In last month's issue of StereophileJohn Marks writes about the growing number of local audio fairs (8 in North America) and what a hassle and expense it is for manufacturers and reviewers as well to attend - but great for consumers hungry to audition equipment. Then, I flip the page to read the letters section and there I see a letter from reader George Goldberg entitled "Where are the dealers?". John Atkinson rightly points him to John Mark's article. It occurs to me that when there's pent up demand for something, like high-end audio, the vacuum created by one change (loss of dealers) will inevitably be filled by another change (local audio fairs) to compensate. As I have said before, nature abhors a vacuum. I am not sure audio fairs are the answer, but on a short term basis they help. If we can't find a local dealer to demonstrate the equipment, we can at least get a taste of it from a show, even if it is only once a year. A good example of how a change in the marketplace successfully morphs into something entirely new might be gas stations. When I was growing up, every gas station was independently owned and included a mechanic to change your oil and tires. The oil companies decided to eliminate this practice and make all the gas stations company stores; thus eliminating the independent mechanics. From this change we now have Jiffy Lube and other venues that took over the need for an oil change. The point is, when demand exists (and it does) change will bring about a new venue for getting access to it. Fear not.
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