Thursday, December 19, 2019

How would you play this?

I want to buy a material for a project. But the company is not really set up to sell to people like me. You need to set up an account which I'm fine with. But to set up an account they want to put you through a credit check because they really want to sell to large customers. I want to pay right away and pick the material up myself. There is a distribution warehouse inland from me. The home office is in Italy.

How would you persuade the company to let you buy a sheet or two of this stuff? I.E. set up an account without a revolving credit element. I don't want to be a dick about it. There are lots of construction companies that don't want to deal with end users. But I really want to get my hands on two sheets of this stuff.

They initially were going to let me piggy back on someone else that buys from my city. But what motivation do they really have to help me? They could charge mark-up and I would pay it, but that must not have gone well because I'm sort of on ignore now because I am small potatoes. I haven't really pushed things because I kinda feel like I only get one chance at this and want to make it count.

What would you do?


  1. This is the week before Christmas.

    You are being ignored because you are less important than Christmas.

    Italians are people I generally like being around because they take their holidays seriously and that they know how to have fun. They also imagine, design, and build lots of really cool shit, and so they're good to be around for that as well.

    So maybe after New Year's, maybe sometime after the 15th of January, someone will get back to you, but until then ...

    Patience, grass hoppah, patience. :-)

  2. I was just going to say similar. Wait till after New Years. Which is a MASSIVE PIA when you want it now. But yah, they're swamped with holiday stuff, and an itsy bitsy order like yours just isn't on the radar. Now, if you have a contact with the company that you were going to piggyback off of, THEY might be able to get a response.

  3. texas,

    or being all science fictiony and stuff you could say' "glass hoppah'

  4. I completely agree with both of you. I can't really do anything with it now until the middle of Jan anyway. And one of the sheets I want was in New Jersey and Jersey is moving their warehouse. The other sheet is in Ca.

    The Italians are amazing craftsmen, but navigating their marketplace can be............ quirky. For example - what is their obsession with Flash? It's like they can't design a website that isn't all styled out to a point that it's almost useless. It took me five calls just to get to where I am. The first number sent me to the East Coast and it was already after hours by the time I called. Then I got a number for the distribution warehouse inland who sent me up to Seattle. Seattle then gave me a local Bay Area sales number. You'd be really amazed at how hard it is to give people your money sometimes. Especially with these snooty materials who act like Cartman World. And of course you had to practically be an internet stalker to even get that far. That is how crap their marketplace experience is. And it's just not them. Itlians have a certain snoot about them. It's like they are all Enzo Ferrari. So I'm just trying to formulate a plan. Often companies like this won't sell to you unless they think they have a bigger sale down the road. I thought about lying and telling them I'm an "artist". Because for some reason that makes more important.

    I suspect the answer on buying from them is no - but they haven't told me no yet.

  5. Most people don't actually take into account the cost of sales when they buy stuff ...

    Oh, it seems like that's not priced into products when you go to Walmart or Target, but it is.

    They have a very definite idea of what they can sell given their floor space, at what price, and what the general cost in that particular section happens to be.

    Don't believe that?

    Try buying a cheap bottle of eye drops sometime or a small box of single-use eye drops, just as one example, because you really won't find anything that's all that cheap.

    Thirty cents worth of eye drops in a $3.80 bottle, that's what you'll find, because there's the cost of everything in the way.

    So part of the "snootiness" is that these people understand just how much their sales channels actually cost, which means you're super-lucky that they've been talking with you so far.

    Priced at what their sales channels really cost, you might expect to pay at least 1000% over the commercial contractor's cost.

    You may not have dealt with EU regulatory crap and that kind of thing before.

    I wanted some Italian suitcases a while back.

    The answer: don't bother with attempting to get anyone to stock them in the US, because the sales channels aren't profitable enough.

    A rather nice stewardess told me where I could get one in Italy the next time I'm on my way through, and I hope that information's still valid.

    These are not expensive suitcases, but the whole bit of how they're going to recover taxes and that sort of thing comes into everything.

    Selling to a US purchaser means that they don't collect taxes, but they also don't get to charge off VAT and sales taxes that they'd get to charge off by selling to a EU-based purchaser.

    In some complicated scenarios, they may actually have to pay corporate taxes on the things where they got VAT and sales tax waivers because they couldn't charge you the tax to pay for these things.

    This means paperwork, time, and an increase in the cost of sales.

    When you sell to limited channels, you don't need a "marketplace experience".

    You need a network of sales people who actually do everything throughout any particular sale.

    Here's another angle to consider: Huaqiangbei exists because there's a need for a market that deals with small to mid-range sales channels.

    There's enough prototyping activity going on that eventually ends up with bigger production quantities that this not only remains viable but also makes it interesting for some of the associated companies to offer "boutique design services".

    Not that the US doesn't have this sort of stuff, but it's typically geared to the massive production quantities that the US grew up around. There's one of these in upstate New York that's like a graphic designer's color pallete of awesome, and you can't get in there unless your company's paying a shitload for their integrated design services.

    And then there's Huaqiangbei, where you can get on a plane and buy a few rolls of MLCCs and SMT roll components with brand names that Westerners are likely to accept, and they have a shitty marketplace experience outside their market.

    Basically, if you were to go to Italy, it'd probably be much easier, but then it'd be a major pain in the ass to get this back home.

    The electronics industry had a period like this.

    You are too young to remember having to call up Hamilton-Avnet (also known as "Hamilton Have-Not" by people in the industry) for parts you need, only to be redirected to one or more people who might be able to scrounge up mid-range production quantities.

    "Bunnie" Huang talked about this once: there are people in the US who think Mouser Electronics is a serious production quantities source, and so the mentality's still there, but at least they'll tell you not to get your hopes up.

    I'm actually amazed you got this far.

  6. "Most people don't actually take into account the cost of sales when they buy stuff "

    No - because that is not our problem. Our social contract is - you figure that out and when you do - we give you money. That is the extent of my caring. The rest of that crap is not my problem. That is their problem. I'm not being a hassle to them. People break the rules sometimes if you are not a hassle. As you can see, I'm trying to figure out the nicest way to give them my money. I understand the answer could no - but as I said they haven't said no yet. And as a dude you must understand trying to find a different way because the answer wasn't definitely no. You guys make an olympic sport out of "she didn't say no".

    "I'm actually amazed you got this far."

    I'm sort of used to having to suffer for my craft.

  7. Capital of Texas RefugeeSunday, December 22, 2019 8:07:00 PM

    *watches you throw bait coins at these people*



  8. Texas,

    You water chummer you!
    (watches the sharks circle)

  9. Capital of Texas RefugeeMonday, December 23, 2019 9:45:00 PM

    "Water chummer" threw me off as a remark, but ...

    I forgot about those "fishing" games with "bait coins".

    Where I've lived, "bait coins" are what pickpockets throw out to try to get people to "pick up their change", presenting themselves as a more stationary target.

    This happens frequently around public transit stations, especially the stairwells and escalators leading into them.

    I have a "bait wallet" that consists of a stack of paper in my back pocket that says "A THIEF JUST TRIED TO STEAL SOMEONE'S WALLET HERE" as a public service for tourists in those particular spots. :-)

    *waits for Snarkie to throw out more bait coins*