Caught in the act of Showrooming

Discussion in 'Ian's Corner' started by Terry, May 5, 2013.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington

    What is happening to us?

    At what point do we honestly give credit for brick and mortar stores, advice givers and those willing to crawl under our homes and do the dirty work?
    How many times do people come to us for advice, and then their next call is to an online store to save a buck. And if the package comes broken, then try to "swap" it for a good part rather then go to the effort of the return process with the onliner partner in social crime. making the unsuspecting local guy make good for their shattered goods. Get the information from the local guy, buy online, and then stick it to the local guy when their online experience goes bad. I'm sure many give to charity and their churches, and they don't "see" the bad behavior in what they are doing when they slight of hand the purchase with the advice.

    The other day I bought a new camcorder for me TV show, and went to Kenmore Camera to ask advice. I thought about it over the weekend, and then went back and talked to the same salesman and he walked me through the purchase, explaining the features and the setup of the new camera. That in itself was worth the drive and the interaction and help with the new purchase. It also meant that my local economy was in better shape to throw some business my way too. We are all family, helping each other and working with each other.
    When I mentioned I as an online plumber doing a local business in the Seattle area, recommending that my online readers also work with their local plumbers and showrooms, they acknowledged that Amazon had contacted them to to do the dirty work of doing their sales, minus any real profit that would allow them to be above the poverty level. You have a few guys in white shirts and ties working a huge web site wanting to take the profit out of every sale they can, and not wanting to do the work of it.

    And I just want to say to one of my favorite customers, Thank you Monica for the article and the reminder to us all.

    If you want to support this site, then here is an easy way for less then $8.00
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    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  3. DougB

    DougB Member

    I'm in Minneapolis, a fairly large city. You wouldn't believe how little selection there is of many products - except run-of-the-mill.

    We tried to buy Grohe, Toto, Lightolier, warm wire, FanTech, Baldwin hardware, etc, etc. Nowhere to be found - and if they sell it - you have to order it by looking at a picture in a catalog.

    Buying from an online warehouse - that actually has the product in stock, and has the pdf's, and customer reviews, and FAQ's, is now the norm - and the info is usually much better than a sales clerk. It really makes sense. Not a lot of people buy higher quality products, so they aren't stocked locally. But a person who sells to all 50 states over the internet, can stock lower volume items, cause he has a broader base of customers. Additionally he doesn't need any fancy store with high overhead.

    The combination of credit cards, internet, and quick shipping are going to kill more and more local retailers.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    So what business are you in? Are you looking to be retired as outdated too?
  5. DougB

    DougB Member

    I'm in the software business. We've already been overrun by H1-B visa people from India.

    They (the 'corps') claim there is a shortage of IT people - yet our salaries have taken a big hit since 2000 and then 2008. How can rates go down when there's a shortage? The law of supply and demand in reverse?

    My statement wasn't meant to be cruel to local people - just an observation that that's where things are headed.

    Answer this: Why should I go to a lighting store and order a Lightolier multiset dimmer for $110 and wait 3 weeks for them to 'get it in' - when I can get one on line for $60, and have it shipped directly to me in 3 days?

    It's an old business model where you go to the store, and since there's a limited number of products, and people stayed in their jobs for decades, you got good service, that system used to work. However now there are a myrid of products, that can't be stocked, and retailers don't want to pay more than $8/hr, so the help may be friendly, but usually not very knowledgable, and the staff rotates atleast once a year. This is what has happened to Best Buy (corp HQ in Mpls).

    You're lucky Terry - you can't be outsourced!

    PS: I'm going to be installing my Toto wall hung in the next two months. I'll post some rough-in pics. Toto lists dealers in Minneapoils - but all they have is a toilet or two on display.
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    They are trying to outsource me. I get calls from Amazon offering to pay me half of what we charge to install "their" product.
    So I would lose the profit on the toilet, and get half of what I charge to pick up the toilet, install it, and then run to the recyle to dispose of it. I would still be paying for insurance(s) and bonding, gas for the trucks, and wages and benifits.
    They would be charging what I normally do. I told them no. I can't think of a quicker way to go under as a business then cutting my income by more than half, and letting them take my living wage profit.
    Oh Hell no!

    When we were in India this Winter, the complaint there was of the brain drain. Many of them don't like it either.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  7. DougB

    DougB Member

    It really seems everyone is being pressed, outsourced, undercut, or dwarfed by hugh global companies.

    I don't know anyone who is looking forward to more of the same, or having this situation continue. I want it to end, and I think unfortunately when it 'ends' it won't be pretty.
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