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Monday, August 3, 2009

Best Shopping Option for RVers

I’ll admit it up front - I’m a lousy shopper. In fact, unless it’s grocery shopping (and I love padding up and down those aisles spying and trying new and regional products) I’m pretty much a robot. I know what I’m looking for and make a beeline there and back. Good thing, too, since an RV only has so much room and a definite weight carrying limitation.

While I’m a big supporter of small independent businesses (especially restaurants), in my travels across this great big country as a roaming RVer, I’ve found it beneficial to shop national chains for certain types of products and services. If there’s a problem or I’ve picked up an incorrect size/model (in my haste to get in and out) and have moved on to another great RV locale I can search out the chain store and almost always remedy the concern. Believe it or not, this often times trumps price. Let me give you some examples:

I needed new glasses, shopped for the best bargain, made an appointment, and got new glasses. A month later the arms began to wobble, the small screws fell out and there I was, appreciating paper clip technology. Since they were still under warranty I called the store and discovered that I could get partial remedy (I’d pay shipping both ways and a small fee) if I sent them back and would have to wait four to six weeks for a replacement. Who knows where I’d be in four to six weeks and how was I supposed to see during that period of time? Moral of the story: I’ll be visiting Sears or Lens Crafters for my next eyeglasses excursion – even if they are a bit pricier.

When we got our new little Tango travel trailer we thought we needed a different size socket to torque our wheels so we stopped at Wal-Mart and picked one up. Turns out the Tango uses the same size we already had. Wal-Mart – in another state – gladly allowed us to return the socket. Moral of the story: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Wal-Mart is just about everywhere and easy to work with. Let’s just say this isn’t their first picnic.

We always buy our truck and RV tires at America’s Tire or Discount Tire (same company). They really know what they’re doing and are competitively priced. As we travel we stop at one of their many locations for rotations/balances. If we have a problem (like the blowout we had near Detroit last summer) we simply visit a local branch and we’re in the system. They take care of us quickly and professionally. Moral of the story: Even as a traveler you can establish relationships. Doing so might even elevate you to a preferred VIP status.

Be a wise RV consumer…shop if you must; just keep in mind where you’ll be down the road in case you have to make a purchase adjustment. In the end it pays.

To great purchases (and uneventful returns),


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