DH and I joined Direct Buy in February 2007, despite the awful sales pitch and presentation that made us cringe. The salesperson we signed the contract with, David Brown, was very nice and not high pressure at all, but we did not need convincing because we both had already decided to join. We were getting ready to build a new home and it was a fairly easy decision to invest in a membership because we estimated spending somewhere in the 6-digits for our project, thus the savings would far exceed the membership cost. And it has...many times over.
We're nearing completion of our home and have found that more things are much cheaper to buy through Direct Buy than not. We purchased 6 fireplace units, 4 fireplace mantels/surrounds, a central vacuum system, plumbing fixtures, 8 freestanding bath vanities, outdoor BBQ items, 8 toilets, kitchen appliances, laundry room and hobby room cabinets, 3 custom waterjet medallions, marble & onyx tiles, glass mosaic tiles, deco liner tiles, granite & marble slabs...and we haven't even ordered furniture yet!
Some items that we didn't purchase through Direct Buy were: roof tile, lumber, framing hardware, windows and doors, insulation, heating and air conditioning units, drywall, paint, kitchen and great room cabinets, garage doors, lighting, shower doors and carpet. This was because either they didn't offer it, we didn't care for the vendor or we found it cheaper elsewhere.
One word on the cabinets: we tried to get a bid for whole house cabinets using one of their in-house designers, Dave...it was a complete waste of time! We showed him our inspiration pics and he basically told us upfront that the person who designed those cabinets was an award-winning designer with a long list of credentials and certifications and many years of experience, and he wasn't good enough to be able to design something on that level. He said he would try to copy the look as best he could, so we left a copy of our plans with him and waited for our bid. We finally heard from him almost a month later and he said that Dickinson Cabinetry (their custom cabinet maker vendor in San Jose) told him it would be at least $50k just for the kitchen cabinets...but they didn't even have any sketches or renderings done yet! So without an actual bid, the slow turnaround time for a follow-up phone call and the self-admission of Dave that he wasn't that good, we went with the cabinet designer that actually did the cabinets in our inspiration photo (not related to Direct Buy in any way) and they did an awesome job on our kitchen and great room cabinets.
Months later, we went back and decided to give them another chance at bidding our laundry room and hobby room cabinets. We worked with a different Dave this time (Dave Santana) and although he was much better to work with than the previous Dave, his follow-up appointments were weeks down the road...and we didn't want another long wait. So we ended up going to Direct Buy East Bay in Pleasanton and used a wonderful cabinet designer, Jerry Manning, to order our laundry room and hobby room cabinets (which came out great, by the way).
There are several customer service employees who are outstanding: Amy Sroufe the manager, Abby and the two men (Randy and the young gentleman with the beard who has been there since day 1...sorry your name escapes me right now but you are SO helpful!) There are also a couple of girls who continuously make mistakes on my orders or forget to even process them, and that's extremely frustrating...
I completely understand how the initial sales presentation can turn a lot of people away...but if you are really going to spend over $100k in home improvement or are building a new home, if the location of Direct Buy is convenient to you, if you don't mind ordering through catalogs and arranging for pick-up yourself (you can also arrange for delivery to any other Direct Buy, which we did to the Pleasanton location), then you can save some serious money by joining.
5 stars just for the fact that I saved so much money through Direct Buy.
Minus 1/2 star for the awful presentation.
Minus 1/2 star for Dave (not Dave Santana) the cabinet designer and the two customer service girls that mess up my orders.