By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Go into nearly any RV parts house and ask for something other than an ordinary, common part and you’ll be asked to come back to get it the next day. How come? Well, it’s difficult for most mom-and-pop RV supply outfits to stock everything that could be needed – the parts might molder on the shelf forever waiting for someone that needs them. Hence, a few major parts warehouses around the country supply thousands of smaller retailers.
Those retailers are smart — they know most of us let our eyes do the shopping. A lot of them give away big, fat, glossy catalogs filled with page after page of colorful photographs of RV stuff you never even knew existed. “Take home a catalog,” they tell you. They know most of us will go home and drool over a lot of stuff – and return to order it from them.
There’s a practical use for those big “wish books” – not only can we find new ways of spending our money, they can help you SAVE money on the stuff you need. How so? Because most of the items listed in those catalogs include the manufacturer’s part number for the items you drool over. How does that help you save money?
Let’s say you needed a new outside door for your Atwood water heater. You can go in and order one right away from the part store, or you can flip through the catalog and discover that your door can be had for $45.00. That’s a good starting point for pricing. Phoning around with the appropriate part number may save you a couple of bucks. But enter that part number on the Google search engine and hey, presto! That same $45 door may be found on the Internet for a whole lot less – even when shipping charges are added in.
So go ahead, do your shopping “in the book,” and be sure to check the Internet, too. By the way, don’t bite the hand, as it were. There are lots of things you may need for your RV fixing that you may save a “little bit on” by purchasing on the Web. But it doesn’t hurt to buy some stuff at the local RV parts store, too. These guys are a valuable resource when you have questions or service needs, and spending a few bucks to show appreciation helps.