Am I off Base?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by jcoop1, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. jcoop1

    jcoop1 Member

    Maybe just a vent session here, but went to my LHS this afternoon with the idea of swapping a few NEW and in perfect condition N scale Peco switches for some things for my On30 venture. Now granted I didn't have any reciepts for theese, however there is a big label on the stuff that shows that it is from him an I am in there at least once a week buying this or that. Most of the visits set me back $40-$50.00 at least. I walked in and first off asked him about swapping, but he just kinda looked at me wierd and said he couldn't do it "rite now" I was really set back by this so I asked when? he said not now. So I just picked up a few odds and ends, but still kinda put off buy this.

    Had my eye on a couple of loco's and wanted to buy one rite then, but not now.

    I am asking too much?
    Should I just shut up and go back to my cave?

    Venting turned off for now.

  2. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Well, working in retail, I can say that every store has a certain amount of "shrinkage".

    That is, a certain amount of product "accidently" lands in customers pockets and "mysteriously" leaves the store without the retailer being paid for it. Christmas is the worst time for this.

    This is why a policy of "in resellable condition accompanied by a reciept" has been adopted by many many retailers. So they know for certain that when they give an exchange/refund they know it is for a product that they already have been paid for.

    Not saying that in your case you are trying to exchange "borrowed" product, but just that a few dishonest people have caused a policy to be set in place.

    Another scenario would be that there are two retailers selling the same product, Retailer "A" is selling it for alot lower than retailer "B", maybe "A" is clearing out the item. A customer buys the product from "A" and then attempts to return it to "B" to get more money back.
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Pete (Sumpter250) should have a good take on this since he works in a hobby shop. Now days enough people have take advantage of the "return anything" policy of a lot of stores, that they have become a lot more strict on accepting returns. No tickee, no returnee. I like Home Depot's policy. Full refund with receipt, store credit without. If the clerk there recognized you as a steady customer, he should have offered you at least store credit.

    When I was vasalating between HO and N, I had a bunch of HO flextrack I bought and hadn't used. When I settled on N, I went back to the store I bought the track from without a receipt. I offered to swap back piece for piece the HO for N track and he accepted that. The HO was more than the N, but I didn't care and he came out ahead, and kept a customer happy. That's the bottom line, customer satisfaction.
  4. kadidle

    kadidle Member

    I know from having run some retail operations, that while shrinkage is a concern, someone that frequents the store on a weekly basis probably should be given the benifit of the doubt and allowed to make the exchange. My policy was always that if the product was unused, not restricted (such as tobacco or alcohol), and could have come from my store, generally I would make the exchange. However, when we had the paintball shop, we would do a tear down and ensure the product was really new, plus run a serial number check on markers before accepting them back, which cost the returner $5 (BTW, this was a posted policy) for the fee the police department charged us. This was only on non-receipt items, and could only be credit, no cash.

    To me that is the most fair way, however, the benefit of having different owners of business' is that they each set their own policies. Some people liked mine, other folk liked the guy accross town.

    If I were in your shoes John, and there was another store in town, I would take some of my business there for a while, then after a few weeks go back to the first store, and if the owner commented about you not coming in for some time, point out that his exchange policy kind of turned you off to him. Don't bad mouth him, but if someone asks what you think of the LHS, let them know in an objective way that their return policy displeased you.

    Store owners usually want your business, I would expect this person is no different. Again this is all my own humble opinion.
  5. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Mike, with the current trend of Internet venders selling for much less than LHS, what is to stop customers from ordering online cheaply and attempting to return it to the LHS, thus making money?

    The small LHS here has adopted a firm "no reciept, no refund" policy, of course, thanks to his computer POS system, he can look up and see if he sold something to a regular customer as you are in his Database.
  6. kadidle

    kadidle Member

    That can happen, and sometimes does. One thing I think ALL retailers should do is A) Use a computer POS(point of sale) system, B) NEVER use the mfg bar codes, print your own, and C) only take returns with the packaging.

    We all lose a receipt once in a while (well, maybe not all of us, I'm anal!) However, even if you open the package, it would still have the bar code on it, and that's proof positive since you don't use the mfg upc codes. If you have a large inventory like a LHS, then POS (which usually can print the labels) software, computer, cash drawer, and reciept printer will ultimately cost less then custom price labels (and generic ones do you no good.) A marking gun will run about $100-$300, for that you can buy the drawer and printer, and with a little looking you can get the software for free (shoot, run linux on an old computer you pick up for $50 out of the newspaper and one of the POS softwares for that. Works great!)

    Definately use customer tracking. We did that with the paintball shop, and it worked great, Customers loved it because the regulars would get discounts and special deals. Very rarely would I get someone that refused to give their info.

    I've considered opening a LHS, even contacted Walthers and Horizon, however right now my life is complicated enough without trying to start another business. All but 3 of my business' are still running. I've found that after 2 or 3 years I get everything running on "rails" and need to move on to something new. The three that died were definate learning experiences and were certainly worth the effort.
  7. jcoop1

    jcoop1 Member

    Hi All,

    Just to clarify, all of the items had his price tag with the shops name on it.
    I didn't want any cash back, just credit towards an On30 Loco.

    Cooled off a little today, however my support for this guy just went down a big step.
  8. screen

    screen Member

    All statements above are right on and show many options and proceedures!
    The problem I see and it is at the root of you question - If you are buying from this LHS often, they should know you and should work something out - I am a business owner and have many of the policies as stated above but for a good customer would exchange only - This LHS would have been out nothing unless you special ordered the product to be exchanged - I would not buy another thing from him for a very long time if ever - after a while go back and ask if you could exchange at this time and if he says no, not at this time again, ask him when? If he says he will not exchange the items then tell him you thought you would give him one more chance before you take your business somewhere else and turn and walk out - If he doesn't stop you he doesn't care about you, only what you have already spent!

    You see you are in controal here but you are letting him control you - Show him who has the dollar - You can pay for shipping for your time and gas so buy it on line! Better service, support, selection, and maybe price!

    No one get me wrong here because as a small business owner I believe in supporting local owner business but the LHS better give good service or he better find another way to earn a living! PERIOD!
  9. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    I must be one lucky bloke, with the relasionship I have with my LHS, for example, I went in to get a point/switch. had 2 kids intow,(being kids, real pains) when I got there, the kids were brided to be good( by Betty the LHS owner)with candy. me, I got a cup of coffee, and promptly forgot for what hand point I wanted. left hand,? right hand,? long story short, Betty, gave me one of each, and I only paid for one, and I could return the one I didnt use. we are not talking a great deal of money here, about 25.00, but it sure made me a happy satisfide customer, mind you I have known betty for years...and she has had a lot of my money over the years. but betty has done things like that for many people, a doller short, speical orders without deposit,you no things like that, that will bring you back time, and time again.

    If I were you, I would find me another hobby shop, even if it cost me a little more in the cost per item,the service would have to be better and be worth the extra cents, than to be made to feel like I had done something wrong, or my bisness not wanted...have a good one steve
  10. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Having worked in retail for eight years, this is a good personal policy to use with any vendor. In discount retail we learned that a disgruntled customer cost 3x as much business lost as a happy customer gained over the same time period. Your request wasn't unreasonable especially in this hobby and the merchandise was in resalable condition. That his response came the way it did to a regular customer makes it the more worthy. In the business I'm in now, I have vendors scrambling for my needs---politely but firmly reminding them who butters their bread after such a slight usually gets results rather quickly (not to mention a reeeally cool NASCAR diecast from one of them :thumb: ).
  11. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    My regular customers are always treated as well as I can treat them, but, cash refunds don't happen without a receipt, I will swap items for items, as long as our sticker is still on the product. Bottom line......keeping a regular customer takes priority, and the rules can always be bent in favor of good customer relations.
  12. trolleynut

    trolleynut Member

    My LHS is very good about exchanges or credits.

    If you are in there alot,spending dough,he should have been a little more nicer to you..
  13. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    The facts are: You bought it from his store because it has his markings on it (no switching of items from another vendor [A vs B]in this case). You are a regular customer (2 times a week is more than a regular customer). He has no reason to believe you are a thief. You only want a store exchange, not a cash refund. The store OWNER says "not now".
    Maybe the owner did not understand that you wanted an EXCHANGE. Maybe he did not want to make this exchange in front of other customers, and have other people returning and swapping unwanted items because they changed their mind.
    What you should do is explain IN PRIVATE to the OWNER (not a salesperson) that you want to make an EXCHANGE, and apply the price of the purchased marchandise towards the PURCHASE of a NEW piece of merchandise. If he puts you off, ask him if he can do it with a restocking fee. If he can't do business with you, walk out of the store, and NEVER come back.

    I have 6 hobby shops in my vicinity. One LHS I will never ever enter again. Two I occasionally shop in. One I sometimes shop in, and two that I love to shop in, and frequent whenever possible, and place catalog orders. See if you have alternatives with better treatment towards YOU, and shop there.
  14. belg

    belg Member

    John, I'm wondering if the timing was just bad, did he have a bunch of other people in the store that he would not want to do something like that in front of them thus giving them the impression it would be alright for this to happen for them as well.
    I own my own business and know well enough one happy customer leads to many more down the road by word of mouth, I would definately confront your LHS owner and be forth right with him and say with all the money I spend in here you would turn me away on something so trivial, "BAD BUSINESS". Just my two cents, Pat.
  15. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Send a link to this thread to the shop via email if you have the email address...

    Then, if it was just a misunderstanding, he can correct it. If the situation isn't corrected, adios!
  16. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Something else I thought of - Was the store crowded? It may have been, that he didn't want to deal with you right then, because he had potential shrinkage to watch out for. :(

    I've been in my LHS and been the only one there - other times (Near X-mas), I'm in there and there's no roo to move :(

    Try going back after the holiday rush, ask him (The Owner himself) if he would take an even exchange, or at least some percent of the value. You never know - he might have a few good reasons for putting you off.

    But my personal opinion is - He should have Never just sent you away, without some kind of "real answer" (Ex. Come back after new years)
  17. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Perhaps something positive can come out of this if proper action is taken...

    I'd hold off on the email thing I mentioned earlier, that is too much like you are blackmailing him.

    Go talk to him face to face and be cordial. Explain to him that you come to his store often, that you had always felt comfortable spending your money there, and would like to continue. Let the guy know what your modeling plans are so he understands why you want to do the trade. Let him know that you did not understand his previous reaction. Give him a chance to explain.

    The worst that can happen is he doesn't do the deal and acts "snotty" about it. In that case, simply say "thank you" and walk out the store, and don't go back. No need to even say anything about the future sales he is losing, because it is obvious he doesn't care.

    On the other hand, the best that can happen is he explains the circumstances from the previous encounter, he does the deal, makes amends, and the customer-LHS relationship is strengthened, maybe you and him get to know each other on a first name basis, even become friendly.

    So go see him face to face, and give him a chance to explain. Being open and honest is always the best way to handle things like this. Basically, put the ball in his court, then his actions will determine whether or not you continue being a customer there.
  18. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I would agree, a face to face, one on one would be the best way.
  19. jcoop1

    jcoop1 Member

    A few more thoughts,

    When I went in there were 5-8 people in the shop, but all where taken care of by his employees. He was off to the side when I spoke with him about an exhange, not refund.

    We have two shops in the area that deal with trains. I went to the other one last night. They where open until 10pm for the rush. I went in with some flex track that I bought there (had no label from his shop) he gladly exhanged it dollar for dollar to some peco On30 crazy track.

    In the past I have tried to support both with my purchases, but now you know who will get my business.

    Thanks for all of the thoughts
    It will be along time before I step back in there.

Share This Page