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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001097.txt from 1998/04

From: "Edwin V. Lacy" <>
Subj: Re: Mouthpiece Information--Retail v. Warehouse
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 14:19:28 -0400

On Sat, 18 Apr 1998, Kevin Fay wrote:

> I understand that local music stores think they need to charge more than
> the "warehouses." It is not true, however, that the WW & BW get a
> better price--what they may be selling at less than your purchase price
> is last year's inventory.

This is demonstrably not factual. Since they have a much higher rate of
turnover, what one is likely to buy from a dealer such as the Woodwind is
probably more recent stock than what many local music stores have. I know
that some instruments come into the Woodwind direct from the
manufacturers, and may be in stock for only a matter of days before being
sold. They seem to buy about as many oboes and bassoons from Fox as they
can get, and often if you call to ask about what they have in stock,
sometimes some of those instruments will have been sold before you can get
there the next day.

> I cannot in good conscience, however, send my students to a local store
> to buy an instrument when I know that they can get the very same article
> through the mail for less than half the asking price.

I have never known one of the large mail order houses to sell instruments
at anything approaching less than one half of the retail cost. Typically,
depending on whether the instrument is at the professional or the student
level, a local dealer may be able to discount at around 15% off retail,
while the WW & BW price might be 35% or 40% of retail. Some specialty
dealers might be able to do a little better than either of those, but that
would be a rarity. For example, while their prices are normally very
close, prices at the Saxophone Shop are often a few dollars higher than
the WW & BW, but lower than a local music dealer.

I found these two statements from recent messages of yous to be somewhat
incongruous at best:

>From a message about Kenny G.:

> He is now a wealthy man, having sold millions of CDs to people who
> wanted to buy his music.

And from the message excerpted above, about music stores:

> The real reason that their prices are lower is that their margins
> (profits) are lower--they gouge less.

So, then I gather that if Kenny G. makes millions of dollars selling his
CD', presumably at the full retail price, that is perfectly acceptable,
but if a music store, attempting to say in business, sells an instrument
at retail, that is price gouging. That's a little hard for me to

Ed Lacy
Dr. Edwin Lacy University of Evansville
Professor of Music 1800 Lincoln Avenue
Evansville, IN 47722 (812)479-2754

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