In today's Dollars & Sense article about selling gold and how much local dealers might give you for it, I forgot one point. Some of the dealers promise to beat any competitor's price quote. That sounds good at first, but too often those guys (Gold Guys, for example) are the ones paying the smaller amounts to begin with. 

So let's say you go to Excel Pawn in Maplewood witha 14K wedding band from a former marriage and get a quote for $165. Ask how much the ring weighs and write it down. Most local stores give the weight in pennyweight, some in grams. The ring weighs in at  7.86 pennyweights. That means that Excel is paying $21 per pennyweight that day for 14K gold.

Then you drive to Gold Guys in Mall of America. They determine the ring is 7.86 pennyweights and give you a price of $126. That means that on that day Gold Guys is paying about $16 per pennyweight. ($126 divided by the pennyweight). 

Now if you tell Gold Guys that Excel is paying $165 for the ring instead of $126 you potentially can get a little more than $165. If that's what you want to do, more power to you, but essentially you're "rewarding" the wrong retailer. Instead of going back to Excel, which was willing to pay you a fairer price for your gold, you give the business to the one who wanted to give you less originally. 

If enough people do that, the business paying a fairer price goes out of business and the one paying you less stays in business. 

Think it doesn't happen? Ask Jim Witt of Ashby, Minn., or Sean Kacsir and Dan Lannon of the Twin Cities. All three were Minnesota pharmacists who offered prescription drugs at a lower profit margin. Customers came in to get prices and then took those lists to Target or Wal-Mart or other pharmacies to price match. Now all three pharamcies in Ashby (Borg Drug), New Hope (Medsave) and Roseville (Faircare) are closed. 

Usually it's the big box retailer with the low prices, but when it's the little guy who's doing it, support it or lose the competitive advantage.