Could I be a Retail Wretch?


I started a discussion here this morning to get some feedback on whether an external DAC would make an appreciable improvement over an internal processor’s DAC. During the discussion, I said that I typically visit a local audio dealer, to experience the equipment and then, comparison shop to find the best deal. The particular dealer I was referring to, emails me weekly, sends postcards monthly and catalogs quarterly. It’s always with an invitation to “see and hear the difference”. So I visit, and occasionally buy some small ticket items. But, when it comes to spending thousands on nationally available equipment, I don’t feel any obligation to limit my shopping to that one location.

When I shared my buying habits with the forum, I received responses that said using any brick and mortar stores to demo and then buying elsewhere “cuzz” it’s cheaper is just plain wrong…

I was surprised at that statement. I’m a value oriented person. I enjoy quality items. But I search for them at the best price - is that wrong? If there’s no competitive pricing or added value, why should I feel obligated?


gwbeers
You should feel obligated because you used their services and bought elsewhere. At the very least you should discuss pricing with the dealer to see if they can give you a break on the price if the market warrants. I hope you don’t look to the dealer for any sort of support because they are a dealer for the product you bought elsewhere.
Do you show up to parties with no gifts?  Do you up a salesman time to test drive cars knowing you will buy it used?  Do you hesitate when out with a group to see if someone else will pick up the tab?  Do you grab the first appetizer and the eat the last pig-on-blanket?  Maybe you are a mooch.  Maybe not.
Personally I don’t think so. Unless you are systematically wasting their time, they should be glad they have you coming into their store. If they won’t negotiate, and cannot convince you to buy something from them, they are bad salespersons and shouldn’t even be running a high end audio business in the first place.

@jperry

This is a very simple buyer/seller relationship. As the buyer, my only obligation is to pay for the goods or services a seller is offering. It’s the seller’s obligation to do everything in their power to persuade me to do that. If they don’t, I move on. 

As to support - if they are an authorized dealer, I’d expect them to offer service regardless of where a product was purchased. They are representatives the brand. If you moved from one coast to the other, would you really feel hesitant to ask for support from the nearest dealer?


“If you moved from one coast to the other, would you really feel hesitant to ask for support from the nearest dealer?“

No, but if I lived there and bought it mail order from somewhere else to save a few bucks without giving them a chance to make a sale, I would be embarrassed to ask them for service.

@jones4music

Do you show up to parties with no gifts?  

No. I don’t attend parties where the hosts are trying to sell me something.

Do you up a salesman time to test drive cars knowing you will buy it used?

No. I’ve never upped a salesperson 

Do you hesitate when out with a group to see if someone else will pick up the tab?

No. I wait cautiously and politely.

Do you grab the first appetizer and the eat the last pig-on-blanket?

Yes and No. If the first appetizer is a crusted lamb chop, yes. If it’s the last p-o-b, No . There’s probably a reason… 

Maybe you are a mooch. Maybe not.

Maybe I’m a mooch. Maybe I’m not. But I’m a pretty good buyer :-)


I am guilty of this behavior, myself, but I buy used as I cannot afford to buy the equipment I want new.
However, when I can buy new, I will always use my dealer to make a purchase.
Have you ever asked the dealer to match the price ?
@jperry 
Why would you feel embarrassed - why shouldn't they, for asking more money than the item was worth?
@gwbeers,

No real reason to ask your initial question as you just answered it for yourself.

I think the owner of your local Hi Fi shop has his spider sense tingle when you walk in the shop. 

Good luck with your hi fi system

Best Regards
I am not guilty. I never audition unless I consider buying from them. Since I don't usually buy new even on-line, I cut myself off.
It's not about dealers, I don't care about them, it's about myself maintaining high style, as I see it.
However, my 'audiophile instinct' appears to be quite good, so far I haven't made big mistakes buying equipment unheard.
@jdjones51 
I'm never without my iPhone or iPad. So whenever a salesperson tells me a price, I compare it online and ask if they'll match the listing price. 


I cannot say I condone the practice of using a dealers time to test some equipment already knowing I am going to be buying it elsewhere at a lower price.
So I try not to do so,helps in my location as we have no dealers who carry any product I have interest in.

But this is just the same as I see people do in Best buy for past few years, handle the goods, check out specs etc.
Then buy from Amazon.....

We all would like our money to stretch forever but principles should still hold high.
The last new car I bought I researched what I wanted and looked up the best price in my area for the model I was looking for. When it got down to the " hard " negotiating the salesman did the usual figuring on his paper and showed me his price but when  I was ready to respond I hesitated looking sort of silly. The salesman just smiled and said we have the internet too. B&M stores better get with the program or go the way of the buggy whip. 
I personally think that you are fine doing what you are doing as long as you ask the brick and mortar store to price match. If they wont then that is on them and their business practices. 

I think we all know that the price is not really the price on just about anything. There is always room to negotiate. 

Why pay $25k for CLX Arts when another dealer is will to sell them for $15k. Cost to the dealer is only about $13k. So if a dealer wants to move equipment they will be aggressive and make money. If a consumer wants the next best piece in the chain in the search for SOTA they should be conservative and thrifty because the next SOTA piece is just around the corner. 


After spending 50 years in commissioned sales, and the last 40 years before retiring in residential real estate sales, my skin is about three feet thick.

Imagine showing a very picky couple over 60 homes over a two month period, only to have them walk into someone else's open house and buying directly from that agent because the agent told them he/she would kick back a point of the commission to them.

Yep, it happens.

Next!

Frank
Here’s the thing as far as dealers are concerned: if you find one that can provide the gear you like, provides service, support, loaners, takes trade-ins and will work with you, you should treasure them. I have had a couple of long term relationships with dealers when I was located in New York and they served me well. There is some value in that, and that is worth paying a few dollars more-- you need an odd part? Help on trouble shooting? Want to try a piece of gear at home before you commit? In the long run, you may actually be better served by that (and find it more cost-effective) than price shopping for each item to save a few bucks. However, it is up to the dealer to be able to meet this kind of service level, and it’s not common. If you find such a dealer, you’ll probably want to continue to do business with them purely out of self-interest.
There is no moral issue here. The OP is not behaving unethically. He is under no obligation to abide by someone else’s personal code of conduct and anyone suggesting that he is does not have any basis for it in my opinion.

But there is a problem with doing this: Your local dealer folds and goes away. Then it is your loss and his loss.

I used to have the opinion that it was just good competition to get the best price I could no matter what.

Then one day in a totally different hobby I lowballed a local dealer into giving me a price on an item that I could have gotten for less from a big internet provider. He came close enough that I bought from him. I felt good about buying local and getting a decent price.

A good bit later I learned that his business was struggling and barely hanging on and it occurred to me how much I would lose if he was gone.

And if you haven’t noticed small specialized business are dying and almost non-existent. At first it was the big box stores and Wally-marts. Then it was online sales.

Bottom line is, if you value having a local provider then you better do business with him even if it costs you more. That is pretty much my mantra these days. But it isn’t a moral or ethical issue at all.
There is no moral issue here. The OP is not behaving unethically.

...But it isn’t a moral or ethical issue at all.

Are you suggesting your moral and ethical standards are 'the' standard? : )
There is the widely shared rule:

Don’t take something without giving something of equal value in return


If you visit a dealer, and take his time, and profit from it (knowledge is profit) with the goal of then taking that profit and using it to further profit elsewhere and give nothing in return, then yes, you are breaking a commonly held ethical standard.


There are, of course, those who proclaim that tipping is taxation, but never tell the wait staff that before ordering.

Best,
E
When I first got into this hobby almost 50 yrs ago now, what I really wanted deep down was not to be advised by a manufacturer or dealer or publication on what was "the best" for a given topic. I really didn’t want or could afford the best at the time. What I wanted was to eventually uncover all the secrets I could **for myself**...never mind what someone else thought was great. Heck, I had ears, I knew most things in audio might just come down to taste...what makes someone else’s tastes better than mine?? I just wanted come to **understand** audio as best I could, not fall into the trap so much of what others, who didn’t necessarily know what I wanted, might, or might not, think I wanted. I sorta wanted to cut out the middle man, as it were. But, I felt **entitled** to that line of approach IF I maintained a true willingness to try to uncover that knowledge for myself...to do the work, talk to people who might have more knowledge than me and see what they say, buy some things, experiment, learn to read between the lines with ads and reviews, to try to learn at all opportunities and to try think about what I was doing as a learning process...no matter how long it might take me. A lifelong journey and all that.

And I Certainly did my share of listening at place A and buying at place B, back in the day. But, the world has changed. Now not as many b&m stores are left. The internet has changed the landscape and many of us and many a retailer has had to adapt and change along with the times.

If there were still b&m stores everywhere, then everyone would likely still be shopping that way...and choosing for themselves how they might like to approach dealing with those establishments. But, it’s a bit different now...and more consumers are perhaps caught between the rock and the hard place of nowhere to audition.

You can say that I’m not loyal or moral about it or whatever and I’m fine with that I think, but the way I look at it, I only have so much money. I can’t support every establishment I’ve ever visited. I don’t do that with non-audio stores. If you have that kind of money to work with, then I honestly might salute you, but for me, with audio, I’m either spending that money on myself or I’m just giving it away. When I want to give my money away (and sometimes I do) I just look for a good charity and call it a day. I can’t save the world and everyone in it.

Just sayin’.

Regards,
John
I feel sad that the OP is not willing to acknowledge there is an incurred  cost to the local store when they share their time and expertise.  He places no value on this so is not willing to pay a slightly elevated price following proper negotiation for new products.  Is the cost going to be the same as the lowest online?  No!  Did the online seller offer their time and expertise or only act as a shipping depot for a box they handled for a short time.  So we steal the audition time and store’s expertise and reward the online package handler.  In addition then he expects warranty service and setup advice from a company who he has already obsconded with the unrenumerated value of their time and targeted marketing dollars.  I fail to see how people think this is a good and proper scenario.
Bill, would you like to name those dealers in New York area that you mentioned ?
When they start charging fees for audition, I'll go listen to a few pieces. But I would expect them to be quiet and not challenge me, this could be hazardous to their mental health.
I would say that when it comes to supporting our locally owned businesses, I find it wrong to sample from one and then buy online. I am not going to claim that it is morally or ethically wrong as I would not think this discussion goes to that extreme. I would just find it thoughtfully wrong. These local Mom & Pop shops have set up their business in our communities to make our lives better. Part of that is making enough money so that they can stay open to benefit us. Of course prices are going to be a little higher to account for that benefit. I do not own anything outside the objects in my home so I believe there is no bias in my view. But I do recognize that those whom have invested significant funds in their communities need to be supported. I am personally willing to spend a little more locally to help keep them afloat. Of course if one is talking about thousands of dollars in price difference then that speaks for itself. But if we are talking about a hundred or two dollars to have someone who will take care of me in the midst of sour times, then it is highly worth it. My 2 cents.
Anyway, I am someone on a tight budget with expensive taste so I'll have to buy used. Except maybe new tonearm and couple of cables and of course cartridge. But I don't need to audition them.
I think it’s perfectly normal to shop around and definitely not embarrassing to discuss competitive prices with your local dealers.

It’s not your obligation to buy stuff, it’s the dealer’s job to sell you stuff.

Now let me be a bit tough on the B&M dealers. We’re not talking about cheap plastic no name toys from Ali express here. We’re talking about products that cost thousands and their MAP prices are fiercely protected by manufacturers to ensure every dealer makes a good profit. By good profit I mean 40% of the MAP price. Yes, on a $10k product your local dealer can make $4k. That’s kinda excessive if all the dealer did was talking to you for 10 minutes. So the dealer has to be prepared to either make a lot less on the item or have a lower chance of selling it.

Regarding internet retailers. When it comes to the brand names, online retailers are often at disadvantage because they can not advertise below MAP price and don’t have a face-to-face contact to negotiate a lower sale price. At the same time, they often have to pay sales tax just like B&M. Many brands refuse to open accounts to online retailers without physical locations. In order to make their deals attractive online retailers have to put a lot of effort in monitoring competition, analyzing which inventory to keep, where to acquire the inventory including used stuff, open boxes, etc., creating package deals, holiday sales, and much more. As a result of their hard work, instead of pocketing $4000 they make $400 from selling that same $10k item and yet manage to survive.

Now the question why can’t a B&M dealer survive by charging the same prices? Expensive rent? Not enough walk-ins? Bunch of inventory that doesn’t sell? Failure always has an explanation. All that has nothing to do with a type of business, that’s just a sign that the business is poorly managed.

Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time online retailers know little about the product, hardly can advise on anything or inspire a sale, but they are hard working people. On the contrary, I’ve seen B&M guys that know little about their products, don’t look inspiring and are just plain lazy. When lazy meets hard-working it’s destined to lose.

Someone mentioned Best Buy here. I noticed in the last few years they’ve reinvented themselves. They have a nice selection of cool innovative products, stuff you can’t see or touch anywhere else. Their prices match Amazon’s. I found myself enjoying the store again like 20 years ago. I have no problem buying from them and a peace of mind knowing that the price is right.

And final note on the brick and mortar. While many of them close, Amazon is looking to open brick and mortar locations. So is it a brick problem or a mortar problem? I think the problem is in the way old school B&M businesses are managed.
@david_ten  "Are you suggesting your moral and ethical standards are 'the' standard? : )"

Not at all. But, I do believe that there are standards for moral and ethical behavior. Most of them widely held. This issue does not rise to that level. The shop is open for demos. There is no contract for purchase.

But you bring up a good point. If there is no standard or basis for moral and ethical behavior then all any of us are really doing is asserting our own moral standard....which is an oxymoron by the way....the net effect of which is that anything goes as long as it meets my own or your own personal standard.

In which case the end-point is the same. If the OP is within his own standard then who are we to say he's wrong? That's the slippery slope of of having no concrete moral standards.
@inna- the last dealer I used in New York was actually not based in New York, it was Bill Parish, of GTT Audio based in New Jersey. Interestingly, the geographic distance–– about an hour from my house in the lower Hudson Valley––was never a problem because Bill made house calls: he would bring equipment, come to troubleshoot, bring over manufacturers, provide loaners, etc. There was no obligation to buy something immediately and in one case, I knew out of the box that I did not like the sound of a particular piece of equipment compared to the unit I owned and said as much. One thing I liked was there was no salesmanship-- he let me make my own evaluations and respected my views. During the course of about a decade, I had never even been to Bill’s place, but he made plenty of trips to my place over the years we did business. (I visited him shortly before I left New York).
I lost touch with Bill by the time I moved, but he provided an exceptional level of service.
As to paying a premium, I don’t think I was charged more than I could have gotten any piece of equipment, new or used, on the open market. I was a good customer, but hardly his biggest fish. But there was enough volume over the years, with enough expensive gear, that the relationship was a positive for both of us.

For many years, starting in 1981?, I used David Wasserman at the Stereo Exchange- this was before David had a big, fancy shop-- he was basically a clearing house of used hi-end. I was treated fairly, David was not an audiophile and had no pretensions about it-- but we enjoyed a long, positive relationship. (There came a point where my interest in hi-fi led me to more esoteric stuff but I still stayed in touch-in fact, I called him recently just to chat-- he is now semi-retired, and has a small shop by appointment).
The others- Andy, Lyric, etc. I did business with, but it didn’t stick --
Among the newer dealers, I thought very highly of Jeff at High Water Sound, though I never did any real business with him. At one point, I was hunting for vintage step-up transformers and he talked by phone for at least a 1/2 hour with me, largely about products he didn’t sell. My impression is, he is one of the ’good guys’--
I’m not going to make any moral judgments here- but on a purely self-interested basis, a relationship is a two way thing, and over the years, I suspect the dealers to whom I gave business rewarded that with service and opportunities that I might have otherwise missed. But, I do think it takes a dealer with some savvy, and a good sense of business relationships and how to maintain them. I’ve certainly encountered my share of dealers that who did not meet my expectations (I’m being charitable here) and they did not get continued business from me. There’s a lot more to this than salesmanship in my estimation. And it reflects my experience in other pursuits.

I think some may have misconstrued my internet comparison shopping. I search a specific product, typically by manufacturer and model number. More often than not , the search reveals a brick and mortar merchant with an E-commerce presence. There are two sites that invariably appear in my searches. Both are authorized dealers. One is only a few miles down the road from the McIntosh factory and the other is in Virginia. Both discount new merchandise, both have free delivery, one charges tax. Ironically the one in VA outsources some of his Mcintosh service to the one in NY. Both are readily available for a phone call or quick email response. Their quality of service has been exemplary. They both seem to have an inventory of “open boxes” where they can offer a lower than MSRP price. My last purchase was my MX-122. My local dealer was firm at $7000 plus tax and a delivery fee. He was expecting it to arrive the following week. I did my search, and wound up getting it in 2 days from the shop in NY for $5875 with shipping. While I appreciate the beautiful environment my local shop has built, I don’t feel obligated, in any way, to pay for the oriental rugs, wishing well fountain and leather recliners. At the end of the day those things stay in his store and I leave with only the item at MSRP. For the 15 to 20 minutes I’m in the store, I’d be just as content sitting on a metal folding chair. So, while I’ll still shop the local guy for sundries, I’ll continue comparison shopping the bigger ticket items.



To answer your question, you are wasting their time.  What you think you should pay for any given item has nothing to do what the store needs to cover expenses and generate a profit.  

On the other side of the coin, how would you react if your employer informed you they just received a qualified job application for your position and that applicant is willing to do your job for way less money.  So now your employer wants to know if you’re amicable to a pay cut.  Nice huh?
Salespeople have to earn your business...if they don't really give a crap about your audio needs and don't listen to you, then who cares about them? I walk into some local places and from maybe mentioning interest in a turntable get immediately hijacked into a sales rant involving how great something is from their point of view. And that thing is nearly always list price or more. I've seen items I actually am interested in displayed for months, and when I ask how it sounds (in this case a turntable) relative to others they sell I get, "uh...haven't heard it yet"...next visit months later same thing...my experience as an owner of a business dealing in sales of high expense things like convoluted lending or investment products was successful since I knew much more about the stuff than competitors and thus could work with the consumer to get things right, and my fees and pricing were generally less, so even if I didn't get a specific deal here and there the referral biz was so good I prospered. Duh...I also worked hard promoting my businesses, where audio "salons" are a joke regarding promotions. A nearby high end guitar shop recently had a packed house for a guitar maker's talk along with  a brilliant musician doing a little show...last time Goodwin's featured live music? No clue as they have no mailing list.
Bill, thank you. You are certainly right about two way street. I keep hearing good things about High Water Sound. Good dealers should be supported even if they charge more. After all they have the right to and they need to keep their salespeople. Unfortunately this is not my path because I can't and won't be able to afford new that esoteric stuff I am interested in.
But New York has its own economy, there are many people, including audiophiles, who can afford $30k amps easily. I wish those dealers well.
@rhljazz,

You know what I do then? I walk out and go get a job somewhere else. Nobody owes anyone the **right to stay in business**. That’s a privilege, nothing more.

Shaking my head here at the profound lack of understanding what a capitalist society is.

To all:

Ethics are often a group thing and can be beneficial that way, but they can also act to curb or limit individualism or personal freedoms. They are usually arrived at or settled on by existing social pressures of the times. But, trying to get out in front of such a movement and dictate ahead of the curve of those forces what the the expected behavior might be usually results in a tepid response. Some restaurants have enforced tipping. But, even though that practice has actually been around for more than decade now, it hasn’t exactly taken the country by storm. Even so, I still tend to file all that under ’business decision’.

One theme that I see pop up here that I myself (respectfully) disagree with is the notion that we are we are here to serve the dealers/manufacturers. While I see nothing wrong with doing so voluntarily, I have a bit of a problem with our support being described as some sort of right that should be conferred by consumers onto the dealers. I think the source of this is the very thinking that I have been railing against for decades now.

When I first got serious about system build for the first time, decades ago now, I had to come to grips with facing the facts as I saw them (and as have so many who went before me and those who will come after). I had to wrestle for some time as to just how much money it might take (realistically as possible) for me to truly get what I want out of the hobby by the time I’m done. Do I "give in" to the slippery slope or do I hold out and resist and redouble all my efforts to ignore virtually all of what the industry is telling or beckoning me to accept. That was a rather large chapter of my journey and as much as I could I began by choosing the latter, only succumbing partially to the ’realities’ of needing to drop some coin toward the very end of my efforts, which I’m finally well satisfied with.
But, it taught me how to go ’behind the lines’ (in this sort of ’war’ I might call it) and deal with companies and dealers who could’ve told me from the beginning what I might expect from having the goals of gaining very nice sound but at (for me) an attainable budget...but, they chose not to. Oh, they pretended to tell me that, time and again, they made the pretense of doing so, but, only to fall back on choosing not to when it counted. A few of them actually did further my cause in that regard, and I remain loyal and grateful to them to this day.

But, evidently, this is not quite the rather universal sort of experience that I had supposed was among us, or maybe some folks here have yet to go through all that. Some seem to feel as if that slippery slope was just simply the price of admission and that they just accepted it, without the questioning I gave it, and just punched their ticket and went under the tent minus all the angst. And all that wrangling with manufacturers about whether or not they were leading me down a garden path? I’m thinking that’s where this ’we’re here to serve the dealer/manufacturer’ thinking may come from. We find ourselves manipulated almost at every turn in this hobby by those who want us know certain things about their wares or the nature of design and perhaps not know some plain truths. The hype and the marketing are always there (no big surprise to me at this point, really), shaping how we think and possibly our attitudes toward the industry and hobby as a result. It’s just that I will Never apologize to anyone for my having to maintain for myself an honest, realistic and astute perspective as I can of what all I’m willingly choosing to participate in....the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s my frame of reference.

Regards,
John

@rhljazz To answer your question, you are wasting their time. What you think you should pay for any given item has nothing to do what the store needs to cover expenses and generate a profit.

If this statement is your model for a retail business, you’ll be broke in no time. If a customer has researched the specs and competitive pricing, they are the most valuable asset in you business. And it should be your business to overcome their objections and make a sale. If however, you choose to position your business in a location, with the amenities of your choice, that has an overhead so high, that it doesn’t allow you to overcome a qualified customers objections, in order to generate a profit - you have an unsustainable business model.

On the other side of the coin, how would you react if your employer informed you they just received a qualified job application for your position and that applicant is willing to do your job for way less money. So now your employer wants to know if you’re amicable to a pay cut. Nice huh?

This is a perfect analogy to the buyer seller scenario. Your boss (now the buyer of your service) has made you an offer. You (now the seller) can accept or deny it. The question is - how negotiable are you. You could hold your ground and tell them, “No deal, I drive luxury cars, wear designer clothing and my wife likes fine jewelry, I can’t pay for all that with any less than you pay me now!” Or you might consider, you’re not as young as you used to be, how long will it take to find a new job, will it be at the same rate as here, or willI be starting from the bottom again, is my 401K vested, will the new job have the same benefits??????? It’s your decision. But either way the “Buyer” controls the deal.


Mom & Pop shops, part of the golden age of the hobby. Personally if I use up someone's time I tip them. Their time is just as important as mine. I tip my waiter, I tip my taxi, why wouldn't I tip my audio salesperson. If someone treats you well they are worthy of your support. It's true, it may not be an issue of ethics. It is however an issue of class.

mg

Just don't try this in France, Michael, or you'll get a fist across your jaw.
No offense to you Michael, but :D
I could also add that I don't think that dealer is under any obligations to sell you anything, he can throw you out. 
To answer your question, you are wasting their time.  What you think you should pay for any given item has nothing to do what the store needs to cover expenses and generate a profit.  

Long time ago salesman "wasted" many hours presenting car to me, including test drive.  After that he asked for MSRP and refused to negotiate.  I bought same car in 5 minutes at another dealership for much less.  
Restrooms Are For Customers Only.  : )
I have a problem with BM dealers who charge MSRP, then have the item drop shipped to me and tell me that I would have to contact the manufacturer for warranty service.  They function as order takers only, and have succeeded in turning the item into a commodity.  Why should I encourage this activity ?   Why shouldn't I look for a lower price ?

OTOH:  " The particular dealer I was referring to, emails me weekly, sends postcards monthly and catalogs quarterly. It’s always with an invitation to “see and hear the difference”.    This scenario represents a BM that tries to add value.  I suspect a salesman may invest time in the prospective buyer to help find the best fit.  I am sure this dealer would oblige a request for an equipment loan to enable home evaluation.  I suspect this dealer may have the item in inventory, and may assist with a warranty claim.   As to price- we no longer exist in a vacuum, so it is incumbent on the dealer (any dealer) to be aware that online pricing is their competition.  The dealer in question has provided extra service that represents value and should be able to earn a profit from the sale.   But there should also be an acknowledgement that some discount may be negotiated.    

Next time, I would ask the local dealer for a discount.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

As for me, I tend to purchase used, and I am respectful of dealer's time for that reason.  I am very good at finding what I want at very attractive prices so that I can resell if needed, and not lose money.
If you owe the shop where you auditioned the gear, it is to be in on any eventual purchase if they are willing.  If you decide to buy, do the research on line and then go and see the dealer and tell them what it will cost you if bought elsewhere (be sure and include all costs including shipping) and ask if they can get anywhere near that. If they match it, buy from them. If they get close, consider buying from them, as the back up from a dealer you bought from is worth more than from a remote seller who probably doesn't give a damn once your payment went through.

I have had great luck doing this - the dealer appreciates my point of view and the fact that I feel obligated to give them a shot at it, and in the event that there are issues with the gear, local support beats remote hands down.

Smart dealers realize that it is business they otherwise wouldn't get and usually offer a better price. If they don't, at least you offered and needn't feel guilty.

I have also had great luck in calling out of province dealers 500 km away and telling them that I am going to buy a particular unit and can do it out of the US or from them if they give me a similar price.   Never been turned down.  There is always a lot of gear with no local representation  that one might want to try.
I see both sides to this and have dealt with elitist dealers who demand full retail while talking down to you.  I have given them second and even third chances... going back into their showroom while considering a new component.

Now... if they treat me poorly after I have given them a second chance I do not feel the smallest bit remorseful buying it elsewhere after auditioning it during their second chance opportunity.

These dealers are living in the 90's and need to understand that full retail is a tough pill to swallow, so they had better make MY buying experience orgasmic, otherwise I don't have much sympathy for them.

I don't expect them to price match someone who is slinging gear out of their garage with a website, but I also don't appreciate the derision and outrage they display when I ask them if they are negotiable off retail.

At this point, I'm done with them and haven't set foot in their store in over 5 years.  I watch them struggle to keep their doors open, yet they are still a "retail only" shop.  In this environment I don't expect them to be around much longer and it's their own fault quite frankly.  I know what they pay for their products and I know what the margins are.  At this point it's either pride or greed or a poorly run business - that keeps them trying to get full retail for their wares.

Guess what, 20 years ago I was billing at MUCH higher rates than I am now - but environments change and you either adapt or disappear.  For some reason the typical high-end B&M feels they should be immune to this phenomenon.  They aren't.  Period.
Ok, here's my 2 cents.

As was stated earlier, we need brick and mortar stores.  But at what cost?

A few years ago I was looking to upgrade my stereo and went to the local store that had helped me in the past (decades ago).  The salesman was very knowledgeable and very personable.  And of course offered some excellent opinions/ideas. 

I left the store with a new plan and wanted to spend some time thinking it through.

Fast forward a month or two, my wife and I were in Best Buy looking for a laptop and I went over to the Magnolia center to look around.  They had a McIntosh C50 on sale as they were replacing it with a C52 and they had an incredible price on it. I called the local store to see if they had anything similar going on and they said nope.

So I bought the one at Best Buy.

Fast forward three or four months and we were back in the same Best Buy and I went over to say hello and ended up talking cars for a while.  The manager asked how I was doing with my search and I told him I was scouring the want ads looking for a used set of MC601's..... He then asked how much I was willing to pay for a used set and when I told him he offered me a new set for very close to what I was looking to pay for used.  So, of course, I took him up on his offer but not before calling the local store to see what they could do.

As a few have stated, some of us work with limited resources.  And some of us just want to not be taken advantage of.  I do buy stuff at the local store even when I realize it can be bought elsewhere cheaper.  I don't mind paying extra to keep the local store in business.  But I won't spend thousands of dollars to do so.


Why yes, you are a retail wretch. Showrooming is stealing IMHO.

@viridian

I may have a different interpretation of Showrooming than you. I think it’s the act of gathering information at a B&M location with NO intent to purchase. I think my experience was quite different. I was committed to purchasing a specific item that day and I did so. The fact that, that store was not willing to sell below MSRP was their decision. So, I shopped elsewhere and made the purchase that day. 

Funny,  I came across a post you made earlier today, in regards to a fellow’s custom amp order not being fulfilled…

“LOL, you are supposed to be a business person. No one talks you into anything; you make a conscious decision to either accept, or reject, an offer, just as all of us in business do. 

And, as clients, we don’t really care what your margins are. We make the same decision you do, we either buy a product because it fills a need and we see it as a value, or we don’t. This is independent of your profit margin.

I bet that there are some excellent business classes at your local community college. You might avail yourself of their knowledge before posting again.”

So, I don’t think an educated consumer is stealing, if they negotiate with a retailer who is unwilling to be price competitive. 


Gosh no wonder I have closed my business........
As someone stated above, it's an issue of class.  Either you have it or you don't.  Giving a dealer the opportunity to match a price is a touch of class.  Going into a dealer with the sole intention of using his facility and knowledge in order to then go on-line to purchase lacks class.  To the OP, next time you step into a dealer's store, right from the get-go, tell them you only there to listen and gather info for an on-line purchase.  A class dealer will still give you some assistance (assuming a potential real customer wasn't also needing attention).
Class dealer?  Audio dealers recently charge for audition!!! 

I don't see a reason why anybody wouldn't give dealer a chance to match the price.  Saying so is a strawman argument.
GW thank You. I think that my post in that thread has no bearing on your showrooming, and you are free to define any word in the English language any way that suits you.  But, of course, we all have our right to differing opinions. 

You asked if you could be a retail wretch and I answered the question in the affirmative, as some others here have as well. Nothing in your response changes my opinion.