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Old 10-10-2017, 08:45 AM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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Large retailers selling custom made cheaper "name brand" products. Does that really happen?

A common warning I have heard about Walmart is that they set price-points and quality levels for their suppliers that result in name-brand products being specially manufactured for Walmart with cheaper, lower quality parts.

Recently I have heard, both here on the Dope and other places, this accusation being made about other big resellers such as Amazon and Home Depot.

Does anyone have any information/evidence that this practice exists at all? If so, is it common among all large resellers?
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:13 AM
Ruken Ruken is offline
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Until someone with more knowledge on the topic shows up, I did see a difference in price and quality (and warranty) on plumbing fixtures between Big Hardware vs small plumbing supply stores that mostly sell to contractors. Like sink faucets. The ones at the small store were built differently and had lifetime warranties from the manufacturer. I'll see if I can find the brand.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:18 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I don't know if the practice is common, but Walmart definitely does this. Here is a link to a Fast Company article on The Wayback Machine about Walmart's relentless cost cutting. In particular, it describes how it wanted to sell a one-gallon jar of Vlasic pickles for three bucks, aka the pickle story. The price was so low that Vlasic and Walmart made only a cent or two on each jar. And that many pickles was more than people could eat before they spoiled, so much of the product was wasted.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:23 AM
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Yes, it happens a lot. Usually the model number of the item will be different for the model made for a particular store but not always.

Several years ago I was looking around to buy a netbook computer for my mother and found a particular model that got good reviews and found the best price was at Best Buy. I went to the local store and bought one. The package (same model number) did not contain the carry case included by other retailers and it had a lower power CPU. I don’t shop at Best Buy anymore.

Looking for a specific electric toothbrush, found one at Walmart that appeared to be the same as a highly recommended model but the model number was different; turned out the Walmart model did not have the automatic timer full retail models used. Same experience with Walmart electric razor; different model number with some missing features.

The stuff you buy at Home Depot and Lowes, faucets, for instance, is likely not the same quality a plumber would install, even though they look similar and are from the same manufacturer.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:38 AM
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In the case of Home Depot, they have a much worse quality version of Nashua brand duct tape. I used to buy a 3 pack of this brand at CostCo, and it was excellent - nice and thick, came off of nearly any surface cleanly. But the crap Home Depot sold was thin, and was a nightmare to remove. Never again, and it has spoiled me on that brand. I'm sticking with 3M, which apparently is too big of a company to allow themselves to be pushed around by Home Depot.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:22 AM
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Sunny Daze Sunny Daze is offline
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It does happen, and it can happen in both directions in terms of quality. Some stores will demand better quality goods or extra perks (you will often see a vacuum, for example, with an extra caddy of parts at Costco). Note that this generally only happens for only true large stores and chains, as it is another layer of expense on the seller (different build, different paperwork, different labelling, etc). This is not a demand that just any small store is going to get met. It will happen for certain quantities of goods only and is negotiated well in advance.

Note that Walmart, Amazon, and Costco, all do a lot of reasearch to find out who shops at their stores, and what options or features their key buyers are most interested in. They are not the same target buyers.

The chains do not do this for every single item they sell. They target certain types of products, depending on a whole range of things, including time of year, volume, margin, and on, and on.

It has not been my observation that Amazon changes their products. Resellers on their site might do so, and products running on their OS (think Kindle or Fire) might be different. This could, of course, change.

Walmart uses the system to maintain their price points.
Best Buy, in part for this reason, and in larger part for some other longer supply chain reasons, has really broken their own business model.
CostCo and others make it work for them in a slightly different way.

Another place you will see something similar is in something called a "white label", or store name model. Sears does not make Kenmore, for example. They use other companies to do it for them.

Cite, for now, decades of working in consumer sales and product marketing.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
In the case of Home Depot, they have a much worse quality version of Nashua brand duct tape.
In fairness to Nashua, Home Depot carries many different Nashua duct tapes, differing by thickness, material, heat ratings, etc, clearly stated on the various labels. You have to look in the plumbing/heating section. The last time I bought some, there were a least 6 different ones in stock to chose from, and this lists 45:

http://www.homedepot.com/b/Heating-V...5yc1vZc4nuZ1xo

But Home Depot apparently does spec cheaper products. A locksmith was telling me about the locks that Home Depot sells. Even some high end brand names are special versions with plastic internal parts instead of metal, or pot metal instead of steel, etc. He did say that if you buy their highest priced locks, they are standard internals.

Dennis
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:40 AM
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I've seen this done a lot with Black Friday door buster items. Retailers want a brand name item with a dirt cheap price to plaster on their Thanksgiving day ad and the vendors respond with some really dumbed down products.
Sony had a line of laptops several years ago that I had my eye on and was monitoring the prices. Lo and behold the black friday flyer at Best Buy had the laptop at a greatly reduced price. However, reading the ad more closely and looking at the specs Sony had made a special dumbed down version just for this sale.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:02 AM
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And that many pickles was more than people could eat before they spoiled, so much of the product was wasted.
Pickles spoil?
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:13 AM
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hp is known to make Wal-Mart only pc builds also the video game console will make advertised "exclusive" to that store versions
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:17 AM
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Back in the days when there were multiple local appliance stores, many of them would advertise something like "We'll beat anyone else's advertised price on the same item." Then you found out the model number was different, and the machine was a Bizzaro-world clone. Dryers that came without power cords, ranges with different knobs, etc.

If you ever do home remodeling, your contractor will be happy to tell you all about "builder's grade."

See here for a detailed breakdown of the difference between KitchenAid's Artisan and Professional mixers.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:47 AM
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A friend of mine was an accountant at a Sears appliance supplier back in the 70's. He mentioned that what Sears did with Kenmore was essentially the same as what Walmart does today - get to be a significant share of the manufacturer's sales, then apply the screws when they are too big a customer for the company to tell them to take a hike. Ask for lower prices, suggest lesser quality parts, etc.

For some things, the producer will suggest extras instead of price reductions. I think it was one of the Disney or Harry Potter movies, for example, where the package came shrink-wrapped with a picture-book for the same price everyone else charged for just the movie. That way they could say Walmart shoppers got a better deal, but you didn't have them advertising a lower price than elsewhere.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:21 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Pickles spoil?
Yeah, I have to doubt that story. It says that people would eat a quarter of the jar and throw them away when they got moldy.

Pickles last for years in the refrigerator. They're covered in salt and vinegar (and sometimes sugar)!

And if people were finishing only a quarter of the jar: a quart jar of pickles is a normal sized jar of pickles. Do people who eat pickles really go through less than a quart jar a year? My household of three people easily eats more than a gallon of pickles a year just with like, a pickle or two a week on a hamburger or cut into spears to eat with a sandwich. Finding space for such a large jar in the fridge would be the hard part.

That whole claim sounds like nonsense to me.
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:18 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Regarding the pickles spoiling, it may just be that people tire of them long before consuming a gallon jar's worth. Plus a gallon jar takes up a lot of refrigerator space, so perhaps people give up on the jar early.
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:22 PM
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Yeah, I have to doubt that story. It says that people would eat a quarter of the jar and throw them away when they got moldy.

Pickles last for years in the refrigerator. They're covered in salt and vinegar (and sometimes sugar)!
As somebody who has thrown away old pickles, I'll suggest that it's not mold or other form of rot*. Rather it's that old pickles (and even fresh, cheap ones) get soggy and lose their crunch. Vlasic pickles in particular are marketed for their crunch.

(/tangent)

Amazon is hard to quantify, since they're both a retailer and a marketplace (i.e. they store, sell, and ship product owned and selected by third parties). I have seen products sold under two different descriptions, brands and prices (same product, we just change the UPC sticker). This is somewhat helped by Chinese** manufacturers shipping products with minimal labeling, and in generic packaging. Often the only description of the product and/or brand is on the outer packaging which gets removed before shipping to the customer (usually because it contains multiple units that are sold individually).

*pedants, be quiet

** according to the discreetly printed 'made in china' notice (and, usually, very floppy cardboard)
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Old 10-10-2017, 04:27 PM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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Thanks for all the replies.
Of all the companies I mentioned, Amazon seems the most unlikely. In my mind they are agnostic about their products. Anyone who wants to sell something goes to Amazon and specifies what they want to sell. Amazon puts it on their webpage and stocks some product in their warehouse and waits. There is very little cost to Amazon, assuming the product on the shelf doesn't cost them much until it sells. At least that is how I thought it works. But I saw a poster here on the Dope include them in the list of suspect retailers and one other source (can't remember where) mentioned them as well.
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Old 10-10-2017, 04:44 PM
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Back in the days when there were multiple local appliance stores, many of them would advertise something like "We'll beat anyone else's advertised price on the same item." Then you found out the model number was different, and the machine was a Bizzaro-world clone. Dryers that came without power cords, ranges with different knobs, etc.
What do you mean, old days? I've looked, and I've never seen the same model number for pretty much identical PCs and laptops in competing stores. Or on Amazon for that matter.
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Old 10-10-2017, 05:40 PM
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Thanks for all the replies.
Of all the companies I mentioned, Amazon seems the most unlikely. In my mind they are agnostic about their products. Anyone who wants to sell something goes to Amazon and specifies what they want to sell.
That's actually just a small portion of the products Amazon sells. The majority of their products are owned by Amazon, and purchased at their discretion.

I work at an Amazon warehouse, and most of the stuff that's owned/sold by third parties has a different type of identifier (ASIN). It's also usually the most troublesome to work with (cheap and/or nonstandard pallets, unstable stacks, sloppy labelling, etc.).
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Old 10-10-2017, 07:17 PM
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This is fascinating because it never occurred to me that this might be the case, yet now it seems so obvious.

Has anyone had a bad experience of this type with Costco? I love shopping there and have never had an issue with anything (well, the Epson printer was a mistake. But I blame Epson.) Now I feel wary, especially because I'm considering a new TV and don't want to save a little to get second-rate crap.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:13 PM
GMANCANADA GMANCANADA is offline
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As someone who worked in CPG for many years, it's very common that manufacturers make custom versions of their products for individual retailers. Every company I've worked for or heard of does this to some degree.

As far as logistics goes, they're usually not in inventory ongoing - retailers have to agree to taking the entire minimum order within a set period (like 30 days).

1) This happens for retailers that have a "beat our competitor's price" guarantee "if you see the same model" cheaper. Commonly manufacturers will slightly change the model number (usually keeping the same SKU), so the retailer can say "Our's is Sony ABC123-M, their's is ABC123-R, that's a different model, so we don't have to beat that price".

2) It's also common for special models / packs to come out during big selling periods like Black Friday, Xmas etc. Retailers will often request a product that hits a specific "door crasher" price point. Like a 60" TV for $199. Manufacturers will "de-spec" the item with cheaper components to hit the price point that a retailer wants.

In my opinion this is very bad from a brand perspective. At companies I've run, I've either stopped this or not allowed it to start. Consumers don't understand they bought a de-spec'd product (which may actually have been vary good value for the price), they just think your brand is junk.

3) For retailers like Costco, it's common to have shrink-wrapped packs that include extra items to create better perceived value. Instead of reducing price or de-spec-ing, we'd figure out a way to give more value for the roughly the same price. However, Consumer Reports did a story recently on "value" at Costco and they said that many of the designer clothes Costco sells are "de-spec'd" version of what's in the designer stores: cheaper / thinner, fabrics, less stitching etc.


At places like Home Depot, Lowes etc specially made product versions ar very common and happen all the time, but I've never heard of anyone doing this for Amazon. I don't see why a manufacturer would do special packs or de-spec for Amazon unless they had a very specific competitive reason to do so.

Sellers add extras to create better value and obscure price comparisons and this is common on Amazon. I recently bought a brand name phone case on Amazon that included bonus screen protectors, cleaning cloth etc. included by the seller.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:27 PM
GMANCANADA GMANCANADA is offline
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@TSBC - Do your homework, start with model numbers and detailed specs for what you want and then compare prices.

I bought my mother a new Samsung washer from Costco last year. I copied detailed specs / model etc from the Costco website then checked online versus competitors. I couldn't find the Costco model anywhere at all, so I found the most comparable Samsung models (identical look and identical specs) at Best Buy, Home Depot etc and the Costco product was about $150 cheaper, so I bought it. I think I got a great deal on it. So far so good.

You're not necessarily getting second rate crap, maybe just a different item.

Buyer Beware, do that homework.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:14 AM
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Thanks GMAN, good info and advice.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:20 AM
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As other's mentioned in the other thread, I suspect a lot of this is all about foiling comparison shopping and especially automated online comparison shopping. i.e.


As long as the part numbers are different one retailer is free to advertise "we match competitor prices on identical items!!!" but never have to actually pay off on the claim.

Imagine that all ecommerce websites were required by FTC to include the manufacturer's part number and the price in a readily machine-recognizable form on all their products on all their pages. It'd be about 3 minutes before somebody released an app to scour the net and find that lowest price. A good cheap defense to that is to prevent matching on part number. The big boys can do that vs. each other and vs. all the Mom and Pops. But all the Mom & Pops can't do it vs. each other.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 10-11-2017 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:24 AM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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GMAN and dstarfire, Thanks!

There is a lot of good info in this thread. It boils down, as always, to do your homework. Look at the detailed specs. Compare.
The bad news is that "name-brand" doesn't mean much by itself. It can be a good starting point for the specs to compare against.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:35 AM
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I found this with Goodyear tires.

I had some Goodyears I bought at Walmart and tried to have them replaced at a real Goodyear store and they said it was the Walmart, cheaper version.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:50 AM
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Performance bike, with stores in about the states & an online presence is notorious for doing this. Most of what they sell is either one of a few house brands or one-off models of independent bike brands with some change to the components, substituting some inferior part(s). Fuji bikes can be purchased in many bike stores, but the majority of ones they sell are "Exclusives".
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:16 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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This is completely standard practice in the food industry.

Think of all those generic or house brand items you see in a grocery store -- who do you think makes them? Do you think Kroger, Safeway and Publix have their own factories to make their own house brand of cookies & oatmeal & corn flakes & wieners, etc.?

Mostly, they are made by the same manufacturer that makes the name-brand version, usually on the same assembly line, and often with the very same ingredients.

During college, I worked in a potato chip factory. Besides our own name brand, we also produced chips under 2 other brand names. It was common to see chips coming out of the fryer and going into packaging machines with two different brand names on the packages.

These other brands would provide specs, and ask us to bid for their business. (For potato chips, there wasn't much to change in the specs, so they were pretty much the same. More complicated products, like electronics, could easily be cheapened.) Buyers might change suppliers every year or so, depending on whose bid was cheapest. Sometimes both we and a competitor were both supplying some of the chips sold under their house-brand name.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:02 PM
GMANCANADA GMANCANADA is offline
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@LSL Guy - you're absolute right about foiling price comparison. The term we used was "muddy the waters"
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:07 PM
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hp is known to make Wal-Mart only pc builds also the video game console will make advertised "exclusive" to that store versions
I bought a Walmart only HP. Trackpad was useless, but it's ok with a mouse. Pretty low-end but it's fine for basic stuff.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:01 PM
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This is completely standard practice in the food industry.

Think of all those generic or house brand items you see in a grocery store -- who do you think makes them? Do you think Kroger, Safeway and Publix have their own factories to make their own house brand of cookies & oatmeal & corn flakes & wieners, etc.?

Mostly, they are made by the same manufacturer that makes the name-brand version, usually on the same assembly line, and often with the very same ingredients.

During college, I worked in a potato chip factory. Besides our own name brand, we also produced chips under 2 other brand names. It was common to see chips coming out of the fryer and going into packaging machines with two different brand names on the packages.

These other brands would provide specs, and ask us to bid for their business. (For potato chips, there wasn't much to change in the specs, so they were pretty much the same. More complicated products, like electronics, could easily be cheapened.) Buyers might change suppliers every year or so, depending on whose bid was cheapest. Sometimes both we and a competitor were both supplying some of the chips sold under their house-brand name.
That's common here in Japan as well. A local convenience store sells actual Doritos and their house brand called "Mexican Chips Spicy Tacos Flavor". The size of the of the real Doritos is 60g and sells for about 130yen (US$1.25). The house brand is 90g and sells for 105yen (US$0.90). Years ago when I tried the house brand for the first time, I said, "These taste just like Japanese Doritos for a cheaper price!" When I checked the info in the back of the bag, there it was: "メーカー名: ジャパンフリトレー" (Maker name: Frito-Lay), the maker of Doritos, of course. A different convenience store chain's house brand "Tortilla Chips Chili Tacos Flavor" is also made by Frito-Lay

Last edited by JpnDude; 10-11-2017 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:09 PM
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oh and something ive caught recently youll see scotch tape or something say 3M on it and look normal but somewhere it will say "produced/manufactured exclusively by big lots " ''

Mattel does this every year so they can sell 2.99 barbie/hot wheel sets at big lots and the dollar stores

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Old 10-11-2017, 10:58 PM
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I don't know anything about the usual Wal Mart megastores, but their Neighborhood Grocery around the corner from here doesn't seem to do this. Based on my experience with household items like detergent and paper products, the brand name items are the same as you'd find in any other grocery chain. The prices are usually considerably lower, but not extremely so. There are no gallon jars of Vlasic for one dollar.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:47 AM
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I learned here on the Dope that the Calphalon pan I was looking at at Target, may well not be the same quality of that Calphalon I could buy at buy at say, Bed Bath and Beyond.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:07 AM
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See here for a detailed breakdown of the difference between KitchenAid's Artisan and Professional mixers.
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I don't know anything about the usual Wal Mart megastores, but their Neighborhood Grocery around the corner from here doesn't seem to do this. Based on my experience with household items like detergent and paper products, the brand name items are the same as you'd find in any other grocery chain. The prices are usually considerably lower, but not extremely so. There are no gallon jars of Vlasic for one dollar.


Well, I for one was heartened that the average small family or person living alone can buy a gallon jar of pickles for $3, and from the first link, using the 30lb KitchenAid Professional 600, whip up 13 dozens of Cookies at a time or add 8lb of Mashed Potatoes as a side-dish.





From a link there I also learnt Germans don't like aluminium cookware.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:54 AM
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This phenomenon is very common in fashion as well. It used to be that designer outlet stores stocked that designer's regular clothing, just out of season or on clearance. Now, some of these designers produce lesser-quality goods for sale directly in their outlets. See this article from Racked, for example.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:00 AM
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It makes sense to me that the outlet stores are selling stuff designed and manufactured for sale in outlet stores. There are so many outlet stores today (including many malls filled with outlet stores) that it's just not possible to fill them all with genuine store returns, last season's goods and irregulars. Perhaps decades ago when outlet stores were rarer, they only had the good stuff, but not any more.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:28 AM
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It makes sense to me that the outlet stores are selling stuff designed and manufactured for sale in outlet stores. There are so many outlet stores today (including many malls filled with outlet stores) that it's just not possible to fill them all with genuine store returns, last season's goods and irregulars. Perhaps decades ago when outlet stores were rarer, they only had the good stuff, but not any more.
Yes this was on the news years ago. The popularity of outlet stores skyrocketed and they didn't have enough irregulars / returns to stock them to they started to manufacture the clothes for the outlet centers specifically.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:55 AM
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This phenomenon is very common in fashion as well. It used to be that designer outlet stores stocked that designer's regular clothing, just out of season or on clearance. Now, some of these designers produce lesser-quality goods for sale directly in their outlets. See this article from Racked, for example.
This turned me off of some name brands almost 20 years ago. I had a couple of Tommy Hilfiger items from Macy's that I thought were great. Heavy material, sturdy construction, never shrank or faded.
So I tried some of the stuff from a Tommy Hilfiger outlet store and it was utter garbage. Shrank, wrinkled, colors faded, etc. Left such a bad taste in my mouth I never bought any of his stuff again.
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:09 AM
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I once bought a TV from Walmart.

When I bought the TV, I noticed the box had been opened and taped back shut. I wound up having to return the TV because the stand was broken.

The very next day, that same fucking box was back on the shelf with the box re-taped shut. (I know because I wrote on the box.)

I guess their intention was to keep trying to resell it until somebody neglects to return the item they KNOW is fucked up.

I tried to leave a tip with the local news hotline, but they never investigated as far as I know.
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Old 10-12-2017, 03:18 PM
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A variant of this was done by Radio Shack for years.

Their Realistic brand products were often identical to the name brand product on the outside but opening them up revealed differences. (And I've opened up several of them.) The most obvious difference oftentimes was a much cheaper PS with far fewer parts.

I'm sure them selling knock-off crap had nothing to do with their going out of business.
  #41  
Old 10-12-2017, 04:49 PM
Asuka Asuka is offline
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Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net View Post
This is completely standard practice in the food industry.

Think of all those generic or house brand items you see in a grocery store -- who do you think makes them? Do you think Kroger, Safeway and Publix have their own factories to make their own house brand of cookies & oatmeal & corn flakes & wieners, etc.?

Mostly, they are made by the same manufacturer that makes the name-brand version, usually on the same assembly line, and often with the very same ingredients.

During college, I worked in a potato chip factory. Besides our own name brand, we also produced chips under 2 other brand names. It was common to see chips coming out of the fryer and going into packaging machines with two different brand names on the packages.

These other brands would provide specs, and ask us to bid for their business. (For potato chips, there wasn't much to change in the specs, so they were pretty much the same. More complicated products, like electronics, could easily be cheapened.) Buyers might change suppliers every year or so, depending on whose bid was cheapest. Sometimes both we and a competitor were both supplying some of the chips sold under their house-brand name.
I've heard of this but don't believe it at all. When I was growing up my family always got store brand food and drinks and even today I occasionally fall back to that and store brands are always very different from the actual brands. I've eaten so many store brand chips and they never taste anywhere near what the actual brands they're imitating. I can believe actual brands will make special batches for store brands but they very obviously skimp on the ingredients since I have never had a store brand that was equivalent to an actual brand (note, there are actual store brands that are BETTER than actual brands but at the same time it's obvious they're aren't just some other companies run-offs)
  #42  
Old 10-13-2017, 12:42 AM
GMANCANADA GMANCANADA is offline
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The OP's question seems to have morphed into a discussion about private label products rather than what they were asking, which was whether manufacturers made cheaper "brand name" products for some retailers.

But that said:
@Asuka & T-bonham - sorry T, your comment that it's "standard Industry practice" is not correct. In some cases that happens, but for the most part it does not.

In my 25+ year's experience its very rare that retailer's P/L is "identical" to big national brands. Usually they're selling based on price point and a value proposition. They would say their products are "near" branded quality selling for less than a national brand, so a good value, (or in the case or Walmart - "Great").

Like any sub-contracted product, a retailer specifies the level of quality they want and they get quoted a price. To make a branded quality product you usually need high quality, higher priced ingredients. That reduces their margins or raises their prices at shelf level, which often they don't want.

The exception to this is a few retailers that have a "premium" P/L offering. In Canada, the best example is "President's Choice" which is either better or the same as national brands. Walmart US had (has?) "Sam's Choice" products. These were originally developed with a President's Choice team from Loblaws Canada back in the 1980's after WM saw the huge success of PC products in Canada.

Also, many National Brands won't, as a straight up corporate policy, make any products other than their own. I did some consulting work a few years ago for very large international company that had ice cream brands. I was surprised to learn that their corporate policy was they never manufacture for anyone but themselves. Their product formulations ingredient costs and suppliers are a corporate secret - end of story.
  #43  
Old 10-13-2017, 07:53 AM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
Yes this was on the news years ago. The popularity of outlet stores skyrocketed and they didn't have enough irregulars / returns to stock them to they started to manufacture the clothes for the outlet centers specifically.
I wonder if that's true for CK underwear, though? I have several with the tags placed on the side instead of in the back...
  #44  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:29 AM
Tired and Cranky Tired and Cranky is offline
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I remember reading an article in a gun magazine years ago that said Walmart bought cheaper versions of name brand guns. In some cases, the difference was obvious, like a shotgun that came with a synthetic versus a wood stock or that lacked the replacement choke tubes. In other cases, the manufacturer would just cheapen out to maintain a price point. So the spec sheet might read exactly the same as the version available at the local gun store but the Walmart model might have lower quality bluing, uglier wood stocks, or crappier triggers. The magazine may have just been passing on an urban legend though.

On the other hand, my brother worked for a toy manufacturer that sold to Walmart and many other retailers. Walmart put relentless pressure on them to reduce costs, sell in exactly the shipment quantities and package style that Walmart wanted, and to have a generous return policy. I think they also had "most favored nation" clauses that meant Walmart was always guaranteed to receive the lowest price that was available to any other retailer. My brother's company didn't sell cheaper versions of their stuff to Walmart, they just had lower margins on those sales. At some point though, whether Walmart intended for this to happen or not, Walmart's other suppliers might come up with the idea that since Walmart gets special packages and special orders at discounted prices, it's just easier to sell them crappier goods in a name brand package with a slightly different model number and SKU. As a result, every other store might wind up selling a better version of the same item. As people above noted, retailer-specific model numbers to defeat price comparison is common. The same strategy would also work to push lower-quality products off onto more price-conscious consumers at lower-end retailers.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:46 AM
Orwell Orwell is offline
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Originally Posted by Tired and Cranky View Post
I remember reading an article in a gun magazine years ago that said Walmart bought cheaper versions of name brand guns. In some cases, the difference was obvious, like a shotgun that came with a synthetic versus a wood stock or that lacked the replacement choke tubes. In other cases, the manufacturer would just cheapen out to maintain a price point. So the spec sheet might read exactly the same as the version available at the local gun store but the Walmart model might have lower quality bluing, uglier wood stocks, or crappier triggers. The magazine may have just been passing on an urban legend though.
I'm checking with a friend who used to work for Remington. I'll let you know what he tells me.
  #46  
Old 10-13-2017, 12:42 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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A variant of this was done by Radio Shack for years.

Their Realistic brand products were often identical to the name brand product on the outside but opening them up revealed differences. (And I've opened up several of them.) The most obvious difference oftentimes was a much cheaper PS with far fewer parts.

I'm sure them selling knock-off crap had nothing to do with their going out of business.
Yes and no - IIRC two reasons -

-Mainly they were victims of their management's leveraged buy-out. Buy the company for cheap using other people's money in the form of junk bonds, milk it like crazy, and then walk away from the mess. They could never hope for the level of revenue/profits to pay off those junk bonds.

-Their market changed. When Radio Shack started, they were a supply for electronics parts and such for hobbyists, and cheaper stereos when component stereos were high-cost snob items. With a name that included "shack" they never managed to move upscale, and their house brand already had negative connotations for quality. Today, hobby electronics is even more of a rarity than before, and nobody needs new tubes to replace the burned-out ones for their TV. Stereos are cheap, and there's far more competition in mainstream electronics stores that are bigger and have more choices. Stereos are commodity items. Almost nobody buys components (Remember separate amp, equalizer, tuner, cassette deck, record player, then CD player? Today you just buy one box.) Originally selling their house brand over name brands eventually became a negative, just like computers.

Basically, the market was pulled out from under them, just like department stores; or camera stores; or book stores... Also bad management did not help things.

Last edited by md2000; 10-13-2017 at 12:43 PM.
  #47  
Old 10-13-2017, 01:22 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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The way I had heard it described is the "own brand" products are made on the same production line as the "name brand" prodcuts.

However in a modern production line, a large part of the workforce is dedicated to quality assurance testing on the products being produced. The result of this is a quality assurance bell curve, going for lowest to highest quality. The name brand companies typically only accepting products at the high quality end of the curve. Rather than throw out the products further down the curve, most of which are still perfectly good, they are sold as "own brand' products.

No cite for that, but heard it from people in the industry.
  #48  
Old 10-13-2017, 07:19 PM
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puzzlegal puzzlegal is offline
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Every contractor I've hired has warned me away from home depot stuff, especially plumbing. And my plumber is not only a really honest guy who has worked for me for years, he also makes me buy all my fittings and stuff before he begins anything major (like new faucets) so I know he has no personal financial interest in where I buy the faucets.

I'm pretty sure "lower quality for big box stores" is a thing, at least for many products.
  #49  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:11 PM
Orwell Orwell is offline
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I'm checking with a friend who used to work for Remington. I'll let you know what he tells me.
My buddy got back to me and said that Remington does not make different versions for different retailers, including Walmart. He doesn't know about other makers.

He said that they introduced low-end models like the 770 to meet price points, but they don't make different versions for different retailers.

I have heard that this isn't true of stuff at Lowe's and Home Depot, but I don't know for sure.
  #50  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:14 PM
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John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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This thread is a total shock for me-here I thought Home Depot for example (vs. Wal-Mart, where none of the above is absolutely any surprise) was the go-to place for hardware, selling stuff of the utmost quality. [/disillusioned, but wiser]
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