#1

Super Moderator
(This post was last modified: 03-10-2020, 08:13 PM by Marko.)
I gave a listen to a couple of podcasts I hadn't listened to before, as a matter of fact I hadn't listened to any shaving podcasts before yesterday.  I'm a big fan of podcasts and I listen to several that are not only very interesting but very well done from a technical production point of view as well as content.  Its amazing that such high quality content is available for free (or almost if you contribute to those podcasts that solicit contributions).  I'll address my thoughts on both Lather Talk and The Shaving Tulsan below but my general comment is that listening to these two podcasts was a little like going back in time 10+ years to the early days of podcasting with fairly low quality technical production as well as a general lack of polish and organization - like a guy, or two guys just talking about a subject and saying the first thing that comes to mind.  To be fair, I'm comparing them to some incredibly well written, produced and executed podcasts that likely have a significantly bigger budget but they do all occupy the same space in podcast world so its pretty hard not to compare them.  So these two were somewhat random and a little folksy but still have the potential to be interesting and engaging.

First I'll discuss Lather Talk, the episode #014-The Ethics of Flipping. ( The first thing is that its pronounced Wolf-Man not Wolf-Men Big Grin ) I gave this one a listen because the subject came up here on DFS in the Varlet discussion thread and a member posted his opinion on the practice of selling shaving items on BSTs for higher than the price you paid for them whether you bought them new or not.  Well, it seems that Jonathan and Gerard on Lather Talk are of the same view, ie, if you flip merchandise for more than you paid you are somehow violating the sacred bond among brothers in the wet shaving community and that you're essentially a douche bag.  Further, they feel that because none of the markup goes to the artisan who made the item you are doing them a disservice as well.  So in their view its wrong to sell your Wolfman razor or Varlet or Declaration Grooming b rushes for a nickel more than you paid for them and even worse if you squatted on a drop and bought up multiples "out from under your fellow wet shavers" with the sole intention to immediately flip them at a profit.  They find this behaviour to be unethical.  They also disagree with the rule against commenting on pricing in BST posts because they feel that if you're a flipping douche bag then you deserve all the trolling that your practice will attract.  

With all due respect, I disagree.  Why would anyone sell something on the open market for less than its market value?  Why are wet shaving products any different than your home or your car or art or any other collectible you may have?  If I had a Picasso and chose to sell it, should I sell it at a discount to members of the art lovers community?  I don't think so.  There is no doubt that some people selling on BSTs are basically in the business of buying low and selling high to make money - its the primary goal and there are many who use the BST to move things they don't need or they don't like or because they just need the money as well as those that buy because they want to try the product or whatever.  In my opinion the motivation and intent of the parties in a marketplace are irrelevant - items are posted for sale and the market determines the value through the mechanism of purchase and sale.  A used soap is worth $5-$10.  A Wolfman razor, considerably more.  Why?  More people want the razor than the soap and are willing to pay more.  Does it matter if the seller is a sinner or a saint?  Does anybody inquire after references?  All that matters is that the transaction is executed as agreed upon and the merchandise is of the promised quality.  If one party cheats the other than the cheater gets a bad reputation and that matters because they're untrustworthy but that's it.  

I's like to hear the opinions of other members on this issue.

OK, The Shaving Tulsan - I don't know who this person is but from the January 6, 2020 episode that I listened to I gather that he's been reviewing products for a little while and then took a hiatus with his views having changed upon his return.  He says that his reviewing the latest Zingari Man soap recently led him to re-think his whole paradigm.  It was supposed to be the latest greatest but he was not impressed and this caused him to seemingly turn on almost all artisan soaps.  He no longer uses them but now likes Gillette Pure (not heard of it) or Colonel Conk or whatever he can find at Target which I'm guessing is Proraso (great stuff). He says that all the artisans can still send him free soap to review but that they should be forewarned that he's going to be honest and by that it sounds like he's going to point out why they're not that great.  I'm sure artisans will be sending him tons of stuff.  So, my thoughts, I appreciate honesty but does this mean he hasn't been honest in the past?  Why on earth does he plan to continue as a podcaster if he's only going to rave about Colonel Conk?? How many podcast episodes are you going to get out of that?  How many listeners?  I get that he might have reached a point where he's thinking that the hype of artisan soaps is overtaking the substance but I think he has a fundamental lack of appreciation of his role and standing in the whole process.  Artisans want to sell their products and buyers want to find trusted opinions upon which to base purchasing decisions.  Nobody is interested in hearing about Gillette Pure or that Colonel Conk is really not that bad.  The stuff is widely available so we've probably already tried it.  I know that you can get a decent shave out of cheaper, mass market shaving products but that's not what I'm here for.  I lie the artisan products, I like the incremental improvements in soap bases and toners/post shave.  My eyes are open and I'm not being scammed - I get a lot of pleasure from using the artisan products I use and I don't get the same joy from the mass market stuff.  I just don't and its not because I'm being deceived by hype its because its a less pleasurable experience.  I enjoy the SOTD, however if it were endless pictures of mass market shaving products I'd tune out.  Don't get me wrong, I think this Shaving Tulsan can do whatever he wants and shave however he likes but I question why he would want to continue with a wet shaving podcast that nobody is interested in hearing.

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#2

Merchant
St. Louis, MO
The Shaving Tulsan does seem to have Artisan SOTD pics on his Instagram. He did give us a nice review back in October of 2019. However, I did have to send it to him for FREE. I'm thinking we done with that.

Marko likes this post
Shave Sharp, Look Sharp
#3

Super Moderator
(03-10-2020, 04:20 PM)dominicr Wrote: The Shaving Tulsan does seem to have Artisan SOTD pics on his Instagram. He did give us a nice review back in October of 2019. However, I did have to send it to him for FREE. I'm thinking we done with that.
Apparently the Zingari Man experience has changed him and I think that was since he reviewed you guys.  I'm sure there are a lot of guys out there who will review your stuff if you send it to them for free but there has always been the perception that if the reviewer got it for free he won't be as objective as he otherwise might be if he spent his own money.  I think there is probably a phase in every artisan's growth curve where you have to give away product just to try to get some profile, maybe samples at a shave meet or maybe to a social media reviewer but pretty quickly you're going to have to move to the product for money model.  Yeah, I was a bit surprised at the Tulsan's attitude, I made myself listen to the whole podcast but I'm not looking for any more, he was so down on artisan shave products generally.  Thats fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion but if you're doing a wet shaving podcast and you're down on the best part of shaving, IMO, then why are you even doing it?  I guess I'm entitled to not listen to him.

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#4
(03-10-2020, 03:38 PM)Marko Wrote: ...Well, it seems that Jonathan and Gerard on Lather Talk are of the same view, ie, if you flip merchandise for more than you paid you are somehow violating the sacred bond among brothers in the wet shaving community and that you're essentially a douche bag.  Further, they feel that because none of the markup goes to the artisan who made the item you are doing them a disservice as well.  So in their view its wrong to sell your Wolfman razor or Varlet or Declaration Grooming b rushes for a nickel more than you paid for them and even worse if you squatted on a drop and bought up multiples "out from under your fellow wet shavers" with the sole intention to immediately flip them at a profit.  They find this behaviour to be unethical.  They also disagree with the rule against commenting on pricing in BST posts because they feel that if you're a flipping douche bag then you deserve all the trolling that your practice will attract.  

Quote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo7zkd0kRS4


I agree that it's unethical, but if suckers are willing to pay then it's OK with me. It's their $$.



...I appreciate honesty but does this mean he hasn't been honest in the past? ...

Quote:Excellent point. It sounds like more than anything else he has "hit the wall", i.e., burnout. 

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#5

Super Moderator
(03-10-2020, 09:24 PM)BPman Wrote:
(03-10-2020, 03:38 PM)Marko Wrote: ...Well, it seems that Jonathan and Gerard on Lather Talk are of the same view, ie, if you flip merchandise for more than you paid you are somehow violating the sacred bond among brothers in the wet shaving community and that you're essentially a douche bag.  Further, they feel that because none of the markup goes to the artisan who made the item you are doing them a disservice as well.  So in their view its wrong to sell your Wolfman razor or Varlet or Declaration Grooming b rushes for a nickel more than you paid for them and even worse if you squatted on a drop and bought up multiples "out from under your fellow wet shavers" with the sole intention to immediately flip them at a profit.  They find this behaviour to be unethical.  They also disagree with the rule against commenting on pricing in BST posts because they feel that if you're a flipping douche bag then you deserve all the trolling that your practice will attract.  

Quote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo7zkd0kRS4


I agree that it's unethical, but if suckers are willing to pay then it's OK with me. It's their $$.



...I appreciate honesty but does this mean he hasn't been honest in the past? ...

Quote:Excellent point. It sounds like more than anything else he has "hit the wall", i.e., burnout. 
I agree that the Shaving Tulsan sounds like he burned out but I'm thinking he should stay on sabbatical because I'm not sure anybody wants to hear what he has to say at this point and given the investment of time and effort and some money required to make a podcast he might be setting himself up for some further unhappiness.  I might be wrong and he might find an audience of disaffected, former artisan product chasing wet shavers that are in the same place he is, but how long is that conversation?

Now for the main event...do you really think that flipping products is unethical?  By definition, unethical behaviour is behaviour that breaches a generally accepted moral code of conduct in a society.  It can go further and be an actual breach of a written code of ethical conduct as in the case of a lawyer's code of professional conduct but its generally considered to be a pretty serious breach.  Moral turpitude. Is selling a product on a BST or on eBay for the highest price you can obtain really immoral?  Assuming you're selling property you lawfully acquired and nobody is holding a gun to the buyers' head, I don't see how this can be considered immoral.  Isn't it just shrewd business?  Now I can think of examples where selling product on the open market to willing buyers might be considered immoral - say there was a food or fuel shortage and you were the only business in town that had supply for sale and you jacked the prices to ridiculous levels and preyed on people who desperately needed the product to survive.  Thats immoral but a razor or a shaving brush?  Luxury items, nobody NEEDS a Wolfman razor.  There are plenty of other razors on the market so nobody is forced to go unshaven because the owner of the Wolfman wants too much money for it.  You're not going to get a Wolfman for Edwin Jagger prices so either pay the going rate or get an EJ.  They're decent razors and excellent value.  I don't get too excited about the fact that there are a lot of things in this world that I can't afford and some that I can but won't pay the going price - partly reality partly my choice.  If somebody has multiple copies of a sought after product and they want to sell them, what does it matter to me that they may have bought multiple units from the artisan with the intention of flipping them?  The argument that it deprives other buyers of a scarce item is weak.  Whats to stop other buyers form doing the same thing?  If an artisan wants to stop the practice of multiple buying to flip then they shouldn't sell multiple units to a single buyer.  A flipper could still get multiple units but it would be harder.  The argument that wet shavers are a community and that we should not try to exploit or gouge one another on the BST is also weak.  Is every person that shaves part of this community?  Thats a big community.  And if its unethical to ask a brother to pay the fair market price for an item, then isn't it similarly unethical to force a brother to sell you a product for below the market price?  This cuts both ways doesn't it? What if the seller is layed off and short of cash to put food on the table for his family?  Maybe he's too proud to say it and quietly absorbs the trolling of his community.  This using of terms like community and hobby and ethics and morality to try to shame people who are selling their lawful property to willing buyers for prices you aren't prepared to pay or otherwise offends your concept of value and fair play is just wrong.  So no, I don't think its unethical or immoral to sell your property for the highest price that someone is willing to pay you for it.  If you want to cut a guy a break that should be your choice and not an action based on your fear of being trolled by the angry mob - that's what your "community" becomes when they're displeased with you.  In my opinion things work better when you let the free market dictate prices - supply and demand, nobody is forced to buy and nobody is forced to sell.  

Sorry for the long winded rant, but this is a subject I feel strongly about.  I'm curious to hear others' views which is why I posted this thread.

Eleven likes this post
#6
Unethical does not = illegal.  


I will share something that is quite frankly brutally honest, but nonetheless IMO true. DFS has become a haven for many, for lack of a better word, snobs. Men whom seem to only derive wet shaving pleasure from not only owning the most exclusive & expensive wares, but use the forum merely as a flagrant display of opulence. With such comes the "bottom feeders" who cater to those types by peddling irresistible items that fuel their vanity. It's a symbiotic, as well as parasitic, relationship that keeps both parties happy. The BST reads like a confessional for compulsive shoppers with far more dollars than sense. In a way it's sad. It appears some really don't have what we call a "life". 


That said, I merely take what I want by reading/sharing that which interests me on the forum and try to leave the rest be, for to "save" the patient would require euthanization. I peruse other forums where most are more down to Earth and names such as Wolfman are never used. Just my 2 cents.

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#7

Super Moderator
You are entitled to your opinion, however, I prefer to think of DFS as a safe place that welcomes members from all over the world from all walks of life and all budget points.  I have no problem with members showing off their high end products, its their money and their choices.  I enjoy browsing the SOTD andI see plenty of SOTDs that feature modestly priced products artfully displayed.  I'm actually quite impressed with the general quality of our members photography and staging.  Ive never seen any condescending attitudes from any members towards those with more modest tastes and or budgets but rather, Ive seen the opposite - kindness and supportive attitudes and it gives me joy to see others enjoying their shaves.  Life is hard sometimes and we all go through periods where things may be dark and the challenges seem insurmountable but that brief moment of pleasurable solitude each morning spent shaving with this or that razor or brush or soap can give you a lift and a smile to start your day - I know it does for me Smile .  Who am I to question or criticize someone's choice of hardware or software or criticize them for having high end products?  I think its great that there are artisans who make this stuff and that there are people to buy it and I'm happy with my gear and my shaves...but I'm sure there's a Bay Rum out there I haven't tried yet!   Big Grin

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#8

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
(This post was last modified: 03-12-2020, 03:48 AM by Freddy.)
BPman, to decide that many on DFS are snobs simply because they like, and can afford, high end gear is more than unfair.  With more than a thousand posts, you have been around a while and, I would guess, have seen threads and posts about gear from inexpensive to beyond the buying power of many.  There are threads about Wolfman's latest (expensive) as well as Italian Barber's latest (usually quite affordable).  Within those threads I have seen comments eulogizing those products, disliking them, or, very often, liking a product but with some caveats.  This, to me, represents a balance, neither snobbish nor all knowing, which is what I believe a good hobbyist site like ours should be.

On the positives and negatives of purchasing a product to turn around and sell it for a profit, I believe there will always be arguments about its ethics.  So many things come into play.  Is the person deliberately flipping or has he decided what he is selling disappointed him?  Is he charging too much?  Personally (and I speak just for myself here), I think that sometimes prices asked are absurd and bordering on what seems to be usurious.  However, others can just as easily argue that if the seller and buyer agree on a sale then it's no one else's business and it is incumbent upon the buyer to make sure that he has looked into the seller, what others are charging, and whether he finds that acceptable.  As often as this has been mentioned here (and I would guess other hobbyist sites with B/S/Ts) when someone feels taken he expects the administrators and moderators to "fix" the situation.  This accounts for some of the actions we have had to take, especially when it comes to the B/S/T.  Folks are always looking for things to be perfect but whose perfection should that be?

Ultimately, the site must try to find a fair balance for all of our members and snobbishness has nothing to do with it.

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#9
My uncle lamented his neighbor having a more expensive ham radio setup than he had, several decades ago. Every hobbyist interest has this element, whether it be self-styled purists or simple jealousy, who knows. I say this as a former high end audio "snob" who was a Walmart shopper compared to those on the true high-end.

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#10

Super Moderator
(03-11-2020, 09:39 PM)JoeLr Wrote: My uncle lamented his neighbor having a more expensive ham radio setup than he had, several decades ago.  Every hobbyist interest has this element, whether it be self-styled purists or simple jealousy, who knows.  I say this as a former high end audio "snob" who was a Walmart shopper compared to those on the true high-end.
Yup, human nature I think.  I learned a while back that there are always people with better, nicer stuff than you but that doesn't make them better, nicer people.  They might be but its not because of their stuff.  Bottom line is that the key to happiness is wanting and being happy with what you have rather than moaning about what you don't have.

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