i suppose i have suffered the "mail order backlash" but who hasn't? ebay does and doesn't help aswel. i'm sure you find it soul destroying when someone who you consider is a good customer comes in with a frame/part they bought on ebay/mail order cheaper than you could buy it for and asked you to supply the Â£2 part so that they can actually use it!(that they couldn't get elsewhere) i assume that annoys/upsets you, it does me. but as my boss says, "smile and take the money"
on the other hand sometimes somebody you don't know buys something like a frame 2nd hand on ebay and then asks you to build an entire bike giving you a good worshop job, it can go both ways.
your right in saying discount goes a long way but my point was it should be at our discretion as i said earlier, not just given away.
crashing bores and reps raining on your parade . . . hmm . . . possibly, but again if shops all went bust, then people would have to deal with the suppliers(who would become shops!) and they don't want that to happen, that is why they are trying to protect rrp's, the suppliers don't want to deal with warranty (amongst other things) on their doorstep when it should be a shop saying sorry mate, you abused that/that's not what that was for etc.
i assume your trying something individual with your shop which can be a great thing, individuality sells in a dull world. but i find it's worthwhile chatting to people in the trade (especially shop owners who have bought the t shirt!) from allover the country, it can give a better picture if the trade generally and maybe give you ideas that you hadn't previousley thought of, whether it be for sales, display, stock choices etc and i've always thought that reps generally are there to help you, i try not to piss them off (whats the point?) just so they are more likely to help me out if i get a problem.
as far as the "easy answer", it isn't an option for me, after working at john lewis you just can't do it, they beat that out of you!
i couldn't tell you our exact profits, it wouldn't be my place to anyway, but optimistic? i like to think so, but there's a bit of realism in there aswel
oh, the lbs society is meeting at whittlebury hall near silverstone on the 27th, fancy a beer? your buying the beers though, you make more on hope than i do!
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something in your life.