Kitchen Secret #15

When is an oven not an oven???

Answer: When it isn’t what you though you were getting.

Worse still, you might not even have planned what you wanted.

The strange thing is, when somebody’s buying a new pair of shoes, they generally try on quite a few pairs before they even consider making a purchase. The scary thing is that a new kitchen costs 100 times more. You need to do the boring thing and ‘break down’ the kitchen into its individual components – you need to make sure that every ‘bit’ is right for you.

A kitchen designer will put the ‘bit’ in that’s the cheapest option. It’s natural for you, the customer to get enthused about the design for your new kitchen – to be tempted to make an emotionally led decision regarding a purchase. The designer cannot bring oven samples to your house though. The additional problem that he has is if he shows you too many pictures of kitchen equipment, the selling process from his standpoint will get ‘bogged down’ – you won’t be able to make a firm decision ‘on the night’ about the appliances required and the designer’s chance of making a sale at the same time goes down the drain.

So what can the designer do? Simple. Make sure that the customer chooses one of two options. Either they take one of the ‘basic’ oven packages – one of the ones in the ‘half price sale’, or they get their own oven. If a designer establishes that a customer hasn’t made a decision on the particular piece of kitchen equipment that they would like, all he has to do is ensure that they make a decision before the price is presented.

What the designer can do in this instance is make sure that the customer knows approximately what they will be spending on their own oven.Also, the customer has to be extremely confident that the designer has the ability to advise them on the exact size of space that their oven is going take up in the new kitchen. Then, and only then will the customer consider conducting business with the kitchen company in advance of purchasing their own appliances.

Possibly one of the most logical ways of you being involved in the design of your own kitchen is to consider the types of appliances that are best for your lifestyle before hand – go into the large appliance stores and ask for their advice. Collect catalogues. Research what’s new on the market. Have a look at Internet costs. There are always websites available offering you the appliance that you require. The unscrupulous kitchen designer might however tell you that he can get the best possible appliance for you at an incredible price due to a ‘limited promotional quantity of stock’ that they have been given by their supplier. The unscrupulous designer might then after he ‘wins’your contract realise that he has two choices – either make sure that the customer gets the special oven that was offered and takes a big hit on his commission –

OR puts the product ID number of the more basic oven model on the contract, giving the him his full level of commission.

A customer who signs for a contract with the wrong product ID number on it is in a poor position. And the designer doesn’t care. He’s never going to see the customer again. The argument is between the customer and the company. The company in time will probably either bend to the side of the customer or cancel the contract though. The negative publicity just isn’t worth the hassle.

As a generalisation, you’re better off buying your own kitchen equipment – the ones you want from a specialist – but not until after you finalise the design for the kitchen.

An oven is the heart of a kitchen. It can get used for many hours a day, seven days a week. Customers often tend to buy the cheapest one available though. The static electric model still sells far too many units. Have one if you want one – but make sure that you make the decision and not the designer.

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