The Price Is Right

We’re living with a price driven marketplace. Every week new flyers arrive purporting to offer, this week only, the best deal ever on whatever it is you might be looking to purchase. Radio and TV constantly bombard us with time limited special offers that won’t be repeated (until the next sale…). The Internet will reveal unprecedented deals on any item you care to type into a search engine, although these frequently evaporate when you actually try to get them. If you do manage to land the product you were promised, there’s a good chance the Canadian warranty didn’t come as part of the deal, but some unexpected import costs did.

Of course, none of these offers are necessarily related to your actual best interests. They reflect the interests of the seller – the inventory on hand, the most efficient use of advertising budgets and so forth. If you are lucky, your interests and the seller’s coincide, and you come away with a great deal.

While this might work well for straightforward purchases, it usually doesn’t serve you optimally with complex purchases such as audio and home theatre systems. Advice tailored to your specific situation can’t be easily given without assessing that situation first hand. Even when good general advice is possible, it is almost never forthcoming from on line vendors or big box stores, who are most concerned with closing sales expeditiously.

Then there is the issue of installation support – most people can benefit from some assistance with any complex technology purchase. In some cases, such as turntable alignment and room acoustic setup, quite specialized skills are required, and even experienced hobbyists who prefer to do their own setup can benefit from an exchange of ideas with a skilled dealer. Inevitably, there is the issue of problem resolution – when things don’t go perfectly smoothly there is no substitute for a supportive and competent local dealer. Given the business environment, most reputable specialty dealers, Paul Frecker Audio included, offer very competitive pricing while providing significant added benefits.

In the final analysis, the price is only right if the product meets or exceeds your expectations. A great deal on a complex item, purchased without expert support, is not worth much if you can’t get the performance you were promised.