Wild Bill, I know I won't be popular for saying this but I disagree. I shop with whoever offers me the best price and service. I don't have a lot of money and I can't afford to support a company ONLY because they are Canadian. If the company offers me a decent price and service, I will support them. And I will pay slightly more if I can support a Canadian company. But in my opinion that is a pretty ridiculous price markup on the Tolex at Steamco.
I will admit I am no businessman or financial genius. But IMO if you just blindly support companies because of their location, you wind up in a situation like with the American auto industry. They start relaxing and offering worse service and product. I want to support companies that give me value. There are a few private sellers I deal with in the States who give me the best service and price plain and simple. So I use them. They work for my sale instead of acting like I am putting them out by contacting them. That is way more then I can say for a lot of local places I deal with.
This isn't a huge point, but beyond they are selling parts from foreign countries anyway. I probably would pay a little more for Canadian MADE tolex if it existed.
We're not so far apart, TDU. I consider a source being domestic as having added value. I can expect no brokerage fees and faster/cheaper shipping. It's a question of HOW MUCH of a premium will that cost me!
I remember in '77 buying my first new vehicle: a Dodge van. It had a 2 year warranty and in the 3rd year it nearly put me in the poor house. Electronic ignition units blowing up, catalytic converters failing a 100 kms past warranty and the rear end/differential grinding itself into pieces. I was on the hook for all of it. I finally dumped it and bought a 1980 VW convertible. Later I found out that there were secret warrantees on all my Chrysler problems. Secret warranties were a factory idea. The plan was that when you came to the dealer they'd tell you that out of the goodness of their heart the factory was going to cover it! Naturally, you'd be so grateful and impressed that you'd be loyal to them forever!
In true Dilbert comic strip fashion they screwed it up by letting the dealer be on the hook for 6 months or so to get paid by the factory. So no dealer wanted to do the jobs and they wouldn't tell any owners about how they'd get their vehicle fixed for free. Too late for me and who knows how many others, of course.
So the 1st spring my girlfriend and some friends go up north camping. The first morning my VW convertible is gleaming whitely in the morning dew. Some burly guy comes along from a neighbouring camp site, sees my car and asks "Is that one of those German imports?" So I tell him that yes indeed, it is and it's my brand new pride and joy.
He hemmed and hawed and then blurted out "Don't you feel a little guilty about taking away a Canadian job?"
It turned out he worked for Chrysler in Windsor. I just lost it! I told him that I had just been screwed royally with the poor quality of my van. He told me about the secret warranties. I told him how the dealer never told me. He then said I should have brought my van around back of the Windsor plant and they would have fixed me up. I told him it was a helluva long trip to get something done that should have been done through the regular channels.
I finally told him that his pay rate as an autoworker was 2-3 times more than I ever made in my life! So why should I go through expensive horrors with a vehicle to preserve HIS job?!
That kinda ended the conversation...
Anyhow, electronic parts distribution was my career for over 25 years so I know the challenges of being Canadian. It's a catch-22, in that you have to be over a certain size to be able to get the lines of parts in the first place, let alone getting a decent cost. Often my disti cost was higher than the resale from an outlet in Buffalo, NY! Everything is based on volume. Wild Bill's Speaker Shoppe selling a few hundred speakers a year will never get as good a cost as Uncle Sam's Hornblowers that sells thousands.
What really gets my goat is when someone picks my brain all about specs, buys the part themselves and then wants me to tell them how to install it!
Needless to say...
I agree with you 100% about poor attitudes with many Canadian salespeople. There was a great episode of the tv show Northern Exposure some years ago that highlighted Canadian retail service. It had me in stitches!:tongue: