Tag Archives: Something More

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 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.