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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. Shes been wanting a new set for a while now but Ive 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. Were not credit card balance people.

We got one of those Maytag sets that holds 3.5 cubic feet and doesnt 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 didnt agree to and was not discussed with us, and it was a complex transaction. Heres how it broke down (rounded to dollars):

$999 washer
$699 dryer
$50 charge for delivery of new unit and disposal of old unit
$90 service plan that we dont want (service plans are for suckers!)
$1,838 subtotal

$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, its not real free delivery. Its a mail in rebate for free delivery. I guess they figure that folks will forget to mail it in on time or something. So, Ill 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. Im not calculating interest. Im also guessing the rebate wont include sales tax paid on delivery.

But wait, theres 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, were not real sure) qualified for a $150 gift card. So, now the cost to us $1,624. Actually, its 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. Couldnt they just sell me the damn things for $1,525 (or $1,625) cash? It wasnt 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.

14 Responses to “SayUncle vs. Cost”

  1. jr Says:

    Too funny. Have you tried to buy a computer lately, at a place like Best Buy or CompUSA? Same thing – a really good advertised price, with a LOT of small print regarding rebates, required services, etc. It takes half a day, and generates as much paper as closing on a house. Makes you wonder how some of these places stay in business.

  2. TennesseeValuesAuthority Says:

    They stay in business because, as Uncle correctly assumed, most people don’t fill out the paperwork on time or at all.

    I’ve always assumed (I don’t know for certain) that the stores get a kick-back for every rebate they process and a higher kick-back for every rebate they DON’T process. But I’m a bit cynical when consumer economics is on the table.

    Stores could operate under Uncle’s preferred model– “Just sell me the damn things for $1,525”– but, they would likely not see any increase in business. Likely they’d see a drop if their competitors didn’t also follow the other store’s lead. People love a bargain (or at least the perception of one) and are always willing to spend more to get one.

  3. _Jon Says:

    Not really related, but this is the business model I would love to see the IRS use. A flat tax with coupons for rebates.

  4. Phelps Says:

    Your soul is what it cost you, if that card is like the Best Buy cards that you can’t cancel.

  5. Chris Wage Says:

    Personally I would have just fixed the old one..

  6. CL Says:

    I bought an oven last week at a locally owned appaliance store. Very smooth transaction and I believe that the delivery is free. (In my case, the guy installing it will be picking it up for me.)

    In this case, I did play sucker and got an extended warranty for 5 additional years. I usually don’t get them but it is an expensive oven. With a computer that close to that much heat, I didn’t want to take a chance.

  7. Jay G Says:

    $999 washer
    $699 dryer


    I paid $650 for my washer *AND* dryer. Do you drive the washer to work or something???

  8. Manish Says:

    Stores do this because lots of people don’t follow up and mail in the rebate. It becomes a form of tiered pricing. Higher price for those who can’t be bothered to mail in the damn rebate and lower price for those who do bother.

  9. kbarrett Says:

    Hmmmm. My maytag kicked the bucket in january… I went to a website that sells appliance parts retail, put my machines symptoms into the pages cgi script, and got a link to a fix and a $10 part.

    It took a couple hours to install the bit of plastic that broke … it was meant to break, to prevent engine burnout for folks who put too much stuff in the washing machine….

    I also fixed my diswasher through such a site.

    I suspect relacing major components like motors would be cheaper than bending over for Home Depot….

  10. cube Says:


    Post the freaking website, man.

    don’t leave use hanging.

    And Uncle, it probably was all the extra clothes from the baby.

  11. CL Says:

    I have a question. Have you already gotten the gift card or do you have to send in paperwork for it too?

    For what it’s worth, I’m getting a new washer and dryer in the near future and I’m probably going to get a set similar to what y’all got. My set is about 20 years old and there are multiple problems.

  12. SayUncle Says:

    Jay, it’s a nice set. The laundry is out of control since we have junior. She wanted a bigger set.

    kbarrett, I was going to fix it but it’s just old and ugly. The Mrs. wanted a new one and since she does most of the laundry, she can pick.

    CL, You get the gift card in 4-6 weeks. I’ll sell you my $150 giftcard for $149! 🙂

  13. lobbygow Says:


    I paid $650 for my washer *AND* dryer.

    Sounds like the type of appliances that blue state, latte sippin’ liberals buy.

    Seriously, was it the “Neptune” line? They’re supposed to be the shit.

    We ended up getting a small stack unit because that’s all that will fit in our school locker sized laundry room.

    As for the “protection” plans. They are protection in the sense that the Mafia provides protection. I once bought one from Circuit City to cover the LCD screen on my laptop. When it was damaged, I had to jump through more hoops than a trained poodle. They must be taking lessons from the health insurance industry.

    Total ripoff.

  14. CL Says:

    I’ve been on a forum where home organization and housekeeping is the main topic of conversation. Some of the women on the forum who have these units talk about how they now LOVE to do laundry. One lady saw her water bill drop by 25% and a noticed a difference in her electric bill.

    The 2 biggest advantages to these units, from my point of view, are that 1)they can dry a load of laundry in the time it takes to wash a load and 2) you can launder very large items like queen sized comforters. These are things that make some women drool like you guys drool over “protest babes”. 😉