I'm a huge fan of Thomson seatposts and stems, for a variety of reasons -
-Made in the USA by people who get paid decently and probably enjoy their work.
-Largely indestructible, reasonably light, pretty trick looking.
-Well engineered and easy to install/use.
So I was pretty upset when my supplier of OEM bike parts, Security Bicycle in New York stopped carrying Thomson. To be fair, they mostly supply road bike stuff (that's where the money is - there are a lot of people who seem to think nothing of dropping $2k+ on a wheelset for their roadbike) and Thomson doesn't make trick carbon fiber doodads. Then again, I see plenty of Thomson posts and stems (including the ones that I ride) that are 10+ years old and still working just fine. I'll take 10 years of honest service over a couple of grams any day.
Long story short, I called Thomson and they immediately gave me a manufacturer-direct OEM account. So now I've got a reliable source for all things Thomson, and I even can *lower* prices for their posts and stems. Since I'm not a retail shop, they're only available to *new* frame customers, of course. If you're curious about pricing, drop me a line and I'd be happy to quote you for whatever build (with or without Thomson stuff) suits your fancy.
Not that I'm complaining, but 6 or 7 years ago when I would try to get accounts with various companies, I'd spend *weeks* (if not months) submitting paperwork, begging via email/fax/phone, and so on. Now apparently I can just randomly call people, tell them who I am, and I'm good to go. Weird.