I was ready to spend over $1000, and bumbling retailers left most of it on the table!

Like many of you, I keep a good mental list of things I need or will soon need and watch for good deals, so I was ready and able to spend some serious money. I refuse to shop on thanksgiving, so first stop friday was Bomgaars, a midwest farm & hardware store where most everything was 20% off (% off is much better than a few select low quality items on sale). The strange logic of Bomgaars’ dicatates that you pick up a 20% off coupon by 10am which can be used all day, so I hopped back in the car and headed to Mac’s Hardware in Sioux Falls where tools were 40% off ’til 10am. I got too many tools already, but found amongst the junk tools a gear puller I needed and a small hatchet/hammer for camping. On to Home Despot where the $7 27 gallon storage boxes were MIA, but the DeWalt waterproof “tough system” tool boxes I’d been eyeing for a while were still around, so I scored a 3 piece set for around a hundred. Need a nose jack/wheel for a trailer, but the line to pay up at Northern Tool was hopeless so I retreated to the sanity of Costco for lunch and a few items. Stopped at Bomgaars on the way home and scored some LED trailer lights, but the 600 pounds of wood heating pellets I was going to buy? Looked like all the new help they’d hired had torn open most every bag while learning how to run the forklift. Of 8 bags on the first pallet only 2 were dry, and the second pallet they got some more forklift practice bringing in was no better=No sale!

Wasn’t planning to make the 110 mile drive to Mankato on Saturday, but with my major source of heating fuel full o’ wet pellets and Fleet Farm offering them for half a buck a bag less and they were probably dry, I hooked on the trailer so I could double the load and headed that way, while debating if I should stop by Harbor Freight and get the motorcycle lift I’ve been needing for years. Decided heat for the winter was more important and scored 1200 pounds of wood heating pellets which will probably get me thought the winter and a couple small items, but the “tough boxes” I was hoping to add to the set from Home Despot were nowhere to be found.

So Sunday brought good driving weather and I was still short the motorcycle lift and 27 gallon boxes. Harbor Freight’s website can’t do real time store inventory and no point in running 70 miles to Sioux Falls with the trailer in case they had one. But 40 miles away in Brookings Lowes’ website promised the same boxes and some shelving I needed too. Browsing Lowes I drooled over an awesome USA made supersized tool box, damn near $800 on sale but it’d be the last box I’d ever need… I’d a bought it but I didn’t have the trailer with. Found all of 2 storage boxes in definitely the wrong aisle where they’d probably been abandoned so left them for a more desperate customer as they were the last in store, their inventory said 10 in store and those were already sold. Settled for the shelves and a digital infrared thermometer for my SIL with numb hands, and at checkout was charged full price for the shelves, headed for returns and got my money back=no sale! Later read that Lowes’ website crashed and while back up, inventory hasn’t been updated in days.

So I tried to spend a couple thousand dollars this black friday weekend and incompetent retailers left over half of it in the table. Traffic was light all weekend and parking plentiful, so I’m not the only discouraged consumer. Online competition ain’t killing retail, it’s their own sloppy inventory management, underpaid and undertrained workers, and arrogant refusal to listen to customers that’s doing them in. And if I can’t even buy half of what I went shopping for because it’s lost in the store if it ever even made it to the loading dock, how much is this retail dysfunction costing the economy?