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So everyone says to support my local dive shop. I get it. I do. Local business, local divers, air fills, training, etc etc etc.
But my LDS is run by a complete arse.
Here goes the short version of an 8 month story. It all started back in November when I first got open water certified. He led me to believe that I had to get mask/fin/snorkel from him because they had to be something special (purge valve, I now know, is what he wanted to sell me). He hit me for $125 for the mask, $85 for fins, and $30 for a snorkel. It took me all of 12 seconds after the purchase to realize that I had just gotten my head ripped off. A quick look at leisure pro listed the mask (a genesis mask) for $30, about $35 for the fins, and roughly $18 for the snorkel. Ouch.
Anyway, price gouging keeps going on, even after making 100% of my gear purchases from him. And getting certified (open water, AOW, and rescue) for me and my wife.
As far as gear, I have a full cold-water set of gear for me, including 7mil, weights, BCD, reg, etc.
When I bought my BCD & reg, there were no options, it was simply, "do you want it? ok. Here's the price" No option on regs, no option on back inflate vs jacket bcd, etc. Now everything was sold at the high-retail prices, not even MAP (after working in a specialty retail store for many years, I know there is a map, and of course discounts can be offered down from there) He opted to do none of this for me.
Tanks were sold about $50 OVER retail prices, but he justified it by saying "free air for 1 year" (which, to his credit, he has honored until this point).
Now it's time to get my wife some gear. I considered buying her stuff online, but I cringe to think about service & etc, so I'd rather do local business.
He also employs very high pressure sales tactics, including giving me a constant hard time about "It's just money" when asking why I haven't bought anything lately and roughly twice a week asks when I plan to buy the MRS her own gear. Very rude and brash about it.
Next case against my local guy: He brags. A lot. A lady he was diving with about a year ago had a free flowing reg down at 90 feet. She had trouble, and panicked, and he helped her out. He still gives her a hard time about it, and brags about "the time I saved her" on a weekly basis.
Just the other week he went with a couple local divers down to Key West, and they (without training, mind you) went to 147 feet, and went into deco. Sure, they came out just fine and did deco stops on the way back up. Also seems really proud of his 147ft accomplishment, and the fact that he was able to do deco stops (unplanned).
Now I'm starting to question if I even want to dive with the guy anymore, much less do business with him.
All that being said, there is a really great shop about an hour away. We all visit the same local quarry, which is how I met shop owner #2.
Now I gave shop 2 a chance on the phone initially, without really saying who I was or where I was from or anything. I just made a cold call asking about BCD's. Super helpful over the phone. I caught them at the quarry the next day and talked to them. Again, super helpful. While I was there, they loaned me a BC for my wife to try (apparently they had a class earlier in the day and had one); without charge, without question, without hassle. Just walked over before me & the MRS did our last dive and said "here, try this for her".
No charge, no pressure, nothing. Just a here try this. After asking about price on the BC he let her try, he gave me a price off the hip of $400ish, but wasn't sure without me calling or visiting the shop a couple days later. I called down and he gave me a price of $380, nearly $200 off retail. This wasn't a used BC or one he had sitting around, he had to order it in her size & color of choice. While I had him I also asked about a few other items (soft weights, regulators, general info really) and he was consistently significantly cheaper. Well worth the drive & even better considering we frequent the same quarry & I can just have them bring it next time we are both there.
Now should I really still be supporting my LDS? or Drive an hour out of the way to the nice guys? How about air? The close local guy is going to get 1000x worse about being a jerk when he finds that I've purchased something elsewhere. I heard about it for two weeks when I bought a mares puck for $175 online, but the least expensive computer he could get me was $400. How do I handle him being a jerk? Should I just drive an hour to get air & everything to avoid the situation?
PS--Thru a really really awesome program where I work, I could take my divemaster course from shop 1 (the aggravating one) completely free. Not sure if it's worth it, to deal with the guy. Thoughts? Absolutely could not take it anywhere else. I already looked into that part.
Last edited by pThrift; July 21st, 2012 at 09:01 PM.
Reason: one more quesiton
In support of my son and the brave men and women of the 3-17 Cavalry as they serve far from home. God bless and keep you.
Question of the day: Does God love me for some unexplained reason and blessed me with a wonderful wife - OR - Did God bless me with a wonderful wife and, therefore, has learned to love me for her sake?
I'm all for supporting local dive shops but I don't think you should feel ripped off or be treated poorly and continue to take it on the chin. To me, "support your local dive shop" is not an all encompassing statement. Support the dive shops who help their customers and do business well. The others should learn from their mistakes or lose enough business to have to close their doors. Hopefully they learn.....
He does not sound like someone I would do business with but you have been doing business for 8 months. Why exactly are you entitled to a discount? I mean, very few other places work that way outside the dive world and there is no rule that dive ops have to work that way. I understand what you are saying, we have a LDS that I will not buy from because there stuff is over-priced and will often be marked up just walking it to the counter. Of course, there are several places within a few minutes drive of each other so I don't have to buy from them.