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I'm in the market for a new kitchen faucet. I want one that is well made. Some people claim the faucet models sold by plumbing supply stores are of better quality, made with better material, and are therefore more expensive than faucets purchased elsewhere. Other people claim this is non-sense.

The Delta website advertises the MSRP of its 19810-SS-DST as $405. But the Delta website also points to online resellers who offer the item at $195 or $243. That's very odd.

Why is there so much disagreement on this subject? What is the true story?

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  • If you want quality, get a commercial fixture. Which one? Look at faucets in places that don't care about price, like hospitals and schools.
    – dandavis
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 5:19

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You are conflating two very different issues:

Quality of DIFFERENT models

Different models of faucets made by the same company, sold at wildly different prices, may have the same internal components that determine longevity and functional quality, with differences in pricing due to other issues such as style, outer coatings, etc. Or they may really have functional differences - e.g., plastic vs. metal components. They may also sell specific models (with minor or major differences between them) at big box stores (often want an "exclusive model" so they don't have to price-match the same model sold elsewhere), plumbing supply houses (selling to tradespeople who don't need fancy boxes but who (hopefully) care about functionality, ease of repair, etc.) and other types of retailers, including online stores.

The same types of differentiation applies across many different industries including (at times) appliances, clothing, mattresses (a classic - I remember one store used to have a huge computerized list of all the equivalent mattress models because each of the companies would private-label for each retailer, but they were mostly just different tags), etc.

It is pretty much impossible for any random person on the internet to tell you which particular models are "best", because the models change frequently, the specifications don't tell the whole story and personal preference (I may put more "value" on feature than you do).

Pricing of the SAME Model

MSRP = Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. The vendor (big box store, plumbing supply house, online store, etc.) can charge whatever they want. With many types of products, the MSRP is artificially high - often easily 2x the price that a retailer will pay if they purchase in volume (truckloads at a time). Some retailers will charge very low markup, hoping that they will make their profit on other things - e.g., a computer retailer might make more money on a $ 19.99 cable (that wholesales for $ 1) than on a $ 499.99 printer. Some retailers charge a fairly consistent markup (e.g., 20%, 30%, 50%, etc.) across much of their product lines. That gross profit helps to cover things like returns (which is often easy in some stores and nearly impossible in others), service, support, overhead, etc. - all of which vary dramatically from store to store.

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    ...and MAP - Minimum Advertised Price - when the seller is selling below the price the manufacturer will allow them to advertise it for sale.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 4:29
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    @Ecnerwal AIUI, they can't strictly speaking prevent advertising below a particular price (at least in the US) - they get sued for that. But they play games with the same end result - e.g., provide marketing funds to pay for advertising, but only if the advertising is > MAP. Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 4:34
  • @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact Why sometimes do I have to "add to cart" to see price?
    – dandavis
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 5:18
  • @dandavis That can be a "MAP" type of issue - i.e., doing "add to cart" is comparable to walking into a store and finding out the price. But it is often psychological - if you are interested enough to click on "add to cart" then once you have done that you may be ever so slightly more likely to finish the ordering process than if you just looked at the price on the product page. Welcome to the wonderful world of marketing! Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 5:20
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    And I trust you’re correct. It was some time ago and I truly don’t recall, but I do concede. Just ensuring the OP knows to compare carefully. It’s quite possible that the “same style” is similar only in appearance, so “weigh” options carefully. And yes, pun intended. LOL Commented Dec 24, 2020 at 4:25

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