by Roy Mackey



     Just so you know I hate inventory management software (IMS)used by sharp as a river stone accountants everywhere. What it seems to do is bypass the fact that service is what makes a good business. The big depot's are a prime example of that. They have thousands of all the everyday common things you use and none of the things you desperately need to solve your problem. If a product does not sell enough then they get rid of it. If they kept a few in stock anyway that would be offering a service. IMS hates service.

     Face it if you know how to use a screw driver you probably have driven all the way over to hopless depot to grab something to fix your old leaking sink or whatever. Sure as hell they don't have it. They have the newer, imported sinks though that are not compatible with your old and ugly vintage sink. So you either change it all or go elsewhere only to find the same story at the next place. After half a day of driving around town you might get lucky and find some mom and pop hardware that has some old stock kicking around.

     I have even found the same thing with common items. Ever since the big economic turn down shelves are bare!! Smart accountants every where, being the smart thinkers they are, cut way back on inventory. Which is why they are always running out of stock. When they run out of stock sure enough sales go down!! Then they pat themselves on the back in front of the gulible business owner. I say gulible since if he wasn't he would have fired them ages ago, or at least put them back in their cages.

     One of my favorite haunts was PMS tools. A great place with a huge selection but I had to stop going there since they were always out of stock! I take a "fight the traffic" drive out there only to find they are out of everything we are looking for. It started to happen so often that a friend and I used to make a joke of it. Finally I figured out it was far easier to buy online. You just had to make sure you thought ahead a bit. Sure there were shipping fee's but they are cheap compared to spending half a day driving around the country side trying to find someone who has some stock. There are some great online companies out there that are great to deal with. In fact if they don't have a good online show then it tells me they are not that concerned with offering service the customer wants. 

     Of course now with such fast shipping these days online really is the way to go. I find it is not much different with larger items. We had a huge dust system delivered from NY one time and the guy not only unloaded it from the truck but moved it right into the room we needed it in, one floor down.  


     Awhile back I started using eBay to scope out parts for my old Dodge and numerous other junk I thought I needed. After awhile like most people I got hooked on buying junk I really did not need. After awhile though I did start to notice some perks that were very refreshing. The first one was the sense of security. Use PayPal and your purchase is insured. Pretty dang slick.

     The second bonus I noticed was convenience. This one was really cool. I go online book in a few things I need. A few minutes later, after approving the purchase, it’s back to work. I work at home. Sure there is a ten dollar shipping charge but what is my time worth to drive across town for one or two cans of paint. Not to mention the gas and added congestion that plagues the city. I already get my welding gas delivered along with most of my steel and even our food!


Reel coool minature whisky flask from about 1890 I scored from a great eBay seller!

     I keep myself very busy and am not a fan of parking in traffic all day trying to get somewhere. This is especially true when I have something I want to get done. I can’t remember how many times I have headed over to hopeless depot to get some paint they sold. Of course after the long drive I am quick to find the accountants have determined that it has not been selling well enough so have removed it from their shelves! This is what accountants do as they don’t have a clue about running a business or customer service. They only know numbers so you can’t blame them. So anyway an hour wasted.

     Eventually I got smart and started phoning ahead to these places. Yup the computer shows they have five in stock… an hour later it appears the computer was wrong. So I drive home or around town trying to find a place that sells it. Half a day later I have a can of similar paint that should work. I am sure the guy on minimum wage could have busted his butt down to check the shelf stock but what can you expect for minimum or minimal wage. Anyway shipping on that can of paint would have been five or ten bucks. What is three hours of time worth driving around town??

     What I also find cool about eBay is the simple fact the seller REALLY needs your positive feedback! If a seller has a top rating, then one customer who is dissatisfied is a disaster. It is a competitive place and high ratings are valued. Sellers take your satisfaction very seriously.

     I remember waking up a worker at Wally’s mart once and afterwards wondered what motivation does he have to perform exceptionally well. The employee of the month insult that a lot of shallow employers think their workers long for? Not likely. With eBay I often found I was dealing with very concerned people that wanted/needed my return business. Not only that but I felt I was supporting some small business and not some huge corporation that aims only to profit and then move on.

     Also the nice thing about eBay is the more you buy on eBay the more your rating increases as a buyer. You pay fast etc and the seller gives you a rating which makes you look good to other sellers. It is like you are getting acknowledged for your timely payment. Not worth a lot maybe but still feels good.

     I have also noticed now that you can get almost anything on eBay. Sure some things are not worth it but I find the less I have to drive around looking for stuff the more time I have for doing work that pays. If nothing else if gives me more time to lounge on the couch which is a lot more fun than sitting in traffic listening to ad after ad on the radio.

     I guess this is just an expansion on getting our food delivered from Donald’s Market (Donald's Free Food Delivery) Sometimes the old way of doing things just runs out of gas. If you are really bored then it’s not a big deal I guess. Just the same with a little effort there are a lot more fun things to do these days.

     Personally I am really starting to see the benefits of all online buying. Just think how many less cars are on the road because of each fed/ex or UPS delivery van? I prefer raspberry jam over traffic jam any day.


     Another one of my favorite online places to shop for tools at least is Lee Valley Tools. Sure their retail outlets kind of suck unless you are familiar with their system. Their online catalog though is absolutely incredible!! It is easier and faster than reading a real flyer! Flip pages with ease zoom in wtih one click out with another. You just can't beat it. I do admit though it is better with a large screen like I have. They are also great for having free shipping from time to time. When I get their newsletter for that I usually assess what I might need and place my order. A few days later viola it is at my door!! Seriously if have not been there check it out. I have bought more from them just because of this catalog.

     The only thing I can figure is they also keep their accounants in cages. Otherwise they would not offer such a great service. I love supporting their place. Great products picked out by someone with some common sense and a great eye for value. No matter what you buy there you can pretty well bet it is a fairly quality product and not just a high profit product.



     I don't know about you but fighting traffic out to some brick and motar joint is not my idea of a fun sunday drive. Especially when you find out they are out of stock when you get there. Have you ever noticed that when sales people tell you they are out of stock they often pipe up with a very enthusiastic, reassuring voice and big smile saying that fresh stock should be here in only a few days? As if that is something special you should appreciate. The must train them to do that.... As if your time means nothing to you and that your biggest pleasure is coming out to their cheapo, accountant run store. Another real beauty about shopping online is you can shop anytime!!! After all know any seasoned tool shopper knows that the best time to shop for tools is right after you have been drinking. You confidence in the future and your abilities is often way up and away you go. Your logic is not as sharp and thus cannot talk you out of what you want. I find that it is the same with food shopping. Always shop for food when you are starving. If you don't you will just grab a few things and then a few days later have to go out again for more shopping!! Always shop when you are hungry no matter what ole Mrs. Kuponclipper says!!!




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