Very few people know how to run a business. It continually appalls me to see how many hi-fi retailers (among many other types of businesses) that run themselves into the ground by acting like jack asses. I can't believe it either.
A dealer I know won't even let you take ANYTHING home to audition it! He wants you to buy first and then he proceeds to tell me there is NO return policy!!??!? Well heck, that is no more help that buying on Audiogon - but it sure costs a whole lot more! (IMO, warranty is just about worthless except for CD players).
There are some good dealers so don't give up hope but yes, be prepared to have to look long and hard for them. Oh well...
Best Buy doesn't work on commision. (I don't think). You can never find anyone to help, no matter what the season...my experience, anyway.
Some high end dealers embrace audiogon. I can think of one in my state that is the Dealer for Wilson. I know that he has an interest in audiogon and doesn't bash you for bringing it up.
I have a feeling that a few more years will weed out most of the dealers that have the attitude you are speaking of.
Welcome to the 21st century. For a tv;---I think you better do your homework before you go to BB,CC, and the like.---For everything video hang at avsforum.com and learn. For audio,this is da place.---Even if they're polite and have some knowledge,I think today's buyer need to know what products do what---and understand the hi's and low's of their choices.--But,hey; that's just me.
I have a dealer in my area that is rude too. If I ever want to buy something that only he carries, I will buy used off the Gon, call a dealer in another city and ask if they will ship or drive to another city. I will go as far as to contact the manufacturer of a product he carries and tell them I will not buy from him and ask what they can do. He will not concede that any other product is better than what he carries, no matter what. His main customer base is non-informed people with a lot of money that believe what he says is gospel because they don't know any better and/or are too lazy to research.
The two shops that I like to go to are now focusing mainly on custom HT installs to make enough money to stay in business. They still have a couple of two channel setups but, not like three or four years ago.
We need to keep supporting the B&M stores that give good service in hopes that our support will keep them going long enough for the rude stores to lose customers to the good service stores.
rude dealers is one reason why more manufacturers sell direct.
i hope this trend continues, although it adds a degree of risk and nuisance to the component selection process.
many manufacturers are cordial when receiving calls from customers and are usually a good source of information about the products they manufacture.
in short, retailing stinks.
I will describe the other side of the coin.
The two dealers near me are great; willing to take the time to talk about products and existing systems, matching, you can sit and demo as long as you want, etc.
They do exist!
With the introduction of digital media in the market place the consumer has been overwhelmed with new technology and ever changing formats. The large companies must force feed the public their new products with the latest bells and whistles to remain competitive. Annoying as it may seem this trend is driven by the consumer who is looking for convenience and technology that will change with their taste. The independent retailer suffers for this advancement, and the public marketplace has to change with the demand as well. Audiogon is a growing force in this evolving marketplace.
It's impossible for one person...a dealer...to keep up with all the options. I believe if one can find a dealer who has taken the time to select a few model lines from which a few great systems can be assembled, then that's 90% of the battle. Furthermore, if such a dealer exists, then I can see how he/she might show umbrage at someone who comes in asking questions about a product not carried in the store. I'm not saying this is proper, but I can see how it might happen considering the hours that have been invested by the dealer researching, buying and assembling the systems. From a buyer's standpoint, one has to be willing to give oneself over to the systems that dealer has assembled and the product lines he/she carries. If it sounds good, then buy it and forget what's written in the audio press.
This is one approach. There are many others.
BTW, I haven't found this mystical dealer in my area either, but I believe one exists.
There are certainly still the arrogant high-end retailers. Fortunately, due to competition I think they are dwindling. I would hope that high-end retailers that understand they need to provide higher service would grow, but they need a decent sized market to make that reality. In otherwords, you're not going to find too many in Omaha, there's just not a big enough market.
Your comment (and echoed by a few) about Best Buy surprises me. I've always found Best Buy to have some of the best trained sales staff out there. Okay--are they the most knowledgeable, probably not, but they are well trained. On every occasion I have been in Best Buy, I have usually been asked if I was finding everything okay or if I had any questions. The sales staff was always polite and never pushy. If I had questions and the person didn't know the answer, he didn't make something up. He would say, I don't know, but let me get "mitch" he'll know the answer to that. I've always felt that high-end retailers could learn a lot by how the sales force operates in Best Buy.
There are high-end retailers that understand the above and do have a great sales staff and excellent customer service. I am hopeful that it's an expanding trend and do think there has been improvement in this area over the last 10 years and for good reason--the competition created by the on line stores.
one of our more esteemed members discussed a great way to handle rude dealers in this thread response
In addition, if youre not dropping 20 or 30 large, then they don't have the time of day for you. It's like they want to make their nut for the entire month in one quick sale.
On a side note, I was over at BB yesterday, and wandered into the new Magnolia HiFi "store". There was a young lady and man behind the counter chatting away. So, I walked around and browsed a little. They didn't have much; a few pairs of entry level Martin Logan, Mirage and klipsch speakers, a few Denon receivers and an entry level Sony 720P projector. In addition, they had moved all the large (60"+) plasma/LCD TV's into the Magnolia area.
So, after walking around for a few minutes, I walked up to the counter. After about two minutes, the guy interrupts his conversation with his female coworker, and asks me, with attitude, if I need some help. So, I asked are they going to carry any other manufacturers, any higher end M-L speakers and any separates. His reply to the first two questions was no and I spent about two minutes trying to explain to him what a pre-amp, power amp and surround sound processor is. So, I turned to the girl and asked her about separates. She just shrugged her shoulders and went back to flipping through her fashion magazine. So I said "thanks and good luck" and walked out. I give them about a year before they rip out the Magnolia areas and put in new displays of big screen hi-def TV's. As I said to my buddy that owns a custom install business: "People don't go to Best Buy to buy high-end electronics; they go to buy home theaters in a box and sales paper 'bargains'."
It's funny, in the Magnolia section of BB I am ignored. In the whole rest of the store, xmas or not xmas, someone always comes up and politely asks if I need help finding anything.
I've had a few conversations with BB/Magnolia sales staff about their business model. To boil it down, their idea is similar to Walmart moving upscale in select affluent markets. The well-healed shopper who frequents expensive boutiques for luxury goods, still generally cuts corners with the rest of amerika by shopping the Big Box for commodity purchases. The BB/Magnolia idea is to grab up this affluent and mostly uninformed buyer and his wife (neither of whom have yet discovered high-end audio) while rutting in the weeds with the discount merchandise. Mr./Mrs. Toll Brothers will be persuaded to make an impulse buy of a $10K-$20K HT turnkey system based on combined elements of style/status/ease of purchase. Apparently the formula works often enough. The salesman I spoke with mentioned that after selling a complete system to a customer, the customer bought a second HT receiver to put in his den--without any speakers attached-- just because he liked the way it looked. Perhaps pretty soon BB will merge with Toll Brothers and package the whole HT thing with the mortgage.
If you go to a fine restaurant, jeweller, clothing store or car dealership then you will often meet this same behaviour. The arrogance is intended to pass the message that "we are highly discriminating and what we offer is the finest you can find". These dealerships also expect respect and that you are genuinely interested in a purchaase and not simply scouting out components. (fair enough if they have a lot of expensive inventory).
If you get quickly ushered out or ignored then it is possible that your appearance/behaviour is letting you down. An old saying applies, "when in Rome, do as Romans do!"
Parked my Bently in the front,walked in with a supermodel on each arm,left a trail of cash along the sidewalk
leading up to the front door,the tail from my tux actually got caught in the door,checked the time on my Vicheron Constantin and still was still treated rudely.
Left,bought the store and turned it into a McDonalds.
Now I feel better that the former owner now rudely ask "Would you like to supersize that"
whats really sad is this thread is maybe 12 hrs old and already soo many posts!! i thought i was the only one having problems with my Linn Dealer..yes, i said it..i know some Linnies feel Linn can do no wrong...i have all Linn gear, but only use a dealer for turntabel setup.. whats worse than rude is uniformed dealers...heck, thats why they are dealers..they are supposed to know more than we do! And fo anyone to judge a customer based on physical appearance is just hurting themselves, and will lose the sale..
If you go to a fine restaurant, jeweller, clothing store or car dealership then you will often meet this same behavior.
The fancy restaurant remark reminds me of the movie, "The Jerk."
You live here? Oh, it's nice. Did you decorate it?
Navin R. Johnson: Yeah, I got all this stuff from the old Cup 'o Pizza place before they tore it down.
Marie: Good pizza. [the two are eating pizza in a cup]
Navin R. Johnson: Oh, this is the best pizza in a cup ever. This guy is unbelievable. He ran the old Cup 'o Pizza guy out of business. People come from all over to eat this.
Navin: "Marie, now just stay calm. Stay calm. Don't look down, don't look down! Look up! Just keep your eyes up and keep them that way, o.k.!
Waiter there are snails on her plate. Now get them out of here before she sees them! Look away, just look away, keep your eyes that way! You would think that in a fancy restaurant at these prices you could keep the snails off the food! There are so many snails there you can't even see the food! Now take those away and bring us those melted cheese sandwich appetizers you talked me out of!"
Waiter: "Oui monsieur."
Navin: "Can you believe this? First, they didn't have the bamboo umbrellas for the wine, and now snails on the food! Two boobs! That's what he takes us for!"
In my area, Tampa Florida, the retail situation varies a great deal. St. Cecelia's Sound Gallery offers the best possible service and buying experience. The owner is friendly, low pressure, and genuinely interested in music, audio, and happy customers. I haven't made any big purchases from him, but he's always gracious and happy to demo. Another long time hifi retailer that shall remain nameless seems to have gravitated towards only catering to those interested in home theater and/or those having very deep pockets. I've attempted to make three purchases there over the last few years, only to find they don't stock best selling speakers and cd players from the lines they claim to represent. Six months ago I attempted to audition one of the best selling speakers at the $4500 price point and they've still not gotten a pair on the floor. The sales person was very polite, but I got the feeling that as "two channel" listener, I was being regarded as a quaintly antiquated antedeluvian remnant of a bygone era. Another long time audio retailer in town has the lowest prices on cd's anywhere, so I frequent them often and pass through the audio rooms to the cd sales area. Not once have I even been spoken to by the sales staff as I looked at their equipment offerings in dozens of visits. Best Buy and Circuit City staff here also tend towards indifferent service. As mentioned before, you best do your own preliminary research.
My experience is not even close to the one described by the inital post. I have dealt with the dealer in Delaware that advertises in Stereophile and has customers from the modest to the very wealthy. One thing strikes me as constant. All are welcome and the owners and sales staff are knowlegeable, polite, and do understand competing lines, used items, audiogon and do allow home evaluations. In fact, just this past week a couple came from a section of Pennsylvania that was near to New York, North Jersey and Philadelphia, but they chose "my" dealer due to their professional attitude to all.
Yes, Wal-Mart did real good with their attempt to go high end and sell designer labels (sarcasm). I live in Middle America suburbia, but I feel real uncomfortable going into a Wal-Mart. It's not worth getting mugged in the parking lot to save a dollar on a three pack of mens underwear. I think Kmart is a step up.
Does anybody remember when Circuit City had their high end room? For a while they were carrying Carver and Onkyo among other brands.
My high end dealer isn't rude, he is non-existant. As far as I know, none of my components were ever available in the second largest city in Michigan. Oops, sorry, except for Levinson. There hasn't been a two channel demo room in my city in years. If there was, I would drive my rusty 1992 pontiac over there in the morning. Thank goodness for the internet and Audiogon.
One dealer I used to frequent has gone out of business. The last time I was there I was trying to buy a power cord from him. When I asked the owner the price he said he didn't know.
He told me to call him the next day and he would find out. When I called the following day he wasn't there and his secretary said he just left on a business trip for 2 weeks. When I asked her if someone else could help me she replied that everyone was out to lunch and to leave a #. Well no one ever called me back so I called Music Direct and ordered one from them. Just recently I see the dealer is operating under a different name. Out of curiosity I called him to see what he was selling. He tells me he sold his business to another company. When I asked him why the storefront is vacant he said they closed down the store. If Brick and Mortar stores are going to be so flaky I'll just buy here on Audiogon or the mail order houses. Personally If all high end stores were out of business I could care less. They deserve what they get. It's called bad kharma!
I've been to St.Cecilia in Clearwater also and really enjoyed my time there; Brian who runs the store is a great guy and knows what sounds the best.
Albert, your killnng me!! i thought i was the only one quoting Navin R johnson on a daily basis! "he hates these cans"
Salelevick, ive been to the dealer you are referring to on rt 202. they serviced my linn lp12 for me, even though they arent a linn dealer...yes, they were very kind...
Albert, I'm impressed! You can so easily qoute one of the best, funniest movies ever. I love it!
Navin was an audiophile, "All I need is this remote control".
This remote control and this chair. This remote control, this chair and .... It is a great movie.
Rives, Hello, Was just curious as to whether or not Best Buy gave you a big discount on the Rives Audio Reference System... ;^)...
The discount at Best Buy was huge. My entire reference system
as you can see was bought there. Of course, we designed their reference demo rooms at Best Buy, and we strongly endorse them.
If you take any of the above comments seriously, you've been playing your records backwards too long.
I'd like to point out that, at least for Brick 'n Mortar stores that I've visited lately, there's a big difference between 'high-end' and 'audiophile'.
Many of these stores are nothing more than a place for those concerned with one-upping their family and friends to buy large, expensive-looking HT systems, without any concern for whether the gear is actually the 'best' at what it does. The price tag alone is what sells the gear. Of course, if they can claim that reviewer 'X' from some Audio/HT magazine reviewed the gear as being the best in the universe, then that just gives these clueless snobs more motivation to buy.
I have one of these 'upscale' retailers in my area, as well as one true Audiophile dealer. The upscale dealer likes to imply that you can't assemble a decent system for less than 40 grand, while the Audiophile dealer has managed on at least one occasion to assemble a two-channel rig that bettered every system I've ever heard at accurately reproducing the recorded event; at a total cost of 8 grand.
I do confess to enjoying pointing out the flaws in the 'upscale' retailer's reference system though. :)