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Mike Ingels

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Deck Box Monopoly
« on: June 23, 2007, 10:00:28 PM »

My wife, Kathy, and I were completely frustrated last week when we looked for deck boxes.  We wanted to put garden tools in the box.  We went to Lowe's, Wal-Mart, K-mart, Sears, Tractor Supply Plus.  And every store had the same two or three deck boxes from the same company for the same price.  And the deck boxes weren't even that good.  They were plastic and the one we briefly considered cost $99.  We ended up buying four Rubbermaid tubs from Meijer instead.

So, I am just wondering out loud why one company seems to have control over the deck box market.  Why are they able to sell poorly-constructed boxes for exorbitant prices at all the stores?

I wonder the same thing about refrigerator water filters and those neat little retaining wall bricks.

I suppose that I am a home economics conspiracy theorist.
The world is basically good.


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Re: Deck Box Monopoly
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2007, 10:54:49 PM »

I can't seem to find a metal swingset. I don't want a behemoth cedar FIXTURE for $700. I want a simple metal framed swingset with maybe a slide or something. Like I had when I was a kid. Can't find it in Monroe. Also can't find a plain old square wooden sandbox for a reasonable price.

When I browse the stores, or even online, there are a couple of companies that make the enormous redwood playscapes for about a grand, a couple of producers of molded plastic jungle gyms suitable only for younger kids for about $200-$500, and a couple of manufacturers of metal swingsets for about $125 and up. I am the youngest of seven kids, my Dad was an Ironworker, and we had a metal swingset--with slide, 2 swings, glider, and horse. I am relatively positive my parents did not fork over the equivalent of $125 or more for our amusement. Perhaps $50. More like $30, new. And that swingset took us from toddler to whenever a kid loses interest in swinging. (I think I might have been at college when Mom got rid of ours! Swinging in the glider with a date was still a lot of fun!  :-*)

More and more of our choices as consumers are shrinking. Everything seems to get distilled down to the most generally pleasing design and then mass marketed, leaving us with only a few--similar--choices. Like traveling across the country, each town has the same ubiquitous core establishments: fast food chains, Wal-Mart, grocery chains, gas station chains, malls with their anchor stores and other retail chains. We are left with so few choices anymore, so few "uniquenesses." That's why Wall Drug with their promise of "free ice water" is so successful--finally, something unique! (Anyone who's driven across the Great Plains through SD knows what I'm talking about).

Here is where the market has led us--distilled down to only the most profitable options. So, perhaps I will haul out my power tools and build my own little wooden square to fill with sand and future memories. Maybe I'll even put up a striped canvas canopy, just like the one that was on mine. (We bought that at Kmart in about 1969 or 1970, and couldn't have paid more than the equivalent of $20, max. With sand!)
« Last Edit: June 24, 2007, 08:45:22 AM by MonroeMom »


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Re: Deck Box Monopoly
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2007, 02:50:29 AM »

Just to let you know my answer to the deck box....  A nice plastic toy chest that I picked up for almost nothing at a garage sale!  It is sturdy enough to support an adult sitting on the lid, big enough to house the vaccum tubing/fixtures and all of the small pool toys etc.  It has lasted three years now, and still looks new, even weathered the winters.  It may be Rubbermade, not sure, but it works!  It would be perfect for stowing away garden tools as well.  Gotta love garage sales  :)


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Re: Deck Box Monopoly
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2007, 11:33:58 AM »

Everything gets "improved". Not just swing sets and deck boxes. Why does everything have to have a smell to it? I would prefer that my clothes are just clean without being spring fresh or smelling like rainwater.



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Re: Deck Box Monopoly
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2007, 08:48:49 PM »


If you wanted a wooden box you could probably build one or pay someone to build one for less than $99.     I enjoy doing that sort of thing and will probably be building a storage box for my wife's gardening tools before too long.  I think a storage unit that doubles as a bench outside would be nice and I have an idea how to build one that wouldn't be super expensive.

As is normally the case, if you are willing to trade a little bit of your time in you can usually save quite a bit of money on projects like this.  If you enjoy doing it then it's even better since your time isn't wasted doing things you like.
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