View Full Version : A little bemused !!

06-27-2014, 08:33 AM
I found out through Facebook that there was a ukulele open day at a shop in Batley ( UK ) and dragged my better half along in the hopes of acquiring my second Uke.
To say I'm disappointed is an understatement !
I knew the distributer from Kala was going to be there so expected there to be a good selection to choose from. The model i set my heart on was the kala-ka-asac-t-all-solid-acacia-slotted-headstock. IT WASNT THERE !
The distributer told me it is one of their best sellers so I couldn't help wondering why they didn't have at least ONE to demo. Being able to see it in the flesh and actually play it would have helped me to decide wether it was the one I wanted. So that's a lost sale right there. I played another Kala model, and I was told that it had " crappy strings " on it so they would change them before sale.
So they didn't bring their best models and the ones they DID bring , had " crappy " strings!
I played a few other brands and models and took a break to get a drink. While I was out of the shop, I remembered a model that the owner of Kala was featuring on YouTube . When I returned to the shop I asked about it. I was told by the dist. that it was discontinued. So I pointed out that in the video, he clearly says " new for 2014 " !!!! ( scratches head )
Having said all that, I don't expect everyone to be familiar with every model, after all, he's just the distributor , but it just seemed a half-hearted attempt at an open day. The owner of the shop was very friendly and amiable and did all he could to help and made us feel very welcome. But I just can't help feeling it was a great opportunity missed.
I went to the open day ready to spend good money and who knows, if the best models were there, I may have bought more than one!
But what about passing trade too ? If they had someone talented playing a few tunes, showing what these instruments are capable of, then who knows ???
The Kala stand, amounted to a table in the corner with approx 10 Ukes on it.
I did find a little inexpensive gem of a uke called a Laka. Sounded very sweet and I was very tempted to hand over the 150 they were asking for it but decided to keep my powder dry .
It was clear from the get-go that the bones of the business relate to internet sales but if you pitch the event as an open day then for gods sake, pull out all the stops and go for it !!!

06-27-2014, 01:42 PM
It's amazing how badly these companies and stores can bungle things at times. I don't blame you for your disappointment. It's why I'm forced often to buy online and having only customer reviews and a questionable youtube recording to go on. It's a very imperfect world.

06-27-2014, 02:58 PM
Sometimes companies do it right, other times it's a bomb. A couple weeks ago I took my guitarist granddaughter to the local Guiar Center for the "Martin Experience" traveling exhibit of top Martin guitars. The Martin rep was a Nashville studio musician (guitarist) who knew the guitar product line and company history cold. Every question was answered and the dozen guitar models he brought (prices from US$4,000-15,500) were demo'd. Afterwards the audience was allowed to "test drive" all of the exhibit guitars. My granddaughter and I had fun with a few of these beauties. Unfortunately, he did not bring any Martin ukuleles with him.

However, the "experience" was a class act, with no one having to apologize for "crappy" anything. We left with a few sets of strings, my granddaughter is now a Martin convert (this may be an expensive Christmas!) and the local GC has increased its future customer base by two because of being customer-centric and responsive. I'm now willing to take another look at Martin products, especially ukuleles, based on a positve experience with a knowledgeable Martin rep. Good demonstrations make for good salemanship, and bad demonstrations......

Why stores have dud events with reps who lack product knowledge and try to BS the customers is beyond logic. Being "just a distributor" is no excuse - it's the distributor's product at that point, and showing it means being able to describe what you are showing, demonstrate competently what you are showing and answer customer questions with clarity. Anything less is "negative salemanship" and good news for the competition.