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Questionable business practices.

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by CombatWombat, Dec 26, 2005.


Who's right and who's wrong?

  1. This music store acted unethically and is in the wrong.

  2. You're a naive kid and need to understand the business world a little better.

    0 vote(s)
  3. Both. The music store is in the wrong, and you're also a naive kid.

    0 vote(s)
  4. Niether. The music store did nothing wrong and you're also a very smart kid. (Handsome too)

    0 vote(s)
  1. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Ok, so I need to know who, if anyone is in the wrong here.

    To start off, I'm just a 21 year old kid who may or may not be oblivious to how the real world works, but I feel I'm pretty well educated and my parents taught me right from wrong.

    I went into my favorite music that I have been VERY loyal to store to ask my salesman, Toby, about some auarlex foam. We looked over the charts and decided that a "project 2" kit would be sufficient for what I need at the moment. He quoted me $500 for it. I told him that I wasn't ready to buy that day, but that I would do a little more research on my own and be back.

    Well, last week, I went in and was ready to buy, and I brought a quote from an online store for $380. He said there was no way he could match that price with the free shipping, but that he could do it for $400. He explained that Hurricane Katrina had somehow affected Aurelex's production costs and that everyone selling this kit was now selling it at $500. Cool. I like the store, I like Toby, and $20 isn't a big deal. I'll take it.

    Cool, so I come in today with my truck to pick up the foam. I get home and start unloading the boxes and, taped to the bottom of the box, is the store's price tag, labeled at $400! This almost certainly tells me that the kit was purchased by the store pre-Katrina!

    This is where I get a little washy. This would mean that this music store was simply trying to capitalize on a rather unfortunate situation, and to me, their tactic seems quite unfair and, frankly, unethical.

    Does this bother anyone else or does it just bother me because I'm the one buying it? Should I be upset about this? I mean...I do live in a capitaliztic society, but I felt I was, in a way, lied to.
  2. mud5150

    mud5150 Guest

    i used to work at a music store and unfortunately this is pretty comon place. The sales guys job is to sell you something at the highest price he can and if he can make you feel like he's cutting you a deal great. The store I worked at has been around for a long time and so has the manager. The people who have been shopping there think this guy is their best buddy when in reality he is probably one of the most worthless people I've ever met. One of the employees who had been there for 3 years never got a raise even though it was indicated that he should by the store owner. Prob cause he was skimming money from the store, but anyway people would come in and they wouldn't let anyone else help them cause this guys their buddy and he gives the deal, they would say in their ignorant redneck accent usually if they would have talked to anyone else in the store the prob could have saved another 15-20% but what can i say he's a good liar which also makes him a great salesman. Thats the way it goes
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Christmas brings out the best and worst in people.Customers at stores sometimes have more money than brains at this time or year and stores are out to make the most of the season by charging the most they can to the most people. Depending on who you listen to this time period from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year's day accounts for about 20 to 30% of a retail store's yearly income.

    I think you have to point out what you found to the person at the store and ask for an explanation. I think you will find that they may normally sell the item for $400 and it was either a mistake on the salesman's part or he was trying to make as much commission as he could for his holiday bonus.

    If I am going to buy something in terms of audio equipment the best time to purchase it is AFTER the Christmas rush when stores want to get rid of the most equipment they can before the have to declare it and pay taxes on it. That is why you see a lot of blow out sales in the week after Christmas. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. You take your chances that the item you wanted will still be there after the holidays and that someone did not purchase it before Christmas or that the item you want is one that is not going to be included in the sale.

    I have a really good salesman at my local GC. He always gives me good deals on equipment but sometimes I have to prod him a bit with information off the internet. He told me that a pair of headphone could not be had for less than $199.00. I brought in an off line ad for the same phones for $149.00 and he price matched. You have to do your homework and know what it is you are buying and the going cost for such an item. Most music stores work on a 15 to 20 % profit margin on equipment. Things like accessories are going for 50% or 100% profit which is where they make most of their money. Sound baffling is not equipment and is not an accessory but I would tend to think it has more of a mark up than their equipment but less than most accessories.

    I would talk to you salesman and ask questions and if you don't get good answers from him talk to the store manager.

  4. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Here in Denver there's a new condo complex going up with a banner out front saying, "Hurricane Katrina is driving construction costs up. Buy now while you still can." Being from that part of the country, it infuriates me that people are taking advantage of that situation to drive their business. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to stop it or confront those that use such underhanded tactics.
  5. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Well, I'm a little hurt that no one so far thinks I'm a handsome fellow, but thanks for the responses. :)

    I went back to the store this morning and the salesman wasn't there so I talked to the manager/owner and showed him what I found. What he explained to me was that the tag I had was the old price tag that should have been removed after dealer prices went up. The reason why they moved the price up to $500 was to cover the cost of replacing the kit after it was sold. This makes sense, so I think everything is sorted.

    To be clear, I'm not concerned about the price. I feel I got a fair price on the kit. What I was concerned about was being dicked around with by a store that I have been 100% loyal to.
  6. fstfwd74

    fstfwd74 Guest

    Okay... I saw this thread originally and didn't post, 'cause I thought we were going to just do the poll. However, after reading some of the other posts here I thought perhaps I should post my experience.

    I sold pro audio gear at Guitar Center for about 3 years. Then I sold home audio gear for four years. Other than that I've had the dreaded jobs of car salesman and vacuum cleaner salesman. Sadly, I've got more time spent selling stuff than running sound at this point.

    First thing I'd do in your situation is talk to your salesperson about it, cause it could have been there was something going on he wasn't familiar with (special promo the store was doing, a mistake in the pricing somewhere or whatever). Guitar Center for example, had no problem at least matching prices with their local competitors but didn't want to shoot themselves in the foot by lowering their price in Texas if some guy in Washington state was selling it for less. Usually didn't match internet either cause internet stores don't often have to pay for things like a storefront and various other overhead. But when prices change almost daily because of various competitors, it's difficult for a salesperson to remember the 50 things that changed that week, plus the weekend or other special prices and promotions, plus financing promotions... yadda yadda. The majority of the people I worked with at GC were/are good people. One of the reasons I left was because I wasn't making much money (about $20k a year). I don't know where you purchased specifically.

    That being said... I found out when I started selling cars that there are a couple of approaches to selling. There's the approach we had when I was selling pro audio and home electronics... where prices are based on what competition is doing (as well as the condition of the product and its age).

    Then there's the approach of selling things at perceived value... which basically means its worth whatever you're willing to pay for it (as long as the store still makes a little money). I found out cars (at least the brand I sold for those couple of months) are sold on perceived value. That's why they always talk about monthly payments instead of total cost. One of the other things sold on perceived value is art. The cost of materials and labor to produce the Mona Lisa is probably worth $200 at most, and yet when things like that sell they go for millions or billions of dollars.

    So... to answer your question... if you didn't already know that then maybe some people would say you were naive. (I didn't learn it until a year or two ago.) Whether or not the store you went to made a mistake or just wanted more money could probably be answered by talking with the store about it... and talking with other people who have shopped at that same store location.
  7. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Mark, thanks a lot for the reply. I am quasi aware of what you are saying, but obviously I am not well versed in all the factors that comprise these ideas. Basically, I was just trying to figure out if the store I have been 100% loyal to was trying to pull a fast one on me or if I just didn't fully understand the situation.

    I think I've come to the conclusion that I didn't fully understand, and now that it has been explained to me, I think the relationship between the store and I are still in good standing.
  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I don't know how it is in the rest of the country but here in Ohio the cost of gasoline goes up and down sometimes as much as three to four times a day. It is also higher on weekends and over the holidays and in the summer when more people are driving. Now why the large fluctuations? Well it is not that the actual gas in the tanks or in route to the station it is the the futures market that is driving the cost. Which means it is the cost of replacing the gasoline that is fluctuating not the actual cost of the gasoline. Every sever weather front. every refinery problem, every thing happening anywhere in the world gets evaluated and the price of gas is raised or lowered. This was not the case years ago and things like gasoline prices were very stable. The same thing is starting to happen in electronics. I was at Best Buys the other day looking at replacing my TV. The prices on the internet were not the same as the prices in the store and I asked the salesman what gives. He said "we have to consult the computer before we can give you a price since the prices on electronics is driven by consumer needs and the old supply and demand equasition and we have to stay in the ball park or we loose customers" Not sure where this is all going to end. Maybe soon your local supermarket will have prices that change with electronic displays beneath the items and you will purchase a can of beans and before you hit the cash register they will be more or less expensive than when you picked them up in aisle 3.

    A brave NEW world.

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