SayUncle vs. Cost
More consumer blogging.
The other day as I was driving home, the Mrs. rings me on the cell phone to inform me that we need a new washer and dryer as our washer just kicked the bucket. Sheís been wanting a new set for a while now but Iíve always figured that the set we had (over ten years old) was good enough until it completely died. It did. I think the Mrs. was happy.
The Mrs. is quite detailed and always has the inside scoop on good deals on stuff. She knew that Home Depot was running a special. If you opened up a charge account there, you get 10% off your initial purchase with six months same as cash. This is more than enough to cover sales tax so we were sold. Now, we just applied for the card to get the 10% discount and will pay this thing off soon. Weíre not credit card balance people.
We got one of those Maytag sets that holds 3.5 cubic feet and doesnít use an agitator but rather sucks water through clothes. It also boasts that, since it is a high efficiency model, it could save us up to $165 per year in water and energy costs. The dryer also claims to dry clothes six times faster. Boy, all this energy efficiency should save the Uncle household some bucks!
As Insty noted, the customer service at Home Depot largely sucks. It took us quite a while to check out, they charged us for a service plan we didnít agree to and was not discussed with us, and it was a complex transaction. Hereís how it broke down (rounded to dollars):
$50 charge for delivery of new unit and disposal of old unit
$90 service plan that we donít want (service plans are for suckers!)
$170 @ 9.25% sales tax
$2,008 grand total
($184) less 10% for new charge account
$1,824 new grand total
In addition, Home Depot was running free delivery with all appliances. Now, itís not real free delivery. Itís a mail in rebate for free delivery. I guess they figure that folks will forget to mail it in on time or something. So, Iíll get $50 back (or maybe $45 since delivery was also 10% off). I guess at this point the total is $1,774 but at a future date. Iím not calculating interest. Iím also guessing the rebate wonít include sales tax paid on delivery.
But wait, thereís more: The other special they were running was free gift cards based on the amount you spend (you know, spend more and get more). We, having spent $2,000 (or rather we guessed we spent $2,000, weíre not real sure) qualified for a $150 gift card. So, now the Ďcostí to us $1,624. Actually, itís still $1,774 for the set plus other merchandise to be chosen later. I looked at Home Depot’s financials and their average gross margin percent is a respectable 33%. So, on a $150 purchase (the gift card) their cost is about $100. And the set probably cost them about $1,138 (based on their gross margin).
And they’re going to refund the service plan that we never consented to purchasing (with tax) at $98. New total: $1,525 with merchandise; or $1,625 if they’d given us cash instead of product that cost them $100.
Is it just me, or does that seem like an awful lot of excess to complete a simple transaction? An awful lot of special offers to get me to buy stuff. Couldnít they just sell me the damn things for $1,525 (or $1,625) cash? It wasnít like I was buying a house or anything. Seriously, I’ve closed on property faster than that.
Can anyone tell me what this washer and dryer really cost me? I mean, other than an hour and a half of time.