The dropship argument


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Right; everyone else can do it, but not me. Thank you; I appreciate it when someone defends me. It's like "arglebargle" insinuating that to use a pseudonym makes me a charlatan. I'm certain that's not his real name, but it's okay when he does it, apparently. I have no idea who he is, but I don't make any bones about who I am. A link to my studio policies--and thus to my CV--is at the bottom of every one of my pages.

Excuse me... but I will point out that this thread has not been deleted, so what's this about "everyone else can do it..." Seems to me you're getting plenty of airplay here, Connie... though you may not appreciate the tone of some of what you're getting. That's probably a two way street.

There is a line that should not be crossed on the site. This site is not the place to advertise, but I believe it would be a terribly dull place to visit if I interpreted that as "don't talk about your projects". I've gone into this in the past. If you don't like the policies, or how they are administrated, you ultimately have a choice concerning your participation here.

I believe most members "behave" rather well. Many are VERY respectful of the policies, and even check with me before posting something they think even has a chance of crossing the line. Some occasionally cross the line, but seem to recover when it's pointed out to them. Those who have repeatedly crossed the line have been asked to leave.

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Excuse me... but I will point out that this thread has not been deleted, so what's this about "everyone else can do it..." Seems to me you're getting plenty of airplay here, Connie... though you may not appreciate the tone of some of what you're getting. That's probably a two way street.

There is a line that should not be crossed on the site. This site is not the place to advertise, but I believe it would be a terribly dull place to visit if I interpreted that as "don't talk about your projects". I've gone into this in the past. If you don't like the policies, or how they are administrated, you ultimately have a choice concerning your participation here.

I believe most members "behave" rather well. Many are VERY respectful of the policies, and even check with me before posting something they think even has a chance of crossing the line. Some occasionally cross the line, but seem to recover when it's pointed out to them. Those who have repeatedly crossed the line have been asked to leave.

I wish you *would* delete it; it was a pointless exercise on my part. Most people were rational and gave thoughtful answers, but many did not. Do delete it.

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I just read this today. Fun thread.

I would hardly call this "good " advertisement. Maybe there should be an exception for those who try to advertise, and it goes south to the point where they wish it was deleted. Those should stay.

Mingloo, I feel like you are getting criticism from some source, other than here, but taking your defense to this forum. Inviting more. Why would you do that?

Sean

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I just read this today. Fun thread.

I would hardly call this "good " advertisement. Maybe there should be an exception for those who try to advertise, and it goes south to the point where they wish it was deleted. Those should stay.

Mingloo, I feel like you are getting criticism from some source, other than here, but taking your defense to this forum. Inviting more. Why would you do that?

Sean

I wanted information about dropshipping. I had no idea that it would "go south," that people would be so cruel and so critical. And accuse me of using the board for advertising. It doesn't even make sense to me. My pages get several thousand hits a day; why would I need to garner more via a thread, anywhere?

And you think it's a "fun thread?" I don't follow that, either. It's certainly not "fun" to me. I guess it would be "fun" if you enjoy watching someone being ripped to shreds, in public.

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David makes fine violins. He takes immense care and pride in his work, and customer satisfaction is paramount. His business depends on his reputation.

MIngLoo sells inexpensive student violins. She takes pride in her work, too, making instruments affordable for everyone. Obviously she cannot give personal attention to every sale; her business relies on volume, not craftsmanship.

What do they have in common? Unless I am very much mistaken, they both earn a living doing the above. David, you say, "the money ain't that great," but it must be enough to keep you, unless you have a nice trust fund or suchlike, which IMHO should preclude you from addressing the "working poor." :)

Neither of them is motivated by pure altruism. David has devoted years of study and work to reach the top of his profession, and I honor that. But anyone, including MingLoo, who works for an honest living also deserves respect. I have a tutoring business, and I am very proud of the work I do with adolescents. I think I've made a real difference for many kids, but I don't flatter myself that I am a noble altruist. I am earning a living just like anyone else.

Those $148 violins, now - are they crap or not? To most of you, yes. To a poor kid with no other opportunity to begin making music, they are wonderful. I've donated several such pieces of "crap" to an after school music program for Native American kids. The violins arrived adequately set up and they don't sound all that bad, given that any fractional violin in the hands of a little kid is going to sound pretty bad. No one who has one thinks of it as a piece of crap. If you persist in calling them that, then I think you are a snob.

If someone who owns a music shop is resentful of Internet merchants, well, boo-hoo. The world has changed; technology marches on. The digital revolution put my sister's photo developing shop out of business. OTOH, MingLoo shouldn't expect her competition to take on low-end repair jobs from Internet merchants or their customers. I wouldn't either.

Mary

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David makes fine violins. He takes immense care and pride in his work, and customer satisfaction is paramount. His business depends on his reputation.

MIngLoo sells inexpensive student violins. She takes pride in her work, too, making instruments affordable for everyone. Obviously she cannot give personal attention to every sale; her business relies on volume, not craftsmanship.

What do they have in common? Unless I am very much mistaken, they both earn a living doing the above. David, you say, "the money ain't that great," but it must be enough to keep you, unless you have a nice trust fund or suchlike, which IMHO should preclude you from addressing the "working poor." :) Anyone who works for an honest living deserves respect. Neither of them is motivated by pure altruism. I have a tutoring business, and I am very proud of the work I do with adolescents. I think I've made a real difference for many kids, but I don't flatter myself that I am a noble altruist. I am earning a living just like anyone else.

Those $148 violins, now - are they crap or not? To most of you, yes. To a poor kid with no other opportunity to begin making music, they are wonderful. I've donated several such pieces of "crap" to an after school music program for Native American kids. They arrived adequately set up and they don't sound all that bad, given that any fractional violin in the hands of a little kid is going to sound pretty bad. No one who has one thinks of it as a piece of crap. If you persist in calling them that, then I think you are a snob.

If someone who owns a music shop is resentful of Internet merchants, well, boo-hoo. The world has changed; technology marches on. The digital revolution put my sister's photo developing shop out of business. OTOH, MingLoo shouldn't expect her competition to take on low-end repair jobs from Internet merchants or their customers. I wouldn't either.

Mary

Mary, your response is so sweet, and so honest. I take back my request to have the thread deleted. All of the emotional upheaval of the last 24 hours is worth this response of yours.

As far as altruism, no one who does not know me personally, can determine that one way or another. I know, and that's what's important. No one else need know.

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Mary, your response is so sweet, and so honest. I take back my request to have the thread deleted. All of the emotional upheaval of the last 24 hours is worth this response of yours.

As far as altruism, no one who does not know me personally, can determine that one way or another. I know, and that's what's important. No one else need know.

You're welcome!

[i made a few tiny changes to my post to clarify my meaning, so MingLoo's quote of my post is not exactly the same - she responded very quickly, before I could fix my post.]

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I wanted information about dropshipping. I had no idea that it would "go south," that people would be so cruel and so critical. And accuse me of using the board for advertising. It doesn't even make sense to me. My pages get several thousand hits a day; why would I need to garner more via a thread, anywhere?

And you think it's a "fun thread?" I don't follow that, either. It's certainly not "fun" to me. I guess it would be "fun" if you enjoy watching someone being ripped to shreds, in public.

I meant "fun reading" .It's a forum. With all of your experience, I don't think you opened this door to learn more about the drop shipping argument. I think you came here to defend your type of business to people who were not publicly criticizing it. I don't think you're proud of your business. Your very defensive about it.

For the record, I don't really think you're advertising here, you just have advertising built into your normal speech. Maybe on the fingerboard it would be. Considering your experience with the internet and forums, including this one, I also think that you are well aware of how cruel people would be. It seems you just pop up every now and then with this "Why does everyone hate my business?" while everyone else is talking about making and restoration (see forum title).

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>> I don't think you opened this door to learn more about the drop shipping argument

I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. I'm nearly 60 years old, I've had MS for the last 16 years, and I'm a ditz. I made a mistake. If I had ulterior motives, I'll eat my violin.

And BTW, it's a mistake that caused me a lot of pain. On top of that, my cat died two weeks ago, a little white calico that I had for 12 years, and whom I loved so much. So I am not really feeling well. And now, I lost my keys.

This losing of keys is an hereditary illness.

Addendum:

You know what? On reflection, you know what the problem is? I'm lonely. I'm on here, looking for freinds, and people to help me, but this is not some YahooGroups chat room, like Pet_Loss (for example); this is a professional group, full of hard nosed business people. Like USENET (where I also took a beating), it's fairly unmoderated, in that people can say pretty much what they want.

This is a big mistake and I shouldn't be here at all. It's perfectly normal for someone my age, but over the last 10 years, I lost both my parents, and now my cat died. My relationship ended. But this is not the place to look for friends.

I feel like an idiot for thinking it was.

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...

If someone who owns a music shop is resentful of Internet merchants, well, boo-hoo. ...

Mary

When I started in the business, I had a little shop in mind, with my bench, and decent, affordable instruments. I believe that's what I have now -- but actually the picture in my head is a fantasy of sorts.

For anyone considering the business world, this quoted line of Mary's is really what you want to keep in mind.

I have had to change. With the advent of more and more internet merchants, not to mention the mega-music stores like Guitar Center, I have dropped many of the production-model instruments, such as guitars, mandolins, banjos. I have had several conversations with Deering banjo. I think they make fine instruments. But the suggested retail (on which the wholesale price) and the actual retail price (MAP, or something like that) make it not worth my time to carry these type of instruments. Basically, I am a showroom for internet merchants, and I'm not going to do that. Boo hoo to the internet merchants on that one.

Talking to another vendor, she told me of a guitar store that doubled its repair prices, then offered a 50% discount to instruments purchased there. I haven't done that yet, but I like the story. I do work on internet-purchased violins, just as I do work on instruments purchased in other stores, or those that have been in the family for generations. There are instruments I turn down, because no matter what I do, they won't be any good, but work is work and I have my own bills to pay.

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Those $148 violins, now - are they crap or not? To most of you, yes. To a poor kid with no other opportunity to begin making music, they are wonderful. I've donated several such pieces of "crap" to an after school music program for Native American kids. The violins arrived adequately set up and they don't sound all that bad, given that any fractional violin in the hands of a little kid is going to sound pretty bad. No one who has one thinks of it as a piece of crap. If you persist in calling them that, then I think you are a snob.

If someone who owns a music shop is resentful of Internet merchants, well, boo-hoo. The world has changed; technology marches on. The digital revolution put my sister's photo developing shop out of business. OTOH, MingLoo shouldn't expect her competition to take on low-end repair jobs from Internet merchants or their customers. I wouldn't either.

Mary

Mary,

My perspective is neither that of the drop shipping merchant nor the brick and mortar shop competing with that merchant. My perspective is that of the buyer.

Given that those $150 instruments are beginner instruments, I don't think they're crap. I know from personal experience that they have shortcomings, some of which can be easily overcome if the merchant, knowledgeable in setup, takes a few minutes to double check things before delivering the fiddle to the customer. I bought a $150 Chinese 3/4 size violin for my daughter about 4 years ago from an internet/phone order store that, I believe, does have a setup shop. The setup wasn't awful, but there were some obvious improvements to make: Bridge was 1/2 mm too high, and soundpost seemed a bit far to the treble side a mm or so. I took the fiddle to a violin making friend, who adjusted bridge height and moved post toward the center a mm or so. That small adjustment in bridge height changed the fiddle from one that required considerable left hand finger pressure (from weak, beginner, 10 year old fingers) to a fiddle that was a lot easier to play. The movement of the soundpost that little bit to the center loosened the tension on a post that was very tightly wedged in, and changed a rather screechy fiddle to one that sounded noticeable better. The adjustments took all of 20 minutes, and my daughter had a very usable beginners instrument.

My daughter was lucky to have someone who saw the problems in the fiddle and to have a place to take the fiddle for some rather minor adjustments that made major improvements to the playability of that fiddle.

Not every parent of a 10 year old, rich or poor, knows when a fiddle would profit from further adjustment, and not every parent who's had a fiddle drop shipped to them has access to a repairer who, as a favor, is willing to spend 20 minutes on a fiddle for no profit.

If a merchant wants to drop ship instruments, and if buyers, with no real knowledge beyond price, are willing to buy that way, so be it. But if a drop-shipping merchant really takes pride in their product and is concerned about optimizing the beginner's experience, that merchant would make some effort to see to it that that parent and child have access, face to face, with a competent repair person. Even if the violin arrives initially in optimal shape, that fiddle will need to be looked at periodically to maintain it.

The drop-shipper who is shipping all over the US would really have its customers' interest at heart if that drop-shipper set up a network of repair people, say a dozen scattered around the US, so that customers could have someplace to take instruments for adjustments. I'm not saying that the drop-shipper needs to own those dozen shops, but just make arrangements with those shops to accept the drop shipper's instruments for adjustments and repairs. The repairers might want some extra compensation from the drop-shipper for each repair. Good customer care does cost more. The person who wins is the buyer.

If the drop-shipper can't provide that naive mom and 10 year old child with any after sales service, then maybe drop-shippers should restrict their business to customers who know good setups and already have a place who'll accept the instrument for adjustments.

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>> The drop-shipper who is shipping all over the US would really have its customers' interest at heart if that drop-shipper set up a network of repair people, say a dozen scattered around the US, so that customers could have someplace to take instruments for adjustments.

This is actually a very good idea. We have a Violinists/Violists on the Web and a Teachers' Directory, why not a directory of luthiers?

I'll design a page this afternoon and present it. Bet it will take a long time to fill up, but at least it will be there.

Thanks

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>> The drop-shipper who is shipping all over the US would really have its customers' interest at heart if that drop-shipper set up a network of repair people, say a dozen scattered around the US, so that customers could have someplace to take instruments for adjustments.

This is actually a very good idea. We have a Violinists/Violists on the Web and a Teachers' Directory, why not a directory of luthiers?

I'll design a page this afternoon and present it. Bet it will take a long time to fill up, but at least it will be there.

Thanks

A quick Google found two directories of luthiers. The first has some recognizable names. The second looks small. If you include directories with guitars and violins there are many others.

http://www.violinist.com/luthiers/

http://www.theviolinsite.com/violin_makers/

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A quick Google found two directories of luthiers. The first has some recognizable names. The second looks small. If you include directories with guitars and violins there are many others.

http://www.violinist.com/luthiers/

http://www.theviolinsite.com/violin_makers/

A general, publicly available list of folks calling themselves luthiers won't be of much help. The customer can find such a list by himself.

The important point is that the drop shipper would want to make up a sublist of luthiers by contacting luthiers to make sure: 1. They're qualified to do setup and repairs. 2. They would accept the drop shippers instruments for adjustments and repairs.

The resulting sublist of luthiers satisfying conditions 1 and 2 is what would be helpful, essential, I'd say, to the drop shipper's customers.

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You know what? On reflection, you know what the problem is? I'm lonely. I'm on here, looking for freinds, and people to help me, but this is not some YahooGroups chat room, like Pet_Loss (for example); this is a professional group, full of hard nosed business people.

MingLoo, if you'll recall, I originally put up a mild defense of your type of business. It wasn't approval, but a suggestion that such businesses are here to stay, and there might be strategies to cope with them, or even profit from them.

It wasn't until my words were twisted into some quasi-political psycho-babble involving racism and discrimination against poor people that I lost my enthusiasm. You have an odd way of soliciting friendship.

For the record, cheap violins serve a need, and have their place. This does not somehow turn them into good violins. If you had invested in the skills to do really nice work on violins (as many here have), and found yourself confronted with all the compromises evident on a cheap violin, you'd understand why we might think they're crappy. This is, after all, a forum populated largely by those who work on violins. If you venture into our world, you risk getting our honest opinions.

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David's remarks remind me of an experience many years ago, well before I started making violins. I was learning to play (still am trying) and came across a superb import that had its label removed. I took this to a local, but nationally known luthier. He immediately spotted that it was a certain ethnic import and exuded disdain for even bringing this into his hallowed shop. He told me how people drove over a thousand miles to bring their instruments to HIM. (I felt like genuflecting at that point.)

He wasn't kidding. Just then a fellow brought in his cello from Montreal. Wow, I was impressed. Do you think it was a "setup" of another kind? :)

Anyhow, after I insisted that he do the complete setup he said it would cost me $200. I left the violin with him. Several weeks later he called enthusiastically and apologetically. That FINE import was ready, he announced. When I got to his shop he played it with gusto and said it should serve me for many years.

I still have that violin and I study his setup each time I do mine. Nothing like having a good model to follow. Oh, he isn't the only master setup I have in my collection.

Relevant to this thread, if you have a drop-shipped violin, a little searching on the Internet and even Yellow Pages finds a luthier. I didn't have to use such an expensive luthier, but I knew what I had.

Mike

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Relevant to this thread, if you have a drop-shipped violin, a little searching on the Internet and even Yellow Pages finds a luthier. I didn't have to use such an expensive luthier, but I knew what I had.

Michael,

It sounds like you knew you needed adjustments in setup. My concern would be for the unknowing parent and child who have no idea what a good setup is, and don't even know they should be looking to find a luthier. If however they're told to take their fiddle to a welcoming luthier when the fiddle first arrives and once a year thereafter, the unknowing parent and child don't need to know anything. If the drop-shipper can provide that welcoming luthier, the problem is solved.

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Michael,

It sounds like you knew you needed adjustments in setup. My concern would be for the unknowing parent and child who have no idea what a good setup is, and don't even know they should be looking to find a luthier. If however they're told to take their fiddle to a welcoming luthier when the fiddle first arrives and once a year thereafter, the unknowing parent and child don't need to know anything. If the drop-shipper can provide that welcoming luthier, the problem is solved.

+++++++++++++++++++++

If the parent of the child who plays an out-of-adjustment violnn, does not know it needs an adjustment, then there is no problem.

Who is going to complain?

Most beginners play first position violin music anyway, one violin is just good as any. I don't see anything would hinder the child progress.

They learn intonation, tuning, postures, holding bows, etc. etc. We worry about too much.

After they know something, perhaps a year, if they have chance to try other violins they would ask for better

equipments. How do you learn golf? ( I do not know anything about golf and I always complain the ball is too small, they laugh)

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Michael,

It sounds like you knew you needed adjustments in setup. My concern would be for the unknowing parent and child who have no idea what a good setup is, and don't even know they should be looking to find a luthier. If however they're told to take their fiddle to a welcoming luthier when the fiddle first arrives and once a year thereafter, the unknowing parent and child don't need to know anything. If the drop-shipper can provide that welcoming luthier, the problem is solved.

It was a spanking new import from a first rate foreign maker. It had no sound post, no bridge, no strings, pegs, no glued label (I had the label), etc. I did a little searching for a top-notch luthier. That's all.

You are being an apologist for people who cannot "let their fingers do the walking."

Mike

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It was a spanking new import from a first rate foreign maker. It had no sound post, no bridge, no strings, pegs, no glued label (I had the label), etc. I did a little searching for a top-notch luthier. That's all.

You are being an apologist for people who cannot "let their fingers do the walking."

Mike

How is the parent who has never seen a violin up close who does receive a drop-shipped violin which does have a sound post, strings and pegs supposed to know that the bridge doesn't fit the fiddle and is in the wrong place, and the post is in the wrong place? How does that parent sort out that the screeching sounds are not all the child beginner's fault but can be attributed, at least in part, to a poorly setup violin?

I'm not apologizing for people too lazy to look for a luthier; I'm saying that a parent may have no idea that they need to look for a luthier because they have no idea that their child's fiddle needs a proper setup.

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How is the parent who has never seen a violin up close who does receive a drop-shipped violin which does have a sound post, strings and pegs supposed to know that the bridge doesn't fit the fiddle and is in the wrong place, and the post is in the wrong place? How does that parent sort out that the screeching sounds are not all the child beginner's fault but can be attributed, at least in part, to a poorly setup violin?

+++++++++++++++

Where is the teacher?

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How is the parent who has never seen a violin up close who does receive a drop-shipped violin which does have a sound post, strings and pegs supposed to know that the bridge doesn't fit the fiddle and is in the wrong place, and the post is in the wrong place? How does that parent sort out that the screeching sounds are not all the child beginner's fault but can be attributed, at least in part, to a poorly setup violin?

+++++++++++++++

(duplicated)

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+++++++++++++++

Where is the teacher?

Here in the US, most children begin to play an instrument in school in the 5th grade in an orchestra (in the case of the violin) which has maybe a couple dozen students. From what I've seen, the orchestra teacher is happy to get all instruments close to in tune, and doesn't have time to worry about whether the instruments are properly set up. So, for most US students, getting their first violin, they probably are not getting the one-on-one attention that private lessons allow and would allow for catching problems in instrument setup.

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"It wasn't until my words were twisted into some quasi-political psycho-babble involving racism and discrimination against poor people that I lost my enthusiasm."

Oh David... when dealing with lutherie we amateurs come on bended knee... but when I read this... of which I know something about, I thought... "what a well rounded chap"!

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MingLoo, I have always found the people on the Pegbox forum to be very sympathetic and compassionate when it comes to personal issues. If you were looking for some kind words and sympathy then perhaps you should have started with post #84 rather than post #1. I can assure you that if you had, then you would have had a much warmer reception.

I really think you are genuinely puzzled by the reaction you have received and you don't seem to understand why people (including me) have sided with the violin business that was at the centre of your original complaint. I'll try and make it clearer for you. You sell a product, you take the money and that's the end of it for you. Fine... that's your business model and you have every right to it.

Many of the members of this forum are the people who have to deal with your product for years to come. Anyone who has worked in a violin workshop will know the sinking feeling and the mental eye-rolling that comes when someone walks in the door and says: "My daughter has just started learning the violin and I bought this instrument on eBay/internet/Walmart/Aldi/whatever. She just had her first lesson and the teacher told me to come straight around to see you". Often there will be a nice little note in the case from the teacher that looks something like:

1. CHANGE STRINGS!!

2. Bridge too low

3. Soundpost??

4. Pegs keep slipping

5. Bump in middle of fingerboard

We are the people who have to decide if the violin is even worth the trouble. We are the people who have to explain to the parent that it will cost them $200 to have all that work done and if they'd bought it from us in the first place then they could have saved themselves some money. We are the people who have to explain that even if they do spend the money on it, we won't touch it as a trade-in when little Jane moves up to a half-size. We are the people who have to decide if little Jane is going to give up after 4 weeks (in which case it doesn't matter much) or if she is the next child prodigy who needs the best instrument possible. Sometimes we are the people who have to say to the parent: "Look, it's just not worth it. Accept the fact that you've just wasted $150"... (and that's not much fun). And we are the people who have to answer that nagging question that every parent asks... "How can people sell something that doesn't work?"

I'm not saying your instruments are bad, or not worth the money. But as someone who has to deal with this situation on a regular basis I hope you can understand why we get a little touchy about people who sell instruments, and then aren't around to handle all the difficult issues that come later.

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