March 2017

“But I Found It on The Internet for Much Less!”
by Vince Mazzei, President, Foodservice Co-Op of America

After receiving my one millionth phone call (not really) from someone saying "but I found it on the internet for much less", I decided to create this article.  Honestly, I should have done this a few years ago. 

Here's something direct for all of your internet fans.  A direct quote from Google:

"Direct selling really offers only one potential advantage - a low price - to lure the buyer into purchasing from the upstart manufacturers or distributor. What an original concept! But you may find that sweet prices without local support may leave a bad aftertaste if, and when, a problem arises with the product support after the purchase is made"

"Wholesale" and "do it yourself" is not a new phenomenon.  In fact, it's been around as long as the pyramids.  And, if you have the time and the expertise to research and hopefully find exactly what you need on every piece of equipment, whether it's 5-pieces, 50-pieces or 150-pieces every step of the way such as make, model, finish, accessories, power requirements, size, length, width, depth, height and the list goes on and on and you are able to handle the logistics and all of the additional issues aside from just the purchase - then you are 100% deserving of whatever you are able to save.  

The only difference from the "old days" is that it's a lot easier (which makes it even more dangerous) for a lot more people to access manufacturers (both good and bad) and prices (both true and too good to be true) with the advent of the internet. 

However, the internet of today like the "old days" comes up short (in my opinion) when it comes to the following: A short list of what the internet doesn't do for you:

1) You can't type in your food service related problems on the internet and get a solution from a industry professional.

2) The internet doesn't tell you what you need, you have to tell it exactly what you need.

3) The internet can't design your kitchen, prep areas, hood systems, walk-in coolers & freezers, refrigeration systems or bars.

4) The internet can't specify manufacturers, model numbers, finishes, accessories, sizes or power requirements.

5) The internet can't confirm the above or take measurements at your job site to sure sure that everything will fit properly.

6) The internet can't regularly answer the many many questions from architects, general contractors, designers, plumbers, electricians and your food service staff.

7) The internet doesn't check your job site during construction for any issues that may conflict with the proper operation or installation of your equipment

8) The internet doesn't receive, check for damage, protect and store your equipment in it's warehouse and then deliver it to your job site when it's ready to be installed.

9) The internet doesn't provide industry trained and insured professionals to deliver, unload, uncrate, assemble & set the equipment in place and protect it again at your job site.

10) The internet doesn't remove all of the packaging and waste materials.

11) The internet takes no responsibility for your mistake when you order something incorrectly.  My best clients are those who now have a garage packed with items that they ordered incorrectly on the internet.

12) The internet doesn't do equipment start-ups, training or answer operational questions from your staff.

13) The internet doesn't take service calls days, nights, weekends and especially holidays.

14) The internet makes you pay in advance.

An even shorter list of what the internet does do for you:

1) Allows you to play "Russian Roulette" unless your truly know what you're doing, and whom you're doing it with.

2) It may open you up to a sales tax investigation and/or audit.  This is especially true of large interstate dollar purchases.  How do I know this? Well, it happened to me.  FYI, all internet sales are reported to the tax collection agencies of each state that their orders ship to.  And, if you’re not charged sales tax by your seller, you are legally obligated to report & pay sales tax to your state tax collection agency.  

So, the next time someone tells you “I found it cheaper online!,” you may remind them the cheap usually comes out expensive.

Vince Mazzei

Vince Mazzei is the President of Foodservice Co-Op of America of Miami, FL; a commercial kitchen design company as well as a broad line distributor of all the major brands of equipment and appliances for the foodservice industries. FCA partners with their clients to deliver high quality, budget appropriate design solutions. 


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