Re: What's wrong with dive industry economics?

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Posted by JRM on November 21, 2000 at 16:28:23:

In Reply to: What's wrong with dive industry economics? posted by Kendall Raine on November 21, 2000 at 10:24:02:

First, let me state that I am neither a store-owner, Instructor, DM, or anything else. I am a diving consumer. And since I'm relatively new, I seem to be spending rather large chunks of change lately. I also have had very little formal economic training.

However, I think that the problems you are stating in the diving arena are merely a function of the "progress" of our society. Things are supposed to get easier and cheaper. Hey, my parents had to wait an hour for a baked potato(e), I can have one in five minutes. I expect to have my potato(e) in five minutes, because since I've been old enough to cook microwaves have been there. You can't expect me to sit around and wait for you to cook my potato(e) in your oven for an hour, and I'm certainly not going to pay more for you to do it. You can espouse better taste, texture, and nutrition. But I'm still going to take the five minute potato(e), because I've been indoctrinated that faster and cheaper is better. It's our whole focus. Faster. Cheaper. So why be surprised when that spills over to hobbies, like diving. I want my cert, and I want it faster and cheaper.

And I think the reason that PADI does what PADI does is because PADI can do what PADI can do. If they weren't making money hand over fist they would change. And their income doesn't grow on trees, it comes from people. If people didn't want faster cheaper training, then PADI wouldn't be so successfull. Consumers are making a conscious choice in favor of faster and cheaper. Again, we've been indoctrinated that faster and cheaper is better. But to sit back and thrash PADI for doing nothing more than meeting the demand of the consumer is meaningless. Sure, a boycott is a good idea. Yeah, let's everyone who pretty much already has their certs boycott the certification agency. Meanwhile, the consumer agencies are cleaning up. And I myself just contributed to the PADI cause with my AOW cert fees. Why? Because the shop I frequent is a PADI shop, and it's easier (and similarly priced) for me to take the class from the folks I know. And my instructor is very good.

Someday I hope to get into "technical" diving. And rest assured, I'll be looking at getting the best training, and not concerned with price. No PADI "tech" for me. But that's in part because I have learned quite a bit about the sport since I jumped in. But the cheaper OW training is driven by numbers. 10 people will pay $300, 5 will pay $500, 2 will pay $1000. If I'm going to sell stuff to new divers, I'm going to want to be the $300 shop.

That's the economics of it. Now let's look at the ease. I love my remote control. Why? Because I don't have to get up to change the channel. It's easier. I remember the thunking knob on my parents TV. But I have been indoctrinated that a remote control is better, because it's less work. I do a lot of work on computers. Why? Because they're supposed to be easier. Again, I have been indoctrinated that easier is better. And work ethic?, don't go there. So again, since our entire society is "easier is better" why should I run out and get training that isn't easier? Heck, I have learned to loathe rewinding tapes, after being exposed to CD and DVD. And suddenly I'm supposed to forget a lifetime of marketing?

I'm a sheep, hear me baaah! Compared to the constant barrage of marketing materials, this list is a mere whisper. This list doesn't send me email every week telling me how great it is. This list doesn't send me a color magazine every month extolling its virtues. My local dive shop isn't a five star facility. So how do people on this list expect me to hear their opinion when I'm being bombarded by the "faster, easier, sooner" literature. Heck, I don't see a Platinum Visa card that gives me money toward dive gear and vacations for every dollar spent :-) (I actually get fliers from PADI for this at least twice a month). You might be able to convince me that your longer, harder, more expensive way is better, but you're going to have to shout *really* loud.

OK, all sarcasm aside, I really do feel that we are headed down a path of selfishness, laziness, and cheapness. Myself included.


--sorry for the rant. Another one of my "button pressing" issues...

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