Letters to the Editor

Changing times

October 28, 2009


To the editor:

I recently went to a large, venerable department store on South Iowa Street, checkbook in hand, intending to buy a freezer. The price was $178. I was ready to pay for it, when I asked if there was a delivery charge. The salesperson said that it was a flat $65. I thought I had heard wrong. Could a local delivery cost half again as much as the purchase? No deal — just on principle! I’d rather have my frozen foods rot than to succumb to extortion.

She assured me that I was not the first to walk out for that very reason. On my way out, by coincidence, I saw a store supervisor. I told him why I was leaving without my intended purchase. He seemed not to care and casually explained that that’s just the way it is.

I did not see one other customer in the store — not one! Now, these are clearly hard economic times for stores as well as customers. One would expect such a respected establishment to be grateful for an authentic customer rather than to engage in unfair pricing and a cavalier attitude towards its patrons. My parents always shopped at this time-honored store. The store used to have the reputation of giving their customers the best prices and of treating them in “the old fashioned way.” Well, Mom and Pops, I think times have changed!


Nikki May 8 years, 4 months ago

You should check other places. Well, I'm hoping you did. We were looking for a washer and dryer and most places would deliver free or cheap and haul off our old ones.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

Hey Jan, shoulda called Joan. I have a truck and a dolly. I'll do it for a flagon of Free State Porter.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago


It's not that - it's just that there's a noticeable lack of competence in Lawrence.

I've had trouble finding competent mechanics, real estate agents, banks, contractors of various kinds, etc.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 4 months ago

tom... dude, you never pay for delivery unless its free? wow. lol

hey, its all a racket. salina is the same way. always trying to make 25 cents out of a nickel. it gets old but you should brace yourself and expect it anymore.

shaynek 8 years, 4 months ago

You have to keep in mind it doesn't matter what the price of the merchandise is the cost of delivery doesn't change. How do you think the costs are covered to pay the delivery drivers salary, fuel, wear and tear on the truck. The profit margin on electronics, appliances etc. today is so slim that it is impossible to offer free delivery for some companies. You talk about the "mom & pop" treatment, with so many big box chains trying to have a race to the bottom, the "mom & pop" stores have been put out of business. So if you want the mom and pop treatment you should start supporting the mom and pop stores that are left. Or suck it up and pay the delivery charge.

Jimo 8 years, 4 months ago

Agree with shaynek. Thanks for supporting chain, out of town businesses and then making us listen to your whinging when they find you to be too insignificant to accommodate.

MYOB 8 years, 4 months ago

How about this? The price of the freezer is $243 and you get free delivery! Now will you buy it? That's the game that's played between retailers. Jan doesn't want to have to pay that much for delivery, probably because she's like many and only thinks about the gas cost to drive to her house. Shaynek is right about the costs incurred, not to mention liability insurance just in case that "antique" front door is damaged or her grandma's ash urn is destroyed by after bumping into it and she sues for emotional damage. Delivery price isn't based on the price of the item. Get real.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

For price, service and straight forward talk go to Stoneback's next door to the Merc at 9th and Iowa.

Been doing business there for years. Customer service is a priority.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

1 hour at $15 for labor. 12.5 miles at $0.40 per mile. $35 for lawyers (included in the insurance fee). $10 for dept store paperwork.

There's yer cost breakdown.

Lawrence has many competent lawyers and insurance salespeople.

None of whom could schlep a freezer. Pencil necks.

shaynek 8 years, 4 months ago

It doesn't matter how it breaks down, labor is labor. What would be fair and why? There has to be a point in time when you can only get so much for nothing.

tbaker 8 years, 4 months ago

I love stories that illustrate the free market at work! Awesome!

The next thing you know some enterprising young person will be in the store parking lot with a "I Schlep Freezers!" sign and a pick-up truck.

Devobrun: you are a hoot!

Ralph Reed 8 years, 4 months ago

@ Tom, You wrote, "I guess when you live out in Linwood, they think you're some stupid, toothless Obama supporting hillbilly and they can say anything and sell you on it."

You mean you're not?

Oddly enough, I agree with most of your post. It just goes to show you that you have to watch delivery and prices.

Case in point. A few weeks ago my wife ordered something online for $13 and $8 shipping. Last night she showed me the same item with free shipping; I was ready to tell her to try for a refund until she showed me the new cost was $21. Go figure.

LionPride 8 years, 4 months ago

Stoneback on North Iowa has always been the hometown favorite. I have learned not to waste my time at the other joints.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

I'll do it for 20 $/hr + $10 for the truck. No insurance or lawyers.

My neck is 18" and I don't whine.

I will live until I die.

No regrets.

My wife plays tennis with Jan, but she is not playing tonight. Give me a call, Jan. You know I'm up to the task.

cnyquis 8 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for your feedback. I apologise that we did not fully explain our delivery prices. We do offer free delivery on appliances every day if the appliance purchase is over a certain price. Unfortunately delivery costs are fixed, and we do not profit from the fees that we collect. We also offer 30 days of price protection on everything you purchase just in case you find the product for a better price. I would be interested in hearing about your experience and helping you in any way I can. If you live locally, I might be able to drive the small freezer over in a personal truck for you. Please come in and ask for the Store Manager.

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