The time we bought a bed

Mike and I didn't buy a bed, Katie and I did. And it was slightly before the whole "we'll ship it to your door in a 4" cube and WHAMMO it expands into the perfect bed and it's all yours for $16 and if you don't love it send it right back" thing happened. And I still don't understand that whole thing, but I digress.

We went first to this nice looking furniture store and a guy there spent a bunch of time with us and led us through what was around and he learned about us and helped us out a lot. And then since we were spending a whole pile of money on this thing and we were on Rockville Pike where there are about 60 mattress stores within 100 yards, we told him "thanks, we need to look around at other stuff, there's a good chance we'll be back." 

The next place we went to was like the "leave off the last S for Savings!" place and we got the whole "what do I need to do to put you two in a new mattress today?!?!?" bit. And at the end, that price was some amount less than the first place's. So we went back to the first place and said "we'd really prefer to buy this from you, their price is less, help us get to you." It was an expensive purchase and the differential was significant. He couldn't get us really too much closer, their costs were higher and people need to make money and smart sellers realize that you do need to make your minimum on everything no matter what and that's that. So as I recall he was able to give us the pretty expensive pillows that matched the mattress. And that was it, we bought from him.

The reason I think of this now is that I recently had the cycle where a person calls up, "I love the blog and what you guys do, I've really been able to become informed about wheels through it" and asks for the recommendations I can give him. I'm genetically incapable of holding back on these things, and I genuinely take it for granted that people will reward this with a sale if the parameters match, so I give him the best I've got. All told we spend almost a half hour on the phone together. And then the next day the guy calls back and says he's been shopping my recommendations around and he's got a lower price on one of the top recs and he's going to buy there if he chooses that one, and can we do any better on the price given for the other recommendation. 

I get it that people do that. I get it that people shop price. I just give the bed example as an illustration of my process when I'm on the other side, which flavors my process when I'm on this side. We do a lot of work to help people. It's not easy or free, and so it has to, at some point, fold into our prices. Which aren't generally anything like high anyhow. If we create your decision, I do get bemused when that isn't rewarded with a sale. Most people in sales experience this phenomenon, and most are along the spectrum of my reaction to it, I would guess. 

My take is that I'd like to see the people giving real value stick around and thrive. There are a lot of ways of giving value. We do a lot on the blog and through email and phone calls. Other people go to live events and do other things. Some people do the "what can I do to get you into a new set of wheels today" thing. Those aren't the ones I'd like to see survive. 

It's just about Halloween, which means that it's just about to the end of the month, which means that the current pre-order is about to close. Yes I realize the slight irony of placing this sentence at the end of this blog. 


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  • Dave on

    Well these are all very nice comments, thank you all!

  • Steve Klapperich on

    What is a wheel? Rim, spokes, hub, nipples, tape etc. All are commodities that can be purchased somewhere for a lower price. No matter how high the quality of the individual parts none are able to perform to their potential if not matched and assembled to highest standards by skilled craftsmen dedicated to producing the finest end product. That’s my value added proposition when purchasing from November. From the original Rail 52’s to the Stans Grails to the AForce Al33’s, all have performed flawlessly and at 210 lbs I tend to be hard on wheels. I have purchased numerous sets of wheels from off the shelf to LBS builds. With November I know what I am getting and will gladly pay for that quality.

  • Catherine on

    I’m as “cheap” as they come- my set of wheels from November is the very first I’ve ever bought new (I used to build or get second hand). The price was a great as it gets and love the wheels. I don’t understand how anyone would find anything decent (as in would last more than a season or two) for less. So from my point of view, November represents a fantastic deal.

  • DaveB on

    With weary eyes late last night, I ‘abandoned my post’ without delivering a punch line .. tsk! Value-added purchases are important for consumers of products and services .. it’s what nails a sale, and it’s what instills confidence for returning customers. Several years ago, when I was shopping for a carbon bicycle, I was attracted to many different bikes at both LBSs and from online searches. Around that time, I met Dave Kirkpatrick (Mr. November!) during lunch with a few friends. He seemed knowledgeable, sincere, amicable – most def not conceited or arrogant about his expertise as a wheel builder – and, he had a shop here in Newport ! During our conversation over lunch, he mentioned that he had a couple of carbon frames for sale in his shop. Well, I had to check that out! This guy had all I was looking for with regard to products and services. He had this fabulous looking 58c carbon frame, an assortment of wheels that I could choose from and afford, he was willing to answer tons of questions and provide advice, and he was willing to assemble all component parts into a really nice road bike. No hassle, no need to check credentials .. he was the best ‘in-person’ guy that I needed to seal a deal. I believe I was the winner in this purchase .. with a value added kind of feeling (I hope he didn’t literally give it away!) i ended up with a fabulous bike knowing I could return for service questions and advice .. that’s a value added feature I was hoping to find. Thank you Mr. November (Dave K)!

  • Dave B. on

    Is shopping for a bed similar to shopping for a car? Both can be a pain in the neck/back. My wife and I recently experienced the need to buy a new bed; the ‘Canyon of Dave’ and the ‘Valley of Susan’ that developed in our bed over the past 2-decades was absolutely the cause of morning backaches. While our bed shopping experience was similar to that of Dave and Katie, our deal hinged on a ‘protective bed cover’. But I digress a bit: Many Moons ago, upon getting my undergraduate degree, I was in need of a set of wheels .. rather, a car. As I was looking in the ‘wanted’ ads (for a job) my eyes were drawn to an employment ad, where this local company was looking for recent College graduates (which eluded me!) who might be interested in an exciting career of selling new cars! Though the ‘sales’ job did not excite me, their offer of providing a new car to use DID grab my attention! I interviewed, was given the job, and was sent to a Sales school in Pittsburgh (Pa). Among other ridiculous tactics, we were taught to ask a prospective shopper (once corralled into an office to talk ‘a deal’): “In purchasing this car today, how would you like it titled?” Most alert shoppers recoiled while others might acquiesce and ride through the sales pitch to hear the deal. I never quite developed the knack of delivering slippery sales talk so that career was short lived, but I did buy a used car ‘directly’ from one of the ‘shoppers’. He avoided the hassle of trading in his car, I sold him a new car (and got a commission), I got a pretty decent set of wheels at a great price without telling my supervisor, I escaped having to buy a used car from my dealership, and I quit my job the next day. Whew, what a career ending experience! Back to beds: that ‘protective bed cover’ cost us $100.00; and, without buying it, we would not be able to return it (no matter what the reason), but if we did buy it, and say our dog vomited in the sheets, that ‘bed cover’ was guaranteed to repel any spillages, and if it did not protect the mattress, we could return that mattress for a free replacement. So, is that a good deal? Or is that a sales gimmick for collecting an extra $100. I guess it kinda depends. Well, other mattress dealers were cheaper, but this ‘protective cover’ and the salesman’s positive demeanor were the selling features that convinced us to buy this mattress. Positive experiences in Sales make all the difference. Whether it’s the value added ‘protective bed cover’, the helpful, positive attitude of the (LBS) cycle shop that stands behind their product and expertise, or the deal makers where you shop for cars; it all boils down to the creativity and willingness of the vendor to spin a deal that adds value to your purchase.



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