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» Inflation Run Wild?

rocksncactus   


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Post #1

This flute was up for sale on Ebay in an auction that ended July 2. It did sell.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Coyote-Oldman-Nati...=true&rt=nc

Today this ad appeared.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Coyote-Oldman-Bird...353.m1438.l2649

Thoughts?

Lizabeth


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Rick McDaniel   


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Post #2

As MGA's flutes get harder and harder to acquire, there are going to be people who seek to capitalize on demand, with those foolish enough to pay exhorbitant pricing.

That falls under the caveat of "buyer beware".


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great blue heron   


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Post #3

I'm not sure, but I remember looking at these when they were being made and I think that
is pretty close to the original price. I may be wrong though.


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rocksncactus   


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Post #4

QUOTE(great blue heron @ Aug 10 2017, 03:33 PM) *
I'm not sure, but I remember looking at these when they were being made and I think that
is pretty close to the original price. I may be wrong though.


Which, the $795 or the $1499.99?


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shewhoflutesinca...   


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Post #5

QUOTE(rocksncactus @ Aug 10 2017, 04:33 PM) *
Which, the $795 or the $1499.99?
Ah..... I see what you mean... mellow.gif

This post has been edited by shewhoflutesincaves: Aug 13 2017, 05:15 AM


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Northern Lights   


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Post #6

Ebay can be a great resource, but is always caveat emptor. Up selling occurs and frequently. I made an eBay buyer a really great deal on a couple of flutes, in part due to a convincing sob story, only to see them relisted six months later for significantly more than I sold them. It somewhat bothered me only because I thought I was helping someone acquire a flute that they could not otherwise afford.


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Northern Lights   


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Post #7

As for the pricing, see this link:

http://flutewatch.com/coyote-oldman-e-bird-head/

I think that this was a site that Jon Norris was managing back in the day and he said that the bird heads were $1,200.00 when new. I cannot confirm or deny, but clearly out of my price range in any case. I have no connection the to above auctions at all. Stephen


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rocksncactus   


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Post #8

Thanks, Stephen and great blue heron. I definitely appreciate that Michael's flutes are worth that. I know the amount of work he puts into them -- even the simpler ones but especially the intricately made ones. It's just rather shocking to me to see someone buy one and then turn around less than a month later and try to get double the amount paid for it. I'm glad we live in a free market, but this just bothers me. That's probably because I know Michael and I'd rather he get that money -- which is A, unrealistic and B, contradictory of my prior comment about a free market.

Ah, well. I won't be buying it at any rate.


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Northern Lights   


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Post #9

QUOTE(rocksncactus @ Aug 11 2017, 07:25 AM) *
Thanks, Stephen and great blue heron. I definitely appreciate that Michael's flutes are worth that. I know the amount of work he puts into them -- even the simpler ones but especially the intricately made ones. It's just rather shocking to me to see someone buy one and then turn around less than a month later and try to get double the amount paid for it. I'm glad we live in a free market, but this just bothers me. That's probably because I know Michael and I'd rather he get that money -- which is A, unrealistic and B, contradictory of my prior comment about a free market.

Ah, well. I won't be buying it at any rate.


I hear ya. My feelings exactly. S.


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Keith Glowka   


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Post #10

People certainly are buying flutes and marking them up. But, guys, doesn't any person who offers one for sale under those terms become a part of the same system?

If the original owner sells for a greater price than what they paid the flute maker, is that wrong? (especially if the flute's value had increased for whatever reason?)

Is the maker obliged to provide a "fair" price, or is matching pricing to what the market will bear equally "fair"? (As a flute maker, I struggle with these questions.)


I'm just probing the ethics of this because it's an interesting topic. Would love to hear what everybody has to say. Similar concepts have been discussed on the Portal before, but I think they need occasional re-examination. After all, as markets change, so will the customs associated with them.

This post has been edited by Keith Glowka: Aug 11 2017, 04:08 PM


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Mark   


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Post #11

QUOTE(Keith Glowka @ Aug 11 2017, 07:06 PM) *
People certainly are buying flutes and marking them up. But, guys, doesn't any person who offers one for sale under those terms become a part of the same system?

If the original owner sells for a greater price than what they paid the flute maker, is that wrong? (especially if the flute's value had increased for whatever reason?)

Is the maker obliged to provide a "fair" price, or is matching pricing to what the market will bear equally "fair"? (As a flute maker, I struggle with these questions.)


I'm just probing the ethics of this because it's an interesting topic. Would love to hear what everybody has to say. Similar concepts have been discussed on the Portal before, but I think they need occasional re-examination. After all, as markets change, so will the customs associated with them.


I don't ever remember selling a flute for a profit but that does not mean I am not for selling flutes for the maximum profit you can get. I think the certain flutes are worth investing in. Before you cast stones at my ruthless capitalistic tendencies, I did have a moment of weakness once. I called a woman several years ago who had listed for 2 Stephen O'Donell flutes for $150 dollars on eBay. I told her that in good conscious, knowing about the quality of these flutes, I could not spend so little for such fine flutes. She pulled the auction and sold them for a much higher price to a local buyer. I feel that NAFs are rather undervalued by our community and the entire genre could stand a boost in pricing across the board. If a maker has reached a level of expertise that collectors are willing to pay a premium, that is a very good thing. It speaks to the value being placed on the instrument. Just my 2 cents.

Mark


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shewhoflutesinca...   


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Post #12

All of you make good points... Some flute makers are highly skilled and gifted craftsmen, and deserve to be acknowledged as that, and so their pieces should fairly attract something that reflects that, as in any other craft.

QUOTE(Keith Glowka @ Aug 11 2017, 04:06 PM) *
People certainly are buying flutes and marking them up. But, guys, doesn't any person who offers one for sale under those terms become a part of the same system?

If the original owner sells for a greater price than what they paid the flute maker, is that wrong? (especially if the flute's value had increased for whatever reason?)

Is the maker obliged to provide a "fair" price, or is matching pricing to what the market will bear equally "fair"? (As a flute maker, I struggle with these questions.)
I'm just probing the ethics of this because it's an interesting topic. Would love to hear what everybody has to say. Similar concepts have been discussed on the Portal before, but I think they need occasional re-examination. After all, as markets change, so will the customs associated with them.


I guess the thing that niggles people, Keith, is the timing of the purchase and resale. Of course, it's entirely possible that the buyer bought it because he/she really, really wanted that particular flute, and found, to his/her utter despair that, ergonomically, they were an uncomfortable fit... That happens, of course it does... Then, putting it back on the market, he did more research and found a new asking price that seemed fair for that same flute... It can happen, and I guess that it's unfair to assume any vulture-ism on his part... mellow.gif

Truly, who here undersells their flutes? Well, unless there is a very good reason for doing so, like incredible open-hearted kindness. People need to garnish more dollars to buy the next one, yes? I know that's true for myself. And, honestly, if I did have enough money to buy a Hawk Littlejohn 'outstandingly voiced' flute at top dollar, i'd pay it, because that was my bucket list item and they're hard to come by... As I couldn't afford it at $1400, though, it made little difference to me whether the seller asked $1100, or $1400, or $1700, because all were unachievable smile.gif Happily, a very generous soul let me have his for a price I could literally just stretch to... It's not perfect, but for me it is biggrin.gif

It's a tricky one, isn't it. I myself have been fortunate enough to get my hands on a couple of now quite difficult to get flutes. I only need one, and its close cousin, so will eventually part with the other. I know I'll need to recoup my costs plus just a bit extra to ensure the hubby's contentment, as he's been out of pocket for quite a while due to my 5 year long habit re NAFs, but a buyer would still receive a hard to get flute at a very fair price... so I guess people can have their cake and eat it, too... just don't try eating too much, eh? biggrin.gif tongue.gif


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Rick McDaniel   


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Post #13

I think this discussion is more about accepting gouging as ok. I hear folks talking about "whatever people are willing to pay" as being ok. As a business trained person, I simply disagree. Indeed, there are too many things about business today, that are not at all ethical, and that's why I feel we should all think more about this issue.

Those who make products, of any kind, must compete to make and sell their product to buyers, at a profit. That is what business really is. However, competition is supposed to be the tempering device, to prevent business from charging more than is fair or reasonable, to make a fair profit.

When you start pricing products, based on who made them, there is no "fair profit" aspect to the pricing. Then it is simply restricting supply, to force prices higher, on a specific item. That is called gouging. That is unethical. Plain and simple.

Yes, when things are no longer made, and in short supply, with buyers seeking these items, prices will rise...........simply because people want these items badly enough, to pay a premium for them. That doesn't make that "fair" nor ethical. It simply is a way of forcing all those who can pay, to outbid those who cannot.

We all know that art is all about restricting the supply. That's why paintings sell for modest prices, during an artist's lifetime, and then escalate, when he dies. (Assuming he is indeed a good artist.) However, that is not necessarily, a good thing, at all. It simply allows those who have the most money, to acquire items solely on the basis of who can afford to pay more than others.

That is an aristocracy approach, and what we are talking about here, is a folk instrument. What we should be advocating, is a system that puts folk instruments into the hands of as many players as possible, while providing fair compensation to maker / sellers, for what they make.

So, I would like to see folks think a little harder, on this issue, and recognize that driving prices up, artificially, does not serve the public well, and we ought to reject paying unrealistic prices to the few who seek to gouge, unfairly. Only when you reject overcharging for excessive profit, will you contain the unethical.

Obviously, some makers put a lot more into what they make, than others do. They have to be compensated for that, accordingly. So there will always be, a wide range of prices in the flute world. There will also, always be those whose prices make no rational sense, when others offer a much greater value, and provide better products, at better prices, while still earning fair compensation for their efforts.


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Keith Glowka   


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Post #14

QUOTE(Rick McDaniel @ Aug 12 2017, 07:10 AM) *
What we should be advocating, is a system that puts folk instruments into the hands of as many players as possible, while providing fair compensation to maker / sellers, for what they make.

Who would administer such a system? Having a system impose a price on my work that they see as "fair" would likely result in me quitting the business. In a sense, isn't a fair system already in place when folks purchase a folk instrument that they can actually afford (as Linnie demonstrated)?

In my view, gouging takes place in a captive market for goods that people must have to survive (i.e., food, water, etc. in a disaster area). In the case of fine art, such the MGA flute in question, there is no actual need for the item. It is a luxury. A good affordable flute would serve just as well if the desire is to play. Beyond that, it moves from the realm of playing flute to that of collecting fine art. Should rich and poor alike be able to obtain a Van Gogh when one becomes available?


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Rick McDaniel   


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Post #15

Why should the poor be denied, any ability to enjoy art, simply because they are poor? Do not poor folks have the right to enjoy art?

Who says owning a musical instrument should be considered a luxury? Poor folk have been making music together for as long as music has existed.


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Mark   


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Post #16

I am a free market guy.

The way I see it is that if you are a poor person then buy what you can fit into your budget. If you are rich, good for you, buy what catches your fancy. If you are a maker of an item, make the best item you can and set your price point appropriately. I agree with Keith in that the NAF could be considered a luxury item but odds are you can find an affordable instrument. Personally, I see the market flooded with affordable flutes. I have heard in private from more than one maker, that cheap flutes have saturated the market. That players/collectors have grown accustom to these low prices and not willing to pay a fair price for the more labor intensive flutes. That is the reason why some have moved on to other careers or other instruments.

As for me, with 3 kids, college, cars, etc., I have a very limited flute budget. If you can't afford a flute I want, I try to be responsible and pick one I can afford or wait till I have money saved up to purchase the desired flute. I do consider myself an enterprising person so I would seriously consider buying an undervalued flute I saw at an eBay auction, make a free market cost correction and pocket the additional cash when one of those rich people offering to pay maximum dollar came along to add it to their collection. The profits made in that quick sale will leave me with more money to buy another artsy flutes or several more affordable flutes.

As for income disparity, most of us would be considered rich by most of the world's standards. So for us rich people -- It comes down to the fact that some of us less rich people may have to sacrifice amenities while others don't when purchasing any luxury item. We can also patiently practice the art of trading up to get those things we really want.

Mark

This post has been edited by Mark: Aug 12 2017, 03:08 PM


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Keith Glowka   


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Post #17

QUOTE(Rick McDaniel @ Aug 12 2017, 11:03 AM) *
Why should the poor be denied, any ability to enjoy art, simply because they are poor? Do not poor folks have the right to enjoy art?

Who says owning a musical instrument should be considered a luxury? Poor folk have been making music together for as long as music has existed.


The poor have every right (and many opportunities) to enjoy art. Ownership is the issue here. It would require the most oppressive of systems to enforce equality of ownership of rare artifacts by people who are poor.

This post has been edited by Keith Glowka: Aug 12 2017, 02:07 PM


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Roger P   


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Post #18

QUOTE(Keith Glowka @ Aug 12 2017, 04:06 PM) *
The poor have every right (and many opportunities) to enjoy art. Ownership is the issue here. It would require the most oppressive of systems to enforce equality of ownership of rare artifacts by people who are poor.



Mark, Keith, thank you for a well thought out position.

Rick, wow. I don't really know how to respond to that position other than to say that there seems to be some emotional overstatement here.

Roger


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Footmandog   


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Post #19

QUOTE(Keith Glowka @ Aug 12 2017, 09:16 AM) *
Who would administer such a system? Having a system impose a price on my work that they see as "fair" would likely result in me quitting the business. In a sense, isn't a fair system already in place when folks purchase a folk instrument that they can actually afford (as Linnie demonstrated)?

In my view, gouging takes place in a captive market for goods that people must have to survive (i.e., food, water, etc. in a disaster area). In the case of fine art, such the MGA flute in question, there is no actual need for the item. It is a luxury. A good affordable flute would serve just as well if the desire is to play. Beyond that, it moves from the realm of playing flute to that of collecting fine art. Should rich and poor alike be able to obtain a Van Gogh when one becomes available?


Keith, I very much agree. Some additional thoughts:

o Controls that put an upper limit on price invariably lead to shortages (Take a look at Venezuela for a recent example). As I read it, Rick is advocating price controls on flutes. In economic terms, prices transmit information between buyers and sellers that help supply meet demand at what people are willing to pay. Additionally, controls keep from the market what a seller may only be willing to provide at a higher price (e.g. a very artful flute) due to the skill development, time, and materials involved. Everybody might be playing the Trabant of flutes. A seller in the ebay case may not be the maker, but if the price is not high enough, he may decide to just hang on to the flute thus depriving someone who is willing to pay for it the enjoyment of playing it.

o Someone willing to buy a flute at a lower price to hold onto and maybe sell it at a higher price is providing liquidity to the market. This person is also taking a risk that he will not get a higher price or even break even. He is providing a service to the original seller who was willing to sell it at a lower price for a more sure sale now. He is also providing a service to the person who is willing to pay a higher price but at a later date by keeping the flute available. He takes a risk in this and also ties up his funds in the meantime.

o There are many venues for those who cannot afford expensive art to view or experience it. This is not necessarily the case for being able to play musical instruments, but as Keith points out, there is no fair way to determine who gets an instrument and from whom it should be deprived.

o Privation from fine musical instruments has spawned much creativity. Music is in us and will found an outlet. Read about the history of the diddly bow and cigar box guitars, for example.

o Gouging is an emotional term that I believe obscures basic economics. In view of my point above about price controls, laws that prevent gouging, for example in emergency situations like a hurricane, limit supply. If you limit the price of goods to pre-emergency levels, who is going to take the effort and associated risk to come into a flood ravaged area to sell something for the standard mark-up, especially for perishables? Also consider the consumer side. If someone trucks in a load of some emergency supply that I don't really need at the moment (because I already have a supply), maybe I'll go ahead and buy some more given the price is still at a pre-emergency level, just in case. Enough people do that and there will be a shortage for people who need it and say so with a willingness to buy it at a higher price. Also, local businesses need to consider the long term when deciding whether and how much to boost prices. They may not have much business after the emergency if the community feels they were mistreated. But then again, they may need to boost prices out of necessity because of disruptions in the supply chain that increase the cost of goods. If price limits are set too low, a store might not bring in any extra product because they will lose money due to the cost of doing business, thus limiting supply.


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shewhoflutesinca...   


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Post #20

It's a can of worms, isn't it... blink.gif

I honestly view flutes as a need rather than a want for me, because, to me, they are my Medicine, which means they are a very high priority in terms of spending... I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, buy fancy clothes, need fancy car or spend up on exhibitions or movies etc, and, since discovering the NAF, I've stopped spending anything much on crystals or even books, so I'm fairly cheap to run... biggrin.gif That means our family budget can allow for an occasional flute. I'm forever grateful that we do have sufficient income to cover our basic needs and even simple comforts.

If I find a flute that I'd like but which lies outside of my economic reality, I need to either be patient or just let go of that desire. I can't begrudge other people being able to enjoy that same flute, though... I'd wish that I was the happy owner, yes ( rolleyes.gif), but I'd be excited for them just the same, and then ask the Universe to be more accommodating another day. Sometimes, unexpectedly, it is! biggrin.gif

I know I actually was quick to jump into the "OMG" response earlier re the difference in flute prices, but I'm slapping my own wrists, because comments here have caused me to think upon this more carefully.... I don't think we can too readily assume that everyone who has an expensive flute to sell is wealthy. They may have been in the right place at the right time, or made canny judgements, or just be people who can no longer physically enjoy their fancy/rare flutes... Selling them at prices that are achievable allows them to accommodate other needs...

I truly would love to see all people able to buy the flutes they want, but, for some, finances are so dire that any flute will be out of reach, until absolute needs are covered. That is a really sad thought, but it is a reality for many. Short of sharing our incomes, or offering up our own flutes as gifts, I don't think it is within our power to make that happen for people.

This really is a confusing topic, because I honestly can't see that keeping those few craftsman made and rare, and consequently very pricey flutes (the ones we are speaking about) to a 'realistic' or 'fair' price will accommodate everyone's needs... Some people have no flutes, and, sadly, due to personal financial circumstances, are not likely to have access to any until their circumstances change, or they make or are gifted a flute. Conversely, a lot of people have lots of flutes... I personally was planning on stopping short of 5, let alone the baker's dozen I have left after gifting two... Some people have many, many more. I guess if those people are serious enough about owning a particular very expensive flute, some would have the real option of selling off a number of their less rare, or special, more affordable items and then pooling the funds to buy one really fancy beast biggrin.gif Granted, not all are in that position..... mellow.gif ❤️

This post has been edited by shewhoflutesincaves: Aug 13 2017, 06:52 AM


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