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Rick Gooden
02-05-2009, 8:41 PM
Went in to Woodcraft today to pick up an Osborn EB-3 miter gauge. I'm in the local store quite a bit, I know the guys and they all know me by name. I make quite a few purchases including major tools. Well, I've been looking on line at this miter gauge for about a year and decided to go into WC to get it. On the manufacturers site it is listed "on sale" for $109 (has been on sale for at least a year). I noticed on the box, $112,99 and said I could get it from the manufacturer for $109 and asked what the price would be. The response was $112.99 and the salesman seemed put off that I even asked. At that point, being nice, I said I would just order it from Osborne. The sales man said - "you mean to tell me you would do that for $4"? My response was - "you mean to tell me you would lose a good customer for $4". The manager happen to be standing there and told the salesman to sell it for $109 (but he, too, seemed put off) and I took it with me. The attitude kinda got to me and has me rethinking my future purchases at the local WC. In this economy it seems you would do your very best to maintain customer relations.

David Christopher
02-05-2009, 8:44 PM
Rick, which store was that in....... so far Ive had pretty good luck with the WC in mobile AL.

Rick Gooden
02-05-2009, 9:07 PM
David, this is in Evansville, Indiana. I'm really not trying to trash the store, just miffed at this encounter.

David Christopher
02-05-2009, 9:11 PM
Rick, that is pretty unusual. I ve been in WCs allover the US and was normally impressed with attitude and personallity.... maybe the guys at your store was just having a bad day ( hope so )

Brent Smith
02-05-2009, 9:17 PM
4 bucks.............Seems to me that maybe both you and the sales guy were a bit over the line on this one. Just out of curiosity, how much was shipping on the $109 gauge?

Peter Luch
02-05-2009, 9:33 PM
You also have to look at the possibility that your not the only guy asking for them to match internet prices.

I like the comment on how much your frieght would have been from online.

This is exactly what is killing retail shops like Woodcraft. Someone goes online, finds the absolute lowest price and wants them to match it.
It would frustrate the dickens out of me if I owned a woodcraft store.
Right now the retail stores seem to be nothing more than a place we all can go see what we want to buy and then once we are sastified its what we want we go on the internet to purchase it at the lowest price regardless that the retail outlet offers some real piece of mind and hands on help after the purchase.

Aloha, Pete

Rick Gooden
02-05-2009, 9:58 PM
In my business I am asked to match internet pricing on a daily basis. I don't win customers with attitude This situation was that the price was not low internet pricing but the price the manufacturer has had it place for over a year. I certainly understand shipping and was only asking that they honor what has become the de facto price for the product. I spent many thousands with them over the last year and a half and never once challenged a price. I'll get over it, it may seem petty but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

Rob Young
02-05-2009, 10:07 PM
In a similar vein, when I compare on-line vs. in-store I always figure the shipping and sales tax in the totals. Often times it comes out a wash unless one place will be charging me both shipping AND sales tax. In the case of a wash or near wash I will usually go with the in-store purchase.

I'd bet that going forward, more and more on-line retailers are going to charge sales tax even if they don't have a physical location in your state. Heck, on the state income tax forms for Kansas they have added a sales tax section and you are expected to either list all you have purchased on-line but not paid the state sales tax or you can look up a number based on your gross-adjusted-income. Gotta squeeze that blood from the stone...

Brent Leonard
02-06-2009, 7:40 AM
It should've been handled by store employees/management better for a well known customer who makes regular and sometimes large purchases.

IMO....


You are not the instore looker-online buyer. You are a loyal in-store buyer. If they flat out couldn't do it for the lower price, they should've done it on another item they could do it on for you.

The attitude thing may have sent a customer right to the internet for his future purchases.

JohnT Fitzgerald
02-06-2009, 9:27 AM
I'd bet that going forward, more and more on-line retailers are going to charge sales tax even if they don't have a physical location in your state. Heck, on the state income tax forms for Kansas they have added a sales tax section and you are expected to either list all you have purchased on-line but not paid the state sales tax or you can look up a number based on your gross-adjusted-income. Gotta squeeze that blood from the stone...

Interesting yuou mention the sales-tax aspect....there's a big battle brewing between MA (my state) and NH, because so many people skip over the state line into NH to get new tires installed on their cars and not pay sales tax. MA wants to force the stores to collect tax, and the store (Direct Tire) - which does have stores in both MA and NH - is claiming that MA is looking to violate the Commerce Act.

Given the search for "additional revenues" by government, I bet in the future, there will be an 'internet tax' on all onling shopping, based on where the buyer resides.

Al Willits
02-06-2009, 9:46 AM
Like most stores I've had mixed luck with WC, while the wife and I were standing at checkout a sales guy came up with a item and told the other guy behind the counter, "make sure you give this gal a good deal she's a good customer"

My wife looked at me and asked, What?? and we're not???

She won't go in there anymore, and I go to Rockler when ever possible first.

Al...who thinks how he's treated is as important as price.

David G Baker
02-06-2009, 9:59 AM
Al,
Amen. I will bite off my nose to spite my face if I am treated poorly in any business establishment. They need me more than I need them!

Narayan Nayar
02-06-2009, 10:35 AM
In this economy it seems you would do your very best to maintain customer relations.

I also think that in this economy it's incumbent upon all of us to think real hard about what kind of world we want to live in.

I shop both online and at my local WC. The WC is relatively close to my house, and the guys there treat me nicely. I too have purchased both large ticket items and small ticket items from them. And from time to time, I pay more there knowing I can get the same stuff online for cheaper. Because if they closed, I'd have a BORG and a few other power tool warehouses around, and they're absolutely useless to me.

Rick, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying in any way you're not entitled to be treated nicely and I certainly wouldn't fault anyone for asking for a discount. I don't know what you meant by "lose a good customer"; there's a difference between losing a sale and losing a customer. So if I heard that I'd think you were talking about not going back. And if I were the business owner and heard that, yeah, I'd be miffed that some guy "out there" who hasn't provided you a place to browse tools and pick up consumables and probably talked you through some important purchases can win you over for $4. It'd be one thing if you just put the miter gauge back on the shelf. Fine if you don't want to pay the extra $4--that's entirely your business. Maybe it was just a flip comment on your part, but trust me, this is reality for store owners.

It's even more messed up at Woodcraft--local stores, which are franchises, see nothing of the website purchases. So their own parent company is basically taking potential sales from them--even local sales! And it's not as if the franchises can start their own websites.

I get more out of having my local WC around than I do out of National Public Radio at this point. Whatever premium I pay at the WC, I pay it when it makes sense. Perhaps that's a privilege. And perhaps the attitude and service I get at the local WC is better than what you get at yours, I don't know. But those $4 walkouts add up, trust me, and we've already heard in the recent past of at least 2 Woodcrafts shutting their doors. That's a business out of your local economy, and what I'm guessing (hoping) are a bunch of good guys out of jobs.

If this is bugging you, I'd suggest going back to the WC and ask about it. If I were a store manager, I'd be happy to try to get people to understand why the Internet pisses me off :).

This isn't always about getting the lowest price. If it is, prepare for a bleak future of Walmarts, BORGs, and everything made overseas. There's a bigger picture at play here.

OK, off my soapbox.

Brian Kent
02-06-2009, 11:02 AM
I know mine is just one more perspective, but I have never walked into a store (except a car dealer) expecting to negotiate a price. I look at the price, look at the sales, and maybe buy online if I can't afford the price in front of me. But I don't think they should lower a price for me.

Brent Leonard
02-06-2009, 11:28 AM
The "good customer" comment makes me laugh.....

When I bought my boat, I purchased a decent $25k fishing boat. While I was discussing issues of the sale with the salesman who was also the sales manager at the dealer, he saw another couple who walked in, he literally ran over to them and started helping them, ignoring me. That OTHER couple had recently purchased a $125k boat.

Long story short, I bought my little "SS Minnow" and enjoyed it (still do enjoy it). 3 years later, the boat dealer was auctioning off the dealership as they went bankrupt. I showed up and bought a number of things for pennies on the dollar. I steered ALOT of friends, family and aquaintences away from that dealer because of my bad experience.
I enjoyed the auction. :p:p

Danny Thompson
02-06-2009, 11:50 AM
The OP isn't complaining that Woodcraft pricing is higher than he can get online, it is that their prices seem to be jacked up above MSRP.

I've seen this too--several Lie-Nielsen and Tite-Mark products there for more there than directly from Lie-Nielsen himself. Buy one, and you're left with this feeling of being gouged, a bad taste in your mouth that makes you feel you just got ripped.

Don't get me wrong, I buy from the WC stores, but would buy more if they didn't price like they had a monopoly.

Bob Childress
02-06-2009, 12:15 PM
The worst part of this, to my thinking, is that the manufacturer is competing directly with his own dealer. I don't mind some website seller competing with a brick and mortar seller--the local guy may add enough value. But when manufacturers compete with their own dealers, bad things happen, just like the OP's complaint.

Manufacturers can sell parts, that's OK and it can be a hassle for the dealer, but when it comes to new merchandise, I would be one ticked off Woodcraft owner, knowing full well that Osborn can afford to yield on price because they don't have the same overhead.

Matthew Poeller
02-06-2009, 1:55 PM
I agree with you Bob. We do a lot of manufacturing at my place of employment. We sell direct (B2B). There are certain things that are in our core competency and so those are the things that we make and sell. Anything else that we offer to the customer is sourced through strategic partnerships. If we go all in with another manufacturer that offers direct selling we make sure that in the agreement it says that they give us a discount such that we can sell to the customer cheaper (marignally) than they would.

If I were Woodcraft I would have given the customer the price and then I would have immediately called Osborne to tell them that if they did not take down the price Osborne SKUs would be removed from Woodcraft stores nationwide.

Bruce Page
02-06-2009, 3:45 PM
4 bucks.............Seems to me that maybe both you and the sales guy were a bit over the line on this one. Just out of curiosity, how much was shipping on the $109 gauge?

I agree. You got both yourself and the proprietor that you have built up a good relationship with ticked off over $4? :confused:
When I go into a real store I expect to pay a little more. The overhead percentage for a real touchy/feely store is higher than an internet store.
The day is coming when we will no longer have any choice but to buy from internet vendors, and Iím dreading it.

Michael Hammers
02-06-2009, 5:17 PM
I too have had issues with that store...so much so I was actually banned! I wont air dirty laundry specifics but in a nutshell the local store was upset over a unused returned item.
I cannot tell you how much money they lost through their actions..needless to say I felt as if they were not so concerned about keeping a customer as they were making money.
It is too bad, it really is an inconvenience when I need something specific. I tried to return one time during an open house where they had vendors and demos in the parking lot and was not so politely turned away.
MSH

Tim Morton
02-06-2009, 6:16 PM
Would you walk into walmart and tell the manager you can buy a box of laundry detergant for 3% less online....what are you going to sell it to me for?

Of course not...so either pay the stores asking price or quietly walk away and order it online...mark my vote for WC in this case:cool:

Whats worse is that you did this in a store where everyone used to know your name and enjoy having you shop there....whats that worth to you? I guess not 4 dollars.

Burt Alcantara
02-06-2009, 6:59 PM
I've gone to my local WC and bought things knowing that I could get better prices on-line. However, I've returned things with no hassle, traded-up with no hassle and gotten good deals on specials.

I've often spent hours browsing books and watching DVDs. Spend a lot of time talking with staff. They host all of the local woodworking meetings. They have great demos and classes. Don't know how many times I just wander around the store, picking up things, poking things, examining things.

What better Senior Center could one ask for! All I need is a cot so I could take naps.

Burt

Bruce Shiverdecker
02-06-2009, 8:39 PM
Regarding "asking for discounts."

Asking for one is not unacceptacle, but I believe that getting honked off because the store that has about 600k invested in the franchise, another 400 to 600k in inventory, plus rent or mortgage, utilities, etcetra, and won't give you a $4.00 discount that is offered by an office, without the costs involved with morter and brick location is more than a little OVER THE TOP.

It's attitudes like that that have caused the friendly, knowledgeable, mom and pop stores to go out of business.

Just my out of a job opinion.

Bruce

Stephen Beckham
02-06-2009, 9:28 PM
Would you walk into walmart and tell the manager you can buy a box of laundry detergant for 3% less online....what are you going to sell it to me for?...

Tim - I love it... I've been using a similar line in my engraving shop lately. WWWD - What Would Walmart Do....

I get all kinds of crazy requests for ways to save money. I'm not sure which business magazine I saw it in, but the recommendation was to ask yourself - what would I expect from WalMart? If you get a good feeling from the response - it's probably okay. If you think they would laugh you out the door - let it go...

Dave Verstraete
02-07-2009, 10:12 AM
Burt
I love your retirement plan! Now if they could just create a "Woodcraft Greeter Job", I could "retire" from my "Midwest Manufacturing" job.

Clifford Mescher
02-07-2009, 10:33 AM
I've gone to my local WC and bought things knowing that I could get better prices on-line. However, I've returned things with no hassle, traded-up with no hassle and gotten good deals on specials.

I've often spent hours browsing books and watching DVDs. Spend a lot of time talking with staff. They host all of the local woodworking meetings. They have great demos and classes. Don't know how many times I just wander around the store, picking up things, poking things, examining things.

What better Senior Center could one ask for! All I need is a cot so I could take naps.

Burt
Agree. I think I would pay $4.00 to just browse for an hour or two. Clifford.

Steve Kubien
02-07-2009, 8:54 PM
I don't believe in haggling prices (unless real estate, a car or tickets from a scalper) and I don't believe in asking someone to match another person's price. If somebody has something cheaper than where I am, I go there (if it is enough of a difference). For $4?!?!?! My name a reputation with my local stores are worth far more than that.

My 2 cents
Steve

Robert foster
02-07-2009, 9:31 PM
Customer relations is the most important part of retail.I used to work for a small chain grocery store. Hy Vee 28 stores at the time. I was instructed by my manager to take care of the customer at all costs. He would say "the customer isn't always right but they are always the customer and they pay my wages". I know we lost money in trying to satisfy every customer but in the long run the retail business that keeps the customer happy keeps the customer. That small chain grocery store that I used to work for now has over 300 stores with that philosophy. I recently walked into the CompUSA store in Mcallen Tx and was greeted not only by a lovely young lady but also the manager himself. He asked if there was anything he could help me with and showed me what I was interested in. Really made a good impression on me and of course purchased something from the store. I complimented him on the way customer relations had improved during the time I was away from Mcallen. He told me that he used to work for Levis and they had a month long training workshop on taking care of the customer. He was told by his boss at the time that it cost them $200 to get each customer to come into the store. So it was important to make it a pleasant experience. Good customer relations does still exist in this world, we just have to look very hard to find it.
Taking care of the customer is what keeps the business in business.
Bob

Greg Cuetara
02-07-2009, 10:17 PM
This is an interesting discussion. I do have a question. Should you give a local store the option to price match? I understand it is expensive to run a store but if someone is willing to walk out over $4 or more shouldn't the local store have the option to get the sale. So the store loses 4 bucks but they get the sale and they do make quite a bit of money...maybe they hold their line and let the person make the decision where to spend their money.

I would seem to think that it is ok to ask about price matching. They can only say no.

John Keeton
02-08-2009, 9:51 AM
Regarding "asking for discounts."

Asking for one is not unacceptacle, but I believe that getting honked off because the store that has about 600k invested in the franchise, another 400 to 600k in inventory, plus rent or mortgage, utilities, etcetra, and won't give you a $4.00 discount that is offered by an office, without the costs involved with morter and brick location is more than a little OVER THE TOP.

It's attitudes like that that have caused the friendly, knowledgeable, mom and pop stores to go out of business.

Just my out of a job opinion.

Bruce
Bruce, having owned a retail store for many years (now happily out of it!), I agree. The problem with discounting is that customers talk to each other. If you sell a $125 item to one for $110, and the next customer asks you if that is your best price and you say yes - you lied to that customer.

And, trust me, that will come back to haunt you. I had a partner at one time that would do that, and I can't tell you the number of people that would come in and say "Well, you're partner sold it to Joe Blow for $110 - isn't my business as good as his?" Or, "I'm in here every week, and you didn't discount mine!"

A retailer needs to have fair prices, be consistent with all customers - and above all, be pleasant and understanding with the customer that wants a discount. THAT is the most important part of the equation, and apparently was the failure in this situation.

Sonny Edmonds
02-08-2009, 11:07 AM
I never ask for discounts, and actually, it embarrasses me to even use coupons.
But I used to get a 10% discount from Gus' Tools where I bought tens of thousands of dollars of shop equipment. He just gave it to me.
Because those folks are my neighbors...
Those folks have Families, too.
And those folks always took good care of me. They developed a vested interest in me, and I considered them my Friends as well.
Gus moved to Missouri and retired on the edge of a lake. He got bored and opened another tool store.
He left the store here to his son who literally wreck the business. I'd order something, and it wouldn't get ordered. His buddies were lazy louts that couldn't care less about the customers. And I told him so.
Now, all I'm left with is the Borgs and the Internet.
But I have a very complete shop and don't want for much of anything. :o

And in this economy, I'm making sure the waitresses are getting good tips. Because everybody is struggling to some extent. :(

Cliff Rohrabacher
02-08-2009, 3:31 PM
where I live, those stores died from lack of patronage.
It's hard to compete with online prices and a warm hand shake from a stranger isn't worth the money. Unless they pool buying power effectively they can't compete.