Dad wants a golf ball retriever for Christmas. I found the perfect one on Amazon - the #1 selling Callaway 15 foot golf ball retriever for $27.80. But when I went to check out my purchase, the dread message appeared: "Does not ship to this address." I had been browsing on amazon.com, not amazon.ca.
On amazon.ca the Callaway retriever is only available through a third party seller, at a price of $90.04. Instead, I have a choice of a Intech I99063 18-Foot Hinged Cup Retriever for $21, a 2M Stainless Steel Shaft Scoop Telescopic Golf Ball Retriever for $18.99, or a Pride BWBR002 Black Widow Ball Retriever for $15.95.
I don't want to pay $90 for a retriever that generally sells for more like $30 or $40 (the Callaway retriever retails for $34.40 at Golf Town, but they're out of stock). But I don't want to buy Dad a sub-standard retriever either. Plus, I'm annoyed: why do Canadians have a choice between paying more, or settling for sub-par retrievers? (I checked out Walmart too - the Callaway retriever is available through walmart.com but not walmart.ca).
I'm not sure what the economics behind this phenomenon is. Perhaps because Canadians have, for many years, been less wealthy than Americans, cheaper models sell better in Canada and more expensive models sell better in the US, hence Canadian retailers don't bother to stock high end products. The demand-driven explanation seems at odds with the fact that the Golf Town is completely sold out of Callaway retrievers. But perhaps Amazon will only sell products with large sales volumes.
Perhaps there are supply chain issues, so the manufacturers of Callaway golf retrievers are unable to get a truck-load or two of retrievers up to Amazon's Canadian warehouse. I can see that - but then why not let me buy the Callaway retriever from the US site and pay shipping and duty? I'm prepared to pay somewhat over the odds to get Dad the best.
Perhaps it's the explanation favoured by pundits, that the Canadian retail industry is just not as competitive as the US industry. Retailers can sell inferior products here and get away with it. That begs the question: why? I can see lack of retail competition being an issue in the rural or Northern parts of Canada, but in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal? I would have thought that amazon.ca couldn't afford not to be competitive.
I'd welcome your comments and thoughts - both about the economics of the issue, and also on how well the different models of golf retrievers work. Has anyone had a good or a bad experience with the Intech retriever or the Black Widow one?