Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

HOW do Brick & Board Stores Stay in Business???

Earlier in the day I made a Home Depot run by way of collecting objects needed to keep the shack standing. Among them is a new cover for the much-used Weber gas grill, which resides in the backyard in a block niche that backs onto the chimney. This space is open to the elements. Since I now cook almost exclusively on this grill, it behooves me to take care of the thing. So I like to protect it from the rain and heat with a heavy plastic cover designed to fit its particular shape.

This fine device consists of just that: three pieces of plastic sewn together, with some glue or similar goop to seal the seams — the way a light tent is built. Only without the struts.

Home Depot has them, all right. Price? Sixty to eighty bucks!

In the past, they’ve had cheaper knockoffs on the shelf, but I didn’t see any there today.

Good grief.

So back at the Funny Farm, it was straight to, where I found the desired knock-off, reasonably well reviewed, for $20.

Meanwhile, I’d bought a Goodyear collapsible hose — nice and lightweight and supposedly kink-resistant — and wanted to see how Amazon buyers had reviewed it before tearing off the package. And I could NOT find it there. It develops that Goodyear products are now made by Continental, a German firm.

So presumably the examples on Home Depot’s shelves are way, WAY out of date: i.e., no one will buy these hoses. Turns out there’s a reason for that: consumers commenting at HD overwhelmingly hate the thing. So….we’ll be keeping the receipt.

So you wonder how a store that sells outrageously overpriced products and hoses that receive 125 one-star reviews out of a total 135 reviews(!!) manages to stay in business.

Oh, wait: By driving all its competition out of business…

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Author: funny

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  1. Home Depot stays in business because a big money maker is catering to high dollar contractors. They even have special check out lines and pick ups for those Pro people.

    To be fair, both Home Depot and Lowe’s allow you to buy online and pick up in store, which negates any need for free shipping minimum spends. And product comes quickly. Online they have a larger selection and the pricing is comparative to Amazon. I actually don’t like to buy much from Amazon now because even “verified purchase” reviews are fake now as a lot of companies exist to pay people to buy and review products (either 5 star to help or 1 star to hurt if competitor). You can see this by clicking a reviewers name and noticing they’ve only made one review. Or you find word for word reviews copy and pasted between different reviewers and on different brands! (I saw this on two Chinese brands of smart outlets–decided to buy from Walmart online). Until Amazon filters out one and done reviews, I avoid them if I can.

    • BTW, you know any of us can check out through the Pro line — lines are usually shorter there, and staff sometimes will seem more knowledgeable. The other place where the lines are always shorter is the nursery department…and that department is usually closer to the less populated part of the parking lot, where parking is easier and closer to the store.

  2. Yes…the reviews at any of these sites are obviously vulnerable to manipulation. That’s an interesting strategy for detecting fake reviews…jeez,, the word-for-word thing is hilarious!

    In the self-defense department, I usually go first to the one-star reviews — if they comprise more than 9% of the total, that’s a red flag. But given that one can buy negative reviews as well as positive ones, then I go to the three-star reviews, which I suspect probably come closest to the real story.

    Goodyear was purchased by Continental in 2015, so presumably the hose I bought was at least two years old…from the git-go. I don’t expect it to last long.

  3. Couple of things….Home Depot (the store that has toys for big boys) is my favorite. IMHO Amazon is a scam. I have bought things off Amazon and Amazon was NO HELP in making it right. BUT on the other hand my CC company was “top drawer” in investigating the claim and giving me a FULL refund. At Home Depot I, for whatever reason am considered a “Pro”. I get special offers and e-mails. AND the comments about Home Depot purchases are the READ DEAL. I have been asked to provide insight into an item I have purchased and my opinion on an alternative application. I do this willingly and for no compensation.
    Lastly….Continental IS the REAL DEAL. Continentals came on my truck in 2003. I currently have 113K miles on the truck and have bought one (1) tire in 14 years. I bought one OEM Continental tire from Walmart. I placed the spare tire on the front as well as the new tire. The tires from the front went to the back. The “baldest” tire was taken off the rim and the other is now the spare. Tires still look good. Next move will be to buy two new Continentals, put them on the front, put the front tires on the back, keep the best tire for a spare and remove the other two from the rims. I’m sold on Continentals……

    • That’s good to know about the Continental tires…probably not made in China??

      I’ve never had a problem returning things to HD as long as I had a receipt. Last night having seen those ornery reviews at Amazon I taped the receipt to the closet door in the office…

      As for Amazon, I’ve never tried to return anything there — that’s more hassle than it’s worth. Consequently, I don’t buy anything that I think might not be adequate or whose cost I can’t afford to eat. . I did post a cranky review of one of those key-fob beeper gadgets (it came with dead batteries). Forthwith, the maker contacted me and offered to send a new one.

  4. When I was living in DC, I used to shop on Amazon all the time. Need/want something but didn’t feel like trudging to a store? For $99/year plus a fee Amazon would have it at your door that evening. It was great…at first. Then I started to notice that items did not always appear to be genuine, and Amazon was no help – try and find the “contact us” section of the site. I ordered less and less because I didn’t trust that I was going to get what was claimed, and eventually dropped the prime membership. I can’t say that I have missed Amazon.

    Not aimed at you personally, but I have long been fascinated/baffled by those who decry the big box retailers (Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.) for driving out competition but love Amazon. The company has a history of razor thin margins to taking a loss on its retail business to drive out competition and gain market share (If you look at their segment financials, most profit comes from AWS). Now that they’ve gained market share prices have started to rise on some items.

    • Can’t speak for others, but in fact I DON’T love Amazon. But I often have have little other choice.

      Target is low-end and offers a lot of junk but few items that I really want; when I do want something and search Target, I can’t find it. Exception: Shark vacuum cleaners. I feel unsafe in the Target parking lot, which is overrun with light-rail-riding bums and located in the most violent crime-ridden district in the city.

      Home Depot is a lot of fun to wander through but often has shoddy goods or is strangely overpriced. It, too, is an example of lots of product with surprisingly little choice.

      Walmart: I don’t shop in their gigantic megastores because when I have, I’ve encountered unhappy employees who take out their discontent on the customers. But I do shop at their grocery store. Though its produce is low-end and often old, the operative terms are CLOSE and REASONABLY SAFE in the parking lot; you can’t say the latter about any other grocery that falls into the “Close” category. Lowe’s: there’s one on the way to the credit union — a few blocks up the road from a Depot…but I don’t see that it’s a lot better than HD, and there, too: it’s a question of personal safety in a parking lot habituated by drug-using derelicts.

      With Amazon, at least, I don’t have to burn gas to get one or two small items; I don’t have to venture out in the heat and the homicidal traffic; I don’t have to stand in line at one of the VERY few check-outs that are not self-serve (no, I am not going to open myself to another computer headache at a self-serve stand: I have plenty of those at home, thank you). I don’t have to subject myself to panhandling or run the risk of purse-snatching or mugging between the car and the door.

      Do I _like_ it? Well…it’s not my idea of a grand shopping experience.

      I would _like_ to have…

      Entz-White Hardware (driven out of business by HD and one of its early competitors)
      Bullock’s (done in by the demise of shopping malls)
      Madison Pay & Take-it (best grocery store this city has ever had)
      Goldwater’s Department Store (cf. Bullock’s)
      A Macy’s that has hired help who can HELP
      Any department store that is NOT a self-serve thing where you go line up at a central kiosk for the single clerk on the floor to ring up what few purchases you were able to find on your own
      Baker’s Nursery, closed partly to capitalize on its expensive real estate and no doubt partly because of the difficulty of competing with big-box stores