Why You Should Never Buy From A Woot Off

Have you ever shopped at Woot?

For those who aren’t familiar, Woot is one of the originators of the one-item sold for one-day.  You can buy many products, often leaning toward electronics, at what can be pretty good deals.  Typical items they sell are:

  • Televisions
  • MP3 Players (not so much anymore)
  • High end vacuum cleaners
  • Knife sets
  • Gaming accessories

I subscribe to the RSS feed so every day I happen to be in Google Reader, I’ll see the deal for that day.  In the five years or so I’ve been following, I’ve bought less than a dozen items.

The biggest purchase was my first.  I bought the Dyson vaccum cleaner that we use at home.  Before moving into our house in 2007, we determined that we wanted a Dyson and were shopping around, when one came up for $100 less than I’d seen anywhere.  It was a no-brainer.

I’ve bought a couple of items since, pretty small in nature: I bought a pack of sprinklers for the backyard which I needed when I did some overseeding a few years back, and wanted to concentrate the extra watering to the particular areas I was working with.  I also bought some water alarms which I’ve placed around water-using appliances, and they’ve actually saved me a couple of times.

One of the things Woot is most famous for is their Woot-Off.  Every so often, maybe once a month or so, they’ll have a Woot-Off, where instead of one item per day, they’ll run a whole slew of items, likely leftovers from previous Woots.  They’re usually discounted from even their regular Woot prices.  Some items in a Woot Off last mere seconds, others last for hours.  You never know what’s coming next, but often you can score a deal.

The biggest item people clamor for, ironically enough, during a Woot Off is the ‘Bag of Crap’.  For $8 Woot will send you a box of stuff.  You have no control over what’s inside nor any idea what’s coming.  Most people receive exactly what the name suggests, even receiving parts of items or broken items.  The reason people clamor for these is because, every so often, Woot will sneak something valuable in.  People have been known to get a large screen TV, or even a pallet full of electronic keyboards.  It’s like a mini-lottery.

I often follow the Woot Off, but I don’t buy.  Why?

Because it’s a form of impulse shopping.

Most items people buy on a Woot Off are available for a limited period of time.  Minutes, maybe an hour if it’s slow.  I believe in mulling over a big purchase, so although I’ve been tempted to buy a TV or other ‘big’ item, I never have because it’s too big a decision to make in that short of time.

But, obviously people don’t care because these things sell out quickly.

I suppose that if something did hit that I was planning on buying I might make a purchase, but I’d say it’s pretty rare that people happen to buy something on a Woot Off that they would have gone out and purchased anyways.  I’d guess 98% of purchases are impulse buys.

At least a regular Woot item, you have the entire day to think about it (assuming that they don’t sell out) so while there’s pressure, you can talk it over, look at your finances, and be somewhat truthful about whether you actually need the item.  But a Woot Off item gives you none of that, so I’m fine with just watching the RSS feed fill up over the course of the day and leave it at that.

Still, it’s fun to watch.

Do you ever watch or participate in a Woot Off?  Do you buy from Woot?

A Small Credit Is Still A Credit

I have followed Woot for many years.  I’ve only bought a couple of things from there, but their ‘One Deal, One Day’ concept is great and has spawned many followers.

Occasionally they do a Woot Off, which is a day long (sometimes multiple days) of selling the ‘unsold’ inventory of various products throughout the day.

Last month, they did a Woot Off and I was checking in when I saw something that caught my eye.  A 2-pack of lawn sprinklers.  Occasionally, I’ll have areas of the grass that I want to spot water, so I keep a lawn sprinkler handy.  The sprinkler I’d bought last year had recently broke so I was in the market for a new one.  I also knew that I’d be overseeding my grass, which would require some additional watering.

The price was unbeatable: $1.49 for a two pack.  They charge $5 flat shipping and you can by up to three units of each item during a Woot Off.

Looking at the price, it was a no brainer, and it actually made sense to me to buy all three units, which would net me six sprinklers.  The way I looked at it, I could daisy chain at least a couple of them together if I had larger areas I wanted to water, plus they were small and cheap enough that having some spares on hand would be a great idea.  Even at $9.47 for the total order, that was probably cheaper than going to the hardware store and buying just one.

I purchased them and they arrived a few days later.

I used them with my overseeding project, so I took the opportunity to check them all.  Five worked perfectly, but one did not water at all.  The pressure was getting to the sprinkler, but no water was coming out.  I checked everything and could not get it to work.

I contacted Woot and they are giving me a refund of $0.75, which is the cost of one sprinkler in a two pack.  I know it’s only $0.75 and a lot of people probably wouldn’t have bothered, but the way I look at it, I only got five sprinklers, and even though they were dirt cheap, I still didn’t feel like I should have to pay for the sixth.

Maybe this takes me officially into the territory of being ‘cheap’ but if that’s the case, I don’t mind!  If I see a penny on the ground, I pick that up.  Even a small amount of money is still money!