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Issue Date: January 3/10, 2011, Posted On: 1/10/2011, Written By Jonathan Trivers,

Do you want the miracle Amish fireplace?

Have you seen the full page newspaper ad with the miracle Amish fireplace that is free as long as you buy the wood mantle for $298 that has been hand made by Amish workers in Ohio? And you see a picture of three Amish workers, in proper Amish attire, surrounded by old furniture making equipment in an old barn building. It just seeps with quality, trustworthiness and all-around goodness.

And the heater? It is, in their words, a “miracle heater;” it uses no more electricity than a coffee maker. This “free miracle heater” will keep you warm in the winter and “slash your heating bills.” And you get the Heat Surge Roll-n-Glow fireplace which uses a flameless technology that looks like a flame. Wow! Too good to be true? Yep, and you know what that means. It is too good to be true.

The owner, who is not Amish, said that they have sold 1 million of these gems in three years. Guess what? The mantle is constructed by Amish workers in Ohio, but the actual heater is a regular old electricity sucking piece of junk made in China. The comparison to a coffee maker? It is true if the coffee maker is on 24 hours a day, every day of the winter. Then the heater, which should be on for short spurts during the day, will use less electricity. To me, it is doubly disgusting to use a group of people who are known for their commitment to old basic principles of fairness and quality — and wrap them around this pathetic and phony marketing effort.

Of course, we have our own (Lowe’s and Home Depot) miracle installation carpet price of $39 or $97 whole house carpet installation. No Amish; but otherwise it is exactly the same kind of disgraceful marketing.

Today, when you go into a Home Depot store, they have point of purchase materials comparing their whole house installation price against the “theirs.” And a comparison of their carpet with check marks for soft carpet and no checkmark under “theirs.” “Theirs” refers to all you floor covering specialty stores.

Of course, the comparison used their phony price against a flooring retailer’s true price of installation which of course includes the price to pick up the old carpet and dispose of same. I mean, really, when is the last time you installed carpet in an existing home that didn’t have flooring in it? Zero. And how many customers have said we will pick up the carpet and take it away ourselves? Almost zero.

So they take a stupid price, add on all of the elements of regular installation (pick up old carpet, dispose of old carpet, move furniture, deliver carpet to home, measuring carpet and more) so that the $97 becomes $500 plus depending on the size of the home.

And here’s a new fee: Home Depot will charge you $8.95 for each Martha Stewart carpet sample swatch (6 x 9-inch) you want to look at in your home to pick the right color. It is refundable if you buy from Home Depot. If not, you are out the price of measuring (generally $50) and the swatches you wanted to look at (on average four swatches or $36) for a total of $86! Of course every retailer does that and more for free.

But even with all of this pathetic flim flam and slanderous comparisons to flooring stores, in the third quarter 2010, flooring sales were the same as storewide sales and did not outperform the company. You would think with the low price installation promise, the flooring division would be number one in sales increase.

What’s a mother to do? Be a cost cutter not a truth cutter. Stay tuned.

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