Everywhere I had lived always provided laundry either in a laundry room in the building or a washer and dryer right in our unit. When I bought my townhouse I was extremely lucky because it came with a clothes washer and dryer. We knew they were extremely old but they worked and that was what was important to us.
After moving in we figured out the timer on the dryer didn’t work and it took at least two cycles to dry the clothes. The timer issue was a safety hazard because the dryer would not stop running unless you manually opened the door. It would get to the cool cycle but it never turned off. So what did we do? We decided to save up for a new dryer!
After putting money away for many months we were finally ready to buy our dryer. We did our research and figured out that there was no true need for a fancy dryer but we would instead buy an economical hardy dryer. We didn’t want any fancy features because it added more cost than benefit. For example, it cost hundreds of dollars more just to get a lint trap on the inside instead of the ones that you pull out from the top. My girlfriend hates the lint traps on the top of the dryers because they make a huge mess but we couldn’t justify the extra cost.
We went looking around at various stores to try to find out which one normally had the best prices and we finally figured out that Sears normally was the best. Whenever we make a big purchase we always try to make sure we have coupons or the item is on sale so we decided to wait until Memorial Day weekend because we figured there would be huge sales! We were right. We had finally settled on a Kenmore dryer for $440 when the sales man said we should check out the clearance section. This was something that we had never seriously considered.
The clearance section had appliances that no longer were in the boxes so they couldn’t sell them at retail anymore. The boxes get taken off before or during delivery and then the appliance was returned for one of many reasons. Some of them had a couple scratches or dents. Many were perfectly fine except for the fact that the owner just didn’t like some aspect about them. These appliances were marked down every so often until they finally end up getting sold.
I personally thought that the salesman was trying to get me to spend a lot more money and get a fancier dryer for a “great deal” and to a point he was. There were a ton of fancy dryers but I found the original model I had wanted in the clearance section except it cost more than the new one on sale! You have to be careful in the open box section!
I didn’t stop looking though and found what seemed too good to be true. They had a $1,289 dryer on sale for $519. Now I don’t buy something just because the retail price is sky high so I originally glanced completely over this item. We walked around a bit longer and looked again and we stopped to take a look at this dryer. It had a lot of fancy features we didn’t need like a steam cycle (which Consumer Reports says is not worth buying) but it did have a lint trap on the inside. It also had a digital display and a lot of convenient settings that we knew we didn’t need but would be nice and we would actually use them.
I asked the salesman why the dryer was so cheap and he came back with an answer I never thought of. This dryer did not have a matching washer. Most people won’t buy washers and dryers that don’t match and I have no clue why. I could understand if it was prominently displayed in your household but most are in closets or separate laundry rooms. The salesman added that the previous owner did not like that the finished cycle signal to indicate the load was dry was not loud so they only returned the dryer. It also had a couple scratches from delivery.
I was worried that if it was returned it probably had something wrong with it and I’d get stuck with a lemon appliance. The thing with open box items at Sears is even though it was opened it still has the original one year warranty. If there were any problems with the item I could follow warranty procedures and get a replacement. Keep in mind, however, that many times open box appliances are sold as-is and if something breaks you have to decide whether to call in the repairman or buy parts and fix it yourself. After that concern was out of the way I had to address another issue that was bugging me.
The last thing that was stopping me from buying the more expensive dryer was the fact I hadn’t researched it at all. I never thought I could get a dryer in that price range. I don’t have a smartphone (yet) but I did remember seeing a computer kiosk in the store. Lucky for me it had an internet connection so I looked the dryer up. It had great reviews except for the fact that the finished cycle signal was so quiet almost no one could hear it. My dryer is located in a separate room so I wouldn’t hear it anyway and I decided this was the dryer for us.
In the end we did pay $80 more for a dryer with some extra features that we didn’t need. Life isn’t all about necessity. We were really happy that we could get a dryer with a lint trap on the inside. It also has extra features that will allow us to dry some items at home that we would otherwise have to take to a laundromat. The extra $80 was well worth the cost and the clearance section allowed us to get a great deal. Were these features worth an extra $840? No way ever! I didn’t have to pay it though because of the clearance and open box section. I’ll definitely be a return visitor to see if I can score another deal!
Would you ever consider buying an open box item? Do you think we should have just gone with the model we originally wanted?
…oh yeah! Fun Fact: I sold the old dryer yesterday for $25 with full disclosure of the problems and I noticed the delivery label on the back of the dryer. It was delivered EXACTLY 20 years ago today and cost $379.99 when they bought it in 1992. I’d say they got they got plenty bang for their buck!