Serious hardware, serious savings


Sign of the economic times? For some years now, we have been lusting for the Cadillac of Weber charcoal-fired grills (though, technically, I believe it’s classed as a ‘smoker’), known as The Performer. Some years back, when a previous Weber (the kind that sits on 3 spindly legs) had gone to its end (in part because of slack maintenance on my part), I merely replaced it with the same $89 model.

I found myself regretting that I hadn’t popped for the sturdier high-end model, with its convenient side table, shelf, charcoal bin and propane coal-starter. I found myself with all the pieces – grill, charcoal sack, charcoal chimney, utensils, food et al. and no real place to put them (except the patio table and benches and surrounding terrain).

This year, the Williams Sonoma catalog arrived, featuring a glorious color photo of the Weber I wished I’d purchased. I left the catalog out, turned to the proper page, and eventually the spouse began making approving noises, given our two-year-old patio remodel and the fact that the current Weber had also fallen into disrepair.

Wishing to be wise, and thrifty, I went to a local discount chain (Orchard Supply Hardware), thinking to beat pricey Williams Sonoma’s tariff. Sure enough, I located the model, but was disappointed to see that it was being offered for exactly the same price. I hovered long enough on the aisle considering alternatives (including the old $89 standby) that a salesperson approached me.

Said salesperson was wearing a tie, and was, thus, presumably on some managerial rung of the OSH hierarchy, and he wasted no time exercising his executive powers: “10% off if you buy today.” I hesitated long enough, that he then offered “another 10% off if you apply for an OSH account – only takes a minute!”

We were approaching $70 in savings here, and truth be known, the Williams Sonoma listing was ‘catalog only,’ meaning there was a $100 ‘flat’ shipping charge (good for New Yorkers, but hard to swallow for one who lives 2 miles from a WS store), so I was looking, really, at $170 savings at this point.

Emboldened, I pushed a little: “What about assembly?” Free, guaranteed within 72 hours. That clinched it. The credit application really did take a minute (they basically swiped my Visa card and said ‘OK’). I used my savings to buy a new light fixture for the front porch, a big sack of Lazarri mesquite charcoal, a small propane tank (for the Weber’s starter) and some sandpaper and cherry stain. And I still had bucks left over… but I resisted their big Craftsman tool sale…


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
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6 Responses to Serious hardware, serious savings

  1. Great story and so nicely presented, I feel the urge to go buy a Weber something. Hmmmm. Isn’t it a great feeling to be so thrifty?

  2. Chris, looks great! Our version of that same grill has been a workhorse for us!

    FYI, here’s my recipe for grilling tri-tips on the Weber BBQ:

    I usually just season the tri-tip with rock salt all over and serious ground pepper. Works especially great on unmarinated tri-tips!

  3. David Rockel says:

    Hey Chris, my Dad had just gotten one of these in PA and it sounds like he loves it. Good luck with it, we can come down for a BBQ anytime.

  4. Sara says:

    Hey, what fun to hear about your great deal striking skills! And I can highly recommend the Weber, the same one we have, which was a Father’s Day present a year or two ago. We love it. Now all you need is the Grill Every Day cookbook (yum!) and you’ll be good to go!

  5. Roger says:

    I just got a new Weber last weekend, but opted for the Q300 gas model. I tell everyone it’s better for the environment but the truth is the stores usually stop selling charcoal in Blighty about the middle of August and it doesn’t appear again until June!

  6. Rob J says:

    Looks good, Chris! But I’m still waiting for their new propane grill that has a charcoal starter…! 🙂

    Seriously, though, I bought a Webet Genesis gas grill about 2 yrs ago, and Home Depot had them exclusively with enamel coated cast iron grates. This is one great grill. And from the weber website you linked to, it seems they drastically redesigned the Genesis line. My unit made some kick-@ss tri-tip last night, marinaded in a red wine vinegar and mustard solution. Yum!

    I also have a 22.5″ charcoal One-Touch. I use the newspaper in a chimney starting method. Works great and I never run out of starter (yes, I still subscribe to the SJMN hard copy edition, but that’s a different thread!).

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