Shopping Recap

I'm pretty deep into the mood boards right now - and as part of that trying to pick out actual products to put on the boards. Novel concept right?

I'd like to note the worst parts about this whole process are:
  • conflicting advice
  • cost
  • trying to pick a lasting aesthetic 
  • industry leaders
Conflicting Advice examples:
  • we had a frozen pipe at the house this week and so I took the opportunity to interrogate the plumber about his favorite brands. He said a lot of things but all I remember is "no Kohler". His rationale was really maintenance based which as a plumber you call when your pipes freeze, I took pretty seriously. When I took this feedback to the plumbing store, she said it was probably because he was an "older" plumber and asked his age.
  • In shopping for appliances, I went to 4 different stores. My main source of conflict is around GE. One appliance store gave it as their first recommendation. The next one said they had stopped carrying it because of the high service rate. When I asked for more details, he gave some super concrete points including the sale of the brand to a Chinese company and pointed me to their website where they list the service rates of different brands. I then took these facts back to the first place to switch from GE to Bosch... response "repair history so so". 
Honestly this all comes down to the sales reps to a certain degree. People I have liked working with:
  • My contractor. Listens to my ideas and then tells me why he disagrees (or agrees). A great example of this was on the shower floors. I asked about using a shower pan instead of tile so I wouldn't have to maintain grout. He listened and then explained that the grout maintenance would be less worrisome than the leak potential of using a shower pan. He then gave a detailed, yet not super technical explanation.
  • My second designer. 
  • Appliance people. Yes, I'm getting conflicting points of view (see above) but I know they are listening and providing their educated opinion.
  • Kitchen designer. Still in the throws of design but I could repeat my same comments about from the contractor or appliance people. Very knowledgeable and great listening.
A lot of this really is related to my visit yesterday to the plumbing store. To be fair, I did show up 90 minutes before they were closing. Here are a few examples:
  • General Sentiment // See above about Kohler faucets. Also, every recommendation was for Kohler. When I asked about other brands, the response was pretty much "well they are the industry leader". I'm not totally convinced that someone being in the industry leader makes then the best choice. Just because something has the most sales doesn't make it the best product. I'm rarely going to take your advice or opinion if you can't talk to me about a second brand. 
  • Kitchen sink // I asked about the difference between the two basin sink and the small basin being on the left v right. The response, it's always on the right. Of course I can't find any example online of this and I didn't take pictures ... but you'll have to trust me on it.
  • Toilets // My parents care a lot about toilets. Their feedback going into this visit? Get a 1-piece, higher height, flush efficient toilet. When I ask about toilet heights, please don't tell me they all come at the same height. This just isn't true. Even if the new standard is called "comfort height" and is higher than the previous standard which isn't for sale anymore, you can say that. Also, there are handicap height toilets. 
  • Bathroom sink // Fundamentally, don't make your customer feel like an idiot. In exchange for not doing double sinks (which I dislike), I'd like to do a slightly larger basin sink in the bathrooms. She says okay and tells me which product I need. I ask her to show me in the showroom. I took at it and it looks like a traditional size. Her response "Why would you want anything bigger?" To be clear, you can ask that. I want you to ask me that. But you don't get to have a stink face and tone when you do. 
  • Aesthetic // This is pretty small and perhaps petty - but comes down to just empathizing with your customer. Previously I had selected the Kohler Bancroft for the entire house, but after thinking about it more I didn't like how chunky the sink products were. The shower stuff was fine, but I wanted a different brand for the sinks. When I conveyed this to the woman her response was "well they actually modeled this after the 1920s". A better response that doesn't make me feel insecure? "I can understand that. It is all about your personal taste, this is your home. For what its worth, they did use the 1920s as inspiration when developing this product line. Have you considered the Artifacts line?"
Fundamentally, there is no way I'm letting this woman take commission credit for my $$$ plumbing supply order if I place it with them. Rant over.

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