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This post is part of a collection that has forked from a discussion in the Retail forum.
If you're reading this, you've either got a lot of free time or you're wondering why so many of us on these forums are zealous, ravenous, totally something-else-that-ends-with-"ous" fanatics of RightStuf.com
(TRSI) when their prices "suck
". And, since I don't really care how those of you with too much time wish to spend it, I'll pretend you're all members of the latter group: the one that probably thinks those of us who sing the praises of TRSI are on some sort of financial-sense-retarding super-drug.
I'll start by saying that, yes, their list prices do indeed suck. You've probably looked at their catalogue and gone, "$26.99 for a single? Are they serious?" and you'd be right -- 10% off is nothing; you can do better than that on Amazon, let alone places like DVDPacific and DeepDiscount.
However, I wish to plead sanity on behalf of those of us who shop there religiously, even though I just admitted that they are beat-- no, utterly annihilated by other e-tailers at regular sale prices
. See where I used bold text? That's important. Very important.
To begin with, there are a number of plain, globally visible points of major savings in TRSI's everyday listings:
- Deal of the Day (dailies): A collection of ten items (you get to pick the one you want most), which rotate at midnight (Central Time) every day (hence the name), offered at savings that tend towards 46% off of MSRP
- Weekly Specials (weeklies): A collection of various items, usually around 200 or so, that rotate throughout the day every Thursday, offered at savings that tend towards 40% off of MSRP
- Bargain Bin: A collection of items that have (typically) been discontinued by their manufacturers and, as such, are generally limited to stock-on-hand availability. These can be had for prices well below 50% of MSRP, but they're still not the best deals that TRSI has to offer
Before I get to the really good stuff, I must address a pair of questions you probably have if you were intrigued by the savings features I just mentioned (and, even if you weren't following along, it's good to know these things): (a) "You said that dailies hit 46% off MSRP, but I only see 40%. What gives?" and (b) "Why do some of these items say they're 'not eligible for additional discounts'?"
In turn, my answers follow:
a) To get the full discount on most items TRSI sells, you need to be a member of their Got Anime? purchasing club. Yes, it costs $12 per year, and yes, you're probably thinking "Forget that! I'm not paying to get a discount!". However, if you stop to think about it for a second, you'll realize that if you purchase just seven singles at 40% off of MSRP, you will have already started receiving a net discount by being a member. And, if you have any sort of collection at this point, you know that seven discs is nothing. Just buy in; you'll be glad you did.
b) TRSI offers coupons to its customers as part of its printed catalogue (these coupons are reproduced on the site) and as part of its Got Anime? program (these are supposed to be kept private on an honour system); these may be applied to items purchased at regular sale prices and in conjunction with special sales, which will be discussed next. To answer the question, this "not eligible" branding means that coupon and Got Anime? discounts cannot be applied to these items (an exception is made on most dailies for Got Anime?, though).
And, to further address any remaining questions about these resources, Roujin0308
graciously maintains threads by the name of The Right Stuf Saily Deals for <month> <year>
in the Retail forum of this site for dailies, and WTK
is always on top of additions to the Bargain Bin in the active TRSI threads, which are also located in the Retail forum.
Now, without further ado, I'll talk about what really makes TRSI worthwhile, price-wise: their studio sales!
A studio sale is, as its name implies, a sale that focuses on a studio. Studios are companies like ADV, FUNimation, Media Blasters, Bandai Entertainment, Tokyopop, and Viz. These sales are distributed as eleven-day and three-day events, depending on the size of the company involved, and there is almost always one sale happening at any given time.
These sales are great because, with very few exceptions, they all share a certain property: substantial savings off of the entire
catalogue of the studio, including pre-orders. In general, these savings are 46% for DVDs and 40% for manga (though that's normally 33% off anyway), assuming Got Anime? membership (see answer (a) above). In practice, this means that $29.98 singles work out to $16.19, and $9.99 manga works out to about $6. Couple this with free American shipping at $49 and free(*) Canadian shipping at $150, and this becomes incredibly attractive. For those of you not eligible for free shipping, please see (**) at the end.
Oh, and the free shipping part gets better: that's a pre-discount
To illustrate how this all ties together, let's assume you're in America and you want to buy Kanon volumes 5 and 6, both of which were pre-orders at the time this was written, during an ADV studio sale. You add these two items to your cart, bringing the order's value to $53.98 ($29.98 MSRP * 0.9 = $26.99 list price), which is greater than the $49 required for free shipping; you proceed to check out, choosing free shipping when prompted, and also entering the sale's coupon code and your Got Anime? membership number; you review the order and observe that you are assessed a total of $35.98, which is less than $49, but still eligible for free shipping
(the additional Got Anime? discount of 10% is applied to eligible items after a successful checkout) and, post-Got Anime? discount, you've paid a rather modest $32.38
($16.19/disc) for what was a $59.96 MSRP order, plus you got free shipping!
It should be pretty plain to see that it's really easy (and cheap!) to take advantage of studio sales to build a collection. Plus, you can add items from the dailies, weeklies, and bargain bin to reach the free shipping target or to just get more stuff all at once. And these sales follow a pretty predictable pattern, so you can use these data
, maintained by karen0586
, to plan your spending at a rough, but quite serviceable, level.
In conclusion, yes, TRSI's list prices do suck, but as soon as you know how to make use of the system they have in place, there should be no reason why you won't consider using them for the vast majority of your purchases. And I didn't even touch on the wonderful quality of their packaging and customer service; I'll leave questions about those topics and other peculiarities (including many more ways to save) to Kellory's excellent 1 and Only RightStuf.com Thread/FAQ
s in the Retail forum.
*) We Canadian residents pay $6 in fixed fees per box received (usually one per order, regardless of order size) to DHL Globalmail as a CoD for the same reason we pay $5 to Customs through Canada Post; additionally, we are assessed taxes on the value of the order, which TRSI declares as the exact price paid (GST for everyone; PST added for Ontario residents)
**) While there is no free shipping outside of America and Canada at this time, it may still be worthwhile to use TRSI. For those of you in Europe, at least (and maybe elsewhere), things such as a $5/item customs declaration rate and non-insane shipping prices should let you slip most things across your borders without taxes or fear of suspicion. Please see the comments section for additional details.