Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dishwasher Shopping

There comes a time in  man's life when he must admit defeat.  That time came last week when our dishwasher broke.  I know, I know, you must be asking yourself why an independent man such as myself needs a dishwasher anyway?  I have my good old fashioned hands for the job, but let me tell you that I spent my whole life without a dishwasher, and this luxury is amazing when it comes to time management and water used.  Believe it or not, the total water used by a dishwasher is less then the amount you would use washing by hands. <citation here>  But that's not the point of this post.  Instead, I want to tell you how I got a great deal on the product.  Let me also put the caveat that my wife and I did take apart the whole machine to see if we could fix it, read the manual, and even had a repair guy come over.  Turns out the part that needed replacement cost as much as a new machine.

Before you purchase something like a dishwasher, you have to ask yourself whether it makes financial sense. Given the aforementioned citation, it looks like I may save about $40/year in water and electricity.  Besides the tangible costs, the intangible include my own time, my wife's time, and also the value of my property.  Overall, if I buy a cheap-medium grade dishwasher, I believe that it will pay for itself in about 4 years or so.

Once you've done a basic financial analysis, you can start shopping around.  In my case, I looked at the mainstays (Home Depot and Lowes), but I also checked a few other online retailers, and even a couple local shops.  I read all the reviews on dishwashers, and even did some searches for "best value" makes and models.  This led me to a 24in Frigidaire.  Lowe's gave it a 3 stars, and Home Depot gave it 4.  That's about what I'm looking for, as long as it washes the dishes half way decent.

Next came a road trip to both stores.  Both offered the same retail price and were willing to match at around $259.  This is where the fun happens.  Now, I'm not recommending one store or the other.  In fact, I think they both have their pluses and minuses, but the Home Depot salesman was not willing to give us anything below $259.  So, we hiked on over to Lowes, and talked it up with the Salesman.  He was a genuine fellow who laughed along with us.  He said he would match the $259, and use our $20 coupon bringing the total down to $239.  As he was ringing us out, something amazing happened; with a few key stroke, he too off another $50, bringing the total pre-tax cost to $189!  He laughed, said we were good people, and also reminded us that he doesn't make a commission.  I don't know if he used some sort of employee pricing, or somehow over-rided the system, but I was not about to ask the questions.  We thanked him for his kindness and walked out of there.

I attribute only the first $20 of my experience to actual frugal discipline and smart consumerism, but there is something else to be learned here; that additional $50 in savings were the result of the salesperson liking us.  Granted, we got lucky, but we also had a good time with the salesman before any discount was applied.  Next time you're about to buy something, remember that the store staff are people too and treat them with a little alacrity.  Now for my own installation...

Wonderful Moment of the Day:  This didn't happen today, but my story above was pretty freakin wonderful!

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