"Free Shipping" isn't free.

"Free Shipping" isn't free.

Most of our products ship for free, but a few of them don't. Here's why. 

Every once in a while, I get someone who asks (or complains) about how a particular item on the site has a shipping charge, and that the charge seems to them to be unreasonably high. For example, we sell a bass stand for around $58, and when you add it to the cart, the shipping (especially if you live on the west coast) could be as high as $40 or more. This might seem unreasonable to most - that's almost as much as the product itself! 

It's particularly confusing because most of our items do ship free, in a cart over $50 at least. And those "big stores" ship items like that for free, right?

Unfortunately, shipping is a real cost of buying online, one that has been sort of "glossed over" by the current e-commerce paradigm for "Fast, Free Shipping." With the move (by all carriers, including UPS, FedEx and US Postal Service) to "dimensional weight," costs for shipping larger boxes increased quite a bit in the last few years. So now, even if an item might only weigh 7 lbs., if it's in a large box, it might ship at a rate that previously applied to a package weighing over 40 lbs. (!)

So, that stand I mentioned above? It legitimately does cost me over $40 to ship that 11 lb. box to an address in California, even with my discounted rates. And it doesn't take a math genius to figure out you can't make up $40 paid for shipping in the fairly small profit margin on a $58 stand. I want our store to offer great value, but losing money on every sale is not a smart way to stay in business...

...Well, unless you're a huge corporate entity, that is. The big companies can afford to occasionally ship larger items without charging for it -- which means that they effectively "go into the red" on those orders -- because they can make up those losses in their massive sales volume of other, smaller and more expensive items. Not to mention that a major store like "Big A" likely has a distribution warehouse within a hundred miles of most delivery locations. With shipping costs partly computed based on distance, shipping something 30 miles is a LOT cheaper than shipping something 1500 miles. (We're not even taking into account that "Big A" has their own in-house shipping infrastructure now, so they're saving a ton on shipping costs overall by handling their own shipping.) 

The resulting customer expectations set by "the big guys" has really put the squeeze on smaller, family-owned businesses like mine, as I cannot afford to lose money on orders like they can. So, for a handful of products that are particularly large, but without a profit margin that covers the costs of shipping, we're kind of stuck having to charge shipping. The only other alternative? I've actually stopped carrying some products because we simply cannot "compete" with the big stores on larger, "mass merchant" style items that they ship for free. Ultimately, it makes sense to just remove that item from our catalog rather than have to explain each time why I can't "match pricing" from the big guys.

All of that said, for most of the stuff we sell, we do manage to make "Fast, Free Shipping" happen, and I believe that we do it with a much more personalized level of service. For one, when you have a question about USING something you buy, when you get it here, you can email or call and talk to a bassist about it - no such luck at one of those giant, impersonal big box stores! 

I hope that this (loquacious, as usual) explanation provides a little perspective for you, so you can better understand why a few of the things at our shop have shipping charges. As the normal expectation for ordering online has become to see your order on your porch within 24 hours, with no shipping charge, it's managed to "squeeze out" smaller, niche-serving businesses. 

But this little diatribe isn't to complain, so much as just make it clear that we're not "ripping you off."

Here's our full "Free Shipping Policy"

Apr 13th 2021 Mark

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