Thank you all for your insight.
I struggle internally with the idea of supporting independent, well-run businesses with higher prices versus the bigger and/or corporate entities with no conscience (or customer service) but usually better deals. When I was younger and still living at home, I used to spend money very haphazardly on electronic toys and junk. I started working early on and made decent money but had very few expenses. Thus, if I wanted something I went and bought it from the first store I found it in. This was before online shopping was ubiquitous and shopping around for prices was much harder than it is today.
Plod forward a decade or two and I find myself near the lower end of “middle class”. I have lots of expenses and a strong drive to save aggressively for retirement so that if I’m working into my later years it’s because I want to not because I have to. I also want to enjoy “today” in a way that fits my financial picture. This leads to the inevitable bargain hunting on big ticket items where a small percentage savings can mean a large improvement to the big picture.
The closest outfitter to me is about a 45 minute drive. They have poor service, high prices, and little stock of what interests me for kayaks. If it weren’t for being on a well-traveled route where the city weekend warriors stop on their way north, I don’t think they’d be in business anymore. I called and asked them about their price on the Stratos and they quoted the MSRP. There are a few others in this category within 1-1/2 hours but I haven’t bothered with them beyond an initial check out. The nearest one that I consider very useful is about 2-1/2 hours. I’d like to support them and have sent many others there as well. My mentioning of the fact that I know of three brand new boat purchases in the past few years by others was a direct result of my recommendation had no apparent effect on the negotiations. They do have a price match policy and just prior to starting this thread I sent them a message about the other price I found. I’m waiting to hear back on that one. Although I haven’t been able to find anything that specifically states they’ll only match “regularly advertised” prices, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the answer. They’ve been in business a long time, and I don’t suppose you stay in business for that long by offering too many deals just because someone asks.
I asked the question about the profit margin on boats because I’m genuinely curious. I’ve never had a good understanding of industries where the manufacturer sets the retail price and most dealers sell at that price. Actually, it’s the exceptions that I’m interested in. I can appreciate that sometimes there might be contracts involved, but why a company would sign on for this is beyond me. Every market is different and a business needs the flexibility to be competitive. If the business just uses the MSRP, are they doing so blindly, or are they considering the market? With the manufacturer dictating the market price of their product, does it level the playing field for the sale of their product in a wide market area because new product available sells for that price? If that were the case, how are there still some that offer lower prices? I think I need an MBA to figure this out.
I’ll probably find out on Monday whether the price match is a go or not. Then I need to decide for myself if I actually want to make the purchase right now, Depending on the answer, I might be going on a weekend road trip.