Monday, October 6, 2008

"WYWO" Dealing with Sales Pitches...

Okay, so I've officially killed the "While You Were Out" Thread - but the Home Improvement saga is ongoing...

When we last left our hero(ine), she had cunningly convinced Dear Hubbie that "Home Improvements" didn't have to be OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive and that, perhaps, MORE could be done to bring the place "Up To Snuff."

And, of course, she was SOOOOO cunning, it came out as "Hubbie's Most-Brilliant Idea!" (That's the Beauty of "Cunning!")

(The "Wisdom" part kicks in when you just shut-up and let DH believe it's HIS idea!).

So, DH charged DW with gathering bids for the Kitchen Re-facing Project, right?

And Cunning DW (aka "Moi!") dutifully surfed the internet and signed onto various sites offering "Kitchen Remodeling/Refacing" Services.

Now, in the meantime, I've already gathered photos, off the internet, to illustrate to DH exactly what I'd like to achieve. And ("Strike while the iron's hot!") I'd sent them to him the day after he came up with the brilliant idea to do *something* with the cabinets.

Nothing Super-High-End. We're talking plain ol' Maple (or Beechwood) "Shaker" style cabinets w/"natural" (colorless) wood-stain. Much lighter, brighter and "cleaner" than the ugly, Life-Force-Sucking dark oak cabinets we've got now...

So, I got some responses to my inquiries. The first place, Kitchen Tune-Up in Fremont, is the front-runner. I'd already gotten "partway" thru their sales process a couple-three years ago. They *did* respond to my email, this time around, and gave me a "sight-unseen" estimate of appx $4,200.00 (after I'd provided measurements and requirements).

I have been to their showroom (the "Showroom" appt happens before the in-home measuring/"Final" estimate), and - from what I've seen - I really like how they conduct business (No "Hard-Sell" Tactics). I also checked 'em out on and haven't found any complaints. All good indicators... So I've put 'em "Last" on my list, for now b/c they're the Front-Runner (Odd logic, I know. But I need to get "other" bids before I drag Rog into it)

I'd also gotten a bid from Sears. Sears only offers Rigid Thermofoil cabinet-refacing (Not wood - basically cheesy apartment-grade crap, IMHO). That was a couple of yrs ago, and since it wasn't real wood, I tossed the estimate...

I'd ALSO gotten a bid from Home Depot - which was "high" as I recall. But they were hesitant to deal w/me without my husband present (Not a good business tactic - IMHO). I tried to get a "fresher" bid, but they were a No-Show...

Today, I met with a (cough-cough) "Kitchen Designer" from Kitchenw****. Again, when I'd originally contacted them, they wanted to insist on having Spouse or Significant Other present for the - umm - "Presentation." Again, I expressed that this was not only unnecessary, but potentially detrimental to their business.

"Well, we just want to make certain that he'll like whatever is selected."

"Trust me, he'll like it! He has no choice!"

Anyway, Salesdroid showed up this afternoon. Boy, talk about a Sales Pitch! He'd started out, earlier, on the phone by indicating that he normally requires about four hours to "design" a kitchen (What are you kidding me?!!). "Well, I was figuring on more like an hour - I already have a pretty good idea of what I want."

So, when he arrives, he starts with the Schmoozing routine right away, right? "Wow - Your living room's been recently painted - it looks GREAT! Looks like about a $2,500.00 job!"

I'm too nice to roll my eyes visibly, of course...

"Yeah well, Hubbie travels a lot and when he's out of town, I like to redecorate..."

So then he comes in, sets down his briefcase and starts his spiel, right? "I'm supposed to spend half an hour telling you about how wonderful our company is... How we were voted Most Yada-Yada by Such-and-Such, blah-blah-blah"

"Yeah, well. You can skip that part. Hubbie will be home soon and I'd like to get the estimate" :::Big Smile:::

"Well," he begins "Had you considered...?" as he starts with the suggestions....

"Actually, I already have a good idea of what my Dream Kitchen looks like - but I can't have that. So I ALSO have an idea of what I'd *like* to do to make THIS kitchen less of a nightmare, as inexpensively as possible."

"Oh, well PLEASE tell me about your Dream Kitchen"

Okay, fine. I actually have pictures that *look* like "Before and Afters." A neighbor of ours, in the exact same house, re-did his kitchen and I had the Good Fortune of being able to snap photos of it. And I put it in a Powerpoint Presentation which I showed to said Salesdroid...

Then I reminded him: "This isn't in the budget! I'd like a bid on what it would cost to re-face THESE cabinets - 'As-Is' - in a natural maple-shaker..."

Well, he immediately zoned in on the granite countertops in my neighbor's kitchen and ASSURED me he could get me an EXCELLENT price on that - "Less than Laminate!"

"Okay, fine. Go ahead and quote that, too - but SEPARATELY b/c I already *know* hubbie's not gonna go for that. Let's just concentrate on the cabinets for Phase I"

Then I get the whole "Well, if you're looking for inexpensive cabinets" (with a hint of derision, I might add) and he hands me the IKEA catalog.

I stopped shy of saying "Don't insult me" - instead I'd said "Yes, I'm familiar with their stuff. THAT'S why I'm talking to YOU." as I handed the catalog back (Puhhh-LEEEZ!)

(Not that IKEA is *bad* mind you. But I know that the "foundation" of our cabinets is actually pretty damned good solid-wood [as opposed to new IKEA cabinets which are made of veneers over MDF and/or particle board]. Re-facing is actually the BEST option for us)

Then I got the whole "Well, we're more expensive than some of the other ya-ya-yas, but we're worth it because blah-blah-blah, and some of the other companies do yada-yada-yada..." Ad nauseum.

Again, I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. I'm just thinkin' "What's the price already?"

At some point, toward the end of the Sales Presentation, after I'd seen the doors (none of which really blew-my-socks-off, BTW), but BEFORE the final quote came in, DH drove up and Salesdroid had to move his car...

(And we broke The Cardinal Rule: Don't let contractors/handymen/anyone "bidding" for any household job see the contents of the garage [Classic Corvette and three Harleys!] lest we end up with a ridiculously high bid!)

So SD comes back in and pores over his Quote sheet and calculator... DH walks in and we gotta do the whole "Hi, I'm so-and-so, pleezdameetcha" bit...

DH wanders off to the bedroom, after announcing, to SalesDroid that *I* was "in charge of gathering bids."

SD finishes his calculating and scribbling and turns to me to announce the Final Tally...

Well, stupidly, he starts off by yakking about the granite countertops and suddenly DH appears in the kitchen saying "Granite?!!!"

NOW I'm rolling my eyes visibly and I mutter to SD: "Now you're getting me in trouble - I *told* you to quote that completely separately!!!!"

"Granite?!! Nobody said anything about GRANITE!"

I waved DH off, as SD starts back-pedaling and indicating that the granite doesn't have to be done right away - that can come later...

("Damn Skippy!")

"And we offer zero-percent financing - Same-as-Cash...." (Again, earlier on, I made it clear that THAT wasn't something we'd be willing to pursue either!) (Read I don't think I'm contributing to the Credit Crisis - which *is* relevant! See the "Scary Zero Percent" section. This falls under that category!!!)

Anyway - Bottom Line: Quote for *just* the cabinet-refacing came in at roughly $7,700.00 (Total tally - including granite - was over $10K! I prob'ly don't hafta tell you how Rog reacted to THAT!!!!)

Waaaaaaaay the hell more than the $4200 preliminary bid I'd gotten from KTU (Grant you, it IS "preliminary"). Actually, waaaaaaay the hell more than Home Depot, even.

In other words, I don't think that Kitchenw**** - despite their glowing "Most Yada-Yada Rating from Such-and-Such" is going to win the bid.

Particularly after such a glaring fubar on the part of the SalesDroid - yakking about the Granite Countertops that I didn't even request!!! (And, even though I AGREED to accept a bid for Granite, I made it pretty-damned-clear that that *wasn't* gonna fly w/DH).

Anyway.... I did get the "Official" bid. And now Rog is balking less at the original quote I'd fwded to him!

I do have an appt on Weds to get another Quote from another Refacer - so we'll see how that goes!

Stay tuned... Film at Eleven... Yada Yada!

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