Why West Marine pi$ me off - Page 9 - SailNet Community
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post #81 of 181 Old 02-29-2012
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Argyle38 I'm going to be nice to you....

because my last boat was a DE38 "Eriu", LOL.


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Originally Posted by Argyle38 View Post

Well this was the day that I got three people enthusiastically welcoming me to West Marine within the first 10 seconds of my walking in.

First person; "HEY THERE, WELCOME TO WEST MARINE, WE HAVE SOME GREAT SALES TODAY ON ...."

Me; OK thanks.

Second Person; "WELCOME TO WEST MARINE, CAN I HELP YOU FIND ANYTHING?"

Me; No thanks, I'm good.

Third person; "WELCOME TO WEST MARINE, WHAT CAN I HELP YOU FIND TODAY"

Me; Jesus no! Just let me by my ******* bolt!!! (or whatever it was)

They left me alone after that, for that day anyway. Bought my part and on the way out my wife was kind of giving me a smirk. "You know you just became 'that guy' don't you."

"Yeah, I know"
1. We have to greet you withing 10 seconds because that's policy.

2. We have to acknowledge you if we pass within 10 feet because that's policy.

Learn some coping sayings like, "just shoplifting, thank you", "No Hablo Ingles", "I vant to be left alone" is a Swedish accent (this will work for your wife). Despite contrary opinion and even after 8 hrs of retail most associates have a sense of humor.
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post #82 of 181 Old 02-29-2012
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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
As for WM my store is excellent and I have no complaints but then again I always know exactly what I want when I walk in. If they don't have it Port Supply drops it off at my house the next day..
That's something I hadn't thought of. I seldom visit the stores anymore, but I use Port Supply at least once or twice a week. Perhaps they are subsidizing the Port Supply division by cutting corners in the retail stores.

Yay!!! Go Port Supply. What a great service. Order it this afternoon and have it in shop before ten the tomorrow.
These days, when it's difficult to keep a big inventory, Port Supply is a lifesaver.

As far as I'm concerned, West Marine is doing alright.
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post #83 of 181 Old 02-29-2012
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That's something I hadn't thought of. I seldom visit the stores anymore, but I use Port Supply at least once or twice a week. Perhaps they are subsidizing the Port Supply division by cutting corners in the retail stores.

Yay!!! Go Port Supply. What a great service. Order it this afternoon and have it in shop before ten the tomorrow.
These days, when it's difficult to keep a big inventory, Port Supply is a lifesaver.
Unfortunately, Port Supply is a commercial distributor, and will not sell to us mere mortals...


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post #84 of 181 Old 02-29-2012
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Unfortunately, Port Supply is a commercial distributor, and will not sell to us mere mortals...

No but you can get price matching that is as good or better than our pricing. The only benefit to PS is the delivery and the fact that I don't have to price match "as much".... My PS rep is also excellent and goes out of his way to offer good service.

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post #85 of 181 Old 02-29-2012
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Originally Posted by Argyle38 View Post
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.... 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.
Almost sounds like they are on commission! In any case, I haven't been in a WM in over 3 years, but I can assure you, I never had that problem in the SF Bay Area stores!
Years ago when I first got my boat, I naively walked into a WM store and showed the clerk (sorry..."associate"!) a basic piece of marine hardware. I said, "I need to replace this". He stared at it blankly, and to my surprise, replied "What is it?" They didn't have it anyway, but boy...was I naive. Makes me laugh every time I think about it!
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post #86 of 181 Old 02-29-2012
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Originally Posted by gtod25 View Post
because my last boat was a DE38 "Eriu", LOL.




1. We have to greet you withing 10 seconds because that's policy.

2. We have to acknowledge you if we pass within 10 feet because that's policy.

Learn some coping sayings like, "just shoplifting, thank you", "No Hablo Ingles", "I vant to be left alone" is a Swedish accent (this will work for your wife). Despite contrary opinion and even after 8 hrs of retail most associates have a sense of humor.
Hey Gerry,

I recognize your alias from the old DE website, we've actually spoken via email a few times when he old site went down.

Yeah, I fully understand that this must be their policy. I've worked in retail before myself. I just question the wisdom of it, from a corporate brass point of view. West Marine is the type of place that can really benefit from an environment that encourages browsing at a leisurely pace. People go in and work projects through their heads, get ideas, make plans. Having the staff nearby to ask questions is great and facilitates that process, which could lead to sales. Asking the person every few minutes if they need help makes it seem almost like they want you to either buy something now or leave (kind of like being in an old bookstore, pre-Borders, when they would give you the stink-eye if you looked through a book for more than a few minutes). I just don't think the policy has the effect that they think it has. I certainly don't hold it against the folks on the front lines though.

As far as that day I referenced in my previous post, yeah, that was all about the day I was having and less about them, but it does illustrate how that kind of policy can backfire. Normally I'm quite polite and say "hello" when greeted and "no thanks, I know where I'm going" when asked how I can be helped.

S/V Argyle
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post #87 of 181 Old 02-29-2012
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Why is West more expensive than on line? Well they have to have a ton more warehouse space, handle the logistics of shipping to a bunch of stores, print all those catalogs, have computer systems to track it all, pay for the cost of all that retail space and pay people all the way up and down that supply chain. Do they charge too much? In some cases absolutely. But they do price match, they’re there when I need that #$@!*widget on Sunday afternoon and I get it right now.
I don't think anyone was questioning that on line stores have lower overhead. However in the link I sited previously (post #55), the store that sold the item at 300% less than WM was a medium size brick and mortar Ace Hardware store with a marine section approximately 1/4 the size of an average WM store. So, rationalize it however you want, you are getting soaked at WM and most marine outlets (including on line), simply because the products are "Marine". Why would they ever change when their customers are making excuses for them? They are laughing all the way to the bank!

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They also send out “rewards certificates” and have some decent sales. Like Chris said you can do pretty well if you know how to play the game. How’s that different from anything else in life?
I don't want to "play games" or clip coupons. I want to pay a reasonable price to a reasonably knowledgeable sales staff, who keeps stock on hand. Apparently that is too much to ask for at WM stores near me!

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post #88 of 181 Old 02-29-2012
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I used to work at a marine supply store and pretty much found out that the young sales kids hung around the electronics counter because of the various sales commissions offered by the suppliers. They knew how each new gadget worked ...as long as there was a healthy commission involved. The rest of the store ...forget it. That was left to me (experienced boat builder/refitter) and one other guy who worked to support his own boating habit. At the end of each day, guess who had the most sales racked up? And it didn't involve electronics. WM and others would be wise to pay attention to comments like these.
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post #89 of 181 Old 03-01-2012
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AVAILABILITY and PERSPECTIVE

Some of us recall the "good old days" before West Marine, when trying to buy any marine item was a challenge.

I think WM set the bar for availability of items that we didn't find anywhere else.

They've gone through many phases: knowledgeable staff to clueless to now a reasonable mix.

Before one starts knocking WM, consider the alternative: little or no source for any boating material.

Our local Safeway stores did the "meet & greet" crap a few years ago and it was just horrible.

But I don't mind someone saying hello when I walk in, I just say hello back and keep going. If they ask what I'm looking for I say "Just browsing" or looking for something but i know where it is.

Not so hard.

Stu Jackson, C34, 1986, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)
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post #90 of 181 Old 03-01-2012
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AVAILABILITY and PERSPECTIVE

Some of us recall the "good old days" before West Marine, when trying to buy any marine item was a challenge.
I think WM set the bar for availability of items that we didn't find anywhere else.
They've gone through many phases: knowledgeable staff to clueless to now a reasonable mix.
Before one starts knocking WM, consider the alternative: little or no source for any boating material.
Our local Safeway stores did the "meet & greet" crap a few years ago and it was just horrible.
But I don't mind someone saying hello when I walk in, I just say hello back and keep going. If they ask what I'm looking for I say "Just browsing" or looking for something but i know where it is.
Not so hard.
There is a WM store within half a mile of my boat. The nearest small chandlery is about 7 miles away. I can call the chandlery, have a conversation with someone who knows about boats, and can have almost anything I need the next day. And of course, I can always order on line and have the item delivered to my door or the marina. Is WM more convenient for me (IF they even have what I need)? Absolutely. Is that convenience worth the aggravation I experienced almost every time I went to WM? Absolutely not!
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