Grey Market

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by ed_candland|1, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. I was wondering, is everything at Badger Grey market and how can you tell? I thought I heard someone say it was. But somethings like the 45AX I'm thinking of buying is only about $100 cheaper than normal. If it is, it would seem like it might be better to get the AII from Robert White for the same price. If I'm not getting any factory service anway or buy a non grey market. But what's to break anyway ;-)
    Thanks, Ed
     
  2. I can't help you re: Badger but I do know that Robert White won't ship
    Toyo products to a U.S. address ... or at least that's what it says on
    his site.
     
  3. hmmmm Guess that rules that idea out...I looked and couldn't find
    that ifo on his site. Where is it located?
     
  4. Hmmm ... I just checked and couldn't find it, either! However, it WAS
    there just a few weeks ago when I wanted to order a Toyo 6x7 back from
    him so perhaps things have changed since then...
     
  5. Mamiya America Corporation is the official exclusive USA importer of
    Toyo view cameras (and obviously Mamiya MF cameras). I believe that
    Robert White is an official importer of Toyo (and many other brands)
    in the EU (although possibly not an exclusive importer). Because
    Mamiya America Corporation is not owned by Toyo (nor I believe by
    Mamiya Japan), there was at one time clear US import law that
    protected them against gray market goods (even if the goods were
    imported by a authorized dealer from another country).

    <p>

    There are two problems with Mamiya America Corporation enforcing this
    exclusive Toyo (and Mamiya) trademark in the USA. First, if someone
    buys goods from Robert White in the UK, the purchaser (not Robert
    White) is the USA importer, and US Customs is unlikely to stop such
    goods in single quantities from entering the US. Since the
    importation of genuine goods in violation of an exclusive import
    license is not a criminal violation (unlike importing counterfeit
    goods), US Customs does not usually get involved.

    <p>

    This means that any remedies that Mamiya America Corporation could
    employ to enforce its exclusive import license would be done in civil
    courts by seeking financial compensation for their loss. But it is
    not very practical for Mamiya America Corporation to file such
    lawsuits against individual importers who buy single quantities from
    Robert White.

    <p>

    Second, there has been recent a Supreme Court ruling that suggest
    that such exclusive import licenses are not enforceable.
    http://www.tradelaw.com/l'anza.htm But keep in mind that court
    rulings are not always applicable to other situations (with lightly
    different circumstances), and US Customs regulations are a very, very
    murky area of the law.

    <p>

    However, since Toyo Japan relies on Mamiya America Corporation to
    market (spending their own money doing so) Toyo products in the USA,
    they probably want to keep their distributor relatively happy. Toyo
    Japan can put pressure on Robert White to not ship to the USA by
    threatening to have their import relationship in the EU terminated.
    This probably explains why the Robert White web site said (up until
    recently) that they would not ship to the USA.

    <p>

    But given the recent USA Supreme Court ruling, and since Toyo also
    wants to keep Robert White happy (they probably move quite a lot of
    Toyo gear), Toyo Japan has probably backed off a bit.
     
  6. Michael....finally a clear explanation of the problem. No matter
    what happens, I'm not going back to paying what I used to pay when I
    can pay half to Robert White and still be treated like a King.

    <p>

    This is about greed, I would say support Robert White since he is
    the one saving us money, not just on Toyo, but on everything he sells.
    They need to keep us happy most of all since we're the ones buying.
     
  7. I just bought a Gitzo G1570M head from Robert White and came out $50
    cheaper than B&H even after shipping from the UK, and that's not
    counting local sales tax, which I pay, since I'm local to B&H.
     
  8. The logic of this is just mindboggling, put money in their
    pockets, and they only reason they don't sue you for picking their
    gear in the first place is that it would be impractical for them to
    sue each and every customer who buys from Robert White instead of
    getting gouged here.
     
  9. Michael: Thanks for your posting. We in the LFF need a lawyer for
    this one. Logic tells me that Mamiya's use of trademark law to
    prevent users from importing any of their products from other
    countries is really an abuse of trademark law, which was not intended
    for the purpose of setting up exclusive import licenses. After all,
    the product bearing Mamiya trademarks is manufactured by the same
    firm that owns Mamiya America and Mamiya Japan. In other words, by
    Mamiya's application of TM law, the manufacturer can have two
    identical trademarks, one which is owned by the manufacturer in Japan
    and the other by its selling branch in the US which by any other name
    is virtually no other than the manufacturer itself. In other words,
    the manufacturer claims that trademark law allows it to alone pass
    goods from his left to its right hand. The supreme court ruling ruled
    that these exclusive import practices are not enforceable. Is that
    all? it should have declared them illegal, after all, they have
    helped greedy manufacturers rip additional profits off US and
    Canadian users. Am I wrong?
     
  10. Just to clarify a few issues from above. In situations like Toyo
    where they rely on independent companies to do their marketing and
    distribution outside of Japan, there is usually no such thing as
    a “factory warranty.” The warranty is usually offered by the importer
    (Mamiya America Corporation, Robert White, etc.) in the specific
    country they import into, and is considered to be a marketing
    expense. The warranty coverage can be different in each country,
    especially since local laws may have some impact on the legal wording
    of the warranty terms.

    <p>

    Obviously, the "official authorized" importer (who provides warranty
    service in the local country) is able to purchase parts, manuals,
    receive training, etc. from the factory, but the warranty and non-
    warranty service expense is usually absorbed by the local marketing
    organization (importer). Depending on what the agreement is between
    the importer and the manufacturer, the factory may, or may not, be
    responsible for reimbursing the importer for defective parts within a
    specified timeframe. The price the importer pays the manufacturer
    for the original goods is somewhat determined by how much warranty
    liability the importer is assuming for themselves.

    <p>

    In the case of gray market goods (not Robert White, but probably
    Badger Graphics on some items), the importer does not purchase from
    the manufacturer, but usually from an official importer or retailer
    in another country. So it is best to simply ask about (and get in
    writing) the specifics of the warranty service, such as where it will
    be performed and how long it usually takes. Some gray market
    retailers simply replace the item (with a new or used one) if there
    is a problem, since it may be difficult or time consuming to get
    repaired. In these cases, you must rely on the integrity of the gray
    market importer to make good on the warranty. From comments I have
    heard, Badger Graphics is very good in this regard.

    <p>

    Some “authorized exclusive” importers such as Mamiya America
    Corporation may say that they do not perform any service (including
    non-warranty service for a fee) on equipment they do not import.
    That is their right to refuse such service, since part of the profit
    of every item they sell goes toward setting up the warranty and
    repair facilities in the USA.
     
  11. Julio,

    <p>

    Prior to the 1998 Supreme Court case referenced above, it was
    definately legal to set up exclusive importing and licensing
    agreements in the USA. Many “official” importers collected civil
    damages against gray market importers (usually not individuals). But
    there was one major condition that had to be met to enforce the
    trademark: the exclusive USA importer cannot be owned (directly or
    indirectly) by the manufacturer. Therefore, Mamiya America
    Corporation could (prior to 1998) enforce its exclusive trademark
    license, since it is not owned by the manufacturer (despite its
    name), and it filled for and received the trademark for these
    products in the USA.

    <p>

    The justification for this has been that companies like Mamiya
    America Corporation pay for all the marketing costs in the USA
    (magazine ads, trade show representation, repair service, stocking
    parts, etc.). They are in effect paying the manufacturer (by bearing
    the cost of USA advertising and marketing themselves) for this
    exclusive right to import, and they would suffer harm if the
    manufacturer allowed gray market imports into the USA. The gray
    market goods are usually purchased from countries that have no local
    advertising and marketing support costs.

    <p>

    However, in the case of NikonUSA and CanonUSA (who are owned or
    controlled by their Japanese parent companies) there has been no
    legal restriction (at least not for quite a few years) to gray market
    imports since the importer (same company as the manufacturer) was not
    harmed regardless of who sold the goods to the consumer (the importer
    and the manufacturer are really one and the same). That is why you
    see B&H Photo sell gray market goods from Nikon and Canon (along with
    the official USA goods), but they do not usually sell gray market
    goods when the official USA importer is independent of the
    manufacturer.

    <p>

    It is important to note that, the 1998 Supreme Court case
    notwithstanding (the facts of every case are not identical), Mamiya
    America Corporation still claims that their exclusive trademarks are
    valid in the USA. Whether they could prevail in court is open to
    debate.
     
  12. Robert White doesn't pay taxes in this country to keep your kids in
    school, your roads free from potholes, your water clean, your navy
    and army and airforece staffed, etc. etc. etc. Kevin
     
  13. xx

    xx

    oh my god! well I guess we better string that worthless scum up on a
    tree! god knows we live on this planet all by ourselves!
     
  14. Quit your Bogus flagwaving, patriotism and loyalty work BOTH
    WAYS!! Where's the loyalty of the distributers and vendors around
    here to us, the people that keep them in business?

    <p>

    Explain to me how Robert White can charge as much as half of what
    they charge around here for some gear and still stay in business?
    What in the hell are you talking about? The countries not going down
    the tubes if we quite padding the bank accounts of some folks around
    here!

    <p>

    I had the carpet in my house replaced last year, when I was
    estimates done, I two people come over to give me an estimate, one
    drove an old '78 Mercedes SL, and one drove an $80,000 BMW. The
    quality of the carpet, the amount of work each was willing to do, the
    honesty vs the greed of these two was evident down the line.

    <p>

    One offered me a good quality carpet, a good installation, and
    was satisfied with a small but comfortable profit, and one just wanted
    to throw any old piece of *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* into my house. He wasn't thinking
    about schools, hospitals, or the Army, just greed, like the folks
    you're trying to defend.

    <p>

    Paying out good hard earned money to feed greed isn't Patriotic,
    isn't american, it's dumb.
     
  15. "Robert White doesn't pay taxes in this country to keep your kids in
    school, your roads free from potholes, your water clean, your navy
    and army and airforece staffed, etc. etc. etc. Kevin"

    <p>

    LOL - and your point is...?
     
  16. Hmmmm... Robert White does pay taxes in Britain so that British kids
    can go to school, grow up to be British soldiers, and be our
    staunchest allies, so paying a smaller amount for goods there does
    that and leaves me money to spend locally on other things than
    padding greedy distributors pockets.
     
  17. And by the way, the taxes I pay around here don't seem to do doodly
    squat for eliminating potholes.
     
  18. Michael: you have provided learned opinion on grey goods which
    answers and clarifies issues of law and lay logic. Great to see that
    the law makes sense. Your posting is valuable reference material
    which goes into my computer to stay. Many thanks.
    Glen: Potholes, really, in the sunny south? what excuse for them
    without the deep frosts that make ours in Canada? Get Mamiya America
    to create a pothole fund with their pickpocket money!
     
  19. My Point is that your local distributor contributes to your
    government, and hires people that need jobs, and pays for their
    hospitalization insurance, etc. etc. etc. Yes, you can make the
    argument that all that is well and fine but I shouldn't have to pay
    for it. The only trouble is that one could make the argument that we
    should not support your employer or your business for the very same
    reason and you would be out of a job and not paying the taxes we
    need, etc. etc. etc. In my 30 years of photography I cannot believe
    how many people I have had personally bitch to me about how expensive
    photography equipment was and how they were getting ripped off. A
    few had legitimate complaints (those on fixed incomes) but the
    majority either smoked, or drank, had expensive SUVs, belonged to
    country clubs, went out to eat alot, had snowmobiles, motorcycles,
    etc. etc. etc. I am sure that my income is considerably less than
    almost everyone else who is reading this, yet I have found a way to
    own a hasselblad system, full set of lights, meters, light stands,
    and a sinar 8 x 10 with their shutter, etc. And I purchased all of
    it save for a lens or two in this country. Thats my point. Kevin
     
  20. Keep in mind than when purchasing from Robert White, USA customers
    are avoiding the 17.5% VAT (value added tax) that everyone else in
    the EU must pay. I imagine that the average EU resident is not happy
    about that.

    <p>

    But the real issue at hand is the idea of the “distributor.” The
    existing 3-tier supply chain model that some businesses currently use
    (manufacturer/distributor/retailer) is an anachronism in the age of
    the Internet. The Robert White model (manufacturer/retailer)
    eliminates the middleman and significantly contributes to the
    productivity of the economy. These productivity gains are measured by
    the US Federal Government and are frequently mentioned by Alan
    Greenspan (Chairman of the Federal Reserve) as the primary factor for
    the economic prosperity of the past decade. The use of middlemen in
    the supply chain adds zero to productivity measurements.

    <p>

    Bob Solomon of HP Marketing (USA distributor of Rodenstock, Heliopan,
    Wista, Linhoff, and others) is a sometimes contributor to this
    forum. In response to questions about products that HP Marketing
    distributes, he often asks that we send him an email, and he will
    mail us a brochure. I once asked him why HP (or the manufacturer)
    does not convert the all the (very expensive full color glossy)
    brochures to PDF files (or other digital format) and put them on the
    Internet. His response was less than satisfactory, which is not
    surprising since this would probably put him out of a job.

    <p>

    In a free country, Mamiya America Corporation, HP Marketing, and the
    manufacturers they represent can distribute their products however
    they please (within the law), but don’t expect me to pay for their
    inefficiencies. Companies that cannot exploit technology and
    eliminate (or significantly reduce) costs in the supply chain (e.g.,
    middlemen) will eventually end up in the ash heap of history.
     
  21. Michael

    <p>

    I disagree in the respect that without these importers you would not
    have individual camera shops handling warranty work. there is no such
    thing as a free lunch. That work is paid for through your importer.
    Buy from Robert White, or buy from others. Thats fine. But when the
    thing breaks see what happens. Or when you need an obscure part just
    run down to your local camera store and see if he/she has it in stock.

    <p>

    Kevin
     
  22. Thanks for all the input...Guess grey market is a topic everyone
    feels strongly about...
     
  23. Kevin,

    <p>

    I am not sure I understand your first sentence, but I think I get the
    gist of what you are saying. However, Robert White is an official
    authorized importer of the goods they sell. They are also the
    retailer. They also handle warranty service. Marketing of individual
    brands is done via the Internet (including recommendations of
    equipment made in this forum). This eliminates the middleman. The
    fact that they are in the UK is irrelevant to this discussion.

    <p>

    I have found it much more convenient, and much more productive, to do
    business on the Internet with specialists and companies that have
    virtually unlimited inventories. The local shop can rarely afford to
    stock every item or part, and the time and cost of traveling around
    town is not trivial.

    <p>

    Eliminating the middleman (distributor) is not limited to import
    situations. In a free society, the consumer chooses whether they want
    superior service and support, or whether they want lower prices.
    Invariably consumers want lower prices, but obviously there will
    always be some exceptions. The companies that prosper in the 21st
    century will figure out a way to provide both excellent service and
    low prices.

    <p>

    There are companies such as Amazon.com that buy directly from
    manufacturers (eliminating the distributor) and have outstanding
    customer support. From everything I have heard, Robert White, B&H
    Photo, Badger Graphics, and a few others fall into that same category.
     
  24. This thread seems to make RW out to be some kind of a knight in
    shining armour. The fact is: RW isn't. RW is simply capitalising on
    the recalcitrance of American distributors to price their equipment in
    line with international pricing. The more recalcitrant they are, the
    more RW gains as his prices look low in comparison. The funny thing
    is they are really helping to make RW rich by being intransigent. RW
    did the right thing by jumping in on e-commerce early and had the wits
    about him to offer good service to boot. He doesn't have to lift a
    finger as Americans do not even try to drive a bargain.

    <p>

    Americans get gouged, RW wins by not even trying. www.teamphoto.co.uk
    also has similar 'very good' prices and service but hardly anybody
    mentions them.
     
  25. Levity about potholes aside, I am bothered by one aspect of this
    problem. Price differentials maintained by many US distributors are
    killing local camera stores in most US cities. Large stores in NYC,
    LA and other centers of extensive professional photography may
    survive, but even in a large city like Houston, there isn't much left.

    <p>

    I would LOVE to buy products from my local dealer. I do buy many
    things there, and gladly pay a premium to do so. I could save 10% or
    more, plus our 8.5% tax by buying film by mail. But I will spend that
    money to keep them going. I would also buy LF equipment there, if
    they could come within 10-20% of prices from Badger or RW. But they
    cannot, because of the pricing structure of many US distributors or
    US subsidiaries of the manufacturers.

    <p>

    The problem is exacerbated in the US by the inability to enact a
    uniform sales tax structure. This is hurting many local businesses
    and tax bases, and really must be solved soon.

    <p>

    So I am willing to pay a resonable premium to support both my local
    dealer and US distribution. What is reasonable. Clearly I would pay
    10% more, probably as much as 20%. But the current premiums are 50-75-
    100% in many cases. Market economics says such price differentials
    CANNOT be maintained. The internet has opened a closed market. And
    the US distributors cannot bury their heads in the sand and try to
    protect their former ways.

    <p>

    Clearly this is doable. Check gray market Canon vs US Canon at B&H.
    The difference is minimal, even with a very large advertising budget
    from Canon USA. Maybe they bury losses in copier sales... but Nikon
    differentials aren't large for most products either.

    <p>

    Some of that is volume. Maybe we don't need advertising for LF
    equipment. Has anybody here bought a lens or camera based on
    advertising? Anybody seen an Ebony Camera ad lately. My point is that
    the business model of many US LF distributors is in trouble, and the
    quicker that changes, the better for everybody, me, the distributor,
    my local dealer, and the potholes.
     
  26. well, I don't have experience with Robert White so I guess I have to
    shut up about that situation and just say that it should be justified
    on a case by case basis. So maybe everyone here should write down
    their hourly wage or yearly salary, and then we can all decide
    whether we thing that person should be paid that or whether it might
    be better to bring somebody in from another country who will work at
    that job for less money and less benefits. I think the clothing
    industry has gong through this before, and so has the automobile
    industry. Anyway . . . . . hurray for capitalism. Kevin
     
  27. As a spin-off of Ed's question who is the official U.S. distributor
    of Arca products? In other words who in the U.S. offers a USA
    warranty on Arca? And if you do buy gray market Arca and need it
    repaired or it is defective upon purchase what then?
     
  28. If I were particularly gung ho about "buying American," I would not
    approach it by purchasing products made in Germany, Japan, and
    Switzerland, even if they came by way of a U.S. distributor.
    Seriously, if this is an important motivation (it isn't for me), then
    at least stick to the fine products made by Wisner, Canham, Galvin,
    Gowland, AWB, Ries, Wimberley, Kirk, Norman, and such. Call me
    sentimental, but I feel much more sympathy for people who actually
    innovate and make fine products by hand than for the distributors.

    <p>

    Even living in New York City, I send most of my repair work out of
    state these days. If I have to ship to the UK or Europe, that's not
    really a big deal in the age of FedEx and UPS.
     
  29. Arca-Swiss Inc., 442 W Belden, Chicago, IL 60614, (773) 248-2513,
    fax: (773) 248-2774
     
  30. Kevin: Supporting the tactics of greedy firms that use the subterfuge
    of trademarks and exclusive distributorships to gouge the citizenry
    is unpatriotic because it undermines the country's productivity.
    Such firms may pay taxes but otherwise their contribution to the
    economy is sub-optimal in as much as in their hands your money is
    worth less.
    In a free society citizens can drive the gougers out business by not
    to giving them their money. It is he citizens patriotic duty to do so.
     
  31. Kevin: Supporting the tactics of greedy firms that use the subterfuge
    of trademarks and exclusive distributorships to gouge the citizenry
    is unpatriotic because it undermines the country's productivity.
    Such firms may pay taxes but otherwise their contribution to the
    economy is sub-optimal in as much as in their hands your money is
    worth less.
    In a free society citizens can drive the gougers out business by not
    to giving them their money. It is the citizens patriotic duty to do
    so.
     
  32. Kevin.....The dealers themselves dump their stock on e-bay when
    it's to their advantage, undercutting other dealers in effect, but
    does the thought of this being maybe unpatriotic stop them, NO. Have
    you ever checked out e-bay, they're 'guys' with 6000 feedbacks, who
    would have time to shoot with 6000 feedbacks?

    <p>

    I have communicated with some of these folks and they are the
    dealers or are affiliated with the dealers. They'll cut each others
    throat when it suits them, which is why I can understand why you're so
    riled up? I only bought American for years, and most of the time they
    didn't even think they had to be polite while I was doing it.

    <p>

    I bought a lens from RW that is an additional $1000 here, that
    savings goes to my family, and I feel no pain, because this a world
    community.

    <p>

    Erik....RW is first and foremost a Businessman but consider this;
    I've sunk plenty into the pockets of B&H which I consider a good and
    honest outfit, truly, but RW did me several favors just based on the
    fact that I was a valued customer, he contacts you the next day no ifs
    , ands, or buts. He's no saint(who is?), but he's got CLASS.

    <p>

    Once he knows you, your word is as good as a check. He is no
    saint, but he's is a businessman I perceive to be honest, how many of
    those are there?
     
  33. Kevin,
    If all of the photographic equipment we are talking about is NOT
    manufactured in this country do not those workers pay taxes in their
    country. How then does paying for middleman markups help employ
    workers in this country so that they can pay taxes. I imagine that
    the staff of the middlemen sellers to retailers is not terribly large
    nation wide. Frankly , it would seem to me that since we are
    supporting the tax base of other countries by purchasing their
    manufactured goods it behooves us as good citizens to save as much as
    we can so that we can pay taxes here.
    Seriously, every one is obligated to pay a FAIR share of the cost of
    government, but not more than a fair share. I see no problem in
    paying a FAIR price for an item but I would be a fool to pay more
    than that just to support the greed of a seller.
     
  34. Barry

    <p>

    Please tell me who you work for and what you make so that I can
    decide if you make too much so that I can boycott your company's
    product. Come on. Hasselblad USA is not just one guy sitting behind
    a desk. Nor is Mamiya. They employ technicians, secretaries,
    drivers, accountants, and so on and so forth just as your company
    employs you, or you employ yourself. AND as I mentioned, the most
    important thing these importers do is to maintain the warranty
    department and parts department as well as to let everyone know whats
    new and old and all of that good stuff. I don't say you should not
    buy from overseas if you want to. What I say is, if we all buy
    overseas, then we don't have those importers here, and we don't have
    the services they provide either. That is why I buy my film locally
    even though I can order it for 50 cents a roll from someplace else.
    I like it that there is a photography store close to me that I can go
    and browse around in, and have avalailable to ask questions of, and
    get things for me in a hurry when I need them. And that is why I
    want importers. And why I am willing to pay a little bit more for
    them. If you don't want them fine. But then don't come back here
    and complain that you can't get warranty service or that some company
    is downsizing in its product line or some other stupid complaint.
    And don't complain if you happen to lose your job because it was
    outsourced to Japan or China or Korea or where ever. Kevin
     
  35. Kevin,
    For what it is worth I am a retired Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. I
    don't really see this as germaine to this discussion. What I do
    believe is germaine is the fact that the warranties you seem to feel
    are so valuable become terribly overpriced insurance policies(often
    with a lot of fine print). Doesn't it make more sense to pay half the
    amount that "official' importers are asking and send defective or
    broken equipment back to the factory or to a qualified repair shop
    here. Postage or Fed ex or UPS rates are not that expensive.
    Who repairs equipment after the warrantee expires?
    As for dealing with a local shop I too would rather, but problems do
    arise. I am still waiting for my local shop to notify me that the
    Schneider lens that I ordered two years ago has come in. I now get
    the feeling that the salesperson really didn't understand that this
    lens was for a 4x5 view camera and not a 35mm slr.
    We are not talking about fifty cents more for a roll of film but a
    thousand dollars for a lens or a body.My insurance company charges
    $1.12/$100 for full coverage insurance. If the impact of not buying
    stuff locally and by paying more for film locally why is Kodak
    cutting more and more of its production?
    Please lets get back to the issue of where these bodies and lenses
    are made and where the employees of these manufacturers pay taxes.
    Respectfully
    Barry Trabitz
     
  36. Dr. Trabitz

    <p>

    For what its worth, I am a practicing attorney and a practicing
    photographer. I spend 75 percent of my time doing pro-bono work for
    poor and disadvantaged people and I work full time. The rest of my
    time is spent doing enough work so that I can get by. I earn less in
    one year than you probably earned in 2 months. But I still buy my
    photography equipment here becasue I believe that buying here creates
    jobs here, regardless of whether the jobis working for an importer or
    working for a manufacturer. The importance of warranties is secondary
    to the importance of supporting our own country. Sadly, much of what
    we like to own in this country isn't made in this country becasue of
    the very reason I feel strongly about this issue. Once again, I do
    not mind if people want to save money by buying someplace else. That
    is capitalism and I believe in it. What I do mind is those who are
    hypocrits. By that I mean those would would complain they are not
    being paid enough and whose every belonging is worth a fortune, but
    when it comes time for them to buy it seems everyone elses stuff is
    worth nothing. I don't specifically say you are that way becasue I
    have no evidence that you are. But I stand by my arguments.
    Respectfully, Kevin
     
  37. What I say is, if we all buy overseas, then we don't have those importers here, and we don't have the services they provide either.
    Maybe, maybe not. I certainly don't begrudge anyone who earns a buck but unless those importers that're trying to maintain unrealistically high margins on their products start to lose sales to those elsewhere in the world that don't, they have no incentive to lower their prices or improve their customer service or whatever else might be necessary to preserve their share of the market they helped to develop. If you know of a better way to drive this point home to them -- write them a letter, perhaps? -- then I'm all ears but historically, spending your money where you get the most perceived value (be it the lowest prices or the best service) has proven to be the most effective approach.
     
  38. Kevin, by locally you mean domestic retailers, not local (as in
    Minneapolis), right? I only ask because when I saw some of your posts
    in this thread I went back and found an old email from you that states
    you buy your film from B&H in bulk and either process locally or ship
    it off to Kansas City and you buy most of your equipment off of eBay.
    I'm not attempting to take a cheap shot at you, simply trying to
    clarify your stance since your posts have read to me as your support
    of truly local, not domestic, retailers -- yet in the past you have
    failed to practice what you preach. And, if you do mean domestic and
    not local, some of your theories about taxes, roads, etc. are negated.

    <p>

    While I wholeheartedly support the concept of purchasing locally and
    attempt to do so when reasonable, the local stores charge 2-4 times
    what I can buy film for at B&H, there is no LF equipment to be found
    for the most part, and last time I checked out the darkroom section of
    the local "pro" shop I heard the woman working there explaining to
    someone that there was no difference between RC and Fiber except that
    RC dries faster.
    My personal stance is that I while I try to support local retailers,
    the price discrepancy becomes an issue. I will pay a slight premium to
    support the local shops (because when I need a roll of film TODAY B&H
    cannot help me out). However, my overwhelming preference is to buy
    from someone who actually understands the equipment and needs of the
    LF community. These are the people that are going to continue to stock
    the items we want and need and have the best connection to the
    manufacturers. I also have an advantage that I only live a few hours
    from Badger and my family is from near there so I can somewhat justify
    supporting a "local" retailer.

    <p>

    Off my soapbox now. My apologies but I feel much better.
     
  39. Jennifer
    Yes, I have in the past bought bulk film from B and H but I no longer
    do as I try and support the local retailers now even though their
    prices are quite high. And if I cannot get it locally I try to buy
    it here in the United States. So yes, I mean domestically.

    <p>

    Once again, I don't say you shouldn't buy where you want to. All I
    say is don't complain when the distributor isn't there, or kodak
    isn't there, or something is wrong, when you didn't support them in
    the first place.

    <p>

    And I am also saying that it is funny to me that people are so
    hypocritical. Thinking that their value is so very high, but when you
    have to make a deal with someone their value is low. How would you
    like it if on your next job you finished and the buyer said well, I
    know you asked for $100.00 but I don't think you are worth that so I
    will give you $50.00. Or, if you went in for your paycheck and the
    boss said well, I know we pay you 25 per hour but this week I am only
    going to give you 10 per hour. You would howl bloody murder. But
    its okay to tell the guy down the street trying to make a living by
    keeping some stuff in stock that you might want or need that he is
    charging too much. Bullshit.

    <p>

    Kevin
     
  40. Kevin, aside from the hypocrisy about your own past purchases
    revealed by Jennifer above, it is interesting to note
    (www.kjkolosky.com) that about 7 years ago you started a new career
    as an attorney in private practice at about 40 years of age. In my
    experience with such endeavors, attorneys in individual practice are
    constantly scrounging for new business among the local citizenry and
    the small business community. In addition, I notice that you are
    currently seeking election to a judgeship in your community, which
    further necessitates the need to suck up to the locals and buy votes
    with your purchases.

    <p>

    So in fact, your recent conversion to purchasing local (rather than
    from B&H Photo) is a crude sort of barter that is part and parcel of
    your struggles as an individual attorney in private practice and your
    future political aspirations. In your pursuit of personal financial
    rewards, for you to pontificate as some sort of morally superior
    person and accuse others of not supporting their country, makes my
    stomach turn.

    <p>

    I suspect that the example you gave of someone being told they are
    only worth $10 per hour comes from a real experience you have had as
    an attorney. That could be the result of several factors. First, it
    could be the result of an oversupply of attorneys in your area, and
    the “market” is telling you that (although you work very hard and
    very much enjoy your job) you need to look elsewhere for a career if
    you want more money. Better that the “market” tell you what
    profession to pursue, rather than like it was in the Soviet Union
    when the government assigned people professions based on the “needs”
    of the state. Alternatively, it could a reflection of the quality of
    service you have provided your clients. Based on the ridiculous
    arguments that you put forward in this forum, I would not rule out
    the later.
     
  41. Mr. Feldman

    <p>

    I do not woryy about clients one bit as I have as many as I can take,
    and as I noted above, most of them I do not charge money but rather
    work for them on a pro bono basis. I have probably given away more
    than $150,000 or more in free legal work in the past four years.

    <p>

    Moreover, I am a very generous person. Ask Ms. Waak and quite a rew
    others whom I have loaned books and tapes without even knowing them
    or sometimes meeting them. Ask 20 or so people whom are
    photographers today because I helped them.

    <p>

    Before I became an attorney I was a CPA. I have been a wedding
    photographer for 30 years.

    <p>

    From your note, I suspect you do not even understand what I have been
    talking about. But rather than stoop to your level I will just wish
    you well and hope that you do well in the future. Take care.

    <p>

    Kevin
     
  42. Kevin, One of the things I don't understand is why you denied in
    response to Jennifer that you purchase gray market goods, when in
    Photo.net on February 03, 2002; 08:01 P.M. Eastern you said:

    <p>

    "by gray market I assume you mean lenses that carry the Hasselblad
    International warranty rather than the Hasselblad USA warranty. I own
    such a 50 mm cfi lens. It is super."
    www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=001vxd

    <p>

    Your personal generosity is very impressive, but I don't understand
    what it has to do with whether one should purchase gray market vs.
    authorized imported goods.
     
  43. Mr. Feldman

    <p>

    If you would look up the page a bit you would see that I am not
    trying to deny anything. I said "all except for one or two that were
    purchased in this country", thereby admittig that I have purchased
    what could be called a gray market good, just as I have in the past
    ordered film from New York, and purchased items on Ebay. All I am
    trying to do is make the point that I believe it is better to
    purchase items in this country if possible. My main argument is no
    different than General Motors asking you to buy a Cheverolet, or GM's
    Union asking you to buy a Cheverolet. My second argument, if you
    will reread what I have written, is that it is fine if you buy your
    stuff elsewhere, but if you do, then don't complain later when you
    can't get it locally. My third argument is that if you don't want
    someone telling you that your not worth what you earn, then don't
    tell other people they are not worth what they earn. That is all I
    am saying. Kevin
     
  44. Why don't we just lay this to rest, with the fact that
    everybodies just trying the do the best they can and get the best deal
    they can find, which doesn't have anything to do with being
    UnAmercian.

    <p>

    I firmly beleive that after losing enough business because of
    their pricing folks around here will simply adjust prices, they aren't
    going to go hungry, they've made plenty. The 'Boss Hoggs' are simply
    going to have to admit it's a new game now with e-bay and the
    internet.

    <p>

    I firmly believe that more attractive pricing will lead to more
    sales not less, more jobs not less, and to more sales here and not
    Robert White but with your mind set you are refusing to see that.
    You have the right to your position and that's that.
     
  45. A dealer has a lens that is 'marked up' $1000 over what RW sell
    the lens for, so someone buys the lens from RW, and not only that but
    tells his buddies about the deal so they buy from RW.

    <p>

    The dealer here with the overpriced lens makes nothing on the lens
    which doesn't sell, while RW sells five or six lenses, getting a lot
    more than the $1000 the dealer here is still waiting for, that doesn't
    make any sense. It just seems like the folks here have a problem
    understanding this. Well I'm done, C ya later.
     
  46. Jonathan

    <p>

    Are you running the thread now? And can you prove your scenario?

    <p>

    Kevin
     
  47. In an effort to give you credit, I stated that you had a right to
    your position, does that sound like I'm trying to run anything?

    <p>

    There's no need to prove anything, Robert White sells a lot at his
    reduced prices, there's no reason on earth, the folks here can't
    reverse the situation by making their pricing competitive with RW,
    what about that doesn't make sense to you?

    <p>

    Kevin.....regardless of how you would like it to be, there's no
    going back, I took all of one business course in school, but I
    remember they said you had to compete and be flexible. Robert White,
    e-bay, and the internet are here, and here to stay, the folks here are
    going to have to adjust and compete.

    <p>

    Even if you think I've failed to make a reasonable argument for my
    position, I'm not ever going to pay $1000 more for a lens to somebody
    here instead of Robert White to prove somehow that I'm an American,
    I'm an American regardless of who I choose to buy from with MY MONEY.
     
  48. BTW if there is a lens that sells here for $2500.00 with that same
    lens selling for $1500.00 for Robert White, would you pay the $2500.00
    on the basis that it confirms your Patriotism. I don't hear you
    saying that. Would you forego searching out competitive pricing and
    pay the highest prices here without question for the sake of
    Partiortism? Please tell me that because it would make my night!

    <p>

    You pay the dealer here $1000.00 more that Robert White, are you
    saying you know the dealer is going to divide up that extra $1000 and
    send equal parts to schools, hospitals, and the armed services?

    <p>

    You're threads imply that the dealers and middlemen around here
    somehow need the higher prices, the profits of which they will
    automatically pass on to schools and hospitals, I don't believe that,
    I wish it were true, and in some isolated cases it may be, but by my
    figuring, a honest businessman doesn't set out to gouge you in the
    first place.
     
  49. Ed,

    <p>

    Rather than think about the political, social and economic ramifications of
    buying from one or another capitalist parasite, why don't you call or email Jeff
    Taugner <badger@badgergraphic.com> at Badger. He is a nice helpful guy.
    One advantage to buying from Jeff is that he has a nice return policy. Posting
    back to the UK might be a pain if you aren't happy with the camera. Also, Jeff
    offers, at least on the lenses, a one or two year warranty...
     
  50. In all fairness I would mention some of the folks here in the U.S.
    that I've come in contact with who are fair, honest, and service
    oriented like Steve Grimes, Ries, Bostick $ Sullivan, Freestyle and
    some others I can't think of right now, so Robert White isn't all by
    himself when it comes to class.
     
  51. Kevin's argument is a classic example of the losing side of
    prisoner's dilemma. As brief as it goes, if police aprehend two
    suspects but need testimony from one to get at lease one conviction
    for the suspected crime, the technique is to isolate both of them and
    offer each the opportunity to go free in exchange for damaging
    testimony versus their cohort. Thus each suspect is faced with a
    choice; if both don't talk, both go free. If one talks and the other
    doesn't, the one who attempted to work as a team goes to jail while
    the one who attempted to thwart his cohort goes free. Invariably
    both choose to talk.
    This applies well to why cartels such as Opec rarely succeed in their
    efforts to raise the price of the good that they could control with
    cooperation.
    If everyone elected to get less for their money and buy as locally as
    possible on each purchase decision, there would be plenty more
    (inefficient) jobs available to the populace. That much is certain.
    But to think that this idea can perpetuate is foolish, and in due
    time this will be realized by the Kevins of the world as well as all
    middlemen distributors who seek to maintain their windfall profits
    per unit.
    Nonetheless, even I guilty of taking the loser's side of prisoner's
    dilemma in an effort to be an idealist. I choose not to own a gun
    nor knowingly maintain a friendship with anyone that does, vainly
    hoping that if no one had a gun we'd all be safer in the process.
    Nonetheless, if I'm shot I'm sure my dying thought will be that I'd
    wished I'd had a gun just before my killer tried to shoot me.
     
  52. Your last thoughts should be commands from your cerebral cortex to
    your legs to run.
     
  53. Jarrod

    <p>

    I don't know where you went to Law School. I do know that I went to
    William Mitchell College of Law and graduated Cum Laude and I have
    never heard of anything like the concoction you have dreamed up in my
    10 years of practicing law. I think you have been watching too much
    tv and reading too many radical books. One thing is for sure. If
    your theories were true there would be no retail anymore. That might
    be good for prices in the sense that there would be no middlemen to
    mark them up. But without the efficiency of such a system we would
    have chaos. Moreover, you misunderstand my points.
    Once again, I do not say it is wrong to try and find the best price.
    What I do say is that those who do not buy locally should not complain
    about the disappearance of local services that have to close becasue
    they are not supported locally. And by the same reasoning they
    should not complain about losing their job to overseas competition if
    the price of their labor is too high. I for one want to be able to
    go down to my local camera store and look at things and be able to
    buy things that I need right now. In order to do that the store has
    to be there. In order for that store to be there it has to make a
    profit. It is as simple as that. Kevin
     
  54. And to Jonathan

    <p>

    When I was in undergraduate college I took 3 or 4 courses in macro
    and microeconomics. One things I remember vividly is the theory of
    the velocity of money. I do not know if that extra money would be
    spent specifically on a hospital or a road or whatever, but I do know
    that its velocity ( as the economists call it) would contribute
    indirectly to all of those things and much more. Kevin
     
  55. And here I thought 'Gray Market' was where colorblind folks shopped.
     
  56. I didn't go to law school, Kevin. My degree was in geography, the major in the United States that is the least declared by incoming freshmen. This is due to the abundance of space here in the USA; in other less space-endowed countries such as England(where it is the fourth highest declared incoming major) geography has plenty of respect.
    My wife is a practicing attorney and a graduate of Emory University's School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. She works as a large firm's pro bono specialist, and also will be attending a two-year fellowship for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund's charter office in Atlanta come October.
    I didn't dream up prisoner's dilemma, it was taught to me by a respected geographer from the University of Florida named Grant Thrall. Prisoner's dilemma is taught in many fields ranging from geography to economics to sociology to law-including some classes at Emory's School of Law. Plug the words "prisoner's dilemma theory" into any search engine and be enlightened. It is a primary tenet of cooperation theory worldwide, and frankly I'm suprised you've never heard of it given your educational background.
    In geography, prisoner's dilemma describes why cities without political or geographical constraints suffer from vast urban sprawl and horrible traffic. Consider Atlanta, a city I'm quite familiar with. Atlanta has many municipalities at the fringe of their city limits, and these municipalities are all too happy to give a new housing permit to an individual that works in Atlanta and wishes to live in their town. A prospective new citizen twenty years ago would be faced with an easy choice; live in Atlanta and pay higher prices affected by the value of land that those goods occupy, or buy a new house in a subdivision just outside of Atlanta that has much lower prices and more space in exchange for a relatively small sacrifice of time. If you're the amongst the relative few to make this choice, you benefit greatly from it. The problem is that many others will also make the choice, and in the end your exchange of time for money will become a disadvantage. The same distance takes three times as long to travel at 4:30pm than it does at 4:30am.
    This is not beneficial to Atlanta itself either, because it negatively affects housing values as well as creates a large population of individuals who earn their income in Atlanta but spend their property taxes out of it. Invariably the end result is worse traffic for everyone as the metropolitan statistical area becomes less and less efficient with its space. Now Atlanta, through no fault of their own, suffers from the worst traffic in the USA outside of Southern California.
    Examples of effective constraints to this end result are a) the Vail valley in Colorado, where the geographical boundaries on either side of the city are ardorous enough to discourage most from commuting b) Disneyworld in Orlando, who wisely purchased a much larger tract of land than they'd need-knowing that at the fringe of that tract would be poorly planned urban sprawl c) European cities in general, who are extremely reluctant to give new housing permits-which thus guarantees a compact city will stay just that.
    You're certainly correct that prisoner's dilemma is currently changing the landscape of the retail industry forever. Quite rapidly, people are being accustomed to the less visceral feeling of online shopping in exchange for great availability and lower prices. So all retail shops that sell items that don't need local representation are as doomed as the station wagon was at the arrival of the minivan in 1984. The end result of this will be that people's expectations of localized service solutions will vanish. Then competition will ensue amongst the sellers that can compete on price to see who can provide the best service. This service costs money, so in the end there will still be at least two alternatives for the consumer: a firm based purely on price and a firm based on relatively low prices and with excellent service. There have always been customers loyal to both, and there always will be.
    Germany effectively competes in the world market despite absurdly high labor costs. They're able to do this by manufacturing goods that depend more on unique traits rather than competing solely based on price. This is the model for an effective transistion of American labor-compete on other elements besides price and you will be effective in surviving. Compete solely on price and you must face the most desperate laborers head to head in a battle that will be lost until your desperation matches theirs.
    But without the efficiency of such a system we would have chaos. You and I have vastly different definitions of "efficiency".
     
  57. Jarrod

    <p>

    After checking with a local economist concerning your last post, I am
    told that if anywhere your theory could have evolved it would have
    evolved in the United States already, and while it may evolve to a
    degree, it will never be mainstream. Moreover, he tells me that
    efficiancy and and cheapness in price do not necessarily coincide.
    I like what some of the other folks have said. If there are people
    in this country who are offering good deals, then buy from them. If
    you live in a country other than the U.S and your local guy offers a
    great deal, buy from them. Kevin
     
  58. Kevin
    Once again, prisoner's dilemma isn't my theory, but rather a tried and true explanation to the actions of man done in the singular which profoundly affect the collective. I don't know which historical mind was the first to document this, but it wasn't me.
    As a geographer I look to the spatial aspect of nearly everything, but I'm curious as to why it matters to you where the theory originated. Do you wish to discredit it due to its origin?
    if anywhere your theory could have evolved it would have evolved in the United States already, and while it may evolve to a degree, it will never be mainstream.
    I completely disagree. The way we buy a greeting card, for example, will not be changed by more cost-efficient methods. Same goes for fresh fish, flowers, gasoline or the other myriad of purchases that have great spatial advantages or requirements. But in the world of urban development, prisoner's dilemma is absolutely, positively the mainstream model for the unchecked evolution of a metropolitan statistical area. Instead of asking an economist, ask a geographer or urban planner. I just picked Atlanta to make the point, as this is perhaps the worst example of its impact.
    In the last few years there has been a cyclical change in housing values in the USA, with a decades- long trend being reversed: People with high incomes are choosing to once again locate within the primary city's limits, generally tearing down an old small house and putting the largest possible house upon this piece of land that the law allows. In geography it has been termed "masionization," and it has occurred because the time sacrifice of living in the bedroom communities has finally outweighed the monetary savings.
     
  59. "Once again, I do not say it is wrong to try and find the best price.
    What I do say is that those who do not buy locally should not
    complain about the disappearance of local services that have to close
    becasue they are not supported locally."

    <p>

    "Locally" in our area i non-existant. Not because they were not
    supported but because there is no market base large enough to support
    a basic photo store, much less a specialized large format one.

    <p>

    Yes, the few dealers within a few hundred miles can get what I want.
    They mail order it. If I have a question though, there are few in the
    stores who can answer them as pertaining to much LF gear. They can
    read the ad & sales info. So can I. They can then order it & we both
    wait for it to come in. I can order it and cut out the middleman and
    have it come directly to me rather than have another half day trip
    just to pick up the item when it comes in. The guarantee is the
    same... if it breaks I have to send it in for service. Same thing if
    I buy 'locally', it still gets sent back for service & I am still out
    the lens/whatever for the time it is getting serviced as the dealer I
    just supported by paying a higher price doesn't have loaner gear to
    cover LF needs.
    Why buy esoteric gear locally when you don't get supported? It makes
    no sense. As for patriotism & where you guy, what a load of bullshit.
    I bet you believe Richard Nixon was set up also. Patriotism has
    nothing to do with where you spend your money or where the product
    was made. If some really think it does, what LF cameras, lenses &
    film do you shoot? What tripod do you use? Where is your vehicle
    made?

    <p>

    Buy where you will as long as the gear works. And if you can get out
    of paying those damnable state taxes, more power to you.
     
  60. I also find it safer to buy from well-known international retailers--be it RW, BH, Calumet, whoever--they know if they screw somebody via e-commerce, there's at least a middling chance this fact will be communicated to other customers. Witness a recent thread where a number of people swore off Heliopan and other HP Marketing products due to HP's petty behavior regarding resale of trademarked goods. Even ebay sellers have this constraint--if you screw up, some percentage of your potential customers find out.

    But when the local photo store screws you, there's no effective way to communicate this fact to a meaningful percentage of their customers. I've had an immensely greater percentage of problem transactions with small local firms. Sorry, if you can't maintain the standard of service nor compete on price you deserve to close. Supporting inefficient economic entities just out of soft-heartedness or "patriotism" was a Soviet strategy. IT FAILED!

    For niche products aimed at sophisticated consumers--certainly any camera bigger than 35mm--a zillion tiny local retailers will never again make more economic sense than a handful of national retailers. Some may struggle on for another 5 or 10 years, catering to older folks who aren't internet literate. But once that market's gone, they're dead as dinosaurs.
     

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