Sparkfun overpriced

graymalkin - ??? foreign
mowcius - foreign
Imahilus - foreign
hakoni - foreign

I see a disturbing trend here … they treat their “foreign customers” better than the locals.
That must be a fact.

Maybe in my experience, I just wound up with the wrong customer support people (3 of them)
at Sparkfun and maybe they are now gone or fired?

:frowning: >:( >:(

English, not had dealings with customer support. Never needed to. Also just finding some one who sells a product for a higher price doesn’t mean that the person who sells it lower is better value. Selling a house for 2million pounds doesn’t make the overpriced one down the road for 250k a steal, it just means I make more profit.

We haven’t had a flare-fest like this since that one time a lot of us got pissed off at some forum user and decided to make a thread about it.

But I guess I’ll put in my 2 cents.

TBH they’re a fine company, although some things are overpriced and many of their products are very very similar to the products of others’ just with their own logo on the pcb’s. I personally don’t find anything wrong with that, and it doesn’t infringe on the creative commons agreement most of us follow, right?

Now as for the company, socially speaking, it’s a nice gang. I was at their HQ for their Autonomous Vehicle Comp. and they put on quite a show. My team had some issues with our robot, so to help us out they brought us up to one of their debug rooms (or whatever) and tried to help us out as much they could. They even threw in a couple of replacement parts for free.

Anyway… The above is just a personal experience, but hopefully it contributes to this rather riveting discussion. :wink:

Jezuz - it has to be said I wasn’t expecting this response my self. I could be seen as a troll for starting such a flare :S

Oh it does infringe, they aren’t share alike as described by CC 2.5, and I have rarely seen attribution

they just sell stuff with no knowledge on how it works…

Umm. I don’t agree with that.
They don’t always provide a lot of info on how to use the products but I’m sure that most of the people at sparkfun could connect up most of their products without too much trouble.

They are clearly hobbiests themselves.

Indeed. This is clear and I think that is why they are a nice group of people/company even if the products can be a little expensive.

some things are overpriced and many of their products are very very similar to the products of others’ just with their own logo on the pcb’s.

Also agreed :slight_smile:

Now as for the company, socially speaking, it’s a nice gang. I was at their HQ for their Autonomous Vehicle Comp. and they put on quite a show. My team had some issues with our robot, so to help us out they brought us up to one of their debug rooms (or whatever) and tried to help us out as much they could. They even threw in a couple of replacement parts for free.

Glad we have some more positive things coming out. Lets not just think of the bad things. They have done a lot of good things in their time as an electronics company.

I see a disturbing trend here … they treat their “foreign customers” better than the locals.
That must be a fact.

I don’t think this is justified. I have never had a need to deal with customer support about the products I have purchased, never had an issue. When I have wanted to make a comment or ask a question, I have used the box on the site and have been greeted with a nice email a day or two later answering my question.

That isn’t wonderful in it’s self, how hard can it be to stick the correct address label on the correct box?! They should be checking this sort of thing.

Ok. They have revenue of over $10000000 a year. If they work for 48 weeks, 6 days a week, that is then a revenue of $35000 a day. If the average item is $50 per item (just guessing here) then that equates to about 700 products a day.
If you had to send out 700 products a day, would you be able to check every single one or would you expect that occasionally something might go wrong.

Mowcius

This is turning into quite an interesting thread!

If I had some extra money lying around, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy something from sparkfun instead of another company.

I like the idea that they’re personable and hobbyists themselves.

I can’t give input on their customer support, though.

This is turning into quite an interesting thread!

Indeed it is.

If I had some extra money lying around, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy something from sparkfun instead of another company.

I think I’d buy from somewhere else and just buy more stuff :stuck_out_tongue:

Mowcius

I have never had a problem with any of their products so I am not sure what their tech support is like. Every item I have ordered has worked as described out of the box.

I thought the price for the items were fair at the time. I felt better at the time ordering from a larger well known company than from several smaller lesser known companies. I just felt more comfortable at the time purchasing from them for their price.

Now that I have a little more knowledge and most of the toys have been purchased I get most of the little stuff from ebay or local. If they had an item that I had a need for I would not hesitate to order from them again. Their website was easy to use, they shipped the package fast and it was at my door within days of my pushing the submit button.

My experience has been great with them. If I have to pay a little more for that ease of use and fast service I would be happy to do it again.

Ok. They have profits of over $10000000 a year. If they work for 48 weeks, 6 days a week, that is then a profit of $35000 a day. If the average profit is $5 per item (just guessing here but probably close when you take out all other costs) then that equates to about 7000 products a day.
If you had to send out 7000 products a day, would you be able to check every single one or would you expect that occasionally something might go wrong.

would you like some leprechauns while were in fantasy land?

would you like some leprechauns while were in fantasy land?

Why what was the fantasy?

Ok, sorry I meant revenue… I messed up…
Hehe, nobody saw a thing ;D

Yeah, if they are getting so big that simple shipping issues are a problem they should let a fuffilent company handle the warehousing and dispatch and do board making, design and customer support in house, solving quite a few issues there.

I do kind of agree with this. I think that was probably just one isolated incident though.

Mowcius

I dunno, I always had shipping issues, not the wrong stuff, nor anything else, just getting them to send it, I guess I didnt spend enough to get VIP treatment and have my stuff shipped within a week of ordering it

(now cue the fanboi to negate my personal statement with a FACT since they never had a issue)

now cue the fanboi to negate my personal statement with a FACT since they never had a issue

Hehe not sure I have seen any facts so far…

I’m still kinda in the middle…

Mowcius

If you need a part/toy/widget now from Sparkfun buy it … but
smart shoppers always goes some place else to save on their dollars, yen, marks, pounds & euros.
Anything Sparkfun has you can probably get from a far east supplier at a much lower cost.
You just have to wait several weeks on shipping.

Example price check:
Note: The Sparkfun DS1307 RTC widget must be gold plated.

Sparkfun DS1307 Real Time Clock - BOB-00099 19.95 (USD) Futurlec DS1307 Real Time Clock - DS1307 RTC Mini board 7.90 (USD)
SEEED Depot DS1307 REAL TIME CLOCK - Electronic Brick RTC $13.50 (USD)

Cheaper is better ;D ;D ;D

yea considering there is a 3.29$ chip (that is for single quantities in dip chip) a 25 cent crystal, a 50 cent battery holder and a 1.50$ battery its hard to beat 7.90$ unless your into doing a quantity of over 100

but yea I would build one (lets face it, its not that hard) on perfboard before handing over 20$ + shipping for one

My first home-etched PCB was a DS1307 breakout board because I refused to pay that much :P.

Got the free same from Maxim, and paid ~5-10 bucks including shipping for everything else.

Plus it was a fun experience :).

My first (well, only) Arduino I own came from Sparkfun; I’ve also ordered other components from them as well. I’ve never had a problem, and their shipping was insanely quick - but it helps being only a state away!

Yes, they are hobbyists, but they obviously have some business savvy. According to their history, SparkFun was started because they were in college/university (MIT?) and needed parts for a project - a lot of parts. Nobody could source the parts, so they did it themselves, and a company was born to do the same (and more) for others.

Can you get their stuff cheaper elsewhere? Certainly. Are they perfect on their shipping and customer support? Not likely - who is? Will they bend over backwards to help you? Maybe - how nicely did you ask?

Honestly, for them to be doing as well as they are in this economy says something about them as a business; what exactly that is, I am not certain, but they are doing something right, I think.

Businesses don’t exist to sell things to customers at the cheapest price - they exist to sell things to customers for what the customer will pay for it. Indeed, there have been businesses which didn’t last long precisely because they under-priced their product. Yeah, I know that seems crazy, but we are talking about humans here, which isn’t exactly the most rational species on the planet.

As with everything, you need to shop around, and make decisions based on price, shipping time, needs, reputation, customer service, quality of product, etc. For some things, for me, I would probably buy from SparkFun. For other items, I would go to other vendors - even Ebay vendors (I have a few on my list that I like). For still other items, especially if I need it quick, I will check local stores and surplus outlets.

Finally - sometimes “cheapest” isn’t “better”; sure, you can get a cheap alternator from AutoZone with a lifetime full-replacement warantee; but you’ll be taking that thing in and out of your car every six months - but it must be better because its cheaper, right? What’s your time worth? For me, I’d rather spend the extra money at Napa.

:slight_smile:

My first (well, only) Arduino I own came from Sparkfun

Mine too but I have about 5 now :slight_smile:

Mowcius

I really like Sparkfun and their website. I think their branding is great, they really seem to be electronics enthusiasts themselves. For me their enthusiasm is even a bit infectious.

Sparkfun is a great place to shop if you just start out in electronics. They seem to specialize in somewhat more complete components such as breakout boards. The information on the website is also great, with clear links to sample code and comments from customers.

I kind of understand that someone is willing to pay (for example) $7.95 for an electret mic breakout board. It literally took me hours to get an electret mic working on an Arduino (I didn’t use the Sparkfun breakout board ;)). Although it’s also quite educational to try to create things from more basic components yourself. Convenience versus price ;).

Sparkfun’s assortment is also quite impressive. They have a lot of components that are not that easy to find elsewhere. I like browsing through their website and think of projects I could use their parts for. For me it’s sometimes efficient to order everything at one webshop because of the shipping costs; Sparkfun seems the best choice.

They ask a premium for the product they offer. For some of their products I am willing to pay that.

I get a kick out of getting things as cheap as possible. So I probably won’t be ordering (a lot) from Sparkfun again in the near future. I love companies like Farnell/RS Components (I live in Europe; they are comparable to Digikey and Mouser I think) who offer components for unbeatable prices (and extreme fast delivery). But most of this kind of companies don’t sell more specialized products such as Arduino shields.

SeeedStudio is also a very cool company. I ordered some stuff there once and I think it took more then a month to arrive. That’s a big disadvantage of ordering stuff from China/Hong Kong.