Tag Archives: direct buy

Design your kitchen


After going back and forth with our kitchen designer for almost a month, at last we finalized our kitchen design and placed the order. Direct Buy has a really good deal buying kitchen cabinets. I went to the Kitchen Craft showroom trying to get an estimate for comparison, the sales refuse to give me a quote after hearing my budget, which is my quote at Direct Buy plus the $5000 membership fee. He said I am unrealistic trying to get the high end line with my pity budget. He said my kitchen is pretty big, my budget can only only get me the high end cabinet box without no doors.

Design the kitchen is a long and stressful process, but I learned a lot from it. I know some basic principle of kitchen design. Knows how to partition the kitchen into three zones, the washing zone, preparing zone and cooking zone. I studied the Kitchen Craft catalog cover to cover. Once I figured out how my kitchen should look, picking the right cabinet from the catalog is pretty straight forward. Reading the catalog opens my eyes, I am not even aware of all those different cabinet options just from going to the showrooms. There are more hinge actions then I can ever imagine. Picking the color and door style is Pat’s department, I only give comments on material and costs.

The cabinet is fixed, now I have to worry about counter top and handles. There are over a hundred different kinds of stone surface and over a thousand different kinds of door handles. After that I have to pick the right faucet and sink. I will have to do a lot more research and go to many more showrooms before I can make up my mind. When the kitchen is finished, my next mission is to design the master bedroom closet and it will be another endless quest of style and options. In my opinion, customize all the elements in my house to meet our taste and preference is a lot more work than setting up Linux config files using only text editor.


Dream kitchen almost comes true

Technically speaking it is not my dream kitchen, it is Pat’s dream kitchen. Ok, a guy don’t have a dream kitchen, maybe a dream garage, but definitely not a dream kitchen.

For the past two days, I was losing sleep worrying about my $5000 Direct Buy membership fee. I was so worry that it is a scam like many people say online and I have to go through all the trouble to get my money back and worse feeling like an idiot got ripped off. Today after spending three hours meeting with the kitchen designer in Direct Buy, my worry is gone. He is one of the most professional and helpful kitchen designer I have met, much better than those at Home Depot or the Chinese cabinet contractors. Most important of all, their claim of 40% saving in kitchen cabinet is true. I will recoup my membership fee just from the kitchen alone. We don’t have the final quote yet, because we are still fine tuning kitchen design idea. Judging from the estimate, we are $2000 ahead in saving taking the the membership fee and 15% sales discount in Home Depot. The price is comparable to Chinese cabinet contractors but we are getting cabinets from Kitchen Craft.

I spent some time study their catalog, checking the price against retail stores. The price is ok in general. Some stuff is pretty good deal, some stuff are actually more expensive. It beats those boutique shop or designer shops charging clueless customers fat margin, but does not give save much pitching against big chain stores, especially when they are on sales. Big appliance has good deals, too bad that we don’t need to upgrading our appliances.

I have booked the second appointment with the kitchen designer to go over the details. So far I am happy with what I got from Direct Buy. Let’s see can they keep up with my expectation. I will keep readers posted with my Direct Buy adventure.

P.S. Direct Buy is a franchise and the membership fee and catalog selection is different from location to location. I read from Internet, some location is pretty bad. My location seems pretty good so far. Always get opinions from existing members in your location before making your decision.

Direct Buy, scam or big saving?

Can you believe I just pay $5000 for a membership at Direct Buy, hoping to recoup my membership fee from the saving I will get from the deep discounted catalog items through Direct Buy? At first, it sounds like a scam, I thought so too. CBC news even made a report on this company trying to uncover the scam. Internet forum has very mixed review. Someone call it out right fraud but someone think it is a good deal.

The idea of the Direct Buy is quite simple. You pay the heft membership fee, in return you buy product at manufacturer price plus 8% handling fee and freight fee. Retail shop make their profit from the mark up on the goods they are selling. Direct Buy basically makes money from membership fee. It has minimal customer service. You don’t get any sales who try to sell you stuff or answer your questions. You won’t even see the product you are buying. All you got is a room full of manufacturer catalog and a price. You have to look up all the specification, figure out the part number. You may have to go to retail shop to see the item for real. The staff there only do one thing, help you submit your order form. Then you have to wait for the shipment to come, anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Once you pick up the product, you are on your own to deal with the manufacturer with any warranty problem. You don’t get convenient refund or exchange policy from the retail store.

One thing people complain most is that Direct Buy use the typical high pressure selling tactics. They invite you to an open house, force feed you a video, so testimony form “happy” customers and make you sign the contract right away. The catch is you have to sign up on the spot or they will turn you down. Their claim is to protect their manufacturer price is confidential information, they don’t want shopper use it to leverage against retail shops. At first they refuse to show me the the produce catalog and the price. The sales only willing to quote a few items for me. That does not make sense to me. How can I make decision to spend $5000 without knowing how much I can save?

To keep the long story short, at the end we spent 3 hours in the place. The sales pretty up just gave up persuading me and let me wander the place on my own. I have access to all the catalog and able to check out the price as I like. The catalogs are from known manufacturers, not no name brands. Since I am shopping for furniture and house hold items a lot these days, I recognize many brands from the list. The selection is good, it probably beats any one retail store but can’t beat all retail stores combined. The price is actually pretty good. They are really selling at the cost or very close to the cost. For example, we just bought a Simmons mattress from the Bay on sales, the price of the same mattress at Direct Buy is $780 + 8% handling but not shipping = $842. We pay $715 at the Bay, but that’s on the 2 weeks only the Bay super mattress sales and the Bay somehow made an error in subtracting the box frame from the order to our favor. It should be about $810. The not on sales price at of the mattress is $2000 at the Bay, which is ridiculous. The market price I found when I shop around for the mattress is around $1200.

I check many other things and I am convinced they are real savings. It is probably in the order 20-25% rather than the 40-60% they claim. If I can spend $20000, then I could make my $5000 membership fee worth while. The bottom line is Direct Buy’s price beats non-sales price at retail shop, but probably can’t beat the sales price of big chain stores. You actually get access to many more products than you can find in retail shop but at the same time it limits your choice to their catalogs. The bang of the buck would be on big ticket items the retail store getting a fat margin like furniture, vanities, light fixtures, cabinet, fringe, etc. You won’t save much on small appliance as the chain stores probably get a better deal on sales. Since we are remodeling our kitchen and the cabinet is really cheaper than Home Depot. I decide to give it a try. Although the membership contract says absolutely no refund, by law BC has 10 days cool down period and I know there are court precedence winning against Direct Buy to get your money back within the first 10 days. If after doing more calculation, I could save close to $5000, I will keep my membership otherwise I will cancel it.

Stay tune on my price hunting adventure with Direct Buy. I will keep everyone posted. See whether I turn out to be an idiot got scam $5000 or a smart shopper who saves a lot.