This story actually has a somewhat happy ending. The managers at First Run and Green Mountain Orthotic Lab discovered this thread and took time out of their busy schedules to contact me. After going in and talking to them, I have a much better feel for their operation. The first thing I learned was that the employee I spoke to was actually not an employee of GMOL but was rather an employee of First Run (the two operations share one retail space). Since I didn't have any interaction with GMOL (although I didn't realize it at the time), it really isn't fair for me to criticize them. The manager of First Run apologized for what had happened and told me that they have discussed this with their employees, and it shouldn't happen again. I also spoke with the manager of GMOL and discovered that he didn't fit my stereotype of the arrogant bootfitter. He seemed really down to earth and actually explained that the reason they don't do foam liners is not that the foam liners themselves are bad, but instead that they have discovered that they are extremely challenging to do well in the typical shop environment (in other words GMOL feels that it take a ton of time in a very relaxed environment to do a foam liner right, and the typical consumer really doesn't have that much time).
In summary, I guess I was having a bad day, and the shop employee I ran into was having a bad day, and things just kind of got out of hand. Obviously from the comments on this thread most people have had overwhelmingly positive interactions with GMOL, and I actually expect that in the future I will also have positive interactions with them (they even invited me to bring in my boots if I had any fit issues).
I would also like to apologize to GMOL and in fact posted a seperate apology thread in the General Ski Discussion forum.
[Update added by moderator at request of poster]
Executive Summary: Green Mountain Orthotic Lab guy told me that my choice of brand new boots and bootfitter sucked without any prompting from me. I hate bootfitters who act like this.
In general I have rarely had a positive experience with bootfitters. They usually tell me that they can't fix whatever problem I have without my spending a fortune (where fortune is defined as > $100). Now this may partly be my fault for buying boots from one location, having the footbed made at another, and generally asking for help from the resident bootfitter wherever I happen to be, as opposed to picking one guy and sticking with him.
The most unpleasant thing about visiting a bootfitter is that (unless it is their work), they will generally badmouth the guy who last worked on your boots (even if the work was done by someone well-regarded in the industry), and tell you that you were an idiot for having the work done by someone other than them. I have had this experience at Deep Powder House in Alta, Surefoot in Mammoth Lakes, and have heard many first-hand stories (although not experienced it myself) about Ski-Net Sports in Los Angeles.
I recently bought a pair of boots from Surefoot in Killington and was really pleased with the service. They didn't badmouth any other bootfitters or otherwise make me feel like I had screwed up, and the boots were super-comfy after they did the foaam injected liners. I haven't skiied in the boots yet so my opinion may change, but at least they were friendly.
Today I took my skis into the First Run ski shop in Stratton to get a binding check done, since I will be working at Stratton this season. (Yes, I'm about to bad-mouth a company owned business. This is my opinion only and should not be construed as anything else. If someone important is reading this, please don't fire me, but instead take it as constructive criticism.) As many of you may know, First Run is also home to Green Mountain Orthotics Lab, a well-known bootfitting operation, that many people seem to like.
As soon as I handed my boots to the guy behind the counter he recognizes the Surefoot liner and says: "Looks like you got sold a bill of goods" (the boots are foam liner, and custom footbed). I explain that I got a deal on the boots and went the full custom route because, for once, I could afford it. He then proceeds to take the boots apart while warning me that Surfoot foam liners are often poorly done. He then tells me that the boots I purchased aren't very good because the cuff is too low. Had I been a customer I simply would have walked, but I needed a ski check done, so I sat through this.
To me the situation would be analagous to my walking into a department store with an obviously brand-new suit looking for a tie that matches, only to have the clerk tell me that my suit sucks and I should have bought it from them. It's simply insulting to be treated this way. It might have been marginally acceptable had I walked in complaining about my boots, but this wasn't even a boot related visit. In no other business would anyone get anway with this sort of behavior, but for some reason it seems to be par for the course with bootfitters. Because of this single interaction, I will be steering my clients away from Green Mountain Orthotics Lab and towards Surefoot in Killington (assuming nothing too bad happens with my new boots).
In summary, I simply don't like the attitude I get from bootfitters, and I really am not that impressed with the service they provide. In particular Green Mountain Orthotics Lab was really obnoxious today. I feel like the ski community lets this sort of behavior slide because they are so grateful for boots that fit, but bootfitters aren't gods and don't deserve to get away with their holier than thou attitude.
Any one else want to rant?