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StarTeacher
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: meade4ever]
      #5680459 - 02/15/13 12:01 AM

Their cash position ($ in the bank) at the end of November was $300K, down from $3.9 Million just 9 months earlier. This is very sad, indeed. When Celestron was having its financial difficulty, they were bought by a CHinese concern, and the company seems to be doing OK now. Maybe there's a white knight out there for Meade too. IMHO, competition is good for the industry, and I hope that there will be two major competitors in the market (like Celestron & Meade) for a long time to come.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: StarTeacher]
      #5680969 - 02/15/13 09:30 AM

Well there may be some hope still. Meade is NOW shipping the LX850 (I will be getting the 14" model), and they have been shipping other products. I have been ordering weekly from Meade and have received everything I ordered on a very timely basis.

I do think there is significant pent up demand for the LX600 and LX850. Once these are shipping, there will be a significant jolt of cash. Not massive loads, but enough to maybe right this ship. Hopefully, they have a workable business plan for this year and the future.

-- Andrew


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Starman27Moderator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5681862 - 02/15/13 04:08 PM

When a company is purchased by another company they no longer exist as an independent company. The brand name exists, but not the company.

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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Starman27]
      #5682048 - 02/15/13 05:42 PM

Quote:

When a company is purchased by another company they no longer exist as an independent company. The brand name exists, but not the company.




However depending on the new owner, they might go hands-off (like Synta did with Celestron) or full hands-on, like what happened to Bushnell.

Time will tell how this all plays out!


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5683641 - 02/16/13 02:29 PM

Quote:

Well its probably different in the US. Here in the UK we have the 'Sale of Goods Act' basically it says ...

1/ Your contract is with your shop - so the shop you buy from is responsible if things dont work out - they cant opt out by saying 'well the manufacturer let us down etc'

2/ Goods must be of reasonable quality, must work as advertised and must be of reasonable durability.
So if you buy a paper cup the durability test is differnt from if you bought for instance a car.

The bottom line is if you bought a Meade scope from ABC Astro Shop and the scope breaks down the shop carries the responsibility for putting things right. Obviously if the manufacturer has gone bust the only thing the shop can do is hand you back your money. But that means a dealer takes in a scope he cant resell and hands the cash back - its the same situation as if the dealer just ordered up a dead scope and paid money for it.

This kind of law is very common in Europe so if a manufacturer goes down its not entirely unknown that the retail chain selling it goes bust as well.




It's different, but it does exist. All US states have what are known as "Implied Warranty" laws. In a nutshell they say that if a product fails within a "reasonable" time period, the RETAILER is responsible to assist the customer if the customer cannot find relief with the manufacturer. The terms for most are quite broad. For example the time period for most is determined by the item and the price. You have to answer the question "How long would you expect an item that cost x amount to last (in years)? It doesn't matter if the mfg warranty is only 90 days. If you buy a $200 alarm clock, you should have a reasonable expectation that it will last at least three years.

Retailers do NOT advertise these remedies, but they WILL honor them when push comes to shove. Just mention "Implied Warranty" to the manager and they will most likely replace your faulty product or give you credit for another one. If they are unaware of the law or a small business they might need some "legal convincing" so it's up to the consumer to pick their battles.

Keep in mind, these laws kick in only after you become unsatisfied with the manufacturers response (or lack of) to your issue. They are very broad (giving the leverage to the customer) and details differ from state to state.

So yes, once again, the retailer is left holding the bag when the mfg goes bad. And yes, the customer is ALWAYS right.


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cn register 5
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Reged: 12/26/12

Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5683896 - 02/16/13 05:09 PM

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5684320 - 02/16/13 09:50 PM

Quote:

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris




A better way to go IMHO.


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Bob Griffiths
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5684911 - 02/17/13 10:32 AM

Quote:

Quote:

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris




A better way to go IMHO.




AS A retired RETAILER....If the manufacturer does not back up "MY CLAIM" for a product I replaced for a customer I simply no longer sell his product...

I have a funny Feeling any retailer in the UK does the same... NO retailer is going (or can even afford) to eat a defective product period.

In practice the US system works pretty well as the Retailer knows he always has recourse back to the manufacturer so his objective is to keep his customer happy so he will walk in the door tomorrow or next week...(believe me keeping a customer happy is not easy all the time)

BUT for the manufacturer keeping his suppliers happy is just as important..

The Manufacturer either keeps his supplier happy or the manufacturer ends up with one less account.. You can also believe me that word spreads thru the suppliers grape vine faster then lightning..

Bob G.


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #5685358 - 02/17/13 02:43 PM

In the UK the sale of goods act only governs sales to end users. If you walk into ABC telescope shop and buy a telescope the contract is bewteen you and the retailer and if the scope breaks down its the retailer who takes the hit UNLESS the manufacturer will back him up.

In a business to business transaction in the UK, ie between a retailer and distributor/manufacturer whateveris in the contract is what you get UNLESS you can demonstrateits an unfair contract ( we have unfair contract rules in the UK as well ) Years ago I had a biff up in a B2B case where a manufacturer had a clause in their contract that said 'its up to us if we supply the goods you ordered but your liable whether we supply or not' i went to court over it when they took the cash but failed to supply and, predictably, the judge ruled the contract unfair and made them pay the money back plus damages and costs. Just goes to show though how it works.

In reality a dealer who got no support from a manufacturer would probably ditch the manufacturer quite quick. Where it gets sticky is if the manufacturer has been good but suddenly goes bust leaving warranty issues behind, the retailer then had to take the hit as theres no manufacturer to back him up. This HAS happened at times and whole businesses can be wiped out by it.

Dealers in the UK on almost any products wont deal with unreliable kit suppliers because they are in the front line when the pooh hits the fan. The sale of goods act in the Uk has cleaned up a lot of shoddy retailers and suppliers. Back in the day every transaction was a case by case court deal. I femember as a child my dad buying a new car which constantly broke down...the dealer wouldnt or couldnt help and the manufacturer didnt care. It took months in court for dad to getthe cash back and even then not all of it because the court ruled he had had the use of the car, even though it had spent most of the time off the road broken down. As an aside another angry customer of the same manufacturer bought a house next to their factory and painted a massive monologue on his fence about the poor service he had received and put thecar on a plinth in his front garden with notice boards around the place telling people what a lemon it was. The manufacturer tried all sorts of stuff go get it moved, planning laws etc but after about gwo years they gave up and offered him his money back. The guy said no....not interested now I just want you to suffer the loss of sales and have some of ghe hurt back. He was quite a celeb and of course itmade it go all the papers.These days in the UK the dealerwould fix it sharpish by handing back the cash or swapping the car because they would know they will have to, if they wont they are in breach and if it goes legal they could take worse hit because judges in the UK dont tend to like court time being used for this stuff and generally back a consumer againts a corporation......retailers who mess about know this and know that if it does make it to court the judge can whack on charges, damages etc and the cost can run a lot higher. I went through the process a few years ago after a PC died and the dealer wouldnt budge. Went to court, took 30 minutes and the judge ordered them to hand the cash back plus 3k of costs and damages. Pretty expensive over a sub 1k PC. Manufacturers know as well thats the game these days so product reliability has improved and the days of shoddy retailers selling shoddy goods its pretty much over.

Its good for the consumer and ultimately its been good for businesses as well as its forced them to up their game. There was a time in the UKwhere a lot of UK made stuff was frankly embarrasing and if you bought anything you could almost expect problems. Its totally different these days and problems are more of an exception and almost any store would take the goods back with no arguments.

My concern was in the case where MEADE go bust a lot lf dealers cluldbe left in the lurch. At the moment with what seems a lot of jnreliable hardware out there dealers might be very vulnerable if MEADE took a dive.

I am hoping they wont but in truth hoping someone buys them and fixes the quality issues because one day I would truly like to own a MEaDE scope
Ike an LX200.i have the cash now, could buy but I wont because of the unreliability issues that seem go pervade the company.


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Stacy
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Reged: 09/15/02

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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #5685359 - 02/17/13 02:44 PM

It would be nice if it still worked like that Bob. But I liken it to the "tail wagging the dog" these days. Many MFG's make the rules for the retailer now. Telling them what (and how much) they can buy, what they HAVE to buy and how much they can charge. A good example is the Gibson guitar company. They barely batted an eye when we dropped their product from our chain of music stores because we were fed up with all the restrictions and lack of margin. It made the trade news, and many independant retailers agreed with our move and supported our position. However very few follwed suit. Afraid to anger the mighty giants and loose their dealerships.

This model reduces the availability of the product and in the end, the customer is the one who looses out. Traveling farther to find the product and getting less support for it.

Walmart is on the other end of the spectrum. They tell their suppliers what to make, how much it will cost and when to make it. If you don't play along, you're not in Walmart.

I'm not sure what kind of agreements Meade and Celestron make with their dealers. But you can be sure, it's got several pages of requirements and rules.


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5689097 - 02/19/13 03:32 PM

Wow thats sooooo weird. Arent there restrictions in the US on that sort of stiff. In the UK and most of Europe its illegal to control the price of a product. I mean you can set an RRP and obviously you charge what you want but you arent allowed to restrict or control. Its ro prevent cartels and monpolies and a few suppliers have been defenestrated around Europe in recent years by the legal system.

Sorry...gone a bitp off topic. my fault.


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5689381 - 02/19/13 05:53 PM

Quote:

Wow thats sooooo weird. Arent there restrictions in the US on that sort of stiff.




It's called MAP (minimum advertised price) and most mfgs. (including Meade and Celestron) require that their dealers adhere to it. So you are correct, the dealer can SELL their stock for whatever they want to, however they cannot ADVERTISE it for less than MAP. This includes any kind of special discount or free add-on items or anything that can be perceived as getting something for less than MAP. It also means you cannot PUBLISH the prices for lower than MAP in any form. Tricks like "add to cart to see price" are also being covered in new MAP policies. They also prohibit stating things like "too low to advertise" and a slew of others.

That's why when you Google a certain scope, they're all the same price everywhere. If there is one that's lower, they are either not an authorized dealer or they are violating MAP.

I notice there is a big price break this week on Meade telescopes. Probably because they need to boost sales in light of their current problems. In this case, MAP will be temporarily lowered, and all authorized dealers can advertise the lower price.

Still wouldn't buy such an expensive and technical item from a company who's future is so uncertain.

Stacy


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5689391 - 02/19/13 05:57 PM

I should add; once an item gets dropped from the current mfg. lineup, then there is no longer a MAP for that item and dealers are free to advertise and sell it for whatever they want. Used and "scratch & dent" are also usually exempt from MAP.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5689493 - 02/19/13 07:00 PM

Stacy, I know what you mean about purchasing expensive/technical items when the company's future is in doubt.

On the other hand, I have decided to take some chances. I have been making purchases on their "deal of the week" - and I did receive the items very promptly. For example, their deal for the 24mm UWA, 2" diagonal and SCT extender/adapter was just too good to pass up. Filters were dirt cheap too.

And yes, I did put my name in for the LX850 14". People are getting their refurbished LX800-new LX850 back and so far things are looking very good for the unit. Rumor has it all the other past LX850 orders are being filled. My guess is mine will come in around May, which is good. If their are more problems I can back out. If the company goes through bankruptcy - I can back out. Still, rumor has it there is a large backlog for the LX850 and if they can fill it all they will easily cover the high interest loan and have positive cash flow.

As for the LX600 - I don't see that coming out until this summer after they get the LX850 pipeline going.

Oh, I will be buying the Coronado PST next week. That deal is too good to pass up too.

Trying to do my part to bail Meade out.

-- Andrew


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5689698 - 02/19/13 08:46 PM

Quote:

Trying to do my part to bail Meade out.




Well, you're doing better than I am. Thanks!

I'd love to acquire that 8" LS ACF! I like the idea of that.


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Carl_12
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Reged: 12/05/12

Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan [Re: Stacy]
      #5691742 - 02/20/13 08:51 PM

I have never owned a Meade, but just today I explored their website after a long time. My advice if they wish to stay in business:

1. Streamline product line, it's way too confusing. Promote the best properly. 8" AFC should be selling like hot cakes.
2. Improve website, update it properly. Image gallery for instance has dead links to discontinued products.
3. Start a "Save Meade" campaign in the community, competitions for "Shot by Meade", survey for models to survive the cull, "My All Time Favourite Meade" nostalgia campaign, that sort of thing.

Once they're out of danger, focus on the 21st Century. Move on from the same old, same old and start getting adventerous. Nasmyth focus, Questar-type integration, mobile computing, internet. The opportunities are there to revitalise what is erroneously seen as a declining market. Of course it's declining when it's driven by nostalgia and not much else. I'm perpetually in the market for a scope, never buy anything because the parameters are so well known, everything is ultimately compromised *BLEEP* that you will surely want to replace soon enough. Present us with a new frontier and we'll start buying. How about adaptive optics of some sort?

I could go on...


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Rick Woods
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan [Re: Carl_12]
      #5692084 - 02/21/13 01:14 AM

Quote:

Once they're out of danger, focus on the 21st Century. Move on from the same old, same old and start getting adventerous.




A case could be made that "getting adventurous" is what got Meade into trouble. They were the first to come out with the ACF-type optics, and introduced the revolutionary RCX400 series. Trouble with the execution of these products got them in the hole. Of the two big SCT manufacturers, Meade appears to be the only one that is trying to move on.
Problem is, they keep dropping the ball somehow.


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jimb1001
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5692117 - 02/21/13 02:08 AM

The shrinking low end market is hurting all the mass producers. Disposable income is way down in the US and if you have a few hundred to spend will you spend it on a relatively inexpensive scope that can be used just a few times a month or a video game console that can be used for hours every day?
Light pollution makes it harder to enjoy the inexpensive scopes. A $500 LS6 would likely be a good seller but clearly Meade couldn't make any money on it.
The rings of Saturn, Jupiter, the popular dsos have been eclipsed by Hubble images flooding the internet. That little bit of white fuzz in the eyepiece is disappointing to kids today after seeing a full screen image of the Pillars of Creation.
Photography, which holds the promise of reintroducing the "gee whiz" factor into our hobby, is still too expensive and complicated. While Meade and people like Rock Mallin deserve credit for making imaging more "turnkey" than ever before, its still too expensive and complicated for the casual hobbyist.
Meade is probably doing more to make the hobby accessible to more people than ever but the cost is still way north of $2000. No need to wonder why the hobby is dominated by people over 55.
There will be tougher times ahead for the manufacturers until an LS6/8 type product with a 6" video screen and real time imaging can be had for $500-$1k. Until then, a shrinking number of manufacturers will be fighting over a smaller base of affluent hobbyists.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan [Re: jimb1001]
      #5692474 - 02/21/13 10:22 AM

Jim has it spot on with some of the elements impacting this business. I talk with many kids, and with access to the Hubble (or other images), and all the movies out there, faint fuzzies just don't get the kids excited. Most still get excited with Jupiter and Saturn because you really can see the good stuff live. Everything else now does not excite them.

And with competition with other activities, Astronomy has an even tougher job pulling them in.

Light pollution is definitely a problem - there is not much to see with the naked eye in most urban areas to begin with.

I am getting folks excited with the astrophotography and soon adventures with the MallinCam, but this is out of the price range of most folks. They are more than happy to just tag along with me vs buying something.

It is a tough and very competitive market. Meade (and others) will need to get more creative. Carl and others have some very good ideas.

It is a scary thought that at some of the astro events I go to I am still a young one - at 50!

-- Andrew


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vomit
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Reged: 02/19/13

Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan [Re: jimb1001]
      #5692872 - 02/21/13 02:32 PM

Quote:

The shrinking low end market is hurting all the mass producers. Disposable income is way down in the US and if you have a few hundred to spend will you spend it on a relatively inexpensive scope that can be used just a few times a month or a video game console that can be used for hours every day?
Light pollution makes it harder to enjoy the inexpensive scopes. A $500 LS6 would likely be a good seller but clearly Meade couldn't make any money on it.
The rings of Saturn, Jupiter, the popular dsos have been eclipsed by Hubble images flooding the internet. That little bit of white fuzz in the eyepiece is disappointing to kids today after seeing a full screen image of the Pillars of Creation.
Photography, which holds the promise of reintroducing the "gee whiz" factor into our hobby, is still too expensive and complicated. While Meade and people like Rock Mallin deserve credit for making imaging more "turnkey" than ever before, its still too expensive and complicated for the casual hobbyist.
Meade is probably doing more to make the hobby accessible to more people than ever but the cost is still way north of $2000. No need to wonder why the hobby is dominated by people over 55.
There will be tougher times ahead for the manufacturers until an LS6/8 type product with a 6" video screen and real time imaging can be had for $500-$1k. Until then, a shrinking number of manufacturers will be fighting over a smaller base of affluent hobbyists.




Well spoken words of wisdom. Amateur astronomy is in a tough spot. I really think kids nowadays are so desensitized, to BIG SCREENS, 3D, High-Def, Instant gratification, that seeing Saturn's rings "live" seems like such a letdown. It's a shame. I can still remember the 1st time, I spotted Saturn's rings in my junky "trash scope"---circa 1981---the excitement, and feeling of awe! I wish I could get my kids to feel that way. Uphill battle for sure.


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