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Thread: Could use a bit of advice, also posted on another forum will be combining advice

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    Could use a bit of advice, also posted on another forum will be combining advice

    Hey guys,

    I am a bit bent out of shape at a shop I have done a big amount of business with over the past few years. I am trying not to identify them though many of you will know who it is, please do not Wenzel them by using their name, I plan on doing that only if they respond poorly to the letter, I would rather give them a shot to fix it before totally bashing them.

    Its a little long, but I thought it needed to be. Any and all comments welcome.

    Dear Sir,

    Why do customers choose your shop? I am now convinced you actually may not know. As a customer I thought I would give you a bit of insight as to why I have conducted business with you. I will also explain why I am very seriously considering never stepping foot into your shop again.

    A few years ago my interest had peaked in reloading. Kids were out of the house, more spare time, lots more shooting for the dollar all were motivations, likely a fairly common situation for many customers. As you are aware, the choices one must make are almost endless. I talked with my friends and others online and found out about the endless debate of Dillon VS Lee etc. Wanting to see these differences in person I was very relieved to find a shop dedicated to reloading literally almost in my front yard!

    I came to your shop and was greeted by a man, about 6’ tall, sandy hair, mid thirties who offered to help me within a few minutes. He asked me what I wanted to do etc. He first tried to get me to consider the Rock Chucker kit that comes with a lot of the stuff one needs at a very reasonable cost. (very long story short) After several trips in (perhaps as many as 5-7) it was finally settled. I remember the looks I got the last few trips like oh no here he comes again. After much heated debate with my best friend about his Lee I had selected the Dillon. He insisted I order it online through Brian Enos web space as they “have the best prices” however; I am not really built that way. I like brick and mortar where I can get the assistance your employee gave me, he earned my sale.

    550rlb, scale, primer flip tray 45 dies, 9mm dies, conversion plates all Dillon, on his advice RCBS for the 30-30 dies with the Dillon conversion, RCBS lube kit, bullet hammer etc. Couple of pounds of powder, 3k various primers, bullets, a little rifle brass all for the first order. Since then perhaps 50k in 9mm and 50k in 45 components, powder and supplies, additional die plates and powder feeders, case trimmer etc. I have brought others curious about reloading to your shop. I have checked prices including on that initial purchase of equipment and often found a little better pricing on things online, but not enough to make a big enough difference. 5 bucks on a box of bullets only equals a penny a round, certainly not the end of the world and certainly not enough to take place of the service I have received.

    So to speak, a few dollars more knowing I was helping to keep a traditional business running keeping local folks employed instead of a call center or computer order system where some guy I never met slaps in it a box and UPS drops it on my porch just was flat out worth it to me.

    I do this with pretty much anything I buy. I am not a fan of big box stores at all. There is a lot of things available now online very cheap, the massive fulfillment centers whom have nothing to do with the company etc.

    Today, after a lot of research, I made the trip to a very small gun shop near the Iowa border about 70 miles east of the western border of Missouri to buy 2 AR-15’s in a variety of components. Bare in mind, in all the trips I have made to your store I have never seen a single AR part, not even a charging handle. When the dealer I was at ran the 4473 I got the ever dreaded “delayed” until next Thursday pending any faster release etc, you know the drill, it is fairly common. The dealer asked if I wanted to have it shipped to an FFL instead of traveling six hours again next Friday to pick them up. I told him sure, it would be cheaper than running my v-8 jeep across and up state again.

    I called your shop and identified myself and inquired as to the FFL fee. While I had never done such a transaction myself (cash and carry for me even when delayed once before at Nassau) I have observed hundreds of such transactions and discussions online. Some dealers charge no fee to their regular customers; others charge a minor fee of about 20 bucks which to me seems fair for about 15 minutes of paperwork. I was informed via the phone that not only would it be a 40 dollar charge, it would be 40 bucks for each lower (I picked up all the rest of the parts cash and carry. I was so struck by it; I asked the guy on the phone if this was for existing customers as I have been doing business with the shop for years. He told me “yes, and if you don’t like it you should have bought it from us” which REALLY startled me and I tried to clarify it and that it was 2 ar-15 lowers only not while rifles and you guys do not sell them. “Well you should have ordered them through us” and I could not think of what to say so I just hung up the phone and let the disappointment settle in.

    I jumped online found a bunch of FFL dealers and started calling and I did indeed find one that for 15 each is going to do it for me. So after several years of loyalty to your shop, instead, some time this week I am going to a dealer I have never dealt with and have no affiliation with at all and pick up my lowers.
    Why have I bothered telling you this? Well Saturday I had planned on once again visiting your shop to pick up Dillon dies, a conversion kit, powder measure kit (the one with the powder measure, plate, and stand) along with primers and the best powder and bullets your guys would recommend for a 20” stainless bull barrel AR in .223 and inquire as to loads or other items I might seek to have on hand.

    So what do I want? Well I would like any reason you might offer that I should continue to support your business instead of just checking with cheaperthandirt.com, midway, and brianenos for what I need delivered directly to my door. I have completely lost the value that little extra I paid I thought was worth and I am going to pick up my stuff from strangers, I might as well just get to know them and order all my guns online from now on and take the cheapest way out and begin having components and such shipped as I do not see that my business was valued at all. Convince me I am wrong and just being skeptical because I just can not come up with any reason at all to come buy the stuff I need from you this weekend.

  2. #2
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    i think thats pretty well written.

    the only thing i thought might help. is instead of saying you go to a online store, i say i go to another store that has a beter attitude towards their customers. that way they cant try using that you should come to them b/c an online store, you would have to wait for it to get shiped to you. if you told them you go to another non-online store, they have one less reason to tell you why to come here, besides confronting the issue of them not being respectfull to their customers.

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    Regular Member Broondog's Avatar
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    first off, it's bear not bare. that's just from the spelling nazi in me.

    the idea of telling them that you are going to another brick and mortar store is a good idea although many stores do realize that they are losing business to the internet. so either way i'm sure they'll get the idea. all in all it does make you point well but trimming it down a bit might help. some folks don't like to read long triads when they are getting reamed.

    this wouldn't be that store in St. Chuck that starts with a G would it? i always thought they were pretty nice the few times i've been there. hard to think they would be in the business of shafting anyone.
    I'm the one who's gotta die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.
    Jimi Hendrix

    NRA Benefactor Member & 03 FFL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broondog View Post
    all in all it does make you point well but trimming it down a bit might help. some folks don't like to read long triads when they are getting reamed.
    +1

    Good letter, but it could be trimmed down to be clearer and quicker to the point. The first line stating that you were a long time customer, but now are considering never crossing their thresh hold again was a definate attention getter, but when you started going through the sticks and the woods about what you were buying, and what components, and talking about which stores and where to get things, my eyes kinda glazed over and I just skimmed to the bottom to read your summation. A little editing and you can fix that up tho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broondog View Post
    the idea of telling them that you are going to another brick and mortar store is a good idea although many stores do realize that they are losing business to the internet.
    I have a hobby other than guns that has been more deeply penetrated by the internet, and the brick and mortar stores that survive know that the only advantage they have over virtual stores is SERVICE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broondog View Post
    first off, it's bear not bare. that's just from the spelling nazi in me.

    the idea of telling them that you are going to another brick and mortar store is a good idea although many stores do realize that they are losing business to the internet. so either way i'm sure they'll get the idea. all in all it does make you point well but trimming it down a bit might help. some folks don't like to read long triads when they are getting reamed.

    this wouldn't be that store in St. Chuck that starts with a G would it? i always thought they were pretty nice the few times i've been there. hard to think they would be in the business of shafting anyone.
    LOl well it was a naked bear!

    Yes that is the store and yes they have never been anything but fantastic until yesterday which is why I am not wenzeling them. Now that you know who it is, you know the threat to them is not another brick and mortar but the internet sales.

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    Regular Member sohighlyunlikely's Avatar
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    ya

    Quote Originally Posted by LMTD View Post
    LOl well it was a naked bear!

    Yes that is the store and yes they have never been anything but fantastic until yesterday which is why I am not wenzeling them. Now that you know who it is, you know the threat to them is not another brick and mortar but the internet sales.
    IMHO

    I find that easy to believe. They tried to shaft Big Mike in the past. I was in their just yesterday to pick up a charging bar and some 000 buck and the customer service was so bad (for the 3rd time) that I swore they would not get another dollar from me ever again.

    They have a couple of guys who work there who are on the ball. The rest are as worthless as "teats on a bore hog".

    Doc

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    If it helps at all, Midway is a Missouri company, so at least you're putting food on the plates of your fellow Missourians. More and more often I have problems with brick and mortar gun shops. Considering the economy, it's completely surprising.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sohighlyunlikely View Post
    IMHO

    I find that easy to believe. They tried to shaft Big Mike in the past. I was in their just yesterday to pick up a charging bar and some 000 buck and the customer service was so bad (for the 3rd time) that I swore they would not get another dollar from me ever again.

    They have a couple of guys who work there who are on the ball. The rest are as worthless as "teats on a bore hog".

    Doc
    The NORMAL experience for me in most stores is the annoyed expression of salespeople having to help me find options and compare products when I, a LESS experienced buyer, stops by once a month to buy something I have never bought before. Most people working in a gun shop seem annoyed that I don't know exactly what i need or want and I am looking for advice. It comes off as a kind of gun culture snobbery. So I research forums on line and then go out to gun fairs (where my business is WANTED) or buy from private people through websites and meet them in the Walmart parking lot (not the one in Raytown )

    It is kind of like walking into a new bar where all the regulars stare at you as if you are from Mars. No wonder the gun shops are disappearing and the Internet is taking all the business... if I were a business owner I would be GRATEFUL that new customers show up and I would fire anyone that delivered such poor service on the spot and manage it myself. Businesses that allow such porr attitude deserve to (and prob will) fail. Good riddance to them, I say. By the way, sad to say, it is usually AMERICANS who deliver this poor service. The foreigners seem to understand customer service better, another reason our country is going down the crapper...

    Yeah, it's a sore spot with me, too

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    Quote Originally Posted by silo View Post
    If it helps at all, Midway is a Missouri company, so at least you're putting food on the plates of your fellow Missourians. More and more often I have problems with brick and mortar gun shops. Considering the economy, it's completely surprising.
    Yes, my buddie picked up about 600 bucks worth of stuff at midway yesterday when he went with me to get the AR's. He got a scope, 10 mags for his AR, scope base, bore snakes, lee dies for a couple of calibers etc.

    They do not have a show room but the folks at customer pick up were real nice and did not seem to notice that we were OC, just handed him the papers to sign and smiled saying thank you as they started handing us his boxes. He could have had it all shipped like normal but we were going near the area and had nothing better to do so we stopped and picked it up on the way.

    I have nothing against midway, I just like the "local" thing. If I can stop and pick up a thousand rounds, why order it? My UPS guy is not friendly, just drops the box on the porch and runs back to the truck. When I visit a store, hey hows it going, need 1k of xx, anything new going on, got any great deals to take the dollars out of my wallet, been looking at xyz does anyone you know have one and do they like it, can you guys get it etc is all missed by me putting X's in check boxes and that stuff is worth a bit more to me, not a bundle, but enough that I am not unhappy if 500 45's cost 55 bucks instead of 50 shipped.

    I believe you have to pay folks for their time and if your in the store for 15-20 minutes it should cost extra, they answered your questions and that has value. Paying a couple of bucks extra to get it and support those whom still give it is not a huge ordeal. The cheapest option is not always the best in my book and it is sad this is what has indeed killed off the brick and mortar shops of years gone by.

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    Hell yes. Send them the letter. I've been to quite a few gun shops in the past where the staff treats the customer like they're the ones doing you the favor.

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    Mo, I had that happen to me today. Got my new G19 in and needed to get some more JHP ammo to fill the mags. Went into that Outdoor Shooting Sports place in Chesterfield. The people working there were not only completely inattentive, but they would see me and then act like they didn't care. I mean, really? Just because I'm not in there buying a Hummer doesn't mean I'm not forking over some cash. I was even standing next to the gun cases, and they still wouldn't give me the time of day. Finally I caught someone coming out of a side door and he helped me, becoming a bit nicer. Still, I was completely put-off by the place and won't be coming back.

    For my guns I always to go this small FFL/deader in Foristell. Doesn't have anything on-hand; just orders it in. Still, considering I just got a G19 w/ night sights for $588 (cost of gun+$20 for him+shipping), and that Outdoor Shooting place has them online for something ridiculous like $780, I'm extremely happy. We even shoot the **** over there when I get a new gun in, he shows me his stuff, and he's always very nice and cares about me and my guns. Why brick and mortar places have a problem giving a positive consumer is beyond me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silo View Post

    For my guns I always to go this small FFL/deader in Foristell.
    That is exactly what I am likely to do from here on out. because of their outrageous behavior I had to seek out a reasonable FFL and I did find one that was interested in my business at reasonable rates. I drove over and met them today, just to say hi since my stuff is not even there yet. They will very likely get 100% of my business for doing this for me and they did not even know me nor did I know they exist.

    Hope that new gun shop in St Peters is nice folks or perhaps that new range in O'Fallon.

    Top guns price was a little high, but as far as they were concerned it was just a random phone call. I have been there a few times, but just range use or a mocarry event, might have bought a few boxes of ammo but I am not a member and have yet to make a purchase from them. It is not pricing or service there that keeps me from being more frequent, it is the fact it is a long ways from O'Fallon and I do not get down there as much for work as I once did.

    If the guy had had half a brain he would have said "hey, we usally charge 40 each but since your a good customer I am going to cut it to 20 and next time you decide to order something, come see me, we do that too and it would have saved you the 40 bucks" I would have a totally different attitude with them.

    I tried to get Mike at Mikes guns to order a pistol for me (I used to have my business there, bought two guns, safe etc from him) and he said he does not do it and would not discuss it further. I spoke to another couple of shops that kind of hem hawed about it so I figured the online guys were the only ones doing it anymore.

    Needless to say I am sending the letter, it is a matter of getting the owners address now.

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    My guy in Foristell is named James Comparato. INCREDIBLY nice guy. And, like I said, he only charges me $20 more than his price for the gun, plus whatever the shipping cost is. So you get very nice prices in addition to his customer service. His (business) phone number is 636.299.2529 and his email is james@gunbucket.com. Oh, and his FFL is $15, if I remember correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMTD View Post
    I have nothing against midway, I just like the "local" thing. If I can stop and pick up a thousand rounds, why order it? My UPS guy is not friendly, just drops the box on the porch and runs back to the truck. When I visit a store, hey hows it going, need 1k of xx, anything new going on, got any great deals to take the dollars out of my wallet, been looking at xyz does anyone you know have one and do they like it, can you guys get it etc
    I agree with ya there. I will try to get it local, but sometimes I tell ya the price is night and day. I'll even tell the shop that XXX has it online for xxx to see if we can get close. Most of the time they look at me like I'm crazy and say even they can't get it that cheap. Your a freakin' dealer, and I can find it cheaper than you?

    If I place an order at Midway, I will take the wife to Columbia from JC and we get to go eat somewhere different AND I get my goodies!

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