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How not to make friends - ski shop edition

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Last Friday (2/3) I decided to make my second attempt at skiing this year despite sketchy conditions at my local hill, Blue Mountain, PA (Phil's favorite) because, according to their website calendar, a nearby NJ shop, Hunterdon Ski, was having a demo day. So after a little warmup, I stopped by the demo table to sign up. Not a customer in line, so I figured I'll have a chance to try a couple of different things. I got my ID out and picked up a form, and the shop rep says " are you on our list?" He says it's a  customer appreciation day with prior sign-up, and the demos are for customers only. Now, it's after 10 a.m., not a soul in sight, all the skis are just standing in the racks warming in the sunshine, but I can understand that they want to give their folks first shot when & if they show up, so I ask when the public will have access. They say "in the afternoon,"  so I ask if I should stop by at 12 or 12:30. They say "maybe three o'clock!" and with a large dose of attitude, as if to say "How dare you presume to take advantage of our special event for our loyal few." Just rude and dismissive. If they had certain models reserved at certain times I could see being in the back of the line, but that didn't seem to be the case. 

 

 I checked their traffic each time I got to the lift, and still no takers, as far as I could tell, but needless to say I didn't ask again. Now other local shops have had demo days at Elk and Blue on their CADs which I have enjoyed, and I have never heard of them being limited to prior sign-ups. Sad thing is, this shop, which I hadn't heard of before, is not that far away, and if I had been treated by like a potential customer instead of a nuisance I might've considered giving them some business. I guess they're selling more than most shops this season.

post #2 of 27

doesn't sound like they have any customers that appreciate them.

post #3 of 27

This could get fun, seeings how you've named names.

popcorn.gif

post #4 of 27

Wow, I wouldn't bet these guys are going to be to successful in the long haul. I kind of follow their thinking to give their current customers first crack at the skis, but if there isn't a turn out by this group, then I would think you would want to accomodate somebody else.

 

After lugging everything to the demo event and a poor turnout I would be inclined to let some skis go out and hope for the best. Just maybe you might have a great run or something and just have to have those skis!

 

I would bet the guy with the attitude isn't the owner or have any of his own money wrapped up in the equipment the shop is trying to sell. He'd be a little nicer and try a little harder I would think if that was the case.

 

I used to love demo days but haven't participated in more recent years , mostly because too many experiences with God Awful tunes and I'm not tune obsessed by any means .

post #5 of 27

I had a similar experience at a demo day several years ago.  This was a well advertised event with a number of manufacturers' reps in attendance.  I registered and walked over to the Head tent and saw a highly desireable demo of the new wider Supershape (can't remember the model name but it was widerly discussed here at the time).  I am holding my own pair of Head Monsters during the entire exchange.  I asked to demo the Supershape and I get a long pause and a "uh . . . ."  Finally, he asks if I have a season locker or something else similar,  I said, "No I do not."  He says, I'm sorry but we are saving these for people who do."  I said, "you mean as opposed to the people who actually buy your skis" and walk off when he just stares at me with a blank look."

 

In fairness, it was not that big of deal because I did demo a number of skis all day l but it was a real dissappointment because I had made a significant effort be there and it was one of several skis I was looking forward to skiing. 

post #6 of 27

"How many guys from New Jersey does it take to screw in a light bulb"?

 

"WHAT'S IT TO YA???"

post #7 of 27

What's the requirement to post in this thread? Should I come back later?

Sorry about your experience. It's a little familiar.

 

Thanks to those reps who do care ! Demoing can be fun.

post #8 of 27

You should have openly mocked their lack of customers testing ski's every chance you could get.

 

 

post #9 of 27

How the h*ll did they know you weren't going to be a customer?  That's what I would say to them. 

 I guess if they don't let you try it out, then you can't ever buy from them and become a customer. 

 

...seems to me that if I were a business, I'd want to recruit new customers.....  but then that's the point of this thread, huh?

post #10 of 27
So I walk into my ski shop and ask about demos...

I told the owner that I was thinking about buying new skis for my wife and myself at the end of the month, and if they had good demos I'd buy them from him. Instead he tells me he just got in a reeeeeeeally lightly used set of Bandits, and Atomic T-30 168s he though would be perfect for my wife.

Then he made me a deal on the both of them that was less than I was willing to pay for a single pair of the demos, and told me to take them and see what we thought before we bought them and bring them back in a week.

I went in Monday, and he asked how it went. I said the conditions were getting bad, so we only got to use them a couple of hours Friday night, because we didn't want to ruin skis that we didn't own. He said to take them back out again, they were no good just sitting in the shop. When I asked when he needed them back, he said to keep them until we couldn't stand it anymore, and just bring back money instead.

I suspect my shop is eviler than yours. biggrin.gif
post #11 of 27

On second thought,

 

I've been at mountains with demo's going on, inquired about using the skis, and, been told that it's a private demo for shop customers. Also, been on days reserved for shop employees to demo next year's skis and been denied use. No big deal in my opinion. If a shop wants to do a day for their bonafide, local customers only, it's their choice. Open it up to the general public, and, your customers get the short end as skis will not be available. Of the general public, how many people will make the effort to buy from a ski shop not convenient to home? It's a long way from "might buy" to hearing the credit card get swiped through the machine.

 

It's a shame Blue did not state the demo was for registered customers.

 

Evan, how was your day other wise?

 

 

post #12 of 27

Any "brick and mortar" shop that treats the "general public" as the original poster was treated

should not complain about folks turning away from them and dealing with other forms of retailers.

Here was a shop that had a chance to find another customer.  Instead they probably (rightly so) lost them.

"Registered customers?"  Now we have to certify that we are customers.....  And a hill such as Blue probably

gets 90% local skiers, so any shop doing demos would not be that far away.

The original poster was very clear in his post, there was no one around... maybe the employee didn't

want to take off his gloves to adjust the demo bindings?

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

On second thought,

 

I've been at mountains with demo's going on, inquired about using the skis, and, been told that it's a private demo for shop customers. Also, been on days reserved for shop employees to demo next year's skis and been denied use. No big deal in my opinion. If a shop wants to do a day for their bonafide, local customers only, it's their choice. Open it up to the general public, and, your customers get the short end as skis will not be available. Of the general public, how many people will make the effort to buy from a ski shop not convenient to home? It's a long way from "might buy" to hearing the credit card get swiped through the machine.

 

I completely understand if it's a shop demo so employees can test out next year's skis.  That's a private event.  But it didn't sound like that was the case (maybe I'm wrong).

 

Perhaps I'm a bit sensitive on this subject, because for the record four years ago, I actually bought a pair of skis -- that day -- from a shop when I demo-ed.  Went there w/o an appointment, I tried out four skis, chose one, bargained a little bit on price, and went home with brand new skis and bindings.  And I am not rich.  I had decided I was serious about buying new skis, wanted to try a few out, and just decided to honor the time and commitment the shop extended.  So it does happen.

 

Back to the original point: You can't catch any fish if you don't drop any bait in the water.

 

 

post #14 of 27

I guess I'm spoiled by the 2-3 times the Northwest Demo Tour comes by, and having a local manufacturer that hands out free demo's.

 

I honestly don't see why an empty demo booth would turn away a potential customer because they aren't on the list of people that didn't show up anyways.

post #15 of 27

Because the rep doesn't have any skin in the game.  To paraphrase from Office Space:

 

"You see, Bob.... its not that I'm lazy.  Its just that I don't care!   Now, I could bust my *ss and the company would move a few more units, but I wouldn't see another red cent"...etc.

post #16 of 27

post #17 of 27

Maybe the "I'd like to demo some skis" phrase was misinterpreted.
Maybe you didn't ask for the right ski.

 

http://youtu.be/B3KBuQHHKx0

 

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post


 

I would bet the guy with the attitude isn't the owner or have any of his own money wrapped up in the equipment the shop is trying to sell. He'd be a little nicer and try a little harder I would think if that was the case.

 

 

You never know.  I had this one restraunt I went to all the time.  Great food at good prices but the service was only good when the "manager" was there.  When this other guy was waiting tables it was terrible.  I felt like letting the manager know that "hey when you are not around this other guy you trust is just useless...spends the night reading magazines".....found out later that lazy magazine guy is actaully the owner!
 

 

post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

On second thought,

 

I've been at mountains with demo's going on, inquired about using the skis, and, been told that it's a private demo for shop customers. Also, been on days reserved for shop employees to demo next year's skis and been denied use. No big deal in my opinion. If a shop wants to do a day for their bonafide, local customers only, it's their choice. Open it up to the general public, and, your customers get the short end as skis will not be available. Of the general public, how many people will make the effort to buy from a ski shop not convenient to home? It's a long way from "might buy" to hearing the credit card get swiped through the machine.

 

It's a shame Blue did not state the demo was for registered customers.

 

Evan, how was your day other wise?

 

 




Still pretty short-sighted. Last I checked, brick and mortar ski shops in the middle of rural NJ aren't exactly rolling in success. An event like that is a good opportunity to introduce yourself to new customers - it shouldn't matter if they're going to show up in your shop the next day. Maybe they're in town and stop in to buy something, maybe they tell friends or relatives about what a good experience they had with the shop, etc. At the very least, you act polite and humble. And if you're skis are just sitting there, what's the harm in letting someone else use them?

 

This sounds like a huge PR fail. Customer service is really pretty simple, don't know why so many businesses f it up beyond recognition.

post #20 of 27

I was there Friday too. I didn't bother asking for a demo mostly because I didn't see any skis I have been interested in buying. 

 

However, last season on the way home from the mountain I did stop in that shop to pick something up (I forget what).  It was a warm day, the front and rear doors were wide open, I walked around for a good 3 minutes and never saw anybody.  They were probably out back since I heard some voices as I was getting in my car.  I'll assume the owner wasn't around then either. 

 

 

post #21 of 27

Hi,

 

Twice in the last 3 years I have demoed skiis for free, and then the store has been unable to sell them to me, even though I wanted to buy them!

 

Both occasions have been at Whistler where CanSki has free on mountain demos. It is a great service, with many skis available. First time was with my daughter, she demoed around 5-6 skis before deciding which one she liked the most. Second time was myself, and I demoed 5 skis over several days.

 

On both occasions I've gone back to the demo tent and told them I wanted to buy the ski, only to find out when they rang the shop in town they were out of stock. Both times I was offered the demo, but they were not in mint condition. On both occasions I've gone down into town and bought the ski elsewhere (cheaper as well).

 

WTF?? They let me demo multiple skis for free over multiple days, even though they don't even have the product to sell??? Very strange

post #22 of 27

Hey, don't complain, at least you found a ski you liked.  I'd like to try several skis that no one in town has.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robbo mcs View Post

Hi,

 

Twice in the last 3 years I have demoed skiis for free, and then the store has been unable to sell them to me, even though I wanted to buy them!

 

Both occasions have been at Whistler where CanSki has free on mountain demos. It is a great service, with many skis available. First time was with my daughter, she demoed around 5-6 skis before deciding which one she liked the most. Second time was myself, and I demoed 5 skis over several days.

 

On both occasions I've gone back to the demo tent and told them I wanted to buy the ski, only to find out when they rang the shop in town they were out of stock. Both times I was offered the demo, but they were not in mint condition. On both occasions I've gone down into town and bought the ski elsewhere (cheaper as well).

 

WTF?? They let me demo multiple skis for free over multiple days, even though they don't even have the product to sell??? Very strange



 

post #23 of 27

some rental shops are not permitted to sell skis. by the ski company likely. there are several around here in that category. some develop a way to sell skis a few pairs anyhow.

 

I once joined a shop's service and demo program for a flat fee for one season. the main draw was the demo opportunity. but when the day came, there were no skis my size. I would have appreciated a heads up on that before being sold the idea of the membership. It's not like you can't see what size ski I'd need. I called BS on that and never bought from them again.

post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbo mcs View Post

Hi,

 

Twice in the last 3 years I have demoed skiis for free, and then the store has been unable to sell them to me, even though I wanted to buy them!

 

Both occasions have been at Whistler where CanSki has free on mountain demos. It is a great service, with many skis available. First time was with my daughter, she demoed around 5-6 skis before deciding which one she liked the most. Second time was myself, and I demoed 5 skis over several days.

 

On both occasions I've gone back to the demo tent and told them I wanted to buy the ski, only to find out when they rang the shop in town they were out of stock. Both times I was offered the demo, but they were not in mint condition. On both occasions I've gone down into town and bought the ski elsewhere (cheaper as well).

 

WTF?? They let me demo multiple skis for free over multiple days, even though they don't even have the product to sell??? Very strange

Why not just buy the demos? Mint condition is for fine collectibles, not skis.
 

 

post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

some rental shops are not permitted to sell skis. by the ski company likely. there are several around here in that category. some develop a way to sell skis a few pairs anyhow.

 

I once joined a shop's service and demo program for a flat fee for one season. the main draw was the demo opportunity. but when the day came, there were no skis my size. I would have appreciated a heads up on that before being sold the idea of the membership. It's not like you can't see what size ski I'd need. I called BS on that and never bought from them again.



How could a ski manufacturer limit an independent business from selling skis? And why would it want to?

post #26 of 27

Near as I can understand they like to control pricing.  I know that ski manufacturers go after some of the Ebay vendors when they are undercutting prices too much.  

post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

 

"It's a shame Blue did not state the demo was for registered customers."

 

That occurred to me too, but I don't know if Blue knew about the conditions.

 

LP, been to Elk lately? Almost went yesterday (2/13) but just seemed too warm.  As does the foreseeable future. 

 

 



 

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