Pentax USA President explains Lens Price increases
The last few weeks Pentax fans went K-razy after Pentax decide to join the Price Police Party, already in progress by Sony, Nikon, Canon, and other friends. There was uproar in just about every Pentax forum. [this turned out to be a long and winding post, more after the jump...]
Unlike some of the other price-policing manufacturers, at least Pentax had the decency to attempt to explain this to its users. Better late than never - ideally this should have been done BEFORE the prices went up. In a post on his blog, Pentax USA President Ned Bunnell explains the lens-price increase from the Pentax perspective, and a discussion follows in the comments of the blog there, including a quarter of long comments and Ned responding to some of the blog-comments. (via PentaxForums with more discussion in the comments there as well, via Henry Posner).
This new development is discussed in a growing (currently 11 pages) thread at the Pentax Forums forums.
One "inside baseball" comment made by Ned is probably going to rub some Pentax fans the wrong way, saying that Pentax hasn't raised the prices, they are just forcing retailers to stick to MSRP prices. While true at a lawyer-y level, from a buyer's perspective, they raised the prices, more specifically, the lowest available prices at authorized and reputable dealers went $up$ $up$ $up$ and away to the MSRP levels.
And this is a good point to reference this article we mentioned earlier today at the Camera Deals blog: Economist Edward Lotterman wrote about "unilateral pricing policies" at the Wichita Eagle (aka Kansas.com). The article discusses its negative impact on the consumer with regards to consumer electronics in general [not related to Pentax] (via Henry Posner).
And the consumer is the one lost in the debates of mom-and-pop camera shops vs retail giants. The average consumer (annual revenue in the thousands), is asked to sacrifice their limited budget in order to subsidize the average mom-and-pop-shop (average revenue in the millions) because they can't compete head-to-head with the retail giants (average revenue in the billions). And while many can sympathize with the plight of the mom and pop shops, the average consumer/photographer is thrown under the bus. It's a bit like the millionaire athletes in the NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL asking for sympathy when they are fighting with the billionaire team owners over the hard-earned money of the average sports fan (who in a lifetime won't make as much as a millionaire athlete makes in a single year).
It is fascinating how quickly free market advocates magically manage to disappear when the free market works in favor of the average consumer! Capitalism for profits, socialism for losses for the 1%. And socialism for profits and capitalism for losses for the 99% ;)