Nov 212014

With Black Friday approaching, everyone is looking for the best deals, online or in the “real world”.  For many people, this means the first places they are going to shop online are the “big box” retailers like WallyWorld – or in our market, OfficeDepot, OfficeMax, Staples, and other global corporate big-dogs. The most likely reasons people choose impersonal mega-stores over “Mom and Pop”: price and selection.

Are you sure you are really getting what you need or want at the lowest possible price?
Or is this just one of those things that sounds right, so we assume it is the truth?

While we here at Office Chairs Unlimited obviously want you to do business with us, we do have some good reasons for you to question whether or not mega-stores can really give you what you want.

First, let’s look at price.

Office Chairs Unlimited has a Lowest Price Guarantee

That is not just on certain “door-buster special” items. Our low price guarantee is on everything we sell.
That was easy. But let’s look a little closer…

Even if the prices are the same, your favorite big box retailer probably has a physical presence in your state. That means you will be paying sales tax.  Smaller online stores typically only have a physical location in one state, so the odds are pretty good that you can avoid paying sales tax.


In the big box online store, they have hundreds of office chairs… or do they? Oops – out of stock! Back ordered. Redirected to a small retailer you never heard of (with no indication of in stock status)?!
In store is no different – the item you want is on display, but they don’t have any in stock.
Why? Because they would rather have you buy their own store brand or other “questionable” brand that they DO have on hand. And believe it or not, they cannot always beat us internet retailers on price.


bad customer service from Big Box storesIf you have ever shopped at a major corporate retailer of any kind, you know that customer service is not a priority. The employees’ main goal is not to help you, or even sell you something that will make you want to continue doing business with them. Usually it seems like their goal is to get you through the line and out of the store so they can get back to whatever it is they were doing on their phone when you interrupted them.

If you should have a problem with a product you purchased at the store, do not expect enthusiastic help in resolving the issue.

Our founder, Mike Harley, has this to say about big box customer service:
“I honestly think what it comes down to is big stores can deliver the product, but the employees do not appreciate the customers. I can think of several different instances where a Staples customer contacted them over a warranty issue. Rather than the representative looking up the appropriate manufacturer, they did a quick Google search for the product, found us and gave them our phone number. Of course, we are happy to direct them to the proper manufacturer to handle the warranty claim, and we’ve actually acquired Staples customers.”

No one wants to deal with an employee that could care less about your business and clearly just wants to get you off the phone.


Not only do we hear of big stores’ employees having a bad attitude, but also not being knowledgeable at all about the products they sell. Anyone who answers the phones here at Office Chairs Unlimited knows the answer to any question and is happy to help. Check out the reviews for Office Chairs Unlimited. They speak for themselves.

Then there are the “Clean Conscience” issues.

Even if everything else is equal (price, shipping time, etc)…
Do you want to support a huge corporation that treats its employees poorly, has run many local shops out of business, and probably pays less than you do in taxes? Or would you rather support an enterprising small business whose employees are like family, contributes to the growth of its local community, and is run by “regular folks” striving to achieve the American Dream?

That’s not just feel-good nonsense. Check out this summary of key studies on big box and local retailers compiled by the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

For a lighter look, watch this:


Shop smart, save money, and feel good about doing the right thing!

Happy Holidays!