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Notes for the Novice Shopper: Everything has three prices!

07/25/10 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: Hot Buys, Store Policies, HFR Forum User Guide, Announcements

Link: http://HarborFreightReviews.com

This posting is still 'under construction,' so check back frequently for updates. Also see our Guide to Using this Discussion Forum.

This version was revised: 02 August 2010 03:57 EDT.

As the savvy Harbor Freight™ shopper already knows, everything has multiple prices. In fact, it's not unusual to find the same item selling for three or more different prices at the same time. (We refer to this as their triple-pricing policy.) It all depends on which coupon you have to redeem. And "Inside Track" members are reputed to get even better offers.

Even the savvy shopper occasionally comes to the store armed with the latest coupon only to find that the item is actually on-sale for less money than expected. Usually, the lower in-store sale price is honored. Also be aware that quite often the sale price is NOT posted on the shelves. Use the current sales fliers and coupons as your guide to special sale prices.

One of the most useful features of this discussion forum, and indeed our Harbor Freight Reviews website, is the price comparisons--we list the "regular retail price," usually a "frequent sale price," a "target price," and sometimes even a "best price" that has been found for the item within the past year. Keep in mind that the better prices are usually purchases made with coupons and even with a coupon applied to a deeply discounted sale item (see below). Part of the 'game' played by many Harbor Freight™ customers, including us at Harbor Freight Reviews, is to buy their products at the lowest possible price. The object is not just to fill your home shop with the most tools but to do so at the most economical price: "he with the most toys [assembled at the lowest cost] when he dies, wins!"

Buy ahead: anticipate your needs so that you can make use of Harbor Freight™'s frequent deeply discounted sales and special offers. Use our "target prices" to guide you to the best value for the money. Extra money to spend this month? Browse our "Hot Buys" category to find items you might find useful that we considered especially good buys. Be prepared for a long list of "Hot Buys" because we consider most of Harbor Freight™'s extensive inventory to be good-quality items and great values when purchased at our target prices. And have fun assembling your tools.

Harbor Freight™ Coupon Redemption Policy
Harbor Freight™ is usually very generous with their coupon redemption policy. We have had no problems at our local, Buffalo-area (New York) store. Coupons received in the mail, clipped from magazines, and printed from their websites have all been honored without incident. Of course you can't combined coupons on a single purchase, but the usual 20%-off coupon is honored even on deeply discounted sale items. Sometimes, the resulting price has been ridiculously low; usually it's just a 'sweeter deal.'

Never make a large purchase without at least using the 20%-off coupon found in several national magazines and often in newspaper inserts. And for the best savings combine this coupon with a deeply discounted sale price whenever possible.

Hidden Inventory? Ask for Help!
Sale items are sometimes difficult to locate, depending on which actual retail outlet you visit. The staff can be very help in finding that special item or checking their inventory online. A lot of the larger items don't even get shelved but remain in the back storeroom. You have to ask for them. Recently, I discovered that a 9-LED mini flashlight that has been repeatedly offered for free with a coupon is kept behind the cash register in an unmarked brown paper bag. Bad sport:(, but at least I now know the trick. At our Buffalo area stores the staff always seems busy and often difficult to track down. Nonetheless, find a "sales associate" and ask if you can't locate a sale item.

The store's current inventory can be accessed from any of their cash registers/computer terminals. It won't tell you where the item is located in the store, but it can tell you if the item is listed in the store's current inventory. If it's a hot item that you're chasing down, insist (politely but firmly if necessary) that they check their actual store inventory online. And remember that Harbor Freight outlets will usually issue rain checks for out-of-stock items.

Harbor Freight™ Warranties & Satisfaction Guarantee
Harbor Freight™ boasts the best warranty in the business for all of their hand tool lines, matching the famous Craftsman™ hand tool lifetime warranty. They also have a 30-day 100%-satisfaction guarantee whereby any product may be returned for any reason within the first month. And recently, they claim they will price-match for up to a year after your purchase. It just can't get any better than this! (These policies were accurate at the time of writing, but check their websites and their retail outlets for any changes.)

Be sure to take your purchase out-of-the-box and give it a thorough run-down during the first month. If you're not happy with the item, take it back for a full refund as per their 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Don't get stuck with an unboxed lemon that you only discover to be junk after it's sat around for several months. Try the product out; be a happy Harbor Freight™ customer and don't burn yourself by not returning items that don't live up to your expectations or at least close enough to merit purchase. And remember their lifetime warranty on all hand tools. Let us know if you have problems with them honoring this published policy.

Bottom line: Shop knowledgeably at Harbor Freight™ and you'll be a "happy camper." Check both of their websites online (i.e., Harbor Freight Tools™ AND Harbor Freight USA™) for their latest coupons (links are usually at the top or side of their home pages; look carefully). Check local newspapers for advertisements and inserts and check national magazines for coupons including the ubiquitous 20%-off coupon. Be a savvy shopper and spend money (on the best deals) to help keep them in business so that we all continue to have access to this fabulous low-cost tool outlet.

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This review and discussion forum was created for those of us who love Harbor Freight(tm). It's well known to those who frequent the store that the prices are always cycling up and down, and most of us usually accept it as a personal challenge to get the lowest price possible. It's also well appreciated that some products at Harbor Freight are good, even very good, but that many others are also substandard, yes, even junk. This review and discussion forum is dedicated to the savvy Harbor Freight shopper and is intended to provide some guidance to the best and the worse buys. Similar products from other retailers will also be reviewed from time-to-time. Please be advised that everyone's experience is unique, and what works well (or doesn't work at all) for the reviewers here may or may not suit your personal needs. With this caveat and with notification that Harbor Freight Reviews assumes no liability for the accuracy of information provided here for educational purposes, enjoy the forum and good 'sa(i)ling' at Harbor Freight!


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