More kitchen appliance shopping – death of a salesman 2012

I ordered all of our new kitchen appliances on the Internet.

And though I’m thrilled to be finished with this dentist-visit-like step in the kitchen remodeling process, I feel bad about it.

I passed on the three retailers I mentioned in the previous post. It’s hard to buy something from a store when you’re not approached by anyone. I do, however, give Sears some props because when I tweeted about it they were concerned and wanted to know more about the experience. And Lowes tweeted too.

But that’s not why I feel bad.

Here’s a sample kitchen we like. It’s a lot of fun trying to pick the right shade of green. Almost as fun as sticking your hand in a running garbage disposal.

Our contractor gave us a tip on a family owned appliance business here in the valley. I called the store and spoke to a very helpful and knowledgeable salesperson. Tom, we’ll call him for this post. He gave me a good price on the appliances I wanted and was responsive by phone and email. I did the math and they were around $400 more than what the appliances would cost me on the Internet, figuring in no tax, but higher shipping costs.

My wife and I discussed it and decided it was worth it to buy locally and have better peace of mind should one of the appliances break down.

After looking at tile and more granite (don’t ask), and quartz, we went to the appliance store and met Tom. Again, super nice. And I had my credit card out and ready to go. But the stove I picked out didn’t have the hood style we liked and back in my wallet went the AMEX card. We drove home to research generic range covers and new stoves, telling Tom we would be back the next day to purchase the appliances.

I spent more hours Saturday night looking at stoves and reading reviews, which by the way was a killer, going back again – how many stoves and stove reviews can one wade through? Food for thought: angry people always take the time to leave negative reviews. And they always tell people not to buy anything from the brand they’re upset with. I soldiered past these.

Sample number 2 with green and white.

Up early Sunday morning, I continued reading and researching, wading through comments to sort out key points, like if a stove had a fan noise problem, or the dials melted (some do), or if the LED displays petered out over time. My OCD comes in quite handy at these moments.

Finally, I upgraded the stove, which made my wife happy because it’s all silver, no black, has a griddle feature, which made my daughter thrilled for the future pancakes she’ll try to flip but miss, turning them into taco shells.

This is the most I’ve ever spent on an appliance. It better cook like a charm and come with a personal chef to make me my McGriddles each morning.

I looked up the price of everything on the Internet. The local store doesn’t match internet prices. And the difference was at least $900, with 2/3 of that tax. I thought about calling the local store and seeing if they would match them, but I didn’t, as they told me the day before they didn’t match online-only prices. So, I ordered them off the Internet. And I felt very bad, but was thankful the Internet wasn’t around when I was a salesperson, which leads me to a question that may seem anti-American.

How are brick and mortar retailers supposed to compete with no-tax internet retailers?

It doesn’t seem fair that I can order a Whirlpool refrigerator from ABT and save sales tax, but if I order it online from Sears I pay tax for my state. I understand the early argument about wanting the internet to succeed in its infancy. But it seems well established now. I also understand why sales people stand around in these stores. They’re tired of spending time with customers who are milking them for research, then purchasing the items off of the internet – ask Best Buy how this is working out for them.

We’ve now moved to the “picking out countertops and backsplashes” stage. It’s even more painful, but in a different way. There are a lot of moving pieces. And I now understand why people resort to white subway tile backsplashes – simple, easy choice, and less chance of a mistake.

I wish it were that simple for us, but we like making things in life more difficult than they have to be. And we’re really good at it.

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6 thoughts on “More kitchen appliance shopping – death of a salesman 2012

  1. Glad you finally found what you wanted! Our new fridge and stove came this past week. We got a convection oven with the middle griddle burner, too! We’re loving it :-). This week we’re trying to decide whether to paint our oak cabinets (ick) white or just reface them all together. They are fine cabinets…they are just that 80’s looking oak. I’m working on my husband to get him to agree to getting them painted. For some reason I thought this process would be more fun. Not so much… Glad to hear you feel the same way.

    • Stacy who should be posting kitchen pictures,

      Strange how exciting an oven can be, huh? We got the convention oven with the griddle too. GE Cafe. We splurged on the stove, as we use it a lot. My wife is excited, which surprised me as she doesn’t get excited about things that have plugs.

      Regarding the cabinets, you could always order new doors on the internet. Then just paint the face frames. That way you have the solid cabinet box and the doors you want.

      It’s not as fun as I thought too. In fact, it’s downright time consuming and stressful. And if it were up to me, we’d have red in the kitchen. My wife says no to red. Or I would make it bright. But we’ll probably end up moving and don’t want to limit the resale value. Hard decisions.

      UC

  2. Ohh… that kitchen is so pretty! (But in a masculine way of course.) I have a vague theory about supporting small business (both my husband and I own small businesses so we are well aware of the issues with internet and in my case ‘cheap’ services like Elance.)

    I will always support small business if they:

    1. Are no more than 20% higher in price if its a purchase under $1000 or 15% of its over $1000 (obviously there is a little wriggle room).
    2. Provide excellent service (sadly, in our town the service is known to be terrible in many stores!)
    3. I will NEVER go into a small business and pick their brain for an hour or more with the intention of buying off the internet after gaining the info I need. If I know I’m not buying from them, then I will at least do as you did and spend my time researching online myself.

    I feel like I can then feel pretty good about the decisions I make. Additionally, if I want to buy from a small business who has great service but their price is just way too high, I tell them about my 20%-15% rule and ask if they can meet me at my limit. More often than not they see my intent, understand I have a budget too, and are willing to lose a few $$ in profit to make the sale.

    Anyway, glad you have one decision under your belt, look forward to chapter 2 in the series! 😉

    • Karen,

      Do you know what’s interesting about having a blog? It’s having a friends I would never have without it. And having a friend in AUS who can offer a comment about a kitchen and make me think about what we want. I don’t want the kitchen to be too masculine. I think it may be the dark countertop in the photo causing that impression. We will probably go with a light countertop in quartz with a marble look, possibly. I’m so appreciative that you offered a comment. I want the kitchen to be somewhere in between masculine and feminine. It’s a hard target to hit. And we may just go all-white and play it safe.

      I am with you and small businesses. Sometimes I think I’m the only one supporting some the local thrift and antique stores. And I’m trying to teach my daughter the same. Regarding the appliance store, I think I followed your 20/15 rule. When it was 400 bucks, I was going to buy the appliances there. But when the savings more than doubled, I had to go with the Internet. And I had done all the research myself, so I was good with that, as I hadn’t used the sales person for any shopping advice. Here in the states, I hope they tax all internet sales and make it fair for bricks and mortar stores again. But I’m one of the few to think more tax is a good thing. As our country and state are in debt, it won’t hurt the long-term stability of either.

      Thanks again for your thoughts on the kitchen. Like I said, much appreciated.

      UC

  3. Dear Madman of KitchennotdoneyetShire,

    You should of employed me to fit your kitchen, it would of been done now!

    But after the saga of buying a car I should of known you like to check, double check and treble everything is just right.

    I am pleased that you have managed to save some money that you can use to treat your wife & daughter when you spend time at the beach.

    Sir Sean
    P.S. I expect to have a guided tour when all the work is complete 😉

    • Dear Sir Sean of NeverTravelOutOfEnglandShire,

      I was just curious. Have you ever been out of England? And Scotland doesn’t count? I’m thinking it’s time for you to get on a plane and fly over to Los Angeles. I have other construction projects for you besides the kitchen. And it’s all the beer you can drink, but still operate a power saw with cutting off a finger or two.

      Soon, when the kitchen madness if over I’m going to convince you to get on over here to the land of gangs and graffiti. Oh, and there is Disneyland too.

      One day my daughter will be over to see you in England.

      UC

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