My numbers are not factual -- they derive from my personal experience.
I firmly believe that the $2,700 I paid for a bedroom set through
Direct Buy would have cost at least $6,000 elsewhere. I don't know
this for sure, because not all stores carry the exact line and
manufacturer. I do know what others have paid for their sets. Many
pay upwards of $1,000 for the bed alone. I got a bed, marble-topped
dresser, chest-of-drawers, and a beveled mirror. The maker is Hooker,
and the line is Verona.
When you buy a membership at Direct Buy, you are informed that you can
bring guests into the store. The member has to be the one who places
the order, but you can ship it to any Direct Buy location. This is a
perk of the membership, thus we stayed within the store's policy and
did nothing unethical. My intention in my original post was to vouch
for Direct Buy as one who ordered from them in the past.
Yes, we paid freight. The cost of freight was around 5% of the total.
We also paid delivery. $60 bought three strong men and a moving truck
for one hour who took great care not to scratch the furniture or walls
while carrying up my stairs. It's a complicated delivery; as I have
a landing in the middle, and a 180 degree turn at the top. They also
took off the packaging and hauled the boxes and packing materials away
for me. I tipped them 20 bucks each making my total $120.
I am cynical. When I walk into a warehouse-sized store in prime real
estate and see four or five people hanging out in suits waiting to
follow me around for their commission, I get a little edgy about
handing over my money. I'm not the kind of person who is easily
swayed by halogen accent lights, and mood music. I know people who
have driven to North Carolina, rented a truck, and drove their
furniture back to circumvent the markups.
Recently, a large chain in my area, Philadelphia, went out of business.
Every busy intersection for miles around had those stick signs planted
in the ground, and light poles were plastered with banners. They
actually hired people to drive their cars all around the high traffic
areas with large taxi bill-board style signs advertising the sale. It
seemed like this went on for months, although it may well have only
been 90 days.
Once the place finally went out of business, a new store immediately
took its place. Not just one store, but every store. The entire chain
had a "grand opening" sale that also seemed to go on forever.
Maybe it was more than a simple name change, but my hunch is that if
you follow the money, it will lead to the same people at the end.
Here's another real-world story. I renovated my bathroom and needed
a new vanity. I plumbed in two sets of hookups for a double-vanity and
either needed one large double, or two small singles. I really wanted
something made out of solid wood with a nice finish, good accents, and
at least a fake stone top. I shopped a *lot*
of furniture stores, and
the best I could do was something tiny for around $1,200 each.
I was ready to just settle and put in some Ikea knockdowns when I
happened to be in Costco. They had a beautiful large double vanity
with a natural granite top. It even included the sink basins. The
total price was $800. Here's a picture:
(Note: the price on the one in the picture is $1,229 because
shipping and handling are included.)
It is because of this and other experiences that I never ever step foot
in a furniture store anymore. I just think they have terrible business
models. Everything in this post and my previous posts are my opinion.
My opinion and a $1.50 will buy you a cup of coffee, so take it with a
grain of salt. I don't claim to have inside industry knowledge, just
industry experience as a consumer who pays attention. I will not
continue to reply to this topic, as it was not my intention to start a
debate. I apologize if I have offended.