Discount Safecracking?

More Than I Paid!
Ken Dunckel
Owner, Safecracker
Safe and Vault Opening, SF Bay Area and Northern California
"You want more to open my safe than I paid for it!"
I hear that a lot. While it's often true, it's also true that my labor charges have nothing to do with what you paid for your safe. That is, unless there's some rule that says my charges must always be lower than what you paid to own it. Where is that written?
Pretend you acquired a locked safe for free. If the rule that I can't charge more than you paid for it is in effect, would I have to pay you to let me open it?
Shocked callers often fail to acknowledge that this is my living, not my hobby. When I visit people's homes and businesses to do my work, I don't take appraising looks at their cars, homes, or stores, then announce that they get paid too much for whatever it is they do.
Q & A
The big box stores selling discount safes order product by the container load. The factories that make those safes can crank out hundreds or more per day.
How many do you think I can open in a day?
Q: So why don't you have the people who sold it to you come and open it?
A: They told me they don't do that kind of work.
Yeah, I knew that.

Q: Did you think about that before deciding to buy a safe at a discount outlet?
Never mind again, I know that answer, too.

Why didn't you buy a safe from a company that services what they sell?
I think I know that answer by now, too.
Discounters and big box stores take advantage of safe buyers' ignorance, to wit:
People tend to equate any box with a dial or keypad as a "safe" that will prevent or deter theft. Safes from discounters are usually suitable for mild fire protection and very low-grade theft or burglary resistance. The overwhelming majority of safes sold by discount houses are lightweight caricatures of more serious safes.
Many price shoppers are put off by the cost of a more serious safe. Reasoning, "how much difference can there be from box to box? they buy the cheaper box.

All is fine, until their cheap unit fails prematurely and they're forced to pay to have it opened. The most common reaction is to bring their indignation to bear on someone like me.
"Nobody told me safes need service!"
"I didn't know they could break!"
It's the classic kill-the-messenger reaction, as if I'm part of some grandiose bait-and-switch mark-up scheme designed to fleece the world's consumers. When the above pronouncements are made I usually keep my mouth shut until the caller speaks again. There's almost no answer that doesn't make me sound like I'm not playing smartass to their ignorant putz routine.

Note to readers: Please feel free to comment and post your thoughts about this and any of my posts. Don't worry, I'm pretty thick-skinned. Thanks.


Jonathan H said…
I love your posts!

The old adage applies here - You get what you pay for!

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