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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000147.txt from 2005/08

From: Adam Michlin <>
Subj: RE: [kl] re: Sympathy, please...
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 19:08:18 -0400


We're Americans, we don't *do* customer service.

Seriously, though, there are a lot of "music" stores in the US which will
sell unsuspecting parents a Buffet R13 clarinet at full retail price (or
worse). There are mail order places like WWBW which deal in such high
volumes that they can give people the absolute lowest price. Then there are
the good music stores which understand they can compete with customer
service and do so.

I grew up in an area which had a store that fit in the latter category, but
in areas which do not have such stores I cannot recommend the first
category of stores to parents, students and other musicians ("Vandoren
reeds? Dude, a reed is a reed is a reed. Here are some Ricos [1 1/2s]"). At
least with WWBW no one is getting ripped off, price wise, but I have always
had to go through great pains to explain why the instrument is so
inexpensive. You really do get what you pay for.

A mail order company simply can't allow extended trials, people would end
up using them just like a lending library ("Hey, I'm playing the Gran
Partita next week, I think I'll 'try' a brand new Buffet Bassett Horn") and
would furthermore have to track down instruments all over the world. The
good local music stores can lend out instruments to their customers, and do
so, but they are becoming a rare breed since people in this country tend to
buy on price alone and worry about customer service later (which often
doesn't stop them from complaining later, either, but that is a different
conversation). Or maybe I've spent too much time living in Silicon Valley,
CA and near New York City...

With that said, I have had generally positive experiences with WWBW. I can
at least say I've never gotten less than I paid for. I do try to patronize
local stores with reasonable prices that carry what I need. I felt this was
particularly important when I worked as a professional, since there were
times when it was 6pm on a weekday night and I absolutely had to have
Vandoren Eb Clarinet Reeds (try finding those at your average "music"
store) and couldn't wait for a mail order. It was a frustration of mine
that many of my colleagues didn't feel the way I felt, but I did what I could.

Consider, we complain about the Wal-Mart type brand "clarinets", but they
wouldn't be selling them if people weren't buying...


At 06:26 PM 8/10/2005, you wrote:
>David - it ought to happen. No excuses.
>It's called customer service and I thought American were supposed to be
>good at it. Indeed, New York apart, they have been in my experience.
>If that is the approach of WWBW, why on earth does anyone buy from them?

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