Don’t Let a Salesperson Put An Order In for You

Red Stapler by Flickrite Ivy Dawned

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?

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8 comments to Don’t Let a Salesperson Put An Order In for You

  • Sounds like you were more focused on Helene than the actual details of the order 🙂

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    LOL! I guess the reason I described her is because she looked more like she was on her way to go out clubbing than selling office supplies. I wasn’t involved in the ordering because she took my list and left to go to a coffee place to make the order.

    [Reply]

  • I wouldn’t blame her for the Post-It notes. Imagine that the shoe were on the other foot – you preferred the name brand and she ordered the generic? I could see a customer complaining about that (“I didn’t write store brand, I wrote Post-It!”).

    I have no idea whether I use transparent tape or invisible tape 🙂 It looks like I used Scotch brand “Magic” tape, but I’m not sure which that is.

    However, if Helene wanted to go the extra mile, she could have checked the current order against past orders and double checked discrepancies.

    Are staples cheaper through the business portal? For a few bucks, I can buy a box of 5000 staples that will last me literally a lifetime. I have no idea how staple manufacturers stay in business.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Sorry Kosmo, retrieved you from my spam folder. LOL, you’re right, you’re right. And I didn’t blame her for that, how could she have known my boss meant generic when she wrote Post It notes on the list? The Scotch brand “Magic” is the invisible version. I actually did give her our two previous orders, but we have 21 paid staff plus some volunteers and we don’t buy tape very often. Maybe once a year or once every 18 months. I should check the price of staples. You know I have a really old stapler at work and if I use generic brand staples it won’t work right. But like you say, the most expensive ones aren’t even very costly.

    [Reply]

  • As bad as it stinks that they bought the more expensive items the salesperson was just doing her job. I definitely would put in my own orders from now on and maybe even compare both methods prior to placing them.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Lance, I agree. And she really couldn’t have known… that’s why I entitled my post to not let a salesperson put in your order. 🙂 You know the old “If you want it done right, do it yourself”. 🙂

    [Reply]

  • hmmmmm…… This would explain a lot about some of the oddities My Bartleby ordered while she was our office’s secretary. If you linked all the paperclips she bought, end to end, you could string them from here to the outer rings of Saturn and walk across them, as on a suspension bridge. PostIt notes? Tell me about them! We could’ve used the pads as little bricks to rebuild the office after she tried to burn it down with the microwave.

    She wasn’t exactly hapless – in fact, she was as tight with the university’s dollars as she was with her own. So it always puzzled me, how she came to order such unusual packages. Maybe she ran into the same sales rep!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    That’s hilarious! That’s a heck of a lot of paperclips!! I can imagine that. LOL!!

    [Reply]

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