"Too many hobbyists like to pass time hearing products. They ruin it for businesses."
I thought that audio hobby is all about passing time hearing products. No hobbyists, no business.
"When we are selling DEMOS on products that retail at $60,000.00 USD for $16,995.00 then we have to charge a fee."
I am not in retail business, but I thought that when a a store is selling DEMOS, it is selling used items that rarely cost as much as the original retail. If $16 995 is really such a great deal, essentially loss for the seller, increasing a price to $40 000 and waiving auditioning fee may be the way to go. Even now, the line of tire kickers seems to be long. At least if we go by Audiogon clicks.
OP did a good job in advertising these amplifiers. Someone may get them. The question remains, though. How much will be OP’s fee for finally bringing the sale to an item not many were willing to buy?
Once upon a time, I entered a store and said I was interested in browsing what they had. I was not intending to listen to anything and made that clear. Salesperson said it would be $50 fee that could be applied to the purchase. I thanked him and left. I never stepped in again, but I did pass by many times and watched it close for good, as many stores have done since then.
Fast forward a few years and a few blocks away. I entered another store, made it clear that I was not in to buy anything, checked out first two rooms and had no pressure from the salesman at all. I went to one or two more rooms, ever increasing cost of the equipment shown, and was about to leave. Salesman told me I forgot to check the last room out and that I should as it was the best they had. Stack of dCS machines with other equipment to match performance and price and then some. I played some records and CDs, had a very relaxed chat with the salesman, and that was it. I bought a few things there over time. That store is still in business.
Imagine going to a car dealer for a look see and test drive and being told, "Nah, it’s gonna cost you to test drive this rust bucket."
Not exactly that, but something parallel to that happened to me. I wanted to test drive a Mitsubishi (roughly $30 000 or 40 000 car at that time, I do not remember anymore). Dealer asked for $5000 deposit before test drive he would be present at anyway. So I have never driven a Mitsubishi.
Speaking of judging the seriousness that the dealer from our amplifier story is talking about, I was very serious about buying that car on the spot. Now, the difference is that it was a new car and these are old amplifiers.
"Try running a store, be profitable and have people who request you to do 6 hours of work and then purchase product that is 1/10th the price used from ebay."
I doubt that anyone here is not aware of that. At the same time, people have their ideas. One of them is that some used amplifier is still used amplifier. From what I understand, it is a good one. Why not keep it and demo speakers with it? It is a $60 000 amplifier that you can keep for $16 995.
Good news, there is no such an amplifier on eBay for $6000, much less for $1695.50, at this moment.
"... walk into a store and tell the owner that he would like to give the amps in storage a listen because he’s never heard them, and he might be interested, and then expect the owner to say sure, come back tomorrow because it’s going to take me a few hours to get them out and set them up?"
That is exactly my experience when looking for a bicycle. Except that the salespeople insisted on doing it and I was trying to dissuade them.
"glupson, You don’t think there’s a difference between getting a bike out from the back and setting up a system with a couple of 170 lb amps?"
I was just pointing out different approaches in enticing a potential buyer.
To answer your question, those bicycles I mentioned were driven from the warehouse, assembled, adjusted to perfection, and then I could take a ride and say "doesn't feel quite right". Setting up a bicycle right, even on a very casual amateur rider level, does require some work. To the extreme of having ten mechanics in a competition team.
I have no problem with this particular dealer charging whatever he thinks is right. Still, I remember one member here who at some point (in another thread) said "your first loss was your best loss". Waiting for the right customer to show up may be a losing game, but I really have no experience with running a store. That storage must cost something. I would really think of keeping those amplifiers as an eternal demo rather than losing money and time on tire kickers and giving it away for only $16995.