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Thread: Buying a sewing machine from LQS vs. Joannes, Hancocks, etc.

  1. #1

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    I'm trying to figure this out. I've been told (by a LQS) that you should only by a sewing machine from a dealer because even though the machine may be the same model number, they are different machines. They said that at the factory, the dealer machines are built to different specifications than the ones that go to "big box stores". In other words, there are two assembly lines at the factory. But I also see a lot of people have bought their machines from these "big box stores" and are perfectly happy with them.

    Is there really a difference or is this just something that the LQS says to get you to buy their machine for a little more money? I know they also throw in classes and warranties and repair service.

    Just a curiosity question. Looking forward to hear what you all think.

  2. #2
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    I can't really say for sure, but I also have read that the machines (and electronics - TVs, computers, etc.) at Wal-Mart in particular are different than at other stores. It's how they are able to sell them at a lower price. Read it on Yahoo news a while ago

  3. #3
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    I like to buy my machines at a dealer, that way you get classes on whichever machine you buy. The people at the big box stores don't know anything about the machines, generally speaking.

  4. #4
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    The difference with most chain stores is that they purchase less expensive models of the brands they carry. These may look the same on the outside, but may have less features or lower specifications. Using a sewing machine for instance, the chain store machine may have fewer additional stitches or fewer standard feet. They also buy in larger quantities, which allows them to sell things cheaper. If the manufacturers model number is the same in both places, it is the same exact item inside and out. But it must be the manufacturers model number you are comparing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mytwopals
    The difference with most chain stores is that they purchase less expensive models of the brands they carry. These may look the same on the outside, but may have less features or lower specifications. Using a sewing machine for instance, the chain store machine may have fewer additional stitches or fewer standard feet. They also buy in larger quantities, which allows them to sell things cheaper. If the manufacturers model number is the same in both places, it is the same exact item inside and out. But it must be the manufacturers model number you are comparing.
    mytwopals is correct - it might look the same on the outside - have to check to make sure the model numbers are EXACTLY the same - to make sure they are the same on the inside

    I learned this when we were looking at new stoves and refrigerators

  6. #6
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    I would only purchase from a LQS so if I needed help with the machine they would know what and how to help me. Classes would most likely be available also.Also if something happens to the machine they could repair it. However there are some people who have bought from Walmart and other stores and have been very happy with their purchase. So choose carefully. Marge

  7. #7
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I know nothing about sewing machines, but I do know brakes. Rotors, pads, wheel cylinders, master cylinders, etc. My husband is an engineer that designs machines and components. He has worked in the same factory doing this for 18 years. All the brands from the cheapest to the "performance" brakes come off the same machines and assembly line. "High end" brakes generally get a nicer paint job and a prettier box. There is no other difference.

  8. #8
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    It is possible to manufacture different grades of items on the same production line. They're called grade changes.

    I would not buy a sewing machine from a big box store. Having the dealer support is worth what little extra you may pay. Especially if you're contemplating a higher end machine. A dealer generally will offer classes so you learn how to use all the features of your machine.

  9. #9
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    This is just my opinion...If you are going with a lower end machine, I would check the model numbers and buy the one at the lowest price. You should be able to learn the functions of the machine yourself using the manual.
    If you are buying a higher end machine, you may need the classes and support that a dealer will be able to provide, and also take care of the warranty servicing.

    I worked at a plant where we put together tv/vcr combo units. They were all the same except for the nameplates..even Curtis Mathis...only difference with the Curtis Mathis? The techs tweaked them a little more for clarity of picture/sound. We put panasonic, JCPenny, Sears, Wards, and other names on them...same model number except for the ones that got an additional turn of a screw driver.

  10. #10
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I bought my Viking at Joann,s but that dept. is not really connected to Joann's.
    I have had my machine serviced at the local repair shop and they have not said anything about it being different than other Vikings.
    Joann's also carries Singer in the same dept. I dont know about those machines.

  11. #11
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    I have a new Brother that is made for Walmart and on the Brother website it shows this machine and you could buy it from them if you prefer. I also checked my user book and there is a dealer in a town just northeast of me. So I can always take it over there to be serviced. My user manual also says this machine never needs oiling which surprised me. My machine has more or as many stitches as more expensive machines I have looked at. I am not a professional sewer and felt it was good enough for me to use for sewing together quilt blocks.

  12. #12
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    As I posted in another question earlier....I worked in a quilt shop/sewing machine dealer store for years. Some manufacturers DO NOT allow regular current dealer models to be sold at BIG outlets or on the internet on auctions, etc. They have certain machines for these outlets. Or they sell out dated models (that didn't sell or have been upgraded to better model). Joann's, Hancocks, Wally World cannot answer any questions about the machines that they sell, cannot even demonstrate or teach you how to use it. You cannot take it back to that store for warranty......what do you do??

    Definitely.....only go to a Dealer! They are Mom & Pop run stores and that is what America and free enterprise is based on......so support your local dealer! They can give you free lessons on your machine, parts, service, warranty......and usually some "free" type of goodies when you buy a machine from them. Most dealers carry low-end inexpensive machines too!

    Remember.....the old adage....you get what you pay for....money-wise.

  13. #13
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    i think if you are well versed in sewing machine quality and know exactly what you want, you can buy the machine at a place other than your LQS.

    if you decide to purchase else where double check that you can have the machine serviced nearby.

    one of the LQS here will only service machines purchased thru them while all the other local sewing type stores do not have that rule.

  14. #14
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I generally look at quality, price and features. If a local store can give me a price break, or let me pay on time, then they would have my business. Otherwise, I comparison shop everywhere - online, big box stores, and even pawn shops.

  15. #15
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lissy
    I'm trying to figure this out. I've been told (by a LQS) that you should only by a sewing machine from a dealer because even though the machine may be the same model number, they are different machines. ....
    that dealer did not tell you the truth. plain and simple. he was trying to scare you into buying one of his machines. he's a bully and apparently hopes you're stupid.

    you have already proved you are not stupid by checking up on his tall tale. prove it again by NOT buying so much as a pin from that chump.

    others have pointed out good reasons to buy from a local dealer if you can afford to.

    -dealers are not obligated to service or repair machines not bought from their shops. so, if you buy a used machine, or a new one from a big-box or online store, you will likely have to ship it to the factory to have any warranty work done on it. (that will depend on the policy of the place you bought it.)

    -if you buy a machine you think you can't master without help, then local dealers are the best source for classes. (however, i'd be surprised if they turned down a chance to charge you for a class just because they didn't sell you the machine. it's the freebies you'll have to do without.)

    if you have a local machine repair shop, find out which brands you can take to them for warranty work, which kind of work they can do on the premises and which will require shipment to the factory. focus on those brands and shop around for the best price.

    if you don't have a local repair shop you'll have to choose between
    -buying only from a dealer (they usually charge the full manufacturer's suggested retail price) so you'll have a local source of service and repair
    -buying from another source at a lower price while risking the possibility you'll have to ship the machine off if it needs work.

    if you can save hundreds or thousands buying elsewhere, and the machine you choose has a really good reputation, it might be worth the "risk". just keep all of the original packaging and set aside some of the money you saved in an emergency fund.

    wherever you buy it, make sure to ask lots of questions about their return policies, whether and how they stand behind what they sell, etc.

  16. #16
    sewfunquilts's Avatar
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    Most LQS that I know will offer you a discount if you ask for it, or give you a nice gift......and they offer layaway too. It's not always about just the price.........service counts too!

  17. #17
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't know if there is a difference in the machines, but I know the LQS is giving me lessons on my machine and is just a phone call away if I have any questions or problems. And they can repair it locally if I need it. All big pluses for me.

  18. #18
    Super Member Shorebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose Marie
    I bought my Viking at Joann,s but that dept. is not really connected to Joann's.
    I have had my machine serviced at the local repair shop and they have not said anything about it being different than other Vikings.
    Joann's also carries Singer in the same dept. I dont know about those machines.
    Joann's does not sell Husqvarna Viking machines. There are independent Viking dealers who rent space in the Joann's stores. So purchase there is a purchase from a dealer, not a big box store..........

  19. #19
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    I worked at a plant where we put together tv/vcr combo units. They were all the same except for the nameplates..even Curtis Mathis...only difference with the Curtis Mathis? The techs tweaked them a little more for clarity of picture/sound. We put panasonic, JCPenny, Sears, Wards, and other names on them...same model number except for the ones that got an additional turn of a screw driver.
    Yep, just like with brakes. They come off the line one after another and get stuffed into different boxes. It seems kind of dishonest charging people for a "quality brand name" and giving them the same thing they could get at a much lower price.

  20. #20
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    Patrice said it all...'very nicely" and I agree....most of us know how to operate a sewing machine..and new features come with a cd or the info is easily obtained...people just starting out should start small ;till they see just what features they want. Our local LQS sells good machines and does repairs on all models but there are no used machines. There is not a big selection of fabric..they do have classes at about $75...My new machine was 1400 in a store 600 on line....good luck folks

  21. #21
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    please don't paint us all with the same brush. i work for a big box store and i pride myself and the other staff that work in this dept. in knowing about the machines that we sell.
    yes you may get someone else that works in the store, not our dept. that don't know about them.

  22. #22
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    I buy big box when I can save money.....I do lots of research on line first so I can be an informed buyer :D

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose Marie
    I bought my Viking at Joann,s but that dept. is not really connected to Joann's.
    I have had my machine serviced at the local repair shop and they have not said anything about it being different than other Vikings.
    Joann's also carries Singer in the same dept. I dont know about those machines.
    Viking machines sold at JoAnn's are not sold by JoAnn's. They are sold by an authorized Viking dealer leasing space in the JoAnn's store. I too have purchased 2 Viking machines at JoAnn's this way.

  24. #24
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    While it is nice for a variety of reasons to buy from an authorized dealer, the key thing, in my opinion, is that you have someone (nearby, if possible) that you trust to do maintenance or to repair the machine should something go wrong. A good sewing machine repair service should be willing and able to work on a wide variety of sewing machines.

  25. #25
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I saw a documentary on TV that showed how all gasoline is the same and comes from the same plant.

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