Is Wayfair.com a Fair Way to Shop?

by Barrett

This shard of glass is all that remains from the top of our nifty living room lamp. Where are you supposed to go to replace a piece that you’ve owned for twenty years? It can be a lighting jungle out there…

This shard of glass is all that remains from the top of our nifty living room lamp. Where are you supposed to go to replace a piece that you’ve owned for twenty years? It can be a lighting jungle out there…

In our living room, there once stood an old-time floor lamp. It wobbled just a bit and supported a nifty white glass bell shade on the very top, harkening back to another, less tech-filled era. And for the past few years, our almost six-year-old son has been zipping by it. The lamp stood there, seemingly impervious to his growing energies.

Alas, the lamp’s time finally ran out, and a couple weeks back…. Crash…
The glass shade shattered into a thousand pieces.
(Everyone was okay… by the way.)

So now what?

Well, it was time to replace the glass shade. I figured I should be able to easily do that online…
(Who wants to schlep around to various stores to check limited stock for something as unique as this?)

Amazon… My Old Friend
I started with my old standby… Amazon. But I’ve got to admit, it was a little frustrating navigating to find exactly what I was looking for. Most of the choices weren’t Amazon Prime eligible, and many of the descriptions from various sellers weren’t as clear as I needed them to be.
(I was looking for a 2.25” base to pop back on the lamp’s mount.)

And the idea of paying $10-$12 for shipping really was a non-starter.

So I ventured into the wild, and began Googling about. I found several companies that specialized in lighting… but I honestly wasn’t really interested in starting a new relationship with a strange online vendor.

Hello, Wayfair
That said, I did run several times into something called Wayfair.com.
And on a lark, I decided to Google it.
wayfair According to Wikipedia, It’s the largest online-only furniture retailer in the United States. And it’s headquartered out of Boston.
(My old stomping grounds)

Huh.

So I decided to check Wayfair out…

Zeroing In
And I’ve got to say, the website looked and felt really solid. Its interface was easy to use, and it had the look of a serious player. Plus I could easily save my choices to a ‘board’ for final evaluation later.
(Very useful!)

I was quickly able to find what I was looking for…
Alabaster Glass Shade
An Alabaster Glass Bell Pendant Shade by Volume Lighting
$47.99.

Wayfair offers free shipping over $49.00… so I figured I’d pick up something else to cross over the finish line.

Done…right?
Not quite….

You know me… I like to do price comparisons….

Lighting Jungle and Amazon Team Up
So I went to Jet.com to see what was going on there.
But the inventory was limited, and I couldn’t find that particular glass shade or anything close to what I really needed.
(Bummer…. Jet has really been disappointing me lately.)

Then, I went back to Amazon to look for that specific glass shade from Volume Lighting. And in fact I found it. I had originally passed by the choice, because it was a non-Prime offering by a company called Lighting Jungle, and the description didn’t contain enough detail, including the critical fitter size at the base.

But it did contain the model number, which didn’t mean anything to me the first time around. Now I was able to do the match.

And match… they did.

The price on Amazon…?
$19.44!

What?!

Okay, plus the dreaded $12.99 shipping cost.

But that’s still a grand total of only $32.43.
That’s a huge difference compared to Wayfair’s $47.99.

Huh.

Well, that’s disappointing. What’s up, Wayfair?

Inconclusive Data
So I decided to do a quick tour around Wayfair’s site to get a better sense of the overall pricing…

I happened to need another LED bulb for the upstairs bathroom to replace a decorative incandescent bulb that had just burned out.
(You know me in my ongoing LED bulb replacement crusade.)

I came upon this cute 4-Watt LED replacement for $19.43.

Then, I crossed check it with both Amazon and HomeDepot.com.
Wayfair had them both beat by about a buck.

Huh.

Okay. So I wasn’t going to easily get a clear verdict on whether Wayfair was unnecessarily marking up the inventory or not.

There’s Never One Retailer that’s Always Best
But really… is there ever a one-stop online shopping solution for everything you’ll ever need?

Amazon is great… but you’ve also got to watch the pricing. It’s often, but not always the best deal around.

You’ll recall, I had high hopes for Jet.com. But the selection there is still more limited than Amazon’s. And Jet’s lower pricing promise hasn’t panned out for me.

Another site I’ve frequented since my son was born is Diapers.com and its related properties. No, I’m not buying diapers anymore, but I’ve continued to spend time on Soap.com, Wag.com, and Yoyo.com.

These sites aren’t always the best deal in town either.
(Though I find the free shipping over $49 is lightning fast… often faster than Amazon Prime shipping.)

Is Wayfair Way Fair?
So now I’ve found Wayfair.
And even though it was wicked expensive on my first try, I think I’m still going to add Wayfair to my short list.

Why?

Well, I’ve just got a good vibe about this place.
(Any of you out there have other experiences with Wayfair?)

Check out this appealing Wayfair YouTube video-

Sure, my warm response to this video only speaks to Wayfair’s successful marketing strategy.

Whether I’ll end up regularly shopping there is another story entirely…

Yes, regarding my new glass shade… Amazon won the day.
But I think it’s fair to say I’m rooting for Wayfair to do more for me in the future.

Because remember, there’s no one place in the world you should always shop.

That’s way fair.

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