shopping

Product Warranties vs. The Big Chain Stores

Posted by Steve on Tue, 07/14/2015 - 11:05am


The NJ Tool Show is an annual event that my tool-nut friend and I eagerly anticipate all year. We get to see all the latest innovations in shop tools, from programmable laser cutters that sliced with such precision that they could duplicate a business card in 6 point type in a piece of oak veneer to shade tree inventions that seemed to have no practical use at all.  It's tool porn, no doubt about it.

At one of the shows, maybe 2001, I ducked outside into the freezing January weather to grab a smoke -- a habit I'm glad to say I kicked many years ago. Outside I met a district rep for a well-known German power tool maker. We chatted about the show and I expressed surprise not to see either Home Depot or Lowes in attendance. After all, both were huge tool retailers in the NYC area. He grunted and said that the worst decision his company had ever made was to bring in big chain stores as retailers for their products.

I commented on how much cheaper it was to buy tools from these stores than from dedicated tool stores like A.W. Meyer. "Guess it's their volume advantage, right?" He said I was correct, except not in the way I thought. These stores were able to use their clout as volume sellers to make the companies build models just for them, cutting corners to save costs. He said that's mostly why they're cheaper. "Wait. Are you saying that the same tool bought at a big chain store isn't the same as one bought at, say, Wankel's Hardware on 3rd Ave?" Yup.


Man, I love technology!

Posted by Steve on Thu, 12/18/2008 - 11:38pm


Karen and I gave each other new T-Mobile G1 wireless phones for Christmas this week. My old (2002) ATT Nokia accidentally drowned when I dropped it in the sink a few days ago. Since I was fed up with ATT's relentless price gouging and had planned to fire them as my wireless provider anyway it was off to Costco to seal the deal with T-Mobile and this cool phone I'd been reading about.

For those who don't read the techie consumer fan sites like EnGadget.com the G1 is sorta like T-Mobile's answer to the iPhone but with a major twist. Its Android operating system "engine" was built by Google which means that there's a terrific bundling of Google's suite of killer apps on the phone. This isn't intended as a review of the G1. There are tons of those on the web, including an excellent overview here.

This is about one of the many unique features on this phone which only the crazy kids at Google could have built, Shop Savvy, and which could save you a bundle with your home improvement purchasing. Shop Savvy lets you do real time price comparison shopping while you're on the road.


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