This was my business card way, way back in time. Telephone number and address is long gone. I elected to use my Gibson Les Paul as part of my calling card. My 1976 Les Paul was my first good electric guitar. Purchased over 40 years ago now. A Les Paul was a player’s guitar.
The brand really meant something to me back then. And perhaps it might mean something again in the future.
Things do need to change at Gibson. My observation from a post I had written about Gibson going down back in February:
Other than being a financial basket case and making shoddy guitars with a nasty CEO and disengaged employees, everything else is going well at Gibson.
Juszkiewicz, who has found himself at odds with creditors in recent months, will continue with the company upon emergence from bankruptcy “to facilitate a smooth transition,” according to the agreement. Court papers call for a one-year consulting deal and compensation package for Juszkiewicz. A representative for the company didn’t respond to questions about whether Juszkiewicz will remain as CEO or in a separate role.
Getting rid of Juszkiewicz would be a great start in trying to restore the Gibson brand.
I suspect retailers might have a pessimistic sense about their future in the digital age. And, every so often, I understand why.
Many retailers are just awful.
A recent experience at the local Jump Plus store here in Kingston reminded me why I am increasingly going online to shop.
Two weeks ago I went to the Jump Plus shop to order a replacement for my aging iMac. As I live downtown, I wanted to support the local retailer.
The customer service was neutral. I knew the exact specification I wanted for the new machine and the transaction was pretty basic: please order this machine.
I was told that it would take them 5 to 7 business days for a custom order iMac to be delivered to their store. And that was fine with me.
They had my name, address, email address and telephone number on file as I have purchased from them many times before.
I asked them specifically if they required a deposit for the order. I was told no.
I decided to call them to check on the status of the order as we were now 10 business days since the order was placed. The person who answered the call asked me who placed the order for me. Odd. You couldn’t find the order?
After trying to describe the salesperson who helped me, another person came on the line, the salesperson who had allegedly placed the order.
I quickly recounted the order that I had placed with her and the machine configuration.
“Did you get my email?” she asked.
This gets old pretty quickly.
“No.” I replied.
I receive several hundred emails a day. I archive them. I might have missed this one, although I doubt it. So I searched for any email from Jump Plus over the past two weeks.
“Well,” she continued, “we can’t order the unit because it is a custom build and we require a deposit. That is store policy.”
I pointed out the obvious to her. I had asked if a deposit was required when I placed the order two weeks ago and she told me no. The order specifically highlighted that it was a custom build when it was placed. If it was store policy, why wasn’t a deposit requested when it was placed? Why didn’t you follow up immediately with the request for a deposit if it was required for the order? You had both my email address and my phone number on file.
“Well, you will have to come in and place the deposit and then we can process the order.”
I really do not like people who are deceptive.
She could have responded with: “Oh I am so sorry. I was not able to get your order into our system without a deposit. And, with everything going on, I neglected to contact you to come into the shop to make the deposit. To make up for this, we’ll give you [whatever, a slight discount, a gift card to a coffee shop] for your trouble. You’ve been a long-time customer and we really appreciate your business.”
Instead she made up stories about “emails” and “store policies” when she either forgot to place the order as requested or her manager told her that she should have requested the deposit at the time the order was placed and she just never followed up.
I ordered the unit from Apple direct and it will be to my door in 3 business days.
So much easier.
2. Investment fund managers (“IFMs”) are prohibited from making a payment of money or providing a non-monetary benefit to a participating dealer or dealing representatives (“DRs”) of a participating dealer in connection with the distribution of securities, except in certain permitted circumstances under Parts 3 and 5 of National Instrument 81-105 Mutual Fund Sales Practices (“NI 81-105”).
3. The Companion Policy to NI 81-105 provides that NI 81-105 was adopted in order to discourage sales practices and compensation arrangements that could be perceived as inducing 2 participating dealers and their representatives to sell mutual fund securities on the basis of incentives they were receiving rather than on the basis of what was suitable for and in the best interests of their clients. The purpose of NI 81-105 is to provide a minimum standard of conduct to ensure that investor interests remain uppermost in the actions of mutual fund industry participants when they are distributing mutual fund securities and that conflicts of interest arising from sales practices and compensation arrangements are minimized.
This was how Scotiabank’s asset management division thanked some of their financial advisors — Dealing Representatives (DRs) — for their business:
6. In particular, 1832 engaged in excessive spending on promotional activities on DRs including in relation to:
(a) one-time events such as concerts and sports events, including play-off events. In many instances, the cost of these events to 1832 exceeded $700 per DR per event and, in more limited instances, the cost exceeded $1,000 per DR per event;
(b) multiple promotional activities within the same quarter in breach of 1832’s guidelines, including taking a DR to back-to-back Blue Jays baseball (“Jays”) play-off games at a cost to 1832 of $1,340 for the DR and, in a one month period, taking a DR to two Toronto Maple Leafs hockey (“Leafs”) games and a Rihanna concert at a cost to 1832 of $1,111 for the DR; and
(c) on occasion, annual promotional activities, including spending more than $3,500 on one DR in 2015.
7. 1832 also provided promotional items and gifts (collectively “Items”) to DRs that were not of minimal value (and were therefore excessive) and/or were not promotional in nature including by:
(a) approving Items included in 1832’s warehouse store (the “Warehouse”) that were distributed to DRs, including a Bose wireless music system ($200), an executive briefcase ($190) and a golf GPS ($150);
(b) providing, with the approval of management, gifts of tickets to major events to DRs without requiring that an 1832 employee attend the event, including tickets to Jays games ($245) and to concerts such as Justin Bieber ($253);
(c) providing more than 2,000 gift cards to DRs, including approximately 150 gift cards costing more than $50 each to DRs, all of which gift cards constituted monetary benefits that were not permitted under NI 81-105; and
(d) providing Apple iPad minis and keyboards with a combined cost of approximately $325 each to 215 DRs who attended a mutual fund conference sponsored by 1832 in 2015 (the “2015 Conference”) and with a combined cost of approximately $375 each, to 210 DRs who attended a mutual fund conference sponsored by 1832 in 2016 (the “2016 Conference”) as well as Maui Jim sunglasses ($111) to those 210 DRs and, where applicable, the DR’s guest.
8. In addition, 1832 provided excessive non-monetary benefits to DRs on food, drinks and entertainment at the 2015 and 2016 Conferences including:
(a) spending over $1,000 per DR on the final day of the 2015 Conference on food, drinks and a celebrity speaker; and
(b) spending over $850 per DR on the final day of the 2016 Conference on food, drinks and a celebrity speaker.
The Bank of Nova Scotia’s asset management division, 1832 Asset Management L.P., is the second investment fund manager to be fined this month for excessive spending in its mutual fund sales practices.
The fund manager has agreed to pay an $800,000 administrative penalty and $150,000 in investigation costs as regulators voice concerns surrounding their mutual fund sales practices.
Good to see the OSC at work in this area.
If you are reading this, it means I am no longer here.
I was shocked to learn of Jordon Cooper’s death. It just didn’t seem, well, right. He was one of the early Canadian bloggers and I followed him for many years. We traded emails from time to time and we linked to each other’s posts. He started his blog in 2001. I started mine in 2004.
I learned of his battle with cancer through his post “The Beginning of the End.”
I was heartbroken.
Less than a year later, he was gone.
I must admit that I hadn’t noticed this feature on Strava before now. I think it might be new.
I had a tough ride this morning climbing most of the way up the Alpe Du Zwift.
I can’t get that route done in an hour. Second attempt and I was only able to get to signpost 7 — short about 4 kms. I’ll have more time to spend on the route this weekend. Feels like it might take me about 90 minutes to finish. Such a tough climb.
Must get to the top though!
At my age, my theoretical maximum heart rate is 159 although I can sustain efforts above that heart rate.
When I checked my heart rate stats after the ride, I was above 150bpm for the entire climb. Strava confirmed what my body had already told me: I had suffered.
This beautiful piece went up for sale on Reverb. I received an offer which was really close to what I wanted to receive for the unit and so I accepted the offer. Sometimes when the offer price is close enough, I don’t counter. It all depends.
The very next evening the buyer backed out.
As you can tell from my reply, I wasn’t too happy about the buyer’s request. This from the Reverb site:
Am I required to make a purchase if my offer is accepted?
Yes, once your offer is accepted, or you accept a seller’s counteroffer, the listing will be considered purchased by you. You’ll get an email notification as well as an “Unpaid Order” notification in the upper right hand corner of Reverb. You’ll then be able to check out and pay via the orders page in the “Buying” section of your Reverb account.
Abandoning orders after your offer is accepted creates extremely frustrating experiences for sellers, so Reverb frowns upon it strongly. Buyers with multiple abandoned orders are subject to negative feedback or account suspension. Please only make an offer on an item if you intend on following through with your purchase.
Okay. Life moves on. I was annoyed but the equipment is top flight and I was confident that another buyer would come along.
And sure enough, one did. Another Reverb user jumped on the re-listed item literally within a few hours of me cancelling the first order.
A much lower offer so I countered. And this buyer agreed to a price that was, oddly enough, the exact same price as the first buyer.
So, I jumped over to my order list. This is what I found:
It was the exact same name and address for both orders — I redacted most of it for obvious reasons. Same price, same address, same name.
So I contacted Reverb support.
(07:05:53 PM) Richard Cleaver: I have had two orders for a Mic Pre that I am selling. One asked to cancel the listing. Then I received a second offer shortly after the cancellation which was much lower than the first offer. I countered and the buyer came back with a price that was the same as the first offer. On my order summary, I have the order number 3503733 that was cancelled and the same name and address is also showing on the pending order 3515995 even though the offer came through a different name. The only difference between the two orders is the phone number. Should I be concerned?
(07:05:59 PM) *** Nate J. joined the chat ***
(07:06:33 PM) Nate J.: Hey Nate J with Reverb here
(07:06:42 PM) Nate J.: Let me take a look at the buyer and I’ll let you know
(07:06:52 PM) Richard Cleaver: Thank you!
(07:07:52 PM) Nate J.: So they put in another offer on this?
(07:08:25 PM) Richard Cleaver: It looks that way to me. However the second offer came from a different user name
(07:09:34 PM) Nate J.: Yeah looks like that is the case. I see that the buyer has successfully purchased in the past with their previous account and doesn’t have any issues in the past.
(07:13:49 PM) Richard Cleaver: Ok. The first offer came from someone named —- and he cancelled because he didn’t want to have the item shipped from Canada. The second offer came from — ——– however both userids are showing the same address hence my concern. I’ll wait to see if payment clears before acting further. Just odd to me that someone would use a different name to make the second offer…
(07:13:50 PM) Nate J.: It definitely isn’t a normal occurrence on the site so I fully understand the apprehension. Our security team will verify that their payment is good and that their information matches up, including matching their phone number to them.
The payment did come through fine and I shipped the unit out to the buyer. Obviously the buyer really wanted the unit and perhaps had second thoughts about cancelling the order or tried to come in with a lower amount thinking that I might go down further in price.
Love using Reverb and experiences like this one add some drama to what is ordinarily a fairly straightforward task of buying and selling gear.
I’ve generally had good experiences using Canada Post for shipping gear that I have sold on Reverb. But every once in a while, something happens and I have to deal with the inability of a courier to meet a delivery standard.
In this case, it was the sale of this pedal, the Hotcake:
Great overdrive for a Vox style amp. Which is weird for me because I don’t play through Vox style amps. What was I thinking?
So many overdrives, so little time.
Anyway, I sold the pedal to a really nice person who lived in a rural area of Quebec. The delivery standard was not met by Canada Post and the buyer became a bit concerned and asked me to intervene.
Here was the discussion:
And it was completely out of my hands. I contacted Canada Post a couple of times and I was told, in effect, that the package will get there when the package gets there. One of the decisions a seller makes when using Reverb is how much to pay for shipping. Faster, guaranteed delivery costs more. And for a rural location, it can cost a lot more. The buyer is really not interested in paying any more than necessary to ship a package, especially when it is something as low cost as a guitar pedal. But when a standard gets set by the courier, 4 working days in this case, it can be quite frustrating when a package sits for almost another week without any change in status.
The pedal did finally make its way to the buyer.
Better late than never.
Another guitar, another day selling stuff on Reverb.
I have sold a lot of gear on Reverb and for the most part, the experiences have been fine. Some encounters are a tad unusual and humorous. Like this one.
I had offered a Fender Select Tele for sale. Beautiful instrument. Very lightly used. This was one of the shots I had taken of the instrument for the listing:
I suppose I need to stop shooting the gear like this. I had to respond to questions asking me for images of the actual instrument. This was, indeed, a picture of the actual instrument and not a stock photo. Maybe I should just use my iPhone and available indoor lighting.
Most of the buyers are from the United States and they are not always aware that Canada is a sovereign country. Canada is considered to be another state, at least as far as things like border control and customs protocols.
Here is the exchange:
The guitar shipment to the buyer was being processed by U.S. Customs, not Canada Customs. And they do that for all incoming shipments that cross the border. Primarily to ensure appropriate duties and taxes are levied as well as preventing the entry of prohibited items. All very routine. True of anything that comes into Canada as well.
I’m not sure why UPS did not just inform the buyer that yes, the shipment is on hold pending customs clearance, but it will proceed once cleared. The buyer seemed completely shocked: “Said they have no control of it !!! Don’t know what to do !!!”
I had a bit of chuckle. So many things outside of our control and often we tend to panic when things don’t go our way. He received his beautiful new guitar in due course. Unfortunately it was weather delayed in transit after it had cleared customs so it took a bit longer than normal for U.S. bound shipments from Canada. But it got there nonetheless.
We have become accustomed to next day, or in some cases, same day delivery from services like Amazon. Crossing the border still takes time. Better now than it was but still time consuming due to governments and borders.
I now make a point of letting a U.S. buyer know that the item will have to clear customs and it may take a few days.
Not to say that I haven’t had similar challenges in terms of delays in shipments to Canadians. Another interesting encounter on Reverb to come.