On Line Shopping

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yogi
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On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 27 Jul 2018, 20:00

I do a lot of it. It's not all because it's convenient. Quite a bit of what I buy online simply can't be found here in O'Fallon. Take spatzel, for example. I was able to buy it in one of the stores in town the year we moved in. Once I purchased all they had, they never reordered. So, I found an online store, Jet.Com (owned by WalMart) that will sell me spatzel. It's imported and not easy to come by even at Jet.Com, but I don't eat that much of it so that it's not a problem.

Anyway, like WalMart, Jet.Com has quite a variety of goods that they will ship to me free if I spend $35 minimum. That means I have to buy half a case of my favorite pizza sauce instead of a single can or two, but the price per unit always beats the store price. In fact Jet.Com is nearly always the cheapest seller in all of Google-land. The more you buy, the cheaper the unit cost becomes. Plus, if you opt out of the free return policy, they deduct even more from the selling price. How they get away with shipping without cost to me is a mystery especially considering they are very competitively priced when compared to the local Schuncks off the shelf price. They ship via FedEx, and those people are not cheap.

A few days ago I order some imported Italian canned tomatoes and several boxes of Puff Tissues to get the price up to the $35 minimum for free shipping. Yes, I know they are doing this on purpose, but still the price can't be beat. Two days after I ordered these things, my package was delivered. Two day turn around is typical, but some things take longer when they are drop shipped. In addition to what I ordered, I received a second box of goodies from Jet.Com. My complete order was shipped in one box. This second box was full of items I did not order and never ordered during all the years I've dealt with Jet. I really don't need two giant sized bottles of mouth wash - must be about a quart each - nor do I like the snack food and crackers that came with it. Thus I decided I will return the goods and get my money back. It turns out I was not billed for that second box of goodies. They normally bill the day they ship, but my credit card was only charged for what I ordered. Nothing else. It became apparent that the gods of Jet.com were giving me a gift of some sort.

Being the honest soul that I am, I went to their web site to see how to return unwanted merchandise. It seems that they will take back anything they sell regardless of where you bought it. So, if I buy my pizza sauce at Schnucks, I can return it to Jet.Com for a refund. Cool, but that's not what I wanted to do. I looked and looked, but there were no instructions on how to return unordered goods. Normal returns are handled by going to the order transactions page and clicking on the "return" link. A prepaid label is printed out in that case and all I have to do is take it to FedEx to return it. BUT, there is no transaction page for what I did not order, thus no return label. The last resort was to try and talk to somebody at Jet.Com using their instant chat app embedded on their FAQ page. I am very comfortable with such things but most of them are run by robots or script reading people who are not familiar with the English language. Not this one. A real honest to goodness young lady answered my chat request within a minute or two. That alone was amazing. I told her about my problem and she never ran into such a situation before. She suggested I just take the box to FedEx and return it that way. Unfortunately I had already opened the box to inspect what was inside, which means I'd have to pay to ship it back via FedEx. At that point she took some information to see if I was really not billed and to see if she could identify who this box of goodies should have been shipped to. In the end she told me to keep the goods, dispose of or donate them as I see fit. I thanked her for her assistance and left the chat very pleased.

About half an hour later I got an e-mail survey asking how satisfied I was about my recent return experience. I rarely give five stars for anything because very few things are perfect, but this was an exception. I praised Alisa as much as I could and recommended that they consider giving her a raise. (I did that because I know they will show it to her) All things considered, this was a very pleasant experience considering how bad it could have been based on past experiences with other companies -- Amazon, are you listening?

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Kellemora
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by Kellemora » 28 Jul 2018, 11:48

We used to get several items from Jet, mostly dog treats, and some foods and drinks.
Trouble is, every time we go to buy something, it either no longer comes up on their list, or we get Currently Unavailable, and a few times Discontinued.
I don't mind paying a little more to get what I want, especially when the local stores seem to have problems keeping certain items in stock, or enough stock to make it worth my trip.

As far as shipping goes, I normally ship UPS, they have different prices for different people for sure.
I get the 500 pound rate when shipping to a single address, but another friend gets the 500 pound rate when the items are shipped to separate addresses.
The person I ship to most often had me ship using their UPS number, because they got a better deal that way.
But now they have me ship using a 3rd party account, because it costs them even less than their own deal.
I'm sure FedEx has similar type deals, I get a lot of inbound stuff via FedEx, so I know the shipper must have a better deal than he could get with UPS.

When my brothers business was booming, he always had two UPS trailers at his loading dock.
Each day they would pick up a full one, and drop off another empty.
His per box shipping cost was crazy low, and he didn't have to worry about the size of the boxes or all the paperwork we have to use. However, that being said, he did have to pay the same price per box whether large or small. But whole tractor-trailer loads of outbound shipping earned him close to their lowest rate.

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yogi
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 28 Jul 2018, 14:11

Jet.Com can be irritating with their method of stocking items. I had to order that half case of pizza sauce because that was the only way the brand and can size could have been obtained from them. Jet.Com did not ship it, but one of their partners did. I had to wait more than a week for it to come from Indiana instead of the normal two days out of Kansas City. Next time I looked for pizza sauce, I got that message you talk about. It's no longer available. Upon further investigation, however, I could at that time buy single cans which Jet.Com shipped from their own facility. Pizza sauce is simple compared to the half dozen different ways I have to explore to purchase paper towels. Sometimes I feel it's worth the extra 15 cents to just go over to Schnucks and buy it from them. And I have done that with several items that were "not in stock" at Jet.

I am pretty sure that freight shipped via rail is billed by the pound. I'd not doubt that UPS and FedEx have some similar offering for their biggest customers. The part I don't understand is how Jet can maintain a certain profit margin when they don't charge for shipping. I have placed orders with Jet.Com that came from three different vendors. All of that was "free" to me but SOMEBODY is paying for the shipping. I'd bet they paid three separate times for that particular order and probably lost money. Then again, there is my little story from above. Jet.Com obviously can afford to give things away and pay for the shipping of that too.

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Kellemora
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by Kellemora » 29 Jul 2018, 10:55

I don't think people realize just how much markup there is on a product between manufacturer and retailer.
Only the largest retailers can afford to buy factory direct, if the factory will even sell direct, most won't.

In normal operations, a manufactured product is sold through manufacturers reps. who get a tiny commission and rely on volume sales. Manufacturers normally sell to Distributors, who have a slightly higher markup. A Distributor sells to a Wholesaler who has an even higher markup, and finally the Wholesaler sells to the Retailer who normally doubles the price they paid the wholesaler for the product, and often add inbound freight costs to the price as well.

A product sold for $5.00 through a Mfgr. Rep. is often priced $20.00 to $21.00 on the Retailers shelves.
Now if that retailer is large enough to maintain their own warehouse, they may be able to buy at distributor prices and sell the product for $18.00, and if they are large enough to be classed as a Distributor, it may end up on their retail store shelves for $16.00 - Even so, they will price it for whatever the market will bear.
In some industries, like Jewelry for example, the standard Wholesale to Retail markup is 1000% not 100%

Many years ago in St. Louis, we had a private delivery grocery service, their name was Home Market if I recall.
They were able to undersell nearly every store, including the discount stores, and still delivered for free right to your door.
We used them for the five or six years they were in business with never a complaint about their product or service.
But, the area grocery stores, namely the larger national chains like Kroger, AG, IGA, etc. put a damper on the companies they purchased from. Sell to them and you won't sell to us. This became the demise of Home Market.

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yogi
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 29 Jul 2018, 12:45

I'm well aware of the markup at various stages of the supply chain. More than likely Jet.Com has a distribution network similar to WalMart and thus can undercut the competition for the same reasons. A lot of the things I order come out of Kansas CIty, but a significant number of items are shipped from individual vendors all over the United States. The mystery to me is how they can give free shipping from all the vendors. It must have to do with volume because the markup would not cover multiple shippers on a single order.

A trend here in O'Fallon is for the local groceries to offer home delivery. There is also at least one shopping service, which might be Home Market for all I remember. I've seen them advertise but never used them. I don't know if the local grocers charge extra for home delivery. If I were incapacitated, that extra charge would not bother me. Otherwise Jet.com will do just fine. I also have some reservations about letting a stranger pick out my tomatoes, or other fresh produce. They do guarantee what they deliver to be good, but still. I want to touch and smell that fresh food before I buy it. :mrgreen:

Speaking of fresh, I wanted to buy some buffalo Mozzarella cheese. True Mozzarella is made in Italy from buffalo milk. The stuff I've seen here and up north is made from skin milk. I have found whole milk cheese but not in Missouri. So, I thought I'd be adventurous and buy some buffalo for a mere $24/lb. I almost ordered it, but then they said because it is perishable I have to use their special (higher priced) shipping container, which is a Styrofoam box with hot ice packed inside. Plus, there would be an extra charge above and beyond all that to get it here over night. They won't ship it any other way. The final cost to me would then be $44 for a pound of cheese. I'll put it on my Christmas list because the kids always have a hard time finding something unique for me. But no way in hell will I pay $20 to ship a pound of cheese to my doorstep.

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Kellemora
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by Kellemora » 30 Jul 2018, 10:23

I was ordering my wife's insulin from a company in Texas for a couple of years. They used 2nd day Air and packaged the insulin between gel packs at close to but not frozen. They were specially made for the purpose and had a bubblefoam (like soda cooler boxes) container inside of a carton box. Apparently we got a good deal while it lasted. Our total price was 1/3 less than buying insulin locally. All other mail order places charged more than the local price.
Near the end of the second year, they began using a new packaging system which was much smaller, custom made just for insulin bottles. Instead of an 8" cube, these were 2" square 8" long dense cardboard, like pasteboard only four times thicker. The insulin arrived cooler than their old system, even if it came a day later than expected.
Then Poof, when we went to place another order, they were gone. So we scrambled to find another place like them and never did.

I hope you can find a better price on your Cheese!

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yogi
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 30 Jul 2018, 12:14

I'm certain you can always get insulin locally if you don't mind paying the market price. Not so with cheese, believe it or not. I speculate that one reason the base price of the cheese is so high ($24/lb) is because it is imported. There seems to be a lot of tariffs applied to imports these days. The price of imported spaetzle likewise has doubled in the past few weeks. Unlike the cheese, I can make my own spaetzle. It's a pain in the drain but could be fun doing it once or twice. I haven't spent a lot of time looking for buffalo milk cheese on the Internet. It might be out there somewhere, but to date I've only found this one place that imports it. I guess if cheese made from whole milk no longer exists, why should I expect to find buffalo milk cheese. However, I can go to the local store and buy a quart of goat milk right off the shelf. Never saw that stuff up north.

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pilvikki
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by pilvikki » 30 Jul 2018, 18:03

those pop up helpers...

had a kitten problem one day so started looking it up on the net. and "hey, can i help you with your kitten?" okay fine, since i'm right here anyway.

so i typed up the whole kitten problem and she asked a few more questions and then says "i will now transfer you to a secure site so that you can pay the $5 preliminary fee for the consultation, which will be refundable if...." and poof, there i was, just type in your credit card info.

i don't think so! i could clearly see where that was going, so i just got out of there and posted it onto fb and had the issue solved in about 2 mins by marg, kathleen, silja and my niece. free.

now, i don't mind paying for services rendered, but that was definitely a scam. so thanks, but kindly drop dead.

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yogi
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 30 Jul 2018, 18:42

Certainly. There are more than enough scams out there. The chat windows I've seen and used a few times connect directly to a CSR. The rep, however, is only likely to be a real human being 50% of the time. If they can't work it out with the scripted dialogue, they tell you to call a toll free number. Then, there are the times when the chat window person actually solved the problem.

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Kellemora
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by Kellemora » 31 Jul 2018, 11:57

Back in 1969, 1970, and 1971, there was a 100% Import Duty Tax on Small Sports Cars.
Even with the tax, they were still cheaper to buy than any other small sports car.
Which by the way, not to many were made in America anyhow.
I still had and drove my Chevy's, but also had a sports car for fun little road rallies.

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yogi
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 01 Aug 2018, 08:12

I recall Toyota's entry into the American automobile market. People were shocked that they could sell such nice cars at about 30% less than the equivalent domestic models. Then again, there really was no equivalent and people started to abandon Detroit. There was an uproar, of course, and import duties were stacked layer upon layer to bring the prices to parity. People were not swayed away from Toyota because back then the quality exceeded anything comparably made in this country. Toyota used the strategy of building assembly plants in the USA to avoid the tariffs and I recall reading one article about how embarrassed Toyota was to be making all that profit. The counter punch from Detroit was to try and legislate a requirement for union workers in the Toyota shops. LOL GM went downhill ever since. To be fair, the automobiles manufactured in today's market seem to be equal as far as price and quality go. It just took about 50 years for that to happen.

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Kellemora
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by Kellemora » 01 Aug 2018, 12:01

All of my daily use main cars have been American made, usually GM brands like Chevy, Pontiac, and Cadillac. I consider the Cadillac the worst of all the GM cars I've ever owned. I did have two Kryzler products and was burned bad on both, will never buy another.
GM makes great one driver vehicles, but when you have several different drivers per vehicle, it's best to go with Ford products. Almost all of our delivery vans were low-end Fords. The couple of Chevy's we squeezed in the line-up didn't fair to well when several different drivers began using them. With the same driver using them they did OK though.
We kept excellent expense records on all the vehicles, including downtime, drivers, mileage, and purchase costs.
Some of our oldest records included Dodge Bros. and International trucks, plus a Willis Station Wagon, aka Woody.
We did have a Studebaker pick-up in a barn, but no record of it, so it may have belonged to a family member who just parked it there after it gave up the ghost.

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yogi
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 01 Aug 2018, 18:14

Around these parts of the country there seems to be a not so subtle undertone to buy local and buy American. I have no problem with the concept and in fact buy locally produced food and other goods as often as I can. GM, and Chevy's in particular, seem to outnumber all the other brands. However, there is a fair representation of foreign and domestic. Up north the preponderance seemed to be foreign made and not so much Chevy. Then too, Ford and Chrysler had assembly plants in the rim counties of Chicago. I read where Ford is getting out of the sedan business. They seem to have a core competency with trucks from way back when. They will be emphasizing SUV's and cross-over's in addition to their trucks going forward.

Your observation regarding one driver trucks holding up better is interesting. My SIL is a trucker and he often talks about having a favorite truck. I'd guess he takes care of it better than those which are not his favorite. Why a particular brand, GM for example, would hold up better to a single driver is a mystery to me. Then again, my lifetime truck driving experience is well under 2000 miles. Most of that was done when I was young and moving house from place to place. :grin:

Most of the automobiles I owned during my mid life were Chrysler products. I only got "burned" once by a dealer who sold me a car that had been in an accident previously. At the time there were no disclosure laws and I don't think it was Plymouth's fault that I had front end problems for the life of the car. I think the best car I ever owned was an Audi 3000. The cool thing about the Audi was that is was among the first to come equipped with fuel injection. It was a mechanical system and not electronic like everybody else. I drove it a full 100k miles before the clutch needed replacement. I never did replace it. I sold the car instead and the buyer was all too happy to take it even with the obviously needed repairs.

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Kellemora
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by Kellemora » 02 Aug 2018, 14:49

The first Kryzler product I bought as a dealer demo. It was a New Yorker and had the push-button automatic transmission.
Prior to this car, all the rest I drove were on the tree sticks.
After having a starter go out numerous times, we agreed to put the New Yorker in the shop once a month for a new starter.
They never once checked to see why it kept eating starters so fast.
I was over 100 miles from home, and only two weeks into a new starter when it failed. The only place who could take me right away was a small garage who also sold used cars. He ran it up on the rack, took a couple of measurements and said my bell housing appears to not have been properly cast and the starter mount area not turned properly. I can't grind it down to flat, but I can add a couple of washers so the starter sits in there square. He did this and we never burned out another starter.
A few years later while my frau was working at a Dodge dealership, I thought it would look good for her to be driving a Dodge. So I bought her a brand new '72 Dodge Charger, factory order. The day it came in and we went to drive it off the lot, the floor mounted gearshift came out right in our hand. They pushed it back into the shop and took two days to fix.
The car never was right. Trying to take off in 1st gear was like trying to take off in 3rd gear. The whole car chattered and shook like a bunking bronco. I knew the gears had to be wrong since we could do 55 mph in 1st gear at 4 grand on the tach. They denied they made the car wrong, and it was supposed to be geared that high. So we drove it that way.
My wife was on the way to work and the dashboard fell off onto her lap. In the shop for two weeks to fix that. We get it back and a month later, the transmission fell out of the car onto the street. This caused a lot of damage due to the drive shaft being shot up into the trunk. It never had the rear cross brace installed.
Got it back from those repairs and by then she no longer worked for them, started a new job across the street for a Chevy dealer. Her boyfriend (no I'm not getting into that story) after he took the car out for a drive, decided to fix the problems with it for her. It had the rear end gears for an automatic and this was a stick. Once he replaced the gears, then the car drove normally. He suggested we get rid of it though, because he detected numerous other problems with it, including the bad casting on the bell housing.
At work, we only had one pick-up truck and it was a Dodge. I often used it while the New Yorker was in the shop. It was always available because no one wanted to drive it. The steering shimmied no matter what the shop did to fix it.
I didn't mention an old Dodge car, model name I don't know, but it had a Hydro-Drive transmission. Basically it is a stick shift with a torque converter in lieu of a clutch. The clutch pedal was Red. You still had to use the clutch pedal to change gears, but you could come up to a stop sign, put it in first, and let the clutch out slowly while keeping your foot on the brake. Heck, you could leave it in any gear for that matter. I think the idea was for a smooth takeoff so women could more easily drive a stick. I don't recall if they ever had problems with that old car or not, I only drove it like two or three times before another relative commandeered it for themselves.

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yogi
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 02 Aug 2018, 17:29

One of the reasons I bought Chrysler products is because my uncle, a mechanical engineer, told me they had the best transmissions of all American made cars. He wouldn't vouch for the rest fo the car, but he swore by the transmission. I never had a transmission problem with any of the Plymouths or Dodges we owned. To be honest about my experiences I will now confess to one quality related problem with the oil pan leaking. It was the only V-6 Chrysler product we owned and I really loved the performance. We leased it with the option to buy and somehow or another we had a 12 month warranty go go with the deal. About a month into the lease the oil pan started leaking. It had to be taken to the shop several times during that year and a new seal was always the fix. The gasket was made of cork and cracked in the same spot every time. I asked the shop manager if they could use a different gasket and save themselves a lot of warranty repair costs. He said they could not do that because it would void the warranty for not using factory original parts. When they stopped fixing it for free, I took it to a local mechanic and he replaced the gasket with a neoprene one. Never leaked after that. So, this was a design flaw and not an assembly flaw.

I've heard a few people complain about Chrysler products, but just as many praised them. It surprises me that you had such bad luck given that all the pro-Chrysler people i knew were engineers of some sort. Then, too, most of my experiences with that company were when they sold a slant six engine. When they stopped manufacturing that engine and the corresponding transmission, I switched to another company. I can't be sure, but I think the Audi was the first car I owned after I abandoned Chrysler. There was an awesome Infinity in my car buying history, but I don't recall the timing of when I bought it. I only kept that car for a bit more than two years. Tune-ups were in excess of $500 and could only be done by the dealer. No way Josè,

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Kellemora
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by Kellemora » 03 Aug 2018, 10:37

Back in the day, I built a light rail dragster using a slant-six.
I couldn't lose as there was no competition in that category.
However, they soon changed the rules and would pit me against other light rail dragsters.

I went back to running stock cars which were not so stock hi hi.

My first wife's father drove nothing but Dodge trucks.
Had to laugh at him at times because he had two Dodge trucks.
The reason he had two was because one or the other was always in the shop for something.
He always claimed it was just normal maintenance stuff.

A friend I went to school with, in later years after he was married, bought his wife a Dodge Challenger I think it was, the one with the rear spoiler a couple of feet in the air. It made a weird sound ever since it was new, but ran OK for a long time.
I don't know what happened, but they had to removed the heads, probably for a valve job or blown gasket.
They found over 50 small screws embedded in the tops of all the pistons.
Although the car was long out of warranty, when this was discovered, the did not charge him to replace the small block or for the labor. Lucky Dude!

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yogi
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by yogi » 03 Aug 2018, 16:41

Mom liked to buy the latest and greatest cars, which is not to say they were the best choices available. She was the first kid on the block to get one of those AMC Pacers, for example, within days of it being introduced. The ooohs and aaaaahs lasted for two days at which point somebody crashed into her right in front of our house. They could not repair the car for several weeks because replacement parts were not available yet.

Mom also bought a Saturn early on in the game. THAT was truly an amazing car in several ways. The coolest thing about it was that the door panels (if not the fenders too) were made of plastic. The idea behind that was to prevent a need to repair the body after a minor fender bender. It took mom quite a while to test out that theory, but it did in fact work. The paint was scratched a bit but the door panel popped right back into shape after impact. Saturns were all she bought after that. Like the Pacer, the car company went out of business before mom did.

It was the second or third Saturn that really made me think twice about the company. Your story about embedded screws in the cylinders of a car made me recall mom's experience with one of her Saturns. She got "free" oil changes from the dealer if she took it in every 5000 miles. She did that the first time around and they told her they would have to keep the car a day or two. It seems that the particular engine in her car was being recalled by the factory. We never did find out what the potential problem was, but they installed a brand new engine and adjusted the warranty accordingly. I had mixed feelings about all that. It's was nice that they caught the problem and fixed it free of cost to mom. But, it was scary that they HAD to fix the problem by replacing the engine.

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Kellemora
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Re: On Line Shopping

Post by Kellemora » 04 Aug 2018, 11:10

I made the mistake of buying a Bricklin. It was a cool looking car with gull-wing doors.
Although it ran great, it came with the wrong engine. They said they had to use what they could get.
It must have been built on a Friday night around quitting time too, hi hi.
Within the first 30 days of ownership, most of the interior was falling apart, carpeting coming up, headliner falling down, etc. And before it was 60 days old, the seat cushions compacted. At least I could slip the seat covers up and slide new foam underneath.
It rattled like a Tin Lizzie and water leaked in everywhere. If you drove in the rain, your feet would get wet from water dripping down from under the dash.
It was only about 4 months old when I traded it in, and I really lucked out because the car dealer doing the trade really wanted one for himself. He gave me much more than I expected as a trade-in, and gave me the salesman's price on the new car I bought.
He had everything fixed on it and was still driving it three years later.

Of all the cars I've owned in the early years, I liked my '68 Camaro best. Having a 50th Anniversary Special Edition Trans-Am was cool, but I spent way to much on that car only to have the ex wife get it, and I got the payment book, hi hi.
In later years, my '97 Chevy Blazer was and still is the best vehicles I've ever owned.
The darn thing cost more than I paid for my house in Creve Coeur. I always kept it in top running order.
Three years ago I had the engine replaced, all the hoses, including the metal brake lines, and put it through a detail shop so it looked brand new when I got it back.
About six months after this, while on a trip, I had something happen I thought was impossible. The brakes totally failed. It was like the brake pedal broke off and slammed to the floor. I hit the parking brake and nothing there either. Caught the back of a pick-up truck with a B shaped bumper on the right headlight bucket. This is where all the equipment is under the hood, battery, computer, AC, etc. I tried to buy a front clip to have the car restored, but we failed in finding one.
After a year of going without my Blazer, I found one exactly like mine and it was only around 50 miles away. GM only built 72 or 77 with the features I had. Most did not have all the options. My original intent when I bought the used Blazer was to use it for the front clip, but it ran better than mine did with the new engine, and everything in it worked.
It too was detailed and also repainted, but was never in an accident. So, once again, I'm the proud owner of a '97 Chevy Blazer 4wd, slap-stick automatic. It has over 200k miles on it, but I had it checked out and the previous owner maintained it as well as I did mine. I had better knock on simulated wood grain, because every time I brag about something, all heck breaks loose and it goes to pot on me, hi hi.

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