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Regarding scalpers - Page 2

post #16 of 48
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good business is providing a high quality service and/or product at a price that is fair to both the business and the client.
But you're making your entire argument from price, and you're casting aspersions on anyone who doesn't sell for the lowest of the low prices. That's absurd.
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Is Neiman Marcus "sleazy" for selling Mantellassi shoes for $750 when you can get them a couple of hundred dollars cheaper on the Mantellassi website?
yes - assuming they are the exact same shoes. if i owned a retail store, i would not want to carry anything that was available directly from the manufacturer for less money. they are basing their business on the bet that their customers are, and will remain, uninformed.
No, it's not sleazy at all. Neiman Marcus is being perfectly upfront with you. You can choose to buy from them or not at your discretion. You might not find value in the things that separate Neiman Marcus from the Mantellassi website (convenience, shopping experience, etc.); but that doesn't make Neiman Marcus sleazy for offering them, and it doesn't make anyone who buys from Neiman Marcus uninformed.
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Is Tanino Crisci "sleazy" for selling shoes for $700 at their New York store when you can get the same pair on their website for $400??
the company can justify the price because it costs them more to sell something at a brick and mortar store than it does online. but if i were a shoe salesman, I'd have a hard time taking someone's money without telling them about the site. like i said, i'm not a salesman.
The company doesn't have to justify anything. They can set their prices at any level that they think makes sense. There is no supreme arbiter of what luxury goods ought to cost. As for the shoe salesman, he's providing you with a service, and it's reasonable for him (and the company who employs him) to want to be compensated for it. If his service isn't of use to you or isn't worth the cost, then don't use it.
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Essentially, what you're saying is that every importer, wholesaler, and other kind of middleman is by virtue of his job sleazy. That's ridiculous.
let's not insult one another's intelligence. you know as well as i do that importers, exporters, wholesalers, and distributors are necessary chains in the link between maker and consumer. scalper's are not necessary to our economy.
In the first place, you're making a distinction without difference. As far as I can tell, you think that the necessary (and morally acceptable) middlemen are those who don't compete directly with you whereas the scalpers are the ones who do compete with you. In the second place, have you considered that arbitrage is as necessary to a properly functioning economy as anything else that a middleman might do?
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furthermore, there is no secret as to who the wholesalers/distributors are. you could call just about any maker right now and say, "i own a chic boutique in l.a. and i want to buy 200 pairs of your shoes." they would refer you to their distributor. on the other hand, if you were to email an ebay scalper and ask him where he got his merchandise, i really doubt he'd refer you to yoox.com
So what? GJ Cleverley won't tell me who makes their ready-to-wear shoes. Does that make them disreputable?
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To my mind, you're splitting semantic hairs if you try to differentiate between unethical actions from sleazy ones (or at least sleazy actions in a business context).
i'll concede that. what i meant was that even though i consider it unethical, even those who don't might still feel uncomfortable about it.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with attempting to exploit pricing inefficiencies with luxury items, just like there's absolutely nothing wrong with Andrew trying to sell Vass shoes in the United States for twice they would bring in Budapest. If you want the the best prices on the Web for a particular shirt, spend the time and search for it. If you don't, go to eBay and bid for it. If you want the best prices on Vass shoes, go to Budapest. If you'd rather not do the legwork, contact Andrew.
post #17 of 48
" like verogroup said, it's basically taking advantage of others' ignorance" I never said that. But, I certainly do not go through life naively believing that all Americans are of equal intelligence. "All men are created equal" from a rights perspective, but we are certainly not created equal from an intelligence perspective. You wouldn't be taking advantage of someone else's ignorance, you'd just be dealing with it as you try to make a sale. Their ignorance is not your problem. It is their responsibility to rise above their own ignorance, educate themselves about alternatives, and make choices accordingly. They certainly have the freedom to choose to do this and make it happen. Many simply choose not to do so because it's easier not to do so. So, they pay higher prices and money slips through their hands faster.
post #18 of 48
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Quote   Is Neiman Marcus "sleazy" for selling Mantellassi shoes for $750 when you can get them a couple of hundred dollars cheaper on the Mantellassi website? yes - assuming they are the exact same shoes. if i owned a retail store, i would not want to carry anything that was available directly from the manufacturer for less money. they are basing their business on the bet that their customers are, and will remain, uninformed. Quote   Is Tanino Crisci "sleazy" for selling shoes for $700 at their New York store when you can get the same pair on their website for $400??   the company can justify the price because it costs them more to sell something at a brick and mortar store than it does online. but if i were a shoe salesman, I'd have a hard time taking someone's money without telling them about the site. like i said, i'm not a salesman.
I'm sorry, but you are wrong on both counts. Neiman Marcus had to buy the shoes which means taking a risk, pay to ship them from Italy, pay import duties, pay their rent so they can have a place to sell the shoes, pay a salesman to sell the shoes, pay a cashier to take your money for the shoes, absorb the costs when people return them, pay to operate a Last Call store for the sole purpose of selling excess merchandise at a loss, the list goes on... Plus - they are providing a service by stocking the shoes in your local store where you can try them on and avoid the potential risk of buying shoes that do not fit. They are taking a risk and rendering a service, and they deserve to be paid for it. If anyone is in the wrong it is the Mantellassi website. Same goes for Tanino Crisci. An ebay seller has to do even more work per item and take more risk. Most of us do not have special relationships with suppliers who just send us merchandise when we order it. We hunt down each item, piece by piece. In my case, I spend between 70 and 90 hours EACH MONTH just to find the items I sell (that includes driving time.) Considering I buy about 50 items each month, that's almost two hours for EACH ITEM. It may not take as long to buy from Yoox but it still takes time.  Then you have to inspect each item multiple times, get it cleaned or repaired if necessary, measure it, photograph it (often multiple times so the pictures come out right,) edit the photographs, write a detailed auction, politely answer a million dumb questions (most of which are already addressed in the auction) and a few good ones, then you can finally ship the item and close the transaction. Despite all the time and money invested up front, items often do not sell for six months or more and even worse, bidders often do not pay and you have to "sell" the same item over and over. Together, ebay and paypal take 8-15% of the sale value of the item, which means they are getting a percentage of the money you invested in buying and processing the item, not just a percentage of the profit. In 2002 the combined amount of my ebay/paypal fees was equal to 50% of my business income, after expenses were deducted.. Let me tell you, ebay is great way to LOSE money. Actually making money, at least in the clothing category, is very difficult, and for some, impossible. So please, do not judge or categorize business practices of which you know nothing. I reiterate my point - if an ebay seller wants to buy Yoox or Bluefly merchandise, investing all that money and labor into reselling it on ebay, there is nothing wrong with it. He is expending time and money and providing a service, for which he is entitled to a chance at compensation. Of course, exploiting return policies, stealing pictures off websites and inflating original retail prices (as in the case of LA Guy's example) is unethical. Merely buying from Yoox and selling on ebay is not.
post #19 of 48
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Andrew trying to sell Vass shoes in the United States for twice they would bring in Budapest. If you want the the best prices on the Web for a particular shirt, spend the time and search for it. If you don't, go to eBay and bid for it. If you want the best prices on Vass shoes, go to Budapest. If you'd rather not do the legwork, contact Andrew.
Thanks for that jcusey. I can tell you that, even at twice the price, I haven't made a dime yet. I probably won't break even on the time and money invested for at least another year, and that's if the shoes catch on. Believe me guys - it is easy to assume that you are getting ripped of just because an item is expensive. That may be the case in some circumstances, but probably not in most. It costs a lot of money and time to find and bring to market rare luxury items from halfway around the world, and then to get people to notice and buy them locally. Obviously then, the item is going to be more expensive than if you bought it straight from the maker. And rightly so.
post #20 of 48
Yeah, what he said.
post #21 of 48
Thread Starter 
i have a bunch of replies to your replies to my replies. but i can see we are not going to agree on this matter. you might be thinking "this guy doesn't understand business." and i'm thinking, "these guys don't understand life." what i see is that there is a fundamental difference in the ways we view society, and our roles within that society. i understand business. i'm a restaurant manager and have been in the restaurant business off and on for a long time (i practically grew up in one.) my principles are to treat people the same whether they are in my restaurant, on the street, in my home, or on the internet. i have one standard. i will always speak frankly to you, and give you my honest opinion whether you like it or not. i will not compromise. life is not worth living unless you live it your way. reminds of frank sinatra...
post #22 of 48
If you knew of a restaurant across town that served the same food, just as good, and for half the price - would you as a restaurant manager and a man with one standard, send all your customers across town to your competitor??
post #23 of 48
Thread Starter 
absolutely. we recommend other restaurants to our clientele all the time (and they recommend places to us). it's just part of being friendly. even our most loyal clients don't eat at our restaurant every time they eat out. if i try a new place and really like it, i share the experience with people. to answer your question more specifically, i would say "there's a new place over on la cienega. i was there the other night and it's excellent. check it out." we do it all the time. money is only part of the reason i work here. i could make just as much working fewer hours elsewhere, but i love this restaurant, and if i owned it myself, i wouldn't change a thing. okay, i'd change 1 or 2 things, but that's it. my plan is to own this place one day. not everyone in the world is jaded and sees life as a competition. when you treat people with kindness and earn their trust, you will begin to attract these kinds of people into your life and that serves to reinforce your actions. it's a beautiful cycle. if i sell the sportcoat to the man for full retail, i will have gained a few bucks in the short-term, but i will have lost his trust in the long-term. i will also have compromised my principles and no amount of money is worth that.
post #24 of 48
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if i sell the sportcoat to the man for full retail, i will have gained a few bucks in the short-term, but i will have lost his trust in the long-term. i will also have compromised my principles and no amount of money is worth that.
This is what I absolutely fail to comprehend. There is nothing whatever wrong with not offering the lowest price. If your principles say that there is, then your principles are perverse. My principles say that he who provides the service and he who takes the risk deserve a chance at compensation. And quite frankly, I don't appreciate the implication that I am ethically deficient or am ignorant about life because I believe it.
post #25 of 48
Thread Starter 
i never said anything about having to sell at the lowest price. someone selling the exact same sportcoat online can certainly afford to undercut the price that a shop owner can offer - especially if the shop is located in a high rent district. higher overhead = higher price. we all know that, but in my example, the other store is right across the street. by not lowering your price in this one instance, you dehumanize the customer. i don't expect you to agree with my opinion, but i'm only stating that i disagree with yours, and in order state my case, i have to explain the principles that shape my opinion. don't take this as a personal attack on you as a person. we're just having a conversation and i do understand your point of view.
post #26 of 48
I'm just going to chime in that, while I don't share some people's descriptions of what a "scalper" is, I don't like eBay sellers misquoting their retail prices to be abnormally large. I also don't like people who sell shoes over that thing misquoting condition. "SLIGHTLY WORN ALMOST BRAND NEW" does not mean the sole looks as grey as concrete, and with a texture to match.
post #27 of 48
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higher overhead = higher price. we all know that, but in my example, the other store is right across the street. by not lowering your price in this one instance, you dehumanize the customer.
Not at all. If anything, by arguing that there's some sort of moral imperative to match the price of a store across the street, you're dehumanizing the shop owner. If the customer doesn't want to pay your price, he doesn't have to. Nobody would have anything bad to say if he doesn't. You're arguing that the shop owner has an obligation to match his competitor's price, which robs him of his autonomy and consequently his humanity.
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i don't expect you to agree with my opinion, but i'm only stating that i disagree with yours, and in order state my case, i have to explain the principles that shape my opinion. don't take this as a personal attack on you as a person. we're just having a conversation and i do understand your point of view.
How can I not take it as a personal attack when you say that my argument would lead to the dehumanization of the customer or that I don't understand life? I have no desire to turn this into a flame war, but you're the one who is casting this argument in moral terms when that's really not appropriate.
post #28 of 48
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I also don't like people who sell shoes over that thing misquoting condition. "SLIGHTLY WORN ALMOST BRAND NEW" does not mean the sole looks as grey as concrete, and with a texture to match.
Yeah, that always gets me, too. I mean, does the seller think that I just won't notice that the shoes look like they've been through World War III? Stating something that's not true is bad enough, but insulting my intelligence with ridiculous untruths is something else entirely.
post #29 of 48
Thread Starter 
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by arguing that there's some sort of moral imperative to match the price of a store across the street, you're dehumanizing the shop owner.
i can see we speak a totally different language.
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you're the one who is casting this argument in moral terms when that's really not appropriate.
when did morality become taboo? i conceded from the beginning that it would not be illegal to make the sale at full retail, but i did say i considered it unethical and sleazy. if you choose to disagree with me you know you're doing so on ethical grounds and that this is essentially a moral issue we're discussing. there's a class in college called 'business ethics'. one of the topics they cover is doing things that may be legal, but which sometimes are hard to swallow ethically, like selling cigarettes, for example. we choose how we conduct our selves and our businesses independently of what others may or may not consider acceptable. you think it's acceptable to withhold useful information (a sale across the street) and i don't. c'est la vie.
post #30 of 48
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absolutely. we recommend other restaurants to our clientele all the time (and they recommend places to us). it's just part of being friendly. even our most loyal clients don't eat at our restaurant every time they eat out. if i try a new place and really like it, i share the experience with people. to answer your question more specifically, i would say "there's a new place over on la cienega. i was there the other night and it's excellent. check it out." we do it all the time.
I think you misunderstood me. I mean ALL your customers - every one that walked into the door. That is to say, would you consider it unethical to sell the same food and the same service for twice the price as your competition - even if your price is fair and your competition is losing money selling at half-price??
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