Friday, August 28, 2009

Helping The Little Guy

I spent all of yesterday running around trying to match the granite in my kitchen for a couple of projects I'm planning.

I want a desk built into the kitchen and some cubbie holes built into this ridiculous hunk of wall that separates my kitchen from my family room. This wall is so annoying. It's a low wall so that you can see into each room from the other, but the counter is a catch all for all of Ted's electronics and the actual wall is just a huge piece of plaster in the middle of the room--no purpose whatsever. So I came up with an idea of building cubbie holes into the side of the wall that faces the kitchen to hold cook books, pottery, etc. I want to add granite to the top of the counter to match what's already in the kitchen. Maybe if it looks pretty, I can keep it clear of Ted's "stuff".

I hired a carpenter who could do the work and he proceeded to order the desk that would match my cabinets from the cabinet maker. When he came back with the price for the desk I almost fainted. $1700!!! Plus $400 if we wanted the cabinet makers to install the desk. I was flabbergasted. I had looked the cabinets up on the internet and this cabinet store (a small mom and pop store in a neighboring town) was the only distributor that I found. I asked the carpenter if he had any other ideas. He thought of building the desk himself and getting the cabinet fronts from the cabinet store so that from the outside all would match. This should cost me less money. When he took this idea back to the cabinet store, the owner was not too enthused.

In desperation, I went back to the internet and lo and behold, I must have missed it the first time but I found that Loew's carried my cabinets. I went to Loew's, told them what I needed and the cabinet specialist entered a few bits of information into the computer and out came a drawing of the desk and a price. The price was $890. Again, I was flabbergasted. Of course, I ordered the desk from Loews.

I've talked to a few cabinet store owners since and from what I can understand, this particular store is way out of line. A 20% markup is understandable but 50%?

I'm always torn between doing business with the small stores versus the big box stores. For a time I would not do business with WalMart because I thought they put small stores out of business. Living on a fixed income and a deep recession has changed my ways as I need the best price I can get, but I still feel badly when I see small enterprises go out of business. Had this cabinet store owner's price been under $1000, he would have had my business but an exorbitant price made me go looking for other options.

Is it greed or is he just compensating for slow sales by marking up what he does sell? No matter, at the end of the day, I felt good that I'd done my homework and saved some money for another project.

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