you guys are getting real rain and will probably
get more actual "rain". We got squat. Wet streets and a little mud
in the yards, that's it.
It has done this off and on for several days now, and I am really
ready for a break.
On Tue, 18 Mar 2008 15:01:08 -0700 (PDT), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
Here it has been raining since at the end of St Patty's day, 2" so far
another 2" to come according to the weather forecast. The island in
the lake behind us is about submerged. So be careful what you ask for.
My wife asked for rain to avoid seeing someone.
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