2008 is ending great for the GuitarAttack Crew
in spite of all of the gloom and doom you see on the news and the
uncertainty around the American political future. Despite a drought in
the southeastern US, the weather has been great and nobody around here is
going hungry. We like to make observations, and this is what this is
about. It won't take too long, and we'd like to hear your thoughts.
Observation 1: The
Bailout. This is my rant from last April...I didn't realize it would
be so prophetic. And, if I figured this out, why didn't the Senate and
House Banking Committees?
|Observation 6: Economics,
2008-style. I've thought about writing a novel in my spare time.
Here is the scenario: Imagine owning a guitar shop.
You decide to loan people money to buy guitars, allowing them to make low
payments. You know the people buying the guitars should be buying
inexpensive Corts, or no guitar at all, but you sell them a new Gibson Les Paul VOS instead.
The people love you because of your fairness and forward thinking, and they
love their new guitars. Soon, the economy heads into a down cycle, and
a large number of the Les Paul people decide they can't make payments on
their Les Pauls. Politicians, eager for votes, decide there needs to
be governmental "helping hand" to help the manufacturer, retailers, and
downtrodden Les Paul owners. Soon, everyone is happily playing the Les
Paul they couldn't afford in the first place, with their payments being made
by people who actually bought the Cort because they couldn't afford the Les
Paul. The retailer and manufacturer were extremely happy because sales
were up again. In the end, nothing had changed, behaviors were intact,
and Big Brother came to the rescue again. Man, am I glad nothing like
this could ever happen in the United States.
A lot of this stuff is class-envy:
Capping CEO pay because they are "fat cats" and the like. How about
our government capping how much you can earn -- percentage-wise -- on your
investments. Let's say 5% is all you can earn on your stocks, and the
rest would have to go to the government. Is that fair? I know a
lot of people are frustrated and angry right now, but they were happy when
they were making money. I guess the most important special interest
really is "me".
My prediction is that the next great
bailout with have something to do with credit cards. It will be "spun"
as "greedy, predatory standards" caused the uninformed, confused public to
charge up their accounts and demand the government do something about it.
Let's hope I'm wrong.
Observation 2: Chinese
Guitars. This is the exact email -- no editing at all -- my friend in
the music biz recently got spammed with. The photo
is from the 2008 MusikMesse in Frankfurt, Germany. Bottom Line:
Those "high paying" manufacturing jobs all of the candidates are promising
will not come back any time soon.
|From: YueSen Musical Instrument Factory
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:51 AM
Subject: A letter from guitar factory China
Hereby I introduce ourselves -- YueSen Musical Instrument Factory,
as a professional guitar and bass Products supplier.
Our factory has funded for about 8 years. And we have workers about
200 peoples. In one year, we can produce about 130 thousands pieces.
We have our own brand Super3 and Rockstar. We made the guitar for many
famous guitar brands as OEM, such as Washburn, Epihone, ESP and so on.
We can supply quality products at attractive price. We welcome you to
come to our factory to visit.
We enclose the latest guitar products we exhibited in the 2008
Frankfurt Musikmesse for your consideration. If you are interested,
please don't hesitate to contact me.
Please let me know your specific requirements for quotations. I wish
we will have a long-term, fruitful and stable cooperation. It is
anticipated that we will be given the opportunity to cooperate with
Looking forward to your early reply.
YueSen Musical Instrument Factory
Overseas Marketing Manager
Observation 3: Ebay
We get bombarded with email from
folks complaining about eBay. Well, eBay has redefined the vintage
market, and we just don't see a business model out there yet that is a true eBay
killer. However, check this out. I received this from a
pawnbroker friend, and it is pretty informative. With policies like these, eBay may
not be around forever.
|Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2008 5:43
Subject: Alternatives to Ebay? (Post #1)
NPA Member Forum
Posted in: Discussion Forum Online Selling Questions Alternatives to Ebay?
After almost 10 years of selling on Ebay, with over 5000 positive Feedbacks,
and a Positive rating of 98.7%, Ebay's new rules, and consequent lack of
Buyer Education/Seller Support as resulted in our account being Suspended
for 30 Days.
We received 62 Positives and 5 Negatives in the past 30 days, Which puts us
below their "Acceptable" 5% Margin. I know that most of you will say that 5
Negatives in 30 days IS Unacceptable, and for the most part I agree...
EXCEPT FOR THIS:
Situation 1: One negative was from a gentleman in Germany who bid on and
won a camera, then
wanted us to ship it to his daughter, who was vacationing in the states. We
responded asking for a confirmed PayPal address to be delivered to in the
states. He responded two Days later with "My daughter has since left the
states and is coming home, so I do not need the camera anymore." We filed for
Unpaid Item with Ebay, and he responds to them that we are forked tongued
liars because we TOLD him he didn't have to pay, and he left us a negative. We
told him we just needed to file so that we would get our closing costs back.
He apologizes. We still eat a negative.
Situation 2: Buyer from South Africa Purchases an item on Sunday Morning.
Sends SIX Emails in three hours after the close of auction saying "WILL YOU SELL
THIS TO ME!?" At three hours and 15 Minutes he leaves a feedback for "Poor
Communication" We ask him what is wrong, and that OBVIOUSLY we would sell to
him, because he won. His Response? "Oh.. OK.. I'm sorry.. how much for
Situations 3 and 4: Two more negatives from people we sent items to, and they were unhappy with
their items. We offered a FULL refund, and sent call tags. Both buyers
respond with Negatives.
Situation 5: The last one was the icing. We sell a Roland Fantom Keyboard, and ship it. Buyer
receives the item and claims: "I know I am purchasing an AS IS item, that
was described as having scratches and dings, but I feel RIPPED OFF". There
are two knobs punched in on the left side, and eight keys are broken.
At this point I will accept nothing less than a FULL REFUND or
SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION IN PRICE. We respond with a request for a Shipping Damage Claim,
and ask for photographic representation of the damage done. He tells us
there is NO WAY it was damaged in shipping, because it was packaged so well,
and refuses to document damage. We start a claim anyways, telling UPS that
the buyer is refusing to cooperate. UPS Responds that they will examine IN
PERSON the item to see if it is, in fact, damaged. Buyer Responds that he
DENIED UPS the right to look at it, and now demands that the keyboard be
fixed and that we pay for it. We offer a full refund, to which he refuses.
Then he leaves us a negative.
So.. 30 Days... Five completely bogus Negatives. We talked to our Powerseller
rep, and they say a suspension is imminent, because of our "Failing
Standards". We explain the situations, and say "You are trying to have
Sellers "Upgrade their Moral Standards and Business Practices" yet we get
punished when we offer full refunds, and satisfaction guarantees.. Since
when are OUR standards failing? What more can we do? Nothing... There is NO
appeal process.. there is NO MORE Squaretrade.. Nothing to do but sit and
wait. So we ask how long the suspension is for, and he says "Thirty Days". Then what? Then
we will review your account, and if it hasn't improved, we will suspend it
for ANOTHER thirty days. But we can't list right now, right? Right. Okay..
then how the HECK are we supposed to make it better, if we can't list
anything to get positives from? Absolutely AMAZING.
So... Since I don't want to keep rambling for ANOTHER three days... Has anyone
found any other VIABLE alternatives to Ebay, for moving merchandise in a
broad customer base?
I'll be looking at, and trying a few new ones in the next 30 days, and I
guess I will post on my progress.
OK -- This guy got hosed. Do
you think this will actually impact the eBay business model? Has
anything like this ever happened to you?
Observation 4: As we
stated earlier in the year, we have
two new companion websites.
The first is "Hooked on Guitars".
Click here to
see it. There is no content, but we are considering offering Saga
guitar kits on this site. What is your opinion on this?
The second is our "Guitar Freakout"
here to see it. There is no content yet, but we liked the name and
we plan on offering guitar music for download on this site.
That's what we need -- MORE WEB
SITES! Here are a couple of interesting ones. We look forward to
Click here to see a Gibson Factory Tour. There are some pretty
great shots on this photo essay.
Click here to read about
Gibson Guitars and Best Buy. This is particularly hard to take.
Have you noticed how Gibson is dumping those awful "Robot Guitars" at
Musician's Friend? Who would've thought this latest brilliant Gibson
innovation would have been so poorly received? I bet they'll be
"Stupid Deals of the Day" in no time.
Observation 5: Gas prices are coming down in Atlanta, and it
seems like people are settling into their old routines. I guess we
have the current regime to thank for that, right? Question: How
much should gas cost? Will electric cars and "Jetsons"-like technology
really appear to fix our problems? I just hope the University of
Tennessee football team breaks .500 this year.
Have a great football season and keep