The Real Cost of Buying the Cheapest Amazon Offers

I love Amazon as much as the next guy, uh… girl?  I don’t know if I’ve yet found anything more magical to a frazzled mom than the same day delivery offered for free to Prime customers. However, even as I type those words, and know them to be true, I flinch, sitting here at my desk working for an online company who sells products on Amazon and also competes online through our own website with Amazon.

I believe in the free market and the market laws that promote companies providing what customers want and need. However, I also believe in those same customers having all the information. It is not as cheery as it seems. Behind the promise of getting your new purchases to you in 1-2 days and at a cheaper price than anywhere else, there is a frenzy of small to mid size companies trying desperately to be seen where their customers are looking (on Amazon) while also protecting themselves from copycat companies looking (on Amazon) for the next easiest buck.

Food For Thought :: Tips for Shopping the Amazon Marketplace

  1. In my experience, it is much easier to become a seller on Amazon than you would imagine. I was able to set up a new account with a valid email address. What to do? Before you buy from an Amazon seller, try to get in contact with them or search for their company using Google. I know our company would respond within a business day and you could easily find us outside Amazon.
  2. In our experience as an Amazon Seller, it is much easier to list a product than you would imagine. You can simply go to a current listing and say you have the same item as what is already being sold. Don’t have a picture? That’s okay! Since there is already an existing listing, that picture and information will be used when you sell your product. ***Again, this activity violates the seller agreement every seller accepts, but if it’s close enough, how often do you think the violation would be caught? What to do? Be aware – one product from a seller that is far below the retail of all the other sellers, is probably not the same quality or the same product at all. Also, look at the reviews of the company selling the product, not just the product itself.
  3. Amazon Marketplace is very consumer friendly but not very seller friendly. If you complain to them, they listen. However, they are not proactive about keeping their marketplace clean and high-value. It really takes a big stink with lots of evidence to remove an infringing seller. What to do? Tell Amazon if a company rips you off. It’s not always good enough to just write a bad review.
  4. Your purchase supports the company you purchased from. This seems obvious, but I think it’s easy to forget when you buy through Amazon. We are people too! What to do? Again, just see if you can find out anything about the company you’re buying from.
  5. Reviews can be bought. Again, this violates the seller agreement, but it still happens. What to do? Look for wording like, “I was given free or discounted product to write this review.”  Look for a huge amount of reviews all written within a short time period. What’s the oldest review? What’s the worst review?
  6. And finally, if it seems too good to be true, it is.
    You will not find the same quality product for half the price from the seller Happy Dragon (unless perhaps you’re ordering takeout). What to do? Just spend the extra $10 and get the product you actually want.

Here’s why I feel so passionate about this:

Of course, the best example I can give is from my own industry of gas grill replacement parts. We spend hundred of hours every year providing our customers with the best possible listings of parts for their models. We talk one-on-one with customers daily, having them measure their original parts and measuring the parts in our warehouse to compare. We source the best replacements for our customers because we believe in helping them find a real solution that will get them through many more barbecues. I personally update line after line of code so that our front facing site is easy to use and our customers are happy with their experience.

And then, just like that, a faceless “company” pops up on the Amazon Seller Marketplace selling the part I just updated, using the exact listing we have on our site and at an unbelievable price of 1/4 (or less) our retail. They use the same code, sometimes even the same picture. They use my hard-earned customer-based information.

It should be noted that this practice is not allowed under the terms of doing business as an Amazon Seller. However, an infringing seller has to be reported to Amazon and Amazon has to go through the process of verifying the claim to take down the seller. Instead of innovating, listening to consumers, and engaging in the industry, owners of these companies find themselves constantly petitioning Amazon to remove fraudulent, copycat producers that ship product from China directly to Amazon warehouse. The most frustrating piece is that as soon as a bad seller is removed, a new one pops up in its place like a never ending carnival game gone horribly wrong.

Even CNBC took notice. This article is from about a month ago:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/08/amazons-chinese-counterfeit-problem-is-getting-worse.html

We do better when we know better.

It will take a whole lot of us to make Amazon take notice, but like I said at the beginning of the article – I do believe in the free market!
As always, happy grilling! We remain determined to stay around and “Get You Back to Grillin’!”

-Jennifer Barry
Director of Marketing
GrillPartsSearch.com

Late Summer Grilling

Try a fresh piece of fish for your next grill meal!

Try a fresh piece of fish for your next grill meal!

Let’s admit – by the time we all get to August, we’re kind of done with the burgers and hot dogs. Even if you’re not totally sick of them, you should give it a break for just a few weeks because they will certainly become your staple again once football season starts back up.

For an alternative grilled dish, give a nice fresh fish a try! One of my favorites to throw on the grill is salmon. It has a pretty sturdy flesh which makes it much easier to maneuver on the grill.

The absolutely easiest way to cook fish on the grill is by putting it in an aluminum foil tray, smothering it with a garlic-herb butter and then just putting the tray directly onto the grill grids. You won’t get that pretty grill sear, but you are guaranteed that the fish won’t stick!

You can also use a cedar plank, just a sheet of aluminum, or put it directly on the cooking grid. Just make sure that if you do choose to put it on the grid, you oil it properly before placing the fish on it.  The safest way to oil a cooking grid is to put some oil on a paper towel and rub that thoroughly on the grid. Also, try to put your fish where the grid is the smoothest and the cleanest.

For even more tips, check out this video I made to answer a question from a customer!

That’s it for now! Do you have any tips on grilling fish? What’s your favorite thing to grill at the end of summer?

As Always- Happy Grilling!!
-Grill Girl

Happy Fourth of July

2016 is halfway gone…

Fourth of July Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July!

…and wow, what a year it has been.

Over here at GrillPartsSearch.com, we’ve been working very hard to keep up with all your orders and also a new project we’re very excited about! Soon you’ll start to notice some changes on our website.

Our hope is that these changes will make it easier than ever to find the perfect parts for your gas grill. After all, we’re here to get you back to grillin’!

Once our new site is up and functioning, you’ll see even more of this blog and GrillGirl videos to help you be the grillmaster yourself!

Happy Fourth of July Y’all! We hope you have a wonderful day with people that mean the most to you and a grill full of delicious food!

-GrillGirl

 

Manufacturer Highlight: Master Forge

Master Forge is a very popular brand of grill available at Lowe’s stores across the country. The Master Forge grill parts customers most often need when they call is either the burner (the tube where the flame comes out) or the heat plate (the metal shield that covers each burner) and sometimes both! We sell burners and heat plates made specifically for Master Forge grills in addition to many other parts.

Where do you find a model number on a Master Forge Grill?

What if you don’t have your model number? Here are a few places to look:

  • Most Master Forge grills have a product number assigned to them at Lowe’s. Sometimes we can find parts using that product number, but the best way is to find the model number exactly.
  • To begin, try looking on your original owner’s manual. The model number should be on the front page and will usually be listed on the bottom of each page.
  • If you don’t have your manual, that’s fine too! Look for a small metal plate or label with certification information on it, including your model number. These plates are usually on the back of each grill but sometimes can be found on the inside of the front doors.
  • Master Forge models can be number, letters, or a combination of the two! Here are a few examples of popular models: 2518-3, 2518LN-LPG, 288994, 3218LT, 678489, B10LG25, DG0576CC, E3518-LP, GCP-2601, GGP-2501, GGPL-2100CA, IGS-01015J, L3218, MFA350CNP, P3018, or SH3118B.
  • See the listing on our site: http://grillpartssearch.com/category/Parts_for_MASTER_FORGE_Gas_Grill.html

These grills are generally low-to-mid quality so if you intend to purchase one, do so with the expectation that you might have to replace parts in 2-5 years.

If you have any other questions about your Master Forge grill or any other brand of gas grill, give us a call! 877-244-0737

-GrillGirl

 

Hot Hot Hot!

Temperatures all around the country are HOT and getting Hotter!

Whether your means of cooling down is an air-conditioner that blasts 24/7 or an open window with a fan and a desperate hope, there’s absolutely no need to heat up your living space more than necessary!

That’s right folks, avoid those ovens and stove tops like the plague! You can cook SO many things on the grill using indirect heat and some roasting pans. Today, I’m dreaming of a nice crisp salad to end my day. You know me though, as the Grill Girl, I couldn’t have a salad without a lovely grilled chicken breast, or maybe some sliced grilled steak.

Doesn’t that sound amazing?

I don’t consider myself a chef, but here’s how I would build my dinner salad:

Get that grill going and throw on your choice of protein; how about grilled steak, chicken, salmon, or even shrimp? If using chicken, pound it out a bit so it’s nice and thin. It will take less time to cook. I like to add some citrus into my foods, so drizzle fresh-squeezed lime or lemon (your choice) along with some salt onto your meat before putting it on the grill. It is summertime after all!

Start your salad with a bed of romaine. In the hot summer months, nothing compares to the cool, watery crisp of romaine lettuce. Atop that, I would add some corn. If I have leftovers from a cookout I would definitely put that to use, or just open a can of sweet corn. Then throw on some chilled cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado. Add your meat and finish off with a sprinkle of Parmesan. Then, try making your own summer dressing instead of purchasing one from the store. Fresh is best! Here’s my all time favorite:

Cilantro Lime Dressing

The ratio you need is 2:1, oil to lime juice. I use olive oil, but you could also use canola. Then, add in some chopped cilantro, salt and pepper and fresh garlic! I blend in up and it gets pretty creamy. It’s very yummy and so easy!

Ok everyone, get outside to cook! Let the grill and the sun battle it out for who’s the hottest, while you get a great meal and run back inside to keep cool.

Happy Summer Grilling!

-GG

 

July Fourth Gas Grill Checklist

Are you grilling on a gas grill for the Fourth of July this weekend? Do this checklist TODAY:
1 – Remove and inspect the cooking grids and heat shields. Excessive rust or holes in these parts warrants replacing them!

Rust on the surface of your cooking grids, the area where you place your food, is gross at best. If you have a lot of rust or deterioration, get a new set! It’s amazing how a new cooking surface can affect your grilled food. Additionally, holes or excessive rust on the heat plates (heat shields, vap-o-riser bars, flavorizer bars, etc) can impact how the heat in your grill cooks your food. If you want an evenly heated grill, you need to have this system in good working order!

2 – Check the level of propane in your tank. Nothing dampens a party like running out of fuel.

You know you don’t want to have to leave your party to search for a new gas tank so you can finish cooking everyone’s food! If you have your grill hooked up to natural gas, of course this doesn’t apply to you. It’s easy to check the level of gas in your LP tank. Get some warm water and pour it over one side of the tank. The fuel inside will absorb the heat from the water, so when you run your hand down the side of the tank, it will feel warm and then cool. Wherever the tank starts feeling cool, that’s where your fuel level is. If it’s close to the bottom, go ahead and pick up an extra tank before your party!

3  – Before you put the other parts back in, visually inspect your burners (without removing them). Light them up using your ignition system. Are they burning evenly? Is the flame blue at the base?

You’ll want to make sure you don’t have any large holes or ares of flame coming out of your burners. If that is apparent, it is definitely time to replace the gas burners. More commonly, you will notice low areas of flame. If a visual inspection does not reveal any damage to the burners themselves, you may need to replace the regulator and hose that bring gas from the liquid propane tank to your grill. The regulator usually closes down over time so you will notice your grill heating up less and less. The good news is it’s an easy fix and definitely something we can get to you in a few days!

 

And if you have any questions at all, give us a call! We want to make sure your party is a success (but there is very little we can do the day before to help).
877-244-0737

Happy Fourth! -Grill Girl

Top 5 Grilling Gadgets for 2015

Grilling is not only a great way to cook your lunch and dinners, it’s also one of our country’s favorite ways to enjoy the summer months with friends.

I put together a list of my favorite newly added accessories to our website for this season. I like to call them gadgets because it makes me feel cooler. These items will make grilling even more fun and easier than ever!

LED Grill Light

A Grill Light!! It’s battery operated and comes with a base to clamp onto your grill. This means the uses for this light are extremely diverse. It has a flexible neck so you can bend it to shine a light in any direction. This is perfect for the grilling enthusiast, but also for anyone who loves to camp! Don’t keep yourself in the dark! Your food deserves better!

Meat Claws 

Have you seen these? They are basically over-sized, really sharp forks.  These are made of stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about the rusting or getting gross after just a few uses. If you like to smoke meat, these are an absolute must for shredding that delicious pork, brisket or chicken once you’ve smoked it to perfection. We have a pair of these at home and I promise serving a smoked pork butt in our home is ten times easier now than it used to be.

Grill Griddle

This one will be a harder sell – but I promise, you will end up using it much more than you think you will! My favorite version of this is the double-sided cast iron griddle.  One side is a smooth cooking surface while the other has ridges if you want some sear marks. It probably won’t take up your entire grilling surface area when you place it in the grill. It allows you to get the flavor of the smoke on delicate things like fish and veggies or even buns while using the rest of your grilling area for your burgers, steak or chicken. I actually made pancakes on a grill using this! We also have a stainless version available if you prefer that!

Grill Wing Rack

If you’ve ever grilled wings on a gas or charcoal grill, I’m sure you know the frustration of that fatty chicken skin getting stuck to your grilling surface. Is there anything more frustrating?! That skin is supposed to get crispy and flavorful and just when you’ve achieved that, you flip the wing and the skin stays right there, stuck to the grid. I HATE that! As you can tell, this hits a nerve with me, but there is an easier way! Chicken wings should not be naked, people. Keep the skin on right? Try out this wing rack and let me know what you think!

Shish-Kebab Grilling Set

Finally, don’t you love shish-kebabs? It’s such a fun way to bring diversity into your grilling repertoire. Get those veggies and meat all grilled at the same time, flavoring each other as they cook. Yum! Here’s the annoying thing – they get stuck to the grilling surface too, or when you flip them, they flip back. If that wasn’t annoying enough, the metal skewer gets too hot to touch. How about this little folding metal set? It comes with 6 skewers, and holds them above your cooking grid so they can cook without getting stuck. The skewers sit in grooves so you can flip them and they stay put! When you’re done grilling, just fold the set up and put it away. It’s made of stainless steel and will be another piece that will last long into your grilling career.

So what is your favorite pick on this list? Do you have any of these items currently? I’d love to hear your feedback.

As always, Happy Grilling from the Grill Girl!

It’s Warm(ER)! Go Grill Something!

Hello fellow grill fanatics and welcome to the first warm breath of air in 2015! Was this weekend not beautiful!?

I cannot wait to get our grill back into working order for the Spring and Summer seasons! Did you know that right now is the best time to pull out your grill and check it for working parts?

Keep the grill you love in your backyard and out of the landfill this year by replacing the old parts instead of the whole grill! You will save money and, in many cases, end up with a grill that works better than ever!

Here’s your checklist for Grill Spring Cleaning:

  1. Remove cover (carefully) and make sure there are no bugs who used it as their cover over the winter! Don’t have a cover for your grill? You should definitely get one! Covering your grill will help it cook better for longer!
  2. Look on the back of the grill for a model number. This will help immensely as you look for replacement parts on the internet.
  3. Take the cooking grids off your grill and inspect them. Your grid could be cast iron, steel bar, or stainless steel and coated in a variety of things. It might be hard to determine any of that if you have rusting or other corrosion. Clean the grids with a Brass Bristled Brush. If you notice a large amount of rusting or any breakage, put them on your list to replace!
  4. Under the grids you’ll see some system that covers the actual flame of the grill burners. This could be metal heat plates, shields, angles, or another grate that holds briquettes. Drippings and the heat of normal grilling will cause these to discolor and corrode. Since your food doesn’t go on these directly, you don’t need to worry about rust. However, if your heat plates have large holes, are breaking or if your grates don’t hold up the briquettes, it’s time to replace those as well.
  5. Remove the heat plates or briquettes and you should be looking down on the burner system in your grill.  With the hood open, light your grill. The burners should each light up and produce a consistent blue flame all along the outside of the burner. If you have any extra large flames, yellow flames, or burners that don’t light fully, you should may need to replace the burners. Any large holes or major corrosion is cause to replace these pieces. If the burners look great, but you’re not getting enough flame, it could be your gas source, valve or regulator.

Call our customer service to help you today! If you can’t find your gas grill model number, measure the parts you need to replace. Our phone number is 877-244-0737.

 

And as always – Happy Grilling! –GG

Grilled Bacon

Have you ever been tempted to try your hand at bacon on the grill?

With the social sharing sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter all loving the idea of bacon and loving the method of grilling, it’s a short jump to grilled bacon.

However, it’s definitely easier said than done!

When grilling a bacon wrapped burger goes wrong

Doesn’t a bacon wrapped burger, stuffed with cheddar cheese, grilled to perfection sound amazing?

It looks even better according to the “oh so easy” picture by picture instructions found on pinterest for this recipe. Aspiring for wife of the year, a pinterester found and attempted this recipe. It resulted in the above photo, along with a full blown grill fire, complete with singed eyebrows.

So should we toss in the grill tongs when it come to bacon on the barbie?

***If you like to play it safe, yes. Just do bacon wrapped stuff in the oven.***

If you’re set on the adventure, here are a few tips before you get started.

  • Do not grill bacon over open flame
    • heat the grill with one burner on low and place the bacon on the opposite side, using the indirect heat to cook it.
    • if using charcoal, wait until the flames die down and cook over a hot bed of coals.
  • Grill bacon on aluminum foil or over a pan so the grease is not dripping into the grill
  • Low and Slow is the way to Go
    • high heat is not your friend in this situation
  • Use a temperature gauge to check the internal temp of the food wrapped by bacon to ensure it’s cooked.
  • Make sure it’s easy to cut off fuel supply to your grill in case of fire.

Even taking these precautions, please remember that bacon is a very fatty food. Grilling it creates a high likelihood of your food and/or grill catching on fire.  Just be careful!

And feel free to share your triumphs OR failures with us info@grillpartssearch.com

Happy Grilling!
-GG

For more hilarious pinterest fails, see pinstrosity.blogspot.com

Whip Up Your Own Spiced Rub

People say fresh is best! While it may not be true in every single case (like wheat versus beer 😉 ), in the case of spices and herbs, it definitely holds up!

When you grill, marinating your meats beforehand can do well to keep them from drying out. However, if you’re interested in a lot of flavor, try rubbing on a spice mixture of your own concoction. All you need are some fresh herbs and an oil of your choosing.fresh potted growing herbs and spices

Try this out next time you get chicken or pork ready to grill:

>>Two cloves garlic (peeled), one shallot (peeled), a few leaves of sage, a sprig rosemary, and a teaspoon each of kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

>>Throw them all into a food processor or blender along with one to two tablespoons of oil and blend!

>>Rub the mixture on the surface (or under the chicken skin) and throw it on the grill.

The seasonings will cook into the meat and the salt will flavor and tenderize at the same time!

Don’t be afraid to throw your own herbs together! Cilantro, oregano, thyme – each would make a unique and flavorful addition to the simplest of menus. Even if you don’t have fresh herbs, mix together your own spices – and remember to check the dates on those spices! They are always best in the first 1-2 years (the fresher the better)!

What’s your favorite way to season your grilled food?

Happy Fall Everyone

-GG