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When a sale is not a sale.

Candy Aug 23, 2011 12:30 AM

Friendly word of advice, many vendors are suggesting a "sale" on kitchen equipment for a limited time. Take this with a grain of salt. Last week an on line vendor was advertising a special sale on Wusthof knives. Checked my catalog. That was not a sale, it is a game many retailers are playing. They advertise a sale price which is down from the MSRP, which in reality the price never was, the vendor bought the stuff to sell at reduced price. This week another co. was touting a LC 3.5 qt. brasier at $209. Sale? Nope. It is actually the day in day out price. No need to rush. I "called" the Wusthof peeps on this sale, pointing out that the so called sale was the actual sales price...never heard from them again and I am off of their e-mail list.

  1. s
    ShawnPA Aug 23, 2011 04:04 AM

    I have noticed this a lot too. Pretty much everywhere carries LC and Staub pieces at a "sale" price, all the time. Like you said, it is not MSRP, so they call it a sale. I would be interested if these things ever actually go on sale, other than the factory store sales.

    42 Replies
    1. re: ShawnPA
      Kagemusha Aug 23, 2011 05:40 AM

      It's just sucker bait. Create a chum slick of splashy ads("Act Now--Supplies Limited," "20% Off Regular Prices," "All X-Brand Whatever On Sale Now")and any retailer will land a boatload uninformed buyers.

      1. re: ShawnPA
        s
        skyline Aug 23, 2011 05:55 AM

        Even the factory outlet store sticker prices aren't always a true sale. I was at a Le Creuset factory store at a Tanger outlet last week, looking at their Mini Legumier. Factory store "sale" price was $28.00 each (plus tax). Amazon is selling the same item for $27.95, and in the same color range as the outlet store.
        http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Stonewa...

        Ditto for Chef's Resource, Chef's Tools, and no doubt a host of other online vendors -- All price this item at $27.95, every single one of them. So the outlet store is no cheaper than any of those, except that other than Amazon you'd pay for shipping as well. But we're talking about just the item price here.

        I am convinced that, as you pointed out, LC merely selects a fictitious "MSRP" so that their fixed retail price looks like a sale or discount but in reality is not. I am sure LC keeps a very tight rein on their retailers and does not allow them to sell anything at a lower price than LC dictates. Many companies do this, including things like clothing brands, collectibles, etc. That's why when you get one of those discount cards (20% off, etc etc) from Macys there is a long list of excluded brands on the back of it. The retailers are not allowed to sell those at a lower price.

        It's just like when a manufacturer makes a certain item for a certain store (Williams Sonoma and Sur la Table for instance) and instructs the store to advertise it as for instance "a $399 value" item with a $259 price tag. The $399 figure is just a fabrication to make the actual sticker price look like a bargain -- by what criteria or comparison is the item otherwise worth $399? It's all nothing but marketing spin.

        1. re: ShawnPA
          kaleokahu Aug 23, 2011 07:48 AM

          Lost in the background here is the fact that LC and Staub are grossly overpriced to start with. The MSRP might as well stand for Mass Stupidity Rapacious Price. It exists only as a vehicle to convince consumers what a "deal" they're seeing when it's marked down. When the prices come down to what I hear they ask in France, *then* these brands might be worth it. But then the prestige and the mysique and the colors du jour would dull. LC and to a lesser degree Staub are victims of their own international branding success.

          1. re: kaleokahu
            Kagemusha Aug 23, 2011 08:27 AM

            "LC and to a lesser degree Staub are victims of their own international branding success."

            Not sure how they're victimizing themselves, They tightly control supply channels and prices for dealers and customers. We're the ones getting hosed.

            1. re: Kagemusha
              b
              blondelle Aug 23, 2011 08:52 AM

              Le Creuset stopped all the vendors that were really offering discounts such as caplanduval, kitchenhut and wasserstrom. These had deeply discounted prices but I was told LC made them stop it. Even firstireland that had great prices on LC raised them. Amazon used to offer $25 off a $125 purxhase on LC but that was stopped and they also stopped the great gold box specials Amazon had on LC and their great GWP offers.

              Isn't that called price fixing?

              1. re: blondelle
                m
                mikie Aug 23, 2011 09:04 AM

                "Isn't that called price fixing?"

                No, it's not price fixing, at least not by its legal definition. But the effect is the same. Actual "price fixing" would be between two competitors, say LC and Staub or Amazon and Kitchen Goodies Company conspireing to set prices for an item. This is retail price maintaince. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resale_p...

                1. re: mikie
                  Chemicalkinetics Aug 23, 2011 10:45 AM

                  Right, what you speak of is trusting between two sellers to consumers. This is where "anti-trust" law comes in. What LC is doing much closer to "Resale price maintenance", which I personally have very strong disagree with. It goes against the free market principle.

                2. re: blondelle
                  Kagemusha Aug 23, 2011 11:27 AM

                  About as good as it still gets in Canada are occasional deals on a few pieces in a single colour from Staub or LC from Costco, usually around the holidays. Lately, though, it's been crappy Chinese-made Batali ware--the same stuff that's everywhere under different labels.

                  1. re: Kagemusha
                    Midlife Aug 23, 2011 05:27 PM

                    I guess things have changed legally. In the many years I was in clothing wholesale and retail (ending around 2000) the only way a manufacturer could stop a retailer from not maintaining prices at any specific level was to "lose" their orders and stop shipping. A big enough retailer could afford to sue, but smaller ones couldn't. Back in the 70's there was a price war on Levi's jeans here and retailers were selling at almost their cost. I recall that we couldn't sell below cost or that would have been illegal.

                3. re: Kagemusha
                  kaleokahu Aug 23, 2011 12:25 PM

                  Hi, Kagemusha:

                  I think their success at branding, when coupled with the insanely high prices, means that they cannot compete for long against other manufacturers. "French" design and colors can only sustain them for so long. They're either going to have to cut prices or surrender huge shares of the market. They did this to themselves.

                  Yes, I agree.... Anyone paying remotely close to the MSRP for this stuff is getting hosed.

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    Kagemusha Aug 23, 2011 02:08 PM

                    Hermes, Vuitton, Dior, Prada own the market comprised of people who can afford their merch--who cares about knock-offs bought by those who can't?

                    1. re: Kagemusha
                      kaleokahu Aug 23, 2011 03:29 PM

                      Hi, Kagemusha:

                      LOL, if we're talking about LC relegating itself to the same demographic as Hermes, they're not going to be selling many pots and pans. So I think LC cares a great deal that everyone and his brother is now knocking them off making decent ECI (or jobbing it from China).

                      But who knows? Maybe LC's plan for success should be the "Gucci Line", or "Harley-Davidson Ltd. Edition" and they should *raise* prices. Or get out of their original business entirely, like Eddie Bauer or Abercrombie & Fitch. All I know is there isn't anything special about LC's pans.

                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        r
                        Rella Aug 23, 2011 06:12 PM

                        You say, "All I know is there isn't anything special about LC's pans."

                        If you did say it and mean it, I applaud!

                4. re: kaleokahu
                  m
                  mikie Aug 23, 2011 08:48 AM

                  Hi Kaleo,

                  This practice is no different than just about any other item you might purchase. I own a ton of power tools, not a one was ever purchased for even about half the MSRP, I doubt I could even find one of these tools being sold for the MSRP today. Most items have a two price schedule, the MSRP and "some minimum allowable" price that retailers must charge or loose the right to sell the product. A lot of this has come about since the internet has made price comparisons so easy and virtual stores don't have the overhead brick and morter stores have. Back in my early days as a woodworker, Porter Cable power tools were only sold at retail locations and for full MSRP. Only a true contractor could afford the cost of quality at MSRP. Today, or at least 10-15 years ago or so, when I bought most of my upgraded tools, they were of the same quality, but nowhere near the MSRP. But even today, there are typically two prices, the MSRP and some other lower number where most on-line retailers set prices. The same with Weber grills, no one sels for the MSRP, but there is a base price below which Weber does not allow. The exceptions are when a company is no longer going to cary that product. That's how I bought my Staub cocottes, Dillards was no longer going to have that line and they were very heavily discounted. I think they were 25% off with an additional 40% off. Which made them less than half price. And I have no doubt in my mind, it's a much better piece of cooking equipment than Martha Stewart or fill in the blank with some other cooking celeberty, with their name on substandard merchandice made in China.

                  I don't know if it's worth full retail or not, afterall they are cast iron, but they do seem to do a better job of applying the enameled surface and seem to have better quality control and that's got to be worth something. Its got to be a tough procuct to differentiate. I have 4 sizes, can't imagine needing more, so how do they keep selling? Color du jour.

                  1. re: mikie
                    Chemicalkinetics Aug 23, 2011 11:07 AM

                    Color plays a huge role for Le Creseut. Not quiet sure about Staub. When a new color comes out for Le Cresuet, people talk about it in length. Not everyone, but certainly sufficient number of people do.

                    Those who talk about it treat the Le Cresuet color more like fashion than just cookware or hardware. Think about it, you don't ponder about getting a new power tool (say a belt sander) or a new cookware (say toaster oven) when a new color comes out, do you? One would only consider such for fashion items like clothing. A new color came out for the high heel shoes, so your wife may consider buying another pair just for the new color, or a new color for her favor lipstick...etc.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      s
                      skyline Aug 23, 2011 03:09 PM

                      I never did "get" the whole color thing for Le Creuset. If anything, in the past I have bought some of their stuff IN SPITE OF the color, LOL. Usually it was a case of "I sure wish they made this pan in either black or white, but they don't and it IS what I am looking for potwise, so let's see, which of the available colors do I dislike the least?"

                      Which meant that I would always opt for the classic blue, NOT because I was trying to make a "set" or because any of my other cookware was blue -- it wasn't -- but because, well, blue is my favorite color. :-) I still would have preferred either black or white though!

                      Case in point are the two Silit pieces I recently ordered. Luckily one of them comes in basic black (yay!) but unfortunately the other one is only made in two colors, a poppy red and a screaming yellow, for the USA market (the Euro market also has a Great Pumpkin orange and a bilious bright green, neither of which I would ever give shelf room to, LOL). So I took the lesser (meaning slightly less wierd looking IMHO) of the two available evils and ordered the red. But I still wish they made it in either black, white, or stainless.

                      1. re: skyline
                        Chemicalkinetics Aug 23, 2011 03:38 PM

                        There is nothing wrong with buying your favor color for your cookware. In fact, it is normal and the very reason why manufacturer makes cookware of different colors. If you like a white toaster, then get the white one. If you like the blue racer, then get it as well. What surprises me is that some people will buy "another" piece of the cookware solely for the color. This means I already have a blue 5 quart Dutch Oven, but because a new color has launched, I will buy another 5 quart Dutch Oven because of the new color. I think Le Cresuet, as a company, rely on this because it launches new colors every year (in turn retires some). If a person only uses one Dutch Oven to cook, but bought 4 Dutch Oven of different color, then he is not buying the cookware. He is buying the color and the fashion behind the color.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          s
                          skyline Aug 24, 2011 07:07 AM

                          Oh I didn't mean to imply that there is anything "wrong" with color options. It's just that I often get the impression that with LC, the color range seems almost secondary to the cookware pieces themselves -- as you described with a person who will buy duplicates piece solely because it now comes in a new color. IMHO that shifts the category of the item into "collectable" more than "utillity item".

                    2. re: mikie
                      kaleokahu Aug 23, 2011 12:47 PM

                      Hi, mikie: "a tough product to differentiate." That's precisely my point. We may be past the Emperor-Has-No-Clothes moment when it comes to ECI.

                      With respect, I think the huge premiums paid for LC and Staub are different from power tools. As cooking implements, these pans are pretty fungible, except for some unique shapes. There've been debates here about CQC, the enamels, warranty, etc., but if any salient functional differences between the French and Chinese makers remain today, their days are few and numbered. Now--in 2011--consumers have a stark choice: (a) seemingly-as-good, fully functional generics at reasonable prices; or (b) LC/Staub for at least 3x the price. I submit that now about the *only* reason to spend more is color.

                      Wow, 55% off on your cocottes, that's great. I bet Dillards still made money on the deal, you think?

                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo

                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        Chemicalkinetics Aug 23, 2011 02:20 PM

                        "CQC"?

                        Close quarter combat? What the?

                        There is still two big distinction between the French Le Cresuet and the regular Chinese made enameled Dutch Oven. One is the better warranty. The other is the color. Although Lodge Color series offers some pretty looking color for its Dutch Oven, it is still offering the same color choices as the year before and the year before that. They are not launching new colors every year.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          kaleokahu Aug 23, 2011 03:39 PM

                          Hi, Chem:

                          Company Quality Control can seem like Close-Quarters Combat sometimes. Probably less brass on the floor, though.

                          What *are* the warranties on Kirkland (Costco), Lodge, Paula Deen, Mario, and other ECI? I know LC has a good warranty, but Costco's doesn't require shipping back to NC and waiting 6 weeks. I suspect that many retailers of the Chinese stuff are also offering favorable return/exchange terms.

                          Aloha,
                          Kaleo

                          1. re: kaleokahu
                            Chemicalkinetics Aug 23, 2011 03:55 PM

                            Oh, company quality control.

                            I don't know the warranties of the other brands, but probably not as good as Le Creuset. Well, yes, Costco run a different kind of business. My understanding is that these other brands have so called "limited lifetime warranty", and Le Cresuet offers "Lifetime warranty". Lodge definitely offers a "Limited Lifetime Warranty":

                            http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-enam...

                            You probably know a lot more than I do what these mean because of your professional. I have no idea, but Lifetime warranty sounds better for sure.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              r
                              Rella Aug 23, 2011 06:21 PM

                              I'm wondering what percentage of people have had a 'lifetime warranty' on LC and never was able to get it by any means; i.e., through the people they bought it from, from another retailer who might take pity on the purchaser, or from the LC manufacturer.

                              I'm wondering how many people have held their tongue about products highly rated such as KitchenAid mixers and LC products because it is forever the same "I love mine" answer, and "you should contact the company if you're not satisfied" answer.

                              1. re: Rella
                                Chemicalkinetics Aug 23, 2011 06:49 PM

                                Rella,

                                "I'm wondering what percentage of people have had a 'lifetime warranty' on LC and never was able to get it by any means"

                                I think Le Creuset has slowly cut down the free exchange. It now tends to give you a discount. So, let's say your LC chipped, then the company will offer you to buy your next one at a 50% discount... something along the line.

                                "how many people have held their tongue about products highly rated such as KitchenAid mixers and LC products because it is forever the same "I love mine" answer, and "you should contact the company if you're not satisfied" answer."

                                Your concern is valid. In a past post where a poster said she has observed chipping in her Le Creuset within a few months. Several posters simply wrote things along the line that "I bought mine and it has last decades. You must not know how to use yours." I was stunned at the level of accusations. Just because yours last for 20 years, it does not mean everyone's else will. My Volvo has not caused me any trouble for the last two years. It does not mean every Volvo coming out from the factory is the same. If someone's Volvo has a major trouble within 6 months, then it does not necessary mean the driver was horrible at taking care of the car. Recently, Martha Stewart Collection casserole is being recalled by Macy's because two consumers have reported the enameled surface cracked and flied off. Two consumers out of what? Probably thousands if not tens of thousands. So should the rest of consumers call these two idiots and say things like "Mine last for years. You must not know how to use yours."

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  r
                                  Rella Aug 23, 2011 07:12 PM

                                  Thanks for your vote of confidence in me.

                            2. re: kaleokahu
                              s
                              skyline Aug 23, 2011 03:57 PM

                              I happen to know Paula Deen's, only because I just recently shopped for a steamer and discovered that PD is the "celebrity brand" of Farberware. Both lines make the identical 3-qt steamer, differening only in the cosmetics and $12 higher pricepoint of the PD. Both lines have a "limited lifetime warranty."

                              FYI, I didn't buy either one, because both had downsides that I didn't care for at all. The PD has a glass lid (good) and more heat-resistant handles (good) but many Amazon complaints from smoothtop owners about the bottom of the pan not being totally flat but rather concave in the center (major bad). The FWare had no pot-bottom complaints (good) but many about the handles getting extremely hot although they were advertised as 'stay-cool' (bad) and it also has a solid stainless lid (bad IMHO). Also I thought it was silly to charge $12 more for some tacky-looking "copper trim" and because the name of some tv celebrity associated with it. Big whoop, LOL. ;-)

                              And like you say, it's all made in China anyway. (then again, so is a bunch of Rosle stuff nowadays, which is depressing)

                              1. re: skyline
                                n
                                NotJuliaChild Aug 23, 2011 05:57 PM

                                Please explain to me why you find Rosle products made in China depressing.

                                1. re: NotJuliaChild
                                  r
                                  Rella Aug 23, 2011 06:29 PM

                                  Answering NotJuliaChild's reply to skyline. Hope I'm not interruping too much.

                                  I don't know if it was made in China or not, but I paid a good price for an Rosle apple peeler - I could not believe it, it "bent" on the first apple coring.

                                  I love and use constantly a recommended Rosle ladle - it is made in Germany - some say they are now made in China; I can't vouch for that.

                                  Neither here nor there, but Rosle products or any other products that are now made in China, if they were made previously in Germany, France, or Italy, and one gets used to the quality of yore of those countries, one can feel it is depressing to know that products, be it Rosle or other famous brands that one has heard are not up to those previous countries' standards and quality, certainly can be depressing when wanting to purchase a 'lifetime' cooking item.

                                  1. re: Rella
                                    n
                                    NotJuliaChild Aug 23, 2011 06:51 PM

                                    I own a Rosle ladle. It is one big piece of metal. There are no welds. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how something like a stamped and/or forged piece of metal can be inferior coming from China as compared to the same thing coming from Germany. It's not as if human hands made the ladle. It's a giant mechanical press that exerts tons of force on a piece of sheet metal. Kind of hard to screw that up, I think.

                                    If you tried to core an apple with a peeler instead of a corer, of course it bent. That wasn't what it was intended to do.

                                    Has it occured to anyone that Rosle must be satisfied with the quality of their Chinese made goods? Do you think they would risk their brand equity by selling substandard goods with their name on it? Do you think it's possible you just got a dud - the same kind of dud that is inevitable in any manufacturing process? You do your best to control quality, but you never get 100% of the defects off the line. That's just a fact of life.

                                    The Chinese built the Great Wall of China. Last time I checked, it's all still there, in its entirety. They also made - by hand, mind you - Ming Vases, a group of artifacts that has clearly stood the test of time. The Chinese are capable of creating and manufacturing things of mind boggling detail.

                                    Produce low-value added products like ladles in Germany, and Rosle will have to sell ladles for $50 each to make the same profit as the ladles made in China.

                                    That's just plain stupid.

                                    1. re: NotJuliaChild
                                      Chemicalkinetics Aug 23, 2011 07:00 PM

                                      NotJuliaChild,

                                      "For the life of me, I cannot figure out how something like a stamped and/or forged piece of metal can be inferior coming from China as compared to the same thing coming from Germany."

                                      If it is made from the same material, then it should not be too different. The question is: Is it really made of the same material with the same tool? Some will argue that a lot more things are being cut beside the labor cost. Companies may also cut materials, say using slightly lower cheaper steel.

                                      "The Chinese built the Great Wall of China"

                                      Yes, but you are talking the best offered by the Chinese, but outsourcing products often involve the subpar of the Chinese. There are a few respectable Chinese brand names. Meyer produces well known cookware brands like the Circulon, Anolon, ...etc, but when a US company outsources to China, it ain't going to outsource to well established companies like Meyer. Meyer has its own products already.

                                      So there are issues with outsourcing. I think some have been blown out of proportion, but there is certainly something there.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        Midlife Aug 23, 2011 11:56 PM

                                        With most of my adult working life having been spent in the apparel manufacturing industry, and having worked closely with US, Asian and European factories I think I can offer an opinion on this.

                                        If the company having their product made in China searches out and insists on specific material standards, method of production, sets the right measurable quality standards, and becomes actively involved in the production process.................. the Chinese made product can equal the quality of the "home-made" product so long as all those standards are capable of being met. I'd think that the availability of correct materials and production equipment would be the two most potentially troublesome points. As you say, Chemicalkinetics, "The question is: Is it really made of the same material with the same tool?".

                                        Sometimes the 'not exactly' answers are due to availability and sometimes due to cost. In my experience, the labor quality and willingness to meet production quality standards are not the issue if the right factory is used and partnered with, and if the cost of all the above fits into the target pricing. Just my 2¢.

                                        1. re: Midlife
                                          n
                                          NotJuliaChild Aug 24, 2011 02:11 PM

                                          This is very much on point.

                                          The Chinese produce so called "garbage" because foreigners come to them and say "make this widget at a cost of 50 cents per". You can't produce perfection on a shoestring budget.

                                          To compare ECI from France to ECI from China is foolish. It's like saying my BMW doesn't doesn't drive the same as my Chevrolet, so my Chevrolet must be substandard. The guy buying the Chevy Malibu doesn't leave the Chevy dealership to go test drive a BMW. He leaves to test drive a Ford.

                                          Companies that choose Chinese made ECI are targeting the portion of the ECI market that either can't or won't spend Staub/Le Creuset type money. If you want to pay less money, you get less product. Not too hard to understand.

                                          The Apple iPhone and iPad is assembled in China. Anyone want to argue that's garbage?

                                          Arguing that the U.S. is losing their manufacturing base to China is so far off base it's not worth arguing about. According to the United Nations’ comprehensive database of international economic data, America’s manufacturing output in 2009 (expressed in constant 2005 dollars) was $2.15 trillion. That surpassed China’s output of $1.48 trillion by nearly 46 percent. China’s industries may be booming, but the United States still accounted for 20 percent of the world’s manufacturing output in 2009 — only a hair below its 1990 share of 21 percent.

                                          We manufacture high value-added goods - stealth military technology, airplanes, pharmaceuticals. They manufacture plastic toys for kids, kitchen utensils, and clothes.

                                          I can't speak for you, but I am more than happy to ship the responsiblity for manufacturing those sorts of things straight out of this contry.

                                          1. re: NotJuliaChild
                                            Chemicalkinetics Aug 24, 2011 03:36 PM

                                            "Arguing that the U.S. is losing their manufacturing base to China is so far off base it's not worth arguing about. "

                                            First of, without getting all confused up, I want to say that I mostly agree with you. First, I think people don't realize that US is still out manufacturing China, and we manufacturing the more expensive, high valve goods. Second, US is not losing their manufacturing ability to China. China is competing the manufacturing with India, and Brazil, not US. US and China are largely not in the same category for most manufacturing. Third, the "made in China" can be overestimated. The best example is iPhone as you talked about. On the surface, iPhone is made in China, but in reality, China only adds 3.6% value to the iPhone. Japan adds 34% and Germany 17%. So it is very misleading to say that $300 iPhone is made in China in its entirety.

                                            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704828104576021142902413796.html

                                            Now, I work in a high tech industry. In my case, my company is outsourcing part of its research to India. Not routine works, but real research. I think it is fair to say that it takes/took the Indian counterpart sometime to catch up, but the truth is that they are doing it better every year since and will be doing so in the upcoming year. In all honesty, our problem has nothing to do with people buying stuffs from another countries. Our problem has to do with our education system. The real question should be: how do we compete with India and China for the educated, high valued jobs is the real question, and not how do compete in making spatula and enameled cast iron Dutch Oven? The Indians and Chinese are more than happy to let us to work on the spatula if we want to give up on the computers and pharmaceutical drugs. They are already working in these areas.

                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharmace...

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                              m
                                              mikie Aug 24, 2011 08:45 PM

                                              What you say is only relivent if you are currently employed, which I am, but over 9% of the population isn't and that's just in the US, some countries in the EU have even more unemployment. Not everyone has had the same opportunities that some of us have had. That manufacturing job in an appliance plant or making cookware, would look mighty good to some of those people.

                                              1. re: mikie
                                                Chemicalkinetics Aug 25, 2011 04:47 AM

                                                What I wrote has nothing to do with the fact that I am currently employed or not. I was unemployed once.

                                                The 9% unemployment rate is not related outsourcing, but rather due to the economic downturn. We had a 10% unemployment rate in the 1982 due to that recession. Now we are/were in another one. Many European countries have always had a higher unemployment since the 1970's, but that has to do with policy. For one, it is much more difficult to lay off workers in many EU countries. On the surface, you think that would protect the workers, but in truth, this policy acts against it:

                                                "An alternative explanation of the high unemployment in Continental Europe is that legislation introduced there in the 1970s made it more difficult to difficult to layoff workers.... hiring became almost an irreversible decision for the employer, so firms have reluctant to add workers, particularly untested workers with little experience....."

                                                http://books.google.com/books?id=dAQk28fREv8C&pg=PA572&lpg=PA572&dq=european+layoff+irreversible+decision&source=bl&ots=PBZNsc_fQl&sig=zgGM838Qr0m2Ok23Cch6qqLAA9s&hl=en&ei=DiZWTtXjFM_TgQekjKGeDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEsQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

                                                Unemployment rate is only one of the many indicators for a country, but if we are going to talk about unemployment, then let's talk about it. Japan has a significantly lower unemployment rate than US and most European countries. Its average is around 3%. It reached it historical "high" in the 2009 at 5.6%. Yes, 5.6% is Japan's historical high.

                                                http://www.uri.edu/artsci/newecn/Clas...

                                                Yet, Japan companies offshore jobs throughout the world, including China, including US. When you see a Toyota factory in Alabama, it is doing exactly that -- offshoring jobs. You see, the idea that high unemployment rate is due to offshoring jobs is not true.

                                                The real challenges from uprising countries like China, India and others are not merely cheaper labor or offshoring. That would be false. Both countries have huge educated work forces. This is one of the reasons why IT outsource to India. My company does top-notch science research. These countries have highly trained and educated work forces, which are ready to compete with us anytime. Just for example, in India, it is customary to work 6 days a week and longer hours, and I am not talking about what many thinking about unskilled workers working long hours in sweat shops. I am talking about PhD scientists in world class research facilities working long hours in India. One of our major problems is our education system believe it or not.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  m
                                                  mikie Aug 29, 2011 05:53 AM

                                                  Don't tell the engineers I know who are out of work and stocking shelves at K-Mart that they don't have an education, or the PhD I interviewed a few months ago who was anticipating his plant shutting down, and being out of work.

                                                  Don't know where to put this, so I went back here. Here's some good reading on the subject. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/10-Amer...

                                      2. re: NotJuliaChild
                                        r
                                        Rella Aug 23, 2011 07:27 PM

                                        "If you tried to core an apple with a peeler instead of a corer, of course it bent. That wasn't what it was intended to do."

                                        Oops, my mistake, the largest apple CORER at that time made by Rosle.

                                        There are different qualities of stainless steel - weight and so on, so I've heard, for flatware. Why not other products as well.

                                        Yes, I do appreciate the Great Wall, have been there, and I do have quite a few articles of China, vases, etc, I've purchased art from China, taken Chinese art classes, bought Chinese paper, and the list goes on of the things I love about China and its wares.

                                        You say, 'has it ever occured to me..." yes.

                                        Yes, I agree that "it would be plain stupid for Rosle to ..."

                                        1. re: NotJuliaChild
                                          m
                                          mikie Aug 24, 2011 06:14 AM

                                          The Great Wall and Ming vases were not made in 21st century China, and that's the difference. Made in China today is not what it was centuries ago. Items are made in China today because it can be made there with inexpensive labor, virtually no environmental scrutiny, and for the most part less expensive raw materials.

                                          Yes, a large press stamps out the parts for Rosle, but that doesn't mean the same source for that metal is used, or that the same guage of metal is used. But all that aside, For how long do you think the Eurozone and the US will last without manufacturing jobs? For me, it's about a lot of factors, quality being one (I have yet to have an item made in China that I can honestly say is comprable in quality to items made in the US or EU), environmental impact being another (although China is under some pressure to improve in this area, they are a long way from where the US and EU are), socio/economic considerations whigh in very heavily (the US and EU economies are in bad shape for a number of reasons, but the loss of manufacturing jobs in both regions has added greatly to unemployment and the current economic problems).

                                          Back on subject, I have spoken extensively with the owner of a gourmet cooking establishment and she will not carry enameled cast iron cookware from China. She has in the past and in her opinion, the number of returns for chips and cracks and the POed customers is just more trouble than it's worth.

                                        2. re: Rella
                                          s
                                          skyline Aug 24, 2011 06:49 AM

                                          Rella: That was exactly what I meant when I used the word "depressing." :-)

                                          NotJuliaChild: You asked if I thought Rosle (or any other established company) might 'risk their brand equity by selling substandard goods'. In a word: Yes I always assume that may be the case, because it has happened many times before and certainly will happen many times in the future especially with the global economy as it now is. Many brands that were once well regarded have eventually come to be regarded with disappointment and disdain by former customers.

                                          Mikie: Thank you for making the point about "Made in China" past and present. I am old enough to remember when "Made in Japan" was the consumer equivalent of "cheap garbage". However, nowdays "made in Japan" is often regarded as second only to "made in USA" in quality. It is possible that 40 or 50 years from now, "made in China" will be regarded the same way. However, right now the vast majority of Chinese products and foodstuffs are viewed with suspicion as to overall quality and IMHO rightly so. To use an old maxim, it is not a case of one or two bad apples spoiling the barrel; quite the reverse, it is more like one or two good apples being a rare find in a barrel of rotten ones.

                                          1. re: skyline
                                            Chemicalkinetics Aug 24, 2011 06:55 AM

                                            Right... and then you put a smiley face.

                                            1. re: skyline
                                              Midlife Aug 24, 2011 09:46 AM

                                              I don't disagree about the 'majority' of Chinese goods. My wife used to work in housewares at a major high-end department store and was always remarking on how her Asian customers avoided items Made In China. I'm just saying that quality product can be made there if the materials and production supervision are available and demanded by the buyer. What's also different about 'today' in China is that years ago buyers sent samples over there and got back what they got back. These days buyers have major presence there and can demand and control quality to the extent that it is available and that they are willing to pay for it.

                                              I guess that what I'm saying is that this is not simply a Chinese shortcoming.

                                  2. re: kaleokahu
                                    m
                                    mikie Aug 23, 2011 03:12 PM

                                    Hi Kaleo,

                                    Of course they made money. I bought some flatware from a Lenox outlet a number of years ago, I don't recall the details, but I got a place setting of some very expensive flatware for something like $2.85, it was regularly 5 or 6 times that. The saleswomen was telling me what a great deal I got, and I said something to the effect that they are still making a profit and there was no disagreement. That's just how much mark up there is on these products.

                            3. u
                              ultimatepotato Aug 23, 2011 08:33 AM

                              Do you have any kind of trading standards authority? In the UK, retailers usually have to mention in ads what the previous price was and the duration of the pricing. I think this may only be on certain goods - appliances, home entertainment etc. i.e. I'm looking to buy a new laptop at the moment and I might see a sale price of £499, down from £699, with the fine print saying 'sold at £699 01/07/2011 - 20/08/2011'.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: ultimatepotato
                                Kagemusha Aug 23, 2011 08:39 AM

                                In Ontario, Canada, retailers now have to specify how many of a given sale item are available in each store. This kills the old hook of having only a couple sale items on hand that vanished in the first 30 seconds after the doors open.

                                1. re: ultimatepotato
                                  s
                                  skyline Aug 23, 2011 02:45 PM

                                  I don't know if it's an actual law in my state or not, but some stores do add (in small print, LOL) to their advertising of, for example, a 50%-off Sale, the phrase "intermediate markdowns taken". But none of them indicate exactly when or how long ago the markdowns were taken.

                                  One does have to be alert when reading the sale signs/advertising for clothing especially. Let's say there's a Michael Kors top with its pricetag showing the original selling price of $79.99, which is crossed out with red ink and a new/current price of $59.99 written below it, and the sign on that rack says "40% Off". If the small print says "off original price", then the actual price of that top will be $48, but if instead it says "off marked price", then the sale price is $36. (plus possibly any sales tax, depending on the current law in any given state). Cookware, unfortunately, is always subject to sales tax in my state if sold in by a brick and mortar store, or on Amazon. It was so nice back in the good old days when Amazon didn't collect sales tax, LOL!

                                  1. re: ultimatepotato
                                    c
                                    CanadaGirl Aug 28, 2011 07:13 PM

                                    Canada's laws on this aren't quite like the UK, but the scenario describe by the OP is illegal in Canada. There have been many retailers charged and convicted for having "sales" when nothing, or very little, was ever actually sold at the "original" price. The fines can be pretty high.

                                  2. c
                                    cutipie721 Aug 23, 2011 02:40 PM

                                    I don't think what you see applies to kitchenware only. It pretty much is the norm. When was the last time you shopped at a place that gives you price match guarantee? Think about airfare, electronics, appliances, designer everything, books…

                                    I don't understand why retailers and manufacturers are being scrutinized for trying to stay in business by making money. I've become so numb when it comes to so-called "sales" that I pretty much ignore them. There are other way more ridiculous things people buy and sell, like that shiny rock called diamond. If it's wrong for the manufacturer to regulate retail price, retailers are free to not carry the items. I don't believe LC is forcing all stores to carry their products, nor the stores are bound to fail if they don't sell LC.

                                    What's wrong with Walmart's business model? What's wrong with getting rid of min. wage anyway?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: cutipie721
                                      s
                                      skyline Aug 23, 2011 03:21 PM

                                      Oooh, I get so irked when I see a store advertise a "price match" because 99% of the time there will be in REALLY TINY PRINT somewhere the phrase "for identical item". And that's where they get you, especially on electronics, appliances, etc that are made with special model numbers for the big box stores (HD, Lowe's, Target, Walmart, etc). That one or two digit difference in the model number or SKU kills the majority of so-called price matches because the "matching" store says "See, this is not the IDENTICAL item that you have brought me the ad for."

                                      I don't object to any mfr or retailer making money, what I object to is advertising that is designed to be deceptive. If I think an item is not worth what I am willing to, or can responsibly afford to, pay for it... I don't buy it. Which is not to say that I don't watch its price and if it is marked down by a retailer to a price that I think is reasonable, then I will buy it. But I don't buy something MAINLY because it used to be, say, $125 and is now "wow, suchadeal" at $30 ... though I do know plenty of people who suspend common sense in such scenarios.

                                      1. re: skyline
                                        n
                                        NotJuliaChild Aug 23, 2011 06:01 PM

                                        Price matching isn't about getting a good price for the consumer.

                                        Instead, it is a veiled message to other retailers that, if you opt to compete on price, we (meaning retailers) all lose in the long run. So, let's agree not to undercut each other.

                                        1. re: NotJuliaChild
                                          Chemicalkinetics Aug 23, 2011 06:13 PM

                                          Actually, price matching is considered negative for the economic output and causes economic issues. The reasons are not about undercut prices which is perfectly fine in economics. The whole point of free market is that sellers and buyers compete for the best prices. Companies and stores which cannot compete will be weed out.

                                          The problem with price matching is basically differentiate pricing. If customer A can find a cheaper competitor, then we will match its price and sell it lower. If customer B cannot find a cheaper alternative, then we will sell at our regular price. There are two levels of problems at least. First, each customer is sold at different price. Second, these sellers actually tend to sell at a higher price point because they have the option to undercut the competitors when the customers find out.

                                    2. s
                                      ShawnPA Aug 23, 2011 07:32 PM

                                      One thing I have noticed.......you can get a pretty good deal on "try me" or promo pieces. I have not seen any promo pieces from LC, but I have seen several staub deals. One was you get 2 free mini cast iron cocottes with an oval(5 or 6 qt, I think) cocotte. You can get a 6.5qt round oven for $199, which is the regular price of the 5qt. They have a braiser promo piece that I have considered buying but decided I don't need. I like the staub promo pieces, but a lot of the time I have noticed other companies' promo pieces are not a piece of cookware that I would need/wan't to use very often.

                                      1. Kagemusha Aug 24, 2011 10:01 AM

                                        Any chance we could redirect this thread back to "When a sale is not a sale?"

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Kagemusha
                                          r
                                          Rella Aug 24, 2011 11:30 AM

                                          O.K. I'll be the first.
                                          If one includes an outlet re "when a sale is not a sale," but is "more than a sale" - does this count as an answer?

                                          To explain:
                                          I was in a big outlet area. And went to a well-known brand of pots and pans outlet.
                                          I was interested in something to do with cooking technique, not so much as buying a product and told them so.

                                          I was told about a product that was so appealing to me - and even though the price was tremendous! there was not much doubt that I was eager to buy. There was a woman behind the counter assisting the sales person I was talking to, and every few minutes, with her calculator, the price keep coming down; finally she made a phone call and said that she could offer it to me for an ever lower price.

                                          At that point, I was really breathing hard over this newly found product with a technique I'd never understood before, when DH came walking in. He was convinced that I'd lost it -- and indeed I must have. I think back now about how I almost dropped a large amount without even checking prices and reviews elsewhere.

                                          This indeed was a sale that was not a sale - I don't know what one would call that kind of marketing. I'm only slightly amused even now.

                                        2. Midlife Aug 24, 2011 12:23 PM

                                          OK...... back on track.

                                          When I was in 'the biz' years ago we were not allowed to quote a comparative "regular" price unless the item had actually been available at that higher price for something like 30 days prior. This was related to OUR stores only. If another store had the same item "on sale" within that period it had nothing to do with what we could claim. Today, the official FTC wording is that the item must have been offered at the reasonable price for a "reasonable" time.

                                          As far as I know the FTC still has either laws, or at least guidelines, as to what is deceptive advertising. If the seller posts a comparative price which is not legitimately "regular" I'm pretty sure you could report the situation to local authorities. If they don't quote a comparative I'm not sure that is the same thing. It's certainly misleading, though, and that (as I understand it) is what the FTC is there to protect consumers from.

                                          I'm wondering if posters here in 'the biz' have current info on this.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Midlife
                                            s
                                            skyline Aug 24, 2011 01:40 PM

                                            That is interesting. A question: When you say "comparative regular price", do you mean "the non-sale price for that specific item"? What about items that are exclusive to (made specifically for) one store or chain only? In those cases is the use of "compare/comparative" legal, and if so, does the selling store have to somehow legally justify the "comparative regular price"? I am really curious about that.

                                            Let's take a pair of Shun knives as a perfect example.

                                            Here is the Shun Edo 8" chef's knive that Williams Sonoma says is exclusive to their stores. It has a "Suggested Price" of $250, and in reddish color type (perhaps because consumers have been Palov-ishly conditioned to 'recognize' a secondary price shown in red as being some sort of bargain? LOL) it says "Our Price $199.95". The ad is constructed so as to suggest that this knife is a bargain of sorts -- but is it, really? IMHO it is not, because the $250 MSRP is too restrictive (since only WS is allowed to sell this).
                                            http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/shun-edo-8-inch-chefs-knife-stand/?pkey=e|shun%2Bedo|13|best|0|1|24||11&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-

                                            Here's a different Shun line (Bob Kramer design) made for/sold at only Sur la Table. SLT's ad is a bit different from WS's, in that they word it as "Exclusive Special Value" for these knives, at their selling price of $269.95 to $379.95, based on the claim that they have a "Value" of $325 to $475. Again I wonder, how much of a grey area are these "values" allowed to be in? Does Shun really have to justify the claimed "value" or are they pretty much allowed to say whatever they want?
                                            http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

                                            I give points to SLT for not utilizing the red-font format though, LOL.

                                            I would not consider either of these retail pricepoints as being a "sale", would you? I would consider the "exclusive to us" price ($199.95 for example ) as the regular selling price. Now if it were temporarily put on sale during the holiday season for, say, $149.95, then IMHO that would be a sale ... but a sale compared only to the previous $199.95 price, NOT off the supposed MSRP of $250 unless Williams Sonoma were to actually mark them UP to $250 for, as you say, a "reasonable" time -- not just two days, LOL.

                                            1. re: skyline
                                              Chemicalkinetics Aug 24, 2011 03:44 PM

                                              "What about items that are exclusive to (made specifically for) one store or chain only?"

                                              I agree. That is just stupid. How does Williams Sonoma claim it is selling at a price lower than the MSRP for an exclusive product is completely beyond me. It does not even make sense. You, Williams Sonoma, is the only one selling that item.

                                              1. re: skyline
                                                Midlife Aug 24, 2011 03:52 PM

                                                Re your examples: As my memories of this come back, I'll comment that the test against possible deception in pricing is often in the specific words used. The word "value" is much more general and ambiguous than "regularly". It's really quite subjective and covers the store that way. MSRP is just that...... a suggestion. It's pretty meaningless. I don't have enough current knowledge to answer as to legalvulnerability.

                                                My best guess is that the answer to all this lies, again, in the 'reasonableness' of the claim and whether or not it attempts to mislead the buyer. I'd think that, were they challenged on it in a legal setting, SLT (for example) would somehow have to prove that the $325 to $475 price quote is for a 'reasonably' similar product. I don't know how much these issues are litigated, but the FTC guidelines suggest that "value" can be challenged based on evidence that the quoted price is rarely in effect. So.................. it's not "reasonable" to say something has a $250 value if nothing "reasonably" similar has been sold for that price in any "significant" quantity. Pretty grey stuff!

                                                Here's some FTC material on the subject: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/decptpr...

                                                1. re: Midlife
                                                  Kagemusha Aug 24, 2011 04:28 PM

                                                  It's troubling to think how many sucker for chump ads of the sort detailed above, most of them obviously inspired by the weasel tactics used in car dealers' showrooms.

                                                  Right up there with the absurdity of the "free gift" pitch, no?

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