I had an interesting conversation come up this week.
Most know I buy a lot of gear at retail. I also return a lot of gear to retailers with out a .oz or remorse.
Couldn't write the blog other wise.
I personally shop most everyone online and all the retail climbing stores in the Seattle area.
Economic times are a little tough for most. Myself and extended family no different from anyone out side Wall Street I suspect. But we (climbers and skiers) all have a certain amount of disposable income. I have when unemployed and when working full time. Most do, if you climb. You make "gear" a priority. How much of a priority is up to you :) Rent or new double boots? Food or gas money?
So....I suspect you'll be as amazed as I was with this conversation.
After a few years off a friend wants to do the Cassin in good style spring of 2013. It has been a while since he has been in the alpine. But he has always skied and climbed hard. Hard enough to have been on pro deals in the past. The Cassin is a great goal but shouldn't be out of his reach either. He no longer has to trade food for gas money financially. But he wants to get in a couple of good seasons in yet before kids are part of his future responsibilities.
A quick look at his gear room, our conversations and worse yet, a look here at the blog and it is obvious some new gear will make things easier, safer and warmer for his climbs, this winter and eventually the Cassin.
My guy is a businessman. He knows numbers. So out comes his hit "list". The number when done is $5000 of new gear. Where to start the shopping? I send him to literally all of my normal sources with $5000 in hand and a list he wants filled. How hard can that be? I mention that with $5K...most retailers should be willing to cough up a fair discount. If it were me I'd want 20% off the top, no questions asked. And I'd want the EXACT color, size and item on my list. No chit chat, no BS, no hassles. I give you a $5K order. I pay $$4K for it plus shipping and taxes as required. That $5K will cost most retailers between $3000 and $2500 at a 40% or 50% margin depending on whether it is hard goods or soft goods. This order is a combo..but mostly clothes which go at 50%.
Sure they will have shipping and time involved and if the items are not in stock they will have to order the gear. Which is more time involved. But then $1000 for a few hours work would seem to be a decent day's wage when the guy on the phones @ less than $20 per hr. After all my guy has the ability to go anywhere and buy the gear, hassle free, at retail.
You would think someone would take on a quick turn like this one and it would be done same day.
The list has yet to be resolved but from first contact the buyer is so frustrated it seems he is willing to just pay retail from any business that won't bull shit him around.
Retail specialty stores...the ones still open...wonder why they are doing poorly? The online folks? It doesn't take much effort to have good customer service let alone great customer service. Seems a few of them will be out of business before they figure that one out.
I don't mind paying retail. But like most I prefer not to if there are other options available. Those that I do buy from better be damn nice to me and earn my money. But no question if I were going to drop $4 or 5K at one location...they would be giving me a discount or I'd shop else where. Even if that means EBAY. Given enough time I could dig up everything on his list at 1/2 price, new with the hang tags intact. If you are a retailer and think other wise you are an idiot.
Can't wait to read and then publish the anonymous excuses ;)