Store price vs. online price

I consider myself a fairly savvy shopper, but I was unaware of the possible price difference between an item in-store vs. online. I figured if it was the same store, the price should be the same regardless if I ordered it online or purchased it at the store. Wow, was I in for a surprise!

I’ve been shopping for a replacement patio umbrella for a week. I’d forgotten that our last one had been destroyed by the wind at the end of last summer. We have open fields on the south and west side of our property and our strongest winds come from the southwest. We’ve lost countless umbrellas, at least one glass table and a barbeque (yep, rolled right off the deck!) to those strong gusts. The last umbrella had lasted longer than the others because I learned to close it when we weren’t using it. However, I left it open because I was babysitting my granddaughter who was about three months old at the time, and she very suddenly needed something, so I took care of her and thought I’d close the umbrella later.

I heard an awful sound and looked out the window to see the umbrella turned inside out and dragging our table along the patio. Oh, well! I can always buy another umbrella and table, but I won’t always have the opportunity to spend time with my granddaughter.

I’d forgotten all about the need for a new umbrella until we finally got the table (yes, it survived the dragging!), chairs and cushions cleaned and ready for use. Oh, right, no umbrella. So I started looking around our small town for one, but everywhere I went they were sold out. Before wasting my time and fuel driving to a larger town to check the stores there, I went online to see if I could determine whether anyone still had patio umbrellas this late in the season.

I scored at! The closest store had “limited quantity” in the color I wanted for $69.30. I called the store and asked if they’d set one aside for me. They agreed to hold one at customer service for the day and told me the price was $99. What?! That’s nearly a $30 difference! I asked if they’d match the online price, and fortunately they did. However, if I hadn’t checked online and just gone to the store, I would have paid 30 percent more unnecessarily.

The lesson learned is to check online before going to the store, and always, always, always close the umbrella when not in use!

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