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LDS Loyalty

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Aerosynth, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Aerosynth

    Aerosynth Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Midwest/Central U.S. is where I hang my hat. Where
    General question...

    How loyal does a LDS expect its customers to be? Are LDS groups offended when a diver shows up to a dive, sporting a piece of gear not purchased from them? Or when they find out a diver is carrying around a new C-Card and didn't take the course from their shop?

    And to the divers... do you use more than one LDS or source for your gear and training? And, does your primary/preferred LDS know... or do you just keep it to yourself? If they know, are they cool with it? Ever had confrontations/questions about it?

    From the customer end, I can say this... there are LDS groups that I absolutely enjoy and love doing business with. I think they consider me a good customer. However, I can't always wait 3 months to take a certain class, or I can't get the brand/model of something I want at their shops, or the price difference is just too great and I have to buy something somewhere else.

    The diving community in general seems extremely hung up on LDS loyalty... and I understand that... but for me, in this market, it just isn't reasonable (or possible) to use my preferred LDS for every single dive-related transaction.

    I don't want to hurt feelings and stop getting invited out to dive. I suppose I'm looking for that right balance between loyalty to the businesses/groups that I like, pursuit of my individual diving goals, and satisfaction of my personal gear preferences.

    Just wondering. I know that this topic goes beyond diving into the realm of small business in general. Just seems that divers are particularly loyal, and the topic might have special resonance in this community.
  2. over the years I've experienced a wide range of LDS 'attitudes', and over the years I've sometime had to lead a double life, being a different person/customer to different LDS's...and I'll share different amounts of my personal diving information/shopping habits with different shops, depending on the extent of the relationship I want to have with that shop...it's kinda complicated. And like so many relationships, they can come and go, sometime s the LDS goes out of business....sometimes there's a 'falling out' where our interests diverge, or perhaps a cooling of the relationship if one's purchases taper off over time (either because I've acquired the vast majority of dive gear I'll likely ever need and am no longer one of their 'big spenders', or because I've found a more competitive supplier for the big purchases I do still make)...or because I'm forced to hop around among different dive shops to participate in specific trips that work for me $ and vacation time wise, so I can't really stay loyal and do trips that best work for me.
  3. redacted

    redacted Guest

    It is just a place where $$$ can be exchanged to goods and service.
  4. Capt.Ed

    Capt.Ed Captain

    I live in the keys and have 20 LDS to choose from in a 10 mile radius...ok, maybe just 15 shops. But I also have Divers Direct right down the road as well. I go there for some things and go to my LDS (Key Dives) for others. I just bought a $500 speargun for myself and dropped $850 on a used BC and new reg for my son through my LDS. I scoot down to Divers Direct when I'm looking for terminal tackle or a new compass and although they are smaller purchases, they add up over the year and I figure I spend close to the same amount at each.
    My preferred local dive shop will order anything I want and will try to match or even beat the prices at Divers Direct or other shops in the area but doesn't get "offended" because I shop elsewhere. Hell, one of his employees is also employed by Divers Direct. The other interesting thing is that everyone in my LDS knows me by name...I only know a couple of people down the road at Divers Direct.
    The way I look at it, I would hate to see either of them fold up and close so I spread my money around town. But I do prefer my local dive shop/op.
  5. munselln8

    munselln8 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Charleston, SC, USA
    I have to agree with AWAP. This "LDS Loyalty" discussion is getting out of hand. He is where the loyalty stands (IMHO). The LDS should expect immediate and full payment for goods or services. I should expect to receive those goods or services at that time (or another previously agreed upon time). Whichever LDS has the better combination of goods, services and prices has done the diving community a great service indeed and deserves the rewards that come along with that (my patronage).
  6. Aerosynth

    Aerosynth Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Midwest/Central U.S. is where I hang my hat. Where
    Well I'm not having any problems with my preferred LDS specifically, just for the record. It's more of just a general question/rant based on the attitudes of some divers that I have met.

    Some people I've dove with seem to have this "all-or-nothing" loyalty to their LDS. If you want to dive with their group, you have to buy all your gear there. If you take one class there, it suddenly obligates you to buying all your gear there for the rest of your life and you can never go diving with another shop. Seriously... I mean, I am exaggerating to make a point... but not by much.

    Just trying to figure out why some people treat interactions with their LDS like a monogamous relationship.
  7. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    A good shop can generate a bonding effect and make some customers into dedicated advocates, call that loyalty if you want. Most divers will say that the best regulator is the one that worked well for them on the last dive. This shop loyalty can be the same fickle deal. If the shop is doing well by somebody they will be loyal. Dependent divers in particular can associate closely with a supportive shop.

    In your case it never hurts to patronize a shop but any shop worth dealing with will recognize that they can't have it all. Get what you need when and where you need it.

    I am an advocate of seeing if the local shop can hit a price you can live with compared to online. The local shop does bring some special value to the table when you need to try something on or need a last minute repair.

    I have a mix of goods from all local shops and online and have never felt any animosity regarding my choices.

  8. Scubagolf

    Scubagolf ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sacramento, California, USA
    As the consumer, I set the parameters. I generally buy "big ticket" items online (my preference is ScubaToys) unless one of two local shops have what I want at a price that is within 10-15% (including tax.)

    I sometimes take classes locally, go on trips sponsored by the local shops, and I buy the odds and ends of equipment locally. I dive a Zeagle Brigade BC so it obvious that I deal online with ScubaToys. I have never felt shunned and if that ever happens it will be the end of my patronage of that shop.
  9. fisheater

    fisheater Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sebastopol, CA
    Must be a regional thing.

    I've never ran into or heard anything like this in Calif.
  10. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Our shops can get very "territorial" about their customers, and they can and do get upset when you buy something from someone else. I got thrown off the e-list from one shop for telling one of their customers where he could buy a $7 item that THEY DIDN'T CARRY.

    That sort of behavior irritates the stink out of me. My tack shop doesn't get mad at me for buying a saddle from someone else; they just work harder to get the next sale.

    Luckily, the dive shop which is now my LDS has been VERY good about not hassling me when I bring in tanks I bought used to get them VIPed. They would lose me as a customer if they gave me a hard time, and I think they know that.

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