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…