July 24th, 2010

Eagle Scout

CSPs are now too expensive for this Scouter to trade

Cross-posted to my own journal and to other scouting-related blogs I'm subscribed to.

How does BSA National come-up with their current Council Shoulder Patch (CSP) pricing scheme? (Crests to my Canadian Scouting friends)

Why am I asking? ‘Cause the price of Maine’s two CSPs have gone through the roof in the past year compared to years before. Pine Tree Council’s CSP is fully embroidered and costs $4.50. Katahdin Area Council’s CSP is NOT fully embroidered $5.45—more than the PTC one!

These are two of the most expensive CSPs in the council scout shop, which is run by national. Some of the others run as low as $2.50.

I have also spoken to a local store that is an authorized BSA supplier and has PTC & KAC CSPs on hand. They, too, are not pleased with the sudden spike in CSP prices and have seen their scouting business drop-off. Apparently, I’m not the only CSP trader who is not happy with the spike in prices.

So, where is National coming up with their pricing scheme? There’s no logic here. Why do I think that?

Here’s a quick example. If you go to Stadri Patches, an authorized BSA supplier, they post right on their website what they charge scout groups to have patches made:


Prices are based on the average size of the patch. That’s found by measuring the width, adding the height and dividing by two. Your average CSP is roughly 5 inches by 2 inches. 5 + 2 = 7, 7 / 2 = 3.5 inches.

For simplicity sake, let’s assume the prices posted are the prices BSA National pays. They might receive a discount for all I know—and if they pay more than they’re not doing their homework nor putting the request out to bid to several authorized embroidery companies. Let’s assume they only order 300 at a time (most likely they order more). Looking at the chart, it costs them $1.05 per patch to make-up 300 Katahdin Area Council CSP and $1.15 to make-up 300 Pine Tree Council CSP. That’s a pretty hefty mark-up from national on these two: $3.35 for the PTC and $4.30 for the KAC.

Since a Scout is suppose to be Thrifty, I guess I’m done CSP trading for a while. I can’t afford to spend that kind of money to what seems like lining the pockets of National.

I welcome any insight on the logic (or illogic) of National’s CSP pricing scheme.