March 11, 2012

$pring is $prung

IT'S A SURE SIGN of spring and the new sailing season when the mailman delivers the West Marine catalog.  I'm not sure, though, that I get enough respect from the mailman.  I'm thinking of getting me a gold frame for my mailbox, so the mailman knows I belong to the Mitt Romney set, the 1 percent whom West Marine optimistically presumes can afford to order stuff from their catalog.

Mitt says his wife has two Cadillacs. Ha! She should have a boat. Then she'd need winches. Winches are on page 11 of my new catalog.  Andersen winches, made by Ronstan.  The top-end ones retail for $11,069.  And that's not for two.  That's $11,069 each, though I must admit you can get a $300 mail-in rebate if you should deign to ask for it.

Flip forward to page 21 and you can see the sort of Rocna anchor you might need.  I have never liked Rocnas, not because they don't perform well, but because it's such a hokey name.  It's just anchor spelled backwards without the "h."  Somebody's little joke. But the price is not a joke. The big ones go for $4,100 each.  Mitt is just lucky his wife's Cadillacs don't need anchors.

They probably don't need touchscreen GPS plotters, either.  Sailors seem to, however, because West Marine is offering top-of-the-line Garmin GPSMap network multi-function displays for a mere $6,099.99.  You might wonder at the 99 cents.  I think it has something to do with forcing the cashier to make change when people come in and start flinging 1,000-dollar bills around. Giving them 1-cent change must make them feel they're getting a better deal.

I don't quite know how to explain a charge of $17.11, however.  I can't imagine a back-office number-cruncher figuring out that this is the exact sum for which an item should sell to make exactly the profit anticipated. Nevertheless, West Marine is charging $17.11 a foot for large-sized anchor chain.  That's $1.42 an inch, which should impress the mailman if nothing else does.

It's a good job sailors belong to the Romney 1 percent because although they don't have to do their own painting and varnishing, they still have to pay for the anti-fouling and varnish that the hired labor needs.  My catalog lists Trinidad's fine SR antifouling paint at $244.99 a gallon, and that's a bargain price apparently because it's normally $264.99.  As for varnish, well, it's  a steal.  Interlux's Schooner Gold varnish retails for $52.99 a quart.  That makes it only $211.96 a gallon.

But even the big spenders like bargains, of course, and it's only fair to mention that not everything in this catalog is reckoned in the thousands. For instance, there's a Tiller Tamer for only $31.99.  It does the same job as a 5-cent piece of old rope, of course, but it looks more sophisticated.

In the same league, on page 13 there's a Robship Line Holder, a scrap of material that will hold a coiled line to a pulpit railing.  It costs a mere $19.19 (another problem for the cashier) and it creates a feeling of high-tech savvy for newbies who don't know that you can keep the same coil in place just as securely by tucking one end through the loop.

And what's more, the mailman doesn't need to know you're buying a line holder rather than a set of $11,000 winches.  All he needs to know is that you belong to the 1 percent who get West Marine catalogs.

Today's Thought
"Vile money!" True. Let's have enough
To save our thinking of such stuff.
— William Allingham, Blackberries

"I want a corset for my wife."
"Yes, sir, what bust?"
"Nothing. She just wore it out."

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


SailFarLiveFree said...

Is that sarcasm I can see dripping off that blogpost and puddling up on the floor? Seriously, great post John! There was a time when I thought Defender had more competitive prices than WM, but I fear you could probably now make an equally sarcastic post when the Defender catalog arrives.

Anonymous said...

This is Seattle , right?
Fisheries Supply!!
You can go online just like Worst Marine.
Try it, you'll like it.
I'm just a customer, not an employee or anything like that, and I'm in az!!

KevinH said...

That's what momma said,; if you have to ask the price, then you can't afford it. !