Why Don't You

Discount?

  

By Chris and Ellyn Davis

(of The Elijah Company)

       

   

  

   

NOTE FROM BARB:  The following article appears in a past issue of Elijah Company's catalog (written by Chris and Ellyn Davis, owners), and was my first eye-opener in this arena.  I print it here, with permission, because it echoes my own views or rather, I echo their views and want you to have the opportunity to hear them too!  I have added my own comments in this font and in [brackets].

   

 

 

   

   

We have home schoolers who ask us: "Why don't you discount?" This is a tricky question, because we don't want to sound like "sour grapes" and we don't want to criticize companies who do discount. The reasons we don't discount are based on economics and on principle.

  

Our Reasons Based on Economics Are:

 

We have spent years looking for what we consider the "best" resources for home schoolers. Many of our books are little-known, inexpensive, and from small publishers. It is impossible for us to discount such materials and stay solvent.

  

The book business has a very low profit margin, and we do not have the resources to buy in the kind of volume that would allow us to discount prices.  [You have to have not only resources, but SPACE to store them in!]

  

Our Reasons Based on Principle Are:

  

Even if we could buy in volume, discounting in not warranted in a Christian home schooling market. There is a fine line between American free enterprise and Christian brothers and sisters competing with one another for money by undercutting each other's prices.

  

Home schooling has become an industry and people who do not home school don't use the products, and/or can't give knowledgeable advice, are beginning to cash in on this market. They can enter the market quickly by finding out what's "hot" and offering it at a discount. We would rather service the home schooling community by offering products at fair market value and being able to answer your questions because we home school and have used most of what we sell.  [Just for the record, I, Barb, am not in a position to be able to answer questions personally, or I wouldn't have time to homeschool and write books, but I am servicing homeschoolers by getting my message via our books and the internet, which takes all our available time and resources to get out to the homeschooling community in the form of my books and speaking.]  If we carry something that's "hot," it's because it works. We also realize that a company who discounts to get their business off the ground or to "corner the market" jeopardizes the livelihood of vendors who have spent years servicing home schoolers.

  

Many publishers have set what they consider to be a fair market price for their products and when they sell these products to vendors such as ourselves they request that we not discount. Some home school suppliers disregard these requests.

  

Discounting eventually hurts everybody. Suppliers think they are doing homeschoolers a favor by reducing prices, and homeschoolers think they are being wise stewards of their money when they buy from discounters; but in the long-run, the opposite is true.

  

Discounting eventually hurts everyone. It hurts Christian families like ours who are trying to service home schoolers. It forces out of business the little "Mom and Pop" companies [like us] who carry unique products [because we can't obtain our self-published products in large enough quantities and therefore low enough prices to sell to the big discounters], resulting in fewer teaching materials for home schoolers to choose from. It hurts home schooling organizations who hold book fairs because many vendors (including us at Elijah Co.) are reluctant to exhibit at a book fair where we know there will be discounters because they are taking huge financial risks and making less money than they would if they charged the full price. [Amen! The risk-takers include not only the discounters, but those who are trying to compete with them. It is extremely expensive for the vendor to attend a book fair, both time and money-wise, and in being away from home for so long.]  Worst of all, it sends a message that money is the bottom line.

  

Here's What We Recommend

  

If you find a company [or author]  you really believe in, a company that has ministered to you and met your needs, a company you think fills a unique "niche" in the home schooling market, a company you would like to see grow and flourish, then buy from them. Support them, encourage them, send them comments and suggestions. Consider the few dollars you would have saved by buying from a discounter a "thanksgiving offering" to your favorite company. In doing so, you are helping the whole homeschooling community have access not only to a variety of products discounters would [could] never carry, but also to the wisdom and experience of people who know their products firsthand. If you believe, as we do, that home schooling is part of a move of God to restore the family, then invest in companies you feel are contributing to what God is doing.

 

     

   

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

   

Used with permission from The Elijah Company,

which is owned and operated by Chris and Ellyn Davis, who have

been homeschooling and serving the homeschool community for many years.

I urge you to request their catalog by either writing to them at:

Route 2 Box 100-B / Crossville, TN 38555

or by calling them at 931-456-6284.

Their catalog itself is a mini homeschool seminar!

  

   

  

    

   

   

A Little

Parable on Discounting

   

by Barb Shelton

   

   

(This is totally separate from the above

article by the Davis'; I am putting it here only

because it's on the same subject.)

   

Once upon a time there was an owner of a new and nifty little craft shop. Over the past several months she had invested hours and hours, not to mention thousands of dollars and much thought and time, into fixing up a darling little "Homespun Crafts Shoppe" and purchasing inventory from a variety of craft vendors whose work she greatly admired. She even spent hours making up an attractive catalog of all her beautiful wares, even though it meant learning a lot of new stuff to do so, making many long-distance calls, and making her catalog as attractive, usable, and understandable as possible. 

The whole process had been draining, financially, emotionally, and mentally, but everything was starting to come together now, and it was looking good. She was excited for things to start rolling because she needed business to make it worthwhile to continue. It was time to get past the exhausting "sowing" stage into some "reaping."

One day someone (let's call her "Molly") came in to her shop and was admiring a swag on the wall. She asked the shop owner several questions, and the owner spent a considerable amount of time explaining how to decorate with swags, how to discriminate between ones of higher and lesser quality, how to group them with other items to make an attractive wall arrangement.

"Edna," who had been standing near-by, had been following the conversation and came over and said to Molly: "I know of a craft shop down the street that sells the exact same swag for a lot less." Molly, very appreciative, because she had only so much money to spend on decorating, followed Edna's lead and went down to "Discount Crafts" to buy the swag.

Let me ask you: How would you, the shop owner, feel at this point?

But first, before you answer that question, let me ask a few other questions...

~ Did Edna have a right to share her piece of information with Molly? ... Of course!

~ Was Molly free to shop wherever she wanted? (Even at Discount Crafts"?) ... Absolutely! 

~ Was Edna aware of all that the shop owner had poured into your shop? ... Probably not. How *could* she have been really, unless she had followed her around everywhere for the past several months?

~ Did either Edna or Molly know that the reason that Discount Crafts was able to "sell for less" was because they were a huge chain store that could afford to buy in huge quantities and thereby get much better discounts? *And* it helped that they had huge storehouses in which to store all these quantities. ... No, they couldn't possibly know this unless they were in the business themselves. 

That's why the shop owner couldn't be angry at Edna. But *could* she possibly feel very discouraged, especially if she was really needing the sales to offset all that she had been lovingly investing into this business? ... Yes, yes she could.

It certainly wasn't ALL drudgery! After all, the owner LOVED what she was doing, and even felt, gratefully, that her talents were from the Lord and that He wanted her using them in this way. Many had expressed a need for such expertise and truly did feel lost when it came to arranging walls. Not that the craft owner had an edge on this talent. Many others, even her own customers had many wonderful ideas too.

A few questions remain... Will Barbie's Craft Shop be able to stay open? ...  If this kind of scenario keeps happening, will the owner want to continue pouring herself into helping people learn how to make their lovely arrangements? (I forgot to mention that this was the third time something like this had happened, so it's not like this was a one-time scenario.)...

Or is it possible that she will she need to turn her attention to sowing more into projects that will "reap more of what she sows" and invest less into her craft shop?  . . .  The reader of this little story will determine the answer to that. ;-)

  

 

     

   

  

     

   

The checked wallpaper is from:

     

   

The darling window with the cat looking

out of it and the books are from:

   

 

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