West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 07-03-2013 Thread Starter
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West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

my rambling opinion...Why when I need three of something, WM only has two. If I want a Schaefer Jib track, why don't they have Schaefer jib cars in stock. When I bought new boat fenders (three pack on sale) why do they only sell fender lines in a two-pack. They asked me to complete an online-survey for a $15 coupon and then only gave me a week to use the coupon. I could go on and on about my experience with WM. Don't get me wrong, I do like the place but GEEZ...seems like they could do a little better with some things. Surely you have some stories to tell. Let her rip if you feel like it.
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post #2 of 26 Old 07-03-2013
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Re: West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

I honestly believe that West Marine is similar to many small box stores in the nation. Instead of stocking huge warehouses and stores with an enormous inventory, inventory that they are ultimately taxed on by state and federal governments, they carry on a small representative stock in the stores, and order directly from the manufacturers on an as-needed basis. This keeps their cost of operation down, inventory down, and profits high, especially if they have easy and quick access to any items they carry. It's nothing new, and there are lots of specialty retailers doing this in our horrendous economy.

Hey, at least West Marine is still in business - there are lots of retailers that are no longer around anymore.

Gary
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post #3 of 26 Old 07-03-2013
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Re: West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

I get so annoyed with the salespeople seemingly lack of interest. I think their prices are outrageous! And yet, on a Sunday when I need something, I always find my way back there. So, definitely a love-hate thing.
Jeff
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post #4 of 26 Old 07-03-2013
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Re: West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

I have to say the Seattle flagship store is pretty darn nice with a very helpful staff. I am not keen on their prices but I have alternatives in the area. On occasion, usually because someone gave me a gift card, I use the store. And every time it has been a nice experience. I have seen where a particular store is missing an item but another WM in the area has it and they will move the inventory for free to the store next day. Not bad really. They sure are pricey though. I would rate their service as "good" in my book.
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post #5 of 26 Old 07-03-2013
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Re: West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

Here in the bay area, the staff seem enthusiastic, helpful, and generally knowledgable.

Yeah, the new and common "just in time" inventory can be a bit of a problem sometimes, but honestly, most things that I might need on the spot (gloves, flashlights, shoes, radio, random bits) are usually on hand, and most more expensive/larger/high tech stuff is commonly a known need and can be ordered and either shipped directly to me or to a local store.

Prices are average, I suppose, but if you buy on sale they are pretty good.

It's nice to have a brick and mortar store around.
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post #6 of 26 Old 07-03-2013
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Re: West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

The four stores in the greater Annapolis area are fine. Their prices are not as low as Defender.com or Jamestown Distributors, but they have things that I need when I need them. Are their prices really that high? For small items, they seem competitive. If you are buying a new VHF or autopilot ... probably not. If it is something that I can get in a regular hardware store, I usually try there first. The WM people are pretty knowlegeable and go out of their way to help you. It's hit or miss.
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Last edited by dvuyxx; 07-03-2013 at 05:35 PM.
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post #7 of 26 Old 07-03-2013
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Re: West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

I trashed WM on the previous "why WM sucks" thread, so I have to give praise based on my recent experience.

My 20 year old parallel rulers had cracked and glue was not fixing it. I had a navigation quiz to take and needed one, so went to my local WM. There only seems to ever be one guy working at this store at anyone time or there is someone snoozing in the back at all times.

This time the Asst manager was on the floor and was fairly busy helping out all who came in. It made for a bit of a wait to get some help. They did not have the model I wanted so I bought a rolling ruler to finish the test. I mentioned it to the employee, who then checked on the product, put some on order and called me a few days later when it arrived.

I am willing to pay a bit of a premium compared to mail order for service like that. Turns out the rolling ruler works real well and I don't need parallel rulers, but I know who to look for when I need something from WM.

Jordan
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post #8 of 26 Old 07-03-2013
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Re: West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

Often, they hire cruisers who work for a while and then are off cruising again. Often, cruisers know boats well and know the WM inventory well and can speak knowledgeably. Suzi and I have both worked at West Marine. And I can tell you this: If you are outfitting a boat, get a part time job there. The pay may be low but the employee discounts are awesome.

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post #9 of 26 Old 07-03-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: West Marine: A Love-Hate Relationship

...this is my kind of guy... My favorite WM guy told me he got chewed out the other day because he ordered a bunch of big 12 volt batteries. He told me they aren't allowed to place stock orders for more than three of a particular battery. They had been selling a bunch of them lately so they were always sold out. He decided to order 15, but the only way to clear the order was to mark them as pre-sold. Well when the manager saw all the batteries on the shelf and asked him where those came from he explained what he did. She was pissed but didn't reprimand him. At the end of the day they were all sold. Apparently he made a couple calls to inform the area marinas they were in stock and that did it. Sometimes rules have to be looked at as guidelines only. ;-)
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post #10 of 26 Old 07-03-2013
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Nicely said....I honestly see reason for both sides in this and believe they balance a razors edge of true profitability....I Rarely buy line there !

Last edited by oysterman23; 07-03-2013 at 08:43 PM.
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