The trench warfare of lockdowns has become the retail trading environment of Melbourne. In some ways being a specialist Hi Fi business has the advantage of being a potential demand item while people are forced to stay in their homes. However counter to that is the raw fact that a business such as ours traditionally would need to show and tell our wares before anyone would buy them.

In practice we spend a lot of time on the phone and internet consulting with potential clients and reccomending them a solution appropriate for their circumstance. This has enabled us to keep transacting even though nobody is allowed in. We then deliver the product or occasionally they come to the store to collect from outside the front if they are within 5km.

We arent left with a lot of choices about how to do business, but at least we can still talk to clients who contact us. Now here is something that a really good Hi Fi salesperson can do well. Mostly being a good seller is actually about listening to people very carefully; I know that there remains that traditional image of the sales person as being someone who can essentially talk a prospect into buying something weather they wanted it or not but those types are generally gone from this industry now.

The proper way to win a client over in this scene is to listen to them very carefully indeed when they tell you what sort of people they are and what type of thing they want and then find a way of giving it to them. This can be a very enjoyable and illuminating experience as one can discover the inner soul of a person through the type of music they love and how they live.

I imagine other specialist Hi Fi stores are working in a similiar fashion. Thus far my click and collect experiences with tier one retail outlets are less than satisfactory, perhaps in this way the smaller agile personal contact organisations have an advantage over the major store chains.

You will note that whereas typically the tier one Consumer Electronic retailers have Google rating in the 3-4 region, the specialist Hi Fi Retailers are generally in the 4.5 plus rating. This is no mean feat and is indicative of the high service levels and client commitment that prevails in places like Carlton Audio Visual and it's peers.

We are peculiarly well suited to teasing out the appropriate Hi Fi and Visual needs of a potential client, anyone who has phoned a good Hi Fi store will know that they are generally prepared to spend just as much time as is required to discover what would suit an individual. Most of the people who work in these establishments do so as corroboration of their own love of music and audio visual kit and are the absolute best people on the planet to speak to about it. 

Of course the business that has really made a financial killing from the global pandemic is Amazon. Now I know how important it is to get Jeff Bezos off our planet but he is very much The Man Who Fell to Earth without David Bowie's redeeming artistic virtues. And by the way a real space vehicle does 18,000 mph and can stay in orbit ...

The way Amazon treats it's employees is the literal incarnation of Fritz Lang's most dystopian predictions and to support them rather than an Australian retail outlet seems to be against our own better interest. Do they pay appropriate tax and create career paths and infrastructure to the benefit of families and community? I know that they will actively undermine our distributors whenever there is a opening that they can exploit.

There is a type of consumer out there that we are definetly not going to make any headway with. We have always had an advertising thematic that tended to poke fun at politicians and Donald Trump gave us so much opportunity for satire in recent years. However it seems that there is a sizeable contingent of people in Australia who are MAGA supporters and they would often respond to our posts with rather vitriolic dissaproval ... often they seemed to be older men from Queensland ...

I think they are exemplified by the people who chose to violently protest the lockdown on Saturday 21st August here in Melbourne. They are the enemy of common sense and good taste and I doubt if they have ever visited a proper Hi Fi shop ...

Let's be very clear, we support the Andrew's government approach to keeping our state safe from the potential ravages of this pandemic. I mention this as we run a facebook page to advertise our business that seems to have become a forum for villification by Anti Vaxxers and other conspiracists. It started when we posted this image with Daniel Andrews at the beginning of the pandemic:

It wasn't intended to be provocative. We thought it was decent and appropriate and a fun way of getting the message out that we were closed but still able to transact. However an escalating train of Anti Dan Conspiracists piled onto the post claiming that we are variously: "sheeples" "ägents of the dictator" "horrific supporters of the police state" etc etc along with a conglomeration of Flat Earthers and Sovereign Staters et al also joining in. They werent saying nice things about us and I tried banning and deleting them ... but still they came.

It would appear that the recent inflammatory image of our creation has been this one below that we posted recently when I took a photo opportunity of some police who were patrolling and a pair of Acoustic Energy loudspeakers on the pavement outside the shop. It would seem that in the wake of the anti lockdown protests on Saturday 21st August that there is a coordinated social media narrative of declaring the police as enemies of the people and vassals of Dictator Dan. Along with the original anti lock down conspiracists they are are now anti-vaccine as well.

This is from a group that exists for the dissemination of anger and disinformation. They do not truck in rational discussion and scientific principle. I can only assume that they choose to attack a small business such as ourselves as we are a soft target ... but a pointless one.

We are here to sell High Fidelity and good vibes and we like to demonstrate our own culture through our adverts. We are priviliged to be able to have long term encounters with our clientle during which we often discuss politics and culture. Its part of  experiencing music together that such things come to the fore.

However that group of people who are led by anger and frustration to embrace anti-scientific MAGA style conspiracist tactics are infertile ground for good commercial relationships with a business like ours. I saw their ilk as they trickled back up Lygon St after Saturday 21st August protest and they could have come from a US Proud Boys MAGA gathering outside the Capitol Building ... there were exchanges of comraderie via clenched fist salutes and a general look of methamphetamined white supremacy. 

Judging from their Facebook profiles it would appear that these are the same people now villifying the friendly police image n the FB page of a small Hi Fi shop. This is wierd and disturbing, perhaps not a coincidence that the United Australia Party is undertaking a new nationwide promotion with a corpulent Kelly toadie as their new figurehead. I have been busy deleting and banning the postees on the Facebook post. Although we love discussing politics and culture these are not people who one can have a rational two way with ... and in the end we really just want to sell loudspeakers and things to nice people who love music and video.

We look forward to meeting decent and nice people in store again soon, in the meantime we still meeting them on the phone and internet. It looks like we still have a week or so to spring clean and tweak ... I hope ...