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#1995617 - 12/06/12 07:12 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: EssBrace]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19351
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Keep in mind that the quality and professionality of the sales staff on piano row is atypical. You couldn't support that degree of professionalism in a low volume or mid-volume store.


Please tell me "professionality" isn't a word!
There are over 100,000 Google hits for "professionality definition". Whether or not it's in the dictionary it seems to be in common usage.

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#1995618 - 12/06/12 07:14 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
pianoloverus Offline
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If a dealer is having an event that will prevent potential customers from trying out pianos they should indicate this on their website.

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#1995620 - 12/06/12 07:18 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
pianoloverus Offline
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I think the idea that calling in advance entitles the caller to take over(in the sense that other customers cannot play pianos) the showroom for an extended period of time is arrogant unless the time is scheduled during non regular business hours. The fact that some dealers may operate this way doesn't make it right unless they indicate on their website that their showroom is open by appointment only.


Edited by pianoloverus (12/06/12 07:20 PM)

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#1995628 - 12/06/12 07:45 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
BDB Online   content
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The proper term is "professionalitiness." (Thank you, Mr. Colbert!)
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#1995629 - 12/06/12 07:46 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
KillerCharlie Offline
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Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 142
Valentina was awesome and she gave 4 encores - the recital was 3 hours long! She was signing autographs and chatting afterward but it looked like half the people watching the concert were waiting in line and I had to drive back. There is no other classical pianist that cares as much for their audience!

I really want to buy a piano at store #3, which has a satellite store where I live. Unfortunately they have more high and low end pianos than mid end, and I wasn't interested in any of their particular used/rebuilt instruments at the time. Their satellite store here doesn't sell used/rebuilt pianos except flawlessly restored Steinways. The salesmen in the satellite store are also very friendly and reasonable.

Store #3 was by far the busiest and I had to stop several times for other customers. That did not bother me. They were very reasonable about how they dealt with this.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was that the little girl wasn't that interested in pianos and wasn't even playing 80% of the time. I was at the opposite end of a huge showroom behind lots of pianos so she couldn't see me.

I just didn't understand why store #2 didn't have a separate room for recitals like most stores I go to. If they want to be 1/2 piano store and 1/2 recital room, fine, but they've lost me as a customer.

For every terrible store there is an awesome one so it evens out in the end. It's not like buying a car in a big city though. I went to one car dealership and didn't like them, so I went across town and bought the exact same model from another dealership. You don't have that luxury with pianos. If you really like a certain model you have to put up with it.


Edited by KillerCharlie (12/06/12 08:03 PM)

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#1995639 - 12/06/12 08:03 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
backto_study_piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 428
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: KillerCharlie
...I really want to buy a piano at store #3, which has a satellite store where I live.


This sounds like a recipe for disappointment. You're buying a piano which you'll play for 20, 30, maybe 50 years.

You need to buy THE PIANO you like playing, and will want to play endlessly when you get it home.

In 3 years time, you'll have forgotten all about the store - but you'll still have the piano, and if it's the wrong one, having bought it from the right store isn't going to help one little bit.
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#1995698 - 12/06/12 11:57 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: beethoven986]
Nikolas Online   content
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5265
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I'm honestly not buying that (not because it's not true, or because you said it or anything)! If this is the case then I have to agree that such businesses should close down... frown

It's absurd to think that a serious customer needs to notify over the phone/email in order to be taken seriously... Come on...


A customer is free to do whatever he or she wants, but that isn't always the most prudent. When dealing with a specialty store such as a piano dealer, car dealer, or hi-fi audio dealer, etc. the customer should almost always schedule an appointment, and dress appropriately, for that matter. This isn't like going out and buying a box of Twinkies... you're conducting business. Most places welcome walk-ins, but even in these places, you will almost always get better service if you call ahead. Period.
What do you mean with 'dress appropriately'? Isn't a short semi-revealing short dress appropriate enough? It seemed enough for a certain young pianist with immense talent and musicality you know! wink I bet that if she came in my (hypothetical and non existant) piano store, I'd not only let her play her heart out, but after checking with her, I'd call friends, etc and probably as for an autograph while I'm at it! grin

Let me ask you this: What if I use my cell phone and call right outside the store? Will that get me better service? grin

I'm getting silly but you'll see where I'm going with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
He's ready to put down 20,000$ and he's trying out grand pianos. Isn't that enough to be treated at least with some dignity?


That's a little over-dramatic, eh? "The big, bad piano dealer let me play for only 30 minutes before asking me to let its other customers play!" Sure, the OP is frustrated and as a pianist, I understand that, but that's how life goes, sometimes.
I wouldn't say over dramatic. You see it all depends on experience and situations. Frankly 20,000$ NOW in Greece can be a whole years salary for the middle man (not the low man, the middle man), so it's A LOT of money. I understand perfectly well the meaning of such amount and under no circumstances it's trivial.

The point is that the OP was treated poorly, exactly because the store manager (??) decided to favour someone who'd called first. I call this unreasonable to a large degree.

Where I come from we have a general quote that goes like "The customer is always right". This, of course is hardly true in a lot of ways, but one needs to show respect to a customer, no?

Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
Originally Posted By: KillerCharlie
...I really want to buy a piano at store #3, which has a satellite store where I live.


This sounds like a recipe for disappointment. You're buying a piano which you'll play for 20, 30, maybe 50 years.

You need to buy THE PIANO you like playing, and will want to play endlessly when you get it home.

In 3 years time, you'll have forgotten all about the store - but you'll still have the piano, and if it's the wrong one, having bought it from the right store isn't going to help one little bit.
This, however, is very very correct!

who cares about bad customer service (except if they are the people who will be servicing and tuning your piano in the next 50 years in which case...). It's the piano you're interested in KC, not the store manager (?)

EDIT x 2: What I generally mean is that there shouldn't be a hard rule that one needs to call in order to be treated "ok" (whatever this 'ok' means)...


Edited by Nikolas (12/07/12 12:36 AM)
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#1995724 - 12/07/12 12:55 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: Nikolas]
beethoven986 Online   content
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Having regularly visited piano stores since I was six years old or so, I find nothing unusual or even unprofessional about the OPs experience, unless there's something that's been left out. IMO, this thread is just whining.... you are welcome to disagree.
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#1995734 - 12/07/12 02:02 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: beethoven986]
Nikolas Online   content
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5265
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Having regularly visited piano stores since I was six years old or so, I find nothing unusual or even unprofessional about the OPs experience, unless there's something that's been left out. IMO, this thread is just whining.... you are welcome to disagree.
Of course I'm welcome to disagree, there's no doubt about that! wink

But as a (more than one) business owner, I'm seeing something that I wouldn't be doing to a customer myself. That's all. I don't have any piano stores, so perhaps experience lacking means a lot in this case, but still... :-/
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#1995796 - 12/07/12 06:52 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
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Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1775
I'm with pianoloverus on this one. How arrogant is it to waltz into a piano store and take over? While I enjoy visiting my local piano store and playing the pianos there, I always stop when a current, serious customer needs to try out an instrument. Perhaps the OP did not look like a serious customer. Oh wait, he hasn't bought a piano yet. . . . Moreover, I would never assume that other customers are happy just to listen to me play (which I am not good at anyway), nor would I need hours of nonstop playing to evaluate a piano, if that is my goal in going to the store. If I know that that is what I need to evaluate a piano, an appointment would be necessary. . . .In other words, I feel that one can piano-shop without an appointment, but if one knows that one will need an extended evaluation time of intense solo playing, one should also know that an appointment is necessary.

Also, I am delighted when a piano store uses its facilities to promote interest in pianos by holding recitals. Holding recitals is a GOOD thing, and demonstrates a real commitment to music and pianos on the part of the store, another GOOD thing, not something that causes me to abandon the operation.

In short, as my mother would have said, who does the OP think he is? I have been trying to figure out why the OP bothers me so much, and I appreciate the subsequent posts that have allowed me to work this out.


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#1995854 - 12/07/12 08:56 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: Rank Piano Amateur]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2738
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: Rank Piano Amateur

Also, I am delighted when a piano store uses its facilities to promote interest in pianos by holding recitals. Holding recitals is a GOOD thing, and demonstrates a real commitment to music and pianos on the part of the store, another GOOD thing, not something that causes me to abandon the operation.

I agree completely with this point. The commitment to the community is admirable and it seems this store has been able to make their recital something of an event in the local arts community. It seems Killer wasn't able to find "the one" at store #2. Perhaps a good middle ground would be for Killer to call store #2, make and appointment, go there and see if an instrument in their inventory meets his high standards and medium budget.

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#1995867 - 12/07/12 09:33 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
pianoloverus Offline
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I think the purpose of recitals or other events at piano dealerships is generally not about commitment to the community but mostly for for commercial reasons. To get people to come to the store and become interested in buying a piano. Of course, there will be some exceptions.


Edited by pianoloverus (12/07/12 09:36 AM)

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#1995881 - 12/07/12 10:11 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
BDB Online   content
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If the purpose is to get people to get people into the store and become interested in buying a piano, then they should be receptive when someone comes into the store interested in buying a piano.
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#1995966 - 12/07/12 01:07 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: pianoloverus]
Steve Chandler Offline
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Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2738
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I think the purpose of recitals or other events at piano dealerships is generally not about commitment to the community but mostly for for commercial reasons. To get people to come to the store and become interested in buying a piano. Of course, there will be some exceptions.

I disagree, there are too many piano dealers that can't be bothered to offer their space for recitals for the purpose to be commercial. When I've gone to a store for a recital it has never been about browsing instruments while I was there, it was always a family event and about the young performers. I believe too many here are too quick to ascribe evil commercial purpose to everything a piano dealer does. Recitals are for the community, even if that community is just the parents and friends of the students. It is not an event for the teachers or the store. While there may be some hope that someone might get interested in an instrument while visiting a store for a recital, as Killer found out, actually trying an instrument isn't possible at that time.

I hope some of the dealers will chime in here because I'd be interested in hearing whether they offer their space for recitals and what they view as the purpose of this action.

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#1996000 - 12/07/12 02:13 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
BDB Online   content
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A lot of us in the business do things which benefit the business, although altruistically. Those of us who do may never reap as much direct benefit from what we offer as what we spend on them.
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#1996048 - 12/07/12 03:55 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: Steve Chandler]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19351
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I think the purpose of recitals or other events at piano dealerships is generally not about commitment to the community but mostly for for commercial reasons. To get people to come to the store and become interested in buying a piano. Of course, there will be some exceptions.

I disagree, there are too many piano dealers that can't be bothered to offer their space for recitals for the purpose to be commercial. When I've gone to a store for a recital it has never been about browsing instruments while I was there, it was always a family event and about the young performers. I believe too many here are too quick to ascribe evil commercial purpose to everything a piano dealer does. Recitals are for the community, even if that community is just the parents and friends of the students. It is not an event for the teachers or the store. While there may be some hope that someone might get interested in an instrument while visiting a store for a recital, as Killer found out, actually trying an instrument isn't possible at that time.

I hope some of the dealers will chime in here because I'd be interested in hearing whether they offer their space for recitals and what they view as the purpose of this action.
If you're talking about a family event for young performers then I think most usually the dealership doesn't offer their showroom for free but has some kind of rental fee.

For recitals by professionals(the kind of in store recitals I have been to), there has been some piano browsing before and after the recital and people may become interested in buying a piano even if they have to come back at a future date. Or they may tell a friend about some nice piano they saw. Finally, just because every dealership doesn't do this, I don't see why that means one can conclude it's being done for purely altruistic purposes. There are plenty of advertising methods that aren't done by all dealers.

There is nothing "evil" about doing something for "commercial purposes".


Edited by pianoloverus (12/07/12 03:59 PM)

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#1996172 - 12/07/12 10:27 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
tonedefreegan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 45
naive much? ANY free recital is a sales pitch. and that's ALL it is.

further, the customer is ALWAYS right, even if joe salesman thinks they're wrong. also, "dress appropriately"? are you kidding? it's not 1952. more importantly, the richest person I know dresses like a homeless man and drives a $500 car. is his money not the same as that of the poor man in a suit?

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#1996217 - 12/08/12 01:39 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: tonedefreegan]
beethoven986 Online   content
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Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3337
Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
naive much? ANY free recital is a sales pitch. and that's ALL it is.


Actually, dealers usually charge rental fees to use their facilities....

Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
further, the customer is ALWAYS right even if joe salesman thinks they're wrong.


No. There is a difference between giving good customer service and allowing the customer to take advantage.

Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
also, "dress appropriately"? are you kidding? it's not 1952. more importantly, the richest person I know dresses like a homeless man and drives a $500 car. is his money not the same as that of the poor man in a suit?


There are certain things that just shouldn't be done, and one of them is waltzing into a Steinway or whatever dealer dressed like a hobo. Like it or not, you will be treated better, and taken more seriously if you dress well. Oh, and I'm 26... I know nothing about 1952.
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#1996220 - 12/08/12 02:02 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: beethoven986]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5265
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
naive much? ANY free recital is a sales pitch. and that's ALL it is.


Actually, dealers usually charge rental fees to use their facilities....
Even more so, it's still business to them rather than trying to spark the interest of classical music, etc... This comes along with the fact of the rental, but I'm not sure there's much else into that.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
further, the customer is ALWAYS right even if joe salesman thinks they're wrong.


No. There is a difference between giving good customer service and allowing the customer to take advantage.
How would the OP, or anyone else take advantage? The OP went to 3 different stores looking for a piano more or less...

If the OP was going there week after week, then, yes, the salesman should kick him out, but not in this case, and not like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
also, "dress appropriately"? are you kidding? it's not 1952. more importantly, the richest person I know dresses like a homeless man and drives a $500 car. is his money not the same as that of the poor man in a suit?


There are certain things that just shouldn't be done, and one of them is waltzing into a Steinway or whatever dealer dressed like a hobo. Like it or not, you will be treated better, and taken more seriously if you dress well. Oh, and I'm 26... I know nothing about 1952.
A nice extreme example. Yes a hobo (smelling and all that) probably wouldn't be admitted in any store, and it IS within the rights of the store owner to NOT allow access to anyone, but we're not talking about that, are we?

I dress quite casually, wherever I go. I don't need to dress up in order to show my education, my career and my awesomeness, even more if I'm actually going to pay some 20,000$. Right?

EVEN, if the customer didn't call, the minute he said that he's willing to give in so much money the salesman can either take him for real, and give him the tour of his life (without ditching the other customers of course), or decide that he's lying in which case his loss... wink
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#1996231 - 12/08/12 02:46 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
tonedefreegan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 45
A common and fatal error of the rookie or just plain bad salesperson - judging the book by its cover smile

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#1996295 - 12/08/12 08:01 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Hakki Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2585
Charlie:

Are you implying that there was some kind of deliberate discrimination ?
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#1996342 - 12/08/12 10:19 AM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
The OP keeps mentioning "$20,000" over and over again. This to me means that the 1) OP thinks dealers should be influenced by how much money you're going to spend and that 2) "$20,000" is an attention-getting amount for a "grand piano." Both implications are, of course, false.

I'm on the road about 1/3 of the time and drop in on a lot of piano dealers whenever I pass one. I've never had any sort of problem. I come in and say "I'm curious to see what a brand X can do," and spend some time with one. The dealers are usually more than happy to indulge me, or at least leave me alone.

And whenever I'm planning to actually buy a piano, I make arrangements to have an appointment which is usually done slightly before opening or slightly after closing.


Edited by Thrill Science (12/08/12 10:22 AM)
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#1996390 - 12/08/12 12:37 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 639
Loc: NY and NC
I have never been treated badly when visiting piano stores. In fact, it is just the opposite. I am surprised to hear of salesmen being rude to customers. It is not in their interest to drive off customers. I do think it is important for the customer to be sensitive to other browsers or buyers when trying out pianos. I always offer to stop playing when others come in to see pianos, waiting for a pause to resume.

I have called ahead for appointments on occasion, and other times I have just wandered in. Very pleasant treatment in either case. The best situation I had was when the owner of the store let me stay in the store alone to play while he locked the door, put the closed sign up, and went on an errand. He did this on several occasions and I felt really relaxed while playing his pianos. I am generally a bit shy about playing when others are around. I came very close to buying his most expensive, biggest piano because I could really take my time and play it enough to be sure, but my circumstances changed right after trying the piano, and I had to postpone buying. Eventually I bought a smaller piano in another state after moving, but I still recommend this dealer to my friends. Great experience.

I wonder if the original poster's experience was partly due to his impatience? I disagree with some posters that you can buy THE PIANO after just a few minutes of playing. It should be a careful decision. I do not disagree with those who have played a piano, left, returned another time to try it agian, and so on. This is a decision that may be for a lifetime, and the amount of money spent can be significant, so taking one's time is appropriate.

I just think one has to consider others' time, too. Perhaps the little girl was intimidated by the superior playing of the adult in the store. I know I had that experience at one nice store. A concert pianist was trying out semi-concert and concert grands. I hardly had the nerve to play my little Beethoven bagatelles. Of course, I still could listen to him and discover how some of the pianos sounded when really well-played, but he wasn't trying the ones I was interested in. Of course, I also couldn't test the actions by merely listening. Still, I enjoyed myself and played a lot after he made his selection and left.

I have never considered time spent in piano stores to be wasted time. It is always a joy to see and test pianos. (Of course, I have the piano curse--I can't walk by a piano without wanting to sit down and try it. I always have been this way.)
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#1996470 - 12/08/12 03:54 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Happy Birthday Jeff Clef Offline
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Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4415
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...A nice extreme example. Yes a hobo (smelling and all that) probably wouldn't be admitted in any store, and it IS within the rights of the store owner to NOT allow access to anyone, but we're not talking about that, are we?"

Well, that's a good question. I don't know if we're talking about that or not. I hope not. No, it couldn't be...

I do know--- and it doesn't necessarily apply to the OP--- that one thing piano store employees have to keep in mind, is that their inventory is very expensive and can be easily damaged by a person who is careless. They don't care much for pounders, or people with sharp belt buckles, people who want to put their oily fingers on the strings or other piano parts, or parents who let their children run wild in the store, or any kind of unsavory 'types.'

One quote from the Fine book comes to mind; it goes something like a caution to repairers to have the owners remove, themselves, any object from the top of the piano case; to beware of missing pins in piano top hinges; and to carefully observe existing damage, such as a broken music rack: "The mechanism was apparently beyond the intelligence of the owner..."

The general idea applies to some (though not all) shoppers and browsers. They can break, scratch, discolor, or throw the merchandise out of regulation, and it's as well to have an eye on who is in the store. If that's not possible, they might do well to diplomatically ask some shoppers to come at another time, when they can be served properly. And I've seen some callers that a lady might not care to be alone in the store with. (Having said that, though, I'll go ahead and say that Darlene has the tact, charm, and social poise to handle anyone--- anyone--- and, she is quite physically fit and strong; I do not worry much about a person like her. And anyway, they usually have a couple of employees in the store.)

I had a visitor to my home who walked in and slung her fat, over-the-shoulder handbag on top of the closed lid of my grand. I had it off there faster than you could say, "Purse," and she was out the door not long afterward.

I have five dogs to sic on such a person, and they know what I mean when I say, "Guard the house."

"I basically got kicked out of a piano store this weekend..."

Two stores.
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#1996493 - 12/08/12 04:46 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: Thrill Science]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19351
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Thrill Science
The OP keeps mentioning "$20,000" over and over again. This to me means that the 1) OP thinks dealers should be influenced by how much money you're going to spend and that 2) "$20,000" is an attention-getting amount for a "grand piano." Both implications are, of course, false.
Of course?

You really don't think any dealer would be more interested in selling a more expensive piano that a cheaper one? Do you realize their profit is greater on a more expensive one? This is not the same as saying that a good dealer will give good service to a customer who is planning to buy a less expensive piano.

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#1996500 - 12/08/12 04:52 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: Chopinlover49]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19351
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
I disagree with some posters that you can buy THE PIANO after just a few minutes of playing. It should be a careful decision. I do not disagree with those who have played a piano, left, returned another time to try it agian, and so on. This is a decision that may be for a lifetime, and the amount of money spent can be significant, so taking one's time is appropriate.
I agree with you. While it might be possible to eliminate a piano very quickly, being sure enough to buy something that may be a once in a lifetime purchase and one of the most expensive purchases one will make can reasonably take a lot of time.

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#1996524 - 12/08/12 05:46 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: pianoloverus]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

You really don't think any dealer would be more interested in selling a more expensive piano that a cheaper one?


That was my point. It seemed odd that the original poster kept repeating the "$20,000" figure which, unfortunately, is the low-end for grand pianos and not the high end. But I wanted to still be respectful of his budget, as nearly all piano dealers would be.


Edited by Thrill Science (12/08/12 05:49 PM)
_________________________
Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#1996534 - 12/08/12 06:09 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: Thrill Science]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19351
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Thrill Science
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

You really don't think any dealer would be more interested in selling a more expensive piano that a cheaper one?


That was my point. It seemed odd that the original poster kept repeating the "$20,000" figure which, unfortunately, is the low-end for grand pianos and not the high end. But I wanted to still be respectful of his budget, as nearly all piano dealers would be.
I think it's debatable whether 20K is on the low end for average sale price for grands sold. I doubt very much it is on the low end for median grand price. I am virtually certain that if vertical pianos are included that 20K is not on the low end for a piano's sale price. In fact, I'd guess that if all acoustic pianos are considered 20K is nearer the high end.

Perhaps a dealer can give us figures about what the average price paid for a new grand or for a new piano is?


Edited by pianoloverus (12/08/12 06:14 PM)

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#1996586 - 12/08/12 08:32 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
master88er Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/07
Posts: 859
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Disclosure:
I KNOW I am going to regret this post frown

The subject of this thread is probably the most oft repeated (read regurgitated) criticism of my shop that I hear/see. It is usually followed by much more vitriolic language than the OP posts here , but generally the complaints center around a perception that I didn't somehow live up to the expectations of the individual who graced my shop with their presence.

I have been in piano retail for over 40 years ( I know, I don't look that old - fat is a great preservative). I take great pride in the pianos on my floor, whether they are new or used and I personally service the majority of the instruments on our floor. I also personally select most of the pianos we have, not just order them over the phone, so I have a personal connection with most of these pianos. My shop does not keep lids or fallboards open on any pianos.

When a merchant opens a shop, it is often for various sub-reasons but always the hard-edge bottom line is to make a profit. For a piano dealer, the only way to make money is to sell pianos. Naturally, each one of us is entitled to have a different idea on how best to do that.

For me, besides the profit, my reward comes in working with a young person in finding a piano that inspires them to start studying or keep up their studies, or in finding that piano for a retiree that they have dreamed of having their entire life. To do that, it takes very personal time with the individual or family, experimenting with various brands and approaches to touch and tone.

Periodically, when working with a client, another will grace my store with their presence. It is my custom to offer coffee or tea to the second customer or suggest they return in 30 to 45 minutes, explaining that we work with one client at a time. Without going into detail, or repeating the names I have been called (for fear of being banned) this does irk a number of self-important individual who feel they should be entitled to walk into my shop and treat it in any fashion they wish, doing as they please. I disagree, and since I have put my money on the line by paying the rent and spending hundreds of thousands on inventory, in my realm I call the shots.

When a customer makes an appointment with me, my policy is to turn away walk-in clients while that customer is in the shop. The reality is that if someone takes the time to make an appointment to try pianos, they are serious and feel that they need quiet time with the instruments. They deserve to have that appointment and request honored. Again, many disagree vehemently with my approach. But it has sustained me for 40 years and while, admittedly, some are offended when I ask them to return later or another day, or insist on them controlling their children and letting staff open instruments, many customers appreciate the care we take with our pianos and the condition each and every instrument is in on our floor.

We have a recital hall as well, that seats 100. I love providing it to the community as a resource and love watching kids get dressed up in holiday regalia to play Fur Elise and eat sugar cookies. However, I only schedule recitals after store hours to avoid conflicts with shoppers. Once again, we have had people come in, even with the closed sign up, wanting to see pianos and are offended when we say we are closed for a private event and ask them to leave.

To me, I don't care if a client is spending $1,000 on a used Yamaha or $100,000 on a new Sauter - they are entitled to my undivided attention and undisturbed listening time to select an instrument. Personally, I love those little girls that have been taking lessons for 2 years that the OP refers to. They are open minded, not brand name prejudiced, and actually use their ears to judge pianos with. I KNOW, weird concept! grin

I have to admit that the OP's mentioning of the whopping $20k that he/she has to spend got under my skin. shocked It infers that this budget entitles him/her to some sort of extraordinary treatment on the part of the dealer in preference to the young girl looking at used uprights. Well KC, in fact, Valentina Lisitsa has played several times in my store and I can tell you for a fact that she would be appalled if my attention drifted from a young consumer on a console to wait on the guy who just pulled up in the Mercedes looking for the Steingraeber she just played on. After all, at one point, she WAS that little girl! whistle
_________________________
Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

SF Area Dealer: Steingraeber•Grotrian•Sauter•Estonia•Kayserburg•Baldwin•Brodmann•Ritmüller
www.rkassman.com
russell@rkassman.com
510.558.0765

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#1996599 - 12/08/12 09:06 PM Re: Are piano stores trying to go out of business? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Jonathan Alford Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 359
Loc: Colorado
Just to piggy back off Russell's comments.

See below.

Thought i might add a little "liteness" to the thread.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAsDLGjMhFI

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