Monthly Archives: May 2018

Knife Pricing Creep

Knife Pricing Creep…. hmmm, probably not the best phraseology.  Let’s just accept that the word “creep” isn’t a reference to an individual but to an occurrence.  As in the price is creeping up.

In the past two years the cost of doing business has slowly but steadily gone up.  Postage costs have been one of the biggest contributors to increasing expenses.  The cost of a domestic shipment has gone up 8-10% and shipments outside of the US have really shot up.   I really sympathize with overseas buyers who can end up doubling the price of a knife through postage and duty.  The Whalers were costing $22+ to ship overseas.  Domestically, the Whalers cost $3.50 to ship and I have started adding the cost to some of the stragglers I’ve had come in.

PayPal and Credit Card processing charges have also increased.  Depending on the card, size of the charge and whether there is a currency exchange involved fees can run over 8% of the transaction.

On top of these costs, I recently had a rather painful experience with PayPal.  A package sent to Europe was diverted to Mexico by the USPS.  Once it hit Mexico the tracking information stops with no further updates.  After several months the customer (justifiably) files a claim with PayPal.  Even though I can clearly establish that I shipped the knife and the USPS is totally at fault, the loss is mine to cover.  It seems that PayPals “Seller Protection” covers lost shipments only if the seller can prove the package was ‘delivered’????  Sounds to me more like “Buyers Protection”, but that’s another story.

I’ve watched other dealers go from Free Shipping on everything to Free Shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount.  Some are bucking the old trend of trying to have the lowest price on their knives.  If you’re in business to make a living, margins are pretty critical to keep the wolf from the door.

In the past I’ve complained that we never know the price of the Great Eastern Knives until the day they actually ship to the dealer.  In a perfect retail world it would be great to be able do the same and precisely pass on the exact expense occurred on each sale…. (and a decent cigar still cost a nickel).

The point being, I’m trying to figure out a way to pass on some of these expenses without inflicting too much pain on anyone.  It’s a lot easier to calculate overseas shipping costs as there’s a broader window covering a broader band of shipping weights/cost.  I’ve tried using the item weight shipping calculator which isn’t real accurate and often ends up overcharging the customer.   The problem is really tough to solve when a $200 and a $59.95 knife both cost $2.69 to ship.

For now, I appreciate you listening.  Sometimes its easier to come up  with a solution if you can talk (write) through a problem.  To keep things running profitably, there’s probably some minor price adjustments in the future.  Hopefully, most won’t even be noticeable.  I do promise to make a best effort to keep them reasonable.

 

Latest UK Knife Proposal

I was going to take the entire weekend off and leave the knife business until Tuesday.   After reading today’s article in the Daily Mail, I had to share this.  John and the rest of my friends in the UK, I am not making fun of you but some of your lawmakers are outdoing themselves with the absurdity of some of their proposals to lower the knife crime attacks in London.

An honest to god, educated Judge made the following suggestions.

Judge calls for 10in pointed kitchen knives to be ground down to a rounded end after hearing three serious stabbing cases in last three months

Here’s a classic example of absolute stupidity.  “I would urge all those with any role in relation to knives – manufacturers, shops, the police, local authorities, the government – to consider preventing the sale of long pointed knives, except in rare, defined, circumstances, and replacing such knives with rounded ends,”

You have to read the entire article to really appreciate it.  Thank God, these comments were made during his retirement ceremony.

Simply grind the point off the knives and watch the crime rate drop.  Your honor, with all due respect, do you have any idea how easy it is to regrind a point on that knife?

Judge Madge said that any blade could cause an injury, but ‘slash wounds were rarely fatal.’

He told the court: ‘It is the points of such knives which cause life threatening and fatal injuries.’

Somehow, I hear a similar tone to the argument that all we have to do is ban the so called ‘assault rifles’ because they’re the guns that cause ‘life threatening and fatal injuries’.  Hell, I have an even better idea.  Why don’t we just ban 55 grain .224 diameter bullets as they’re the most common ones used in the ‘assault rifles’.  Voila!!! Problem solved.
On top of that, what about all the other pointed things in life.  Pencils, screwdrivers, 4″ golf tees, tent stakes, toothpicks, tree branches.   This sounds like a Monty Python skit in the making where all they need to do is establish a Department of Incredibly Stupid Ideas.  Check out the Department of Silly Walks.
This type of commentary from the bench is funny and tragically frightening at the same time.  As I said, I’m not implying the Brits have a monopoly on stupid lawmakers or judiciary.  It’s just that of late they’re putting their US counterparts to shame when it comes to  showing they really, really, REALLY care and want do to something.  Even if it’s just grinding the point off your kitchen knives.  Good Grief!!!!!

Wounded Warriors, Whalers, Memorial Day

I don’t know about the rest of you but in this neck of the woods, we are looking at 4th of July weather for Memorial Day weekend.  Typically this weekend also marks the opening of the tourist season (aka, summer) with cool, breezy, wet weather being the norm.  This year we’re expecting a hot sunny weekend with temperatures in the upper 80’s to low 90’s.  We need some of the rain you guys in the SE are getting but we’re not going to complain this weekend!!  It’s going to be a perfect weekend to take a moment to remember those lost in combat.

Thanks to Great Eastern’s generous donation of the Limited Run GEC Pins and those of you that have purchased them, I was able to drop a check in the mail for over $500 to the Wounded Warriors this morning.  That’s fantastic!  With Memorial Day coming up in just a couple of days I can’t think of a better way to commemorate the day.  Thank you all!!

These are a great looking set of all the regular production run buttons GEC has released.  Customer feedback has really been positive make a great centerpiece for any GEC collection.  Rare chance to pick up all of them in one shot.

GEC Limited Edition 30 Pin Set

 

The Wounded Warrior Project does an excellent job helping our wounded military and its great to do a little to help the cause.  My wife works at the local VA Hospital and every day sees the difficulties so many of these Vets face.  I encourage all of you to do what you can to help.  There are lots of great organizations that provide all kinds of services for our veterans and the WWP just happens to be my favorite.

Hopefully, today I’ll add a few more Whalers to the storefront.  I’m not taking early orders or reservations on these so don’t ask.  There were more then the usual number of early orders that weren’t picked up for one reason or another.  First I deal with the issue of cancelling multi knife orders to assure everyone gets ‘a’ knife and now I have knives that weren’t picked up leaving unsold/unclaimed knives.  Next, I’m gonna have some people pissed off that they didn’t get first chance at the ‘leftovers’.  You can’t win, so I’m not gonna try!!  First come first served.

This week another order of Hess Knives came in and I really want to get them in the store.  I want to put one of the Bird & Trout knives through it’s paces.  Over the years I’ve handled a number of the various B&T’s but never kept or used one for any length of time.  Time for that to change.  We’re getting ready to take another Dakota hunting trip in June and this looks like it might be a dandy knife for preparing lunch.

Hess Bird & Trout Leather Handle

It was sad to hear of the passing of another dealer in the knife retail world.  Derrick Bohn, owner of Knives Ship Free passed away unexpectedly this week and will  leave a void in the knife world for many.  In the recent past we’ve lost Bob Andrews, Terry Ray and now Derrick.   All three of these gentleman were involved in a business they enjoyed right up to their last day on earth, which isn’t a bad thing.  Greet every day as if it’s your last.  For some of us it may be.

 

Store Knives, Credit Cards and Monday Morning Ramblings

Monday Morning Ramblings… that pretty well covers it!  Over the weekend a couple of things came up and occurred to me that i thought I’d share.

For the last month I’ve struggled with the ethical decision of continuing to carry a credit card issued by Citibank ( aka: Citigroup).  They’ve taken a position of not working with businesses involved in the sale of ‘certain types’ of firearms.  Following suit, Bank of America made a decision to cease financing companies that manufacture ‘military style’ firearms.

Now Bank of America came into the picture when I received a solicitation to carry their card.  Not going to happen and I sent the solicitation back with a letter of explanation.  The moves by both BoA and Citigroup are meaningless, feel good attempts to make a show of  social consciousness.    Its interesting to research the companies both  corporations continue to finance in spite of their concern for mankind.  It’s all about profits.

I’ve been reluctant to surrender the Citigroup card due to the 5% rebate on gas purchases, particularly with the increasing gas price.  With 4 vehicles (3 4×4’s), 3 watercraft and a 4 wheeler, I do go through a fair amount of fuel.  So how do I balance walking the walk with personal greed.  Finally last nite I had something of an epiphany.

I was in the process of ordering a new upper for my AR15 and realized the best way to make my own statement was to use the Citigroup card to make the purchase.  Ah yes!  And I’m in need of more reloading supplies prior to heading west hunting prairie dogs next month.  My conscience is clear!  Even though my ‘statement’ won’t change anything, at least I feel I’ve struck back.

A major disappointment for me were the Muscle Bone Store knives that came in over the weekend.  In the past the store knives were offered at a decent discount and the knives themselves usually had minor cosmetic flaws.  In a lot of cases you couldn’t even see the flaw.  I had told Chris I would take all of the Store Whalers I could get and thank god she only gave me 4.

Muscle Bone Whaler Blade rubs

Whenever a blade rubs, you kinda wonder why.  When I opened the blade and looked down the spine it was pretty easy to understand.

Great Eastern has taken a hard line of no returns or exchanges on the Store Knives and I understand that.  If the price is right we can all live with a little less then perfection.  The problem is the discount for these store knives (to me anyway) is the princely sum of a 6% discount.  In other words, at retail a $149.95 knife would sell for around $140 in this condition.  Any takers?  I’m amazed GEC let a knife like this go out with their name it.  I’m struggling whether I want to send it out with the TSA Knives name on the package!

So I’m going to have 4 store knives going into the store under $100.  Gonna lick my wounds and take to heart the old adage, … that’s how ya learn!  I’ll try to make the flaws as clear as possible in the store pictures cause once you buy it, you own it.   I think these will be my last store knives.

What concerns me more is the grumbling starting to come in about the quality of the Whalers.  The Muscle Bone in particular has been criticized for having slabs that fall below the bolsters.  While the pull on the Whaler is, well, should we say ‘heavy’?, I have one coming back that the customer can’t open the small blade without a pliers.  And over the years, the above pictured knife is one of the most expensive EDC’s with the most egregious flaws I’ve seen.  It makes me wonder whether the increase in production is resulting in some sacrifice in quality.  I recall another manufacturer that got taken to the woodshed for letting things slip.  Hope it doesn’t happen again.

 

 

Incredible Customer

I have to share the story of an incredible customer that made my day.  He’s the kind of individual that makes the knife business ‘fun’.

After my on going whining this week about the situation surrounding the shortage of Whalers and subsequent rationing, I got a generous offer from a customer.  Understand, I was just venting my frustration and not necessarily soliciting sympathy.  (Well maybe a little)  I didn’t ask permission to use his full name but if he wants to respond to this post I’ll gladly give him full name recognition.  For now, I’ll use his first name, Jeff.

I received an email from Jeff telling me had ordered Whalers from several distributors in the hopes of getting ‘a’ knife.  Jeff ended up with two spare whalers and offered them to me in an effort to help more people get a shot at owning a Whaler.  He didn’t ‘offer’ the knives to me at an inflated price or ask for any special consideration, in fact, he didn’t even bring up reimbursement for shipping!

Over the years I’ve done a fair amount of business with Jeff and always respected him as a great guy to do business with.  If there was a problem with an order he was always understanding and willing to work out any problems.  He was never demanding about handle material, fit and finish, etc.  This offer pushes him over the top as a great guy.  Jeff, many thanks.  You’re a credit to the knife collector world.

Now, how I do put these back into circulation?  My first thought is to put them out at a markup over issue price and send the ‘profit’ to Jeff.  That only seems fair.  I thought about some sort of raffle but that’s a pain.  For now, I think I’ll chew on it for a few days and figure something out.

Another bit of good news regarding the Whalers.  I just found out this morning that I have a few Muscle Bone EDC knives coming.  Not sure what the issues are with them, but typically it’s nothing too serious.

Next up should be the 15 Boys Knives.  I’ve got a pile of early orders in place for these and don’t anticipate any shortage issues with them.   My understanding is that production numbers on these is ….substantial.  It’s just amazing the demand for that pattern.

At any rate, considering how the week started out, it’s great to finish it on a positive note!!

 

GEC Collector 30 Pin Sets Available

The GEC Collector Pin Sets arrived yesterday.  These were donated by Great Eastern to help raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.  The 15 sets include the 30 pins that have been made (to date) to accompany some of the Great Eastern Knife releases.  It does not include the SFO, Rendezvous or Club pins.

GEC Limited Edition 30 Pin Set

The proceeds from the sale of the pin sets will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.  A total of just 15 sets were made so don’t wait.

Whaler Shipment Update

I received the last of my Muscle Bone Whaler order yesterday and should finish invoicing the balances due for early orders today.  If you haven’t been invoiced yet, hang tight.  It appears I’ll be able to get knives to everyone that ordered one.  You may not get your entire order, but everyone should get something.

As I said earlier, I only got around 2/3 of what I ordered.  Even though I tried to build in a cushion to prevent over booking, I hadn’t anticipated getting shorted anywhere near that quantity.  Several people had placed orders ( in some cases several orders) for up to 10 knives.  So I made the decision to spread them out.

Most folks understood where I was coming from.  A few, not so much.  I’d rather have a few people mad at me and a lot more happy they got a knife.  In the future, if I continue taking early orders, I’m going to limit the quantity an individual can order and scale WAY back on the quantity of early orders I’ll accept.  This time around I had reserved 25% of my order to cover any shortages and still came up short.

Thanks for understanding.

Whaler Allocation Shortfall

The Whaler situation is a bad news ~ good news story.  While explaining the situation, I’m going to try to answer the range of questions I’ve been getting, so read carefully.  Let’s get the bad news out of the way.

It was confirmed yesterday that a large percentage of the Iron Wood Whalers were rejected for cosmetic reasons.  I ended up getting about 2/3’s of what I had ordered and at this point it sounds like that’s all I’ll get.

The good news (if you will) is even though I allowed early orders for about 75% of the Whalers I hoped to receive, I’m hopeful everyone will get a knife.  As usual, a few early orders didn’t respond to requests for payments so those orders were cancelled which will help.  The second thing I’m going to do is reduce the multiple knife orders to just one.  A few customers placed orders for 3-5 knives or placed multiple orders.  On larger run, standard production knives that’s usually not a problem.

Going forward I’m going to clearly restrict early orders to just one knife on these allocated runs.  The early orders are an attempt to give as many people as possible a shot at a hard to get knife before they’re released.

The next situation is going to be the Muscle Bone.  Without a doubt, we’ll see the same shortages arise.  Until the order arrives, I won’t know for sure where I’m at on filling those early orders.

If you ordered an Iron Wood AND a Muscle Bone Whaler you probably haven’t been invoiced for the balance due yet.   You won’t be until the Muscle Bone arrives which should happen in the next few days.  I’m holding back Iron Wood for those orders and at this point, it looks like the Iron Wood will all get filled.  Fingers crossed.

I’ll repeat that I won’t be sending out invoices until I have the Muscle Bone in hand and know where I’m at regarding quantities.  Orders will be billed and filled on a first in first out basis.  If you’re toward the end of the list and I”m short of Muscle Bone you may still be in the running for a knife if someone else doesn’t pick up their order.  In short, it could be a drawn out process.  Be patient.

The GEC pin sets should be here the first of the week.  Great Eastern very generously donated these to the TSA Knives Wounded Warrior Project fund raising effort.  I believe there will be 30 pins in each set.  It should be a complete set of pins excluding any SFO’s, Club and Rendezvous pins.  All of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.  NO early orders on these.

 

 

Whaler Shipping Update 5.9.18

I’m getting emails and calls asking when I’m going to ship the Whalers.  Actually, I started shipping the Iron Wood Saturday.

The Whalers are coming through piecemeal. The first box of Iron Wood arrived late last week, another box yesterday and the balance of Iron Wood are still on the way.  My guess is I’ll see the Muscle Bone coming through in a similar manner.  I assume GEC is trying to get knives in everyone’s hands as soon as possible and this means unless a dealer only ordered a few, they’re coming through in partial quantities.

IF you only ordered an Iron Wood, you should have received an invoice.  If you paid the invoice,  your knife is either in your hands or on its way.  IF you ordered a Muscle Bone  and an Iron Wood (or just a Muscle Bone), you probably haven’t been invoiced yet.  As soon as the Muscle Bone arrives, invoices will start going out for the balance of the orders.

Lots of requests are coming through for specific handle coloration preferences.  Sorry, but it’s just not possible to take care of everyone’s requests.  I haven’t seen any of the Iron Wood that doesn’t look good.  If you don’t like the looks of your knife, put it on Ebay.  I just saw the first one sold on Ebay this AM for $250.  Another is at auction with a current bid of $169.00 and another buy it now for $215.

I said earlier I was allowing 72 hours for payment of your invoices before your deposit was lost and your order cancelled.  Several of you emailed and told me you were sending a money order which would run beyond the 72 hour window to get here.  That’s fine.  As long as I know what’s going on.  IF I don’t hear from you or receive payment in the 72 hour window, I’m operating on the assumption you’re not going to complete the purchase and your order is cancelled.

I’m trying to fill orders in the sequence the orders were received.  Believe me, the sooner I can ship the orders the happier we’ll all be!

First Whalers Arrived!

I just received the first Whalers this afternoon.  They look great with satin finished blades, bolsters and shields.  Just a classy looking knife.

462218 GEC Iron Wood Whalers

As you can see there’s a lot of variation in the colors.  The handful I’ve looked at all have nice grain.  A few of you asked for hand picked knives with light wood, dark wood, straight grain, lots of figure, etc, etc.  It’s just not possible.

The Iron Wood and Muscle Bone are shipping in ‘partial’ shipments from GEC as they finish them.  I have at least two more boxes of Iron Wood coming and the Muscle Bone will be broken up as well.  By the way, I got the pricing on the Muscle Bone this afternoon.  $149.95.   The Iron Wood is $139.95  So hears what’s going to happen.

I’ll start sending out new store invoices & PayPal invoices to customers for balance due on their early orders.  Its going to take a few days to get all of the invoices out.  You’ll have 72 hours to pay the balance due or your early order gets cancelled and your deposit forfeited.  If you’re going to send a money order, don’t I assume I know that.  TELL ME!!!!

So many of you placed orders for one of each handle material, I won’t start shipping until I have both knives on hand.  Once I have a decent quantity of both handle materials on hand, I will start shipping the early orders.  They’ll ship in the order that the early orders were placed.