I did some major workshop setup over the weekend, and came across a package of wood finish I had ordered from Rockler for a project I’m in the middle of. There are 3 quart-sized cans, 1 of shellac, 2 of polyurethane.
Before that order, I had bought shellac and polyurethane from Amazon. The shellac arrived intact, with similar lid-locking tabs. But the polyurethane can was shipped loosely protected in a box, and arrived dented with a warped top and what looked like signs of leakage. No lid-locking tabs.
When I ordered from Rockler, the 3 cans were shipped with metal lid locking tabs, and within their own cardboard sleeves. There was some packages around the perimeter to keep everything nice and tidy in the box.
Even though they charge more and shipping is slower, I’ll be ordering my wood finish from Rockler from now on. Or perhaps another woodworking supplier, if I need something Rockler doesn’t carry.
There are other products I’d pay more for.
I ordered a workbench from Amazon in April, and it arrived in sad condition, with parts falling out of the flat-pack box. I ordered Durham parts cabinets from Zoro twice before, and they always arrived bent and damaged.
I ordered parts from one electronics and industrial supplier, and there were problems after problems. Customer service had to go through a regional rep, and everything took sooooo loooooooong. Mouser? My parts bags are numbered and have useful info on the labels. After ordering hundreds of parts from Mouser, I have yet to run into a problem *knock on wood*. My last email inquiry went quick and smoothly.
Mouser sometimes charges more than other suppliers, and so I used to split my orders multiple ways to ensure the lowest possible project cost. The same with industrial suppliers – I’d source tooling and materials for a project from multiple suppliers to ensure the lowest cost.
But I’ve been moving closer and closer to valuing customer service, shipping competency, and on occasion pre-purchase and post-purchase support as more important than being able to achieve the lowest purchase price.
Part of this comes from how free time has become scarcer and more valuable, and the other part born from the many hundreds (if not thousands) of online orders I’ve placed over the years.
Oh, I’ll still sometimes shop around to save money, but it’s often to save big bucks. If the total difference to buy from my preferred retailers is 5%, I’ll spend that extra money and feel good about it. More than that, and I’ve got some thinking to do.
What will you spend more money on, and why?