"Recorded Memories & AB CD's" RecordedMemoriesAndABCDS@netzero.net
Date: Fri, Jun 9, 2000 6:11 PM
Dear Office of the Secretary:
I am DEEPLY concerned by the pending M.A.P.decision! I have owned Recorded Memories for nearly ten years ( June 1990 ). We are a "mom & pop" neighborhood music store employing local people, paying local taxes. The M.A.P. actually protects us in several ways. M.A.P. keeps an acceptable perceived value on music. M.A.P. keeps things a little more balanced due to cooperative advertising dollars. M.A.P. keeps the "big box" stores from TEMPORARILY reducing prices in order to ELIMINATE competition.
The cd or tape someone purchases is an "identical good." The cd my employee's sell is the same that a "big box" store sells. Therefore, price is one of the biggest issues. If the perceived price of a cd or tape is tarnished, then each potential transaction is tarnished.
What I am trying to convey is this. If someone see's a cd for $7.99, and the list price for that cd is $18.99, and we pay $13 for it, the customer feels we are ripping them off. This is NOT the case. Independent retailers are the ones that break ( introduce them to the mainstream ) local and new artists and actually help customers. If customers come into my store or another neighborhood store and feel we are making $11 on each cd ( using the above analogy ) they will go elsewhere. The "big box" stores can make up for this loss by selling the customer an appliance or extended service contract, etc.
The M.A.P. keeps the playing field a little more level due to how co-op dollars are allocated and used. In years past, co-op dollars were easier to come by, however more and more they go to the "big box" stores. So, they are PAID to advertise an identical good at a price I can't even PURCHASE it for. However, at least that price is within some reason. When they are paid to advertise a cd for a price, it also affects other cds they are NOT advertising at that time. The perception is "if that cd is $7.99 then all of the cds in that genre etc. should be 7.99!'' Reducing that - or in this case eliminating it - will have an IMMENSE impact on neighborhood stores.
The "big box" stores are known for going into area's and reducing the cost of complimentary goods ( say,a hammer ), while this can be detrimental to a neighborhood hardware store ( and many do NOT survive ) some smart ones can. They simply carry a different type of hammer. Neighborhood music stores CANNOT do this. A cd is a cd is a cd. We cannot simply carry a different line of product. Price is the major factor. While I realize service is a major factor in any business, I assure you very little in the service sector of selling a cd ( legally ) would make up for an $11 price difference using the above analogy )!
It is my hope that you will save the neighborhood music stores from additional bankruptcies, layoff's and closures. The playing field is not even close to level NOW. However, this change would tilt the field vertically at a 90 degree angle placing "big box" stores at the top and sliding neighborhood businesses into a discarded heap. I want to fight to keep my small business alive, along with the jobs & local taxes we provide. Being a small business owner is NOT easy, however it is possible. Please help us keep it that way!
Richard G. Terzieff