Since our house is getting slightly nearer to completion, we went out yesterday to start pricing major appliances, specifically air conditioners (eight total), ceiling fans (10 total), refrigerator (one), stove top (built-in, one piece), oven (again built in, no range), and television (okay, not a necessity as we were looking at the LCD flat screens).
Back home, I would have gone online to check out the major appliance stores, read some consumer reports articles, hit Costco, and made a list from that. Here, I go to store X (not many stores here are online and the ones that are are full of dead links, outdated information, and never any prices). At store X, I talk to multiple sales people since each person is in charge of a different brand. They give me the prices, the EER, and explain to me that kj/h is the same as BTU. I am looking for different HP and types (some rooms in our house get more use, versus the guest room aircons will not be run very often). Then after they give me the prices, we discuss what the discounted price would be. That's right, even in a major store the listed price is not the final price. Easy example, a 40" Samsung "Bordeaux plus" LCD television is marked at PHP179,000. They can give it on sale for PHP149,900 and it includes a free 29" television. We tell them we do not want the free item so they tell us 132,000. Then we tell them we were talking to a woman in the store who bought the exact television (I had huge TV envy there) and she informed us she bought it for PHP117,000. They agree that they could give it for that price. Picture this situation happening 1,000 times.
So, one might assume that since we have already been to store X we do not need to hit up another branch of the exact same store. Ha! We hit it up when passing it in another mall and get different prices. This happens everywhere. At an oven store, we went to two different stores (selling exclusively this brand) and got prices of PHP4,000 difference on the same item.
Combine this time-consuming process with my ignorance of many of the specialty brands here (I am not too hip on European brands) and you can see why shopping here is a whole other animal.
Don't even get me started about the ceiling fan portion of this mission. Let's just say that I have now determined I will likely buy these overseas and ship them here because (1) the selection sucks and (2) the prices suck even more.
Bonus of the whole day, one of the sales guys, Reymond, at store X was A W E S O M E! He was so nice, knew his stuff, and when I had one question he did not know (did the aircon remote glow in the dark), he told me, "Sorry, I actually do not know." People who tell me they don't know instead of making it up score big with me. Hopefully these guys get commission because we will hook Reymond up.