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Discussion Starter #1
The seat on my head broke. It is 3/4 the size of a house toilet, made of MDF and plastic, just like at regular seat. But WM and every other vendor I have found want $80.00 for a replacement! The most expensive (full size) seat you will find at a hardware store is $30.00 (with brass hinges), and most are $10.00 to 15.00! This is the best example I have encoutered of how vendors screw boat owners. It's an excellent example, because there is a direct example in the real world. I did find a reasonable seat listed here: Whale Point Marine & Hardware Co.. Sadly, I already got ripped off at WM.
 

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Telstar 28
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Only if they're the exact same item... which may or may not be the case here.
Did you know that WM does price match - just print out the page from the site or bring in the catalog, and bring in your receipt they'll discount the difference....
 

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I make some purchases at West Marine for the convience of it.
When I have time and the energy to search for stuff to try and save some bucks I will, but in a bind and short on time, West is usually a whole lot easier.
The OP found the price they wanted after searching, but had made the purchase prior at West because they had it and it was convient. Your paying the extra dollars for the convienince of having it on hand, in stock, readily available, no shipping, and easy access with hundreds of stores all across the country; usually minutes away from most major ports.
The other side of this, the seats you find at your typical hardware store are not going to fit on your marine head. Same material yes, differnt size made for the marine market means the are produced in much smaller quantities. The runs form the manufacturer on your household seat is probably in excess of thousands a day. The run on the seat for a marine head is probaly around 1000 every 5 years.
My example is just a guess, but I think you understand what I am trying to say. It make a huge differnece in manufacturing cost when you are only producing 1/1000th of what the other guys are.
 

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$58 at Defender. And I recall buying a seat for our head even cheaper after search around the net (something like $40, ebay might be the place to try)

But obviously there is no way to sell marine products for the same price as household - scales are vastly different. How many toilet seats are sold for houses each year and how many for boats?
 

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Make your own from wood---custom fit:D
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
But obviously there is no way to sell marine products for the same price as household - scales are vastly different. How many toilet seats are sold for houses each year and how many for boats?
A toilet seat 3/4 the size at over 300% the price? C'mon guys, the scales are not THAT different! How is the little marine hardware store selling it for $30.00 (their "scales" are the same, and sales volume would be far less than WM)? I used to have a Port Supply card and many items are 50% off, and WM is obviously still making a profit. I also worked at a dive shop and 100% (and more) mark up was common. It's the "sports" industry and they seem to have a license to steal. I've always known it, but this item just snapped me out of my Stupor. But, if you're happy....:)
 

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The problem with WM is that a lot of the stuff there is marked for sale at retail or higher than retail prices. Buyer beware.
 

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A toilet seat 3/4 the size at over 300% the price? C'mon guys, the scales are not THAT different! How is the little marine hardware store selling it for $30.00 (their "scales" are the same, and sales volume would be far less than WM)? I used to have a Port Supply card and many items are 50% off, and WM is obviously still making a profit. I also worked at a dive shop and 100% (and more) mark up was common. It's the "sports" industry and they seem to have a license to steal. I've always known it, but this item just snapped me out of my Stupor. But, if you're happy....:)
Well, so you realize then that a price at WM has nothing to do with the price for the item. If you buy at WM - you should really accept that you will overpay. When I talk about "price of the marine item" I mean the price that you would pay at any reasonable marine gear outfit (which at this point essentially means "online" and, for my own purposes - Defender). WM is just not a point of comparison. They prey on people who did not properly prepare and "need it now" or just have too much money and don't care.
 

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WM is widely known to have almost the highest prices possible. Beyond that, if you were to begin producing toilet seats you would need a mold or another form of tooling. The tooling costs the same whether you sell 5 or 5 million. Most of the time I hear mold prices for injection molded plastic parts for instance at around $25k-$50k. If you have to spend that to produce a product you must include some portion of that cost in each part that you sell. The fewer you sell the more of that cost will be reflected in each part, driving the price up. There's also shipping. let's say it costs $10.00 to ship one toilet seat. If you only need a half a dozen you'll still pay quite a bit for each piece to be shipped. If you can order a pallet of toilet seats to sell you can bet that the shipping per item to the retailer will be much much less than what UPS charges to deliver one or six. Again the cost gets passed on to the lowly toilet seat. The same is true of any product. This is most evident in food prices. It costs a lot more per almond to harvest, shell, and roast one can of almonds by it's self than it does to harvest and process 1000 acres of almonds.
Almost everyone can beat almost every price at WM.
 

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The volume aspect of the head seat is clearly a contributer and goes quite a way to explaining the high cost but that does not alter the statement that we as boat owners get ripped off.

I needed a new starter motor. I went to a Yanmar marine supplier who quoted me NZ$975 for the replacement. I bought the exact same starter , bearing the same Hitachi ID plate with the same part number (so let's not debate that it isn't a marine version) for NZ$590 from an automotive vendor.

I then needed a water pump. Here I was trapped because there are no other suppliers for Yanmar water pumps and I was quoted NZ$630 for the replacement by the agent. I asked if I could get the parts to overhaul the pump and was told the pump is not serviced, parts are not available. I found an automotive vendor who overhauled the pump with new bearngs and seals for NZ$136. And in all honesty the overhaul was done so well it's hard to distinguish the pump from a new one. It was even painted with Yanmar paint!!

So why is this? The boating fraternity world wide could make every effort to boycott marine suppliers wherever possible. Would that make a difference? Not really. Because a large proportion of the boat-ownership world-wide are wealthy folks who don't even ask the price. They mostly don't even know what was done to fix a problem and their secretary or accountant pays the bill. I have several friends in the boat maintenance business here in Auckland and they reckon one in 5 customers ask for a quote. The rest just want the problem gone.

That's why we pay extortionate prices.
 

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So why is this? The boating fraternity world wide could make every effort to boycott marine suppliers wherever possible. Would that make a difference? Not really. Because a large proportion of the boat-ownership world-wide are wealthy folks who don't even ask the price. They mostly don't even know what was done to fix a problem and their secretary or accountant pays the bill. I have several friends in the boat maintenance business here in Auckland and they reckon one in 5 customers ask for a quote. The rest just want the problem gone.

That's why we pay extortionate prices.
Car industry is the same way. Stories of being ripped off in car repair shops are so numerous I don't think it is worth repeating any. That said, there are many fewer marine repair outfits out there than car related. In my recent repair of the rigging I had a choice of essentially two riggers. One I used before and they were terrible. That left the other one :) As you may imagine, whatever he asks I'll have to pay. (There are a few more companies that do rigging in the area, but the total number is may be under 10 and most don't go to where I am or don't deal with this type of boat etc).

I wanted to soda blast the bottom of my boat - even better, there is only one company anywhere in the state that does it. Guess what - their price is the price I will pay.

So, the less choice there is - the higher the prices. And because there are a lot less boats out there than cars - this isn't going to change anytime soon.
 

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So why is this?
Omatako,<O:p</O:p
I agree there certainly are many places where we can save some cash.
The alternator is another good one.
But like I said in my comments, a lot of what we pay extra for is the convenience of walking into a West Store and walking out in a matter of minutes with what we need. At certain times and in certain circumstances, I am willing to pay for this convenience. Other times I am not.

To tell you the truth, if I was the Original Poster and was told $90.00 for the replacement seat, I would have asked how much for a new head and probaly I would have bought the new head for $120.00


<O:p</O:p<O:p</O:p
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Omatako,<O:p</O:p
I agree there certainly are many places where we can save some cash.
The alternator is another good one.
But like I said in my comments, a lot of what we pay extra for is the convenience of walking into a West Store and walking out in a matter of minutes with what we need. At certain times and in certain circumstances, I am willing to pay for this convenience. Other times I am not.

To tell you the truth, if I was the Original Poster and was told $90.00 for the replacement seat, I would have asked how much for a new head and probably I would have bought the new head for $120.00

<O:p</O:p<O:p</O:p
A marine head for $120?:laugher Looked on Sailnet and Defender. Both heads (the least expensive listed) were $300, not including shipping. The thought of throwing out a perfectly good head for want of a seat makes me cringe. As does the fact that one part might have cost the same as the entire product (it does happen). We are such a wasteful society! The seat on Defender was $60, add $20 for shipping and PRESTO...$80! The notion of WM as a convenience store is an interesting one. As is the notion of them having what you want when you want it (their inventory control is the worst I've ever seen in a retail outlet!). 7-11 is a convenience store, WM is not! It's a brick and mortar chandlery (sort of:eek: ). If you are comparing it with the Internet, it's not fair as they have no (or little) overhead for retail outlets or shipping costs. However, as I've just demonstrated, the net effect to the consumer is often the same. Bottom line...we get screwed as boat owners. It's nothing new...it's not going to change! This stupid little toilet seat just rubbed it in my face. Just needed to vent!
 

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Aah, Good old WM. I came close to buying a fishfinder on WM but decided to look round. Thankfully I did as I saved over $150 with the same model from sailnet
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Think...It's Patriotic!

Went to the little marine/hardware store that was selling the seat for $20.00 (see picture). I asked the owner how he was selling it for that price, when everyone else was $60 to $80. He said that due to his Ace affiliation he was able to go directly to the manufacturer. So, the manufacture is the same that manufactures the larger household seats (of course). I told him about this post and the "economy of scale" theory. He smiled and said; "$20 is twice the amount you would pay for the larger house hold seat. That's plenty of mark up to account for economy of scale!" Even if you through in a middle man who makes $10.00 on the deal, that brings the retail cost to $30. What an honest guy, though spelling is apparently not his strength ("origionl":)! This is a relatively small store with relatively small volume (I assume) and most of his marine stuff is considerably less expensive than I've seen it elsewhere. Wish he was closer to my boat! Anyway, my point is; face it boat owners, you are getting screwed! It's not going to change unless we revolt in mass:laugher But at least realize it, and stop making excuses for greedy retailers like; "obviously, it's due to economy of scale"! Obviously, most of the outrageous mark up is due to greed and people who will pay it!
 

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Only 80.00? A bargain at twice the price!

Went to the little marine/hardware store that was selling the seat for $20.00 [...]Anyway, my point is; face it boat owners, you are getting screwed! It's not going to change unless we revolt in mass.
Gee ... I spent 25 years in the Navy/USNR and understand a bit about low volume, special item purchasing. Frankly, your post has left me bewildered and confused. I could have sworn toilet seats cost $700!! :laugher
 
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