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I want to support local retail, but prices are insane sometimes

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  • Jim Shaper
    replied
    Auto parts stores around here are looking to go broke if you have to special order anything.

    I need some new suspension bushings for my tahoe - went to a local 4wd shop I used to deal with to ask what they would cost through them, after stating what I could buy them for online. They quoted me the same price, then added shipping (and then the state adds tax on that), then said it would be at least 2 days after payment.

    WTF? Do they not get it? If I have to pay the same price, and tax, I'm getting it shipped to my door and the phone call will be going to someone else's business. Margins might be small, but no one is giving away merchandise for the pleasure of running a transaction. I'd think some money would be better than no money - especially when the entire transaction involves writing two part numbers into a system and swiping the card. I already knew what I needed, I didn't need them to help me determine that (no value added).

    My LWS will beat web prices when he can, and gladly defers the sale if he can't. I don't beat him up on prices, because I like that he's there. These other outfits can stuff it since they have no intention of making both of us come out at the end.

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  • Spin Doctor
    replied
    I've always said that a really good hardware/auto parts store has a licsence to print money. Sure they charge more, but often you have to ask what is your time and trouble worth. If I need a couple of 1/2" carraige bolts I can run to the hardware store and be back home in ten to fifteen minutes tops. Going to the local Big Box is going to kill an hour at least. Besides remember, they're running a business, not a CHARITY

    Leave a comment:


  • Too_Many_Tools
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by airbrush1
    I would like to buy locally but have gotten tired of driving into town to local businesses and they almost always tell me ..........

    "We can order it for you."
    My response to that comment is "So can I".

    And I do.

    TMT

    Leave a comment:


  • Paul Alciatore
    replied
    I don't see why anyone should be upset or angry if different sellers charge different prices. It is a free economy and YOU ARE FREE TO SHOP AROUND. So do that and buy where you think best for the price you like.

    Support your local merchants or go for the best prices - your choice. And isn't it wonderful that we have a choice. It's a lot better than the health industry.

    Leave a comment:


  • cebump
    replied
    I don't post a lot as I rarely have anything that can add to the various discussions, but this one hits a nerve with me. I like all of us have to stretch every dollar as far as I can at home and in my business, so I tend to really think things through before I buy. I buy on line when I have to, but I try to decide is it really cheaper? Has McMaster Carr ever sent a customer my way? Not a chance, but the local bearing shop that get 30-40% more on $20-50.00 orders sure has, and one good job pays for a decade of difference for me. On top of that the guy that runs the place send his kids to the same school as my kids and keeps an eye out for mine, as I do his. Has any internet concern done that or anything meaningful to me or my community other than save me a few friggin dollars? Not to mention the tax dollars and salary dollars that these companies put back into my town. Not so much the online seller that I am aware of. I have no issue with the online world as I sell in that realm as well, but it should be the exception, not the rule as far as I am concerned.
    What will you do when your customers figure out that they can get your same product or service cheaper online or form an illegal or another country?
    When I am on my deathbed what will be more important? Did I buy everything the cheapest or did I spend my money and time wisely? I don't know about all of you but it is rare in my life that cheaper is really better. I may be wrong, but I believe that if you support your community it will support you and the reverse should be true as well.
    I apologize in advance if this rant offends anyone.

    Leave a comment:


  • psomero
    replied
    Originally posted by gnm109
    The reason for this is clear. Large stores and large internet sellers have the ability to purchase items in large quantities. Instead of getting the ordinary 50% off, they will get sometimes get 50-10-5-2-1% based on enormous quantities.

    Your typical mom and pop hardware store buys a case or two of this and that and gets only the standard retailer's discount. Thus, the higher prices.

    My point is that it's not necessarily greed but rather the inability to do anything else. It always pays to shop around.


    .


    on top of the quantity pricing advantage for big most big e-retailers, a lot of them are located in Nevada such as Amazon.com and Enco/MSC off the top of my head.

    why Nevada? there's little or no taxes for businesses...

    land is probably a ton cheaper there, also.

    Leave a comment:


  • gellfex
    replied
    Originally posted by saltmine
    The big question is: how badly do you need the part? Sometimes it's cheaper to walk into a local store, pay the price, and be done with it, especially if you're staring down a deadline. I'd love to be able to shop, hands on, in a store, but the nearest one, that carries what I'm looking for is over 100 miles away. Driving to and from the place isn't worth the savings. My nearest metal supplier is 300 miles away (Tempe, Arizona or Southern California)

    Yeah, I'll continue to use McMaster Carr....

    The only time a road trip would actually be justified is when the cost of shipping exceeds the cost of driving.

    If you have the time to wait, mail order is the best bargain.
    Of course I hit the local store if they have it, and I need it NOW! But that isn't the case most of the time. And I'm lucky enough to be in a M-C messenger zone, an order by 11am gets to me by 3pm that day.

    But obviously I feel torn about the local stores, I run a small business too. A 20% premium? no problem. 50%? I can swallow that sometimes. But 75-100% turns me away unless I'm desperate. When my shop was in TriBeCa, I could walk 4 blocks to a little place run by a nice Indian guy who would cut chunks of all sorts of metal stock for you. I even sold him a box of hole saw cutouts once. But I could get a 6' length of stock shipped from M-C for what he wanted for 1'. He gradually became a source for only when I couldn't wait.

    Bizarrely, I feel also feel the need to give business to my local HD. They opened it a year or 2 ago right at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, 5 minutes from me, but the place is always nearly empty. I've almost never had to park in the 2nd row of cars from the entrance. I'm praying they don't close it! I've gotten spoiled.

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  • airbrush1
    replied
    I would like to buy locally but have gotten tired of driving into town to local businesses and they almost always tell me ..........

    "We can order it for you."

    Leave a comment:


  • saltmine
    replied
    The big question is: how badly do you need the part? Sometimes it's cheaper to walk into a local store, pay the price, and be done with it, especially if you're staring down a deadline. I'd love to be able to shop, hands on, in a store, but the nearest one, that carries what I'm looking for is over 100 miles away. Driving to and from the place isn't worth the savings. My nearest metal supplier is 300 miles away (Tempe, Arizona or Southern California)

    Yeah, I'll continue to use McMaster Carr....

    The only time a road trip would actually be justified is when the cost of shipping exceeds the cost of driving.

    If you have the time to wait, mail order is the best bargain.

    Leave a comment:


  • RancherBill
    replied
    Originally posted by gellfex
    I understand volume matters, but M-C probably doesn't keep that many more of any particular item on had than a plumbing supply, they have inventory costs too. I'm just tired of being whipsawed, like BestBuy wanting $30 for a USB cable I can get even in a local dollar store for under $3, or even at HD for $10. It makes you feel like a sucker if you don't have the time to invest in finding a "real" price.

    My son needed a flashdrive for school, no less than $20 at Staples, $8 shipped from Buy.com. Time=money only goes so far!
    I guess the only thing to point out is to go to your stock broker and do some research. Check the earnings of all these companies, Home Hardware, MSC, HD, Buy,com, Best Buy etc. None of them are making huge margins. They all make money and price differently based on their business model. If somebody was making a killing they would soon have so many competitors.

    Leave a comment:


  • gellfex
    replied
    I understand volume matters, but M-C probably doesn't keep that many more of any particular item on had than a plumbing supply, they have inventory costs too. I'm just tired of being whipsawed, like BestBuy wanting $30 for a USB cable I can get even in a local dollar store for under $3, or even at HD for $10. It makes you feel like a sucker if you don't have the time to invest in finding a "real" price.

    My son needed a flashdrive for school, no less than $20 at Staples, $8 shipped from Buy.com. Time=money only goes so far!

    Leave a comment:


  • RancherBill
    replied
    I can't believe a thread like this exists. The business model of a retail store is in no way comparable to an internet business model.

    You get what you pay for and you pay for what you get. It is not just a widget it has many other characteristics.

    BTW, as a former business owner, I won't give you Contractor price on a $17 sale.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guido
    replied
    Caveat Emptor

    'Let the buyer beware', -------------------------yup.

    G

    'WalMart smart??????'
    Last edited by Guido; 09-24-2009, 01:14 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Paul Alciatore
    replied
    Combination of all the above and more.

    Yes, the local prices are high. I have the same thing in small town Iowa. Not much competition. If Wal-Mart doesn't sell it, we pay more because they can get away with it.

    But also remember that when you buy local, THEY have already paid shipping charges to your locality. Local hardware and other types of stores typically don't get much of a volume discount because they can't buy tens or hundreds of thousands of an item. More likely they buy just a few or at most a couple of dozen and that would only qualify for the first tier of volume discounts if any at all. In electronics, I buy things like resistors. In hundred thousand volume, a common, small resistor would cost less than one cent. In a local retail store I have seen as high as 25 cents. I commonly buy in 200 lots and pay about two cents each plus shipping. Fair? Well, that's how it works - world wide.

    Local stores have stock in the store. This is not free. If you have money, you want a return on it. You put it in a bank or some other investment and get earnings from it. Suppliers do not stock local stores for free. Local stores have to invest their own money or BORROW money from the bank and pay interest. They either expect a return on their money that is sitting on those shelves or have to pay interest on it to the bank. It costs $$$ to fill the shelves.

    Also, local stores have people on hand who often have some knowledge of the subject and can advise you on your purchases: what is best for your purpose, how to use it, etc. They also handle returns and warranty. Etc. These people cost money and that money has to be come from the items sold. Local stores have fewer purchases than national suppliers like McMaster so their personnel are often idle between purchases. I doubt that the advisors at McMaster are often idle and they probably get calls from a smaller percentage of customers. The efficiency of volume. The small store has to charge more to pay for their employees.

    Another factor is the speed of shopping locally. You can have it in less than an hour in most cases. If you shop from a national supplier in another city, you will be waiting for a day at a minimum and for that you pay extra shipping. I once had to get a part shipped across country immediately - same day. It cost as much or more for shipping (had carried on aircraff, taxi to airport, tip for driver, pickup at airport, long distance calls, etc.) as the item cost.

    There are many factors that contribute to local prices being higher. Most are fair or at least necessary. This is how it works. You, as a customer, have the choice of where to go. You need to know where to go depending on the circumstances of the job.

    Leave a comment:


  • gnm109
    Guest replied
    The reason for this is clear. Large stores and large internet sellers have the ability to purchase items in large quantities. Instead of getting the ordinary 50% off, they will get sometimes get 50-10-5-2-1% based on enormous quantities.

    Your typical mom and pop hardware store buys a case or two of this and that and gets only the standard retailer's discount. Thus, the higher prices.

    My point is that it's not necessarily greed but rather the inability to do anything else. It always pays to shop around.


    .

    Leave a comment:

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