|Asshats don't catch nice trout|
....he should not be an asshat.*/**
I've given fly shop owners a hard time now and again for their lack of customer service. I think it's a fair complaint and one that certainly has struck a chord with fly shop customers. I get more traffic and comments related to fly shop posts than most anything related to actual fishing. Maybe that also says something about my skills as an angler.
One of the great challenges of owning a shop is beating the competition. This used to be a simple matter of knowing who was upstream or downstream of you. But the internet has stomped into town and made things cheap and abundant and easy to get without going outdoors to prepare for one's outdoor sports.
Just last week I noticed I was getting low on Comparadun hair. I suppose I could have driven an hour or so to the nearest fly shop on the off chance that it would have something in stock. I could even have called ahead to check stock before I showed up. But the internet has made it easy. Sadly, the sample of Comparadun hair that arrived was substandard. The hairs are all very short, not good for anything bigger than #16.
|HRO. One of the better ones.|
But when it comes to mass produced items - rods, waders, boots, etc. - one can fondle locally but purchase globally. Now this behavior isn't unique to fly shops. I've walked into Best Buy, fondled the goods then scoped out the web for the best price; sometimes right in the store.**** More often than not the best price is from Best Buy or some other big box retailer. I don't feel so bad doing this with large retailers because that's the game these guys play.+
But I think it's a different game when you do this to a small retailer. Sure, they've signed up for the Russian Roulette of Capitalism, but the game is much different for the small guys. Volumes are low. Margins are slim. Cheating them of a well earned sale is cold. If you walk into a shop, scope out the goods, take the rod for a test drive, make the clerk answer twenty questions and then go buy on the internet to save a few beans, then you're an asshat.
Shop owners aren't operating a charity and they don't get commission when some other guy rings the register. If you take the time to visit the shop and scope out the goods, then you should dance with them that brung ya. Heck, amortize those internet savings over the number of fishing trips you're going to have during the lifetime of the product and you're probably talking about chump change per trip.
Shop on the internet or shop in a shop. But don't showroom. Showroomers are asshats.++ Don't be an asshat.
* Gals can be asshats too
** I was tempted to use the term "douchebag" in this article but restrained myself because it is too vulgar for family audiences. I do, however, love how the word feels rolling off the tongue.
*** Well, besides the generally apathetic sales force.
**** Referred to by professionals as "showrooming"
+ At least that's what I tell myself.
++ Except for the previously mentioned exclusion