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Thread: Taking advantage

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Taking advantage

    I'm dismayed at the number of members of not only this forum, but other woodworking related forums that I frequent, mostly as a lurker, but I'm there regardless.

    It is at this time, the Home Depot fiasco involving a sharpening system, but it is just an example.

    How quick we are to jump on a "deal" with no regard as to if it is a realistic price or not. How quick we are to hold the "big boys" feet to the fire, to demand that they support what was probably an error.

    We have seen it with Amazon, Sears, Home Depot and Lowes. How many of these errrors do we take advantage of before we pay the price...by either the divisions involved stop selling the products or maybe even worse, out of business.

    One comment made today was how it is possible that "heads will roll" in regards to Home Depot...I'm just not sure I would feel very good about saving a few dollars if it means someone loses their job.

    Those of us that are self employed, wood business or other, certainly expect to make money and realize that if we are big enough to have employees, mistakes can and will be made. We must stand by them, even if it puts our business at jeapordy. We would not want huge numbers of folks taking advantage of the mistake and yet, here we are, taking advantage ourselves.

    So, my thought....if it is too good to be true, how about backing off and letting the deal go by....it could be a job saved.

    Doug

  2. #2
    Chris Hatfield is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
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    That's a noble sentiment, but I think in this day it's a bit misplaced. With deal aggregate websites that thrive on getting, and reporting things like this, no deal really gets 'let by.' If I see a deal on something that I need, I'm going to order it instead of waiting on the reseller to buy 50 of them and put them on eBay or Craigslist. If you want to direct your anger at someone, direct it at these people who aren't going to listen to you anyway.

    While I feel for someone who might lose their job over a mistake like this, in reality it was their job to prevent it in the first place. And the collective action of a tech-savy populace is going to make the mistake hurt whether a small group of us let a deal go by or not. You have to look at the sheer size of the communities of these deal websites compared to ones like ours. HD is actually very lucky this didn't make it to the deal websites when it started.

    The deal was intentional. HD meant to price it this way, they just forgot to cut off the tap. I don't feel bad about ordering and receiving a product at a price they intended for me to buy it at.

  3. #3
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    Doug,

    I agree with the sentiment you expressed. For me, it simply comes down to the golden rule (as do most things in life). If I made an honest pricing mistake, I know I wouldn't appreciate a bunch of people taking advantage of it. A few years back, there was a member of this forum who posted a story about how he helped a friend of his get a major score of a deal off of a widow selling her late husband's woodworking tools. This guy was really proud of what he did. I posted a response asking him to re-evaluate his actions and instead of some stranger, to put his mom/sister in the role of the seller. His only reply was to tell me that I was a jerk and that he felt what he did was perfectly legal -- caveat venditor.

    However, if I may ask, exactly how is one supposed to know whether the "offer" is legitimate one or a mistake? If I recall correctly, in the HD case, didn't their apology letter state that they indeed intended to sell a certain number of workshops for he advertised price but underestimated the demand? If that's true, than in this case, I think any "blame" should be directed at Home Depot and their internal systems.
    Last edited by Peter Lyon; 12-31-2010 at 04:53 PM.

  4. #4
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    Hold on a sec in regards to comparing the big box store to a small business. Ever been in the back room at a HD where all the returns go? Most just get crushed and destroyed as it is cheaper to do that than sending them back to the manufacturer. Or how about cutting employees hrs back after the summer season to the point that they have to quit rather than just laying them off? No small company treats it's employees that way. So I don't shed a tear for the big box stores.

    In a case like this where they offered something at a good price on Boxing day and the demand was overwhelming then HD has a responsiblity to the customers, as with any other store or business if it is advertised at a set price it should be sold at that price and as pointed out how does one know as a customer that it was a mistake? It was a great deal and I wish that I had been able to get in on it too.
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  5. #5
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    How is it taking advantage of something if they advertise the price at a given point and then take my order information? They advertised the price and I agreed to pay it. I didn't take advantage of a widow woman or someone unaware of the cost. I didn't low ball anyone. They advertised and I placed the order.

    I knew they probably had a set number and I figured I had gotten in before they sold out. When I placed my order it was stated on their website that the item was back ordered. After I got the cancellation notice I just assumed that they weren't getting, or had on hand as many as they thought so they canceled after a certain number.

    They canceled my order, and I was fine with that. Did it aggravate me, sure. I didn't get mad at Home Depot though. Matter of fact I purchased some hardware from them yesterday.

  6. #6
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    Doug, I think you make a very legitimate point and I agree, but I don't have a problem with people responding to a "unrealistic" price. If a mistake is revealed by the company, then I do have a problem with people who insist that they are entitled to that price. So it is OK to take advantage of a big company, but not small companies or individuals? Kind of a slippery slope of taking advantage of someone's mistake when you make a difference between who it is. Large companies are made up of very many individuals. One of these individuals made a mistake. Do you really want to take advantage of that person?

    I think the people in this forum responded very well to the situation. They ordered the product with the hope that the deal was legitimate and when it collapsed, I did not notice anyone claiming HD owed them the product at the price advertised. Maybe I missed it, I am pretty proud of the response of everyone.

    Thanks for bringing this up. As I said you make a good point we should always keep in mind.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  7. #7
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    Years ago when LOML and I bought our first house I went down to the local hardware store and purchased a bunch of stuff, as I recalled it was over $50. I paid with my credit hard and the clerk ran the card though the machine (it was the older machines that used paper no the new electronic ones. I signed the paper put my receipt in my pocket and went home. The next month LOML was going over the credit card statement and asked me what I returned that got us a $50+ credit. I couldn't figure out what she was talking about till I took out the receipt and looked at it. The clerk had used the wrong form in the machine and instead charging me the money she credited my account. The difference was I had $50 worth of merchandise and was $50 to the good. I went back to the hardware store and found the manager. I should him the credit receipt and explained to him that I now owed him $100. Keep in mind this was a small family owned store so I am sure I was talking to the owner. The guy was flabergasted to i was being so honest.
    Now would I do the same thing if the BORG made the same kind of a mistake, You bet but thats just me.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
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    Reading the replies brings forth a little more clarification.

    I guess it is not so much the responding to an advertised price, it is holding their feet to the fire once they sell out. It seems that the mistake they made was allowing the system to post a backorder.

    The internet has brought on a new attitude to shoppers opportunities and expectations and a requires additional due diligence on the part of the merchant...and of course, we all want better prices, reducing margins and therefore, the number of employees one can have, therefore making the due diligence more difficult....round and round it goes.

    While I'm on my soapbox of shopping...how many of us go to the local toy store and review a piece of equipment and then go to the internet to purchase it because of the savings? How long can we expect the local retailer to stay in business as the showroom for the dot com?

    Ah well....I wish everyone a Happy New Year...I'm sure we will all do the right thing in 2011.

    Doug

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Jones View Post
    While I'm on my soapbox of shopping...how many of us go to the local toy store and review a piece of equipment and then go to the internet to purchase it because of the savings? How long can we expect the local retailer to stay in business as the showroom for the dot com?
    I am more than willing to buy locally as I am a instant gratification type of guy, but I am now finding that the entire retail model is changing rapidly. The selection from local stores is diminishing with all of the stores carrying the same brand if they have the product at all. I am now finding that I need to shop on the Internet if I want something that is only just a little different than the mass appeal.

    I have run all about town too many times checking all possible stores to see if they carry what I need. I have now resolved myself to just save myself time and buy it via the Internet. Times they are a changing!

    Yes, that it pushing a lot of brick and morter businesses out of the market, but it is also opening up many, many more small startups at the same time. With little overhead they now have a broad reach via the internet. I don't think this is necessarily bad. I see more selection for the consumer and better competitive pricing. I am sure there are downsides to this and I guess we will have to see what they become.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  10. #10
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    Bill...make no mistake about it....I'm an internet shopper. I'm in a wheelchair and it is just plain a hassle to load it into the truck, unload it...shop and then load/unload again....

    But, if I have to see/touch/test something....I'm going to buy it from the local dealer that has it. This would be electronics, tools, books, etc. Of course, I'm not beyond letting a local dealer know what is available price wise elsewhere....I'll accept whatever discount he may or may not be able to handle.

    Doug

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