The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Just by remembering what the title is, it reminds me of the bad and the ugly.

Are we, the society, giving the consumers too much “rights”?

Consumer advocates will say that consumers are not given a lot in life, but seriously, any self-respecting person will know that.

What we, as the retailer has discovered is that for all the bad and the ugly, there is also inherently good among the consumers. We have consumers who wants us to survive and their actions really do speak louder than words.

One of our new customers yesterday asked why we get unreasonable customers after witnessing an altercation between retailer and consumer. He was quite happy with our service. He asked for cash price, so we give him the discount and he was very happy.

Visualising a scenario where a customer tests for an hour, occupying the salesperson’s time, and the customer asks for a ridiculous price discount, depriving the salesperson of his commission in taking time and effort to serve. We even told the the customer a week earlier that B&O only sells Beoplay H3 in iOS-compatible volume controller remote. We serve to the best of our knowledge that the pricelist provided to us was accurate and up-to-date information.

The customer bought it, using credit card facilities which charge us a nominal 2.65%. At that point, we informed her that the B&O Beoplay H3 is only iOS compatible and that the volume controls will not work with her Android phone. She accepted it and thus made the purchase.

A week later, she returned and demanded a refund and an exchange for the Android-compatible model that she saw online. Well, this is the ‘Bad’. How do u give a refund for a used product that is not defective?

After verification with the distributor we bought from, apparently this model is not available in Singapore. So, the question is, how do we exchange a product that doesn’t theoretically exists in the inventory of our distributor’s store?

The Ugly?

The customer insists we refund her the money. We informed her that there will be a deduction of a nominal amount due to credit card charges. The customer refuses to comply with our wishes for that mere $5 deduction, and insist that the consumer is always right and that we are cheating her of her money.

We, certainly wishes her all the best in her endeavour  to purchase that product elsewhere.

If the distributor do not carry stock for this model, where does this stock came from?

I did a search online, and yes, we found a mobile phone shop in Far East Plaza selling this model. The price stated was $298, now selling at $178.

The current retail price for B&O Beoplay H3 iOS-compatible is $229.

We also learnt that the B&O Beoplay H3 Android-compatible is a bundled promotion with a new LG phone. So it’s fairly obvious that it was a debundled product and selling for $178, that’s like zero cost. Is there warranty for such a product when the local distributor does not carry this product?

Penny wise and pound foolish?

Not wanting to continue serving such an unreasonable (she claims she’s educated) customer, we refunded her the money without the $5 credit card charges deduction as she refuses to accept the deduction. It’s only 5 dollars.

She did ask a question: what would you do in my case…?

I told her that I’m a different breed of person. If the product in question is defective or I bought wrongly, I will throw it away and buy a new one.

My rationale? Because I share an onus of responsibility  for my own actions and will not endanger the livelihood of another (salesperson) by depriving them of their hard-earned commission.

The consumer law exists to help the uneducated and unfortunate in their fight against people who conspires to cheat and swindle. The consumer law should never be utilised as a tool for the “educated” to substantiate for their shortcomings. There are people out there who earned a living by working hard to serve the needs of others, and if you, as a consumer, cannot comprehend that, then the Good, the Bad and the Ugly does not apply to you.

Perhaps, we should call such a consumer, the Dastardly.

adieu for now…

[origins]

I have friends and acquaintances…

most people ask why we set up a shop. we think we provide a unique consumer-oriented approach.

some friends shared how the local audio profession has evolved over the years…

sadly, i grew up not knowing any of this.

a backstory arises that i visited 2 shops, one in the west and the other within proximity of our current location and is appalled at the service and lack of professionalism, and so we decided we can do better.

An acquaintance commented that perhaps i didn’t visit the right shop. He’s right.

Well, I did apply for a job at one, but was told I was too old, so I decided to start one instead.

The other, through an acquaintance did offer me a job, but I can’t foresee running second fiddle to someone with less expertise than me.

perhaps, that’s why Decibel SG exists because we don’t take things for granted.

and just for sure, had I found a worthwhile employer that matches my ambition and job satisfaction, Decibel SG would never have existed.

so yes, i’m gonna take a bow and thank them.

gracias.

Gd’ mornin’ , Rise and shine!

Brilliant weekend <yawn>

first weekend of the holiday season.

everyone starts splurging.

me, I’m working so hard updating this website, doing research, deciding the roadmap for next year. It’s my favourite task, planning what to bring in next year. something that some competitors simply delegate to their staff or distributor. When a shop’s direction lacks the personal touch, it’s “I don’t know, like something is missing” that kind of feeling.

Having a hand in deciding what the future holds for us is not only intoxicating, but thrilling and frightening at the same time. It’s like writing my Christmas wish list for next year and playing hangman at the same time.

Let’s see.. have wireless speakers drop to the price point I want? Last year, we had the brilliant Ruark ahead of its time. Which brand will make an appearance this year?

Right now, bluetooth speakers have already reached its peak. when will we see more affordable options for hybrid wireless/bluetooth devices? yeah, yeah, I know it’s available, but the price point is still too high for the mass market, besides the fact that most will find it difficult to setup. Remember JBL L8? The Wireless setup even confuses the hell out of a half-techie like me, much less less technically-inclined people out there.

1) Klipsch Sonos #overpriced

2) Lenco #decent priced but have to push the brand

3) Kickstarter brands #don’t get me started on those funky ones we see where there is no local representation.

4) Bose SoundTouch series #looks promising but a brand that rests on its laurels…

5) which brand out there is stylish and sounds good? I want it to look good from an aesthetic point of view, and it has to sound good. It must give me goosebumps when I listen to Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Edith Piaf, Alessandro Safina, Sting and Tsai Chin. If I don’t get that vibe, so sub bass, mid-centric and pristine vocals works best for me. I’m like 75% on this brand, working out the kinks and seeing whether it’s ready for our shop.

hmm..trends like Bluetooth Wireless Earphones, um, those without wires.

1) Earin #over-priced

2) Jabra #over-priced

3) Motorola #good sound

4) Samsung #not too bad, but don’t worry, it won’t explode on you

5) Bragi #when the hell is this brand coming in to Singapore? [pending] local distributor claims it’s pending IDA approval. Seriously, my man?

6) Trinity Audio #any new distributor willing to take this brand? It’s looks nice.

7) crazy baby #very nifty looking, any distributor?

8) Erato something #truly over-priced!! but don’t worry, the distributor is famous for throwing price ahead of its time.

Is this the future? <yawn>

i’m going back to sleep. been burnin’ the midnight oil, seasoning our new AKG K92….the bass cometh…the mids truly astounding at this price. the vocals, well, it’s progressive but comfort so-so, but long listening sessions, 6 hours…spent 4 hours sleeping with it on….listening to “The Whitest Boy Alive”, and it’s improving. mebbe cos it’s my Macbook Air with its intel HD4000 on-board sounding so good…just visualising what I can do with my Audioquest Dragonfly doc, when I can find the time. <YAWN>

cheers. 1 hour sleep sounds nice. :op

 

54,43, 32, 21,10 countdown to christmas

clock is ticking….

the time of the year where one thinks of how to allocate your budget for christmas gifts.

seriously, 12 days of christmas? me thinks we need 54 days of christmas with the fake snowflakes in this part of the world, the plasticky christmas tree, tacky ornaments, even all the hugs and kisses from loved ones.

[sighs] as i listen to Tord Gustavesen Trio while typing this, i contemplate life as it is. Life is full of surprises, it’s like a box of chocolates, as Forrest Gump used to say.

well, i say it’s about damned time that one advocates the Spirit of Giving.

[shameless self-promotion again!!!]

This is the 2nd year we are doing our Annual Christmas Giveaway. Last year was a roaring success. It warms our hearts when customers say thank you. Most didn’t expect gifts. I believe in the Spirit of Giving.

is it wrong to give? Most people take other people for granted. we live in a multi-connected world where we can reach each other across different continent in a matter of seconds…boring text have no emotions. emoticons doesn’t sum it up ^_^

for moments like this, spend more time with the family, appreciate the bonds you share (go away, PokeGo!!)… christmas is for family get-togethers…so this year, we will be closed for Christmas.

i’m rambling, ain’t that so?

Read the #promotions if you want to know more….

for now, the relative Zen i felt when i put on my trusty Parrot Zik and contemplate life. as the clock ticks, i think of the yester-past. of missed connections, of everyone who’s in a perpetual state of progression as I procrastinate on life’s little idiosyncrasies. i consider what’s important to me. what i have experienced thus far…what i have achieved for the past-year, and i’m contented with my lot. seriously, what more could I ask for?

A thank you from a customer goes a long way. A simple thanks will suffice. They really love the shop, the decor, the homey feel when they step into our humble little shop. we are grateful for their support. did we do a good job this year? me thinks we did. we hope to make it better with little touches here and there.

this year with our usual ups and downs…

ups –

(1) a thank you to our distributors for having faith in us. most notable will be adding brands like Meze, Oppo, B&O, V-Moda, etc.

(2) a thanks to our competitors for providing a challenge. my personal motto says it all: veni, vidi, vici.

downs –

(1) losing building exclusivity for Jaybird, but it’s good while it lasted. now, we know how giving a Christmas gift helps to prolong our dominance.

(2) losing my alma mater R.I.P Soundwaves Studio 2016, thanks for allowing us in measuring our achievements by our own yardstick, we really need to be more competitive.

we also welcome a new addition to decibel sg to improve our bottomline cos with success, comes continuation.

next year, we will focus more on expanding our reach and continue to do what we do best.

until then, it’s 40 sheep for me. adios for now…

knock, knock [short interlude]

hi there.

knock, knock, where’s my pot of gold?

gold where?

do decibel.sg and get what I want + free gift.

—-interlude —-

welcome to the Great Singapore Sale (decibel.sg version), which ends on 30th August 2016.

2 months of ever-evolving items on sale.

the ikea lamp is on sale, if it’s damaged.

the chocolate wafers are free if you ask nicely.

good things happen to those who ask politely.

we offer free-seating arrangements, sit where you want with the headphone demos at our shop.

we don’t do coffee. you can get coffee at kiliney kopitiam downstairs at 2nd floor, after walking past the Berlin Wall.

we don’t do tea either, i’m afraid. because water and audio are not the best of friends. they tend to cancel each other out like noise-cancellation.

but we do offer advice and assist you in buying the right product.

buy what you really need, not what you really want.

don’t buy based on your friend’s recommendation. he/she can’t tell you what’s good for you. only you can, comprehende?

[seriously] we think it’s best you decide what you want because it’s your money.

last but not least,

we don’t sell microphones (everyday we get 2-5 enquiries)

we can’t give 100% discount. that responsibility falls to the shops on the 2nd floor i.e tourists only.

in this building, only 1 bona-fide audio shop who doesn’t sell gaming, beats, westone, headphone amps, customs or do headphone repairs.

cheers :o)

 

what is an audio concept store?

Hi there.

Today we will explore the possibility of setting up an audio concept store.

What do you think you need?

Charisma? Bags of Gold? Business Acumen? Evolutionary idea?

Personally and seriously, nay…all you need is common sense. Why common sense indeed…

To me, there are 4 types of audio shops.

(1) Audio shop

If you are setting up an audio store, all you need is “Bags of Gold”. Just bring in brands and hope the customers pick it up and go. I know of 2 such shops. One is still thriving, while the other has gone bust.

(2) Legacy Audio store

Legacy ones are tricky…they are born with a passion and slowly over the years, they either are awesome or just smoulder into one of those a dime a dozen audio shops. 3 of such shops are still thriving, although 1 of them has been handed over to the next generation.

(3) Audio concept store

Concept stores are different. A store with a social conscience. A store who ensures that the customers buy the right product and relies on its single-mindedness to sustain itself.

(4) Evolutionary ones

There is 1 shop that fulfils this criteria. This shop is borne out of legacy, but evolved into 2 bouts of genius and innovation. Genius in combining both audio and coffee. Innovation in bringing to fore a combination of genes and roots. Only Time will tell if combining hot steaming roasting beverages with Stax Electro-static audio gear or having a retro Marshall bluetooth speaker blaring in the background is conducive to a nirvana for people who enjoy audio and coffee.

So who do you want to be, if you were to open 1 such shop?

(1) Audio shop – low barriers to entry, lots of money bags required.

(2) Legacy Audio store – high barriers to entry, lots of Charisma, Money Bags and Business Acumen required.

(3) Audio concept store – mid barriers to entry, 200k of money bags required, some Business Acumen and Social Conscience required.

(4) Evolutionary ones – high barriers to entry, heaps of money bags and plenty of Evolutionary ideas to challenge the norm.

Decibel SG is neither ambitious nor evolutionary. We just want to do the right thing. So option (3) is us getting it right.

common sense, really. :o)

re-defining ourselves

Hi all.

As time passes on, we begin to re-examine our priorities in life.

Often I ask myself why we open an audio shop when there are so many such shops littering around. Some shops are operated from a business point of view, while some are opened by people who truly love audio and what it represent and there are some who just jumped unto the bandwagon because someone else is doing it.

In short, I visited some audio shops but couldn’t meet one that meets my stringent requirement of passion, heart, service and expertise in that order. I found some shops with passion and expertise, but heart and service seems impossible, or perhaps I didn’t get to visit the right shop.

Decibel.sg was founded on the principle that we will endeavour to do better if we didn’t get it right the first time, almost like an unpolished raw diamond in the rough. We are not perfect and probably never will be as we strive to meet the expectations of our customers.

One does not rest on its laurels, as we are constantly reminded that we need to keep learning as it takes forever. One thing we learnt from our customers is not to take things in life for granted. That’s why we value constructive criticism, as it helps us to improve ourselves. We will, however, draw a line at self-adulation, because we feel that it’s not needed as it leads to complacency, and that will lead us nowhere.

Decibel.sg was founded by an outsider of the audio industry, someone who believes he can do better to serve 95% of the population out there.

Personally, I think our primary objectives should be heart and service. Secondary objectives would be passion and expertise.

Without heart, there would be no passion.

Without service, customers will be turned off even if there is expertise.

Clearly, we believe in what we preach, otherwise we would be called by many names synonymous with the audio industry.

Decibel SG, born with a heart, unadorned passion, evolving service and unbridled expertise.

CRAZY prices

Hi all,

Our Spring Cleaning Sale is a success. For the past 2 months, our sales are phenomenal, so we have included some new items, reduce a lot for some brands, crazy prices, some are competitive, some basically just matches prices islandwide.

With Funan closing for renovation, there are some CRAZY sales, but their prices are not attractive.

For instance, we have 3 brands re-defining CRAZY prices.

– Jaybird X2 (6 Awesome colours)

– JBL Xtreme, Pulse 2, Charge 2+, Flip 3

– Shure SE535 Black/Clear, SE846 Blue/Clear, SRH440, SRH840, SRH940

*pay ca$h if you want better savings.

We are anticipating new brands at our store, so we are clearing space to make way for them.

Do a good deed. Help us and we give you better savings (so cash, please) :o)

Great month :o)

Hi people.

Thanks for giving us a great month.

We didn’t expect such an overwhelming response with our Spring Cleaning Sale.

Seriously, we thank you for your support.

The Spring Cleaning Sale expires on end April, so there’s still another delightful month. There will be some changes to some promotions depending on stock availability.

Earin True Wireless remains our best seller, along with Jaybird, JBL and Audioengine.

We hope to see more customers checking us out for Yamaha bluetooth speakers, etc.

YAMAHA LSX-70 BRONZE-1

YAMAHA LSX-70 BLACK-1

YAMAHA LSX-70 GOLD-1

Delightful decor, great sound to rewind after a hard day’s work. Piece of art.

We also mark next month with a momentum and craving for everything retro, hence Marshall.

MARSHALL STANMORE CREAM

MARSHALL STANMORE BLACK

MARSHALL STANMORE BROWN

Good rock n’ roll sound, tight bass, detailed highs…retro dials to complete the look. Good sound-bar replacement, for those saving up for Sonos, look no further. Take a piece of history and turn it into inspired decor. A reminder of what we missed in the 60s/70s, it’s now finally available to us.

Look no further, Marshall hath landed.

 

We are currently revamping our Bluetooth headphones and still hope to serve you better.

PARROT ZIK 3 CROCO RED-1

 

Parrot Zik 3.0 Croco – a work of art designed for the connoisseur in you. For want of an avant-garde, artistic and simply good design, i implore you to cease casting your covetous eyes on that boring Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Around-Ear. Something that looks good, sounds good and is simply out of this world should not be resting at our shelves. Be reunited with your beloved Zik 3.0 now.

Are we there yet? No worries, just another shameless self-promotion, and the show’s over.

MARLEY LIBERATE XLBT OVER-EAR MIDNIGHT-3

MARLEY LIBERATE XLBT OVER-EAR SADDLE-1

Marley Liberate XLBT: Weighty Bass, Recycled, Environmentally-friendly and simply looks so cool…do you want one?

Before we end this post, here’s another last shameless act.

AUDIOENGINE A2+ WHITE-3

AUDIOENGINE A2+ BLACK-1

AUDIOENGINE A2+ LIMITED EDITION RED-1

Audio engine A2+: Elegant, svelte, minimalistic, good speakers. [bundled promo with free DS1 stand]. Adopt an Audioengine A2+ today. Perform a good deed and be rewarded with rich mids and lush vocals.

That’s all, folks.

cheers,

yours truly.

 

Spring Cleaning Sale & a personal owl post to our management

Yup, it’s the time of the year (I swear, it’s always after CES) where we usher in new products and clear out old products.

We have up to 88 items to clear, although some products are just an excuse to have a sale, since @ Singapore, we always have a sale anytime of the year.

Many items on promo and unbelievable prices (only if you pay cash, you get better deals).

Pop by our shop to see if there’s anything you want. Go to the IT show and see what’s on fire clearance…and if we can price-match, we will. Don’t ask for the impossible or for whatever free gifts that come with during the show cos we can’t do something like that.

I always wonder how most people test audio at IT show… when it’s so loud.

Test at our shop, nice ambience, decent seating arrangements and see if it works best for you.

Our friendly neighbourhood spider-men a.k.a staff will be there to assist you. We have the ever-affable management trainee (winner of several good service commendations from customers) to assist you, or the geeky information overload part-time (I can tell you that he’s definitely the most technical of the lot) or yours truly (who’s writing this article).

We are not perfect. We try our best to assist your needs. However, if you have the expertise, why not share it with our management: management@decibel.sg

The email should be written as:

Dear Dominic,

I’m writing to you to share how I think or what I consider to be a great improvement to your drab-looking shop…..yadda…yadda.

or

I’m writing to complain about your staff’s attitude, how irritating it is that he presumes or he thinks i can’t afford this item….yadda…yadda.

Be it compliments or complaints, we welcome your comments: the more the merrier.

Any award-winning letter gets published on this blog so that we may improve. Don’t worry, we will keep your (sender’s email) confidential, respecting all privacy laws and all that legal mumbo jumbo.

C’mon, put a Cheshire grin on us.

We want to be the next up and coming entity improving as we grow from strength to strength.

We don’t want to be a has-been, neither do we want to be seen but not heard. That doesn’t help us.

Help us improve, mina-san (everybody).

We don’t want to end up like where I used to work RIP @ [insert audio company closing].

We want to compete with the big boys cos it’s fun to challenge, to serve, to excel and to cry out veni, vidi, vici till kingdom’s come.

adios for now.