Saturday, August 25, 2007

It's A Racket

Every business has got its way of making sure they have a way to milk everything they can from a customer.

Our particular exposure to this phenomenom of late happens to be with local musical instrument stores. Here's how they get you.

First, your kid decides he wants to try out for the band. This is a good thing - you want to encourage them to try new things, get involved with something that'll expand their way of thinking in new ways, etc. They also might get involved with kids they hadn't hung out with before and make some new friends.

Then you go to the school and find out the band teacher has a strong preference for certain brand instruments. Now, of course, he can't force you to get instruments from that maker; he can only strongly encourage you to do so - by pointing out that you might have problems finding someone who can do repairs on more generic brands.

So, you go to the music store and find they want to charge quite a bit for the instrument. Sure, you can a similar instrument at stores like Sears, Wal*Mart, Sams, etc. (for a quarter of the price), but those stores only sell the instrument. The music store does maintenance and repairs as well. But, the kicker - they only maintain and repair the brands they sell. That's it. Buy something else and you're on your own. And, if I didn't mention, conveniently they do carry the brand that the band teacher prefers.

If I were a conspiracy theorist I would swear I could smell a kick-back somewhere.

Oh well. As a parent we do what's best for our kids. We may not always like it and may feel like we're caving in on our principles, but we still do what's best for them.

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