Over the last few years I have witnessed the absolute destruction of the Metal Detecting Shop. In a lot of cases the owners have left the business after years of loyal service with virtually nothing to show for it. Yet the beast rolls on.
With the internet being what is, doing a quick price comparison is pretty easy now days. It only takes a few minutes to find the best price and quite often get a deal on what you want. This is fantastic because you save you a few $$$ on your purchase, even though you may need to wait a week or so for the postman.
Absolutely fair enough I reckon. Retailers need to be competitive in their market and maintain a price point that is competitive with other retailers in the sector.
However the discounts and special pricing do have consequences, as mentioned above the metal detecting retail world in Australia is in DEEP trouble.
What used to happen is that the local shop would offer the full range of detectors for their brand(s). When you went in you could pick one up, turn it on, probably have a go with it in a test bed and ask as many questions as you liked. 99% of the time the store owner would be there and not only did they know what they where talking about they where only too happy too meet up on the weekend for a swing to show you the ropes.
These detector shops would get you hooked on the hobby with the lower end machines and as your tastes grew they would be there to assist you with your upgrading of detector and again to walk you through the machine and tell you how it all works.
Quite often Lifelong relationships where born and the guy or gal that sold you your first, second, third and maybe even forth machine became a friend as well as your own personal detecting information resource.
NOT ANY MORE!!
Australia’s biggest selling brand have sold out there small dealers in a quest for shareholder value.
NO Longer do NEW detectorists go to the metal detecting shop for their first machine. They go to a chain store to buy the product at heavily discounted rates in some cases. Prices so discounted that in some cases its cheaper than what the store owner can by the product from the parent company.
GREAT for consumers wallets, BUT:
You don’t get to try one first,
There is no one in the store to advise on model selection,
There is no one in the store that can even turn one on,
There is no one in the store to tell you the gold packages are shithouse at finding gold.
There is no one to advise on getting started in the hobby and on proper ETIQUETTE,
There is no one to advise on even the most basic detecting techniques like swing speed etc.
They also don’t sell decent shovels, find bags or anything else metal detecting related, they just want the money for the machine.
They don’t offer you a coffee and a place just to hang out and talk detecting.
So you blindly buy what you think is the right machine and if your lucky you get the right one. However you have NO idea how to use it and no one at the shop is going to be of any assistance. You’re now on your own with what can be a very confusing and hard to get your head around metal detector.
Its when you go to the metal detecting shop to buy your digging tools or other gear that you realise in many cases, you own the wrong bloody machine or you have grossly over estimated a machines capabilities or even your own.
The metal detector scene has now become a race to minimum profit in order to gain volume. People are NOT getting the right advice and many many people are being turned off the hobby as the $500 gold machine simply won’t or can’t find any gold.
It has to bloody STOP and STOP Now.
Entry level machines used to be the metal detecting shops bread and butter. They don’t make much per machine but it is enough to cover the basic costs. It helped introduce people to the hobby and also to the business so that relationship could build.
Selling the mid-high end machines helped them with cashflow and to actually get into that place that few get these days, profit. Its not a dirty word, its a reality. You need to make some money to eat, pay bills and generally exist and shop owners can’t be be-grudged that.
These low end machines would hook you into the hobby and if you had a pleasant experience probably hook you into a particular shop and even a particular brand for life. Thus allowing the small shop to expand and offer more and more services, outings and free training as the customer base grew.
NOT ANY MORE.
The small shops simply can’t compete with deep discounting retailers and stay viable. You can only sell so many machines for cost price before the inevitable happens and your lined up at the local centerlink office.
They don’t get the chance to introduce YOU to the right machine and set you on the path that suits your detecting best.
Instead they are forced to go to war with each other over the few remaining models that haven’t been prostituted out to the chain stores. They now have to charge for training as the profits in even the high end machines are GONE with the constant price wars.
They simply struggle to make a living and can’t offer the value they once could.
Trust me if you buy a $5000+ metal detector your probably gonna want some lessons. So buying it from a shop 2000 K’s away to save $100 is doing you no favors. Where if you bought your machines from the local guy you’d probably find that training and even a trip or 2 away would be on the cards.
Now I know that people think I poke this company because they are my competition and that is 100% true. They run what I believe to be an unsustainable business model and by making detectors dirt cheap and selling them to people with no training at all they are creating is an ARMY of UNTRAINED people that are digging our parks and public spaces to death and making it hard for anyone to practice detecting legitimately.
With just some basic advice on purchase about etiquette and best practice for target recovery we can not only make our hobby more enjoyable for ourselves but also allow others to see we are not the grass vandals that some see us to be.
BUT with heavy discounting by chain stores, supported by parent companies, that have no trained staff and no interest in metal detecting other than as a profit center, they unfortunately will be the end of US being able to practice our hobby in a lot of public spaces.
I use these examples below.
These are BRAND NEW release products that are in short supply in the market, YET you can still buy them at heavily discounted rates from chainstores. Some still are waiting on BACKORDER!!
How the hell is the Local Detector shop supposed to compete with that and still be able to offer good service?
What get’s me more is that the shop owners don’t confront their parent company with this! Well the truth is they do, they have and the parent company don’t even give one shit about it. Hence why many small shops that supported the brand for a longtime have now ceased to exist and many more will follow.
The single brand SUPA store idea is DEAD and the company can only blame itself for its demise here in Australia.
If your looking for these products then go get ’em I guess because you won’t get a better price at the local store, just don’t expect much help when you take your chain store bought machine into the local for assistance, Fairs fair hey!
R.I.P Old school metal detecting shop, we probably won’t miss you until your gone though sorry.