Buying New vs Buying Used - A Moral Dilemma?

JohnnySomersett

Senior Member
A comment over in another part of this forum got me thinking yesterday and I thought I'd offer out the idea to see what the DW community thought about it when posed with a question of ethics over financial benefits.

The comment made was something along the lines of "go to your local shop, hit every cymbal they have to see what you like. Then, of course, go and buy used"

Now, this sits uncomfortably with me for a few reasons. Being in a sort-of service industry (plumbing supplies) I often get thrown at me, while negotiating, the now classic "but I can get it cheaper on the internet" line. This grates me somewhat as there is a world of difference between the sort of attentive service they would get from me as opposed to the faceless world of e-commerce they so easily namecheck. Namely the lack of support if something goes wrong and the experienced advice I can give! So, how this is relevant to drumming and gear? Well, I'm sure you can figure that out...

In my humble opinion, intentionally going to a drum/music store to try products out only to then going somewhere else to buy it is morally wrong. Not only is it rude, but extremely insulting to the shop owner trying to eek out a living in this tough economy! I think if you're willing to USE the service of a shop then you should at least have the common decency to buy the product you liked on the rack from them (as long as the price isn't ridiculous!). Music shops - especially independents - are disappearing every single day thanks to eBay, online-only shops, and the big National companies. In the UK there are pitiful amounts of places to go. There is a tiny shop in my town that is destocking for closure, the one 4 miles away is gone, another 5 miles away is out of business, and the only one half decent is 14 miles away and is more of a chain modeled store than a nice welcoming 'local' place.

These small or independent places need our support more and more, and abusing them shouldn't be tolerated - let alone encouraged!

Now, I buy online, I won't lie, but I buy from online shops that have a real shop too, the ones trying to claw back some of the lost trade by moving into the new era of sales. In that way, because of distance I can still spend my money where it's deserved. I buy used when I want something that isn't available anymore (vintage or discontinued), otherwise, I'll save my money and buy new - supporting our great industry so they can continue to provide quality gear and develop and embrace new ideas and evolve our drumming world!

If everyone always bought used, eventually all we'll have left is head & stick companies...and no shops left for you to go and honestly try things out and BUY them from the trader.


So, can you live with putting places out of business? Using and abusing little drum stores? I can't.


Peace

JS
 

StickIt

Senior Member
The comment made was something along the lines of "go to your local shop, hit every cymbal they have to see what you like. Then, of course, go and buy used"
I disagree with this as well. Like you opined, I feel that if you are going to use the service/expertise of your local shop, you should give them some business.

I buy used when I want something that isn't available anymore (vintage or discontinued), otherwise, I'll save my money and buy new - supporting our great industry so they can continue to provide quality gear and develop and embrace new ideas and evolve our drumming world!

If everyone always bought used, eventually all we'll have left is head & stick companies...and no shops left for you to go and honestly try things out and BUY them from the trader.
I don't think that the new vs used argument really belongs here...I buy used at my closest shop all the time. I save some money, while still giving the independent guy some business. A lot of used equipment filters down because somebody bought new and is getting older equipment out of the way. That's not always the case, of course, but I don't think manufacturers are in a lot of danger of going out of business because of the sale of used merchandise.

I do support my local store with stick, head, and hardware purchases, along with the occasional purchase of used cymbals and repair work...I think it's important. But, the balance in my bank account is also important, and buying used affords me the opportunity to play gear that I otherwise could not buy.
 
I pop into my (2)local shops occasionally but one only has about 3 drum kits and 10cymbals while they other has about 20kits and 20cymbals, most of my money is to a shop who also own a website. I fully support this shop as they are independent and specialize in drums. but they're not really local (roughly 160miles away!).
also the online prices are usually cheaper, much cheaper and when your on a budget as tight as mine that matters. A lot.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
My "local" drum shop, Scott's Drum Center, is a little over an hour drive from me. They just started selling online. If they have what I want, they get my business, period. I agree that it is wrong to go into a store to sample items when there is no intention of buying anything there.

I do buy some things online, mostly because the local drum shop does not have what I want. The next drum I will most likely buy is a Pearl floor tom. That shop does not sell Pearl drums. I may also buy some PA gear, which they carry none of. So I will buy that stuff online. When I buy heads for that floor tom, I will buy them from Scott's Drum Center. Peace and goodwill.
 

groove1

Silver Member
Buying used is ok with me but I do not go to a local store first and tap there brains for all kinds of info and then search for a used item.

I think a bigger issue may be those who go to the local store to learn all they can and then
"buy new" elsewhere for a lower price (but without a person to talk to).
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
My local shop does not carry all brands I'm interested in, such as Ludwig, Crush, and Meinl. To sample those brands I have to drive a minimum of 150 miles. I buy used or online when nobody sells that brand locally, or when the deal is too good to pass up and can't be replicated in a buy-it-new situation (like my $100 80's K/Z hi-hats).

Case in point: My two newest snares are a Pearl Sensitone Elite black over brass, which I bought from my local store even though it was slightly cheaper online, and a Ludwig Standard aluminium, which I got used because vintage Ludwig. ("Because vintage Ludwig" wins every gear argument, ever.)

My local shop also makes it clear that they will do their best to price match on brands that they do carry, within reason. I also buy sticks, heads, and spare parts from them quite often (as well as strings, guitar picks, etc.)

A balanced approach helps everyone. But no, I don't go try it at my local shop and then get it online. That's no good. I let them make the effort to get me what I need.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
In my humble opinion, intentionally going to a drum/music store to try products out only to then going somewhere else to buy it is morally wrong. Not only is it rude, but extremely insulting to the shop owner trying to eek out a living in this tough economy! I think if you're willing to USE the service of a shop then you should at least have the common decency to buy the product you liked on the rack from them (as long as the price isn't ridiculous!). Music shops - especially independents - are disappearing every single day thanks to eBay, online-only shops, and the big National companies. In the UK there are pitiful amounts of places to go. There is a tiny shop in my town that is destocking for closure, the one 4 miles away is gone, another 5 miles away is out of business, and the only one half decent is 14 miles away and is more of a chain modeled store than a nice welcoming 'local' place.

These small or independent places need our support more and more, and abusing them shouldn't be tolerated - let alone encouraged!

Now, I buy online, I won't lie, but I buy from online shops that have a real shop too, the ones trying to claw back some of the lost trade by moving into the new era of sales. In that way, because of distance I can still spend my money where it's deserved. I buy used when I want something that isn't available anymore (vintage or discontinued), otherwise, I'll save my money and buy new - supporting our great industry so they can continue to provide quality gear and develop and embrace new ideas and evolve our drumming world!

If everyone always bought used, eventually all we'll have left is head & stick companies...and no shops left for you to go and honestly try things out and BUY them from the trader.


So, can you live with putting places out of business? Using and abusing little drum stores? I can't.


Peace

JS
I agree, it is pretty douche to do that. I do expect local shops to be as competitive as they can, understanding that they have to pay local taxes, pay local people and use local goods and services. And pay shipping. So I am willing to pay a bit more and in turn I expect good service, informed advice and the ability to return things if they don't work out.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Sorry, bud. Even local shops need to compete on prices. If it's significantly cheaper online, and there's a price tag on the item that I know is a rip-off, I'm not even going to bother "haggling" with them. If they are offering a competitive price on an item, I'd much rather buy it in-store. It should be very simple.

Problem is, the shops I go into just can't seem to get it in their head that they are actually competing with the internet, and that's why they're all going out of business. They treat internet purchasing like it's some kind of non-issue, and keep putting dumb prices on things somehow assuming that I won't just pull up the pricing on my phone and see that you're literally marking it up by 50-100%. That's basically like treating all your customers as idiots. Sure, you make a bit more money on the ones who actually are that stupid, but you'll lose the loin's share in sales at the end of the day, and end up closing your shop.

They need to offer their goods online, and they need to be competitive with everyone else doing the same. The days of music store owners acting like car salesmen and getting away with price murder are over for the most part.

It's kinda like the record companies who cry all day about people stealing or downloading music, whilst they also hold stead-fast to the principle that they don't need to change how they're doing things if they want to stay relevant. People are trying to tell you that you can't get away with this crap anymore. Selling 20 dollar CDs and giving 10 cents to the artist might have worked just fine when you were the only way to realistically get new music, but them days have also gone by long ago. Adapt or die.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Sorry, bud. Even local shops need to compete on prices. If it's significantly cheaper online, and there's a price tag on the item that I know is a rip-off, I'm not even going to bother "haggling" with them. If they are offering a competitive price on an item, I'd much rather buy it in-store. It should be very simple.

Problem is, the shops I go into just can't seem to get it in their head that they are actually competing with the internet, and that's why they're all going out of business. They treat internet purchasing like it's some kind of non-issue, and keep putting dumb prices on things somehow assuming that I won't just pull up the pricing on my phone and see that you're literally marking it up by 50-100%. That's basically like treating all your customers as idiots. Sure, you make a bit more money on the ones who actually are that stupid, but you'll lose the loin's share in sales at the end of the day, and end up closing your shop.

They need to offer their goods online, and they need to be competitive with everyone else doing the same. The days of music store owners acting like car salesmen and getting away with price murder are over for the most part.

It's kinda like the record companies who cry all day about people stealing or downloading music, whilst they also hold stead-fast to the principle that they don't need to change how they're doing things if they want to stay relevant. People are trying to tell you that you can't get away with this crap anymore. Selling 20 dollar CDs and giving 10 cents to the artist might have worked just fine when you were the only way to realistically get new music, but them days have also gone by long ago. Adapt or die.
As much as I know it's uncool to test stuff out at a shop and buy it elsewhere, this statement also makes sense, and keeps me on the fence about it. It's true I have walked into small music shops and seen their prices higher than normal (the big chains, or the big store - like Pro Drum in Hollywood do compete with the internet and can), but if the mom & pop store's prices seem increasingly high, then it's unlikely I would actually shop there. It's also unlikely that the mom & pop store would have anything new and innovative anyway - so how much testing would I be able to do there? Any small shop will not be getting the latest and greatest drumming products right off the bat unless they were already selling alot of stuff (which in turn would make them a bigger store to begin with - quite a vicious cycle, eh?).

So that leaves us in the same boat: do your testing at big shops and maybe shop for it cheaper somewhere else. And usually, if the big shop is competing, he'll beat any price that's out there (except for some stupid used deal). And in fact, when I worked in retail music long ago, whenever someone came in and told me they can get it cheaper at another chain or on the internet, I'd always ask them why they didn't get it then. Which leads to this 'bluffing' situation that always seems to happen more at a music store than anywhere else (I always wondered why that is....actually I know why, we just don't like to talk about it).

I appreciate people doing their best to be moral and actually buy the things they want from their favorite shop, but this seems to be a feeling only drummers share. It's all about the bottom line in business, and the guy buying food goods for his restaurant isn't going to blink an eye if he can get it cheaper from somebody else. Apparently this has been happening for alot longer in the marketplace than there have been drum shops.
 

Dutch

Senior Member
Sorry, bud. Even local shops need to compete on prices. If it's significantly cheaper online, and there's a price tag on the item that I know is a rip-off, I'm not even going to bother "haggling" with them. If they are offering a competitive price on an item, I'd much rather buy it in-store. It should be very simple.

Problem is, the shops I go into just can't seem to get it in their head that they are actually competing with the internet, and that's why they're all going out of business. They treat internet purchasing like it's some kind of non-issue, and keep putting dumb prices on things somehow assuming that I won't just pull up the pricing on my phone and see that you're literally marking it up by 50-100%. That's basically like treating all your customers as idiots. Sure, you make a bit more money on the ones who actually are that stupid, but you'll lose the loin's share in sales at the end of the day, and end up closing your shop.

They need to offer their goods online, and they need to be competitive with everyone else doing the same. The days of music store owners acting like car salesmen and getting away with price murder are over for the most part.

It's kinda like the record companies who cry all day about people stealing or downloading music, whilst they also hold stead-fast to the principle that they don't need to change how they're doing things if they want to stay relevant. People are trying to tell you that you can't get away with this crap anymore. Selling 20 dollar CDs and giving 10 cents to the artist might have worked just fine when you were the only way to realistically get new music, but them days have also gone by long ago. Adapt or die.
Don't quite agree here. A bricks-and-mortar store has a significantly different cost model (with rent/mortgage, personnel and inventory holding costs as their most significant) than someone selling stuff on the internet out of his bedroom in his parents' flat. I know for a fact that some of the online sellers don't even have the items they sell: I bought a cymbal online once and the guy had to source it himself before he could on-sell to me!

Back to the OP: I agree totally, and the behaviour in your example is morally wrong and repugnant, but people will be people. And I suppose we're in a transitional commercial phase, where activities move from actual stores to online transactions. A rebound is sure to occur, just a matter of time.

Dutch
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
My local stores have seen plenty of repeat business from me over the years. All perishables like sticks, heads et al are always bought at the same two stores I've been frequenting for over 25 years.. And I still certainly manage to depart with my hard earned on enough big ticket items on occasion too.

I'm not one to sit in a store relentlessly tapping on all their gear, creating any false illusion that I'm actually going to purchase something, or simply occupying a salemans time with endless queries before leaving the store and buying elsewhere either. But if I'm able to touch, feel and tap on something because I know I can do a far better deal elsewhere, then I'll take the opportunity. It's not like they're never gonna see my money again.

The simple fact remains that here in Oz, there are times when I can save anywhere between 25 to 75 per cent buy exercising a bit of savvy and purchasing certain items online. To me, those kind of savings are a no-brainer......it would be different if it were a matter of a few dollars, but it's not.

In those instances, the only moral obligation I feel is towards my wallet.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Don't quite agree here. A bricks-and-mortar store has a significantly different cost model (with rent/mortgage, personnel and inventory holding costs as their most significant) than someone selling stuff on the internet out of his bedroom in his parents' flat. I know for a fact that some of the online sellers don't even have the items they sell: I bought a cymbal online once and the guy had to source it himself before he could on-sell to me!

Dutch
This is a bit beyond the scope of what I'm getting at. I don't feel that they need to match the lowest crazy price out on the net, or some kid in a room selling stuff. I just want a fair price. Surely, a shop owner should be able to give me the most common internet price on a bigger item instead of trying to pretend that he has no competition and can charge whatever.

But beyond that, it's really not my problem. If you as a shop owner can't afford to sell the stuff I want at a mutually fair price, then you probably should go out of business, or sell something else with a different angle. I think sometimes owners also don't understand that if you make me feel good as a customer and make sure I get a good deal, you really are going to get my repeat business. It's quite literally a sliding scale. The more you take the time to ensure I'm happy with every part of my purchase and support me, the more I will start spending my money at your establishment and the more I will disregard reasonable differences in price to online offerings. I will want to support you in turn.

Complaining about customers being in the know and empowered with many options will lead you to close your doors. Thinking outside the box and providing value with proximity, building a reputation for being someone who looks out for their customers might be a better attitude. Also, get on the damn internet already.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I have said this in quite a few threads, actually, and I stand by it.

1. Going into a stocked "big box store" like Guitar Center is an excellent opportunity for people to test out lots of gear, and compare it side-by-side. To me, there's not much difference between somebody window shopping, researching gear, wasting time (like kids getting dropped off at G.C. while mom drives to the grocery store--an all-too-common occurance...). If the sole reason people are supposed to physically cross the threshold of a retail store building is to walk out having paid for a piece of merchandise, then I think most if not all members here are guilty.

2. I don't think it *really* makes that big of a dent in Guitar Center's pocketbook.

3. Walking into a store opens up the opportunity for impulse buys.

4. Even when testing out a cymbal, for example, it might not sound exactly how you want it to sound. Often times, I will play on a cymbal at a gig, or hear a cymbal being played, and think to myself, "Man, I've got to get one of these!" only to check out the same make/model/series/size/weight cymbal at several stores and not find the same "magic" in that one cymbal I played. Big box stores like Guitar Center give an opportunity to check out the "ballpark range" of what cymbals sound like. "I like the sound of the 18" K Dark Thin Crash, but this one is a little too heavy...I'll keep my eyes open for one of these, and hopefully it will open up a little easier."

5. If you find exactly what you're looking for at a brick-and-mortar location, buy it.

6. Shall I start a thread about the immorality of buying new gear when there are so many people in this economy trying to sell off their gear so they can afford to pay rent or buy food this month?
 
Also, get on the damn internet already.
I'm not in the retail business and I don't have a drum shop owner/employee nearby to check...

But...

I can imagine that small mom & pop shops get different deals from distributors (and/or manufacturers?) than 'outlets' with a lot of selling power (let alone on-line 'OEM-pirates'). Hence, you pay more there. Which in turn makes them less attractive to customers and distributors. Etc.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'm not in the retail business and I don't have a drum shop owner/employee nearby to check...

But...

I can imagine that small mom & pop shops get different deals from distributors (and/or manufacturers?) than 'outlets' with a lot of selling power (let alone on-line 'OEM-pirates'). Hence, you pay more there. Which in turn makes them less attractive to customers and distributors. Etc.
This is true. It's a challenge the little guys face. Many times a shop is simply not allowed to carry a big brand because they can't become "authorized dealers"... At any rate, I bet if they started to accept the new world, and just start shipping out those products at close to cost, their volume would increase and they'd get more leverage over distributors and sources.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
The simple fact remains that here in Oz, there are times when I can save anywhere between 25 to 75 per cent buy exercising a bit of savvy and purchasing certain items online. To me, those kind of savings are a no-brainer......it would be different if it were a matter of a few dollars, but it's not.

In those instances, the only moral obligation I feel is towards my wallet.
This is certainly how most consumers feel- it's not just a matter of a few extra bucks, there's major savings to be had online (in Oz anyway).
That being said I was very sad to see Billy Hyde's close down. I still haven't been back to my local store since they've been resurrected though- anyone been in there and if so, has anything really changed re: prices/ level of service?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I still haven't been back to my local store since they've been resurrected though- anyone been in there and if so, has anything really changed re: prices/ level of service?
My local Hydes was Billy's original store in Flemington. It has been re-opened as GH Music by Billy's son Gary. He retained a few of the key staff and has taken the business model back to it's roots with a much smaller, smarter and focused operation than the mess that became Allens/Hydes.

The shame of it was that Hydes did not go under because they couldn't compete with online stores......kids tapping on cymbals had little to do with it. They went under due to poor business practices of a corporation that really didn't seem to understand it's business at the end of the day. The death knell was signed with the merger with Allens. Unfortunately, the core business was completely lost in a corporate world that really didn't understand what to do with it to begin with.
 

412drummer

Senior Member
I believe it is morally wrong to go to a local store and do this, but honestly going to Guitar center or a bigger store like that I do not. They get some much business on their own and are not a true local store. Now if you talk to one of the reps at gc for like a half hour and don't buy anything at all that is still kind of a bad move because your wasting their time still. In my area I am forced to go to gc pretty much. In an hour radius the only music store that has more than 1 kit with starter cymbals is GC. Not to mention that those local stores want as much for that kit as like a normal person would pay for a for a good kit. There is also a music go round I forgot about but they are hit or miss on having what I want and price. Outside of an hour radius there is some good shops but I don't like to drive that far unless I really need/want a product for sure.
 
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