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Author Topic: Do we not have a stake in keeping AES/HRO healthy?  (Read 10082 times)
WA4D
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« on: January 23, 2012, 03:31:46 PM »

Recently, I  was in a Ham Store and an employee confided that he  worries that, "Some hams come in to look at expensive radios and then go home and purchase online saving the taxes".  There is no doubt some do that (perhaps  most  in California when it comes to a $1000+ rig and the sales taxes are just shy of 10%).

The Wall Street Journal picked up on this ham's concern today in a story about TARGET.

"Target is asking suppliers for help in thwarting "showrooming"—that is, when shoppers come into a store to see a product in person, only to buy it from a rival online, frequently at a lower price."

I haven't bought a radio in excess of $1000+ in years. That said, I'm looking at a package north of $5K. Am I ethically bound to buy locally and pay the taxes?


With the nation in constant  debate turmoil over budgets, who pays what taxes, a transitioning economy where the uneducated have a bleak  future, what is a Ham's responsibility?  Do we not have a stake in keeping AES/HRO "bricks and mortar" style businesses healthy? Or is the state's 10% penalty just too harsh for most? Is it an ethical issue? Some  political leaders think so. Or is buying via the best price  just a reflection of  the free market?

I'm some months off from my $5K purchase.  Yet it's difficult to rationalize paying an additional $500 for products that can be purchased online and be delivered to my door.  Comments?

mike/ wa4d.net
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 03:35:07 PM by WA4D » Logged
AL7MM
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2012, 03:40:07 PM »

Mike -
How much do you value having a ham store to shop in?  We don't have a ham store in town, but when I want to buy tools or hardware I prefer to shop at a locally owned hardware store rather than go to one of the two mega stores. I want to support my local economy, even though the price may be a little higher.  I think the same thing goes for the few ham stores left in the U.S.

73,
Mike, KL7MJ
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WA4D
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 03:49:48 PM »

Well you cut right to it Mike [KL7MJ].  I do value having a Ham store(s) near.  Here in Southern California there are many. And I  do think that under the $500 threshold, most hams who can, do buy locally. But  as the item price rises, the pain increases.  And we are left with an easy way out.  That of the  Online/Tax Free merchant.  

regards from LA,

mike/wa4d
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 04:08:54 PM by WA4D » Logged
W2IBC
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2012, 05:48:20 PM »

sales taxes need to be done away with period.

if i have to buy something, instead of getting taxed to death. ill just buy online and not get taxed to death.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2012, 06:26:20 PM »

Both AES and HRO have on-line ordering as well but I think they are supposed to charge sales tax on-line to customers who are located in a state where they have a brick and mortar store. They are playing the same game however. The VA store ships stuff to CA customers and the CA store ships stuff to VA customers. The winners are always lawyers and UPS  Grin

In some states you are "supposed" to report out of state orders with your state income tax and pay any uncollected sales tax - as long as we are talking about "ethical"  Grin

When making a big purchase I generally consider a number of things - one of which is overall cost. Sometimes the cost of the tax is offset by no shipping charges when purchasing locally.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 07:48:17 PM »

I would calculate the full price of the item to me using an online store and then take that, on paper, to the brick and mortar store and show the salesperson, asking them to equal or even better it. 


73
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K3WEC
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2012, 08:25:43 PM »

I wouldn't think it would be a matter of ethics.  The market determines price.   For some, though, it is worth paying more to support a small business.  For others these days, it isn't....particularly on large purchases when you get tagged on local and state tax levels.  A $500 difference is a big deal to a lot of people.

Maybe AES, HRO, and independents should charge a fee for playing with their radios which in turn could be deducted from the sales price if you purchased there.   Might encourage the tire-kickers to buy.  

I only know of one ham store in my metroplex of 4 million people.
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2012, 01:14:33 AM »

This is the same question no matter what item you are looking at buying.
If a business is run well, and builds a loyal clientelle, people are willing to pay a premium for good service, after sales advice and personally bringing the baby home in the car.
But if businesses give the customer a bad experience, treat them like potential shoplifters, are surly and unfriendly, then what is one to do?

When I worked in the computer industry it was routine to have people ask for engineers who were technically weaker than others, soley for interpersonal reasons, even if it was going to take longer and cost more, the customer made the decision because they liked some guys better.

Admittedly, some stores have better staff than others, but if I wanted to crap shoot I would go to Vegas, not my local ham radio store.

This is why I buy online - I have gotten tired of the frustrating experience, and am both saving money, and having a much better shopping experience.

I can't save ham stores by myself any more than the passengers of the Titanic could bail out the water entering the vessel.

73s

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AC4RD
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2012, 04:05:15 AM »

We don't have a ham store in town, but when I want to buy tools or hardware I prefer to shop at a locally owned hardware store rather than go to one of the two mega stores. I want to support my local economy, even though the price may be a little higher.  I think the same thing goes for the few ham stores left in the U.S.

 [sound of AC4RD applauding and saying, "You NAILED it, AL7MM!"]

I always used to buy from CHQ in Wilmington NC, when they were still around.  For the same reason I buy my books and my hardware/home needs at locally owned non-big-chain stores.  The prices aren't usually that different, but they're easier and more convenient to shop at, the folks at the stores know more about their merchandise than the big-chain people, and I'd rather a family business get my couple of dollars and re-spend them in the community. 
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AA4PB
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2012, 05:00:25 AM »

I would calculate the full price of the item to me using an online store and then take that, on paper, to the brick and mortar store and show the salesperson, asking them to equal or even better it. 
73

I did that a few years ago. I brought the AES on-line price into a local store. The manager came out and showed me an invoice where his wholesale cost for the radio was more than AES was selling it to me for. He claimed that the mfgs final price depends on the store's sales volume over a year so he couldn't compete on price. He told me that given the circumstances he would purchase on line too.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2012, 05:58:43 AM »

...If a business is run well, and builds a loyal clientelle, people are willing to pay a premium for good service, after sales advice and personally bringing the baby home in the car.
But if businesses give the customer a bad experience, treat them like potential shoplifters, are surly and unfriendly, then what is one to do?...


This sums it up--or it used to.  These days, people are looking to save money like never before in this country's history.  It just makes sense to them to save since they may well have to scrimp and save in order to get that radio to begin with.

In my case, even though I'm seventy miles away from New Hampshire which is a sales tax free state, I go there to look AND to buy.  If I'm unable to get there, I take my best shot and order online.  Either way I pay the same price, excepting the cost of travel, that is.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 05:20:55 AM by K1CJS » Logged
W5DQ
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2012, 07:06:16 AM »

I would calculate the full price of the item to me using an online store and then take that, on paper, to the brick and mortar store and show the salesperson, asking them to equal or even better it. 


73

So they beat the online price......in the end you're going to pay taxes on that lower price if your buying from a brick'n'mortar store. The store doesn't care about the sales tax. That isn't figured into their competitiveness on pricing. It just a cost they are required by law to collect for the gov't and they see no % of it. You'll be extremely lucky to find a store that will beat a online price INCLUDING their required sales tax. Some stores, not any hams store that I have seen, raise their % markup across the board and then offer NO SALES TAX. You're not paying it .... EVERYONE is paying it in those cases.

So far as window shopping. If it is to my benefit, then I'll do it. If not, there isn't much sense in messing with it as the margin of savings from one ham store to another is trivial and shop at your favorite or local and get your toys and be happy.

I'm in SoCal and my local ham store (HRO) is almost 3 hours away in the LA area. Not sure where the lucky poster in SoCal lives that has many local stores but he/she don't live out here close to me Smiley

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
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WE1X
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2012, 09:48:21 AM »

Truth be told the most successful retailers are those that (a) operate both brick & mortar stores and online stores and (b) make every effort to keep their online store content (products and information) current, and have a site that's easy to navigate and even easier to make a purchase. Given that ham radio is a niche market one cannot expect ham retailers to stay in operation without an online presence (think of the benefit of a store open 24/7).

Regarding sales taxes, it is inevitable that state sales taxes on Internet purchases through e-tailers are going to happen. One can argue (mostly for the sake of arguing) an ideological position on taxes, but it really doesn't matter.  With more and more sales shifting from brick & mortar retail to online some of those tax dollars have to be recouped.  The hope is if a retailer runs an efficient online store (including backoffice operations such as inventory management and order fulfillment) then maybe those savings can be plowed back into the company creating jobs, new products, etc.

Harry WE1X
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KE3WD
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2012, 10:22:54 AM »

1)  Anyone in sales who told you that the mfrs set the selling price is full of it.  If that is truly what the brick 'n mortar salesperson tried to pull, maybe they deserve to go out of bidness.  I'm willing to bet that the salesperson was laying out the BS simply because they did not want any lower negotiated price to cut back on their percentage.  Sticky situation when there is not enough volume to allow for making up the difference of deep discounting, though. 

2)  As for the idea that the negotiated price would not include the sales tax, someone isn't getting the full picture here.  Quite obviously, the settled upon final price would have to include all taxes.  I negotiate at that level.  Full final price to me. 

This is called, "price negotiation" and *should* be a part aof any purchase.  However, many have accepted the peculiarly American notion that the ticket price is somehow etched in stone and therefore apparently don't or won't attempt negotiations. 

Bottom line, if the brick and mortar shops wish to remain in business, they are going to have to respond to changes that may impact their sales. 

That said, please also try to understand that I'm not the kind of guy who would be ruthless in such negotiations.  For example, I might choose to spend a little more at the brick and mortar store than the online purchase would cost me, simply to support the idea of having the brick and mortar store around.  This too, is often a matter of the kind of impression the salesperson makes on me, though.  Willingness to try to work it out an strike a deal is going to make a difference as versus a blanket denial, or, as in number 1 above, simply attempting to stonewall the deal with BS. 


73
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KE4YOG
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2012, 11:57:44 AM »

When I first got my ticket I ought from CHQ in Wilmington. I bought 2 HT and other odds and ends. Wilmington is about 2 hours drive for me. About every 6 months or so I would go down to Wilmington for a day get away. Right now I know of no ham stores in the eastern part of NC. I like to buy local for support and other issues but since I dont where I can do that I shop online. AES has been my main store because I have gotten very good service. I place and order and get it 2 days max. I might could do better with other stores as far as price but the customer service I have gotten from them is great!

If any one knows of a ham store in North Carolina east of Durham please let me know.
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