Re: A Customer like you

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by heck on July 09, 2003 at 19:15:56:

In Reply to: Re: A Customer like you posted by Neptune on July 02, 2003 at 12:09:34:

Neptune said: "As far as my "pickiness" about cleanliness goes, I guess it's that first impression I see when encountering a place that sells and services life support equipment"

Hmm. I look over to the workbench and more see if it is somewhat organized. I talk to the tech and see if they have a clue.

It's been well documented that Sports Chalet has very pretty and clean stores. And that some are good. And that some are horrible. Rest are mediocre.

I'll tell you right now that if you go into a smaller shop on a Monday there is a good chance it will look like a bomb went off toward the back (no insult intended to Mr Hoffman). Most shops owners dive/instruct most weekends, and all of their rentals are returned Sunday or Monday. It takes time to also organize all the tanks (and charge them) after all of the regulars drop them off. Fridays aren't much better (everyone is picking up their gear for that weekend)

And some stores aren't as pretty inside (or outside) as some Sports Chalets. Which is fine with me - it means that shop isn't gouging me in terms of prices.

Does it look reasonably neat? I'm not asking for new carpet, but does it look like the vacuum has been run in the past day or two. Has the glass been cleaned? Hmm, some clutter, but is that an old reg from 1954 sitting there? Hey, possibility this guys been at it for a while. Is the pool and the workbench areas - areas that are important - clean?

Damn, the small shops don't have all 5 of the newest regulators that were just reviewed (as a Sports Chalet might) But you ask someone like Jim (and I have) and he'll tell you that he read the same review, but that the previous n years of brand X were garbage, so he stopped carrying them. He's withholding judgement on the new model of brand X (he's heard they fixed their quality issue) until he learns more, and he'll order it if you really want him to, but he thinks brands y and z are the better way to go which is why he carries them.

Someone asked what the best shops were. On that list may be a few Sports Chalets (every now and then you get lucky). And I would include a few of the smaller shops. They've already been named.

But in my opinion your post (that Jim responded to ) had the wrong way to evaluate a shop. Best car mechanic I ever went to is in a little out of the way hole. Lousy area. Probably cheap rent. You get in the place and it isn't spotless like a dealership. But you look over at the tools and the workbenches and they are neat and organized, and the tools, although worn and obviously well used, were in good condition.

Why did I go there? Everyone told me it was the best place to go. And I've never had a problem with it since.

And that's how I evaluate a place.

My point is the same as Jim's - if you evaluate based on how pretty the place is or how many different brands they carry, you and Sports Chalet deserve each other. Yeah, yeah, first impressions. Wrong way to judge shops; wrong way to judge people.

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