Shopping for DIY supplies (and returning them)

Joan Fieldstone

October 1, 2014

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: General Remodeling

There is the old adage, "measure twice, cut once," or something like that. It also applies to planning your shopping list before making that trip to the Big Box store for DIY supplies, especially when you are in a big hurry to snag an unadvertised special, or in my case, the 12-month's-interest-free deal.

I have a bunch of unfinished projects that BFF promised to start tackling when she pet-sits for me while I'm away next month. She asked me to make a list of what needs to be done so we could figure out what we need -- more paint, paint supplies, flooring materials, etc. I made the to-do list, but we barely gave it a glance before I ran out to cash in on the great end-of-summer/pre-Labor Day credit deals at The Home Depot.

Spend to save

I schlepped around the store with her for over an hour throwing things into the cart to make sure I bought enough to qualify -- like a new faucet I could live without, for example: there is a minimum amount you have to buy for the no-interest credit. The problem is, I failed to remind BFF of this, and when I kept asking her, "Is there anything else you think you'll need," she kept saying, "No."

She thought I wanted to save money: She had no clue that in this case, I wanted to spend more. Funny how that "no-interest" marketing ploy works so well for Home Depot. Unfortunately, when I got to the register, I was $40 short of the minimum. Even when the cashier mentioned right in front of BFF that I needed to spend a little more to qualify for my no-interest deal, she still insisted we didn't need another thing. And at that point, I was, unfortunately, too "hangry" to care.

An altercation erupted on the way back from The Home Depot between me and BFF that went something like this:

Me: Now I have to pay something like 1,000 percent interest on this balance because you didn't tell me everything we needed.

BFF: How am I supposed to know you wanted to spend money? You're always trying to save money!

Me: I told you I had this no-interest coupon thingie!

BFF: Did not!

Me: Did so!

BFF: I told you to show me your list of things we need to finish.

Me: I did.

BFF: Did not.

Etc., etc., etc.

I finally apologized and, because I felt so bad about making her feel bad, I bought her dinner, which came to -- you guessed it -- $40.

The next day we went back to Home Depot and she picked out four sheets of OSB we thought we needed to put under the rest of the downstairs flooring. The idea was to increase my total purchase so customer service could refund the previous purchase and re-ring the entire purchase with the additional items just so I could reach the magic number. Unfortunately, trip #2 added another $100 to the total. I found plenty more things to buy.

With the cost of dinner and the extra items, I am sure I didn't save any money -- but those were some fine margaritas we had with dinner.

Next time, however, I'll bring a list for my DIY supplies and do more research on what I actually want. Turns out we have to return the OSB boards and get plywood, instead.

Sound familiar?


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