I used to sell appliances for a few years.
Let me give you a rundown.
-Whirpool good. For everything.
-Kenmore is not necessarily Whirpool. In some cases, yes, but not in all. If you're buying Kenmore then just take a look at competing models and what their models look like physically. It's usually a dead giveaway.
-GE. Good for cooking.
-Frigidaire. Good for keeping your food warm.
-Bosch. Damn good dishwashers.
-Fancy electronics. You're asking for trouble. Circuit boards for any high end appliance always cost big $$$ and it's something you never want to replace.
Now about the stores.
-Find out delivery costs.
-Find out if you're actually paying separately for delivery or if they're just skimming the delivery cost off the price of the items. It's nothing major, but some places say they'll deliver for free, but then they just take the delivery charge off the items. The point is; it's deceitful.
-Find out what delivery entails as not all stores offer the same thing with delivery.
-Find out if you'd need installation done.
-Price matching is a very good thing. Know your models before going in the store.
-Know your dimensions for your appliances before going to the store.
-To their credit; Sears does have a good maintenance organization. And, that maintenance organization often handles work for their competition like Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot.
Working the system.
-Appliance sales is a game of numbers. At the end of the day, stores want to sell lots of appliances but they also want to bring home money in warranties and maintenance agreements. Those numbers reflect from the floor salesperson to his/her manager to his/her store manager and on up.
With that said, you can work some of the stores.
For example, Sears used to offer an "out" on their maintenance program. You buy the extended warranty, you wait 30 days, you cancel.
Now, when I used to work there, I hated it when people came in and dropped $3000 in appliances yet refused to even consider spending another dollar to "protect" their appliances. Why? Because, my job depended, to an extent, on selling those agreements. If you walked out the door and I failed to sell one then my percentage for that day was 0%. That's bad.
So, what did I do? I'd float the idea out to the customer that they could buy an agreement that they could cancel in 30 days and get their money back. In exchange, we'd take $300 off the purchase. Of course, the customer would go for it. I'd run the idea by my manager and he'd sign off on it most of the time. After all, his job performance is also judged by what I do out on the floor.
So, they'd walk out that day having purchased $3000 worth of stuff ($2700 in goods, $300 in maintenance) and I'd look golden. Meanwhile, 30 days later, the customer would call, cancel his agreement and get his money back. I didn't lose a dime out of my pocket, and the customer was happy. And did the store really lose anything? Nope. Because the $300 agreement came out of the maintenance company's budget, the store never got hit for a dime.
The point is; this was done all the time, and you can be the one to initiate it. It might be a great way to squeeze some more money off of your purchase. I guarantee you, the last thing any store wants is for you to drop a few grand on their store and not purchase one of these agreements. You can really use this to your advantage.
But, you've GOT to know how their program works. Don't depend on the employee of the store to tell you. Get their literature. Read it. And use it against them.
The key thing is; if you find an "out", don't let them know that you know.
And don't be afraid to ask to speak to a manager, and/or walk out of the store.
It's a big investment, and you might as well have a little fun, right?
Oh, and one more thing about agreements.
Water is a wet bitch.
Washers, dish washers, refrigerators with water lines.
Consider buying the warranties for those products.
Especially if you live in an area with very hard water and/or other harmful things in your water. Hard water can do some real damage to appliances.
And one more thing, and yeah, I've probably said that before within this post...
...don't buy on your first try. This is a major purchase. This stuff is going to be with you ideally for (hopefully) the next decade or so. Go to a store, collect information and don't be afraid to leave. The worst thing you can do is to go in and buy right away.
Yep, thats it.