Recreational vehicle consumer advocate JD Gallant has some advice on shopping the Kingdome RV Show: Shop, by all means, but there's only one reason to buy.
(This article is reproduced with permission by The Sun. It was originally published in The Sun on January 24, 1994) Editor: We have taken the liberty of updating some of the numbers originally given for a more current view.
Quilcene resident JD Gallant says he doesn't have very many friends in the recreational vehicle industry.
In fact, they probably wouldn't let him rent a booth at the Kingdome RV Show when it runs Feb. 2-6. He'll be there, for sure. But over there, he'll pay $6 to get in the door, just like most of you.
The reason is that JD -- he doesn't use periods, as in Harry S Truman -- does not have kindly things to say about most RV manufacturers. Dealers aren't particularly fond of Gallant, either, although he says most dealers are merely reflections of the products they sell.
Gallant says he thinks that West Sound RV dealers are as good as they get, and that local shoppers who know how to negotiate can get good deals without leaving home.
Now, you may be arguing that not a lot of people care about what kind of toilet is in a recreational vehicle. You might be right. But several hundred thousand people will be spending several billion dollars on RVs this year. Gallant says they deserve to know about RV toilets, and a whole lot more.
Gallant estimates that the RV buyer will overpay an average of $1,600 for every RV bought.
"That comes to $800 million lost, mostly by retired people, and that is a lot of money," said Gallant in a telephone interview. "It is a very lucrative business."
His most popular book -- No. 12 on a best-seller list of small-book publishers -- is "How to Buy an RV Without Getting Ripped Off." (Editor: At the time Seabury Blair wrote this article, that was JD's best selling book - it is now the RV Buying Trilogy.) It is even possible to do that, Gallant insists, at an RV show. Remember these three rules:
So why go the show? Gallant says there are excellent reasons to visit as many RV shows as you can.
If you seek information outside of the brochures at an RV show, ask to talk to a factory representative. Gallant says that most of the salespeople at the shows are not widely knowledgeable about their products, but RV makes represented at the show usually have a factory representative on hand.
Comments will be approved before showing up.