Whenever I hear that iconic John Lennon track I am immediately transported into a cold bedsit in a Manchester suburb in 1972 where my sister and I were placed for Christmas a comfortable distance away from our new step family …

 

I have commented before on music being time travel in the hippocampus and this Lennon song is one of the most powerful trips that I take … I think that is partly to the intrinsic atonality of Lennon’s music allied to the antihero nature of the lyrics and Phil Spector’s use of mandolin style riffs and a human choir as an underlying chorus. In a morass of chintzy Christmas hits designed to decorate the pockets of record executives with dollars that time of major consumer commerce John Lennon’s song stands out as something with hope and meaning … it was released during the end run of the Vietnam War at time when social messages were still largely absent from UK music.

 

For myself Happy Xmas War Is Over rendered the grimoire of a dislocated Mancunian bedsit Christmas into something that was altogether cosier and rose tinted. My Christmas present was my first music system, a GE Radio Cassette recorder that would see me through to University and it’s possible I may have also started using tobacco alcohol and marijuana during that same Christmas holiday … no doubt contributing to the rose tinted emotional memories.

 

 

The General Electric was not my first choice … I had been reading the English “Which” magazine reviews that had recommended the ITT cassette player as being the best, however when I went to the local shops I was demonstrated the units comparatively and the GE sounded better … cleaner and louder.  In this way my relationship with impression managed Hi Fi demonstrations and product reviews began … 

It is worth noting that the “Five Red Star Review” system that has become the unacknowledged currency of organisational quality determinism in this millennial world was actually started by the U.K “What Hi-Fi?” magazine. They really should put a retroactive plagiarism claim into the likes of Google and Uber.

 In the eighties and nineties in UK Hi Fi stores if a piece of kit got Five Stars it was a guarantee that it would sell through, in fact there were many consumers who would only buy something if it had Five Stars. Nothing has changed really, a typical contemporary millennial client will seek review corroboration of a prospective purchase online and as ever will hear any negatives way above accolades. Regardless of whether they might like that device personally they will often be swayed to or from a purchase by the online poll of herd opinion.

But I digress from the point of this blog which was our Christmas season just gone …

We diluted our traditional Australian Christmas business model this year and followed the Americans I’m afraid. Black Friday is now a thing in Australia and I have to say that I like it. From both a purchaser and a purveyor point of view having a sale with targeted deals on demand items a fortnight before Christmas is surely a better deal than having to slog your way out of food coma on Boxing Day and come to work or come to buy.

We were able to offer some very cool entry point record players and stereo components courtesy of our friends at ProJect and Cambridge Audio that got excellent traction for the Black Friday scene. I found that the client audience was completely receptive to the Black Friday Sale timing and event culture.  Our own version of Black Friday instore used dead celebrities as a backdrop so as to avoid confusion with bushfire events ….

 

 

We note that Amazon Australia had intended to launch on Black but had failed to iterate to timetable.

How do I feel about Amazon? As a very specialist retailer my technical sense is that they probably won’t affect our business much … they are very much in the JB Hi Fi/Harvey Norman/Kogan space. I hear that JB Hi Fi has said to some of its suppliers “if you allow Amazon to sell that product then it won’t be on display in our stores”. I really see their point, if JB has a TV on display and demonstration that Amazon has online, then Amazon is using JB as their showroom …

However I have other ideological based aversion to Amazon, I think they are an effin evil inhuman machine that offer no social benevolence whatsoever.  They are the Skynet of retailing whose algorithmic mission is to undercut and destroy every other retail entity and treats its employees as machine things whilst avoiding tax in their country of operation …

Amazon employees are treated as things ….

“Timed toilet breaks, impossible targets and workers falling asleep on feet: Brutal life working in Amazon warehouse”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/timed-toilet-breaks-impossible-targets-11587888

Jeff Bezos is not noted for his philanthropy either … although there is hope that that may change …

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-31/for-bezos-now-world-s-richest-philanthropy-is-saved-for-later

( Edit ... today I read that Mr Bezos is about to set up $33m worth of educational scholarships for young illegal immigrants in USA)

There is a particular pleasure to client interactions around the Christmas period, it is a pure form of Hi Fi retailing unencumbered by the other complex work we do involving Home Automation and Integration that stops entirely for those two or three weeks around Christmas and the New Year when all the projects shut down.

All one has to do is to meet clients and try and sell them things … there is something about the imperative of people who are interested in listening to music in a better than basic way that acts as a particular filter to the benefit of the meet and greet and get to know process. I really can’t recall the last time I met someone instore whose cultural viewpoint leaned towards that of Hanson or similar right wing deplorable. You really do meet the nicest people in a Hi Fi shop.

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Not All Fanatics welcome ...