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sdexcalibur
December 28th, 2002, 08:53 PM
Is it like this everywhere. My LDS acts like I'm smacking them in the face if I buy something from any other place besides them. I know their a business and have to live to but hey I don't owe you a D@M thing.
I paid 350 for my cert. class. Plus I brought 3 other people with me. After I was done my Wife and 2 more people got certified. I like e-bay and sites like leisure pro and divers direct. I got a sweet deal on a scuba pro bc with air 2. The way they acted was like I spit in their face. Why would I spend hundreds more at their store when I picked it up for about half the cost of an air2.
I know you lds owners aren't going to like that but it's true. Beside for a while I was renting everything every other weekend which is $60.00x2 (me & wife). We never got a discount. Now all I need is air.
OK pheeew! I'm done venting. Can you tell I just got back from the shop. I getting my steel tank hydroed (right didn't buy it from them)

O-ring
December 28th, 2002, 09:02 PM
sdexcalibur once bubbled...
Is it like this everywhere. My LDS acts like I'm smacking them in the face if I buy something from any other place besides them. I know their a business and have to live to but hey I don't owe you a D@M thing.
I paid 350 for my cert. class. Plus I brought 3 other people with me. After I was done my Wife and 2 more people got certified. I like e-bay and sites like leisure pro and divers direct. I got a sweet deal on a scuba pro bc with air 2. The way they acted was like I spit in their face. Why would I spend hundreds more at their store when I picked it up for about half the cost of an air2.
I know you lds owners aren't going to like that but it's true. Beside for a while I was renting everything every other weekend which is $60.00x2 (me & wife). We never got a discount. Now all I need is air.
OK pheeew! I'm done venting. Can you tell I just got back from the shop. I getting my steel tank hydroed (right didn't buy it from them)
Mine wouldn't let up about the drysuit for at least a month...they quoted me MSRP when I went in there and another shop cut me a better deal. I am all for loyalty when it comes to a few bucks, but a few hundred...nahhh. Gotta look out for #1 sometimes..

Genesis
December 28th, 2002, 09:20 PM
with one local shop.

Basically, for me, "the talk" is something like this, and has come after a particularly stupid act on their part;

"Keep giving me a hard time and all you do is cost yourself more sales. You've made a lot of money off me. I can be pushed far enough to buy my own compressor, and might anyway even if its not a matter of spite, but if you DO get me upset you can bet I'll be buying it sooner rather than later, and WILL go out of my way not to spend money here.

Your choice. Either you can have a customer for some things, or you can have a customer for nothing. I won't bother even asking about pricing on things that you tell me are price-controlled, because I know you can't compete. That is a choice you made, and its one you have to live with - at least with this customer.

Until and unless you can compete, there's no reason to argue with you about those items. I will buy them online or from private parties. If your policies change, please do let me know, so that I can give you a fair shot at the business. If I ask you for a price on something, make it your best shot, because I don't believe in haggling - I will already know what I'm willing to pay, and what I can get it for elsewhere - including online.

You get one shot per purchase. If you have to order it, or if you can't compete on the total package, then you're no different than the Leisurepros and the DiveInns from my perspective. You offer no convenience advantage and you definitely don't offer me a price savings. Since that's all you have to sell when the product is the same, you've got a problem in those situations.

I'm not in your store to make sure you exist tomorrow, because I don't need you. In fact, you need me and others like me - and I'm fully aware of it. I shop here becuase I like to. The day I stop enjoying it is the day you'll see the back of my head for the last time. It really is that simple; we can either be friendly and there's something in it for you as well as me, or not - I won't suffer in either event."

So far, its been ok. Some shops don't like that point of view, and that's ok. They need my money - I don't need them for anything. Anything they want to sell me I can buy elsewhere, or put together what I need to procure it for myself. I dive often enough that even the "big stuff" - like a compressor - isn't beyond the economic analysis working out ok for me over a couple of years.

I'm exactly the kind of customer that these shops should take great care in not running off. A guy who comes in pretty regularly during the "low season", and who's name is a significant percentage of the total signatures in the Nitrox fill log book for the last two months, isn't a guy you want to decide that he doesn't like you all that much.

But heh - its their choice.

And mine.

Northeastwrecks
December 28th, 2002, 10:11 PM
Boy, did they actually sit through that. I would have walked off after the first paragraph to help a paying customer. Of course, I would have made sure that the door latched securely behind you on the way out.


SDEXCALIBUR, its too bad that your shop didn't see the light. At a minimum, my LDS will credit the entire cost of your OW against a substantial equipment order. I don't know what they would have done in addition to that for bringing in more students.

Genesis
December 28th, 2002, 10:35 PM
and it would have cost you four customers, not just one.

The other three who dive with me most frequently (including one person who dives with me essentially all the time) would go in on the compressor with me in a heartbeat.

So let's see.... that's four. How many more times does that have to be multiplied before you have no customers left?

Hint: I am not beneath wearing a sandwich board on the sidewalk in front of your shop. I've done similar things before.

Dryglove
December 28th, 2002, 10:40 PM
Genesis once bubbled...

Hint: I am not beneath wearing a sandwich board on the sidewalk in front of your shop. I've done similar things before.

For some reason i could totally see you doing this genesis;) Your quite a character:D

Genesis
December 28th, 2002, 10:53 PM
it was on the floor of a trade show - as a T-shirt.

It definitely drew more than a bit of attention....

Northeastwrecks
December 28th, 2002, 11:03 PM
Genesis once bubbled...
and it would have cost you four customers, not just one.

The other three who dive with me most frequently (including one person who dives with me essentially all the time) would go in on the compressor with me in a heartbeat.

So let's see.... that's four. How many more times does that have to be multiplied before you have no customers left?

Hint: I am not beneath wearing a sandwich board on the sidewalk in front of your shop. I've done similar things before.

And you must be so proud of yourself. Personally, I would send you a no trespass letter, then call the local PD if you took one step on private property. Of course, I would also consider whether it was worth my time to up the voltage by filing for a TRO based upon commercial defamation if I found even a scintilla of inaccuracy, then seeing how well you and your four friends held up over the course of a multi-day deposition (each). Personally, I'm willing to bet that you'd lose it after a couple of hours and give me everything I needed.

You could send the FTC a letter asking for me to be included in your crank file.

Four cranks are simply not worth the business. I'd rather concentrate on valued customers than cater to a crackpot with a persecution complex.

Now lets not hijack the thread. Be a nice boy and take your medicine.:bonk:

jbm
December 28th, 2002, 11:13 PM
Genesis once bubbled...
with one local shop.

Basically, for me, "the talk" is something like this, and has come after a particularly stupid act on their part;

"Keep giving me a hard time and all you do is cost yourself more sales. You've made a lot of money off me. I can be pushed far enough to buy my own compressor, and might anyway even if its not a matter of spite, but if you DO get me upset you can bet I'll be buying it sooner rather than later, and WILL go out of my way not to spend money here.

Your choice. Either you can have a customer for some things, or you can have a customer for nothing. I won't bother even asking about pricing on things that you tell me are price-controlled, because I know you can't compete. That is a choice you made, and its one you have to live with - at least with this customer.

Until and unless you can compete, there's no reason to argue with you about those items. I will buy them online or from private parties. If your policies change, please do let me know, so that I can give you a fair shot at the business. If I ask you for a price on something, make it your best shot, because I don't believe in haggling - I will already know what I'm willing to pay, and what I can get it for elsewhere - including online.

You get one shot per purchase. If you have to order it, or if you can't compete on the total package, then you're no different than the Leisurepros and the DiveInns from my perspective. You offer no convenience advantage and you definitely don't offer me a price savings. Since that's all you have to sell when the product is the same, you've got a problem in those situations.

I'm not in your store to make sure you exist tomorrow, because I don't need you. In fact, you need me and others like me - and I'm fully aware of it. I shop here becuase I like to. The day I stop enjoying it is the day you'll see the back of my head for the last time. It really is that simple; we can either be friendly and there's something in it for you as well as me, or not - I won't suffer in either event."

So far, its been ok. Some shops don't like that point of view, and that's ok. They need my money - I don't need them for anything. Anything they want to sell me I can buy elsewhere, or put together what I need to procure it for myself. I dive often enough that even the "big stuff" - like a compressor - isn't beyond the economic analysis working out ok for me over a couple of years.

I'm exactly the kind of customer that these shops should take great care in not running off. A guy who comes in pretty regularly during the "low season", and who's name is a significant percentage of the total signatures in the Nitrox fill log book for the last two months, isn't a guy you want to decide that he doesn't like you all that much.

But heh - its their choice.

And mine.


It's not often i sympathize with the retail sector but...in this case I must. You simply sound like you are not worth the effort.

Genesis
December 28th, 2002, 11:18 PM
I had a so-called "vendor" try that kind of bullying tactic on me - exactly once.

I have a photocopy of a six-figure check, which I deposited and cashed, for my trouble.

I'd love to have another. You'd make my day with such a tactic.

It'd buy me a new boat.

I love people who think they can abuse the law in this kind of way. It makes my bank account (and toy budget) sing.

Have a nice day NE.

King Kong Matt
December 28th, 2002, 11:25 PM
Genesis once bubbled...
with one local shop.

Basically, for me, "the talk" is something like this, and has come after a particularly stupid act on their part;

"Keep giving me a hard time and all you do is cost yourself more sales. You've made a lot of money off me. I can be pushed far enough to buy my own compressor, and might anyway even if its not a matter of spite, but if you DO get me upset you can bet I'll be buying it sooner rather than later, and WILL go out of my way not to spend money here.

Your choice. Either you can have a customer for some things, or you can have a customer for nothing. I won't bother even asking about pricing on things that you tell me are price-controlled, because I know you can't compete. That is a choice you made, and its one you have to live with - at least with this customer.

Until and unless you can compete, there's no reason to argue with you about those items. I will buy them online or from private parties. If your policies change, please do let me know, so that I can give you a fair shot at the business. If I ask you for a price on something, make it your best shot, because I don't believe in haggling - I will already know what I'm willing to pay, and what I can get it for elsewhere - including online.

You get one shot per purchase. If you have to order it, or if you can't compete on the total package, then you're no different than the Leisurepros and the DiveInns from my perspective. You offer no convenience advantage and you definitely don't offer me a price savings. Since that's all you have to sell when the product is the same, you've got a problem in those situations.

I'm not in your store to make sure you exist tomorrow, because I don't need you. In fact, you need me and others like me - and I'm fully aware of it. I shop here becuase I like to. The day I stop enjoying it is the day you'll see the back of my head for the last time. It really is that simple; we can either be friendly and there's something in it for you as well as me, or not - I won't suffer in either event."

So far, its been ok. Some shops don't like that point of view, and that's ok. They need my money - I don't need them for anything. Anything they want to sell me I can buy elsewhere, or put together what I need to procure it for myself. I dive often enough that even the "big stuff" - like a compressor - isn't beyond the economic analysis working out ok for me over a couple of years.

I'm exactly the kind of customer that these shops should take great care in not running off. A guy who comes in pretty regularly during the "low season", and who's name is a significant percentage of the total signatures in the Nitrox fill log book for the last two months, isn't a guy you want to decide that he doesn't like you all that much.

But heh - its their choice.

And mine.

Genesis,
You seriously need to get some more fiber into your diet. That and a daily glass of prune juice and I promise you'll feel better...






P.S. - for those of us w/ a complete lack of sense of humor (you know who you are), the above is NOT meant to be construed as real medical advice.

Northeastwrecks
December 28th, 2002, 11:27 PM
No abuse, crank boy. Note that I said that the case would depend upon an inaccurate statement. I'm sure that, given your limited intellect, I'd be able to find one.

Put your money where your mouth is. PM the case name and docket number, along with the court. Alternatively, you need only tell me whether it was brought in the state court that has jurisdiction over Niceville, Florida and I'll take it from there.

Genesis
December 28th, 2002, 11:40 PM
Do your own research NE. I owe you nothing, and from me you will receive exactly that.

This board needs a kill file. Since they don't have one, I'll simply refuse to respond to you. And unlike others here who have made such threats, I'll actually keep my word.

jbm
December 28th, 2002, 11:44 PM
Someone needs a nap.......

Northeastwrecks
December 28th, 2002, 11:50 PM
:rofL:

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!

ThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyou
ThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyou
ThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyou
ThankyouThankyou!!!!!!!


Wazza matter, Wittle bitty baby gonna run home and cry? I'll take that as confirmation that you were blowing smoke up peoples' :moon:

sdexcalibur
December 29th, 2002, 12:58 AM
Another nice thing about the shop. When we were looking aroung to get certified. Another shop was charging the same price but gave everyone $25 off coupons. I mailed the shop told them about the coupon offered by their compotion and could we use it their. They said NO!
Well the shop offering the discount was about 20 min further so we went with the closer. Not my decision, some worked nights and couldn't drive. But come on! after their mark up on EVERYTHING they couldn't afford to discout 6 people 25 dollars each.

Genesis
December 29th, 2002, 01:12 AM
Vote with your wallet.

I do.

It seems to be the only form of voting that most merchants understand..... (not that it should be any other way!)

scubafanatic
December 29th, 2002, 06:50 PM
.......if your local LDS gives you a hard time, play 'devil's advocate' with them and trip them up with their own logic:

1) Given that the average American will move 11 times in their lifetime,......and 20% of American families move annually, they are in effect saying any gear you buy from them should be depreciated @ a 20%/year rate---and in 5 years will be worthless---as on average you will be patronizing a 'new' LDS every 5 years....and you can expect your 'new' LDS to poor-mouth the gear you bought from your 'present' LDS and give you a hard time over servicing it, just as they are giving you a hard time right now!

2) during the LDS 'sales-pitch' they remind you of what a good investment you're making in buying their 'quality' scuba gear...... they'll emphasize things like 'resale-value'........so don't be too concerned with retail-pricing, as you'll get most of it back if you have/want to sell it..........remind the LDS that it's a contradiction to give you a hard time bringing in a brand "X" item for service (bought elsewhere) and at the same time tell you how great a new item from brand "X" is.

Ask them how can there be any resale value with brand "X" if dealers in brand "X" are known for giving owners of 'used' brand "X" items a hard time...this inherently destroys the very concept of resale-value they bring up in the 1st place!

This works best if you stick to shopping at brand "X" dealers...that way they can't muddy the waters by bringing up brand "Y".......compare apples-to-apples.

dmdalton
December 29th, 2002, 07:30 PM
All of this attitude on both sides goes to demonstrate how out of touch with the marketplace the dive industry has become/is.

I go into Giant Grocery Store and shop their sales and then go to SafewaY to shop their sales and next time I'm in Giant nobody says, "Hey why did you buy those Diet Cokes at Safeway and not here?"

When I go to a Shell gas station instead of Exon the guy at Exon next time doesn't give me crap about buying gas at Shell because it was $0.03 a gallon cheaper.

When I buy a car over the internet or go out of state because I can find a better price in WV instead of MD the local dealer doesn't refuse to service the car because I didin't buy it from them (granted their may be some warrenty restrictions if you live less than 50 miles from the dealer you purchased the vehicle from). And if I buy a one year old car they don't say, sorry, the warrenty was only good for the original owner.

In 50 years I think the dive industry has gone backwards in their understanding of how to make it in the market place.

Since I have my own compressor/mix station and service my own equipment, I owe no one nothing. I give my business to shops (local or internet) that provide the goods and service I need. Sometimes that means price, sometimes that means speedy availability, but always it will mean pleasant attitude.

Dave D

Scuba
December 29th, 2002, 09:24 PM
Northeastwrecks once bubbled...

Four cranks are simply not worth the business. I'd rather concentrate on valued customers than cater to a crackpot with a persecution complex.


Do you know who is capable of being a VALUED customer?

Or do I first need to prove my VALUE to you before you treat me like you VALUE my business?

Do you know the VALUE of a customer?

How much will a customer spend when:
They get into the sport?
As they update and progress throught the sport?
Per year?
Per lifetime?
Per (X)
Multiplied by other customers they bring in - or keep away.

Maybe Genesis can say some of these things a different way. (sugar coated?) But I'll take honesty and straight talk any day. Valuable qualities for doing business.

awap
December 29th, 2002, 09:59 PM
Too many folks in this business as a hobby.



Northeastwrecks once bubbled...


Four cranks are simply not worth the business. I'd rather concentrate on valued customers than cater to a crackpot with a persecution complex.



They seem to be more interrested in satisfying themselves rather than customers. Too bad. I believe everyone, except maybe manufacturers, would benefit from good business practices at the retail level.

King Kong Matt
December 29th, 2002, 11:11 PM
If a shop is really getting on you b/c you didn't buy an item there then yeah...I would be a little ruffled, but (maybe just my personality), I would tend to give them the reason why without the diatribe and the soapbox about the value of a customer.

I think people are talking about a somewhat bigger issue - one which has been re-hashed on this board a number of times. The question essentially is "how do you value you LDS?"

People obviously subscribe to different points of view re: their LDS. From my perspective, when I buy something from the LDS, I am not only purchasing a piece of gear, but I am also investing in a relationship with a shop, their instructors, their experience, and their advice. Can the cost/benefit of purchasing an item through the LDS vs. online or somewhere else always be quantified in terms of the money saved? I don't think so.

Have I overpaid on items at my LDS? Yep. Have I knowingly done it? Yep. Has that value I've overpaid come back to me in free fills, free rentals, free boat dives, etc? I'm sure it has...

Again, just a decidedly different way of thinking about what you "get" when you purchase from the LDS.

Do I think that the guy at the LDS is going to walk away from someone trying to ranting and raving about the "value of a customer" to come help a customer like me? Probably. Is that right? Don't know and quite honestly, don't care.

Matt



sdexcalibur - I obviously don't know where you went, but if you want a recommendation for a shop feel free to PM me. Actually, the guy who knows the lay of the land (in erms of dive shops) in the South Shore probably the best is MSilvia.

Scuba
December 30th, 2002, 12:23 AM
Good points King Kong Matt,

As you say, different people will value different aspects of their relationship with an LDS, much of which has been thoroughly discussed here before, as you mentioned.

But one thing that continually comes across in many of these posts, such as the first one in this thread, points to a lack of business acumen on the part of many LDS's. All businesses have their preffered customers, but a good business person will value all customers and treat them accordingly. Unlike the blame the customer, and the customer owes me attitude, that apparently a fair number of shops engage in.

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 12:50 AM
Scuba once bubbled...
Good points King Kong Matt,

As you say, different people will value different aspects of their relationship with an LDS, much of which has been thoroughly discussed here before, as you mentioned.

But one thing that continually comes across in many of these posts, such as the first one in this thread, points to a lack of business acumen on the part of many LDS's. All businesses have their preffered customers, but a good business person will value all customers and treat them accordingly. Unlike the blame the customer, and the customer owes me attitude, that apparently a fair number of shops engage in.

I mostly agree. If a shop is giving you a hard time about not purchasing something there, you probably need to find a different shop...that would be an indication to me that the shop doesn't recognize the relationship as being more important then any single purchase.

As to whether "smart" business people treat (or should treat) all customers equally, I will respectfully disagree...I think thats the way it should be in theory, but as a shop owner, I am always going to commit more resources to the people who commit to me.

Some of the posters to this thread are almost savage in their approach to the LDS..."I owe you nothing, you owe me everything and s*rew you if you don't like it...you'll die at the hands of the online dive shop". That very well might be true, but if the real attitude of these people as they walk in to a shop reflects even 1/10 of that sentiment, is it any real shocker that they get less than optimal service?

jbm
December 30th, 2002, 01:04 AM
King Kong Matt once bubbled...

People obviously subscribe to different points of view re: their LDS. From my perspective, when I buy something from the LDS, I am not only purchasing a piece of gear, but I am also investing in a relationship with a shop, their instructors, their experience, and their advice. Can the cost/benefit of purchasing an item through the LDS vs. online or somewhere else always be quantified in terms of the money saved? I don't think so.

Have I overpaid on items at my LDS? Yep. Have I knowingly done it? Yep. Has that value I've overpaid come back to me in free fills, free rentals, free boat dives, etc? I'm sure it has...

Again, just a decidedly different way of thinking about what you "get" when you purchase from the LDS.

Matt







There is "money" and there is "value." Building a mutually respectful relationship with your LDS usually pays off in spades. If this relationship turns disfunctional, by all means quietly walk away. No need for "the talk" just "the walk."

That being said, every retailer knows about the " bad customer", and I think we witnessed one on this thread. I'm guessing he gets his kicks bullying the Blockbuster kids as well.

rgds: jbm

Dr. Jay
December 30th, 2002, 03:27 AM
Don't know if this will help or not, but it's certainly something to think about.

In the college of business it is taught that:
80% of your revenues are generated from 20% of your customers

I wish I could give you more information on studies, etc. (which I might be able to locate from some of my general business classes). But either way, a repeat customer is very important in the world of business. It's much harder to hook a person off the street that someone who's already done business with you. I could go on and on about this...but...:snooze:

Either the LDS will have to evolve (which it looks like they're doing by establishing a relationship with their customers - something not easy to do with an internet business - and among other things) or they will dissolve.

Just my 2 cents.

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 04:01 AM
Dr. Jay once bubbled...
Either the LDS will have to evolve (which it looks like they're doing by establishing a relationship with their customers - something not easy to do with an internet business - and among other things) or they will dissolve.


I think most of us would agree with the general thought you've expressed above - the question which I think separates the two types of people who have posted to this thread is "what constitutes evolution?".

There are some that would (I obviously don't want to speak for them so take this for the generality that it is) suggest that evolution almost exclusively means providing a pricing model that is competitive with "alternative" institutions like online shops.

Again, while I think price differential is a factor, it's not the only factor (as I have stated above)...in my mind, the LDS can become more customer focused...can evolve, without focusing 100% of its energy on customers it will ALWAYS lose to online sales anyways.

Dr. Jay
December 30th, 2002, 04:17 AM
Theres so much less to pay for when you're running an internet business (that's why you see offers for Yahoo and E-bay stores all over the place).

The old brick-and-mortar idea is going to be harder to manage with this new age. Remember the 4 P's of the marketing mix:
Price, Product, Promotion, and Place (Distribution)

The LDS will have to find their avenue to compete (and they surely won't win in price). I completely agree with you King Kong Matt. 100% for customers!

froop
December 30th, 2002, 05:31 AM
Dr. Jay once bubbled...
But either way, a repeat customer is very important in the world of business. It's much harder to hook a person off the street that someone who's already done business with you.

Aah, obviously a business student there, Dr. Jay.

One of my locals is offering free air fills to all Melbourne (Aus, not FL) residents in a bid to gain repeat business to existing customers, and draw new business from divers who may frequent other shops.

luvdiving
December 30th, 2002, 05:47 AM
Hi Froop:

Froop? What does it..??... never mind.

On a similar note. We have a LDS that pre-sells air fills. Each fill is $5, or you can buy a 10 fill card for $20. You have to come back for the air!! Who can beat $2. per fill? Are they making anything on the air? No way!! But as long as you're there? Oh, I also need.....and...., and. Oh and one of those also.

They are also very good "people" people. They have nothing to fear from the OLS (On-Line Stores).

Hey, am I the first to coin OLS?:boom:

awap
December 30th, 2002, 10:09 AM
King Kong Matt once bubbled...

Again, while I think price differential is a factor, it's not the only factor (as I have stated above)...in my mind, the LDS can become more customer focused...can evolve, without focusing 100% of its energy on customers it will ALWAYS lose to online sales anyways.

Seems to me that the LDS has an inherent advantage over the online seller in terms of wholesale cost (if they buy in quantity). And although many manufacturers have minimum price constraints which cause a "list price" differential in favor of the online dealer, the LDS can offer a package rounded out with service items like air that can compete with online prices.

Genesis
December 30th, 2002, 10:22 AM
the problem is, they don't want to.

The typical LDS attitude seems to be that the price controls are a thing for them to hide behind, not a thing to be worked around to remain competitive even in their face.

The typical "air card" here gets you a buck or two off a Nitrox fill, and a buck or less off an air fill. Not all that material, and in many cases with the shops you can't "fill and go" (only one banks air and Nitrox), and the convenience factor gets to be a problem as well.

The support of those price controls (and make no mistake about it, any shop that agrees to such a thing, tacitely or otherwise, DOES support it) is a problem all on its own, and puts the shop in the unenviable position of immediately declaring their interests as 100% contrary to yours as a customer.

This might be ok with something that you buy and forget about, like a car stereo. After all, how much of a "relationship" do you have with the guy who puts a radio and speakers in your truck? Not much, I'd guess.

But with a dive shop?

I don't see it that way.

Indeed, that should be a relationship. But that relationship starts with showing me that the knife has two edges and that there is a return on investment for me to pay those prices. It is FAR more than just offering product and collecting money.

I've yet to see the shop that TRULY provides the value-add that SHOULD come with a product being sold at nearly DOUBLE what I can buy it for elsewhere.

Can you make the value equation work as a shop?

Yes.

Have I seen a shop that does?

No.

Would I patronize one that does?

Yep.

The proof is THEIRS to produce, not mine to seek.

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 11:05 AM
Genesis once bubbled...
The typical LDS attitude seems to be...


Would you at least agree that "typical" as you describe it is, in reality, typical for you? Based on other responses in this thread, it would seem that some people have found that balance in their relationship with their LDS.

I don't doubt that you haven't found such an LDS, but I fail to see how we should generalize that experience into "typical".

yknot
December 30th, 2002, 11:06 AM
I hope more people patronize the online dealers so they can remain in business. I dive with some folks from a particular LDS that when we discuss shop prices vs online still seem to find ways to justify paying a 50% (or more) premium. We've all heard the logic: "They take back anything with a problem, no questions asked" or "I couldn't possibly buy item X or Y online". Most people, and unfortunatly this includes some scuba divers are essentially lazy and/or stupid. It takes effort to buy online: have to research multiple brands to determine what you want, have to research multiple internet sites to determine which online dealer to buy from, etc. My fear is that the stupid people who will blindly buy what LDS sells at whatever price will put online dealers out of business and I won't be able to purchase gear half off anymore.

TCDiver1
December 30th, 2002, 12:03 PM
This is not a defense of poor LDS business practices, lord knows i've had more than my share of difficulty with them but anyone who thinks they are better off as divers without a health LDS or two near them, are only fooling themselves IMO.

Who wants to drive 100 miles to fill their tank, get instruction or pick up that widget that your forgot you needed until the day your diving? Sure you can buy your own compressor but why would you if there was a more convenient option? Maybe your lucky enough to know a local instructor or two who can give you the ongoing training you desire. Maybe your McGiver and can make any dive widget you ever need on short notice, out of coat hangers and spare parts.

The LDS provides convenient access to diving. Something the online stores will never be able to provide. IMO, it is in your best interest to try to build a good relationship with your LDS. If you like convenience, it only makes sense. If the LDS owners are good business people they will work something out with you to get closer to online pricing. The LDS, in all likelyhood will never meet or beat online pricing because they tend to be lower volume, higher overhead businesses than the online stores.

If the LDS owners are poor business people, such as the store that started this thread, you may have no choice. The point is, it is in your best interest to try and build a relationship, it's worth it if you do. If you always take the hard line that as the customer, you are always right, the LDS must meet online pricing or they won't get my business, you will most likely never experience the convenience a LDS can provide. How do you put a price on convenience?

A little negotiation can provide a ton of convenience if done right.

Northeastwrecks
December 30th, 2002, 12:06 PM
Genesis once bubbled...
Indeed, that should be a relationship. But that relationship starts with showing me that the knife has two edges and that there is a return on investment for me to pay those prices. It is FAR more than just offering product and collecting money.

I've yet to see the shop that TRULY provides the value-add that SHOULD come with a product being sold at nearly DOUBLE what I can buy it for elsewhere.


Genesis, this is not an attempt to renew our prior disagreement. However, it seems to me that you have more issues with LDS' than others with whom I've spoken.

How have you looked for a new shop? Did you walk in, make your speech (reprinted in full earlier in the thread) and expect them to fall all over themselves looking for your business.

Essentially, I'm wondering whether you turn people off with an attitude.

In addition, how many shops have you visited?

YKNOT, while it may be true that the people you know are lazy or stupid (which is a topic for another day), it is inaccurate for you to suggest that this is the mainstream. You should, however, consider why these lazy or stupid people are your dive buddies (sounds dangerous to me).

I've made a conscious decision to buy from an LDS. Why, because I am willing to pay for excellent service and I get it.

Examples:

Before I got my blender card, I went in, told them what I needed and waited for it to be filled. Except for high O2 blends, I dont' get charged for the fill.

Since getting my card, I go in, hook up, do the fill and tell the owner what I've done.

The same goes for equipment that is in stock. Take it, write it down and settle out later. Oftentimes, the LDS throws in little items for free.

Many people complain about the prices that their LDS charges for service. What charges? If I buy it at the LDS, service (including parts) is included. Even better, I know that its being done right because they will let me watch and show me how to do it myself (I don't, but that's another issue).

Finally, there is the training. On major purchases, the LDS will provide training as part of the purchase. For example, buy your rig after taking OW and you will be credited the entire cost of the course. Buy a dry suit and you will receive a couple of pool (or ocean, depending on schedules) sessions in which you will be taught (by one of the pro staff) to use it. The same goes for BC's and other equipment.

It is probably true that I'm one of the shop's bigger customers and that I get some perks that other don't (the gas fills, fer sure). However, I challenge anyone to show me an online store that will show up late on a Saturday night to open the shop because you need a piece of equipment for a Sunday dive. Or that lets you use their repair station to service your gear. Or that will stand over you and walk you though whatever procedure you're learning. My LDS has dont that, and more.

There is no question that I pay more than I would if I go to LP or diversdiscount. However, the benefits are worth it because I'm willing to pay for spectacular service and individual attention.

OTOH, I've had miserable luck with online stores. In one memorable instance, it took diversdiscount three weeks to issue a refund on a tank that I had purchased. They didn't see any problem with the fact that the inside of the tank was rusted when it arrived. Having already paid for cross-country shipping in order to return it (which brought the price into the realm of an LDS), I told them to credit my card. Notwithstanding the fact that the tank had never been wet and that they have an unconditional return policy, it took three weeks and several increasingly nasty letters before they acted (they finally resolved it when I reported them to American Express).

The debate over LDS v. Online Store reminds me of the debate between people who shop at Cosco or Home Depot and people who shop at the corner store. You save money at the big stores, but you need to deal with crowds and useless staff who don't know what they are talking about (if you can find them). You pay more at the local shop, but the service is better.

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 12:27 PM
is the out-and-out vitriolic anger some of you feel toward the LDS.



I'm not in your store to make sure you exist tomorrow, because I don't need you. In fact, you need me and others like me...





...the stupid people who will blindly buy what LDS sells...


Seriously, if this is just a cut and dry economic argument in your mind and you can get a better price online, why do you care? Why the massive chip on your shoulders about the local LDS that, according to you, should be out of business next week anyway?

I really do understand the rational part of your arguments as re: price fixing etc. And there are LOTS of poorly run LDS' out there without a doubt...but a few bad apples...

ScubaDan
December 30th, 2002, 12:31 PM
Northeastwrecks once bubbled...



Examples:

The same goes for equipment that is in stock. Take it, write it down and settle out later. Oftentimes, the LDS throws in little items for free.

Many people complain about the prices that their LDS charges for service. What charges? If I buy it at the LDS, service (including parts) is included. Even better, I know that its being done right because they will let me watch and show me how to do it myself (I don't, but that's another issue).

Finally, there is the training. On major purchases, the LDS will provide training as part of the purchase. For example, buy your rig after taking OW and you will be credited the entire cost of the course. Buy a dry suit and you will receive a couple of pool (or ocean, depending on schedules) sessions in which you will be taught (by one of the pro staff) to use it. The same goes for BC's and other equipment.

It is probably true that I'm one of the shop's bigger customers and that I get some perks that other don't (the gas fills, fer sure). However, I challenge anyone to show me an online store that will show up late on a Saturday night to open the shop because you need a piece of equipment for a Sunday dive. Or that lets you use their repair station to service your gear. Or that will stand over you and walk you though whatever procedure you're learning. My LDS has dont that, and more.

There is no question that I pay more than I would if I go to LP or diversdiscount. However, the benefits are worth it because I'm willing to pay for spectacular service and individual attention.



I would buy more from LDS if we had a LDS that seems as good as yours. I have tried to get deals like you get, but it doesn't work. I haven't once had a bad experience with them but they will not budge on the prices or even give me a discount even though I have bought thousands of dollars from them. No free fills and I always get the "can't do more then 10% on that because of the agreements we have with the manufacture" or " that is already marked down all we can" but they offer nothing to compensate for that, if they did I would be willing to do more business with them. We have 5 LDS in our area and they all are the same, I would love to have a LDS as good as yours!!

Northeastwrecks
December 30th, 2002, 12:38 PM
We are indeed lucky and I know it.

I think that there are at least two reasons.

First, there are several low cost competitors in the area. They offer, IMHO, junk equipment and poor training. However, you can buy an OW course for $99.00. My LDS won't go that route, so we need to offer something better for the money.

Second, there is a very good tech shop 40 minutes south. That shop has everything a tekkie could want, including an He bank, excellent TDI instructors and a good relationship with a tech boat. Nothing like a little competition.

Regardless, the LDS has a good sense of value. The owner bends over backwards serving his customers.

Genesis
December 30th, 2002, 12:38 PM
is that in many cases there is no negotiation to be had.

I have yet to see the shop that gives you training commensurate with what you bought at no additional cost, where that is an ACTUAL AND REASONABLE mitigation of the purchases you have made.

I have seen plenty of hiding behind the "pricing policy" excuse, but no mitigation.

I think it is perfectly reasonable that if you buy an OW class and during or immediately after it buy a full kit from that dealer, that the OW class should be "free". That actually would make the deal "work" to some extent, for some combination of hardware, and would further make for a mutually-beneficial foundation for a relationship.

Shops that do such things are, from my experience, MYTHS.

There is exactly one "good deal" around here in the local dive shops. That is one shop that sells AL80s for $180 but includes 20 free air (or 10 free Nitrox) fills with it. If you were to buy those fills in the form of one or two air cards (the equivalent) the cost of that tank would be $90. That's a decent deal. I have four of their tanks, natch. In fact, its close enough to a "good deal" that you might be able to buy the tanks, turn around and sell them on eBAY for more than the imputed cost, and use the aircards with your other ones - reducing the price of the fills even more. I actually considered such a tactic, but the overhead was not (just marginally so) worth it.

The problem is that you can't make a loyal customer out of one good deal and 99 gouges in the shop.

There is, for example, the shop in the SE Florida area that sells air cards based on the ACTUAL cubic feet of gas purchased - and further, is about half the price of anything I've seen around here even if you have COMPLETELY empty tanks. Now that's service - and a FAIR price - for what you're buying. Pay for what you ACTUALLY buy. If I lived near them I'd certainly consider patronizing their store. Why? Honest dealing and a fair price, that's why. If that carries over to the rest of their philosophy and the way they run the rest of their shop, we'd get along great.

On the other hand there are shops (like most of them) that rent you a tank for their dive boat, insist on your return to the boat with at least 500 psi in it (or even, in one reported case here, threaten to fine you if you come back up with less than 500 psi in the tank), but charge you for every cubic foot in there - even though you're not allowed to use 1/6th of it! So now you're buying something that you are being explicitly told you can't use (or worse, fined if you DO use it.) Nice, eh?

Show me a DUI dealer, for example, that will eat a drysuit that THEY measured you for but doesn't fit right - and who will put that policy in writing before you place your order. You can't find one. Why? Because DUI's policy is that its not THEIR problem even if their agent does the measuring. And even on stock sizes, you will be hard-pressed to find a dealer with ANY stock. So what ARE you, exactly, paying for when you buy from that "authorized dealer"? NOTHING! They "special order" everything, and YOU eat the risk of mistakes. All of the normal, commercial trade-offs of a retail establishment - real local support, someone to stand behind the product, local stock, and responsibility for it being "right" when delivered - all go away - but the pricing difference DOES NOT! And dealers SIGN these agreements - which makes them complicit in this kind of "customer disservice."

The kind of attitude that the original poster ran into is all too prevalent. "Oh, you didn't buy that here - gee, you're such an evil person." You know what? Merchants with that attitude can bite me. I will give them one shot with "the talk" in an attempt to find SOME kind of meeting of the minds, but that's it. Many others will just walk out, shaking their heads, and never return. I, on the other hand, believe that people do have bad days, and that before you condemn someone for being an evil baztard that you ought to try to get confirmation that you heard them right and that they were not just having a bad morning - or talking out their tails.

I buy not only from the lowest price seller - I have, many times, paid more than the "rock bottom" for superior service and the package. But it is my place to assign value to those intangible items, and it is your place, as a seller, to make those intangibles "real" in the form of actual policies and actual benefits that I can count on being there, so that I can assign a real dollar value to them.

The "you better support your LDS or you won't be able to get fills, nanananana!" trumpeters have taken a different approach. Instead of showing me value, they show me a threat.

That's a really nice way to endear customers to your operation.

NOT!

FredT
December 30th, 2002, 01:10 PM
But I have to agree with much of what Genesis says with respect to the shops in his local area.

There are lots of shops to choose from there, and all make a VERY high percentage of their $s off of tourists. The drive time between shops is measured in single digit minutes, even at high season. The local and repeat semi-local divers that keep the boats running in the winter are often very poorly treated at high season, then they want you back when the touristas go back north after Labor Day.

I had one shop in the Destin area we dove out of regularly for over a decade. The shop sold, and the first trip out under new management the new owners lost our business. There is one well-known shop in Panama City Beach I WILL NOT patronize, even if it means staying dry after a 4.5 hour drive over there. I will "put up" with a lot from a shop, but being lied to is not among the acceptable items.

I won't walk into a shop with a chip on my shoulder, but my business is theirs to loose. Treat me fairly, give accurate information on local conditions when I call, deliver what you promise, and keep your DMs grubby fingers off my gear and we'll be back and bring buddies. Lie to me, cut a trip short because the shop employees are playing grab ass instead of dealing with business, or give me a line of BS excuses I KNOW is wrong from the get go but may fool a newbie and not only will you loose my business, but my buddies, and THEIR buddies will hear about it in a hurry.

Price of goods and services is important, but integrity means much more to me.

IF the boat's broke, I expect them to tell me it's broke when I call and that it _might_ be back up when I get there. Knowing how boats work I may take the chance to drive over and I may not, but if I find the boat broke when I get there and find out it was broke when I called and they didn't tell me I'll assure you I will NOT be driving back. Neither will anyone else I dive with, and most of their friends.

FT

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 01:11 PM
Genesis once bubbled...
The "you better support your LDS or you won't be able to get fills, nanananana!" trumpeters have taken a different approach. Instead of showing me value, they show me a threat.

That's a really nice way to endear customers to your operation.

NOT!

I don't hear anyone threatening. If buying online suits you better, so be it. God bless you and be happy. All I am saying is that your experience at the LDS is not universal.

Who in this thread is "trumpeting" (read threatening) about supporting your LDS or you won't get fills? If buying online suits you so well, then why the constant crusade against the LDS? Why aren't you content to let the rest of us live out our days in our obvious oblivion to the "reality" of the situation knowing that your smarter than the rest of us?

Again, perhaps your "typical" and your "reality" is exactly that..."yours". Can you not even agree with that?

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 01:18 PM
FredT once bubbled...(coloring is mine)

But I have to agree with much of what Genesis says with respect to the shops in his local area.


That all is not right in the state of Florida I am more than willing to believe...

Let's just not generalize that experience to the point that there are NO good LDSs.

Genesis
December 30th, 2002, 01:36 PM
NO good dive shops.

I'm saying that they are relatively rare in the marketplace, and that diver's willingness to put up with the garbage in many cases either contributes to or even causes the problem.

Northeastwrecks
December 30th, 2002, 02:20 PM
Genesis once bubbled...
NO good dive shops.

I'm saying that they are relatively rare in the marketplace, and that diver's willingness to put up with the garbage in many cases either contributes to or even causes the problem.

But that's not unusual in any industry. There are the average schleps, then there are the few who really stand out.

You get what you pay for. I pay more at my LDS because I get more from my LDS. The intangibles are worth it.

There will always be LDS' so long as there are some out there who want to provide good value for the money. You just can't get good personal service online (or at least I haven't seen it yet).

I disagree that LDS' that offer free classes if you purchase rigs are a MYTH. Its in writing on the class pamphlets. At the beginning of every class, the owner says "We're going to try to sell you gear. If you buy it, this class is free." I received the dry suit orientation course when I bought my suit.

yknot
December 30th, 2002, 02:55 PM
In respects to LDS's in Florida, why do you think the service and prices are so poor? I would think that with so much competition someone would have emerged as a local standout. What this should show is that what we have been led to believe with basic economics- supply and demand, excellent customer service overcoming poor prices, etc. doesn't apply to scuba vendors in some markets. Incidently, I hope that everyone who is so strongly in favor of supporting their LDS own only a US manufactured auto. The same blind allegience to the "only game in town" mentality led to the domestic manufacturer's current state of affairs. Look at what some honest competition has done for domestic quality. Should different rules apply to scuba gear? What really upsets so many of us in regards to our LDS's is that they hold us in such low regard as consumers. I wouldn't be in business without WORLD CLASS customer service and it frustrates me to no end that on top of high prices I can't get anything except poor service from my LDS choices. And to add insult to injury some people on this board can only resort to the same tired excuses and justifications such as no more air fills, etc.

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 03:42 PM
yknot once bubbled...
What really upsets so many of us in regards to our LDS's is that they hold us in such low regard as consumers. I wouldn't be in business without WORLD CLASS customer service and it frustrates me to no end that on top of high prices I can't get anything except poor service from my LDS choices. And to add insult to injury some people on this board can only resort to the same tired excuses and justifications such as no more air fills, etc.

Am I the only one seeing the irony here?

You don't like the LDS, you don't need the LDS, those of us who purchase from the LDS are doing so because of the "same tired excuses and justifications"...

and yet...

"What really upsets so many of us" and "frustrates me to no end", etc.

If purchasing online is so great, why harangue the LDSs and those who patronize them?

And yes, thank you, I have always bought and drove American.

Northeastwrecks
December 30th, 2002, 03:42 PM
yknot once bubbled...
In respects to LDS's in Florida, why do you think the service and prices are so poor? I would think that with so much competition someone would have emerged as a local standout. What this should show is that what we have been led to believe with basic economics- supply and demand, excellent customer service overcoming poor prices, etc. doesn't apply to scuba vendors in some markets. Incidently, I hope that everyone who is so strongly in favor of supporting their LDS own only a US manufactured auto. The same blind allegience to the "only game in town" mentality led to the domestic manufacturer's current state of affairs. Look at what some honest competition has done for domestic quality. Should different rules apply to scuba gear? What really upsets so many of us in regards to our LDS's is that they hold us in such low regard as consumers. I wouldn't be in business without WORLD CLASS customer service and it frustrates me to no end that on top of high prices I can't get anything except poor service from my LDS choices. And to add insult to injury some people on this board can only resort to the same tired excuses and justifications such as no more air fills, etc.

Who has mentioned blind allegience to an LDS? I prefer the service levels I receive. Sorry to burst your bubble, but cost is not the only issue here.

I've come to the conclusion that the people with the most problems with their LDS may be involved in a self-fulfilling prophecy. You go in expecting a problem and, not surprisingly, you reap what you sow.

Incidentally, I do drive an American car. 2003 Mercury Marauder. Size for size, it'll smoke anything from Europe or Japan that even approaches it in terms of cost. Sometimes looking at the local guy pays off.

TCDiver1
December 30th, 2002, 04:05 PM
yknot once bubbled...
Incidently, I hope that everyone who is so strongly in favor of supporting their LDS own only a US manufactured auto. The same blind allegience to the "only game in town" mentality led to the domestic manufacturer's current state of affairs. Uh, where ya been yknot, that was 20, 30 years ago and yes it was a good thing. I'm trying to figure out how this compares to the LDS vs online store debate. Anyone else confused? Must be my tired old mind, making tired excuses for not understanding what your point is.

Here's a point, and again it's no excuse for LDS's with bad business practices, without the LDS, the online stores would not even exist today. What do you think would happen to the online stores without the LDS to certify the students who buy their products?

Ps: 2002 Yukon, not that it makes any difference in todays global economy.

Scuba
December 30th, 2002, 04:15 PM
Just to clarify an earlier point.


King Kong Matt once bubbled...

As to whether "smart" business people treat (or should treat) all customers equally, I will respectfully disagree...I think thats the way it should be in theory, but as a shop owner, I am always going to commit more resources to the people who commit to me.


I fully agree with your point, there is no disagreement. I don't believe anything I said earlier contradicts it. Also agree about challenging, difficult customers. Thats a topic in and of itself.

I think we have this LDS discussion pretty well covered, here and in other threads. A point that keeps coming up though.

"I get 'this' free from my LDS."

Unless you walk in for the first time, and without buying anything, your LDS gives you free stuff or provides a free service in the hopes of enticing you back, (It is the duty of the business to attract and keep customers) whatever freebies you get are probably bought and paid for - bundling. This has also been covered in depth before. Whether the higher price you pay, as opposed to what you can pay somewhere else, is sufficiently compensated for by the freebies, services, and general possible conviniences associated with a local shop, is an individual determination, just as the opposite is also true.

There is a niche for those who provide value price and value service - with honesty, integrity, and tact. I think this thread is about lack of tact in customer service, something that is not the sole domain of LDS's. But it is quite prevalent in many businesses established by people who lack business training, as has been mentioned before. When the competition heats up, you need every bit of business sense you can get, and this thread illustrates that there is a number of businesses making some wrong decisions in their struggle to survive.

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 04:33 PM
Scuba once bubbled...
Unless you walk in for the first time, and without buying anything, your LDS gives you free stuff or provides a free service in the hopes of enticing you back, (It is the duty of the business to attract and keep customers) whatever freebies you get are probably bought and paid for - bundling.


Agree...and I think the reason people feel differently about this ultimately comes down to a difference in personalities.

It would appear that some people in this thread walk in to a store wth a massive chip on their shoulder just looking for a reason to walk out angry and hurt.

Every relationship is give and take and every relationship involves compromise. With my LDS, I trusted the guys I was talking to...they had come with good recommendations from my buddies. I browsed the store a number of time without buying while they answered all my questions without ever getting pressure to buy.

Now, after having spent some money there, we have an implicit understanding between responsible business and loyal customer. I buy a drysuit and say "you guys will throw in the drysuit cert. into this price won't you?" and they say "of course...whaddidya think?"

Did I have to make the first move? Yes. Is that the way it should be...I don't know. Obviously, in the minds of some of the people who have posted to this thread, I, and customers like me are part of the problem in perpetuating poor LDS service. So be it. I try to be a good customer and a good business parter and if that means that I have to be the one to take the first step partially on the basis of good faith and little more...again, so be it.

This is just my personality. I don't yell at the people at the airline ticketing desk about the flight being late when there is nothing they can do about the weather. But, I know people who do and I don't doubt for a second that some people who have posted to this thread would accuse the airlines of terrible service in such circumstances.

Life is too short for me to get involved in that kind of silliness. I'd rather go dive.

yknot
December 30th, 2002, 04:43 PM
Its all relevant in today's market. My point is that some domestic industries have survived intense competition by providing customer service and value. Quality must always be measured against price. My frustration is that while I would much prefere to spend my money locally, the local choices are so expensive and unwilling to deal with price that I can't justify spending the extra. I would like the kind of shop available to me that some posters have.

Genesis
December 30th, 2002, 04:44 PM
This is just my personality. I don't yell at the people at the airline ticketing desk about the flight being late when there is nothing they can do about the weather. But, I know people who do and I don't doubt for a second that some people who have posted to this thread would accuse the airlines of terrible service in such circumstances.


Airlines are legendary for lying to their customers about the cause of delays.

They do it out of the profit motive - a little-known fact (which is going away as the paper ticket disappears) is that you can endorse a ticket over to ANY airline, and if it is on the same route, they can recover from the issuer the face value!

So, here you are in Chicago, with a flight due to leave for LA. Its on United. They KNOW they have a mechanical problem with the plane and it will be an hour late leaving - if it leaves at all.

Two concourses over, American has a flight going to LA 30 minutes later.

Now, as the United Gate agent, do you tell the truth, and have me, as the customer, turn around and walk down the two concourses, fly standby on the American plane - and have your company EAT the price of my ticket? Remember, that really didn't cost your company anything (you didn't take me anywhere if that happens), but you WILL have to fork up the money to American.

Or you can lie. You can tell me the plane is boarding "in 15 minutes", and that they are just about done solving the problem.

If you do that, and I buy it, I sit there and wait. The American flight departs. You now have my stuck in a box, and even if the plane NEVER leaves the ground, you have my money.

So sorry, so sad, so nice.

Think this doesn't happen DAILY? It certainly does! In fact, its part and parcel of these "agents" TRAINING to lie to their customers in such a situation.

You want to see me get mad at an airline counter? Lie to me about the status of the flight and by doing so keep me from getting where I need to go, and you will make an enemy out of me.

The Federal Government recently started threatening to FINE carriers over these practices. Their "solution"? Getting rid of paper tickets so that you no longer have anything to endorse over! So, in response to the government stepping in AS IT SHOULD and keeping people from LYING for financial gain, the companies again, instead of responding to the problem, eliminate their cause of concern.

Oh yeah, now you'll get the truth about the delay once the paper tickets have gone the way of the dinosaur. You just won't be able to do a damn thing about it.

dmdalton
December 30th, 2002, 04:45 PM
yknot once bubbled...
In respects to LDS's in Florida, why do you think the service and prices are so poor?......... What this should show is that what we have been led to believe with basic economics- supply and demand, excellent customer service overcoming poor prices, etc. doesn't apply to scuba vendors in some markets.

Dalton's Law of Stupid Supply (DLSS) - "There is no end to the supply of stupid people willing to stand in line to do something for an ever decreasing dollar amount if a) they think it is fun; or b) it strokes their ego."

Dave D.

Northeastwrecks
December 30th, 2002, 04:56 PM
Genesis once bubbled...


Airlines are legendary for lying to their customers about the cause of delays.

They do it out of the profit motive - a little-known fact (which is going away as the paper ticket disappears) is that you can endorse a ticket over to ANY airline, and if it is on the same route, they can recover from the issuer the face value!

So, here you are in Chicago, with a flight due to leave for LA. Its on United. They KNOW they have a mechanical problem with the plane and it will be an hour late leaving - if it leaves at all.

Two concourses over, American has a flight going to LA 30 minutes later.

Now, as the United Gate agent, do you tell the truth, and have me, as the customer, turn around and walk down the two concourses, fly standby on the American plane - and have your company EAT the price of my ticket? Remember, that really didn't cost your company anything (you didn't take me anywhere if that happens), but you WILL have to fork up the money to American.

Or you can lie. You can tell me the plane is boarding "in 15 minutes", and that they are just about done solving the problem.

If you do that, and I buy it, I sit there and wait. The American flight departs. You now have my stuck in a box, and even if the plane NEVER leaves the ground, you have my money.

So sorry, so sad, so nice.

Think this doesn't happen DAILY? It certainly does! In fact, its part and parcel of these "agents" TRAINING to lie to their customers in such a situation.

You want to see me get mad at an airline counter? Lie to me about the status of the flight and by doing so keep me from getting where I need to go, and you will make an enemy out of me.

The Federal Government recently started threatening to FINE carriers over these practices. Their "solution"? Getting rid of paper tickets so that you no longer have anything to endorse over! So, in response to the government stepping in AS IT SHOULD and keeping people from LYING for financial gain, the companies again, instead of responding to the problem, eliminate their cause of concern.

Oh yeah, now you'll get the truth about the delay once the paper tickets have gone the way of the dinosaur. You just won't be able to do a damn thing about it.

Chill out, Karl. Better watch it our you'll end up in some kill file Dungeon.

How much blood pressure meds do you take, anyway? (Don't prompt me to research it, you might not like the results).

jbm
December 30th, 2002, 05:10 PM
Wow....you have many "issues"

Were you beat up a lot as a kid??

yknot
December 30th, 2002, 05:13 PM
What are your LDS's doing to fend off internet competition? Anybody here ever try on a pair of shoes at one shoe store and then buy them somewhere else? Ever look at new cars without buying one? Every time someone suggests looking at gear at your LDS and buying online for less they get slammed as if this is unethical, immoral, whatever. Why is an LDS's time more valuable than a shoe salesman's? And for whoever was wondering about who will train people if all LDS's are gone: at one time I though YMCA did alot of training. Anybody here buy their gear at the Y?

Genesis
December 30th, 2002, 05:14 PM
the funny thing about the "Y" training is that it wasn't a "C-card mill" like some of the so-called "professional" orgs are.

Funny, that.

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 05:18 PM
Genesis once bubbled...

You want to see me get mad at an airline counter? Lie to me about the status of the flight and by doing so keep me from getting where I need to go, and you will make an enemy out of me.



The mention of airlines was merely an analogy to demonstrate that you and I probably have different ways of dealing with "customer service" issues.

Your response is fairly clear and while I respect your right as a paying customer to deal with a business' obligations to you in any manner you see fit, I would do things a bit differently...not better, not worse, just differently.

My point in the previous thread is that, in my humble opinion, our difference in attitudes is as much responsible for our differce in experiences at the local LDS as anything else.

Northeastwrecks
December 30th, 2002, 05:20 PM
yknot once bubbled...
What are your LDS's doing to fend off internet competition? Anybody here ever try on a pair of shoes at one shoe store and then buy them somewhere else? Ever look at new cars without buying one? Every time someone suggests looking at gear at your LDS and buying online for less they get slammed as if this is unethical, immoral, whatever. Why is an LDS's time more valuable than a shoe salesman's? And for whoever was wondering about who will train people if all LDS's are gone: at one time I though YMCA did alot of training. Anybody here buy their gear at the Y?

Real Simple. Great Service, nice people, equipment assembled to my specifications by people I trust. Add in a pleasant atmosphere, great return policy (those rare times that it has been needed) and a great group of dive buddies. Finally, access at all hours and free delivery to my house by the owner if it comes to that.

And to answer your question. No. If I ask to try something on or to test drive a vehicle, it is because I'm interested in buying from the person or store.

jbm
December 30th, 2002, 05:23 PM
King Kong Matt once bubbled...



My point in the previous thread is that, in my humble opinion, our difference in attitudes is as much responsible for our differce in experiences at the local LDS as anything else.

TCDiver1
December 30th, 2002, 05:29 PM
Northeastwrecks once bubbled...


Real Simple. Great Service, nice people, assembled to my specifications by people I trust. Add in a pleasant atmosphere, great return policy (those rare times that it has been needed) and a great group of dive buddies. Finally, access at all hours and free delivery to my house by the owner if it comes to that.

And to answer your question. No. If I ask to try something on or to test drive a vehicle, it is because I'm interested in buying from the person or store. One thing to add that my LDS does for most long term customers .... after hours air fills .... 90% of the time he will drop what he is doing and come to the store to fill your tanks if asked.

Give it up NE, to some people, value is only the cheapest price. They're just jealous they don't have the people skills or the LDS to develop good relations with. Too bad really.

King Kong Matt
December 30th, 2002, 05:33 PM
yknot once bubbled...
What are your LDS's doing to fend off internet competition?

My dive shop has a weekly dive program...sort of like a built-in club.

Every week of the year (and again we are in Boston, MA) they go out diving. Some weeks its on a shore dive, sometimes they rent one of the many boats in the area.

Basically, they are really doing a good job of trying to make sure they build a cohesive community around the shop. It works out great. My buddy cancels? I can always go out with the shop and I can always be confident that I will be under the supervision of someone more experienced than I am.

It gives a whole new meaning to the words "continuing education". After I got certified, I basically continued to dive with the shop (and the same instructors who certified me) for the next couple of months. Was my Open Water certification more expensive than those at some other shops? Yes, but again, I felt that at the end of the "basic open water" phase of my education, because of this program, I had something like 20-25 dives under instructor supervision. So was the increased cost of certification worth it? In the big picture yes.

FredT
December 30th, 2002, 06:03 PM
yknot once bubbled...
In respects to LDS's in Florida, why do you think the service and prices are so poor? I would think that with so much competition someone would have emerged as a local standout.

FL is primarily a tourist diving state, as a result a good chunk of the change the LDS there sees is coming from "out of town" folks.

The LDS when I started diving (there were only 2 in the state of OK then) worked on standard "western rules". These are described below.

The incidence of a$$holes in businesness seems to decrease as one departs the heavily populated areas, across all business lines. Part of this is that any one business , in say Carter County Montana, has exactly ONE bad deal in it's life cycle. If ONE customer departs the store feeling screwed the word gets out over the next hour or two to the rest of the 2 or 3 thousand people in the county (it's a pretty spread out county). That one bad deal is going to be the business' last deal in the county! The reputation for fair dealing is all the business has to build on. Once that is lost there is generally no recovery, unless the screwed customer can somehow be mollifed well enough to spread the NEW information.

In a larger town that cycle can take several bad deals to develop and in a city the terminal point of no customers walking in at all can take decades.

In a tourist area the business gets new pigeons in every day, many of whom will not return anyway. Maximizing the $s removed from every tourist's wallet each visit is the name of the game. The honest shop will remain and prosper for decades. Even the goniffs can make a good living for several years, then they'll sell out to a REAL pigeon after the reputation of the business is destroyed.


BTW I used Carter County, Montana as an example simply because my mom's folks live there and in Fallon County just north of it. I was once recoginzed as "Betty May's boy" in the hardware store in Ekalaka after not visiting the area for over 10 years, and I'd aged from 10 to 21 during those years. Good memories and grudges both live a long time in little isolated towns. If looking for Ekalaka first find Baker (even the "big city" of Baker is not on many maps), then go south a while. Access to the area from the south is still pretty much non-existant.

FT

o2scuba
December 31st, 2002, 12:48 AM
Genesis said
"Airlines are legendary for lying to their customers about the cause of delays.

They do it out of the profit motive - a little-known fact (which is going away as the paper ticket disappears) is that you can endorse a ticket over to ANY airline, and if it is on the same route, they can recover from the issuer the face value!

So, here you are in Chicago, with a flight due to leave for LA. Its on United. They KNOW they have a mechanical problem with the plane and it will be an hour late leaving - if it leaves at all.

Two concourses over, American has a flight going to LA 30 minutes later.

Now, as the United Gate agent, do you tell the truth, and have me, as the customer, turn around and walk down the two concourses, fly standby on the American plane - and have your company EAT the price of my ticket? Remember, that really didn't cost your company anything (you didn't take me anywhere if that happens), but you WILL have to fork up the money to American.

Or you can lie. You can tell me the plane is boarding "in 15 minutes", and that they are just about done solving the problem.

If you do that, and I buy it, I sit there and wait. The American flight departs. You now have my stuck in a box, and even if the plane NEVER leaves the ground, you have my money."







I thought we were talking about diving here???

I've heard that it can be dangerous to argue with airline personell within 24 hours of diving.

As one who flies stand-by quite a bit, I think I'd rather be with United in this case. At least you WILL be on the next one. Rather than "endorsing" your ticket to another company who may just keep you in stand-by for a couple of days. (much too long to go without your medicine)Stand by these days s*cks. People flying on later flights are allowed to stand by for earlier ones, not to mention the overbookings and upgrade allowances. Many are selling 1st class upgrades for dirt, just 45 minutes before the flight. End result, I end up in coach
;-0

Hey man, really tho. What may help the stress, I suggest a lovely herbal enema. Somehow I bet YOUR LDS would be willing to help you with that:eek:

Finally something for free!


Sorry everyone, I couldn't resist

Genesis
December 31st, 2002, 01:10 AM
talking about poor customer service - lying to customers, misleading customers, generally treating people with money in their hand like they OWE YOU something (rather than that you ought to be SERVING them in exchange for that money)

The airlines could write the book on how NOT to engender customer loyalty.

ElectricZombie
December 31st, 2002, 01:43 AM
Genesis once bubbled...
I had a so-called "vendor" try that kind of bullying tactic on me - exactly once.

I have a photocopy of a six-figure check, which I deposited and cashed, for my trouble.




I wouldn't mind hearing the story behind this if you don't mind sharing.

I've had some of the same problems you described with the LDS and can relate to the whole situation...alot of "Oh, where did you get that?" questions. Pisses me off, none of their business.

neil
December 31st, 2002, 06:17 AM
Genesis once bubbled...
i
Show me a DUI dealer, for example, that will eat a drysuit that THEY measured you for but doesn't fit right - and who will put that policy in [b]writing before you place your order. You can't find one. Why? Because DUI's policy is that its not THEIR problem even if their agent does the measuring.


I was fitted at DEMA for a drysuit. It fit like crap. I called DUI and they said have your rep look at it. I said, "how about I drive to your factory and have YOU look at it?" They said ok. The head of design saw me in it, said, and I quote, "that doesn't fit you, let us have it back". A couple of weeks later I had a proper fitting suit. Your turn.

Phil TK
December 31st, 2002, 07:13 AM
Genesis once bubbled...


The airlines could write the book on how NOT to engender customer loyalty.

That book would have a large chapter on Garuda Indonesia Airlines I reckon.
Years ago I flew them from London Heathrow to Jakarta. I arrived at London and they calmly announced a 9 hour delay! -'a crew member stuck in traffic in Bombay' FFS! but imagine how much better I felt when by way of compensation they gave me a coupon for 1 cup of coffee (instant) and a croissant of my choice.
Fortunately Heathrow has a good real ale bar so I compensated myself in there instead (hic). I tried very very hard to throw up on their aircraft when it did arrive, but just got bad heartburn trying.

:D
Don't use that airline

Phil TK

Northeastwrecks
December 31st, 2002, 08:42 AM
neil once bubbled...


I was fitted at DEMA for a drysuit. It fit like crap. I called DUI and they said have your rep look at it. I said, "how about I drive to your factory and have YOU look at it?" They said ok. The head of design saw me in it, said, and I quote, "that doesn't fit you, let us have it back". A couple of weeks later I had a proper fitting suit. Your turn.

Stop interrupting Krazy Karl the Konsumer Krusader with facts. You'll give him a headache.

Let me guess. You were polite and assertive. You didn't give them a canned rant that put them in a mood to call the local mental hospital. They responded with good results.

Go figure.

chickdiver
December 31st, 2002, 09:18 AM
Imagine, acting like a rational personn gets results! I have a friend who bought a custom CLX about 2 years ago. It fit horribly, we called him "tutu butt" because the guy us really built, with broad shoulders and a small waist. We called DUI and sent them photos of the guy in the suit. They said, "send it back, we'll fix it". We did, andthey did - no charge, obviously.

Get real Krazy Karl.....

detroit diver
December 31st, 2002, 10:44 AM
King Kong Matt once bubbled...


........
Some of the posters to this thread are almost savage in their approach to the LDS..."I owe you nothing, you owe me everything and s*rew you if you don't like it...you'll die at the hands of the online dive shop". That very well might be true, but if the real attitude of these people as they walk in to a shop reflects even 1/10 of that sentiment, is it any real shocker that they get less than optimal service?


BINGO!

Lawman
December 31st, 2002, 11:07 AM
button is great! My mornings already
off to a good start!:D

Genesis
December 31st, 2002, 11:15 AM
all I can tell 'ya is that the shops that I talked to about the DUI suits quoted me their policy, and said it was in their dealer agreement that they cannot help me - once they order the suit, its the customer's problem.

If the company goes beyond their agreement, heh, that's nice. What would be even better is if they were to write their agreements so that you were comfortable that it wasn't going to be an issue in the first place.

detroit diver
December 31st, 2002, 11:16 AM
Genesis once bubbled...


Airlines are legendary for lying to their customers about the cause of delays.

They do it out of the profit motive - a little-known fact (which is going away as the paper ticket disappears) is that you can endorse a ticket over to ANY airline, and if it is on the same route, they can recover from the issuer the face value!

So, here you are in Chicago, with a flight due to leave for LA. Its on United. They KNOW they have a mechanical problem with the plane and it will be an hour late leaving - if it leaves at all.

Two concourses over, American has a flight going to LA 30 minutes later.

Now, as the United Gate agent, do you tell the truth, and have me, as the customer, turn around and walk down the two concourses, fly standby on the American plane - and have your company EAT the price of my ticket? Remember, that really didn't cost your company anything (you didn't take me anywhere if that happens), but you WILL have to fork up the money to American.

Or you can lie. You can tell me the plane is boarding "in 15 minutes", and that they are just about done solving the problem.

If you do that, and I buy it, I sit there and wait. The American flight departs. You now have my stuck in a box, and even if the plane NEVER leaves the ground, you have my money.

So sorry, so sad, so nice.

Think this doesn't happen DAILY? It certainly does! In fact, its part and parcel of these "agents" TRAINING to lie to their customers in such a situation.

You want to see me get mad at an airline counter? Lie to me about the status of the flight and by doing so keep me from getting where I need to go, and you will make an enemy out of me.

The Federal Government recently started threatening to FINE carriers over these practices. Their "solution"? Getting rid of paper tickets so that you no longer have anything to endorse over! So, in response to the government stepping in AS IT SHOULD and keeping people from LYING for financial gain, the companies again, instead of responding to the problem, eliminate their cause of concern.

Oh yeah, now you'll get the truth about the delay once the paper tickets have gone the way of the dinosaur. You just won't be able to do a damn thing about it.

This E-ticket rant is just fantasy on your part. Why did the airlines go e-ticket-because it saves them millions in costs and handling fees. And yes, you can transfer e-tickets from one airline to another. It's in a testing phase now and most airlines will have the capability within the next month or two.

The conspiracy is in your mind.

Lawman
December 31st, 2002, 11:23 AM
One is PADI and one is SSI. Both owners are
friends and both have trained me. I do pay
a little more to buy from them...however I
get three things in return.

1] I get to look at the product before
I buy it. I also get help in comparing
it to other products by the person who
knows my diving abilities better than
anyone else.

2] I help keep a business going that I want
to succeed. I don't want to have to drive
75 miles to another store.

3] They do business with me. I do divorces for
their employees, help with business organi
zation, and do estate planning for them. I
became "their lawyer."

It creates a nice symbiotic relationship.:D

detroit diver
December 31st, 2002, 11:27 AM
But even without the last reason (which most people can't relate to), the first two are reason enough to patronize the shops.



Lawman once bubbled...
One is PADI and one is SSI. Both owners are
friends and both have trained me. I do pay
a little more to buy from them...however I
get three things in return.

1] I get to look at the product before
I buy it. I also get help in comparing
it to other products by the person who
knows my diving abilities better than
anyone else.

2] I help keep a business going that I want
to succeed. I don't want to have to drive
75 miles to another store.

3] They do business with me. I do divorces for
their employees, help with business organi
zation, and do estate planning for them. I
became "their lawyer."

It creates a nice symbiotic relationship.:D

o2scuba
December 31st, 2002, 11:36 AM
3] They do business with me. I do divorces for
their employees, help with business organi
zation, and do estate planning for them. I
became "their lawyer."

That is so ironic. I am curious about these divorces. The owner of my LDC has broken up three relationships (that I am aware of)
Usually couples who reach the dm or instructor level. Not sure what these women see in him, he's kind of a nerd. LOL

I was actually just in the middle of writing a thread about that LDC. I'll be posting it in "general" later.

Lawman
December 31st, 2002, 11:41 AM
to many businesses...mine just happens to
be law. Insurance, gas station, hardware
store....people tend to do business with the
people that do business with them. It's
just networking.:)

TCDiver1
December 31st, 2002, 11:48 AM
Lawman once bubbled...
to many businesses...mine just happens to
be law. Insurance, gas station, hardware
store....people tend to do business with the
people that do business with them. It's
just networking.:) It's the old way and i miss it. Handshake business rarely works anymore, so you gotta jump on it when it does.

Buy the way Lawman, i believe nitpicking, paraphrasing attorney's are largely to blame for the loss of the handshake business deal. Thanks a lot man!

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
........ you deserved that after the shot you took at engineers yesterday!:out:

Happy New Year!

Tim Cavender
December 31st, 2002, 11:53 AM
I just hope there aren't OW instructors that exploit naive students by impugning dive equipment purchased elsewhere, while puffing only their own line of equipment during class lecture time. I've heard that at least one instructor in California demanded, during lecture time, that the students buy from his LDS or he would be "very hurt and upset". IMHO if the instructors are teaching just to sell their own LDS equipment, the class really ought to be be heavily discounted with a consumer alert about their marketing practices.:bonk:

o2scuba
December 31st, 2002, 11:54 AM
Hey all,

Ive got a humdinger of a story for ya. It is related to this thread, but more about what happens at the pro level (between LDCs and new pros).

I had just about finished typing it, then WHAM-got booted, lost my info;-0

Anyway I'm off to NYC now for NYE, Got phish tickets for the Garden tonite:)

It should be worth the five hour drive through freezing rain.

Anyway no time to retype, so i'll leave you in suspense for another day or two.

Andrew

Happy New Year!

Northeastwrecks
December 31st, 2002, 12:01 PM
Lawman once bubbled...
One is PADI and one is SSI. Both owners are
friends and both have trained me. I do pay
a little more to buy from them...however I
get three things in return.

1] I get to look at the product before
I buy it. I also get help in comparing
it to other products by the person who
knows my diving abilities better than
anyone else.

2] I help keep a business going that I want
to succeed. I don't want to have to drive
75 miles to another store.

3] They do business with me. I do divorces for
their employees, help with business organi
zation, and do estate planning for them. I
became "their lawyer."

It creates a nice symbiotic relationship.:D

You nailed it. Especially your first point.

Wreck/Tec
December 31st, 2002, 01:08 PM
dmdalton
That was quite accurate. Few buisnesses are treating the customerin this fashion. I'm not necessarily a business guru, however I won't stand for being badgered and or berated as some shops do. I realize everyone needs to make money, and I don't have a problem with that to a reasonable point. Just as one person wants to make money another wants to save some, that's what this country is all about. What we see in a lot of dive shops is nothing more than price fixing. In many other buisnesses this would be illegal. I don't have the luxury of buying a compressor but I will shop for air as I buy alot of it. In any other thing you always get a better deal buying bulk, rarely do I here. How sad. In the ever changing business climate where stores are bending over to get your business alot of, not all, dive shops are arrogant, some use misleading, and or, inaccurate information to promote the bottom line. I think it's wrong, un-necessary, un professional, and in some instances, unethical .

Lawman
December 31st, 2002, 02:10 PM
gedunk once bubbled...
It's the old way and i miss it. Handshake business rarely works anymore, so you gotta jump on it when it does.

Buy the way Lawman, i believe nitpicking, paraphrasing attorney's are largely to blame for the loss of the handshake business deal. Thanks a lot man!

Well someones got to read those contracts
you guys are always trying to get out of!!
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
........ you deserved that after the shot you took at engineers yesterday!:out:

Happy New Year! :)

Lawman
December 31st, 2002, 02:14 PM
screwed up my reply. I merely wanted
to point out that SOMEONE has to
read the paperwork that engineers
refuse to read. If we didn't do that
how would we get you one of those
bad deals you're always getting into?:D

metridium
December 31st, 2002, 02:42 PM
chickdiver wrote...
Imagine, acting like a rational personn gets results! I have a friend who bought a custom CLX about 2 years ago. It fit horribly, we called him "tutu butt" because the guy us really built, with broad shoulders and a small waist. We called DUI and sent them photos of the guy in the suit. They said, "send it back, we'll fix it". We did, andthey did - no charge, obviously.

Get real Krazy Karl..... In fairness to Genesis, it is DUI's stated policy that they're not responsible for misfitted custom suits. If the fit is incorrect, the onus to fix the problem is on the dealer who made the measurements. Unless you have a written contract with the dealer to cover such things, you're at the LDS's mercy if there's a problem. None of the ones I contacted offered a written guarantee.

Sure, some shops can be counted on to live up to their oral contracts, despite the cost. I've had contact with some LDSs who were IMHO unethical, or even criminal, and I would have zero faith they'd stand by their word. There are even some good LDSs I wouldn't trust in this case....not because of ill-intent, but because of sheer forgetfulness.

metridium
December 31st, 2002, 03:14 PM
northeastwrecks and chickdiver, among others, you're very fortunate to have the LDSs you do. If I had options like that, I'd probably feel the same way. But I don't. By necessity, I'm pretty much a free agent.

My gear selection has been pretty much a la carte as I've slowly made my way from strictly vacation diving toward the technical side. Until very recently, it was impossible to get the gear I wanted within hundreds of miles, so internet or mailorder was my only option for several key items.

In other cases, the limited selection of gear at the LDSs was a serious impediment, and the exorbitant prices they wanted was the final deal killer. I honestly don't think there's anything the LDS could legitimately do for me that would justify paying an extra $500-$700 for a drysuit.

I've shopped around at dozens of LDSs, found a couple of good ones, some adequate ones, and a handful that were actively malignant. I don't mean that they were hostile, but that they were along the lines of a cancer in the industry.

I've made an effort to do business with the good shops where it's feasible because I want to see them survive and thrive, but even then I've had bad results on occasion.

So if any LDS took exception to my other-sourced gear, I'd politely explain why if so inclined. I might point out some of Genesis' less abrasive points if they pressed the issue.

Given my experiences, I can understand some of Genesis' frustration, even if I don't agree with his approach.

King Kong Matt
December 31st, 2002, 03:25 PM
I don't think anyone disagrees that there are bad LDSs everywhere...and lots of them. And most reasonable people agree that among the bunch of rotten apples, there are some good LDSs as well.

What goads me is the duplicity of the religious zealots who go on and on about price fixing, accuse me as an LDS proponet of being one of the main causes of perpetuating the problem, and then have the audacity to basically say "I wish I had a good relationship with my LDS, but I don't so scr*w them"...its like, if they are going to be miserable and unhappy, they want everyone else to be as well. Otherwise, we are just "part of the problem".

And really, with such crappy attitudes and a chip on their shoulders the size of Manhattan, is it any wonder that this self-fulfilling prophecy about "poor LDS customer service" is exactly that? A self-fulfilling prophecy?

P.S. - This is for you conspiracy theorists out there...we really did land on the moon. The flag is upright because of the wire leader :)

metridium
December 31st, 2002, 04:04 PM
King Kong Matt wrote...
And really, with such crappy attitudes and a chip on their shoulders the size of Manhattan, is it any wonder that this self-fulfilling prophecy about "poor LDS customer service" is exactly that? A self-fulfilling prophecy? There's truth in that, no doubt. How much of the bad service would have been there anyway, though? I suspect the self-fulfilling prophecy may just be the icing on the cake in many cases, so to speak.

Northeastwrecks
December 31st, 2002, 04:07 PM
metridium once bubbled...
northeastwrecks and chickdiver, among others, you're very fortunate to have the LDSs you do. If I had options like that, I'd probably feel the same way. But I don't. By necessity, I'm pretty much a free agent.

My gear selection has been pretty much a la carte as I've slowly made my way from strictly vacation diving toward the technical side. Until very recently, it was impossible to get the gear I wanted within hundreds of miles, so internet or mailorder was my only option for several key items.

In other cases, the limited selection of gear at the LDSs was a serious impediment, and the exorbitant prices they wanted was the final deal killer. I honestly don't think there's anything the LDS could legitimately do for me that would justify paying an extra $500-$700 for a drysuit.


I agree. We are fortunate.

I started out knowing that I wanted to dive wrecks. I started into technical diving when I found out that some of the coolest wrecks were deeper than PADI thought I should dive.

It seems like we are talking about two radically different worlds. My LDS is responsive to customer demand.

Two examples.

My LDS didn't stock Halcyon when I first started diving. It became obvious that a number of us wanted Halcyon, so the owner and one of the instructors made inquiries and gave us the good news:

"If you guys want to go with Halcyon, that's fine. I'll get the dealership. However, they require a large initial order. Give me your orders for what you want and, if that is not enough to satisfy the initial order, I'll fill out the balance with stuff I can stock. However, I want to see a large order from you guys in order to justify this."

We placed the order and now the LDS is a Halcyon dealer. We won because we've got a great local source of gear that we want. The LDS won because he has a new line that generates sales.

The same goes for the fill station. The LDS filled Nitrox for us and for a number of other shops. We want Helium and Argon. Its available 45 minutes down the road.

One of the instructors worked with the owner to prove that the numbers could work. The system is being installed sometime in the Spring.

The point is that we cooperate. The owner would not have been justified in taking the risks involved in acquiring new lines and new equipment if his clients were not loyal. We would not have stayed with the shop if he could not get the stuff we wanted.

I'll tell the LDS when I want something that he doesn't have. If he can't get it, he tells me and there are no hard feelings if I get it somewhere else. But I always give him the first chance.

If your LDS is not supporting your needs by stocking the equipment you want, then I can't in good faith argue with your decision to buy online.

But don't you find it interesting that the people who seem to have the most problems with LDS are the ones who seem to have very confrontational attitudes?

King Kong Matt
December 31st, 2002, 04:21 PM
Northeastwrecks once bubbled...

But don't you find it interesting that the people who seem to have the most problems with LDS are the ones who seem to have very confrontational attitudes?



I think the airline discussion illuminated the fact that, in reality, this is not really about the LDS at all.

I think some people need a crisis in their lives to function properly, and others need to perceive themselves to be the victim of something dastardly...it gives them the comfort of an unequivocal moral high ground that is absolute and unwavering.

The self-created nightmare experience at the local LDS only serves to validate their outlook, as if to say..."see, I'm not paranoid...there is INDEED a world conspiracy out to scr*w me".

It if weren't so sad, you could dismiss it outright as a pure egotistical delusional fantasy...if it weren't so sad.

Me? I'm too stupid to concoct an imaginary friend, let alone an imaginary network of dark agents and LDS with global price fixing schemes designed to get another couple bucks out of me. At least I sleep at night... :)

metridium
December 31st, 2002, 04:23 PM
Northeastwrecks wrote...
If your LDS is not supporting your needs by stocking the equipment you want, then I can't in good faith argue with your decision to buy online. Not stocking, exorbitant pricing, ethically indefensible, etc. In such a situation, "bang-for-the-buck" is paramount.

I wish I could support the shop where I did my OW, but they carry only one product line, and it's one I have zero faith in. I didn't know about the manufacturer's reputation when I signed up, but I still feel bad about not being able to throw any business their way, recommendations aside.


Northeastwrecks wrote...
But don't you find it interesting that the people who seem to have the most problems with LDS are the ones who seem to have very confrontational attitudes? It may be that they are simply the ones more likely to speak out against it.

Do I come across as being confrontational? I've had my share of problems/misunderstandings/SNAFUs with different shops, but I don't consider myself that way...with a couple of exceptions here on the board.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Bob
December 31st, 2002, 04:27 PM
the point applies
to many businesses...mine just happens to
be law. Insurance, gas station, hardware
store....people tend to do business with the
people that do business with them. It's
just networking.


__________________
Lawman

Point well made. I tend to do business with people who treat me honestly and respectfully. I recommend my LDS for dive instruction and gear purchases, he gives me price breaks. Networking... I like that. :tree: Bob

Popeye
December 31st, 2002, 05:35 PM
Bob once bubbled...
the point applies
to many businesses...mine just happens to
be law. Insurance, gas station, hardware
store....people tend to do business with the
people that do business with them. It's
just networking.


__________________
Lawman

Point well made. I tend to do business with people who treat me honestly and respectfully. I recommend my LDS for dive instruction and gear purchases, he gives me price breaks. Networking... I like that. :tree: Bob


My LDS gives me 20-30% of any purchase, never says a word when I buy gear over the internet (brands they don't carry), and allows me the run of the shop and fill trough.

They are full gass service, multi-agency, and have a pool.

In return, I recommend them, help out with classed if asked, and help out in the shop or with fills from time to time.

Having been in a good many diveshops, and worked in one, I know I'm fortunate to have a diveshop of this quality in my area.

Northeastwrecks
December 31st, 2002, 06:02 PM
metridium once bubbled...
Do I come across as being confrontational? I've had my share of problems/misunderstandings/SNAFUs with different shops, but I don't consider myself that way...with a couple of exceptions here on the board.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Absolutely not. There is a vast difference between expecting good service and engaging in delusional fantasies that everyone is part of a vast conspiracy against you. There is also a difference between a discussion of issues with the LDS and a rant that makes people wish for a drill so that they could open their skulls to let the boredom out. Yours is the former. I'll leave it to someone else to figure out who fits the latter.

While it may be true that confrontational people are more likely to complain, it depends on when the complaining starts. Some people seem to go aggresive right out of the gate. Their attitude makes it less than worthwhile to seek out their business or do anything to keep it.

By way of example, if anyone ever gave me the speech that Genesis posted earlier, I would (1) refuse to take them as a client; or (2) fire them immediately if I had already taken them as a client. Life is too stressful to deal with more a**holes than absolutely necessary.

Popeye, your relationship with the LDS sounds like mine. Its a two-way street, with benefits to both.

Happy New Year

Bob
December 31st, 2002, 06:43 PM
Popeye,
Sounds as if you and I have similar arrangements with our shops. I to feel fortunate to have a excellent diveshop and relationship with them. :tree: Bob

SlurrySeal
December 31st, 2002, 06:49 PM
My LDS gives me 20-30% of any purchase, never says a word when I buy gear over the internet (brands they don't carry), and allows me the run of the shop and fill trough.

Thats great that you get a 20%-30% discount, but I would rather shop at a store that simply lists competative prices. Can you imagine if every retail business operated this way? I wouldn't want to haggle over the price of eggs at the supermarket, nor would I want to feel that if I do pay the price shown at the LDS I am being ripped off. Shopping for gear shouldn't be like buying souveniers at the bazar in Marrakech, and that is how many LDS's make it.

At a LDS I asked how much an item was only to be told by the owner, "It depends on who you are". You can bet that is not going to be a shop I frequent.


-Lance

Northeastwrecks
December 31st, 2002, 06:56 PM
SlurrySeal once bubbled...


Thats great that you get a 20%-30% discount, but I would rather shop at a store that simply lists competative prices. Can you imagine if every retail business operated this way? I wouldn't want to haggle over the price of eggs at the supermarket, nor would I want to feel that if I do pay the price shown at the LDS I am being ripped off. Shopping for gear shouldn't be like buying souveniers at the bazar in Marrakech, and that is how many LDS's make it.

At a LDS I asked how much an item was only to be told by the owner, "It depends on who you are". You can bet that is not going to be a shop I frequent.


-Lance

The prices at my LDS are already competitive and reasonable. I'd buy from them even if I never got a discount.

However, here's how to get the discount.

1. Go to the shop.

2. Help with fills, tank schlepping and classes.

3. Go on to become a DM.

4. Refer a few people to them.

5. Assist at classes. Preferably, specialize in problem cases.

6. Help on local and Carribean trips. Develop and run the upcoming "Experience Local Wrecks" program in conjunction with one of the boat captains.

7. Oh, yeah, spend several thousand dollars outfitting your wife and you. She gets a nice back inflate BC and Carribean rig. You get singles, doubles, and all the other tekkie toys.

Think of it as a volume discount and a little appreciation for hard work.

djhall
December 31st, 2002, 09:35 PM
Small dive shop ecconomics are a total mystery to me. I cannot understand how small LDSs can compete in any way with online and large scale retailers. For example, wholesale cost on ScubaPro MK25/S550 regulators is about $225. LeisurePro sells them online for $265, which translates into a markup of ~$40 per regulator. How many regulators can a small shop sell in a week? Not very many, I would think. I would assume the ecconomics on other items are similar. Against that, the LDS has massive inventory costs if they try to maintain any kind of selection, along with the cost of a storefront, insurance, utilities, employees, etc. I don't see how anyone, other than a large retailer, can possibly survive on that kind of margin. "Freebies" won't help here, because the "freebie" either isn't really valuable or simply reduces the shops profit through another method (ie. getting around pricing restrictions).

Two observations from this perspective:

First, it seems that many LDSs respond to this pressure by taking the position that they provide a valuable service beyond simply ordering and supplying gear. Depending on the shop, this may be true. And, depending on the customer, customers may be willing to pay more for those services. A true win-win situation for everyone. BUT, some shops DO seem to develop an attitude that THEY are doing YOU the service by selling you gear at high markup, and YOU are the problem if you don't feel they deserve it. I believe this attitude is the main reason people are treated poorly because they purchased equipment somewhere else. Of course, on the flip side, the shop doesn't OWE you service with a smile, either. I suppose, the shop could always tell you to take your gear for servicing somewhere else if you don't like the service. I don't find the frustration behind the "I don't need my LDS, they need me - I hate not having a great LDS" comments all that strange. They are just upset that they can't buy only the services they want from the LDS without the added guilt trip.

Second, what would happen if dive shops and the dive industry evolved to compete in the areas in which it is ecconomical for them to do so? It seems that stock gear is most ecconomically provided through order sales and large retailers serving large populations. When you decide you need a new regulator, is it really that inconvenient to buy one from LeisurePro? If you want to try a new BC, why not drive the hour or two to the nearest large city to purchase from a decent selection at reasonable prices? Why should a dealer need to invest tens of thousands of dollars to carry multiple brands & lines of dry suits in every stock size? Can't manufacturers sell dealers inexpensive sizing suits that are not expensive functional models, but simply a representation of the fit? Why not find a sizing suit that fits and order the real thing? On the other hand, who wants to send their gear away for servicing, to order a nitrox certification online, to ship tanks in for filling, or a million other mostly service and rental related issues? Why don't many snall LDSs simply loose the overhead and expense involved in gear sales, cut their costs dramatically, and operate as high quality service and instructional outlets? I would love a dive shop that only provided instruction, dive trips, service and repair for any brand of gear from any source, refurbishing of gear purchased on eBay, tank fills, rental gear, and advice on where to go to purchase gear inexpensively. All you would need is a filling station, classroom, and repair shop with parts stock. Am I missing something here?

Oh well... just my two cents.

yknot
January 1st, 2003, 01:31 AM
Everyone should reread original post. Scuba gear retailers sell products in an environment that allows for negotiation. Every business that sells products that encourage price comparison shopping will encounter people researching items, window shopping, kicking tires, whatever, that do not necessarily buy anything. Why do scuba shops make customers feel disloyal if they buy something elsewhere? Is it because they think we should be friends and educated consumers at the same time? I don't know if you can be both. My friends would never put a $900 price tag on a BC they were recommending to me.

MikeFerrara
January 1st, 2003, 04:39 AM
djhall once bubbled...
Small dive shop ecconomics are a total mystery to me. I cannot understand how small LDSs can compete in any way with online and large scale retailers. For example, wholesale cost on ScubaPro MK25/S550 regulators is about $225. LeisurePro sells them online for $265, which translates into a markup of ~$40 per regulator. How many regulators can a small shop sell in a week? Not very many, I would think. I would assume the ecconomics on other items are similar. Against that, the LDS has massive inventory costs if they try to maintain any kind of selection, along with the cost of a storefront, insurance, utilities, employees, etc. I don't see how anyone, other than a large retailer, can possibly survive on that kind of margin. "Freebies" won't help here, because the "freebie" either isn't really valuable or simply reduces the shops profit through another method (ie. getting around pricing restrictions).

Two observations from this perspective:

First, it seems that many LDSs respond to this pressure by taking the position that they provide a valuable service beyond simply ordering and supplying gear. Depending on the shop, this may be true. And, depending on the customer, customers may be willing to pay more for those services. A true win-win situation for everyone. BUT, some shops DO seem to develop an attitude that THEY are doing YOU the service by selling you gear at high markup, and YOU are the problem if you don't feel they deserve it. I believe this attitude is the main reason people are treated poorly because they purchased equipment somewhere else. Of course, on the flip side, the shop doesn't OWE you service with a smile, either. I suppose, the shop could always tell you to take your gear for servicing somewhere else if you don't like the service. I don't find the frustration behind the "I don't need my LDS, they need me - I hate not having a great LDS" comments all that strange. They are just upset that they can't buy only the services they want from the LDS without the added guilt trip.

Second, what would happen if dive shops and the dive industry evolved to compete in the areas in which it is ecconomical for them to do so? It seems that stock gear is most ecconomically provided through order sales and large retailers serving large populations. When you decide you need a new regulator, is it really that inconvenient to buy one from LeisurePro? If you want to try a new BC, why not drive the hour or two to the nearest large city to purchase from a decent selection at reasonable prices? Why should a dealer need to invest tens of thousands of dollars to carry multiple brands & lines of dry suits in every stock size? Can't manufacturers sell dealers inexpensive sizing suits that are not expensive functional models, but simply a representation of the fit? Why not find a sizing suit that fits and order the real thing? On the other hand, who wants to send their gear away for servicing, to order a nitrox certification online, to ship tanks in for filling, or a million other mostly service and rental related issues? Why don't many snall LDSs simply loose the overhead and expense involved in gear sales, cut their costs dramatically, and operate as high quality service and instructional outlets? I would love a dive shop that only provided instruction, dive trips, service and repair for any brand of gear from any source, refurbishing of gear purchased on eBay, tank fills, rental gear, and advice on where to go to purchase gear inexpensively. All you would need is a filling station, classroom, and repair shop with parts stock. Am I missing something here?

Oh well... just my two cents.

Interesting ideas. Kinda what we're moving towards. The problem is the manufacturers won't back us in servicing unless we are dealers selling their stuff. Shops that give away training to sell equipment make it hard to make a profit center out of training also.

inletsurf
January 2nd, 2003, 11:44 AM
I know I'm a bit late for this thread, but I'll explain what did it for me as far as the dive shops.

I've been faithful on getting fills-mixes at this one particular shop for 5 years. Go there every single time. Know the guys somewhat. However, when it comes to buying, its like talking to a car salesman.

I asked for the price of a Sherwood Logic computer once, since my buddy purchased a new one online for a great price. I believe he got his for $180 something and the shop's quote was like $400+

Are they kidding me? That's over a 2X markup!!!! I've also tested them in other products, too, and the same thing.

Another thing that irks me is when you get into a technical discussion on products with a salesman who doesn't know what he's talking about but insists that he does.

That's what I love about this forum, you all arent' trying to sell me anything...everyone dishes out their raw opinions on products and everyone gets to the core of some great technical questions and problems. What a database of experience this is. There's safety in the numbers of opinions on a certain product, too. This forum is a blessing because I know for a fact that not even 10% of the dive shops out there can answer the questions as accurately as some of the experts here can. Dive shops either have a salesman who doesnt' know squat babbling off technical jargon, or a salesman who is trying very very hard to push a product and somewhat contorts the truth a bit. Especially when you ask a product to competative product question.

So I admit, I look out for myself only. When it comes to expensive equipment, I shop competatively and the internet always wins. For service, mixes, and cheap hardware, I always go to my LDS. I know this opinion won't sit well with some of you, especially the dive shop owners and sales folks, you just have to understand that we work for a living too, and if I can save a big %% of $$ on a piece of equipment, then I'll save it. I truly believe that is the common consumer mindset, too.

King Kong Matt
January 2nd, 2003, 12:06 PM
Let me ask the Floridians who have posted to this thread an honest question.

What % of the people that patronize the average dive shop somewhere on the Florida coast are locals vs. tourists?

I know that I've asked a ridiculously broad question and I'm sure that number is hugely different if you ask someone from Jax vs. someone from Key Largo.

Point is this...

Diving in New England seems to be a pretty tight-knit crew. Its a niche, although I would say active, market. There isn't (if you couldn't guess) a huge tourist market for diving in NE, which basically means that, in this tight-knit community, you are dealing with locals only...locals that dive together and share information vigorously.

Does this prevent poor LDS business practices? No, but it seems to me, based on purely personal experience in the area, that owners and staff are a lot more cogniscent of the fact that they can't simply gouge people with little to no repercussions.

I'm wondering if the number of tourists to Fla. simply makes this a difference between our LDSs.

inletsurf
January 2nd, 2003, 12:58 PM
Matt, thats a good question and I really don't know the right answer.

However, keep in mind that some cities are more local, and others are more touristy. My city, for example, gets a huge % of its business from local recreational and commercial lobster divers. Just like your area, a lot of us know each other and it is a tight knit crew.

We do get tourists here, too, but not people into diving. People who want to go diving tend to hit the nicer spots like Palm Beaches to the Keys. Our reefs in North to Central florida are far offshore, relatively low vis, and drab--exactly what the typical tourist recreational diver does not want to bother with. The Keys, South Florida, and other areas are way, way more tourist oriented. The reefs begin to blossom from Stuart south, and things become "prettier", hence the tourist diving increases. I can definately see that having a huge effect on the shop's attitudes. I mean, from Palm Beach to Miami there are a couple Divers Direct stop-n-go warehouses right on I-95!!!

Anyway, hope that helps a little. I'm sure there is a direct relationship as you mentioned. Especially in the Keys, since they know that they have you cornered on those islands, and that any tourist that goes there will fork over $$$ for a crappy snorkeling set to use for a couple of days. Everything is expensive in the Keys, though.

FredT
January 2nd, 2003, 01:03 PM
King Kong Matt once bubbled...
Let me ask the Floridians who have posted to this thread an honest question.

What % of the people that patronize the average dive shop somewhere on the Florida coast are locals vs. tourists?



The % will depend on both location and season. The two areas I'm most familiar with are the panhandle from Pensacola to Pannama City Beach (AKA Baja Alabama/Georgia) and the east coast between WPB and Ft Lauderdale. For the purpose of this SWAG I'll call "locals" as those close enough to the dock to make a day trip to dive. There are a lot of us relativley close to the FL coast who'll do a 2 to 5 hour trip to the boat, dive all day, and then drive home year 'round. We may or may not stop for dinner on the way home.

Traffic I've seen in dive shops:
Panhandle high season (Memorial day to Labor day and spring break weeks)85% + tourist.
Panhandle low season ~80% local trade.

SE coast:
High season (~Thanksgiving to Easter) probably 85% or higher tourist. Many locals will stop diving when the water gets "cold" enough to need a wetsuit thicker than a .5 mil steamer.
Low season (May through October excluding the first two weeks of bug season) Locals will make up about 50% of the business.

Shops in the Keys will see tourist divers about 90% of the time year round, but it's highest during lobster mini-season and the first two weeks of regular bug season.

West coasters, and east coasters north of WPB will be mostly local divers year round.

Cave country will be a fairly even split between locals and touristas. Cave addicts will often re-align their lives to move down there to be close to their favorite holes in the rock, so even touristas will be treated as potential locals.

HTH

FT

subdude
January 2nd, 2003, 02:49 PM
There are several shops in the Fort Walton Vicinity.

GENERALLY Speaking ...

Shops in Destin caters to the tourists.

One in FWB is more tech/locals oriented.

One in Valparaiso is locals mainly and located right outside an Air Force base so gets a lot of that business.

There is one in Crestview that I have never set foot in so I don't know what they are like.

IMHO something for everyone here.

subdude


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