Walter Mencken 11 a.m., July 25
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Do you want the lowest price when you shop, or peace of mind?
I often hear from customers, “What’s the best price you can give me?” I usually refer to the sales price seeing as how we already offer the lowest price. I verify this by doing competitor shops. Then the customer usually asks, “So what’s the best price you can give me?” Like anyone else, I too need to save a buck, but at what cost? When I ask questions about the type of project the customer is working on they either tell me they’re replacing appliances and plumbing products for their home or a rental. If it’s a rental, I steer them to tough, durable items that are reliable. They’re not necessarily the best and in most cases not what homeowners want for their own homes. But for rentals they do the job fine. When the customer tells me, “This is for my house, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money,” I steer them to mid-range products. Then I point out, “For a little more you can have the very best!” I ease their mind when I mention how I’m not on commission, meaning I won’t be selling them something they don’t need. I take the customer to the higher-end products, the very best in the way of features and benefits. I ask them questions like: • “Do you cook often?” • “Do you do a lot of entertaining?” • “Do you have a large household? I can tell if the customer likes what they see by the way their eyes bulge with excitement. No, I'm not talking about sex. Let's stay focused here, okay? Having the very best in your home is an exciting concept. But then the customer says, “So what’s the best price you can give me?” I don’t want to sound redundant, but that’s life in retail. People actually go full-circle when buying products to save a buck. But is it truly worth your time? Yes, I’ve heard of the saying, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ I’ve also heard of the saying, ‘The best is never cheap!’ And if you want peace of mind in your purchase it may be worth forking over a bit more if for no other reason than to be happy with your purchase. No, I’m not trying to patronize anyone here, but I see it often enough when a customer thinks they’re getting a very good deal for a mid-range appliance, plumbing fixture, or TV because they got it dirt-cheap. The problem is that it wasn’t what the customer really wanted. What they wanted was the best, but didn’t want to pay for it. As I said before, I can understand the need to save a few bucks, but don’t you think it’s worth being happy with how you spend your money? Translation: If buying your wife or yourself the very best means spending a little more, then I say do it! Chances are the product is worth it, will last longer, and you’ll enjoy using it each time. When my wife and I remodeled our kitchen we decided to go all out and have installed professional grade appliances. That was three years ago and it still makes me feel good when my wife says out of the blue, “I LOVE my appliances!” I may not have gotten the lowest price, but I certainly have peace of mind with my purchase.
Author’s note: The above is true and mentioned in my latest novel, Who’s Minding the Store? My characters shop in a home improvement store and find customers unhappy with a previous purchase. It turns out they wanted to save money, so instead of investing in products they really wanted, they bought products that made them unhappy. Now they were visiting the store less than a year later to see what they could do about it. I was inspired to mention this because I’ll never forget the time when I was helping a couple in the kitchen showroom at the former Expo Design Center, looking at kitchen cabinets. I noticed the couple kept mumbling to each other and asked if everything was okay. The wife said, “We were here sixteen months ago and bought the cheapest cabinets to save money, and now they’re already falling apart!” The husband followed up with, “I knew we should’ve spent a bit more for better product.” That incident rings true for all of us. If you can get a good deal, fine! But just remember we all get what we pay for in the end.
To purchase a copy of my book you can order it from your local bookstore, amazon.com, or Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego and Bay Books in Coronado.
I hope this helps with your next shopping experience. But then hope is not a method. David
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