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Received my Garden Railways mag today. Couple of interesting notes. 1. No mention of Team Largescale???? in St Aubin's pages What happned? did they hear, see, the comments, posts that were critical of the partnership? Who knows? Makes you wonder?? 2. My suspicions were confirmed today in the St. Aubin's ad Aristocraft and Bridgeworks (more to follow) are introducing" Map" regulations page 71 (lead off page of St. Aubins site) where Aristo is now compelling retailers to follow a minimum pricing standard!!" Only on advertised price not selling price" Heard the rumor couple of months ago through a retailer. So now Aristo tells retailers what thye're advertised price is? Kind of takes away the competitive edge doesn't it! And it reeks of a kind of "price fixing. Read the full details as I guess they can get around the map rules doesn't apply to only advertised prices, so they can determine and circumvent the ruling by other than advertised price!!!! So I guess the only way to get a good price is if you are "special " to the retailer, one of the chosen few, and the rest of us just have to hope we are getting the best price right? Opinions, comments???? Ran into this years ago in the business i operated. The big boys got the best price and us little guy's were left out in the cold as far as being competitive with the "big boy's"
The Regal
 

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Could it be that we now know why St Aubins dropped their selling price from their ads?

Regards ... Doug
 

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RE: Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm"?

Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) is not price fixing. All MAP requirements say is that a retailer cannot advertise a price below a certain amount. They can sell it for less; heck, they can give it away if they want, they just can't publish in print what their selling price is if it's below a certain amount set by the manufacturer. It's been around for quite some time--especially prevalent in photo and video equipment advertisements.

It actually can benefit the deep discounter. The guidelines state that if a retailer wants to sell an item for less than what the manufacturer allows, they cannot publish the price. Instead, they put "Call for price" or some such in the ad. It makes it look like they're giving you a fantastic price. Here's where it gets "sneaky." As a consumer, you have no way of knowing how far below the MAP their price actually is (or even what the MAP is, except to compare it to ads which do list a price for the item. So, you open your magazine up, and see two ads. One has an item listed at $259.00, the next one has "call for our low price." When you call, you discover their price is $258.99. But since they've got you on the phone, you're more inclined to go ahead and place the order with them.

By the same token, there will always be a certain percentage of the population who doesn't want to be bothered with calling, and will just order from the folks who actually do advertise a price.

In the online world, MAP loses traction. On one hand, MAP guidelines say a retailer can't publish a price if it's below a certain amount. But, a retailer is also obligated to tell you what the price is for an item once you put it in your online shopping cart. All you have to do is click "add to cart" to find out what the price is, then hit "Remove from cart" if you don't like the price. There's really no difference between that and simply listing the price, so what's the point of the guidelines in that environment?

The bigger flaw in retailing comes from how the manufacturers deal with the discounters and retailers. Caboose Hobbies stopped carrying many items from Aristo and USA because (as it was told to me) the discounters were selling the same items to the public cheaper than what Caboose could purchase them from Aristo and USA.

Later,

K
 

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Like I have said before, the adage is:

"If you have to ask the price, you cannot afford it."

Thus if the advertisement does not list a price, I just pass right on by. Why even let my adrenaline get pumping only to have dreams get dashed by a price that I cannot afford.

I would not have two Aster Mikados if they had not listed the price in the advertisements... something that seems to not be done anymore by those dealers either.
 

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I had heard the same thing from CH when I was there last year. It's really not surprising as something had to be done! I mean that the retailers with storefronts (i.e. the "Local Hobby Shops") were getting hammered by the on-line and discount shops! When was the last time we actually contemplated paying MSRP for an Aristo or Bachmann product? Some of these discount prices are a mere fraction of MSRP! For us it's a hobby but for them it's business! The economy is tanking and inflation is picking up. P&L statements are starting to frighten top executives and the future is uncertain. Is it any wonder that these companies are trying to figure out a way to make a larger profit? Setting a minimum pricing may be the only way to keep the network of retailers solvent!
 

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RE: Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm"?

Steve, inflation is not picking up. Especially since gas prices tanked and the housing market burst. Right now we are heading to deflation. If that happens....

LAO
 

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There's a note on the St Aubin's page...that to see their discounted "real" price, just put the item into the cart. They look at your cart. You can always remove any item from the cart.

Also, remember that St Aubin's said a few months ago that they were going to sell items for the same price on the phone or from their web site.
Sounds to me that St. Aubin's figured out a way through the difficulties that the MAP court decision caused for consumers.

Now...I'm going to see how that works....
 

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RE: Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm"?

....or buy from the other vendors, many of whom have been cheaper than Ste. Aubins have been in the past anyhow.
 

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RE: Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm"?

"Thus if the advertisement does not list a price, I just pass right on by."

That's pretty much the guideline I follow, as well. If I see an item in an ad that I would like to have, and if the price is something I (and my wallet) can accept, that's the dealer who gets the sale. I have never responded to a "call for price" listing in any ad, trains or otherwise.

Ridge Road Station, Trainworld, and Star Hobby get most of my LS business now that I have scratched St. Aubin from my list of "preferred retailers." And I go to Micro-Mark and Star Hobby for most of my On30 needs.
 

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RE: Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm"?

I noticed that if the manufacturers help or pay for the stores advertisement, they can make you use the MAP rules.. But if you pay for the advertisement you can put what every price you want.. The record companys just got trashed by the courts because of that.. But they did not fight hard because of possible mergers..

BulletBob
 

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RE: Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm"?

Things that make me go "hmmmmm..."?

Ralph Brades
 

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RE: Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm"?

With Aristo's new price increase their products are now more expensive than USAT. Great, I've always liked USAT better anyway!!!!!
 

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Actually, while gas prices have dropped, the inflation I'm referring to is what is happening right now from Washington! The Govt. seems to think that it needs to prop up the economy so it takes $700,000,000,000 (actually more like $850,000,000,000 once you add in the pork) and Wall Street is still in a panic! Now, Nancy Pelosi wants to give the American economy another $1,000,000,000,000!! Where's the money coming from? They're printing it as fast as possible! The value of the American dollar has been artificially propped up but it can't last! We're in a global economy now and the Dollar isn't what it used to be! We won't really see it for a while but it's coming!
Now, that aside, the economy has started contracting and the jobless rate is increasing. The Fed is already as low as it can go in cutting interest rates and home sales are flat. Say what you will but our hobby is a frivolous expense compared to medical costs, a home mortgage, a car loan or just plain everyday expenses like food and utilities! People are not buying in the numbers that they used to (which I actually think is smart!) while they worry whether they will have jobs this time next year. It's a catch 22. Until consumers are confident enough in the economy to start purchasing goods again the economy will remain weak and will adversely affect the stock market and the economy will remain weak thus losing the confidence of consumers...
 

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RE: Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm"?

So Aristocraft starts smacking its customers with a 20% price hike???
 
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