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My B&m Store Is Phasing Out Waterman Inks - Why?

waterman ink b&m store

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83 replies to this topic

#1 OMASsimo

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 15:56

I use a number of Waterman inks, which I think are fairly unique and much beloved. But today at my B&M store I was told that they are going to phase out Waterman inks and I was shocked. Here is what they told me to be the reasons: 1.) They stock less and less Waterman pens. 2.) Customers complain that the ink is too thin and just runs through the feed too quickly.

 

Well, in my experience Waterman inks belong to the most well-behaved in the business. I've never had any problems with them at all and I use a very wide range of pens from the 1920s to current. So, what's really behind it? Do you have similar experience? Do you have problems with Waterman inks when not writing with a Waterman pen? Could it be that the ink is too cheap compared to the insane prices of the other inks they carry (GvFC, Montblanc, Cd'A, Pelikan Edelstein)?



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#2 aurore

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 17:47

Well, Waterman inks are indeed not very saturated and it helps them to behave well.
Current higher end Waterman pens are not very popular - too many nicer/more interesting pens by other brands.
Their inks are nice but not fancy and nowadays there are many players as for inks.
I understand your feelings, Waterman inks are perfect as they are. I am sure they will always be more or less widely available.

#3 Jerome Tarshis

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 18:21

I don't believe anything is "really" behind it. Not in the sense of a conspiracy involving the Russian secret services and ISIS and Mossad in a hitherto unanticipated alliance. Retail with a physical presence is becoming harder and harder, shopkeepers become nervous, and they make various choices that may stem the tendency toward ever-diminishing sales. Something similar is happening in the world of printed newspapers and magazines.

 

Is this shop also selling Parker Quink and Sheaffer Skrip, which are well-behaved and relatively inexpensive inks? Also Pelikan 4001? If not, the simple answer may be that the shopkeeper wants to increase the amount of each individual sale, a wish perhaps not best served by selling the least expensive brands in a category.

 

In all honesty I don't believe using Waterman ink has anything to do with Waterman pens. I've used it for years, and seldom touch my two Waterman pens. It's just a free-flowing ink. And with the nibs I use, Waterman black is entirely black enough. For other users, the ink may look pale. Not for me.

 

It is a changing world. Many products I could easily buy in a shop forty years ago are not so easily found today. But I agree with Aurore above that Waterman inks will continue to be widely available, though perhaps not in one or another particular shop.



#4 sciumbasci

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 20:38

Its up to the shopkeepers which like to push and which to leave behind.
When I bought my first pen and ink ever, in a little shop by the university, the owner, a woman with an extensive knowledge of pens (and a remarkable collection of pens) insisted on selling me Waterman instead of Lamy Blue Black.
I did not understand why back then. But now I do.

#5 sansenri

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 21:59

I hope that's just your B&M shop's insanity.
Waterman Florida (now called Serenity but I just can't get used to the new name, so much that I recycle the bottles...) is my go to blue!
Buy it online and let your shop know you are forced to betray them!

Edited by sansenri, 27 April 2019 - 21:59.


#6 OMASsimo

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 22:40

Just to make it clear, I'm as far as Earth is to Alpha Centauri from advocating a conspiracy theory here. This clearly is a business decision and since I'm directly affected by it I'd like to understand the reasons.

 

As Aurore pointed out, the Waterman inks are not super saturated and thus you can get beautiful shading, a thing I really appreciate. And the ink really works well in essentially any of my more than 100 pens, a thing I cannot say of any other ink.

 

My store also carries Pelikan 4001 but hides it in the office supply section. The Waterman now is hidden behind Lamy(!) on the shelf with the premium inks by MB, Pelikan, GvFC, and Cd'A. By the way, I certainly did tell the clerk that I was immensely bewildered to hear that Waterman inks were troublesome in any way. But I don't assume that it will be registered or will have any effect on the decision. 

 

What I'd like to know is whether or not this follows a general trend. Because, if it would, Waterman inks as we know and appreciate them soon would be history. That would be a very sad thing in my opinion.



#7 sciumbasci

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 23:21

Because, if it would, Waterman inks as we know and appreciate them soon would be history. That would be a very sad thing in my opinion.


Time to organise group buys on FPN for both Waterman inks and pens :D

#8 DrDebG

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 00:22

I believe it is just a business decision.  Waterman inks do not have the "glitz" that other inks like Sailor and other have. 

 

Yes, Waterman inks are not as saturated as others, but personally, that is one of the things I like about them. 

 

This thread has made me want to get online and buy a bunch of Waterman inks. 


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#9 Brianm_14

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 04:54

Moving out their stock of Waterman inks to make room for . . . Well, exactly what? Personally, I'd hint that my custom could find another outlet, if they could not see fit to stock at least a bottle or two of each bottled, one or two a well-earned placed in tradition.

(Ah, but conspiracy theories are are just the thing right now, especially if this one is non-political. Perhaps a Black Hole is trying a sneak attack, now that Dr. Hawking is not here to alert us! Please everyone, keep a sharpeye on the levels of your Waterman inks, especially that precious and all too often over looked Absolute Brown.)

I have been using Wateman inks for some 55-odd years now, along with that bastion of Western civilation and higher education, Sheaffer Skrip in red (some suggest it is too harsh, and risks ego-damage -bosh!- if the dears in my chem sections cannot bear the bad news about the needlessly sloppy -indeed, wishful- thinking in their chemistry lab notebook calculations in Shrip Red, they are unlikely to ever make the cut for science!).

The inks do seem to have little in common with the pens, truth to tell, now that you mention it.

Like Florida Blue, or other staples, such as my beloved Waterman Absolute Brown merely needs a little more understanding, and yes, love. Mr. Richard Binder understood that, as did my grandfather. You risk no damage to a clear barrel or converster in long-term use, and the tone is pleasant enough. Where's the offense? Perhaps in the economy? Is it to good of a value?

I suggest you review your regular merchants, and see if they, too, show any other disturbing trends. Urban blights often start just this way.
Brian

#10 hari317

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 05:31

The reason might be as simple as your shop falling out with the distributor over profit margins and deciding to drop the product line. Happens quite often.
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#11 chromantic

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 11:27

Volume discounts are a big part of the distribution chain. If the store is selling fewer Waterman pens - meaning they're buying fewer from the distributor - the price they pay for all Waterman products goes up because they're not getting the discounts. (Keep in mind that all brands have their own incentive programs.) Add to that the store's customers may be gravitating to other, fancier brands (higher margins for the store) so where they might have sold 100 bottles of Waterman a month they're now only selling 20 or 25. Buying "some" just to have them in stock might well lead to having to charge more as, while paying $3 a bottle in lots of 100, they now pay $4 each when buying a dozen.

 

Wasn't there some controversy a while back about one of the big on-line stores (Goulet, maybe?) not able to carry some ink (Sailor, maybe?) because they didn't want to sell the pens, too?


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#12 OMASsimo

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 12:05

I think this may hit the nail on the head. It's a good point that they might have lost a good amount of the volume discount. And I think it's visible in the steep price increase for their Waterman inks:

 

ink.jpg

 

The blue ink was bought yesterday, the green about two years ago, the brown probably 5-6 years ago. This is a whopping 65% price increase in only five years! And still it is a much better value than all the other inks on the same shelf.

 

I should make it clear that I'm very lucky to have such a B&M store in my town and I'm not at all interested in bashing them. In contrary, I'd like to support them. And since I'm not much in buying modern luxury pens and the only ones I really like they don't carry, my way of support is buying ink and paper there. But they might loose me as a customer if they really phase out Waterman inks.

 

Now, one of the remaining questions is whether or not this is a world wide trend or just an idiosyncrasy of my store. My store is clearly positioned in the luxury segment, carrying a full range of MB, Pelikan, GvFC, Cd'A pens and a small selection of other brands like Montegrappa and such. This is were the wealthy buy (or not so wealthy FP enthusiasts like me). I have noticed and followed a trend to fancier and fancier ink selections at a steep premium for designer bottles and unusual colours. I don't need that stuff (fancy bottles I mean), I only want an excellent and well-behaved ink. And I can get exactly that from Waterman or Diamine. Am I just a little strage and against the mainstream with that request?

 



#13 PAKMAN

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 13:42

Higher profit margin on the new fancier inks!


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#14 Aquaria

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 15:07

I have been using Wateman inks for some 55-odd years now, along with that bastion of Western civilation and higher education, Sheaffer Skrip in red (some suggest it is too harsh, and risks ego-damage -bosh!- if the dears in my chem sections cannot bear the bad news about the needlessly sloppy -indeed, wishful- thinking in their chemistry lab notebook calculations in Shrip Red, they are unlikely to ever make the cut for science!)

 

Couldn't let this one pass without sharing that time a pharmacy major was complaining about how her chem prof gave her a low score on a recent assignment, because her answers were right, math-wise, but she failed to use the proper units of measurement.

 

I tried to prevent letting my jaw drop to remind her that people could DIE if she issued them certain medications at a dosage in milligrams rather than micrograms (or vice versa), so, yes, units did matter enough for her professor to dock her grade for not using the proper units.

 

I thought it was beyond odd that a Japanese/math major had to tell her this.



#15 Aquaria

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 15:42

Wasn't there some controversy a while back about one of the big on-line stores (Goulet, maybe?) not able to carry some ink (Sailor, maybe?) because they didn't want to sell the pens, too?

 

I don't think it was a controversy, per se, but, yes, Goulet was the company involved. I think Brian Goulet mentioned once that they were having some problems with too many returns or customer complaints regarding some of the Sailor pens they carried, and they wanted to drop the pens but keep the inks.

 

Also around that time, Sailor had a shakeup in the company and decided they only wanted to do business with retailers who could sell a certain volume of Sailor pens AND inks. Goulet wasn't selling at the rate Sailor wanted, so they were cut. The Goulets weren't happy about, but they couldn't do anything about it. Remember, though, that when Sailor made this call, Goulet was a much smaller enterprise than they are now. I remember, too, that the Goulets weren't the only ones, and that I ended up buying my Sailor directly from a retailer I know in Japan because I couldn't keep track of who was carrying Sailor pens or not anymore. Even with EMS shipping, it was cheaper than any stateside retailers were selling the same pen.

 

 

Now that things are more settled at Sailor, I understand that some bridge-building has been going on between them and Goulet in recent years, but I imagine it will still be a good long while before Goulet carries Sailor again. If they ever do.

 

 

If I'm wrong about this, someone correct me.



#16 Aquaria

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 16:24

I use a number of Waterman inks, which I think are fairly unique and much beloved. But today at my B&M store I was told that they are going to phase out Waterman inks and I was shocked. Here is what they told me to be the reasons: 1.) They stock less and less Waterman pens. 2.) Customers complain that the ink is too thin and just runs through the feed too quickly.

 

(1) Sounds like an excuse for a decision they've made to carry fewer Waterman pens until they can drop the line entirely. Newbies and other people who don't know all that much about FPs/choose not to learn much tend to buy inks from the companies that makes their pens, so if the pen sales fade away, the ink sales would. I have a feeling this is a more common problem for B&M purchases than online, where FP users tend to be more informed about pens and inks.

 

(2) I have no idea what these customers could mean about Waterman ink running through a pen too quickly. The Waterman inks I have seem to go through my pens at about the same rate as most other inks. It took the same heavy-writing 8-9 weeks to go through Waterman Serenity Blue in my EDC TWSBI 580 AL as it did to go through Namiki Blue as it did to go through Sailor Sky High. I didn't see any difference between them as far as how long it took to go through a set amount of ink over a set amount of time. I mean--NONE. So that's a good indicator that Waterman doesn't go through pens "faster" than other inks.

 

So I suspect that this, too, is either another excuse made up to justify canceling the brand, a B&M store that has ill-informed clerks or a store dealing with a good number of newbies or other customers who don't know much about FPs. I say this because "running through ink too quickly" is a common complaint I hear from people comparing cartridge/converter FP ink usage to that of ballpoint pens. Yes, one c/c fill doesn't last long, but do these people get that FP ink is not as dense as BP ink? Or that a c/c is refillable? And that it will take far longer to go through that 50ml bottle of ink than it will to go through multiple 12 packs of garbage BPs?

 

A good B&M clerk would have explained that a c/c converter needs frequent refills because that's the nature of the ink capacity + properties of FP inks, and would instead sell a piston-filler or other high-capacity ink reservoir FP to a customer who wants to go through fewer ink refills.

 

Sheesh. Who teaches these people how to do retail these days?



#17 TSherbs

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 19:13

I have no b&m stores near me that sell any fp inks, so I have no data to add.

#18 Studio97

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 02:30

If your B&M store is closing out Waterman ink, then I would stock up especially if it goes on clearance. I have to mail order ink other than parker Quink. That's the only bottled ink available here.

#19 Brianm_14

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 03:05

Couldn't let this one pass without sharing that time a pharmacy major was complaining about how her chem prof gave her a low score on a recent assignment, because her answers were right, math-wise, but she failed to use the proper units of measurement.
 
I tried to prevent letting my jaw drop to remind her that people could DIE if she issued them certain medications at a dosage in milligrams rather than micrograms (or vice versa), so, yes, units did matter enough for her professor to dock her grade for not using the proper units.
 
I thought it was beyond odd that a Japanese/math major had to tell her this.


Excellent example! Brought a big smile to my face. See, math does matter, even when a $ sign isn't attached!

Reminds me of a similar case, a few decades back, when a student tried to tell me he deserved FULL credit on an answer, whereas I had marked him -100% off for writing "carbolic acid" (phenol, as in old-fashioned Lysol) in place of "carbonic acid!" (the fizz in soda water). What difference did a letter make? He was planning to be a nurse! I might add, he had made severa slips of the pen before, but none quite so classic nore deadly!

We used to consider courses such as chemistry "gatekeeper" courses and with good reason!

I think this has something to do with trusting brandnames such as Waterman.
Brian

#20 gmax

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 12:55

OMASsimo, your latest bottle of Mysterious Blue seems to have new packaging - or at least newer than when I last bought a bottle!

 

Given the similarity of Mysterious Blue to the old Parker Blue Black, I am curious to mnow if it has been reformulated, the way Parker BB has.

 

Have you tested the new ink, by dipping or swab, to see how it compares to the old formula? Please let us know :)







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