This year, I replaced all appliances – refrigerator, microwave, stove, oven, dishwasher, washer, dryer. It was a lot of work to figure out which ones to buy.
At first, I really did want to buy online. AJ Madison is a great appliances store, and their website is awesome. It is definitely one of the best ways to learn about what products are available and compare them. Combine that with free shipping (they almost always offer free shipping for orders over $1500 and no sales tax in CA, and it seems like a great deal, right?
Well, it is a pretty good deal, but despite all that, they still generally are more expensive. At the end of the day, they are mailing their appliances across the country. They hide this by declaring “Free Shipping”, but you know it’s not really free!
I ended up buying most all the appliances at Western Appliance. I don’t really like having to go to the store. Appliance stores always make pricing difficult. Instead of just showing the price, its the base price minus the in-store rebate minus the manufacturer rebate, minus the weekend special, etc. I guess they think most of their customers can’t do basic math? It seems to backfire, because it makes the prices seem inflated. If they didn’t inflate the price, I never would have thought the e-store price was cheap. Western Appliance’s salespeople are pretty reasonable and not high pressure, and they are knowledgeable too. In the end, I know I paid less, even after Western Appliance’s $50 delivery fee and CA sales tax.
There is one more important reason to shop locally. The local stores know the PG&E/Water company rebates for energy efficient and water-saving appliances. AJMadison, or any other e-tailer, just can’t possibly keep track of local area rebates for everyone. These rebates are non trivial too; I’ve had about $400 in utility rebates this year. If I hadn’t bought locally, I probably wouldn’t have known.