Discussion about WM always end up lively. I guess that goes with the territory with being the big guy on the block.
Personally, I have a that sort of like/hate relationship with WM that many boaters do.
I like the fact that they are typically not too far from where the boat is and that, at least around here, they keep a reasonable amount of the basic hardware commodities that I might need on short notice.
I never buy any expensive items there. I don't do the "price match" thing. If I find it less expensive somewhere else, I buy it from somewhere else. On expensive items, shipping and sales tax often cancel out when ordering online. (Besides, why would I be in a hurry to get my new items in, once they arrive, I have to install them, and that's work.
But, the one thing that annoys me to no end at WM (and I think this might be a local issue) is OVER-eagerness of the staff. As soon as I walk in, I get one, maybe two or even three people asking me "What can I help you find today?". It's not even a "Hello, welcome to West Marine" type of greeting, which would be nice. It's borderline hostile. It's not letting you know that the staff is there if you need them, it's telling you that you must tell them why you are there and you better do it quick!
Also, you can't be in an aisle for more than five minutes without someone approaching you to ask if you need help. I don't get it. If you are the staff, be available if I need you, but if I need you I'll let you know. Again, it's almost hostile.
It's to the point where my wife wont even go with me to WM. It would be clear to any reasonable person that when she does come with, she's just there "holding my purse" so to speak. I'm the reason we're there. Still, if she had a chance to browse in peace, she might actually find something interesting and maybe make a purchase. But as it is, she gets berated by overly helpful staff.
I almost think that there might be a local general manager who believes that a happy customer is a customer who is never left alone. I don't get it.