Hand Tools Archive

A cost perspective - the +10% sale
Response To:
Re: American thievery ()

david weaver
Years ago, before Hartville (I think it was Hartville) undertook a very expensive building project, they had a woodnet discount and would run a sale once per year that they charged +10% on everything.

If it was Holbren or I have the wrong retailer, I apologize, but I remember numbers, not names - failing of my life in general, not being able to remember verbal things, but spatial and numbers, no problem.

At any rate, you ordered everything you wanted from the store (not knowing what the price would be) and they calculated their cost and added 10%. That was the deal - you buy on faith.

I ordered several things from Norton that were US made at the time, and I took the opportunity to order some wall lumber rack systems. The norton stuff barely came down in price, and the lumber racks ended up being 35% of regular price. The racks were made in china or taiwan. I had lamented rockler slowly getting rid of everything that had any underlying cost in favor of melamine/plastic/anodized aluminum imported crap, but until then, I had no idea how big the difference was in retailer cost vs. retailer price. What sells now? Things that people can get a coupon offer on. A coupon offer on the norton products would probably have eliminated the retailer's profit. On the lumber racks, they'd be happy to sell a gaggle of them at 25% off and if some get returned, no problem.

I know Warren in this instance is talking about western made tools and the fact that they're being sold by people who don't know everything they should about all of the designs, or maybe act like they don't. They don't have an ire from me, though - they're selling to their market and it's pretty transparent as far as I can tell.

I have a less favorable opinion about a retailer who may do something like take a DMT or ezelap product off of the wall and put a trend diamond hone "kit" on the wall for more money than the DMT cost. They've just taken a bit out of both sides.

Seeing the difference in cost and the stupid gimmick garbage that a lot of retailers like to do now (tout "customer service" on low cost imported junk -stew mac comes to mind on the guitar side, they boast of customer service all the time, but retail common things from china that I can just get off of aliexpress for $2 for something more like $12. The tools that they used to have (they've always been expensive) that were made in japan slowly disappear for same looking imported versions of lower quality. They hope to capitalize on quotes from people about "service" and exchanging defective junk that never should've been swapped out. That's my opinion, of course. We see the same thing at retailers.

I trekked over to aliexpress yesterday to see what those $17 rosewood butt chisels sell for as an individual set - something on the alibaba side usually shows up on the express side as a single offering. The price on the aliexpress side? $1 more than woodcraft. Anyone think that's by chance? I don't. I think that kind of thing is by agreement - there are too many other sellers peddling $8 sets of chisels - I'm sure if one of them could get 500 sets of those rosewood chisels and sell them in the "express" retail side for double the $17, they'd do it quickly.

But, you're right. As far as the shell game goes with that stuff - it's up to the buyer to look around. It may be the case that in the age of amazon and ebay, the retailers who are left wouldn't be in business without that game. When I got lumber racks for 65% off, I knew there was no chance that we'd ever see good domestic supply goods for a reasonable price again. The "buy it and return it" mentality makes it impossible to sell that stuff. Norton's wares have gone to mexico for production since, at least a lot of them, I'm sure due to retailer demands that the wholesale cost needs to come down to support the coupon model and the fact that buyers return stuff just because they changed their mind.

I consider LN and LV to be some of the few bright spots less, even if I think I could plane everyone on their staff under the table without working very hard.

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