Category Archives: General

Colder’s Math: “Voodoo Economics”

The holiday shopping season is upon us. Colder’s has at least one “new” promotion–or, rather, a new twist on their old trick–called

“Full Back ~PLUS~ $50 for Every $500 You Spend!”

In a nutshell, it’s the same full-back promotion they’ve always had… with some extra sizzle thrown on top, in case the old full-back/half-back parlor tricks just weren’t pulling you in.

Don’t fall for it.

“Sparky” left a great comment on another Colder’s post we thought we would share with you, if you’re still confused or otherwise considering shopping at Colder’s:

I question previous individuals stating that Colder’s is lowering their margins in a time of need or that this is the ultimate good deal. I will admit that at the end of the day this is a ‘good deal’ but only if you enjoy giving Colder’s increased profit margins way above what they should be receiving.

Our story is that we say a dining room set we loved at $1,200. That qualified us for the “full back” promotion and we would get an additional $1,200 as a store credit. They are also currently having an additional 5% bonus so my credit was $1,300. We wanted to buy a dishwasher with the credit and found a nice Professional Frigidaire we liked that also had great reviews.

So, the normal price on the Frigidaire was $750 but the “full back credit” price was $1,060 so basically I was giving Colder’s $360 of my credit back as pure profit to them and nothing to show for it. This is in addition to paying a $400 premium price for the dining room set above their normal price.

Bottom line is that to get my dining room set and a dishwasher, I would be giving Colder’s $710 of my $1,300 credit as pure profit to line their pockets. This is above and beyond the normal profit they receive on the items at the regular prices.

What’s even better is that Best Buy had the exact same dishwasher on sale for $595 with an instant $20 coupon and they also told me about $100 in rebates Frigidaire was offering so I got the dishwasher for $475. Something our salesman at Colder’s neglected to tell us about…..

It was smoke and mirrors from the moment we walked in the door. I spent 20 minutes with him on Saturday and another 30 minutes with him on Sunday. I have his scribble card right here in front of me and none of it makes sense. Voodoo Economics. For the record I have an undergraduate degree in Economics and a Masters in Finance and I’ve worked in the Financial Services industry for 20 years. If I can’t make heads or tails out of this, I’m sure non-numbers people would be baffled by it (or just overwhelmed by the slick sales pitch and just buy everything out of blind faith that they are getting a good deal).

Could I have bought the table at the normal price and bypassed the “full back” promotion? Yes, and the price was $870. However, that was still a normal everyday price with no discounts for the holiday or any sales pricing. Based on my experience this weekend and the smoke and mirrors games, I refuse to give them anything going forward (and I’ve spent probably $5,000 over the years at Colder’s before these types of sales evolved – they used to be a great place to shop).

All they are doing is marking everything up 25 to 30% above the “normal” prices to create the cushion for the “full or half back” promotions. What they fail to tell you is that you are giving them back the 25 to 30% of your rebate in addition to the profit margins they already have built into the normal pricing. [emphasis is ours –alexfalkenberg.com] Nothing illegal about it and if they get people to buy from them, good for them – it’s a free market society. However, it won’t be from me anymore. There are way too many other options out there from stores that don’t play games.

Read it. Twice. Then read it again. You’ll hopefully now find yourself considering and favoring furniture and appliance destinations that are not Colder’s.

Be safe and smart this holiday season, folks. Thanks again to “Sparky” for sharing his experience with all of us.

Colder’s of Grafton – Beware The Sales Stalker

The following has no specific ties to the still-ongoing issue we’re having with Colder’s, although it is about the same Colder’s store location in Grafton, WI that’s the source of all of our cash-back misery and anger.

There’s a salesperson at the Grafton Colder’s store that seems to hang out just past the staircase, close to a desk near the front end of the center area of the store. She acts like some sort of crazed attack dog or starving wolf. If she sees you walk in the door, she will beat a path to you to hound and hound and hound you. Even when telling her–politely, repeatedly, adamantly–that you don’t want to be bothered at ALL, she still forces herself on you, shoving business cards at you, spewing on and on about who-knows-what.

And then she proceeds to stalk you around the store, lurking about 50-100 feet or so away, trying to lag back behind displays, even following you around upstairs if you go up there, waiting to pounce.

We don’t know her name, but if you’ve ever been to the Grafton Colder’s, you probably know who we’re talking about.

Gonna Get You!Lady, people NOTICE. You might otherwise be a really nice person, but it’s too much. We don’t want to buy from someone that’s constantly accosting us with all the pressure they can muster. We’re sure others feel the same way. Really. It will never work in your favor.

For us, she really excels at making the Colder’s shopping experience feel extra sleazy and high-pressure. The problem for her is that we have absolutely no interest in buying from someone that doesn’t respect us, our space, or our time to shop at our own leisure. We can’t check out items in the store when we’re feeling eyes burning into our backs as we’re standing there. We feel like meat.

We’ve avoided shopping at Colder’s of Grafton many, many times because we do not appreciate being virtually mauled by this woman–seriously, every. single. time. we’re. there.  The last few times we were there, we’d actually preemptively run up the stairs or duck into the elevator, or take any other wide path in the store in an attempt to steer well clear of her.

Of course, again, this isn’t the only problem we have with/at the Grafton Colder’s store; there’s that one other lingering problem, too.

Colder’s Current Fib, The New Year’s Sale TV Ad…?

Not Real MoneyNowhere in Colder’s latest TV commercial for their recent if not still-ongoing New Year’s Sale do they go out of their way to mention any real exclusions or restrictions about the entire deal other than stating simply, “75% of our stuff qualifies” (paraphrased)… which is surely just referring to a customer’s ability to receive any money-back credit from Colder’s in the first place…?

No real nuts-and-bolts mention of how you can–or, most critically, how you can’t–spend the credit. Just the presented notion that you’re going to get a free dollar for every dollar you spend, to use at Colder’s however you please.

In fact, Colder’s New Year’s Sale ad even goes so far as to visually depict the cash-back credit as actual US currency–with their onscreen character clearly, specifically handing back a dollar bill for every dollar bill it receives.

Deceptive? You decide.

So, Colder’s: Is the ‘Half Back’ or ‘Full Back’ or ‘Quarter Back’ or ‘Spend a Dollar Get a Dollar’ credit the same as cash, or isn’t it? Back in July 2008, when we spent $1200 bucks at your Grifte…err, Grafton location, it sure was supposed to be, according to your salesperson. Even your latest television ads continue to (quite directly) suggest it’s true!

This New Year’s Sale television commercial is Yet Another Colder’s Ad that seemingly says one thing when the reality may actually be something rather different. Imagine your shock if you came back a second time to use your credit and find you were unable to use it on a slew of merchandise, including any and all items with advertised sales pricing, and floor models. The very credit that got you into the store. The credit you were told was the same as cash. The credit may likely never be allowed to leave the store–not entirely intact, anyway.

It doesn’t quite seem kosher to us to offer and advertise something for sale at one price, then look at how you’re planning to pay for it and say “oh yeah, that price on the tag there… you can’t have it.”

Colder’s… where the “Something More!” customers get might otherwise be described as an unwelcome and unfriendly and seemingly unethical–if not also illegal–Gotcha! And really, even if they are now telling customers about this particular restriction as they’re shopping initially, they may still have been lured into the store by a current Colder’s ad and it’s apparently-deceptive premise that they’d be getting dollar-for-dollar credit to put toward additional “Something More!” merchandise of their choosing.

One Milllllion Dollars

We suppose as long as you understand that you may not really be getting a real dollar back for every very-real dollar you spend, you can go right ahead and overspend buying stuff at Colder’s you should easily be able to find–likely at a better price–at nearly any other Milwaukee-area retailer that sells what Colder’s ‘sells’; Colder’s imports products from China just like other similar area retailers.

But honestly, you as a consumer should be smarter than that. We were not, and we’re learning that now. Shop around. Don’t patronize Colder’s unless you really, truly understand what you’re getting–or more specifically, not getting. Don’t get stuck with a half-baked cash-back credit you’ll find hard if not impossible to use. And again, because it’s so very important: GET IT ALL IN WRITING, no matter where you ultimately end up.