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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Buy Local?

As we all know, it is good to support local businesses, even if, at times, they are a bit more expensive. So I began my quest for a new piece of furniture in my little downtown, which has a number of specialty shops.

Store 1: Run by a nice, but crazy lady who used to live down the street from me. I would be afraid to give her my credit card number!
Store 2: I didn't really like the quality of the piece, even though the store is rather high end. The owner was very nice to me, however.
Store 3: A definite possibilty! But the owner was rather short with me. He seemed so bored by my questions. That's how he was a few months ago when I went on a different mission.

Just to check, I looked up the prices on-line. The piece carried by Store 3 is also carried by a fancy on-line company, at several hundred dollars higher.

It's also carried by another on-line retailer and would come to about 10-15% less than the local store.

This isn't a pressing issue. I start my shopping AT LEAST a year in advance. By the time the year is up, I often decide that I don't really want whatever it was I thought I wanted.

But my question is this. Would you buy local even though the owner was curt and indifferent?

11 comments:

Terri said...

I know that in some of our dealings with locals that the curt indifference may be a function of so many folks taking their business elsewhere. Pull out the credit card...and you may see him change.

Jane W. said...

I think Terri makes a valid point. Tough times for small businesses. I slipped into a local shop and heard two young SAs whispering abou how hard it is to "stay positive" when sales (and hence commissions and hours) are low.

Shelley said...

I have been known to ask inattentive sales people if I've caught them at a bad time...my not-so-subtle hint that they aren't holding up their end of the conversation. You could always try cash with #1 if she has something you want. Perhaps #3 senses that you aren't that keen and that you may show up a year later for that piece, or not. If you're not that keen, why should he be?

The Gold Digger said...

No! I would not! Unless the rude local owner was the only source for an item.

I wanted to look at glasses at this shop near my house. The owner left the person he was with and came over to tell me I would need to make an appointment. To look at frames.

I told him I just wanted to look at frames today and was not ready to make a decision. He told me that he could not advise me on the frames because he was busy with someone else. I told him that was FINE. I just wanted to try a few different frames and get some ideas.

Then I left and never returned.

Duchesse said...

Tough call. There is curt and then there is rude or dishonest. Everyone can have a bad day. (If you have ever worked retail you know it is not a joy serving the public.) So many people are tire-kickers, and if the salesperson is am 18 yr old student he or she will not care, but an owner will.

If you buy online you may pay shipping and handling and if there is a problem it can be (but not always) difficult to fix. I'd say go back and see how it goes when you are genuinely going to place an order. 10% is not much of a difference.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Terri--Thanks for the beautiful sentiment. I will try to be mindful of it.
@JaneW--Yes--but this was the owner...and the tore seems to be doing well (though appearances can be deceiving).

@Shelley--That's a good idea. Oh-it's a sofa! You have to order from the mfr.No cash. And a huge ticket item.

@GD--Sounds like what I do. But I may try to be like Terri, above.

@Duchesse--I compared total price (including shipping). I'm going to postpone the purchase as long as possible to see if karma shows me the way to go!

Linda said...

#3 may be accustomed to people window shopping, only to find out they are Going elsewhere to purchase the same item he stocks. I will often go into a store to look at an item from the iternet. Or, I will see something in a store and go find it on the internet. Yes, I am comparison shopping, reading specs,and critiques of the item.

About #1, talk with the manager/owner, tell him your concern and desire to buy from him. He may be able to tell you her day off so that you can come when she is not there. Surely, she does not have access to his records and your credit card number.

Yes, you might hurt her at work, but would you want to have an employee who was deemed not honest by others?

metscan said...

I would not buy from a rude shop owner, if there is an option to get the stuff even cheaper from some other dealer.
IMO the sum you pay for something includes good service. No sympathies for a bad day. These days, in order to make profit, you have to please the customer more than ever.

Revanche said...

I will give them two chances, generally - if they have something I want at the price I want, I'll buy. I'm not going to pay more than what I consider a reasonable amount anywhere, local or not, good or bad service.

But if on the second visit, the service is still bad, that lets out the curtness on the basis of tirekicking and they're not going to get repeat business from me.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Linda--#1 isn't dishonest--she's just a bit crazy. One needs to be wary of ordering a big ticket item--especially if a store may go out of business.

@metscan--I am trying to be midway between you and Terri (above). I agree with you. I now think the owner may have tried to impress me with his hauteur--a sales tactic that sometimes works, though not with me.

@Revanche--See above to metscan. I now think the owner may try to appear snooty to make me feel I have to buy...a common technique in upscale shops.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I agree with Revanche about giving two or three chances. The first time, the person could just be having a bad day. The staff at a local cookware shop have been consistently rude to me. I went there once fully prepared to splurge on a top-quality knife and left without buying anything and never returned.