Fair points Rich. But the average customer that walks in a music store, or surfs your most excellent site, isn't taking all of that into consideration - they are simply seeing the prices of Ibanez Pestige guitars go way up at a rate that appears, based on impression, higher than the recent increases from other guitar companies.
Regarding your health care insurance, man that is so expensive. No wonder so many Americans don't have health insurance...sad that it costs that much to get health insurance coverage in the US. Somewhere, someone is making too much money on providing healthcare in the US...not sure if it's the insurance companies or the hospitals but that seems outrageous for coverage....maybe that's what happens with privatized healthcare... We are lucky in Canada - we pay almost one tenth of that for medical coverage...and I'm not saying that to rub it in any way - I'm merely suggesting that the rates for health coverage in the US seem out of whack in comparison...but that's probably not news to you... Here in BC:
Effective January 1, 2013, monthly rates are $66.50 for one person, $120.50 for a family of two and $133.00 for a family of three or more.
But to get back on topic, Rich what do you think is the best value on your site when it comes to a RG with a maple neck? maybe this one, which comes with decent pups?:
As an example of the exact same model
RG2228GK List Price - $2133.32
SMAP - $1599.99
RG2228GK List Price - $2799.99
SMAP - $2099.99
But everything is going up, regular shipping to canada was $3 last month, is now $6.
My health insurance was $4700 in 2008 and was $7300 last year.
Hoshino as a company has the same increases in their business that all get passed along with higher pricing, before you even consider what the Yen has done.
2008 Yen - $1 = 108.78
2012 Yen - $1 = 85