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JLC ??JANUARY 1990 There are no guarantees, but understanding how the distribution system works can help you make better deals by Paul Fisette Coffee cups shook and silverware rattled as a local builder slammed his fist down, wagged his finger, and warned, "Wait until I get hold of that salesman. Imagine, quoting my customer a price on cabinets that is $200 less than the price he quoted me." Observing this scene at a diner one morning reminded me that we all get burned. It hurts — not only because builders depend on material discounts for income, but because we feel cheated when we don't receive them. We are led to believe that we get contractors' discounts. But do these discounts really exist? Paying Early