Spreading a Little Christmas Cheer – II

1976 Bass Pro Shops Christmas catalog.

1976 Bass Pro Shops Christmas catalog.

With only two days left to get your shopping done, here’s an add that’ll either depress the heck out of you or make you wish you lived back in this era of the sport. Yep, the year again is 1976 and Johhny Morris at Bass Pro Shops is rockin’ some deals – even for the time.

Between the two-page ad, if you bought all the reels, your cash layout would be $241.61 –  which is about what it cost me to buy my wife’s Shimano Christmas present today. Yes, for roughy a c-note you could have two Speed Spools, or a Speed Spool and two Zebco Cardinal 4s, or a Champion 700-B and three Cardinal 4s – oh there’s so many options how do you choose?

1976 Bass Pro Shops Christmas catalog.

1976 Bass Pro Shops Christmas catalog.

Here’s an example of how good these deals were. At most tackle stores the ABU 5000 and 5000D would sell for roughly $55 and $45 respectively, and the Cardinal 4 retailed for about $40.  My boss at the tackle shop would make an order from Bass Pro Shops every time they had a sale like this because he couldn’t buy reels at those prices from his wholesalers. That’s how good the prices were on the ABU and Zebco reels.

Retail costs for the Quick and the Speed Spool, on the other hand, were much closer to their costs in the BPS ad. I remember we sold the Speed Spool for $64.99 and the Quick for $54.99. – hardly worth the price for resale but definitely a great price for the consumer.

It was prices like these that drove a lot of tackle shops to either stop selling reels or realize they were never going to make a profit on a reel again – only having reels to complete a combination sale. The point here isn’t to bash Johnny Morris and his sales practices, but to show you the buying power Morris had – even in 1976. The tough part was for the retail owners, who couldn’t convince their customers that the prices on reels were not what they appeared.

I wonder why Morris can’t do the same with Daiwa and Shimano today? Imagine a run on Curado G6s for $99 and Daiwa Lexas for $69. You think you’d buy any?