I've noticed an issue with shop-at-home pricing. Specifically, once you've factored in the shipping costs, on an average size order, the price the customer pays is significantly more expensive than if they bought it in a store.
S@H prices are comparable, if not identical, to the prices seen in normal stores. Assuming an a sales tax, at said store, of 7%, the customer in the store would pay the MSRP plus 7%. When buying from shop-at-home, however, the customer will pay, MSRP plus up to 40%.
Using the most recent Indiana Jones sets as an example:
Ambush in Cairo: MSRP $10.99
-Total cost from S@H: $15.94
-Total cost from store (with 7% tax rate): $11.76
-Premium paid through S@H: $4.18 (38% more than shopping at a store)
Chauchalla Cemetary: MSRP: $19.99
-Total cost from S@H: $24.94
-Total cost from store: $21.34
-Premium paid through S@H: $3.60 (18% more than shopping at a store)
Venice Canal Chase: MSRP $39.99
-Total cost from S@H: $46.94
-Total cost from store: $42.78
-Premium paid through S@H: $4.16 (10% more than shopping at a store)
Fighter Plane Attack: MSRP $49.99
-Total cost from S@H: $56.94
-Total cost from store: $53.48
-Premium paid through S@H: $3.46 (7% more than shopping at a store)
Temple of Doom: MSRP: $89.99
-Total cost from S@H: $100.94
-Total cost from store: $96.29
-Premium paid through S@H: $4.65 (5% more than shopping at a store)
Its notable that as the order size goes up the premium goes down. However, it is not until one orders approximately $250 worth of Lego that the shipping prices become comparable to a sales tax rate of 7%. Thus, unless one is going to purchase $250 or more of Lego, foregoing S@H and shopping at your local store is the more economical option.
Further, S@H rarely offers anything at a discount, while stores will. Thus, further increasing the price disparity. Additionally, several states have no sales tax or a tax rate significantly less than 7%. This only further inflates S@H prices. When you couple all of this with the option to buy from amazon.com, which offers free shipping on many orders over $25, it is astonishing that anyone would purchase from S@H.
I noticed this issue while attempting to use my brickmaster coupon ($5 off a $20 order). Even using that coupon there was no incentive to purchase from S@H. Every thing I intended to buy, even with the coupon, would have cost me more than purchasing it in a store. This makes no sense. What good is the BM coupon then? In fact, the best arrangement I could come up with was the Hoth Battle, which would have, in the end, cost me the MSRP and left me paying the same as I would in the stores.