About a week ago we decided to get a standalone dehumidifier for our house. We live in the uber-humid south, and when fall rolls around the humidity inside the house starts rising since we’re halfway between the A/C and heating seasons. Since I had a limited amount of time and wanted to get the dehumidifier right away, I poked around on the Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears websites.
I found a 50 pint/day Whirlpool dehumidifer that fit our needs for a decent price at Lowes, and I was able to “verify” that it was in stock. I put that in quotes because, as I later learned, there’s a big difference between their inventory system and reality… When I showed up in the store, they didn’t have one on hand. Sure enough, their computer said that they had them, but there were none to be found anywhere.
Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed… After all, I had double-checked that it was in stock before driving over there. The clerk offered to check the other store (about ten miles away) for availability, but I didn’t feel like driving across town. So I asked for a discount on the next higher model (70 pints/day) instead. Without so much as blinking an eye, the guy said he could knock off 10%, but that was really all he could do. After ringing it up in my head and realizing that the 10% discount brought the price down (more or less) to the level of the lesser model that I was after in the first place, I tossed on in my cart and went on my merry way.
A couple of things… First, I actually debated the 70 pint/day model at home before settling on the 50 pint/day model, so I was perfectly happy to take the ‘better’ version for the lower price. Second, while the ‘better’ model uses a bit more electricity when it’s running, it pulls water out of the air more quickly (hence the higher daily capacity). Thus, it ends up running for less time each day — this makes it more or less a dead heat in terms of electrical usage.
Oh, and I paid for it with my AmEx which effectively doubled the one year warranty thanks to their Buyer’s Assurance program.
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on a substitute if a store doesn’t have what you’re looking for. Many stores already do this as a matter of policy when dealing with sale items. But even if it’s not on sale, a sympathetic clerk will often throw you a bone if they don’t have exactly what you’re looking for.