The Tale of the New Stove

I’ve talked this last week of my kitchen appliance issues.  It was getting annoying, so with money in hand I started to look at replacing my stove and dishwasher.

I like to spend money.  I don’t spend much anymore, but I wouldn’t have the debt I do if I hadn’t known how to spend it at some point.  After tightening our belts when moving to SmallTown, I noticed a funny thing.  As soon as I’ve given myself permission to buy something I lose a lot of interest in it.  So now that I had money to buy new appliances, I didn’t really want to do it.  As soon as I’d given myself permission to go out and spend I decided that maybe these old ones weren’t as inconvenient after all.

My family and friends thought I was nuts.  Friends especially couldn’t believe that I’d suffered through so many months with these crazy things.  Watching my mom help make Easter dinner last year was particularly funny…she couldn’t believe that my oven really DID change temperatures 5 or 6 times in  half an hour.  She’d heard me complain during our phone conversations but until that visit I think she thought I was merely exaggerating.

We were still a one vehicle family at the time, just having our van.  I knew I didn’t want to pay delivery charges for the 30-70 miles it could be to shop out of town for better deals, so I decided I’d find the best deals locally.  There are two appliance stores in SmallTown so I figured I’d find something reasonable.

In my dreams I’d love a huge stove with two ovens, stainless steel maybe…you know, a dream stove.  That was NOT what I was shopping for.  First it would look quite out of place in my modest kitchen.  Second, that is WAY more money than I intended to spend.  After thinking about it (for months) I decided that I had to have just a few small things…a window in the oven door, self-clean feature and it needed to be white.

As I began my search I learned from a nice salesman about differences in burners (I already knew I did not want a flat top but didn’t realize there are variations in the coil style) and I noticed that there was a difference in oven capacities.  So now I added high efficiency burners to my list as well as a larger oven capacity.

The store with the nice salesman couldn’t offer installation of the dishwasher so we’d have to hire someone to do that.  And they only offered a couple of dishwashers to choose from.  Also their selection of electric stoves was quite small.

The other store had much more to choose from but the staff was made up of a few odd guys.  They were always pleasant but didn’t seem to remember me from time to time when I was in looking…and they weren’t very eager to make a deal.

I first went in and explained to one of the main salesmen what I was looking for.  They had just the oven I wanted but it wasn’t white.  He assured me they could get me white for another $120.  What???  There was no negotiating.  I declined having them order it in, wrote down prices and left.

A week later I went back to look around again.  The same gentleman helped me and seemed to have no recollection of our previous meeting.  I asked some questions, expanded my browsing to include the wall of dishwashers and then left.

Now, I’ve never been much of a negotiator.  I will bargain at garage sales but generally don’t in the retail world.  But with cash literally in hand and Dave Ramsey’s urging I figured I’d give it a try.  So far, no good.

Several days pass and my husband and I decide to go look together.  He tends to leave this stuff up to me but I think he was eager for me to buy something already. Again I was treated like I was a stranger off the street.  Same employees at work…but they didn’t seem to remember that I was the girl shopping stoves. We looked, asked a few questions and again went home still holding our fist full of cash.

A few more days and I go back AGAIN…not a glimmer of recognition on the employees faces.  Am I being punked?  Is this the Twilight Zone??  I’m really starting to wonder.

Over the course of this several weeks I’ve asked what the lowest price is. The price is what’s listed there. I’ve asked if I could get a discount for buying both the dishwasher and stove.  Sorry ma’am, we only give discounts on three appliance package purchases. How about free delivery or free disposal of our old appliances?  Oh no, we can’t do that.

I got a written quote on the two appliances and left.  I couldn’t believe that these people weren’t willing to work a little harder to get my money.  Most people I knew couldn’t believe I wouldn’t buy the dumb stove already!

I waited longer this time and went back once more.  Of course they didn’t remember me so I thought I’d use it to my advantage and question the lowest prices on the appliances I’d pretty much decided on over a month ago.  They couldn’t match the prices on the folded paper in my purse but would throw in a free cord for the stove.  I produced the quoted prices and ordered my appliances.  Then I reminded them not to forget that free cord when they delivered everything.

But I didn’t pay cash.  After all the work I did to get a few dollars knocked off of the full price and probably due to the stellar customer service, I put it on my rewards credit card.  They could pay the 2 or 3% to the credit card company and I’d take the rewards points.  I had given them the chance to give me a cash discount.  Then I went home and made the payment to my credit card.

I couldn’t help but wonder why it had to be so hard…little did I know the fun part still hadn’t happened.  Tune in next week if you want to hear about delivery and installation.

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