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Home Depot, how I hate thee

Let me count the ways

OK, I don't hate Dome Depot, per se, but there are a couple of things that the big box stores do that really cheeze me off (beyond their local-business wrecking nature). These came up in the past couple days as I have been researching buying a portable generator for the house.

What is in the store, is not on the web site. What is on the web site, is not in the store. I suppose that's one way to avoid falling into the deceptive pricing trap that snagged Worst Best Buy. However, it makes it darn hard to 'shop ahead' and get a feeling for what the store might have. Conversely, you can't go to the store and lay your hands on an item you saw on-line and literally get a feeling for it.

Home Depot-only products (Lowes does this too). Try finding a Briggs & Stratton model 30244 8,000 Watt generator anywhere outside of Home Depot. You can't. Briggs makes this unit exclusively for sale at Home Depot. Which means that, if you're looking for information that you can't find at the store, you can't find it anywhere on-line either. With generators, noise is a big factor. In the 8,000-10,000 Watt range there are generators that run at 71db to 89db. Of course Home Depot doesn't list the db rating for their Briggs generator ... and neither does anybody else.

My next stop will probably be poneying up for a subscription to Consumer Reports so that I can get my hands on their generator testing report.

I'll be jiggered. Consumer Reports gave a similar Briggs & Stratton model their highest rating in their "medium portable generator" class. It even got a "good" on noise. Hmmm, I may have to revisit this...


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 14th, 2008 06:27 am (UTC)
Regarding the store-only products.

It took me a long time to figure out how that price beating thing worked. Then one day after I'd taken a class in Engineering Economics it came to me.

The stores have models they carry exclusively. Odds are that the manufacturers might not be complicit. The big box stores just ordered them all.

Today in the Fry's ad, there was a Canon SD1100 for $200. And and SD850 for $269. The specs they bothered to print in the ad were the same. Same MP. Same IS, same face recognition. I'm thinking, "They'll never sell that more expensive one!" Then it came to me. Each store only has a handful of SD1100s. People will be in the store and want a camera and just roll over to the 850.
Jun. 14th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
That's just skeevy ... and probably very effective.
Jun. 14th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
Be Careful
Any generator built for Mass Retail is built to last 1 year. Even the brand names are doing it to get repeat business and it is the only way to keep the prices so low. Poorly spec'd engine and very little copper in alternator are a couple f ways they do this. Some offbrands like Sycamore Pro generators are built extremely well. They are a better investment.
Jun. 14th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
Regarding exclusive models, manufacturers like Sony do it too, but with camcorders and Best Buy/Circuit City, etc. They use it to avoid price matching.
Jun. 14th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
I'm happy to share my Consumers Reports latest article on generators...I remember reading one in the past year or so. Poke me if you want me to scan it and send it. It'll force me to learn how to use the new printer/fax/scanner.

And I learned the (happily) hard way that Home Depot online prices and sales are different from the in-store prices and sales. Last summer, husb found the exact set in the Glastonbury story that I'd pined over online and on sale (but backordered probably forever*). The price in the store was $150 more, but they honored the online sales price after we brought in a printout of the web page (they claimed that they were unable to look up and/or verify the online price since not a single computer in the store had internet access nor had they access to their own company's website).

*Another irritation is that an item will remain on backorder for an entire season, instead of yanking it off the website until it's available.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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