Friday, October 12, 2007

Fan Loyalty

Mama Wordbones and I have been shopping for a ceiling fan. After visiting various lighting showrooms and scouring the net we settled on a Monte Carlo Model 5AHR60 RBD. Fortunately for us, this particular model was offered at three Howard County retailers. We could choose between Annapolis Lighting, Industrial Lighting (AKA Lighting By Design) and Lowes.

Our first stop was Annapolis Lighting in Dobbin Center. I don't know what it is about this store but half the time I go there I encounter either rude or oddly indifferent salespeople. Other times they have been very helpful. This particular visit was a mix. Annapolis Lighting had our fan for $540.00 plus tax.

For our next quote we opted to call Industrial Lighting ((410) 796-5535) rather than visit the showroom. Industrial Lighting is located at 8325 Patuxent Range Road in the Baltimore Washington Industrial Park on Route 1 in Jessup. We spoke with Cynthia who happily gave us a quote over the phone. She would sell us the fan for $458.91 plus tax.

The final stop was the new Lowes store in Gateway Overlook. Lowes did not have the fan in stock but they told us that we could order it for $477.00 plus tax. Lowes heavily promotes the fact that they will match any competitors price and take the take an additional 10% off. That sounded like a great deal so we decided to test this policy. What we discovered is that Lowes will only give you that additional 10% off on items "in stock." Since our fan of choice would have to be ordered, they would only meet Industrial Lightings price. No additional 10%.

Since I was already in the store, ready to purchase this particular fan, I pushed. "If you give me that additional 10% I'll buy the fan from you right now."

Sorry was their response. Okay, in my book that gives the advantage to the local retailer which happened to be located less than 3.5 miles from Gateway Overlook.

I thanked them for their time, turned on my heal and headed on over to Cynthia at Industrial Lighting and purchased the fan. She was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.

So, in this instance, the local merchant prevailed against the big box retailer in both price and service.


John B. said...


Glad I'm not the only one who has encountered weirdness at Annapolis Lighting.

I have lots of dimmers in my place and the big retailers only have a couple of types of CF bulbs that work with dimmers. So as I was chatting with a salesperson at Home Depot, he suggested I go to Annapolis Lighting since he had gotten a couple there. The ensuing conversations I had with the folks at AL (2 different people on 2 different occasions)were surreal to say the least. It felt like we were speaking different languages. Honestly, it felt like they were annyoyed that I was bothering them.

Endgame is that I won't be going back there unless I really need to. There are enough other stores with salespeople that want to either send you out with a product, or a satisfactory answer.