What do you think of those who use local music stores as demo stations?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by DougM, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Holic

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    If a local shop offers such value as a well setup up guitar or free adjustments for 30 days, etc., I would factor that into my buying decision. It is worth a few extra bucks to bring home a guitar that is ready to play!!!
     
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  2. Jimi D

    Jimi D TDPRI Member

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    I went through a phase around the turn of the century when the whole ebay thing was just taking off and I bought and sold over 60 guitars on line in about 5 years... I don't own any of those guitars today, and for good reason. Now, I play what I buy before I buy; there are just too many variations between individual instruments and I am too damned picky, and I have no interest in selling guitars on-line any more... Local shops (and we've a few good ones) are the best solution.

    I think that American consumerism is the bane of our culture right now; the "race to the bottom" pricing model has been an American tradition for decades, and we're paying for it in spades; most urban residents don't really appreciate any shop that isn't willing to kiss their ass, but if you want a "community" you're suggesting a relationship, and relationships are defined by compromise. IME, the average American Consumer has the IQ of a parsnip and the moral compass of a lamprey; they'll demand completely unreasonable concessions and reflexively spew "the customer is always right" like a divine mantra... I wouldn't want to run a store in North America today...
     
  3. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I taught at a music store that did this. They rent/sold instruments for the school district in the fall, and for the rest of the year they repaired returned instruments. They had a few guitars, but generally didn't carry amps or electrics because of the undesirable hippie element. A perk from working there for 14 years was that I could order and buy anything at cost.
     
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  4. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    These people are ethically challenge.
     
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  5. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Or it’s that they don’t consider that they are contributing to the problems they complain about... “But there’s no inventory at the shop near me” or “the shop close by closed down, now I have to drive somewhere if I want to go to a shop”. Both scenarios caused by this online shopping phenomenon.

    Due to my past experiences in retail, I consider the issue quite often and I can’t see any way that brick and mortar shops can prevent their demise. It’s the death of a thousand cuts.

    It’s funny in North America because consumers think retail shops make money. I was in management so I used to review out profit and loss statements at A&B Sound. There’s not a lot of money to be made after expenses.

    I knew the guy who owned a local motorbike shop. He was the parts guy but it was his shop. When he shut down after 40 years in business, he told me he was finally sick of making less than minimum wage and was shutting down.

    I’ve got a friend in Japan who owned a chain of department stores (in Japan). In 2008 he was forced to close them down. His main businesses are real estate and import export the department stores always ran at a break even. It was their charity to provide department stores to the public. They never made money and when the financial crisis hit, they had to cut them loose. It didn’t hurt his bottom line to cut a losing proposition and it was necessary for survival but he was devastated that he would no longer be providing the service to the Japanese people.

    The general public have no idea how slim the margins are in retail, especially today.
     
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  6. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have never seen a Mom and Pop music store here in Vancouver. There are a number of small independent music stores, but they are owned by businessmen.

    These smaller stores have less inventory than the two big Canadian chains, and the customer service is inconsistent. There is a small store near me, owned by a musician, and his idea of customer service is to demonstrate his superior knowledge and to ridicule the big brand names.

    I think his profits are from first-timers and kids taking lessons.
     
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  7. nvilletele

    nvilletele Friend of Leo's

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    We used to have more real music stores around here. We still have the music stores that cater to the school band instrument rental and repair trade, but these generally have next to no instruments of any real interest. Some Yamaha electrics maybe, or starter kits. But nothing for musicians beyond beginners or school bands. Oh, they do sell strings and such.

    So not much reason to ever go there to try out instruments much.

    Back when we had a real guitar shop, I’d sometimes meet people there when selling a guitar, so they could try it out on one of the display amps. I don’t like to do CL deals at home, so this seemed not too awful. The amps would just be sitting there all day anyway . . . And I was introducing a prospective buyer to their store. They never seemed to mind.

    I guess I used them, but as neither I nor the prospective buyer were looking for new equipment, it’s not like they were directly missing out on a sale.

    Yeah, not quite sure if it’s really ok, but I’d always walk in with my guitar and ask if it was all right to try out an amp. They always said it was fine. I may however have given the impression I was in the market for an amp.

    So perhaps not as ethically pure as I might like to think. But sometimes I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do, and if it ain’t hurting anyone horribly, well . . . at least that’s what I try to tell myself. Hmmmm.
     
  8. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Eventually, the shops will simply merchandise strings and shirts.....why carry instruments if people don't buy them?
     
  9. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I really miss A&B Sound. That was a great company, and we spent a lot of money with them over the years. I don't know why they went out of business, but I sometimes feel that they shouldn't have expanded so quickly. When there were only a few stores, it was always a special day to go to A&B Sound.

    But surely there are retail stores that do actually make money. London Drugs is quite successful. So is The Body Shoppe, Tip Top Tailors, Ming Wo, and so on.
     
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  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think the term "mom and pop" stores is used to distinguish independent stores from the huge chain stores....at least that's the way I use it. When I was growing up, most music stores were individually owned, and almost NEVER had more than one location. They did ALL music business....sheet music, instrument sales and rentals, lessons, etc. The idea of a Guitar Center or Sam Ash was totally unheard of. And yes....the selection carried by these "mom and pop" stores was limited. I can't feel a lot of sadness when they fold, other than recognizing the fact that they are local citizens losing their source of living. Time and economics can be incredibly cruel......
     
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  11. Fenderdad1950

    Fenderdad1950 Tele-Meister

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    People are funny about doing such things. I don't know how many times my guitar playing friends have ordered online, to save a few bucks; and found that the axe isn't (with no other word) 'right' for them
    Personally, besides wanting to buy locally, is that I want a hands-on experience.
     
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  12. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Rufus Guitar is what I would call a mom-n-pop Shop. Dunbar and 10th Avenue. I met the owner back in 1984 when he first opened up. I took him a Kalamazoo electric for a bridge and setup and a couple of years later I took him my 1975 Sears 3/4 acoustic for a stem to stern setup to gift to a friend’s kid. I haven’t been there for ages but next time I’m in the area, I’ll go in.

    Bill Lewis Music was a mom-n-pop Shop but ended up shutting down in the mid-80’s. Bill Lewis was a luthier with his own brand of guitars. David Gilmour and Eric Clapton have his guitars. He had some revolutionary ideas to do with truss rods as I recall.

    Tom Lee Music was started by Tom Lee in Vancouver. A friend of mine knew the family quite well when he was growing up. I go to Tom Lee Music from time to time. I bought my niece a Yamaha acoustic from them a couple of years ago and of course I get my picks and strings from them.

    Basone Music 8th and Main (I think) is a mom-n-pop shop. A friend of mine’s kid works there. I’ve never been. Pamus Music in Richmond is also a mom-n-pop shop. I’m pretty sure that’s where I got my first electric guitar, way back in the 70’s.
     
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  13. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Remember Boxing Day at A&B Sound. That was really something back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I started working for A&B when I was 21 years old and man... I though I had hit the big times. What an experience. It was started up by this guy who immigrated from Germany after the war called Fred Steiner. Tough as nails but once you got to know him he was really a great guy. I have fond memories of Fred. His son Nick took over after Fred died and ran things for quite some time.

    Eventually things in retail became too tight. Competition from Best Buy / Future Shop and the Amazon’s of the online world took a toll but also streaming music and Napster pulled the rug out from under A&B. Why should I buy a disc from A&B when I can just download all this stuff for free? They went into bancrupcy and sold to a local computer company who had zero clues about retail and that company just drove it I to the ground.

    A buddy of mine got out of A&B in about 1997 or so and jumped into the Internet world. One day he came by (in his fancy car) and told a few of us that as far as he could tell, the days of retail were over and inevitably we would need to move on. He pretty much demanded we get involved in the Internet some way or another. I took his advice and jumped ship, got into web development about 20 years ago and never looked back. Within 10 years A&B was gone. I had a lot of fun working at A&B and met some lifelong friends because of it.
     
  14. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, I think "Mom and Pop" is a silly term when applied to independent music stores. It's not some kind of small town General Store from the Andy Griffith's Show, run by old-man Johnson and the missus. There's no Mom and Pop at Basone. It's Chris Bas. Here's a blurb from Rufus Guitars' website: "We are a shop owned and run by musicians for musicians."

    You might as well say that any stand-alone retail business that isn't a chain is a Mom and Pop store, but that would be silly. Many of them are owned by business-people with the backing of investors.
     
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  15. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Holic

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    Maybe music stores should charge a very small fee, like $1, to demo their instruments which would be waived if you actually buy the instrument. Just have a jar or something for the money. I'd be okay with that. I always buy picks or something if I demo anything in the store.
     
  16. L.A. Mike

    L.A. Mike Tele-Holic

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    I don't know if anyone posted this already
    Here's part of the problem:
    Musicians Friend and Guitar Center have a 45 day return policy. You get your money back, not a store credit.
    Plus they sell in such high volume that they are able to offer the lowest prices for most items.
    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/pages/45-day-returns

    An independent store can't do that and stay in business. On other forums I used to visit, there were people who bragged about buying things they never intended to keep it. Just wanted to try it out of curiosity. So they could post a picture of the item on the forum and offer their "professional opinion" about it. Get a "reputation" as a gear guru.

    This is now viewed as the standard for many people. Just like Walmart. They will take anything back, no questions asked.
    Buyers expect it. If you don't offer it, they will come into your store and play your merchandise, but have no intention of buying from you.
    If you point out to them that eventually all there will be are online retailers, they don't care.
    Welcome to 2019 buyer mentality
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  17. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    Sure, BUT... Buyer Beware. Guitar Center, and probably many other retailers, RE-SEAL RETURNED ITEMS and RE-SELL them.
    You don't seriously think all these returned guitars are just sitting forever in some giant Indiana Jones warehouse somewhere, do you?
     
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  18. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    So what?
     
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  19. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    I don't think very much about them.
    The people in the stores know who customers like that are.
    They have other personal issues, I just let it ride.
     
  20. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes, I do.
    But unlike Indiana Jones, GC has a Bar Code Scanner that can read through a hat made of Tin Foil!!!
     
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