The Price of Nishikigoi

The very cheapest price the lesser ones of the bunch can be retailed for inclusive of VAT and allowing for credit card payments, bags, bands, oxygen, boxes and staff time plus normal overheads is around £27.00 with not one penny of profit (the dirty word) yet to be seen at the end of the operation.

Now watch out here, these are the lower end of the 2,000 Koi purchased and there are aquatic outlets nearby offering Koi from other sources that are not quite as pretty (maybe 33% lower) but they can be purchased individually at £12.50 or £30.00 if three Koi are selected! I assure you, where end price comes in with this kind of ‘quality’ available – the buyers of this class of fish will always plum for the cheapest because these are fish keepers as opposed to Koi keepers.

Obviously there has to be someone on hand at the outlet with the ability of listing these in order from 1 to 2,000 or at the very best into ten ‘bands’ of around 200 Koi representing the various qualities of all the Koi. Alas, this may not be the case – especially as the buyer in question has decided to go into this very silly deal in the first place. Sad to say, those who do not have the faintest idea as to what they see before them make this kind of volume purchase. Their only concern is the lowest buying price per ‘unit’ for 20cms Koi and thus, they buy the lot. The breeder is overjoyed, he only has to make a single packing and, once they have left, he has ample water space for his valuable tategoi.

Koi Breeders Sales Pond

If my assumptions are correct on this fictitious outlet as to their vast lack in understanding of Koi appreciation then the same assumption may be applied to their ‘keeping’ abilities perhaps? As yet I have not even ventured into the possibilities of damages, infections and losses that may be sustained. One thing is certain; I would much prefer to care for 60 Koi in a manageable body of water than be faced with 2,000 Koi in much larger volumes of water.

And what of the ten price bands required in order to make a worthwhile profit on their £38,000.00 investment? Make these too low as a ‘tempter’ and the best five in each price band will be sold immediately and those who buy them will go home with absolute bargains. Alas the remaining 195 Koi in each band will now no longer look as tempting, sales will drop until severe reductions are made in prices.

If these 2,000 Koi are put on sale around late May, then given a four month sale period of some 120 days, the outlet would need to average 17 actual single purchases per day in order to be left with no stocks. 17 ‘actual purchases’ would require a flow of some 50 interested buyers per day with money in their pockets in order to get close to these purchases. Of course, I know of no Koi outlet in the UK with anywhere near this volume of customer flow seven days a week for four months.

The water garden centres and garden centres are far better equipped to do all this, they can afford to put a half-hearted display of junk fish for sale to get the ‘Ooohs and Aaahs’ from the grannies passing by. Next to the fish are packs of flake foods and some pellets; plastic lilies that float; miracle medications that don’t work; books on how to build a pond; floating thermometers etc. and if that doesn’t tempt the passer-by what about the special offers on garden furniture? All of this is irrelevant even if you do not spend a penny – just as long as you stay long enough to buy a coffee and a scone because that’s where the real profit is made. As to the fish on display, they have nothing at all to do with ‘Koi Keeping’ – never have had and never will have – more to the point not one penny profit will be made from this display, at best it’s a loss-leader. If all this does not stir the nouveau Koi enthusiast then there’s always eBay!

I know this statement of mine is on other parts of this website which says –

‘There are cheap Koi and there are good Koi – but there are no cheap, good Koi’.

When I first came out with the statement in the mid 1980’s I was referring to Japanese-bred Koi only.

Today, the same statement, whilst still absolutely truthful in every letter of every word, now takes on another twist.

By far, the cheapest Koi on sale today are produced in countries other than Japan and, as a direct result of present exchange rates, are much cheaper than the cheapest of Japanese qualities now offered for sale. However, all of these Koi fall into the ‘not so good’ bands that have no interest to serious Koi enthusiasts and, most certainly, are not what I am writing and talking about when I refer to the word ‘Nishikigoi’ on this website.

These ‘not so good’ fish are as much to do with Nishikigoi as are the ‘Long Fin Koi’ I detest even more than ‘not so good’ Koi or making an attempt in likening a sow’s ear to a silk purse. They are galaxies apart if the truth is really required.

In view of this and in view of the prices one can buy these nasty (sorry – not so good) Koi for, I often wonder why the keepers of these ugly (sorry – not so good) Koi waste pots of money on ‘Wannabe Koi Ponds’ in which to keep them, when an old-style back garden fish pond will save them fortunes. Yes, of course there will be losses but just what’s new about that?

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