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View Full Version : Maybe old news, but I'm sorry to see Omega Music UK have closed



jimavery
08-23-2018, 11:35 AM
Omega Music UK often had a great selection of ukuleles, and their own reviews of the ukuleles they stocked were refreshingly detailed, humorous and honest. I bought, I guess, two or three ukes from them in recent years, so I was disappointed to find they closed in May this year due to a downturn in trade. If any of you guys are reading this: lots of love from me.

Graham Greenbag
08-23-2018, 02:23 PM
I was shocked to read that Omega had gone under and found this article from a local newspaper: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/Bramptons-Omega-Music-closes-after-more-than-30-years-c4bbfc4b-b8b6-4d35-b118-c1b1f002ec32-ds

Taking to a trader on a local business park the beginning of this year was as tough as any he had known. To my mind the U.K. economy is doing OK and unemployment is currently very low yet businesses are going under or going into voluntary liquidation. I don’t know the solution but suspect that, for many businesses, Amazon is part of the problem ....... I’d shut them down tomorrow ‘cause, amongst other reasons, they are too dominant in the marketplace.

DPO
08-23-2018, 02:39 PM
I was shocked to read that Omega had gone under and found this article from a local newspaper: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/Bramptons-Omega-Music-closes-after-more-than-30-years-c4bbfc4b-b8b6-4d35-b118-c1b1f002ec32-ds

Taking to a trader on a local business park the beginning of this year was as tough as any he had known. To my mind the U.K. economy is doing OK and unemployment is currently very low yet businesses are going under or going into voluntary liquidation. I don’t know the solution but suspect that, for many businesses, Amazon is part of the problem ....... I’d shut them down tomorrow ‘cause, amongst other reasons, they are too dominant in the marketplace.

So your idea is, to shut down businesses that are too successful leaving just the ones that are average. Yep that'll work.

upskydowncloud
08-23-2018, 07:48 PM
It’s not really a level playing field given Amazon pays virtually no tax on profit, relying on currently legal but morally questionable offshore tax structures, whereas smaller local companies cannot and likely suffer as a result.

DPO
08-23-2018, 08:31 PM
It’s not really a level playing field given Amazon pays virtually no tax on profit, relying on currently legal but morally questionable offshore tax structures, whereas smaller local companies cannot and likely suffer as a result.

But that is the fault of governments, not Amazon.

Graham Greenbag
08-23-2018, 11:22 PM
“It’s not really a level playing field given Amazon pays virtually no tax on profit, relying on currently legal but morally questionable offshore tax structures, whereas smaller local companies cannot and likely suffer as a result.” It is amazing to me that some other people appear to either not be aware of or not understand such things.


But that is the fault of governments, not Amazon.

I am surprised at your stance. Just because something is not yet illegal but is still clearly immoral is no reason to blame Goverments for the continued activity. As far as I can understand matters, from articles in the Papers and on the Television, Amazon both treat their staff badly and very actively avoid paying tax to the point where it really is something rather serious. I class those activities as forms of theft (from the staff and society) and not ‘fair game’, hence I’d treat them as such. I’m a right wing Tory but when companies behave in such ways then the right place for the board and top executive team is in jail - YMMV.

DPO
08-23-2018, 11:43 PM
I am surprised at your stance. Just because something is not yet illegal but is still immoral is no reason to blame Goverments for the continued activity. As far as I can understand matters, from articles in the Papers and on the Television, Amazon both treat their staff badly and very actively avoid paying tax to the point where it really is something rather serious. I class those activities as forms of theft (from the staff and society) and not ‘fair game’, hence I’d treat them as such. I’m a right wing Tory but when business behave in such ways the right place for the board and top executive team is in jail - YMMV.

How they treat their staff is immaterial in the context of this post. Amazon and the likes of Apple pay almost no tax because governments around the world allow them to do exactly that. But they are very efficient retailers and will be around long after the local hight street retailers are a thing of the past.

ukulelekarcsi
08-24-2018, 12:28 AM
Interesting discussion!

Treatment of staff is very often regulated by government, but these international companies are very keen on finding backdoors for minimum wages, long and odd hours, easy lay-off schemes, low social benefits.

Plus, they not only evade taxes but also get government funding. Do watch the BBC programme 'The Village That Went Offshore', about Crickhowell, where the local businesses (including a bookshop and an optician) sought out to copy the tricks of the big competitors.

I'm not sure they are more efficient than a brick and mortar shops. Through size they can twist the arms of their suppliers and transporters, they very often work for years at a very serious loss (and call it disrupting the market). Only yesterday I spoke to someone who bought a guitar at just 10% of the retail price, just because someone at an online seller mistyped a zero. Great luck for the buyer, but hardly efficient - any serious business wouldn't allow that deal to happen, and apologize for the misunderstanding.

Not all brick and mortar stores are good, but especially when the staff is knowledgeable they certainly are better than online 'filled cardboard box sellers'.

Coming back to Omega, it's a good thing son Matt Warnes continues a small part of the business through World of Ukes. The financial hit taken by a large burglary was the drop that closed down the 10-person business, but the bucket was mainly full because the larger customers dependent on government funding (schools, music schools, community bands) ceased their regular orders.

Croaky Keith
08-24-2018, 08:13 AM
It certainly was unfortunate, I'd had good service from them online, & missed them when they closed.

I'm still keeping my other Northern supplier as busy as I can, but they don't seem to be increasing their stock with any new products - & I now have quite a choice of instruments to play, so am more selective.

jimavery
08-24-2018, 08:25 AM
Thanks, I hadn't realised World of Ukes was there. I'm taking a look now. :-)

Graham Greenbag
08-24-2018, 09:55 PM
Just an observation.

I can't find many UU posts about these music shops, but we keep getting posts about Amazon specials and deals all the time. If there is so much opposition to Amazon why do we support so much free promotion for Amazon?

Also I think I recall some of the people who have commented hear posting negative comments about sellers shops in the north of England a few times.

If you want to keep these shops in business, you need to support them. UK people, particularly those who live in the north, seem very reticent to post positive comments about anything, including ukulele sellers.

Maybe if you jumped off the high horse and started being a bit more positive about the ukulele sellers in the British Isles there would be a lot more of them?

Always like your posts Bill so I’ll try to answer your points though it does seem to me that you might have ‘got hold of the wrong end of the stick’ on a few things.

The shops in question are tiny compared to Amazon and served only a small number of people hence you’re unlikely to hear anything about them. Lots of people like a bargain so if one of the big retailers in a big market, like the US, has a special on then it’s going to get publicity. That’s just the way of these things.

Folk post negative and positive comments about shops in line with their experience. I don’t recall anyone posting anything negative about Omega and personally I try to never name a shop. At one time they did have a good name for Ukes but the member of staff responsible for getting it for them left. To be fair Omega was a mail order music store who, over many decades, had a good reputation for the variety, range and price of its goods and hence I have dealt with them.

What’s posted on this forum and what happens in real life can be very different, UU represents a tiny fraction of U.K. Uke players so has no significant influence on sales. Whilst I’m not positive about some sellers I’m happy to buy from others on a competitive basis, they need to be in that group that offers me good value and pays their taxes.

I see no horses and definitely no high ones. People in the U.K. virtually only buy from U.K. sellers, the business doesn’t go anywhere else so talking sellers up or down has next to no effect. Anyway, whether good or bad, isn’t it best that people are honest with their experiences here? Transport costs for selling Ukes to other countries can be prohibitive so our dealers have that to contend with. Between those two factors, and demand limits, the U.K. has about as many shops as the market will support.

I hope that that has answered your points.

I used to use Amazon a lot but having listened to various programs about them and read various newspaper articles about them too my views have changed. I dislike Amazon because in my opinion they both dominate the marketplace (typically that ends up being a bad thing for society) and they steal from society by vigorously avoiding tax. If they are efficient in their business operations then, IMHO, that’s something to be admired. However that admiration shouldn’t extend to how they treat some of their staff, which I believe is very badly. If anyone does feel that abusing staff is OK then go work for someone who’ll treat you that way.

ErnieElse
08-24-2018, 10:36 PM
Thanks for this information as I hadnít realised Omega had closed. I used them a few times over the years so sorry to hear they have gone.

DownUpDave
08-25-2018, 01:55 AM
It is always sad when a local brick and mortar store goes out of business. I am an avid golfer and 20 years ago their were many small private golf shops around. Then a big chain golf store started up and in 5 year most small shops closed up because they could not compete with selection and price.

Sorry but that is business and that is what appeals to the buying public. Everybody puts down Walmart because they killed the smalltown retailers BUT everybody likes lowest prices and shops there anyways. Many empires have tumbled as times have changed.......the internet is one of those changes. You can't stop it. Make your own personal choices, that is the best anyone can do.

Graham Greenbag
08-25-2018, 02:19 AM
It is always sad when a local brick and mortar store goes out of business. I am an avid golfer and 20 years ago their were many small private golf shops around. Then a big chain golf store started up and in 5 year most small shops closed up because they could not compete with selection and price.

Sorry but that is business and that is what appeals to the buying public. Everybody puts down Walmart because they killed the smalltown retailers BUT everybody likes lowest prices and shops there anyways. Many empires have tumbled as times have changed.......the internet is one of those changes. You can't stop it. Make your own personal choices, that is the best anyone can do.

Wise words indeed, well said. I think that Walmart have pulled out of the U.K. now (were ASDA here) but a big percentage of people liked their low prices, but let’s not let talk about product quality or staff care - I do know someone who worked for them. (Edit. Strategic withdrawl? See:https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/sainsburys-asda-megamerger-store-sales-grocers-deals-ma-amazon-morrisons-a8346491.html) . It’s a competitive market place for sure and the weak will go to the wall, but Omega weren’t really weak as such and it’s more a case of the competition being extraordinarily strong to the point were eventually there will be no competitors left. Once all the competitors have gone can you guess what’s going to happen to prices?

With the supermarket analogy in mind the U.K. Goverment has procedures in place to ensure that one company doesn’t dominate the food market, those procedures work but could be better. IMHO, if we want to continue to enjoy the benefits of competition, the likes of Amazon need to have their ‘wings clipped’ - I’d like all the big multinationals to pay their taxes too instead of freeloading on the U.K. economy.

Pirate Jim
08-25-2018, 02:48 AM
From what the omega owners were saying in the article linked further up thread, their primary business was education contracts and those dried up. I don't think selling ukes to individuals was ever a significant enough part of their business to keep them afloat. It is a damn shame how creative subjects are being throttled in our schools. Those wealthy enough will get private music lessons. As for the rest?

ErnieElse
08-25-2018, 09:14 AM
Walmart are very much still in the UK !! They are in the process of merging Asda with Sainsbury’s if the Govt allow it. Likely part of a Walmart strategy to exit the UK over time.

DPO
08-25-2018, 03:25 PM
People in the U.K. virtually only buy from U.K. sellers,
How do you know that? Millions of people live in the UK yet you KNOW where they all shop!



I used to use Amazon a lot but having listened to various programs about them and read various newspaper articles about them too my views have changed. I dislike Amazon because in my opinion they both dominate the marketplace (typically that ends up being a bad thing for society) and they steal from society by vigorously avoiding tax.

They do not STEAL from society al all, they simply use the tax laws of the country they are operating in to their advantage. If Amazon are not paying their share of tax in the UK then the UK governmant can and should change the laws to ensure compliance.



If they are efficient in their business operations then, IMHO, that’s something to be admired. However that admiration shouldn’t extend to how they treat some of their staff, which I believe is very badly. If anyone does feel that abusing staff is OK then go work for someone who’ll treat you that way.[/QUOTE]

If staff are being treated unfairly or "very Badly" then the staff should do something about it.
Employers will only change their behavior toward employees if they are made to. Only YOU can change your working conditions, employers will not change unless change is forced upon them.
I speak from over twenty years experience working for New Zealands biggest retail chain ( Based on the Walmart model ). And over twenty years as a union delegate, a union regional delegate and from sitting on the Union's Executive Committee negotiating Employment contracts on an annual basis.If you want better pay and conditions you have to be prepared fight for them, they are not handed out like lollies.