Last week at work I made a mistake. I’m in charge of ordering the office supplies and a representative from one of the big chains was coming by to visit with me and tell me all about the “business” portion which I was sure to save oodles of money versus using the retail.
We don’t buy a lot of office supplies, we’re pretty frugal and we also are affiliated with a recycling company which gives us some products. I would say we spend about $400 every six months on office supplies. I’ll call this very attractive representative Helene. She was in her twenties, with a gorgeous tan, hair in an updo, wearing a short skirt and wedges. She was very likable. She looked over our current list which I had just been getting ready to order that day, until I remembered we had an appointment. She asked me when I was planning to order, “Today, or today?” I figured that must be a sales technique.
While she was there we briefly checked some prices for some of the items we needed at the retail online site. She assured me I would pay much, much less through the business side of things.
At that point, I showed her coupon – $25 off if I bought $100 worth of product. She told me I would still save money, because they are giving me $25 off their highest prices. Apparently I’m a bit gullible even at the mature age of 49 because I trusted her to place our order.
Now I can’t really blame her completely for what transpired. Because I did not spell out that we use the store brand Post-It Notes, and when she saw my boss had written on the list Post-It Notes, she assumed brand name. I didn’t think to clarify that we don’t use the name brand, because they are more expensive. I don’t get why anyone would use the name brand when it’s just small pieces of paper that’s going to be stuck somewhere temporarily and then removed and tossed into the trash or recycling. But that’s me being frugal, I’m sure.
The store brand 3×3 Post It Notes come in an 18 pack, and cost $16.49. But the name brand 3×3 Post It Notes come in a 12 pack, and cost $13.99.
- Store Brand 3×3 cost per each: $0.92
- Name Brand 3×3 cost per each: $1.17
Next on my list was a 12 pack of tape. Of course I didn’t clarify that we wanted *invisible* tape. Who uses *transparent* tape nowadays anyway? And on top of that, again she ordered name brand instead of store brand.
The store brand costs $19.99 for 12 rolls. The name brand costs $24.99 for 12 rolls.
- Store Brand per each roll: $1.67
- Name brand per each roll: $2.09
The paper clips were scads cheaper through the business portal – retail was $4.99 vs. $1.99.
I checked the online retail site and with my $25 coupon, we would have spent $124.72. But with the so-called business portal, which was supposed to be so much cheaper, we spent $140.12.
I emailed the salesperson and she has offered me a few solutions, but she did want to point out that the savings will be “comprehensive” which I assume means over time we will eventually save more money.
The moral of the story is, don’t let a salesperson place your order for you, unless you are right there making sure they enter what you prefer to buy.
Have you ever experienced a situation where you let someone else do the ordering and they ordered the more expensive items?