Buyers: Is it just me or is it getting warm in here?
Stern: Come on, the water's fine. Look Star Wars.
Buyers: Geronimo! Ow hot hot HOT.
Stern: Come on, it's only a gradual increase in temperature.
Buyers: Yeah, I guess so.
Rinse and repeat.
Quoted from TigerLaw:
Stern now mandates the floor the dealers can sell for and mandate that no add ons like a free shaker motor can be used as incentives (the floor is still below MSRP, so your point is not entirely incorrect but presumably the minimum sale price floor goes up with the MSRP increase).
How is this not resale price maintenance as a form of vertical price fixing? We have a provision for this in Australia which specifically prohibits this under our domestic Competition and Consumer Act, surely there must be a comparable provision under US legislation? The entire rationale behind having an MSRP is as per the acronym that the supplier can only SUGGEST a selling price to the seller, not mandate one.
It is one thing for a manufacturer to raise wholesale buy prices for distributors across the board and then say take it or leave it on selling prices, it is an entirely different matter to dictate to all distributors that they must sell at or above a minimum floor price on both their current and existing stock.
Either way, I know from personal experience in the past in buying NIB Stern from overseas distributors, that what they say out in public regarding prices (MAP) and what they do with the privity of a business transaction are very often two different things.
Stern are not the be all and end all of pinball in the new century. They are a sentimental leftover from the golden days of pinball and the reason why a lot of buyers feel what is a virtuous but in my view misguided emotional attachment to their survival.
The problem being is that Stern is no longer the same company that existed primarily as a manufacturer of pinball machines. Quality of end product and customer satisfaction are no longer their main goals, it is return on investment for their primary backer Hagerty Peterson. Game designers can make press release videos going on about how much they put into a machine, but at the end of the day the bean counters are having the final say from what goes into a machine, to the type of glue being used for playfield inserts to how much effort (labour as monetary financial outlay) is spent on code to be classified as sufficient upon game release.
The only way Stern is going to disappear is if Hagerty Peterson stop seeing increasing returns on their investment and withdraw their capital.
In other words, NIB prices are only going to lower at Stern when hell freezes over.
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