I try to avoid the borg, I only step into one when my favorite lumber yard
is closed on the weekends. I too have found that they rarely have the best
price, especially on building products. I needed sofit, fascia, and shingles
a couple of years ago and bought from a locally owned "real" lumber yard. I
got better pricing, the product I wanted was on hand, and they delivered for
no extra charge, when I wanted it.
Power tolls are another thing. Our local tool supply beats the borg
constantly on power tool pricing. A friend learned this the hard way when he
bought a new router from a borg. He got it for less money, then went to the
tool supply to get a blow molded case for it. The price for the tool and
case was more than the advertised price from the tool supply, and the tool
supply router came with a case.
<snip a shopping exercise>
Trying to negotiate a deal with Home Depot can be a fun exercise, depending
on the situation.
They will always give you the party line, the posted price is the price, but
trust me, they will deal, especially if quantity is involved and you show
them you are serious.
Typically, I find an "manager" of an area, indicate that if they want to get
realistic with price, I've got an order to place.
You will have to play the save face game, probably get other "manager"
types, but have found they typically will deal.
If they don't want the deal, screw it, there is always somebody else.
S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
A couple of years ago, I needed some concrete topping compound for my garage
floor. It is made locally by a well known company. The product is sold by a
number of local retailers as well as Home Depot. I was going to need about
25 bags to finish my floor, and started phoning the manufacturer's sales
department. No they wouldn't sell to me direct but told me of the retailers
that I had mentioned. I checked them out and found that they were all in the
$11.00 to $12.++ per bag.
I called again to the manufacturer and told them that the prices were out of
line and that the retailers only had about 6 bags each on their floor, I
needed 25. They gave me a number of a dealer about 10 miles south of me. I
called him and got a quote of under $5.00 per bag, but he would have to
order it in which would take a couple of days. This is where I got the
material at less than the normal retail price. I will ALWAYS try to buy at a
trade/wholesale outlet, before I consider paying retail. It takes a little
work and a bit of brass but often pays off.
<snip some valid points>
OK, I've gotta fess up.
In the real world, I'm a manufacturers representative, AKA a hired gun, a
I truly enjoy the negotiating game, especially when I'm the buyer rather
than the seller.
It helps me stay on top of my game, which if I do it right, allows me to
generate a sufficient revenue stream to keep building the boat.
S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
I'm not sure I understand, you got a better price from a business that sells
the material in far greater quantity than does the local Home Depot. Then
you say that they're located 900 miles from you, so who's gonna pay to ship
that pallet of Quikrete? Or are you saying that they'll deliver it with an
1800 mile round trip for the price that you were quoted?
Well like anything else, you have to be the wise shopper... Now for the
borgs sake, Call for the price of a power tool and compare that price to
your lumber yards prices... You might find similar circumstances but in
I'd take that price back to the Despot and ask them to honor
their price guarantee. Let's see - 10.88 less 10% is 9.79.
It may help if you get the quote in writing in case they try to
weasel out on you.
Refer to my other reply about "devaluing your time". While a few calls
to your suppliers called for, driving 40 miles in loops trying to save
$.10 a bag = devaluing your time. Which, in business, equals poor
business. Not once in the 5 calls I made (which would have only been
three had I not decided to get the info I knew would be true from HC and
Hoes) did I ever "pit" the three (or 5) against each other. At this
stage of the game it was just implied that I was asking for their
"honest" price. And the local lumberyard beat the best borg by $3.00 a bag.
And going for that extra 10% off that way is a large part of the reason so many
smaller suppliers fold.
I've said before that it is the consumer's fault that Borg's add in WalMart and
other so-called "super" stores) now rule the roost. M&S got a 3 buck break on
Borg prices with almost no effort, from an honest merchant. It does seem to me
that instead of further wheeling and dealing in serach of another buck or so
savings, that's the time to place the order. If nothing else, it would show
appreciation for the supplier's not jerking them around.
"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating
plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants."
George W. Bush
Yeah, there's another thread where everyone is crying about the lack of
"Real" old time hardware stores, and talking about screws and nails in bulk,
narrow aisles, a couple of old timers hanging around, etc., and this is the
exact reason they aren't around. Charlie, you hit it right on the head. I
do buy some things from the borg, but I spend a lot at the local hardware
store down the street. I "need" him to be there when I need stuff, so I
support him. It's worth more than the drive and frustration at the borg(s).
We have done a fair amount of remodeling, and needed many 2x4's and others.
I called the local borg(s) and got their pric on the white wood licorice
twist stuff they sell, and then called a local lumber yard and was priced 25
cents more per board for Doug Fir straight good looking stuff, and that was
delivered. For the time it would have taken to sort for the least crappy
wood at the borg, load myself, haul and unload, I actually got a little more
work done and when I walked out it was stacked in my drive and the guy took
my check, smiled and thanked me and drove off. We all have to have those
kind of places around!
This is an excellent post, Mark, very interesting. One of the few
semi-political posts that I had to stop and really think about. I
actually never use those price-match things. I'm a cheap summagun but the
item I want is staring me in the face, sloth will override cheapness and
I'll pick it up, even if I could save a few bucks on it elsewhere. I'm
probably more of the exception than the norm.
On Wed, 06 Aug 2003 19:14:23 +0000, Mark & Shauna wrote:
I did not use _any_ names, or point out specific threads by title, on
purpose. The reason is that this same crap is repeated on here many times.
I was pointing out the same thing that Mark probably said much better. If
WE don't use any specific store, they will be forced to close. The price
matching + 10% stuff and the games it spawns has hurt a lot of good
I consider it like this: If we call it a battle between stores (and it is)
the Borg(s) have the big guns (size, buying power, hours of operation,
etc.), but have the problems (we'll call it lack of ammunition)that go with
that size (untrained employees, lazy employees, anything as long as they can
sell a lot, or buy it cheap, backed up checkouts,etc.). Now the other side,
the little local guys don't always have the buying power, or economies of
size, but have the availability to get their ammunition to hope to fight a
good battle. Their bullets: good product, good prices (they had to compete
with each other befor the Borg), and hopefully decent trained soldiers
The problem that Mark and others are discussing, is the people who sit on
the sidelines and watch the battle play out, and then decide which side
they're on. Problem is, they wanna go join the little guys, load up their
gun with his bullets (knowledge from trained employees, prices, and the
things you might not find at the Borg), and sneak off in the dark of night
and use that ammo at he big boys camp (price match + 10%, knowledge of what
to go buy, etc.) to fight the little guys! And people wonder why they are
considered traitors by the locals. Hell, in a real war we'd shoot them.
Well the war goes on, and eventually the local guy probably loses. Then
those guys who sat on the sidelines and jumped in and used the little guy's
ammo to kill him, stand around and say "Damn, I guess little guy Joe's
lumber was still around....but those damn big box stores ran him off".
Bullshit! If the same people who shopped at the little guys continued to
shop there and forget the price match +, back and forth BS and those who
didn't have a local guy that they used, shopped at the Borg (until they
needed the stuff not found there, or needed true pro advice), and maybe
found the little guy, we would still have those great little guys.
Thanks a lot, you took the words right out of my mouth. I hate to post
it as its almost like trolling but I cant tell you how few people I come
in contact with agree with what you posted.
Friends and I often disagree about this very topic. The simple fact of
the mater is the consumer _soley_ drives this process. The scary part is
that screwing anyone you can to save a buck is becoming the norm and I
dont think people really comprehend the long term repercussions of these
actions but there is nothing to be done about it in a society that shops
based soley on price. While many will say they shop for quality most
will sacrafice in that area to save a buck.
This NG is probably not th best example as many individuals here will
pay more for a quality tool / cabinet saw / whatever. But dont think for
a minute they wont pit two or three dealers of the saw they want against
each other with no regard for who was, or will be, more honest to deal
with over the long haul.
Charlie Self wrote:
Since each area has some combination of good or bad Borgs and good or
bad independent yards, what's the point?
Your local independents are better?
Since we don't even know where you are, of what use to us is this
I would venture to guess that in every area there are a majority of
good local yards. I have gone to friends and families homes all over the
place to do work for them in their homes and not once have I not found a
decent local yard that had fair pricing on material far superior to that
of the borg, especially lumber.
Of course when you head out the door for material the friend/family
says "so you want to go to home depot" and I say no, lets hit a couple
lumberyards first. Inevetably we only have to go to the chains for a
specific faucet or light fixture they shopped for there.
B a r r y B u r k e J r . wrote:
Consider this, concerning you analysis above. The cost to place an
exclusive order for you does cost more that the time to place the order and
receive the goods. If a customer is in a hurry for the materials, often the
company will loose a discount if the customer cannot wait and the company
has to place a smaller order in between a regular large dollar stock order.
Odd orders coming in between regular stock orders do cost more time and time
does cost more money. Uniformity in stock order timing is cheaper in man
power and usually gets bigger discounts form a supplier. Those discounts
amount to a significant increase in net profit.
Actually anything they make over cost is considered Gross Profit, not Pure
Profit. Many businesses pay their employees a salary based on sales and if
the gross profit on sales are not within acceptable limits the sale of a low
gross profit item may actually cost a company more than the price that a
particular product is sold for.
They still have fixed and variable expenses that come out of that Gross
Profit that hopefully ends up as a positive Net Profit. Businesses look at
the bottom line for profit but often more importantly look at the
percentages of gross and net profit to determine whether they can afford to
sell particular items or not.
Sorry if I seemed to have some "attitude" in my response, but I
couldn't understand the point of your post. Now that you have
explained it, it makes much more sense. And thank you for that
information - I think it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of this
I have found that the managers of the borg don't have either the
freedom to cut deals or the knowledge of the product line and it costs
to know when to cut a deal, or both. I know they are authorized to
sell things below "sticker" price, but usually you will have more luck
with local merchants or small chains. Which is a good thing to keep
in mind when purchasing anything that is ordered and not in inventory.
Never forgotten about them. I'll go back to a merchant who has done
right by me in the past, even if their prices are a little higher than
HD or Lowes (or any other retailer). I also have dealt with many
smaller retailers who have the same lousy service as HD or Lowes, but
much higher prices - where would you shop in that case?
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