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Re: Loyalty vs being robbed

Look at the bigger picture..

Most local fish stores look at plants as disposable, low income product that
they often lose more money on than gain. Most have very little knowledge
about the plants specifically or the niche hobby market associated with it.
In heavily populated areas you are more likely to find one or two stores
that has more expertise in plants, but in rural areas you are lucky if you
find a store that even sells them.

As far as independent stores having higher prices...thats simply a fact of
life. They are not gouging prices, they simply can not buy product at low
enough prices to compete with large chains or large mail order companies.
Take someting like Seachem or Kent. A mom and pop store is not going to buy
Flourish by the truck load. They will buy a case or two. In doing so they
have to buy from a Seachem distributor. Their cost may be the same or higher
than what Big Als is selling it for!  A retail store also has a huge amount
of overhead that has to be paid for, unlike some mail order companies that
may be able to settle for smaller mark up margins. Dont blame the store for
pricing. Most do the best that they can and are aware of what their
competition is...if they have any sense at all.

If price was the only factor, we would all be buying from Walmart and Kmart
and all the specialty department stores would be out of business. If I want
a cheap pair of jeans I go to Walmart, if I want a suit I go to a place with
expertise who will fit me, and if they happen to have the same pair of jeans
costing a little more than Walmart, I'll probably buy them while I am there.

Good LFSs carve out their own specialty and way of appealing to their
customers and dont worry about what Petmart is doing.

The WEB is no different. Most of us little guys can not compete price wise
with big mega mail order companies...but we don't need to for the most part.
We offer solutions and expertise that they can not.  WEB retailers that
specialize in plants by far have much more of a selection of plants than
most any retail store, and provide a convient way for the customer to choose
the specific plants that they want. This works for many people, but not for
everyone. Not everyone sees the value of that service. People buy from
people that they like. If you think someone is a jerk, then most likely you
are not going to buy from them. Nobody has a corner on the market in this
hobby. There are always many alternatives to fit most anybodies needs.
Charlie said it best. Percieved value. And not everyones perception is the
same...thank goodness! :)

Robert Paul Hudson
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