a good place for beginning diving lessons

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Posted by Curt Billings on August 29, 2000 at 22:54:25:

bks wrote me the following offline:
> can you recommend a good place for someone who wants to take beginning diving lessons? i live in the valley so something a little north of you would be great. or, if you can't recommend a place or person, can you tell me where to go for a recommendation? thanks!
> bks

The person is assuming I live the the Torrance area, which I do not but nonetheless I aswered with the following, I have posted it here in case anybody has similar questions or recommendations.
BKS, I do not know your area. However, I would recommend to you to check out ALL the local dive stores in your vicinity. Talk to the store owner/staff in charge about lessons. Ask lots of questions. Ask for full disclosure of all costs associated with the class, beach and boat dives, etc. Check out the gear they have. Do some price comparisons but do not overweight this factor from the others. Do this for each store in your area for a radius you are willing to drive to on a regular basis, for example to get tanks filled. Pick the best from your personal observations, don't rely to much on what others tell you. Their perspectives and needs are different, draw your own conclusions. There are some stores I absolutely hate and that others like. So base it on how you feel, the advice you get from the staff, the attitude they give you with the advice. What you want to do is find a particular shop, or three, worth investing your purchases in, ultimately building up a repore with the staff.

A long lasting relationship is better than a good price break on piece of equipment. The knowledge you get from them is free and is worth more to you in the long run. A fill after hours, a quick fix on some gear, good deals on equipment, that all comes later after you establish a relationship. It takes time to build that up. I tend to stay away from chain stores because the personnel changes too frequently, in terms of months. For this reason it is inevitable you will have to retrain someone to the way your want your customer service dished out, or go somewhere else. Think of it as an investment and invest wisely.

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