Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: On the East Coast
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This may sound obvious, but...
When doing my big tasks, I shopped around for best prices. You know, things like lumber and drywall. However, I bought most of my small $$$ supplies at one of the big box stores. I figured they'd be competetive on most items.
For example, I ended up using Sherwin Williams paint because by contractor (who is doing most tasks) had an account there and got a nice discount. While there picking up paint, I noticed that the retail price for name-brand "Blue" tape was $1 less per roll than the big box store. A $15 drop cloth at the big box store was on sale for $5. I bought a refurb airless sprayer from a retailer on eBay for what I though was a great price. After including shipping on the eBay unit, Sherwin Williams had a new one for just $10 more after rebate. Same for spray hoods, jump suits, rubber gloves. The list goes on...
Since hunting around on other items such as electrical boxes, switches/recepticles, nails for my nailers, etc. I see that in reality, the big box stores are convenient, but they are rarely the cheapest way to go. That wasn't always the case. Ten years ago they must have been trying really hard to get business because they always had the best prices (plus convenience). Those days are gone.