Saturday, May 8, 2010

So-Called "Sale" at Adena

Don't get excited about this "non-sale."

I order nearly all of our materials from Adena Montessori. I've blogged about my experience with quality and customer service in the past. It's not ideal, but it's the cheapest and I just know going in that it is going to take some time and effort to get everything right.

I am often asked about the "sales" that they have. For example, someone will e-mail and say "I need to order our materials for fall and I see Adena has a sale so I need to hurry." I always say you don't need to hurry, they always have a sale and the sale is always "45% off." When a couple people posted this week that they were having a "sale" I started gearing up to say the usual but went over to check out the "sale" first.

At first I thought I was going to have to eat my words, their site now says things are "up to 80% off." It is such a shame that this is a scam (scam is not really the right word here, perhaps I should call it "convenient manipulation of the truth" or something) because if things really were 80% off it would have really improved the bottom line on my upcoming order.

Unfortunately, not only are things not any cheaper than they were one week ago, but they are actually more expensive. I know this for sure because I saved the spreadsheet of prices I made to my computer. I made the spreadsheet because I-Fit Montessori is having an actual sale in which there is no shipping fee if you spend $200. I wanted to see if they came out any cheaper with the free shipping (they didn't, my Adena order was about $100 cheaper, with shipping, and with a bead cabinet included that was not included in the I-Fit order. This is why I put up with Adena).

For example, on the old 45% off sale the constructive triangles were $57.60 . On the new "up to 80% off" sale the constructive triangles are $58.80 at 51% off. They raised their RRP prices when they raised the sale percentage. This isn't 100% consistent, a couple things now are cheaper. The Pythagoras board costs $3 less today than it did a week ago. However, in the end my spreadsheet says that overall I will have to spend $25 more today than a week ago.

Correction: I have to spend $65 more today than a week ago. I forgot as I wrote this that Adena calculates their shipping off of the pre-sale prices. Now many of the pre-sale prices are 40-50% higher than they were. For example, the RRP price on 45 wooden thousand cubes used to be $134 . They were selling them for $60.30 at "45% off" and one would have paid $8.04 shipping for a total of 68.04. NOW the RRP price is $295.00 and they are selling for for $59.00 at "80% off" and one would pay $17.70 shipping for a total of $76.7o.


  1. What a clever manipulation. You really have to know prices and be a smart shopper these days. we need something else to eat up our precious time.

    They make you think you are getting a deal on one thing hoping you'll buy more at the inflated prices. Grocery stores do the same. They know people like "one stop" shopping. Grrrrr...


  2. You ought to have a label called "discount suppliers" or "buying materials" or something so that I can reference these posts all in one page. I get asked about the different companies a lot.

  3. Not sure how the prices compare, but have you tried Montessori Outlet? I have purchased some materials from there in the past and I would love to know if I am getting good deals or not. I have never heard of Adena Montessori.

  4. Kewkew,

    Montessori Outlet was on my spreadsheet as well. I doubt I'll buy everything on my list at this point, but the totals were as follows:

    Adena $723.95
    I-Fit $912.10
    Montessori Outlet $1066.00
    A Plus Montessori $968.98

    The Adena price is including the shipping. The I-Fit and Mont Outlet prices do not include shipping as they are both currently having a "no shipping" special. I consider Montessori Outlet to be in a different "quality" category than Adena, but I can't afford the $340 difference. The A Plus Montessori order does NOT include shipping because you have to fill your shopping cart to find this out and I didn't bother to do that because it is obviously going to be too expensive.

    I buy things from Montessori Outlet that I can't get elswhere...moveable alphabets in colors other than red and blue, pythagoras/decanomial square/table, etc.,

    There were a couple of items I need that were close in price, but overall it is a big difference.

  5. Evenspor,

    Sorry for the inconvenience...I'll work on that. They ARE all under the tag "Montessori Materials" but I also use that tag when I make a material too so they probably aren't as easy to find as they used to be. I'll get on that soon.

  6. Sorry, that was a poorly phrased suggestion. You have such great posts on the subject, and I like to reference them. There seems to be a lot of confusion about Montessori suppliers, which these discount suppliers almost seem to be taking advantage of.

  7. Evenspor,

    Not poorly phrased at all! I knew exactly what you meant by it, thanks :)

  8. I just realised that it didn't sound as polite as it could have. I'm glad there was no offense. :)

  9. I have had NOTHING but trouble from Adena's customer service department. I ordered an entire classroom package and SOOO many things were broken when they arrived. The Brown stair that came is not the right dimensions and when I called to get a replacement they where like, "Why is that a problem?" The person I spoke with had no idea what the material would be used for and thought I was being a little crazy insisting that it be exact in measurement. I say its worth the extra $300 to not have to deal with the hassle.