Tag Archives: advertising

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.

There’s Something About “Mary” (and Colder’s)…

“Mary” takes time–on Easter Day, of all days–to give us her apparent best: a curt yet carefully constructed point of view regarding our post Colder’s of Grafton – Beware The Sales Stalker:

Classy.“Mary”, you certainly do make a valid point about us being losers! In a retail sense, as consumers who’ve spent money at Colder’s expecting to be treated honestly, fairly, and with respect, we are indeed huge losers so far! And so are many other people who have given Colder’s their hard-earned money at one time or another. We’re all big losers because we shopped at Colder’s!

As for getting a life, “Mary”, that really got us pondering! Who might have less of a life and more urgently need to “get” one: people raising awareness of a company ripping off consumers, detailing shoddy customer service and their experiences so others don’t make the same mistakes, or employees who willingly take 100%-commission jobs and then reduce and demean themselves chasing down shoppers like the filthiest of lawyers chase down ambulances? We prefer to remain in the non-stalking, pro-consumer, down-with-crap-companies camp, thank-you-oh-so-very-much.

We then wondered: could someone be considered a big loser lacking a life if they spent part of their Easter Sunday leaving comments like yours, above? Any insight there, “Mary”?

At least you didn’t call us extortionists!

“Mary”, it’s perfectly OK to disagree with us. Really! However, a tip, if you don’t mind one: if you really want to have an impact, some actual substance to accompany the grade-school-variety name calling might help you establish your position and even ‘win’ the discussion.

For example: what about our observations and opinions lead you to believe we have no lives? What is it that you feel really, truly makes us big losers? If you work for Colder’s, or have some other less-direct affiliation with them, that alone is OK; we definitely don’t hate you or anyone else for just that, at all. There’s really no need to take any of this personally, either, “Mary”. What parts of our very real observations, opinions and feelings about our Colder’s experiences bother you so much, and why?

As it stands, “Mary”, you’re apparently calling us names like some kind of self-indulgent, insolent child for pointing out–truthfully and honestly, by the way–that we don’t like to be treated badly. Do we want to be literally hunted like so much prey in the case of the Grafton Sales Stalker when we visit a Colder’s store–or any retail store? No, thank you, we do not. Do you?

We previously wrote:

[…] 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.

Reading that, your get-a-life/big-loser comment really doesn’t make any sense–to us, anyway–unless you’re the stalker or are otherwise just trying (and failing) to defend the stalker, Colder’s itself, or both.

Do you believe being treated like that as a customer is acceptable? Would you honestly appreciate that as a consumer? Is such behavior appropriate for any salesperson? Would such a technique get you to spend a lot of money with that salesperson and their store/company? Did you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, “Mary”?

So please, do feel free to try again, “Mary”. Really. We’re listening and want to hear what you have to say, assuming you actually have more to say. While we have stated many times that we value every comment we receive, some are ultimately more–or less–valuable than others. Try to make your next one really count. OK, “Mary”?

And again, reiterating: We absolutely recognize commission sales jobs can be hard. We know a lot of good people work them. Many because they have no choice. Others because they’re good at it. And some people even like it. We do indeed recognize and respect the work and people out there doing it. But in the case of the Grafton Sales Stalker, we’re confused about how throwing all dignity and self-esteem out the window is even remotely worth whatever money she might make from it. We’re not laughing at this person. We feel sorry for her. Such extreme behavior is embarrassing to watch. It seems so…desperate. Unnecessary. Rude. It’s very uncomfortable for us as shoppers. It does not make us want to visit Colder’s Northshore in Grafton or any other retail establishment that has employees behaving like that. We have avoided the Grafton Colder’s many times because we just don’t want to be accosted by that woman yet again. We’re convinced she drives away more sales than she makes, stalking people like that.

By the way, “Mary”, before we forget: we were completely unable to reach you at the “biteme@msn.com” email address you provided. Maybe just leave us your @colders.com email address next time? Thanks again for your comment, “Mary”!

Colder’s Furniture Tries Hooking Yet Another Victim?

Hook Line and SinkerWe received the following comment last night, left in response to our post “Colder’s ‘Half Back’ Promotion Might Be A Scam”, from a kind but apparently unfortunate reader, Lisandra, currently caught up her own Colder’s Mess.

Here’s the full text of that comment, reposted here so it hits our RSS feed and gets as much online reach as possible:

hi alex,

boy, i sure wish i had come across your blog before i went shopping at colders! jeez, where do i start?

on 3/5 i went in to take advantage of their serta ‘full back’ offer. i bought a matteress set for about $1750 (reg price). so then i was able to pick out $1750 in ‘free’ stuff…at reg price. i bought a bed frame (850) a blue-ray (409) and a ‘19 tv (400) . not too bad of a ‘deal’. i had to pay less than $50 difference., no big deal. i priced the serta set (online and on sale) for about $1200-1300. so i feel i got a good deal. BUT…..(hear comes the problem) ………..

……that night i also purchased a floor model tv for $1150. (reg price was around 1600?) i didn’t receive any cash back because it was clearenced and a floor model. ok, no problem. i took home the tv that night and the next morning when i hooked everything up and turned it on, a blue vertical line from top to bottom, a quarter of the way in from the left, appears on the screen. wtf? i played around with the remote and all the settings to see if that might have fixed it…nope. i called colders and they told me i is probably the cable reception. so i called time warner and set up a time for them to come out and ‘fix’ it. that was on 3/10. just as i though, it wasn’t any problem with the signal. so i called colders for the 2nd about the issue and was told to talk to the salesperson who sold me the tv. of course, he was not there at that time. so i called the next day and was able to speak with him and he said i needed to speak with someone in service, so i was transferred. the person in sales told me i needed to speak with, yet another person, jim who has already left for the day! and won’t be back until monday!! ugh!!!!

so now, over a week goes by, and its the 6th time i call about this situation with no results. i finally was able to get ahold of ‘jim’ on 3/16 and told him what is going on and basically told him i want to just return the tv. he then has me transferred to another guy, whose higher up, and when he gets on the phone he basically tells me i can’t return it and its per manufacturers policy and that the tv needs to come in to be serviced. they would be able to come to my house to pick it up on the27th or 4/2…lol you have to be kidding!? i told him that i’ll be in that night to bring it in. so, i take it back to colders and told them i’m returning it. the poor girl in customer service/pick-up location didn’t know what to do. she was calling to 3-4 people to get an answer about taking a return and all each and every one of the people she talked to seemed like they didn’t want to ‘help’ or get involved…….

so, i left the tv there to be repaired, but was told to call the next day (which was today) and talk to the cust. serv. mgr. was told she works from 9-4:30. i called around 1pm and aked for her and was told she ‘left for the day’. boy, if i’m not getting the run around, wtf gives!!!!!??????? now i feel foolish because they have my money AND my tv!

Colder’s, shame on you–again and again and again.

We’d call this unbelievable, but unfortunately, stories like this are apparently entirely common. So sorry, Lisandra. :(  Which Colder’s location? Do you have any more details regarding the names and exact positions/titles of people with whom you’ve spoken? We’d be happy to out them all.

As we mentioned in our comment reply to Lisandra, there may be other options available to you, if you feel you’ve been swindled by Colder’s (or anyone else). You may have recourse if you paid with a credit card (including many debit cards, Visa/Mastercard-logo’ed or not). You can dispute charges with your bank/credit card provider and possibly get the item(s) charged back and off your account. Your bank/card provider may offer other buyer-protection options as well. Call them and ask; it’s good information to know anyway.

Additionally, you can always contact your state’s Attorney General’s office and file a consumer complaint. Here’s the Wisconsin Attorney General’s site for filing:

http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/cp/consumerinfo/cp/complaint-form/file_complaint.jsp

Please, good readers, help us help the rest of you. Get the word out. We hate reading these stories (this one was definitely not the first). We hate that Colder’s business model seems to predicate heavily upon an ability to play hard-working Milwaukee-area consumers for suckers. Talk to other people. Share your experiences here. Milwaukee, southeastern Wisconsin, northern Illinois… they all need to know about this bad-apple retailer.