Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A Letter From A Friend

As well as the few comments that have arrived to my blog, I also get a good deal of email traffic. Here's one that struck a chord with me very recently, I think worth sharing. It's from my good friend Alan Horton, great guitarist, playing locally for years with the "Shrinking Violets" duo. Al's partner in crime, Verite Alexander, has a fabulous voice.  Get out and see them if you have the chance.  I believe I first met Al about 20 years ago, he was one of my first customers.  He brought me his Session guitar amp for repair.  It was making the most horrendous noises.  The problem was terminal for the amp's PA stage, I modified it with a much better MOSFET output stage.  It ran a little warmer, which didn't hurt, but I recall that it sounded fantastic.  I think Al still has it.

Hello Russ, I spent sometime reading your story, the first such visit to a blog of that kind for me.

I always thought of them as being more about issues than people.  I guess yours is about issues too.

You could describe it as a modern day account of an individual’s battle with a global economy and the unscripted consequences thereof.

It seems to me that the rate of change is what seems to overtake all of us and that awful feeling of disempowerment it can bring.

Failure is an issue for us all in life, it can be a relationship disintegrating or any of a number of other devastating disappointments.  Its a wounding it seems to me, and can shatter everything that seems to represent what we like to think of as "ourselves".

I sense something of this in your writing along with a measure of self examination.  Another thing I can identify with and a very typical reaction to loss of some kind.

I look forward to a chat sometime Russ, I remember very very well the last one we had.  I was at a crisis (still am!) you seemed to have been there and come out the other side.
 You are quite a people person compared to myself I feel, perhaps a little more vulnerable for that.

Anyway I’ve muttered on enough, lastly though, I think I should congratulate you for the effort and frankness involved in your posting, quite something.

Best for now

Thanks for those words Al. I very much enjoyed reading your response. In fact, although I've not done much yet, you made me feel like I have already achieved something.

I think you may have just inadvertently stimulated something that I was trying to avoid!!

The global economy is what it is, but the problem I have is with organizations / individuals simply undercutting everyone else because they can, or because they want to, believing that by doing so they will become the prime source.  Just look at what happened to our local petrol supply, when Tesco opened their store at the top of Camborne.  It’s my belief that they purposely undercut all of the local stations – Polstrong, Glassons, College Street, the one on the corner of Wellington Road, Basset Street, John Richards (North Roskear), Pengegon Motors, Trevenson and others that I don’t immediately recall.  All of these stations went out of business and now Tesco is the dearest station for miles!

When it comes to product that requires after sales service, I can’t understand what these people expect to gain by their attitude to pricing. I mean, what makes an individual want to do 10 times the amount of work for the same money?  If a product is worth £100 why sell it for less - ridiculously less?  If you are big enough and powerful enough, then there is a point – you eliminate your competition, as above.  But you have to be able to sustain the campaign.  Many sellers these days think that they can steal all of the customers with low pricing but end up putting themselves into bankruptcy, and upsetting a multitude of other dealers and their supplier at the same time.  Yes - the supplier.  Often the supplier expects the product to sell for a particular price but when the discount wars start, the product quality is undermined and service / support cannot be maintained at the lower price.  All too often the manufacturer is forced to lower the quality of the product to suit the "street price".   Just look at the supermarkets again; they are now selling into the home electronics market.  I wouldn’t trust any of them with a toaster!  They haven’t got a clue what a modern day TV is capable of, or how and to what it will connect, let alone how the customer gets the components to talk to one another.  Worse still they are getting their third world buddies to manufacture this stuff for them at daft prices with substandard parts and it doesn’t last.  Sorry, they are having a laugh!  This gear is not repairable, it’s not worth repairing (read that again – it is two statements!) and our stupid governments act all dumb and wonder why we’ve got a landfill problem. So much for their green policies!

All I want to do is provide a worthwhile service and supply products that actually work (and carry on working), just like the old days. Remember when you bought a product because it performed and lasted?  A TV was done for when the tube wore out at 15 years plus old, and the cost of a new video head would scrap your VCR at 10 years or so.  I sold scores of those products that I bought second hand off the rental companies.  I serviced them, sold them and hardly ever saw them again.  My trade is worth something and there are people out there looking for me. It’s already started.

Thanks again for your comment, for me that was some emotion in the right direction!  And very well put.

Late addition!- reply from Al:

Yes it is a long time Russ and I do still use the Amp and thank providence for men like yourself, survivors and of course thinkers.

I will tell V of your kind words and I'm sure she will appreciate them as indeed I appreciate your generous remarks too.

Well beyond the call of duty Russ.

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