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  #111  
Old 03-04-2012
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Seen as people usually only post negative reviews I will post my experience the other day at WM. I will admit I only shop their when I need something and don't want to wait for shipping.

I needed a couple feet of 6ga cable so I walked in the store and the younger sales guy asks I if I need help finding anything. Not really thinking I just asked where the cable was, his response was rigging cable, lifeline type, or electrical. I say electrical, we walked right to it and he points saying this is your basic cable and this is your tinned cable. He cuts my couple feet of tinned, I pay, and am on my way. Seems like the sales person knew his stuff.
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  #112  
Old 03-04-2012
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West is consolidating 2 stores that are about 15 miles apart into one 24,000 sqft new store that will open in 2 weeks. When I'm not in a rush I buy online but it's nice to have what you need nearby when your in the middle of a project.
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  #113  
Old 03-04-2012
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My local West Marine store (Bloomington, MN) is staffed by friendly, helpful, generally knowledgeable folks who are very customer-oriented. I'm happy to have a marine specialty store that stocks sailboat gear less than 15 minutes from home. They are convenient and helpful and bend over backwards to get me the right information, order something for me, etc. etc.

Do I generally pay more for shopping there . . yep! (although I do use coupons, hit the sale items and clearance areas pretty heavily, etc.) I see them as a marine convenience store and accept I may pay more for the convenience! Online ordering is great, and I do some of my marine shopping there, but online doesn't help me on Friday afternoon, when I want or need something for that weekend's projects or sailing. West Marine does! Sometimes it's nice to see, feel, hear (like the fancy cabin fan I bought there last year) what you're thinking about buying.

If they don't have something in stock, they don't try to sell me something similar I really don't want . . . they order it for me and call me promptly when it's in. These orders always have arrived on the day stated and with the correct items.

I have always enjoyed shopping at this West Marine (8 years) and have never been dissatisfied with any shopping experience I've had with them.

Finally, I have no financial or commercial interest in or relationship with West Marine, whatsoever. Nor do I know any of the staff at my store personally.

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  #114  
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I basically don't buy at WM, however they are convient at times and when I go back to MD next week I'll get a sun hat there. My last experience was last fall when the boat was hauled out at a local boat yard. The yard was having a sale on bottom paint and I just wanted to check to make sure that their price was truely a bargin. I went to WM and asked what their price was. "What color do you want", was the clerk's response. I just want to know the price, but then I thought there might be a difference in price due to the color. I said, "red, and how much per gallon is that price?" Without answering my question, he next asked let's see if we have that in stock. As he went to the computer I just said I only want to know the price. Again he did not answer and when he saw that he had it in stock, he said how many gallons do you want? By this time I was getting annoyed and said just give me the price...which he finally did.

I usually wait for their sales to buy anything at WM however one time I noted that one of their sales items that I was in the market for was actually sold at a local store at a lesser price than their sale. And their price match is a not really a price match considering that when I take the defender catelog to the store, they will match the price and factor in the shipping cost, but refuse to factor in the sales tax so that your true out of pocket cost will be more at WM.

The positive is that they are convenient, their return policy is good, and there are some good knowledgeable people that work there.
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West Marine does NOT add shipping to an online price match. They did in the past but do not now.

I don't really know why you'd be annoyed that he asked color, if you have to look up something to quote a price, you might as well look up the right thing, no?

Sure, he could have just walked back to the isle, but then the store may or may not have it, so it makes sense to just start there. And 99.99999% of the time, the next question is "do you have any" and then it's "do any other local stores have it" and then it's "how long to get it" so he might have just been thinking 5 steps ahead and saving you time by starting with a computer lookup with all of the info in one place.
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  #116  
Old 03-04-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimrafford View Post
West is consolidating 2 stores that are about 15 miles apart into one 24,000 sqft new store that will open in 2 weeks.
It's actually 3 stores being consolidated. I know because I worked at one of them for ten years every weekend up until they closed the store a few weeks ago. I decided to "retire" from that career for my own reasons, but I suppose I could have gone on to work at the new store if I wanted to - it's practically within walking distance of my home.

I started working at West when my kids were starting college and I got the sense that my wife didn't share my priorities when it came to education vs. boating expenses. I figured that I would earn a few bucks and take advantage of the discount. I stayed there because I made a lot of good friends, both co-workers and customers. My few hours there on a Saturday became a chance to talk boats and play with the new "toys." I think it was a fair exchange for WM and the customers because I do have a decent marine resume and have owned boats for 40+ years - let's just say that I know my tinned wire! I can think of 4 other long time co-workers that were there at the end (and many more former co-workers) that each had decades of boating experience.

Now WM has gone to a "big-box format" and our little store is gone. As this "WM flame" thread (and many others) have shown, West already has an employee experience and training image problem. I'm not sure that the extra space in the new store will solve that.
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Last edited by billsull; 03-04-2012 at 01:27 PM.
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  #117  
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Well, I work at a small-ish store, and a big gripe I hear is well, defender or fisheries have it in stock, if I'm going to order it why not get it from them (tax free)
So the bigger stores should at least address that problem. A pet peeve of mine too BTW, defender *should* have everything in stock in their one location.

If I tell people West has 19 scattered around the country, they still get ticked that we don't have it in our little store, right now.

From a corporate perspective, I think it makes a lot of sense, it takes a lot less resources to support 1 store than three.

There will be some backlash though, Places like Gig Harbor or Shilshole in Seattle are not going to have a west to kick around any more
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  #118  
Old 03-04-2012
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Even if the perfect solution is discovered, some people will inevitably find something to complain about.
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  #119  
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Re: Why West Marine pi$$es me off

There's nothing wrong with a clerk asking me for what color of paint I wanted. It's the failure to respond to a direct question that was annoying. Not once but several times without so much as .....wait and I'll get you an answer. It's good to hear that WM no longer factors in shipping charges in their price match....I spent some time in the past complaining about that policy.

I'ld rather spend my money at a store that doesn't price match, but instead takes the lead in lower prices. Competition is important in keeping prices down in an over inflated marine marketplace and giving business to those companies(such as Defender) that are a leader in promoting lower prices IMHO is money well spent.
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Old 03-04-2012
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Re: Why West Marine pi$$es me off

Having worked in West Marine for 3 years part-time I have to weigh in in support of the company (I no longer work there). It's not the greatest paying job in the world ... actually the pay is quite low but the employee discounts are pretty good so it attracts people who are into boating and gearing up their boats ... so, at least the employees have knowledge in some areas and, presumably, an interest in learning more. I always felt like I learned as much or more from the customers as I taught them!

Where you are being very unfair is that boats are rather like cars in the early days ... there are so many variations and they are kept alive so long that the breadth of knowledge required is rather daunting. Additionally, vendors are constantly putting a plethora of new products on the market so it's a real effort to stay on top of all of the changes when it's a part-time job! (There's not a lot of customers in the PNW in the Winter you know).

As employees we always kept track of each other's areas of expertise and drew upon it when we were out of our league. Sometimes, no one on duty would know the answer.

It's not a perfect world and not a perfect company but the local, disorganized, gruff chandleries pale in comparison to WM in my opinion.

So instead of being a gruff, frustrated customer ... be kind and educate the sales person if you know something they don't. Perhaps they'll pass it on to their next customer.
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