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View Diary: I Was a Dupe at Williams Sonoma (177 comments)

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  •  This is so true: (12+ / 0-)

    "So there is a lot of incentive for the stores and the big banks to get a card into into the hands of every customer that walks through the door."
    And it's infuriating. It's beginning to feel like many stores consider selling merchandise secondary to selling credit- or selling warranties.

    •  Selling extended warranties is a pet peeve. (15+ / 0-)

      I hate that crap.

      You get up to the counter at Worst Buy or Home Debit and the clerk asks if you wish to buy an extended warranty on your DVD player or your lawn mower.

      I know it's not their fault, that they're told/trained to do that.

      However, I always answer with something like this:

      'You know, by asking me if I want to buy an extended warranty you've just admitted that you've sold me a piece of crap. You're telling me that you don't expect that this (DVD player, lawnmower, whatever) will last more than the 30 (or 90) days in the warranty and when it breaks, I'm out of luck unless I spend more money to protect myself.

      'Why should I buy this if it's such a piece of junk?'

      Usually, the clerk just smiles because he/she knows it's a scam.  

      When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

      by wheeldog on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 12:57:59 PM PDT

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      •  They smile (5+ / 0-)

        because they are trained that is the way to disarm a hostile customer. When you say "crap" and "piece of junk" their just-shut-up-and-smile training kicks in and you finish the transaction and walk out the door, allowing them to serve the next customer in line.

        If people canceled their purchase and walked out the door empty handed, merchants might start to reevaluate the benefits of scamming their customers with extended warrantees. Until that starts happening on a massive scale, the merchant gets an 8% profit with an extended warrantee, or smiles and takes a 3% profit without one.

        I think they learned the trick from auto dealers. Bought a car lately?


        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 03:02:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  When we bought our TV in 2003, (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco, eve, JerryNA, Creosote, libnewsie

        we were told to get the extended warranty as it would only last about 4 or 5 years if we were lucky. We're now on year ten and the teevee works as fine as the day we bought it. No extended warranty.

        curious portal - to a world of paintings, lyric-poems, art writing, and graphic and web design

        by asterkitty on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:49:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  good for you!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          nice to hear a story with a positive ending :) er...positive continuation because it is still ongoing :)

          Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

          by eve on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:29:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you and I think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that the extended warranties are usually not worthwhile.
        Except I paid $99 to Lowes for an extended warranty on a washing machine a few years ago - I think it extended it to 5 years but maybe it was 3 :(

        oh well...

        Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

        by eve on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:27:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and check your sales receipt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I once went to buy an electronic black box from a big name store (sorry can't remember what or from which) and after refusing to buy the extended warranty several times from an increasingly insistent salesman, I saw that the warranty had been included on the sales slip anyway!  I demanded a manager who took the charge off, leaving the salesman looking panicked and desperate.  I felt terrible that the store must not be paying a living wage without the commission from extended warranty sales.

    •  That's where the profit is (16+ / 0-)

      Anybody can buy widgets wholesale and make a bit of money selling them retail. But many people try, which keeps profit down to fairly low numbers.

      However, a three year extended warrantee is almost pure profit.

      Consider: 80% of the merchandise will not break during the warrantee period. Of the 20% that does break, 80% of that will break right away, during the manufacturer's warrantee period. This leaves only 4% of the merchandise actually using the extended warrantee.

      Now, six or seven dollars for a three year extended warrantee on a $100 purchase may seem like a good deal, but it is in fact a guaranteed 2 or 3 dollars in extra profit on the sale.

      Further: half the people who bought extended warrantee will have lost the paperwork (receipts, warrantee cards, original packaging and so on) required to execute the warrantee, (It's actually closer to 90%, which keeps mail order money back guarantees alive) and of the half that try to recover on their extended warrantee half of them will find some weasel wording in the contract that lets the company off the hook.

      Now our extended warrantee merchant is down to paying on only one percent of those warrantees, in other words he gets to charge six or seven dollars for a contract where he is liable for only one dollar of costs.

      So, your merchant has two product lines:

      tangible merchandise you can walk out of the store with, which he pays for up front, since he has to order it, keep it in stock, pay rent for his sales space, hire clerks and salespeople, and gets a measly 3 or 4% profit for his investment,


      an intangible paper contract where he gets paid up front, and eventually winds up making over 80% profit.

      You betcha selling merchandise is secondary to selling that lucrative extended warrantee. His momma didn't raise no fool.


      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 01:12:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sears (5+ / 0-)

      From what I read, Sears used to not accept credit cards. Then they eventually started their own store card, which eventually turned into Discover and ended up being worth more than the rest of Sears.

      So when you feel that selling merchandise is secondary to selling're not wrong!

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