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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the areas of the forum that attracted me when I first stumbled on LIF was the local dealer opinions, reviews, rants and raves.
I put some down to shills and eternally angry people, but the posts for the most part are realistic.
I, probably like most of you, have to put off other things to come up with the dollars I drop in local shops, which has been many, many thousands over the past forty some odd years of making things go 'bang'. So where I shop is important to me. I am also aware that the relationship with the shop does not end when I pick up my new whatever. So I've a keen ear when it comes to what people feel about trading in any of our locals.
I've seen a good number of shops come and go, for one reason or another. And I've seen some absolute horrors survive.
I have been reading here the past couple of weeks about this shop or that shop and I'm just as vocal as anyone else if I feel a local is not up to par in one way or another.
But if the truth be told, we, the shooting community, are probably to blame for a lot of our own dissatisfaction with any of the locals, their attitude, prices or inventory.
Please understand I'm including myself in this group of local shoppers and claim no innocence here.
We get an idea of what we want, scour the Internet, Shotgun News, Gun Digest, etc. to come up with the best prices on the planet. Then we expect the local brick and mortar guys to do better or at least match it. Often they will or at least come close, leaving them very little wiggle room.
They're in business. They need to make $$ to keep the doors open. To stock inventory and have the accessories we complain about not being on the shelves.
I'm not suggesting we all go in and offer them full retail, but if we want to buy at what is essentially, wholesale, we really can't expect too much in the way of stellar customer service, well informed staff, and shelves brimming with inventory or that warm fuzzy feeling when we waltz through the door.
How much customer service are any of us realistically going to expect from Costco, BJ's or any of the "wholesale" clubs out there?
In every single area of my life, I do not mind paying a bit more for superior customer service.
I don't mean gas and small purchases. I mean about something that makes a definite dent in the wallet.
It seems when it comes to firearms, we're not so willing.
Not sure why. I have to believe it's the culture we ourselves have created.
We're all enthusiasts and we're expecting the dealer to be one as well, instead of a businessman, or woman.
If a local shop disrespects you, leave - and take your business elsewhere.
If the pricing or selection is below par, leave - and take your business elsewhere.
I think we can separate the wheat from the chaff and those who are doing a good job will survive, and those who don't will fade away.
I have my favorites and I have shops where I would never set in foot in again no matter what they were giving away. Most, the good and the bad, are talked about here ad naseum.
But, and at the risk of being on the receiving end of a rash of angry replies, I believe if we want all the superior service we are bellyaching about not getting, we have to let these guys make a living, have a bit of profit to hire some COMPETENT and customer service oriented staff, and stock the shelves with goods we want. At that point, everyone will get a bit better in order to compete.
Now I don't want to pay any more for anything. I can't imagine anyone does. But I can tell you that if a number of competing shops have in stock, a piece I'm looking for, I would happily pay a few more dollars for better service and a better business attitude. I do in fact. Regularly.
That's my 2 cents. Some may not agree and that's OK.
I'm just tired of reading things like "they're not nice".
 

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Im in sales too , and everyones gotta make a buck. There is times when we just tell people. the price your looking for does not leave us with enough of a profit to pay anyone or even pay for the building your sitting in. Some people understand and are willing to work with you, and others just get angry and dont think anyone should make a dollar on them. To which we ask them to shop elsewhere
 

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The Sysop
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Mailorder / Retail SHOULD NEVER be compared, period.
 

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On one side, no one wants vacant storefronts and out of work friends/family. But on the other, can you blame them for wanting the best available price?

Isn't that our capitalist system at its best? The businesses that provide the best prices/services survive and those that don't are weeded out. We hold every other industry to that standard, and condemn our leaders for stepping in the way of free market capitalism, so why not here?

Now a local gun store can win this battle by providing unmatched knowledge and service, and it sucks, but they can't keep the almost Long Island industry standard level of customer service (or lack there of) with the excuse of, well I'm barely making anything so why should I be nice.

This is a global/nationwide economy, American's spend $'s on the best option, regardless.
 

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The Architect said:
Mailorder / Retail SHOULD NEVER be compared, period.
I disagree. When I bought my last rifle, I bought it through Bruce at Hunter Essentials. I wound up paying about $65 or so more than I would have had I bought it online. But I still got it cheaper than if I had bought it online because there was no shipping and no FFL. Like buying ammo. Granted, the cost of the bulk buy directly may be cheaper than buying at a store. But then you have to factor in shipping and the taxes (they are now taxing internet orders at most sites). So, a direct comparison, agree, that doesn't work, but factoring in the whole picture, then you can compare. Plus, there are times I would rather give my money to a local and pay a little more than send it over the net.
 

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BirdistheWord said:
On one side, no one wants vacant storefronts and out of work friends/family. But on the other, can you blame them for wanting the best available price?

Isn't that our capitalist system at its best? The businesses that provide the best prices/services survive and those that don't are weeded out. We hold every other industry to that standard, and condemn our leaders for stepping in the way of free market capitalism, so why not here?

Now a local gun store can win this battle by providing unmatched knowledge and service, and it sucks, but they can't keep the almost Long Island industry standard level of customer service (or lack there of) with the excuse of, well I'm barely making anything so why should I be nice.

This is a global/nationwide economy, American's spend $'s on the best option, regardless.
Absolutely , but I think (and correct me if I am wrong PM)is that what he is saying is the internet and the local shop are not the same. People want the Internet price without having to wait, nor pay for shipping, and it simply cannot be done. That is like me walking into 7-11 and asking for a pack of Marlboros and complaining that I can get them cheap at the Reservations. Sure I COULD get them from the reservations for cheaper, but now I have to drive there to get it.

In these harsh economic times, it makes sense to go with the cheapest price. But at two AM on Friday, I cannot yell at the guy in 7-11 for my needing smokes.

The other aspect, which we have all seen first hand, it the constant ringing of the phone with price checks. The endless "fingerbanging" of guns. The constant pressure of "do better" on every guy and gal behind that counter. It has got to be rough on them, as well as the customers.

Then you have your innocent customer walk in and get treated like he is a vagrant trying to get out of the rain. Or like you are some Bargain Blitzer who wants to haggle like you are in a fruit market in Yemen.

Both sides make great points.
 

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guyver0313 said:
I disagree. When I bought my last rifle, I bought it through Bruce at Hunter Essentials. I wound up paying about $65 or so more than I would have had I bought it online. But I still got it cheaper than if I had bought it online because there was no shipping and no FFL. Like buying ammo. Granted, the cost of the bulk buy directly may be cheaper than buying at a store. But then you have to factor in shipping and the taxes (they are now taxing internet orders at most sites). So, a direct comparison, agree, that doesn't work, but factoring in the whole picture, then you can compare. Plus, there are times I would rather give my money to a local and pay a little more than send it over the net.
No agrument there, I agree fully. You need to 'look' at the whole picture.
 

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Doc T said:
Bargain Blitzer who wants to haggle like you are in a fruit market in Yemen.
This is great ;D
 

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Some years back I ran a camera store in Mass, One day this guy walks in and starts talking to one of my employees, my guy spent (No joke) 3 hours with the customer telling him everything there was to know about the camera, the guy says that he'll think about it and leaves. Comes back two days later and spends another 2 hours talking to my employee, still does not buy the camera system, next day he is back. Long story short, towards the end of their conversion the customer says to my employee "why should I buy this from you when I can go online and get it cheaper".
I step in at that point!
Sir, you spent all this time getting a personal one on one lesson on how to use this system and every question you asked was answered, right? Yes. So do you think you would have gotten the same service on line, what do you think it would have cost you to learn what you did by talking to my guy?
He pulled out his credit card and bought the camera system, moral of the store, consumers don't always care about service but rather the bottom line, money!
 

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The Architect said:
No agrument there, I agree fully. You need to 'look' at the whole picture.
Apologies then if I misunderstood your original posting.

Beyond the whole picture of the $$ side is the feel good side. When I drop an extra $25 or so on something but buy it from Bruce or from SSS, I feel good about it, I know I could have gotten it cheaper online or at a big chain store. But small business will ultimately save our country, assuming they aren't all crushed by the Obama crew.

I went into SSS this Saturday and got 2 new holsters, one for each piece. Well, I could have bought those same ones online for about $10 cheaper each. Combine shipping and such and the price would have been about the same. But with the online place, I would have earned a substantial number of points for my next purchase. I spent the money with SSS because they are a local small business. I would rather send my money to them.
 

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:yepthat
 

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moved to greener pastures
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Doc T said:
Absolutely , but I think (and correct me if I am wrong PM)is that what he is saying is the internet and the local shop are not the same. People want the Internet price without having to wait, nor pay for shipping, and it simply cannot be done. That is like me walking into 7-11 and asking for a pack of Marlboros and complaining that I can get them cheap at the Reservations. Sure I COULD get them from the reservations for cheaper, but now I have to drive there to get it.

In these harsh economic times, it makes sense to go with the cheapest price. But at two AM on Friday, I cannot yell at the guy in 7-11 for my needing smokes.

The other aspect, which we have all seen first hand, it the constant ringing of the phone with price checks. The endless "fingerbanging" of guns. The constant pressure of "do better" on every guy and gal behind that counter. It has got to be rough on them, as well as the customers.

Then you have your innocent customer walk in and get treated like he is a vagrant trying to get out of the rain. Or like you are some Bargain Blitzer who wants to haggle like you are in a fruit market in Yemen.

Both sides make great points.
The Internet is the Internet and we are all aware of how to use it.
Heck, I give places like Midway plenty of business. But that's when I know exactly what I want and am prepared to wait for shipping AND there is little to no chance a local dealer stocks what I need.
But buying a rifle or pistol is another matter altogether. That's not parts. For me, that's an investment.
We keep beating the dealers up.
I guess I'm just feeling that they deserve a bit of leeway.
Not sure why. I have absolutely no loyalty to any shop in particular.
I've bought at least two firearms over the years each at LISC, Hunter, American Outdoorsman (shudder), and at least one from a many of others. I have yet to walk in to any shop where they ever remember my name, much less that they sold me something.
Still, I think they are getting the snot beat out of them on the posts. Sometimes deservedly but sometimes just because someone has a case of the a**.
I would like nothing better than a well stocked, well staffed, clean and orderly shop here on Long Island. One that does not have the "club" mentality. I don't want to hang out. I'm in the store to do business. Treat me that way and it's very likely you will have my business. I'm just soooo tired of walking in to a clubhouse/store.
I doubt I'll see it, but I live in hope.
Until then, it's like a pub crawl. Roaming from one to another, looking for the right piece at the right price with the right customer service. It's downright tiring.
I say, if we are going to demand professionalism, we're going to have to understand they need to take in enough revenue to warrant that. And if we pay a fair price for their good and services, then we have every right to demand. If we're going to work them over each and every time, we're going to reap what we sow.
in other words, if we are going to be satisfied with mediocre service, opinionated and ill informed sales help, having to be in the "in crowd" to get some serious assistance and having to step over crates of crud just to get in, then we are going to get what we pay for.
 

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Just to play devil's advocate, why should gun shops be afforded a non-capitalist courtesy that other industries have not? It sucked when Home Depot killed the local lumber yard, but its the natural evolution of business in this country.

There's two ways for a small guy to win:

1- Innovate and become a big guy
2- Bring something to the table others cannot (Customer Service, in-house gunsmith, something) The key here is to not give the "special something" away before purchase, which can be difficult, but possible.

I'm not a shop owner, but something like this might work: Posted and communicated store policy of complimentary gun adjustment with every firearm purchase. Have your sales reps telling customers that hey, we may have the price, we may not, but with every purchase our in-house expert will meet you at the range (at this set block of time every x interval) and setup the gun with any sighting adjustments, etc.

This way the would-be customer only gets the benefit with the purchase, and you have enough profit built in to stay afloat. A let me tell you, that kind of service would be valued by a lot of purchasers, myself included. I meant straight out, an adjustment/teardown/sighting complimentary service would be worth a 5-10% higher price in the local store, or something like that.
 

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I've never been a mail order buyer. I do my investigative work online, then go to brick and mortar to get my hands on the product and then see which store has a good price. The final selling point is customer/store relations. If I have an issue with said product will the store be a hassle for a refund/repair/exchange? Were the employees knowledgeable? Did they seek to help the customer or was I a hassle that was interrupting their water cooler conversation?

Whether a store carries all the accessories or every item I'm looking for does not concern me. I'm not shopping at Bob's-Big-Store-World-of-Everything-You-Need. But If I ask for something, make an effort to show me something similar or see if the product in question can be ordered. Customer/store relations may not be high on everybody's list... but when I have a good experience in a store or with a specific person, I tend to return and spread the recommendation by word of mouth... and keyboard.

The same holds true for a bad experience.
 

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I will buy from internet sources only if the price of the product plus the cost of shipping (I refuse to order from a place that charges tax too) is less than the local price plus tax and
1) Its not a major purchase (in both size and cost) I would rather buy a major item where I can feel it, play with it and try it out as well as ask questions (time answering my questions is still money)
2) It would really be a hassle to return the item to the internet store (most larger item are as well as more expensive ones-- have to pay for the return plus insurance)
3) The only local place that had the item I wanted was more than an hours drive (cost of gas must be factored in)
4) Did not require the item immediately.

If the local store was a pleasant place to shop, the people behind the counter helpful and knowledgeable and the price was not extremely beyond the internet cost, I would purchase locally every time even as the cost is more.
 

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Local v. Mass Merchandiser v. Internet:
Many years ago my family had a sporting goods store. All year long you would stock up on the things you needed, as when the demand came, suppliers would not be able to fill orders. This requires a bit of capital to be tied up in inventory. (just in time shipping was not around then, and isn't always in time). I was in the store after school when a fellow came in wanting a particular lure, which was sold out at most places. My Dad took one off the shelf and told the gentleman "That'll be $1.75". The customer replied "Korvettes has them for 79 cents". My Dad's answer was "Then I suggest you buy it at Korvettes,". The inevitable "Korvettes is out of them" followed. Without missing a beat my Dad came back with "When I'm out of them they're 59 cents"
As a retailer, you have many more expenses than the Internet seller or the mass merchandiser. You also have to keep your reputation, which can involve fixing something that isn't your fault at no charge, spending hours with a customer to make the right recommendation, etc. My Dad left the family business in 1968. Last year, I ran into someone who knew him from the store and couldn't tell me enough good things about how he was treated there. That type of service isn't free, and if you want to spin the wheel and take your chances, you can deal with internet sellers and mass merchandisers. The local guy or gal has to open that door tomorrow and face you, the general public, made up of their regular customers, and potential new ones. It is in their best interest to do what it takes to keep you coming back, and it is in our best interest to patronize them if we feel they deserve our business.
 

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NRATC53... I feel like I just read a page of Reader's Digest. And don't get me wrong... It's a compliment. Very well written and how very true!
 
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