I support local businesses only if their customer service is up to par, or out performs that of somewhere else. There are some places in Rupert that have absolutely disgusting customer service, and I along with hundreds of other people, absolutely refuse to shop there.
Being in the service industry, I pride myself on my customer service skills. Heck, there’s people that will not even walk into the store unless they see me working, as they know I’ll help them to the best of my ability, instead of talking on the phone, being unfriendly or pushy, or ignoring people like some of the other employees have been known to do. Is it too much to ask that I get treated like that when I walk into any other store?
There have been a few customers that walk into Athletes World, and complain to me about the service they didn’t get from the Terrace store, and proceed to tell me about how messy the store was, and that they couldn’t find anything. There have also been times where people I know, have spent $400 at the Terrace store, then come into the Rupert store one day later, only to find out that they could have saved $150 by shopping in Rupert, as I would have told them to wait a day for our “Buy One, Get One Half Price” or “Entire Store 50% Off” sale. I’m not going to take $400 of someone’s money one day, if they can come back the next and save $150. I’m going to do my best to tell that person about the sale, and chances are, they will come back the next day, be much happier knowing they saved $150 and visit the store again and again. But I guess not everyone has compassion for people, they just see the potential dollar signs from the one visit.
I will spend my money where I get treated the best, and not get talked down to, or belittled like I don’t know what I need or want. Take computers for instance… I’m not going to buy anything from a store that the owner tells me I can’t sit in a chair and test it out before I buy it, they tell me I want a more expensive item or something I know won’t work with what I have, or they act like a supreme jackass when I ask a simple little question about getting something fixed. Betcha you don’t need 3 guesses to figure out what local business I’m talkin about there.
Now starting to play hockey takes a lot of $$$, and I’m going to be very picky about where I decide to spend that money, so I went to Farwest first.
I tried on some skates, and I was told not to buy the comfiest pair as they were crappy and I should buy the $500 ones instead. The crappy pair I wanted were selling for $400!! After much arguing, about what I wanted, and what I “should and shouldn’t” buy, I gave up and looked at the gear instead. Strike one.
I found a pair of shoulder pads I liked, that were comfy, and I could actually move around in really well. But yet again, these pads were “completely wrong for me”, and he proceeded to tell me the ones that didn’t fit me and I felt like a Tin Man in were perfect for me. Of course the Tin Man ones were also $60 more expensive. Strike two.
So I gave one last try at finding a helmet. I have been looking for one that has a certain type of lining, not that crappy hard foam that most of them are made of. So I found the one I liked, which I’m surprised they had in stock, and it cost $150. I tried it on, walked around the store a little bit, and pretty much decided I wanted that helmet. He then came back from whatever he was doing, and told me I shouldn’t be spending that much money on a helmet if I’m a beginner. Sorry guy, but it’s my money, and I can spend it the way I want. If I have to spend $150 for a helmet that fits me properly, and I’m happy with, so be it. So instead of me buying the helmet, I walked out of the store completely. Strike three.
As it so happens, my friend was going to Terrace to get her car worked on, so I tagged along, and proceeded to buy ALL my gear except for 3 things at Source for Sports, where I was treated like I should have been treated all along. I’m much happier that I got the gear I wanted, that fit me properly from the get go, and I left the store a much happier person since I got the service I deserved, and every single person in that store had the courtesy to say hi, ask me how I was doing, and help me in any way possible. The owner helped me find my skates, the same ones I would have bought at Farwest, with no complaints, and reassured me that I wanted to find the comfiest pair so they wouldn’t be hurting my feet once I actually stepped on the ice. I bought the same helmet I wanted at Farwest, shoulder pads that fit even better, and gear they didn’t even have in stock in Rupert.
Ok, so the moral of my rant… Rupert businesses will only drawn in Rupert people if they try to impress the people that live here, treat them with respect, and do anything within their powers to keep those dollars here. If they treat their customers like crap, it’s only a short drive away to get what you want. Even shorter drive if you prefer to shop from your ass on the computer.