Flutterby™! : The cost of retail

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The cost of retail

2013-01-04 08:19:42.385793-08 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Charlene's been off for these two holiday weeks, and I've taken a few extra days, so with the time of both of us around the house we've managed to start on the remaining big house project: Wiring.

The bottom half of the house is old 2-wire Romex-like stuff, it bothers Charlene a bunch, but the part that really wigged me out was the lighting circuit, which was knob-and-tube, which had been patched and grafted on to, and then had insulation blown-in over it. In fact I didn't know that it was knob-and-tube, thought it had all been upgraded to the Romex-like material and there were just one or two vestiges to an exterior light fixture, 'til I tackled that.

At any rate, in the process of replacing and upgrading this wiring, we're starting to get the chance to upgrade some components. The bathroom now has 2 GFCI electrical circuits, which means we're ready to put in the fancy bidet seat. We can run a separate circuit for a ceiling heater fan combo. The living room ceiling fan box is no longer buried in insulation, so I can think about things like a thermostatic controller that'll turn on automatically to remove the thermocline that settles over the living room when we turn on the heater. Maybe even upgrade the ceiling fan, though I think I've put that off.

So we've got a grand or few in appliance-like hardware to buy. Some of this stuff is available at the big box stores, at least in the lower grades, some product lines are allegedly carried by dealers down in San Rafael or over in the East Bay, but all of it is available on-line.

In another vein, Charlene is jealous of my iPad and wants to get a tablet. Various stores around us carry the lower-end models, but none of them stock the ones you might actually want.

Here's the thing I find striking: Looking at and handling a product doubles the price. And, of course, there's no guarantee that if we drive the 20+ miles to the store they'll have anything we're interested in, just some products from the line. Further, for many things the only way to get them at the big box store (Home Despot, Lowe's, etc) is to order them. People talk about the value in retail being in able to handle the product first, but that's 50% hit and miss, and then the physical store wants double what the online store does to order it for you.

We've sucked it up and ordered online product. We'd like to be able to look at things, to support our more local economies, to reward value, but it just no longer makes sense to go retail. Merchandising has stopped meaning that much to us. The economy will be shifting, hard.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2013-01-04 15:47:21.815226-08 by: meuon

Just after Christmas, after some complete lack of customer service.. ok more like customer hostility... I signed up for Amazon Prime and have given up for mundane commodity things. For other things: Jason (geek friend) made some compelling cased for owning a 3d printer.. he wants one of every type (he has 2 now) and a co-operative agreement between a few friends that own different types to share resources makes a lot of sense.

I really need to clean out the garage and get the shop back online.

Nancy and I are both natural "makers". I think buying things you can online and making what else you can is the way to go.

Most recent story: Just bought some Nice work pants online. Drop shipped to door for approx $40 each. Which is cheap when compared to a recent trip to Sears and several hours wasted.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-01-05 04:18:55.011027-08 by: DaveP

The clerks at Amazon are far more pleasant than the average, and don't seem to mind if I'm shopping with no pants on.