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Friday, Feb 10, 2012
Healthcare Products: Major Retailers vs. Small Business
Posted by Pamela Egan of Wellness and Anti-Aging Clinic

Small Medical Supply Business Outprices Walgreens by $51

By Covington Nurse Practitioner Pam Egan

February 10, 2012 - I came across this review of a medical device at a third-party product/company review site. Something about it caught my attention, and I began reading it, only to be astonished by what the customer had to say.

Here are the contents of the review:

"I found the Medline Guardian Envoy 460 Economy Rolling Walker to be pretty much everything I expected it to be.

It looks nice, it feels nice, it has braces that actually work and can lock into position when you want to sit down. The shade of blue is absolutely marvelous, especially to someone like me who loves the color blue.

I learned that this is technically not a rolling walker. A rolling walker, as a friend recently informed me, does not have brakes, a seat or a basket for storage. A rolling walker is just a walker with two front wheels and plastic tips on the back instead of the standard rubber ones.

The device I purchased was is actually called a rollator.

All the parts work fine. The seat is most comfortable, which actually surprised me a bit. The basket has plenty of room for storage.

If forced to find something to gripe about, it would be the price. A week after I bought it, I found the same exact item for sale at a site or a business I'd never even heard of for a whole lot less. They were selling it for $84 compared to $135 K-Mart was charging. 51 dollars is a pretty significant difference for someone on a limited income.

Oh well, you win some you lose some. Given the excellent quality of the product and the fact that it works fine, I don't mind paying a little extra this one time."

While this single example certainly does not represent the argument over major retail chains versus small business in general, it does illustrate that the company paying the least amount of money for the item isn't necessarily the one charging the least, as at least one small business is taking much lower margins for their medical equipment products than one of the world's largest corporations.

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