Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Empire Never


"Eight-hundred five eight eight, two three-hundred, Em-pire!"

Yeah, right. I called Empire Today thinking how nice it would be to go with a larger company with a history rather than a local contractor (knowing I'd pay a bit more in overhead than with [insert anyone else here]) and have it financed as opposed to paying it off now. After all, we'd had a few estimates already for the same rooms that ran in the $2200-$4400 range so we had a rough idea of what the prices we wanted would be. Since the kitchen was no longer an issue I was shooting for more around $2000-$2500 estimate.

I set up an appointment for someone to come by between 7 and 9 PM. At approximately 8:15 he showed up as advertised, with 4 samples of laminate as I requested (although no hardwood samples). As my wife and I were looking over the samples, he drew out a floor plan and took measurements of each room. For the two bedrooms and living room, he told me to sit down. So I did.

$17500. After smiling (I had to hold back not laughing - this was worse than the first time I laughed at Amway's vitamin prices [which, by the way the retail price is like $80 for a 30 day supply of the Double X multivitamin]) and nodding, he explained to me that was the "retail" price, but since 'Empire' doesn't do "retail", it will be cheaper. He used his vis-a-via marker on a laminated piece of paper to mark out a few things, said that with the "reduction" and the "coupon" he had in his bag *tap tap* on the calculator *tap tap* it would be $12300. And he might have room to wiggle with his boss.

I politely reminded him (we had talked while he was measuring) that we have a baby on the way and will need the rock bottom price he could work out of his boss.

Final answer, Regis? $9855.00..."maybe" if he can talk his boss into it.

No thanks.

After he leaves I was so floored (ha!) I went online to do a little reading and I found others with similar experiences - $38000 quotes that were magically reduced to $19000 if they'd just do this or that. Not to mention the horror stories of "suitable substitutes" or poorly installed carpet by slime ball subcontractors.

I'm just happy the tile is looking good (although it is still not done. Grr.)

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