Usually when you wait until the last minute on things, you either spend more money or miss out on an opportunity for something. Such a thing almost happened to me.
We had our first bout of winter weather recently here in Michigan, and as it hit, it became obvious that my wiper blades needed to be replaced.
While out running some errands, I decided to stop and pick some up.
First Stop: AutoZone
I get most of my auto supplies at a nearby AutoZone. They have great service, what I've always felt are great prices, and they are very helpful. I've never had to wait more than a couple of minutes and have always gotten what I've wanted and felt happy with the purchase.
This time, I was out of luck, or so it seemed.
True to their form, they did stop me as I walked in and offered to look up my car on the computer rather than have me run through the book or touch screen near the blades. My car is a Pontiac G6 and for some reason GM inexplicably put a non-standard fitting on the wiper arms, meaning that most standard blades wouldn't work.
AutoZone only had two model types that would fit, one which would be around $40 for a set and one that was around $50. The $40 price actually represented a sale price, but they were out of both sizes that I needed.
And, they couldn't even order them and honor the price.
I didn't want to pay $50 for the ones they did have in stock, so I figured I'd check around.
Second Stop: O'Reilley's Auto Parts
Right across the street is an O'Reilleys. I used to shop there…until the AutoZone opened. I was never a big fan of their customer service, finding that I had to wait in line all the time, and nobody ever offered to look things up.
Still, I figured I'd give it a shot.
As usual, nobody offered to help, but I was fine with looking up the part on the little computer they have near the blades. They actually had four different model types that would work, but only two were in stock. Both were about as expensive as those at AutoZone. I decided on the pair that would be about $42 after taxes and went over to the line.
And found that nothing changes at that store. There were no workers and four people in line. Turns out that the worker was in back looking for something for the first customer in line. She got back and you could tell it was going to be awhile. She didn't call for help (maybe there wasn't any) nor did she even acknowledge the rest of us waiting.
I decided that I had enough so I put my blades down and headed out.
Third Time's A Charm: Meijer
I had to run over to Meijer, which is a local (Michigan and a few surrounding states) supercenter, along the lines of WalMart, but….better. I had my three-year old daughter with me, so we made the rounds through the Christmas stuff and toy stuff, and I figured I'd take a look.
They had five different types of blades. The regular prices were lower than at either AutoZone or O'Reilley's. For Rain X blades, which I've used before and like, they were $17 each, or $34.
But, it got better. They had an in-store promotion for buy one, get the second half off. Meaning I got my set for just over $25.
Very rarely does it turn out that waiting until the rush, then getting impatient actually leads to better things. I was actually prepared to order a set from Amazon equivilent to the ones I set down at O'Reileys.
Instead, I saved $15! Now I know where I will look first for wiper blades.
Have you stumbled into any savings lately?