Marshall's/Home goods - Please explain
Can someone explain Marshall's and Home Goods to me. The merchandise is slightly damaged or irregular, right? Is that why the prices are cheaper. I wandered into a Marshalls the other day and looked at cookware - specifically le creuset, calphalon, all clad, etc... I couldn't see anything wrong with any of them. Am I missing something. Should I be looking at something specific before buying cookare at these stores. Anyone have any good/bad experiences with buying cookware at these places.
I want a dutch oven - more specifically a le creuset, but I am poor. Do I suck it up and buy it from Bed Bath and Beyond with my 20% off coupon or find one at Marshalls.
It's a common misconception that TJMaxx/Marshall's/HomeGoods specializes in selling damaged and irregular goods. Not true. They sell some of those items, plus a huge amount of overstock and discontinued items. Those items can come from other retailers, or they can be sold by the manufacturer directly to TJMaxx, et al.
Long story short, they sell a solid product at a good discount. No reason NOT to buy your Le Creuset there...
No reason to fear Marshalls. The cookware they sell is not necessarily irregular, damaged, or seconds, though some may be. If you're looking at enameled cast iron, inspect the cooking surface carefully for chips, scratches and other flaws and if it looks good to you buy it. For that matter, whatever you buy, inspect for damage and if the cooking surfaces look good, it should be okay. Me, I'd willingly accept a cosmetic defect for a great price, but I wouldn't buy something with obvious damage on the inside. You can get some great bargains there, but they do also sell a lot of junk.
My sister is a devoted Home Good/Marshalls/Pier One outlet shopper. Usually the number of pieces is limited. So, she location hops to acquire a full set of whatever she has her eye on; hitting several locations during a sale with much success.
It's a mix of seconds, damaged, discontinued and overstocks. Very little is damaged or seconds, though. I've found that stuff is usually marked clearly (like the men's dress socks, for example).
I bet a good 50% of the gadgets I've bought in the past decade have been from there: colanders, trivets, whisks, salad spinners. The food, however, is often (in my experience nearly always) old or has been mistreated. I've tasted many bloomed chocolates and totally-stale baked goods from there. My sister calls that section the "used food."
If you're looking at enameled dutch ovens, remember that you're going to have a chip or two after 30 good uses anyway. If you find one that's almost perfect but has a chip near an edge, I'd go for it without hesitation. As long as it's not major or on the cooking surfaces, it doesn't have an impact on performance.
But also take a look at the Target one, as mentioned in the thread below. I own it, and it's easily as good as a LC in my opinion.
I have had the complete opposite experience with food items purchased at Marshall's etc. I don't buy cookies and stuff like that there, but I regularly buy things like spices, oils, vinegars, preserves, etc. and I have never once, not once, had a problem with anything food- related that I purchased at one of these stores. Maybe the quality of the food varies according to locale or something, I don't know, but I do know that I have been more than happy with my purchases and I have been able to buy a lot of great stuff that is otherwise not carried in my area or sells at much much higher prices.
Add my voice to the chorus of people who no longer fear Marshall's. I remember the first couple of times I went to one I did not get the attraction - I thought it was a kind of messy store with a bunch of stuff that no one wanted. Then a few years ago a Marshall's opened up very near us. (I've also been much more into cooking the last few years then I used to be so the timing was fortuitous.) So I wandered into the store, got any eyeful of the stuff they were carrying, and the prices they were charging and it was like the clouds parted, the sun shone and the angels started singing. I've been in love ever since and I have found some real treasures at ridiculous prices over the years since then. (Same for TJ Maxx. And I especially love Home Goods. The one near us always has great stuff.) The main thing about these stores is that if you see something great, grab it because it probably won't be there the next time you get back. Once you've been shopping these stores for a while you get a better feel for the kinds of things that frequently reappear and the things that are mostly a one time opportunity. There IS a lot of crap that isn't worth buying but a lot of wonderful things end up in these stores as well. Have fun, and happy hunting.