Category Archives: Milwaukee

Colder’s Is Doing It Wrong – And Not Just in Grafton

The following comment was submitted by Tim on 21 March 2009 in response to our post “Colder’s Furniture ‘Fan’ Calls US Extortionists “. We reply immediately afterwards.

Tim’s comment:

I absolutely hate colders pricing methods.

The main issue with the full back or buy back program is that the “retail” price or higher price on their tags is SOOOOO expensive, that it’s inconceivable that anyone would be stupid enough to buy an item at their “retail” price.

The other price they have on the tag is “floor model” price which means that you must take the item off the floor. This to me is not consumer friendly. Also, with the economy the way it is, the floor model price is now the same price for a new item in the box. Colders is starting to realize how uncompetitive they really are.

Their sticker pricing is so ridiculous, that any good consumer who does his or her homework should be able to spot these ridiculous prices and not be fooled.

Please do your homework before you make an expensive purchase and you will not get burned.

I honestly believe that the Colders in Grafton will not be open much longer. The store is never busy, and even the Sales Associates who are 100% commission have commented to me on how ridiculously over priced their “retail” price is.

Thanks for sharing, Tim.

We believe Tim is spot-on about Colder’s pricing. We’ve had people defending their pricing, being OK with paying hundreds more for an item because they were getting “money back” toward “something more”. We admit we don’t quite get it. That “something more” has to then be purchased at Colder’s regular-retail price, which we’ve often seen to be high compared to competitors, so where exactly are the big savings? And even if you do manage to score a deal and save, say, a couple hundred bucks…if you end up having problems or need something after the sale–we’ve read enough reports of Colder’s showing absolutely no interest in fixing items or otherwise taking good care of honest customers–was it really worth it?

Not Colder's Merchandise...Yet?Once they have your money, apparently, that’s it for them. Some deal that is, right? And your cash-back credit? That’s money in their pocket, too, if you end up not cashing it in…

We drive on I-43 and Hwy 60 past the Grafton store quite often, sometimes several times a day, and definitely agree with Tim’s won’t-last-much-longer assessment. The parking lot is almost always embarrassingly empty. We can recall only a few times where there was more than one other party of shoppers in the store at the same time we were. That can’t be sustainable for too (much) long(er)…

We also don’t get how Colder’s sales associates deal with it. We’re not surprised to read Tim has heard sales associates complain, either. Colder’s salespeople are paid on a 100% commission basis, as Tim mentioned; we can’t imagine any sane person taking such a job at a virtual ghost town, or lasting very long there if they did. If they’re busy, at Colder’s normal prices, it certainly has the potential to be lucrative, but the lack of customers means lack of sales, which in the case of a 100%-commission position means a total lack of income

It’s crazy to stand around all day earning nothing. Maybe that explains the behavior of the saleslady that’s stalked us through the Grafton store so many times, too.

The Colder’s Northshore/Grafton problem will become more exacerbated or maybe even solve itself by way of store closure if/when Steinhafels builds more or less right across the street; Steinhafels allegedly owns property right off that same I-43 exit and it’s assumed they will eventually build a store/showroom there. (Disclaimer: this is not in any way an endorsement of Steinhafels.)

We definitely think there’s demand for a bigger-box-variety retail furniture store in that part of Ozaukee County. But Colder’s isn’t it, by our own estimation, and it’s increasingly clear it’s their own fault–brought about by terrible pricing, ridiculous promotions, unethical sales behaviors, general rudeness, poor customer service all the way up their corporate ladder to Colder’s corporate head of “Customer Service” Sue Lewicki, and likely beyond. Before, during and after the sale. And not limited to just the Grafton/Northshore location, either.

Company-wide, they’re Doing It Wrong.

Really, about the only thing we think they do right is provide a relatively large selection of merchandise (which does not, to our knowledge, include the Inflatable Toast Mattress, pictured above…). Nearly everything Colder’s sells you can find–and buy–elsewhere in the Milwaukee area or even online, easily enough.

Avoiding Colder’s Furniture — Some Options

Alternatives to Colder'sYou do have options–lots of them in fact. Shop around.

There are plenty of places in the Milwaukee area that sell bedroom, living room, dining room, home office, appliances, and electronics merchandise. Consider going to any one of them instead of patronizing Colder’s. This list is far from complete, in fact; do your own online search–for furniture in the case of the graphic above–and you’ll find plenty of alternatives to Colder’s that may provide a much better shopping experience before, during, and after the sale.

The quality of the merchandise at these alternative businesses is generally the same (lots of it imported from China), or better. Don’t get sucked in by Colder’s Half-Back, Full-Back, “Something More”, “Spend a Dollar, Get a Dollar” ads on TV and elsewhere, either, unless you really shop around and know what you’re doing. It may or may not be a better deal in the end.

Many of these other stores will have better everyday pricing than Colder’s. You might even avoid being stalked throughout the store like a piece of meat, too.

We are NOT endorsing any of the stores listed in the graphic above. Any of them–all of them–could potentially rip you off or cause you grief in some fashion, maybe in the same or a similar way Colder’s is ripping off us and others.

You may notice that Colder’s isn’t even listed in the short results; they don’t show up in the extended results until several pages later. From our perspective at this point, the farther down the list, the better.

Colder’s Furniture “Fan” Calls US Extortionists

We felt the need to respond more directly to the following comment, submitted by Brett on 08 March 2009 in response to our post “Colder’s ‘Half Back’ Promotion Might Be A Scam” (added emphasis is ours):

the half back credit can save you money in the long run. the promotion should be used all at once. if you walk out of the store with a credit for a future date, then why didnt you purchase the item at the lower price in the first place? the way the promotion was explained to me is that it can save you money on a “package price”. that means that buying multiple items and issueing/redeeming all at once can save money. it saved more money on the multiple t.v.s we bought than anyone else would try to save us. plain and simple, if you want to use the credit to extort a sale item, then dont be surprised when they dont like losing money so you can save a dollar.

just my $.02

We’d like to reiterate that we truly appreciate every legitimate comment we receive, regardless of its position or opinion.

That said, we’re not going to let stuff slide like calling us extortionists. Re-read what we’ve written here; we’re not the swindlers.

We sat on the above comment for a while. We’re still not sure if this was from a Colder’s employee feeling the need to ‘reach out’ on the defensive as Unpaid Company Cheerleader, but it certainly has that kind of feel. There’s simply too much about the comment that doesn’t ring true for us based on our own Colder’s experiences and comments we’ve received or seen/heard elsewhere.

Of course, we may be wrong, and we’re willing to admit as much if it’s actually true. And we do realize, of course, that the possibility may truly exist that:

  • We have a comment from a legitimately-happy customer of Colder’s who had a positive experience with their Half-Back promotion, and
  • He enjoyed that experience so much he had to share it with us, and
  • He also enjoyed it so much he ALSO believes our bad experience can’t possibly be true, and
  • The only logical, possible explanation for all of our Colder’s posts here is because we’re trying to extort money or merchandise from Colder’s.

Imagine. You can draw your own conclusions.

There’s really very little else to say here. We’re not at all shocked that Colder’s “dont like losing money so [we] can save a dollar.” Clearly, from Colder’s completely arrogant and indifferent dismissal of our concerns, particularly by Colder’s corporate Customer Service manager Sue Lewicki, that’s all this is about: the money.

For us, it really boils down to one thing: a principle. Something that’s one of the most basic tenets of good business. Something that anyone not only versed in basic customer service should know, but as a professional in charge of same at the corporate level, should completely understand–live and breathe–and want to aspire to, as much as possible: keeping promises. Telling the truth. Honoring commitments.

Colder's Which Side?We’re not here saying “the customer is always right”, because the customer isn’t always right. We’re here saying “if a customer gives you money, and you say you’re giving them X in return, you damn well better give them X like you said you would.”

It’s that simple. Honesty. Integrity. Pick either one; Colder’s seems to lack it. But, according to Brett, we’re the extortionists. You and me. All of us, dirty thieving consumers. For trying to get companies like Colder’s to give us what we paid for. Riiight.