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#209140 - 03/10/13 08:35 AM "Cheaper"
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I was at the local home center, with a contractor, yesterday. Naturally, the store did not have exactly what we wanted, but did have a 'make it work' accessory. The clerk was quick to say the work-around was 'cheaper.'

Let's look at that mentality. The store's first response was: It's cheaper. Not whether it was right, or it was better- but it was cheaper. The second response was: it will take two weeks to get the right stuff. All of a sudden, it was MY fault I wanted something that they didn't stock.

My reply? I pointed to the contractor, as I told the clerk: If I wanted 'cheap" I'd just send this guy home and save even more!

I get some of this grief whenever I hire a real contractor: gee, they're expensive. Let's see: $20/hr to get it done right in an hour, or $10/hr for four hours, and a job that is still wrong? Which is really cheaper? Someone who KNOWS what he's doing, or someone who's guessing?

Those few who visited Japan years ago were struck by the Japanese ethic of constantly striving for perfection in everything. The result of this continual parade of tiny improvements was, ultimately, Toyota pushing aside ALL of Detroit. Detroit had, by the '70's, been take over by "business" and "numbers" types ... long gone was any striving for excellence.

So, here I sit, in the poorest county of the poorest state. I have to wonder: is this "cheaper" ethic the result of the local poverty ... or the cause of it?

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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#209146 - 03/10/13 10:11 AM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6804
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Reno:
The 'cheap' virus is up here also, and without being offensive, the area is not the poorest. I see it, and it is increasing.

One side, save the required permit fees, and 'just do it', resulting in $2k in fines, permits, failed inspections, and corrections. Two (2) recent whole house genset installs.

More common of late is 'hiring the lowest' price, or bidder. Recently, service modifications at a shopping center, stretched out to an 18+ hour disaster. It was scheduled for 12 midnite Sat shutdown, and 8-9AM Sunday inspect and reconnect. Well, 6:10PM Sunday it was re-powered. Results, one days lost business for 3 resturants, and a very unhappy party that had to cancel.
_________________________
John

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#209150 - 03/10/13 10:54 AM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Unfortunately "cheap" won the war. In the 80s "quality" was the key word. We had "6 sigma" and "quality circles". Sony was our model.
In the 90s that changed to "Market Driven Quality". We we told that you can't provide more quality than the customer will pay for and WalMart was the model.
Unfortunately that was the one that still rules.
If you are shopping at a home store, that is what you get.
Home Depot competes with Lowes, not Graybar.
_________________________
Greg Fretwell

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#209152 - 03/10/13 01:25 PM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
Walmart has a second advantage. If you buy one, you'll be back soon to replace it when it breaks. Low price beats quality when money is tight.

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#209153 - 03/10/13 03:52 PM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I am in Mississippi County, Arkansas ... which government statistics describe as the poorest of the poor - even edging out that notorious West Virginia area. This town's population dropped from 18K to 12K in the last ten years (by Census).

Town as two electrical supply houses, one plumbing house, one HVAC house, and three bearing houses - courtesy of the local steel mills. Other than that. the 'home center' is the only game in town. There is no lumberyard, masonry supplier, door shop, or plumbing showroom.

I'm quite willing to go the extra mile - unhappy with the local shoe store, I just got some shoes (that fit!) off the internet. Whether it's shoes or building materials, these folks seem puzzled by folks like me, who will actually wait, and pay, to get the RIGHT stuff.

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#209158 - 03/10/13 04:40 PM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
Originally Posted By: renosteinke
I am in Mississippi County, Arkansas ... which government statistics describe as the poorest of the poor - even edging out that notorious West Virginia area. This town's population dropped from 18K to 12K in the last ten years (by Census).
I'm surprised anyone hires an electrician. In the early 90s I lived in a town that saw a drop from 30k to 24k and they only called tradespeople to see how much they could save by using a handyman. I called it "starting over".

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#209164 - 03/11/13 05:07 AM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
Tesla Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/04
Posts: 1280
Loc: Sacramento, CA
There are some limits to 'cheaper.'

My CraigsList used to have a slew of el cheapo electricians/ handymen....

Their prices, when quoted, were so low as to assure bankruptcy.

Six months later, 80% of the previous listers are 'gone.'

They're either working for a someone else, or have had to fold up shop. Because, free ads are, otherwise, pretty easy to justify.

===========

You know it's weird when a fellow is chasing business across 100 miles of city -- and offering free quotations.

===========

And, then, there's the warranty claims...

As a tradesman, I just can't afford to warrant the low end junk that the big box retails.

Indeed, I only want to install stuff that can't be instantly price shopped -- on the Internet or in the big box.

========

It is nice that the big boxes wildly overprice the nickel and dime extras.

During these hard times, I'm not inclined to give them any more business than I have to. Ultimately, my custom means less than nothing to them. Not withstanding their marketing blurbs, they don't have the talent to even know trade slang. They're only set up for retail buyers.

Even the biggest big box has only an aisle or two of electrical materials. This makes them a joke for anything beyond trunk slammers.

=====

Folks, we're in a Depression, the Greatest Depression. It's not politically correct to admit it, but there it is.

The best, functional, definition of a Depression is whenever real estate lending seriously contracts. When it happens on a global basis -- then you have the Greatest Depression.

Real estate lending is the actual source of modern, debt-based money. That's why the Federal Reserve Bank tracks M1 -- and lending -- like a hawk.

All lending creates money in a debt-based money system -- which is what the modern world uses. We're way past using copper, silver and gold metallic coins.

The experts all agree on this; which is why the US Government is spewing debt like crazy. The hope is that debt-backed money, US Treasury Bonds, will replace the money being destroyed by the regular paydown of mortgages -- across the entire economy.

The obvious flaw: government spending is sloppy, corruptable, and hence, not in any way as effective at economic growth as private transactions.

=======

What this means to us tradesmen: batten down the hatches. We're still in the early phases of a building contraction which will surpass all that have come before. (Because the boom was the biggest in human history -- my any metric.)

It's painful to accept, but our trade needs almost no apprentices, now or for years to come. Wireless communications is destroying the LV end of the wire running craft -- with a vengeance.

========

The focus should be on fixing DIY fiascos. In these times, every idiot under the sun is going to attempt to emulate our craft skills -- and dang near burn the house down.
_________________________
Tesla

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#209165 - 03/11/13 10:05 AM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
This must be a California thing. The house building business is coming back in Florida. I doubt it will get back to the silliness of 2005-6 where anyone with a rusty pair of Kliens and a mouth full of wire nuts could call himself an electrician but the good trades men are not having problems finding work.
_________________________
Greg Fretwell

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#209166 - 03/11/13 04:34 PM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6804
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Reno:
Just to clear something up, my comment above regarding the 'poorest' was not reflective of what you said. I should re-phrase that the area I work in is not considered 'poor' by any means, but people look for cheap!

The Twp I live in has lost mostly all of the neighborhood hardware stores, and I don't believe there is a shoe store within the Twp, except the chains in the shopping centers.
_________________________
John

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#209167 - 03/11/13 05:58 PM Re: "Cheaper" [Re: renosteinke]
mbhydro Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 344
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
One thing here in Winnipeg and probably elsewhere in North America that led to the demise of the local hardware store is the suppliers not wanting to ship small orders.

Lady that had a hardware store by my place closed a few years ago and said at the time one of the reasons she was closing is she could no longer order a box or two of product from the supplier.

She now had to buy case lots and that was going to be too much money tied up in inventory that would take a long time to sell.

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