Tubs, Toilets, Faucets at Plumbing Supply Versus Big Box Stores

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by DanMcD, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. DanMcD

    DanMcD New Member

    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Is it true a faucet or a tub or a sink bought at big box stores are lower quality or factory rejects as compared to buying them at a plumbing supply store?
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,911
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Very possibly yes.
    We notice a difference often. In fact if you go to sites like Moen, they may even have different part numbers.

    I don't buy my supplies there either. Even the small stuff seems different. For me, time is money. I would rather not deal with the issues.
    I have sometimes been given "Box Store" items that were so bad I wouldn't install them. Major items too. I can't install junk and make people happy with it. I remember one toilet that would have needed a 3/4" shim at the back it was so warped.
    What I really don't like, is buying stuff that had been returned and then returned it to the shelf for the next consumer. I don't like buying new and getting someone elses's "return".

    Kohler now dates their shower cartridge and valve body. They both should match. That's how many times they've been burned by dishonest customers.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  3. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

    Messages:
    388
    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    One time, I was trying to buy a shower valve at a big box store. They had at least five different types with a few of each type in stock. I went through about 25 boxes before I found one that was complete enough to use. Every other box had been opened and was missing something.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,515
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I do not thing that they are rejects, but rather that some of them should be. The reason, in my opinion, is that the big box stores buy a "production run" without the final inspection where defects would be rejected. They sell the "defective" item to you and you install it. If you are satisfied with it, the store and manufacturer made a profit. If you are dissatisfied, then you remove it, return it, purchase a new item, take it home and install it. The company then discards the returned item, which they would have done anyway, so they haven't lost anything, but you lost a lot of time and effort. My opinion about this is based on many instances of customer supplied items which have "defects' that I have NEVER seen in the same producst, which are submitted to a final inspection, at my suppliers. Making the final inspection and discarding rejects does add to the cost of the item, which is why we pay more for them, and the assurance that we will NOT have to spend a lot of time and labor compensating for defective items.
  5. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    894
    Location:
    ct
    I have been told that power tools sold by big box stores are made to different tolerances and quality control specs than those sold at real tool supply stores.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,515
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I doubt that they would spend the time and money to set up a special production line for them, but those items are involved with the "final inspection" which might not be made.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,911
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would not doubt that. Sometimes you talk to the heads of these companies, and they talk like the savings of a few pennies is a big promotion for somebody.
    How low can you go?
  8. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    894
    Location:
    ct
    If they can cheapen up a skil saw, sawzall or cordless drill by a nickel, it adds up to a pretty nice chunk of change in a years time.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,515
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    But, if they were going to do that, they would do it for the entire production line. As Thom McCahill said years and years ago, "the reason car manufacturers put 50 cent jacks in the trunk is because they ran out of twenty five cent ones".
  10. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    894
    Location:
    ct
    Off topic, but I loved reading Tom McCahill as a kid.
  11. Soapm

    Soapm New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Aurora, CO
    They could be manufactured in different places. Companies now outsource most production so quality, what is that? Our names not going on it so what do we care. As long as we keep the contract then quantity will always win over quality.

    Anyone remember the commercial that said, "Quality goes in before the name goes on". I can't remember the product but that concept is long gone. And don't let me get on my tirade about stuff made in China who REALLY don't care if you get a POS, not like you're going to send it all the way back to China.
  12. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    894
    Location:
    ct
    I think that was used by Ford back in the '80's.
  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,122
    Location:
    IL
    Zenith (works in a drawer).
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,515
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Zenith always advertised "Every set is hand assembled", but the problem was that people did not do a good job of "hand assembling" them, especially after a night of hard partying, and quality control suffered. The sets assembled by machines were much better at that time.
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