Thinkage; or How To Price Records

Some years ago I put out a set of records called Love, Serve, Remember.  The records – which had music, readings from the Gospel of John, and all kinds of neat things – came in an album with a beautiful booklet with text and pictures.  It was a wonderful package, and we sold we sold it by mail order for about $4.50. I showed the album to my father.  Dad was a wealthy Boston Lawyer – a conservative Republican, a capitalist, and, at the time, the President of a railroad.  He looked over the album and said, “Great job here!  But, gee, you know – four and a half dollars?  You could probably sell this for ten dollars – fifteen dollars, even!”

I said, “Yeah, I know”

“Would fewer people buy in if it were more expensive?,” he asked.

“No,” I relied. “Probably the same number would buy it”

“Well I don’t understand you,” he pressed on.  “You would sell it for ten, and your selling it for four- fifty? What’s wrong, are you against capitalism or something?”

I tried to figure out how to explain to him how our approaches are differed.  I said, “Dad didn’t you just try a law case for Uncle Henry?”

“Yeah,” he replied, “ and it was a damned tough case.  I spent a lot of time in the law library.”

I asked, “Did you win the case?”  And he answered, “Yeah, I won it.”

Now, my father was a very successful attorney, and he charged fees that were commensurate with his reputation.  So I continued. “Well, I bet you charged him a hand and a leg for that one.”

Dad was indignant at the suggestion.  “What, are you out of your mind?  That’s Uncle Henry – I couldn’t charge him.”

“Well, that’s my problem,” I said.  “If you find anyone who isn’t Uncle Henry, I’ll rip them off.”

-- Ram Dass