I left this mostly up to Trish to figure out how to get a good deal on a good refrigerator. The end strategy: establish a relationship with the sales dude, and don't be afraid to take the floor model.
Trish started by looking at all the current features and models, settling on a style (bottom freezer and middle drawer), and then narrowed it down to a few makers and models, including Maytag. Once the model was decided, the objective then was to see if we could make a deal $100 better than what was commonly available. Lowe's, the closest appliance store, posted the retail price as $2294, and had it marked down for clearance at $2196, so we used that as our benchmark.
That sounds like a lot for a refrigerator, but we tend to run things into the ground, as with our current fridge, so I don't have a problem paying a little more for above average quality and features for something we'll undoubtedly still have 15 years from now.
Online searches showed the model posted anywhere between $2196 and $2600 (Best Buy). A check of other local appliance stores showed tags similar to or higher than Lowe's. Nearly all were out of stock for this model. So Trish went back and chatted up the salesman, who couldn't have been nicer. That's when we learned the model appears to have been discontinued so no new ones were available, but they had the one Trish had originally seen left on the floor for show, and offered a 10% discount beyond the "clearance" price if we took it home.
Normally, we don't go for pre-owned or used items. Always have bought new cars. Just feels more comfortable. But... cognizant of this blog, we went back to Lowe's and struck up another conversation with Jose. The 10% discount already qualified us for blog-worthy savings, but Jose was feeling generous and offered ANOTHER 10% off the already reduced floor model price. I guess he sensed we were interested, and needed the floor space. So for $1788 plus tax, we acquired a fridge that appeared to be the equivalent of a $3000 Samsung version right next to it. And the reefer we selected DOES hold magnets, while the front of the $3K fridge is NOT magnetic, despite both having a stainless steel finish. Well, THAT clinched it, of course.
We have to live with the fact that the stainless steel in front is kind of an unintentional two-tone because of some large promotional stickers... but that will be covered with pictures and magnets within a couple of days anyway.
I'll count the savings based on the $2196 amount, since that's the "before research and negotiations" price that we could have paid without establishing the relationship with Jose and checking around.
Savings for settling for something a little less than new: $2196 - $1788 = $408
Total blog savings to date: $2,609.22