Shopping Tips for a New Reality – perspective from our shop floor
Written by Geoff Woods, a consultant and programmer here for over 20 years.
I’ve just got used to writing “2021” and we’re already talking about Christmas shopping. Well. . . Okay, to be fair, my wife is already doing her Christmas shopping. Like most guys I know, I was probably going to procrastinate until December 17th at least, like every year. But this year it looks like that strategy would be a mistake.
You don’t exactly have to have your ear to the ground to know that supply chains have been disrupted lately. Every industry from automobiles to snack foods has been affected. Items that used to come in 7-10 days are now 10 weeks out if we’re lucky, and some items literally have “no ETA.”
We don’t need to hash out the 107 converging causal factors that have contributed to this. Suffice it to say that no one person, policy, germ, or weather phenomena is solely responsible. Even if we could point the funky finger of blame in one direction, assigning fault won’t solve anything in the here and now. So really, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, it’s still everybody’s problem.
So how much is K&W affected? More importantly, what can we do to help K&W’s valued customer mitigate how you are affected by this unfolding disaster?
Here’s some good news and some straight-up, unvarnished bad news.
First the good news:
- We live in Canada! Aside from having a lot more freedom than what is being experienced in many other places, one of the best things about Canada is we manufacture some of THE BEST speakers in the whole world. I’m not making this up. Canadian loudspeakers are like Italian sports cars. We are world renowned for the quality and value of our speakers. As well, because we don’t have to cross borders and pay duties and tariffs on them, we get them for the best prices. K&W is proud to represent the best selection of Canadian speaker brands available ANYWHERE. As a bonus, lead times on most of these products are not nearly as terrible as items coming across the ocean. So if somebody has speakers on their Christmas list, they’re in luck.
- We saw this coming! It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve been working double time to buy more stock, earlier than we ever have going into the Christmas season. Obviously there are still shortfalls and will continue to be. But we’ve managed to get ahead of this crunch on quite a few high demand items and, provided you don’t procrastinate too long (like me), we can probably get your wish list fulfilled, but I do recommend you DON’T put it off too long.
- Music is COOL. I highly recommend you turn off the news and listen to music more often. It WILL make you a happier person, I promise. And fortunately there aren’t as many shortages on classic stereo gear as there is on A/V receivers and other items that require digital chips. Dust off your old vinyl and dig out your CD collection, we can get you fixed up with a great playback system in time for the holidays.
Now for the bad news:
- Prices are going up. Many already have, but the trend is not stopping. With skyrocketing shipping costs and labour shortages galore, hardly a day goes by without us receiving a new price list from a supplier and none of the numbers on those lists are getting smaller, except maybe in the column showing quantity available. It’s a hard reality, but it is reality. If you know what you want, don’t wait, cuz chances are it will NOT be cheaper later.
- Some key items simply aren’t available. Digital music streamers and entry level Surround Sound receivers have suffered the hardest impact, and while stock is trickling in, demand has also been higher than anyone expected. We are taking deposits for back orders on these items and are running on a first come, first served basis. But we aren’t the ones off-loading the ships or driving the trucks, so we just are not able to make promises.
- Our installers are BUSY! This is good news for us, but for those who are waiting to get a system installed, it means you need to plan a bit further ahead and exercise a bit more patience. Because of the unpredictability of supply chains, we simply can NOT book an install until we have ALL the system components IN STOCK. By the time all those items are in stock, the waiting list can be weeks out. So the window of time for getting a complete system and getting it installed by Christmas is already very quickly closing. Alternatively, maybe think about that one extra special upgrade component to take an existing system to the next level—a simple install like that is much more likely to get shoe-horned into the schedule.
Finally, one last thought regarding this year’s holiday shopping:
We really do appreciate your loyalty and patronage. For 43 years, we have striven to be your chosen Hi-Fi and Home Theatre destination shop in Calgary, and hope to keep it going for decades more to come. What often makes the difference between a mediocre sound system and a great one is expertise in selection and a personal touch… neither of which is an Amazon hallmark.
There. I said it. With hundreds of ships carrying thousands of containers filled with millions of products languishing off shore waiting for ports to catch up, you can’t be completely sure that the item you order on line will get here in time. Even if it does, it might not actually be exactly the right item for YOU too.
So please come and talk to one of our system designers. We have over a century of combined experience in this field, and since we work at a bricks and mortar (literally) store front in your neighborhood, you always know where to find us. As a result, we have an ongoing, vested interest in making sure you are happy with your purchase.
Thanks to you for your ongoing support of our local business. I invite personally you to come down and meet a fellow Calgarian, maybe go home with something cool that day. Or at the very least, be assured that you’ll get straight answers about what you need, and when you can have it.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!