Would you ever buy from a dealer/ manufacturer that was a jerk?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by WvL, Dec 18, 2021.

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  1. Morbius McDalek

    Morbius McDalek Mobilis in mobili

    Oxford UK
    I remember going to a hi-fi show in Bristol UK, perhaps about 20 years ago. In one room was being demonstrated a turntable, which would correct for off-centred records. Now they’d be called vinyls of course, just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about. Anyway, I put my hand up, and I asked why the speaker cones were moving back and forward, implying the record was obviously off centre, despite the magic performed by this invention. I was told it was because the hotel room wasn’t ideal for the demonstration. No one else said anything.

    I later stood next to the speaker, holding my watch. The inventor came across and asked what I was doing. I said I’d been watching the speaker cone movements, and in the last minute I’d counted 33 1/3. He went ballistic.

    I’d never heard of this guy before, but now his name is on a great many phono preamplifiers. Needless to say, I’ve never bought any of his products.

    I remember in another room of the same show, a class-T power amplifier was being demonstrated. I think this must have been a fairly new invention at that time. People were being asked for their opinion, and they mainly just shrugged their shoulders. The manufacturer was obviously very proud. I put my hand up, and said if my mum’s transistor radio had made that noise, I’d have gone out immediately and bought her a new one. I was just ignored on that occasion.

    Oddly enough, that was the last hi-fi show I visited. People are just so fixed in their opinion of what is good, and trying to reason with them just leads to undesirable consequences.
    Shoes1916 and Shawn like this.
  2. Morbius McDalek

    Morbius McDalek Mobilis in mobili

    Oxford UK
    PS. He said the cone movement was due to a resonance that'd been set up by the room.
    Shoes1916 likes this.
  3. Luxmancl38

    Luxmancl38 Forum Resident

    Manchester NH
    I've been going to the same local dealer for over 20 years. Before I purchase he always lets me take the gear home to demo in my system.
  4. carbonti

    carbonti Senior Member

    New York County
    Taking into account the variables that are meaningful to me: such as pricing, availability, dealer territory restrictions, timing, etc., then yes I would buy from a dealer/manufacturer that was a jerk. If I can fulfill an objective or goal for what I set out to do, I can look past or ignore the personality types encountered in completing a transaction. It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

    I believe that retail has evolved over the years and the availability and access to a broader range of products is more open than ever before. I’m not sure that the salesperson or hifi shop principal behaviour has changed as rapidly as retail customer expectations have changed as far as the perceptions of service quality and the power & control dynamic between buyer and seller. The buyer wants more deference and a better price while the seller cannot oblige for any number of financial or personal constraints. But in my view the key characteristic missing in the entire relationship is lack of mutual respect. A buyer and a seller engaged in retail bloodsport as harsh adversaries is a race to the bottom. But in a consumer society the customer was told he was king and they may well lump the independent audio dealer with a corporate behemoth like BestBuy and take the same approach to either. That cannot be done. It takes at least a party of two to have a disagreement.

    As a lifelong NYer I’ve dealt with NYC audio dealers, well, all my life. As a young adult, that experience was often quite unpleasant. Comical in hindsight to put up with the BS in shops where even early in my career I earned far more than a salesguy likely did but yet was the recipient of silly mind games. But as a thick skinned NYer you keep pushing on and get through it. I can’t say if the same BS still goes on today but based on the response from my fellow NYers on this forum YES the BS still goes on. I don’t see it as much but I’m also 35 years older than the young adult, say, in Sound by Singer years ago. BTW I’m not picking on Andy as I’m still a customer. I look at any relationship with a dealer, especially a highend audio dealer as a symbiotic one: I need them as much as they need me, or customers like me. I don’t see jerk behaviour much anymore. But even if I did, I’d buy from any dealer if that’s what it takes to get where I choose to be. The jerks, the BS, the background noise in a transaction, HA! Trivial in the bigger picture. Drama queens forgotten as soon as I step out of their door.
    Shoes1916 and Dale A B like this.
  5. Sear

    Sear Dad rocker

    Tarragona (Spain)
  6. yamfan

    yamfan Forum Resident

    The problem with buying from someone who is a jerk but gives a bargain is that if the product works fine, then no problem but if it doesn't, it's tough dealing with jerks.
    Shoes1916, Shawn, timind and 3 others like this.
  7. Helom

    Helom Forum member


    This is the most important consideration when potentially dealing with a jerk. Sometimes it’s hard to determine if the person is in fact a jerk until it’s already too late.

    That sort of happened to me when dealing with a certain “factory direct” brand (O*****y Audio), though there were some red flags I should’ve heeded early on.
    Shawn and SandAndGlass like this.
  8. OhHiMahk

    OhHiMahk The search function is your friend

    I spent my 20's working at 2 retailers, part of my 30's working for a manufacturer, and I've remained a consumer within the industry for about 35 years. So I've pretty much seen it all from every angle.

    Yeah some dealers can be jerks, and that's inexcusable. Some salespeople are jerks regardless of the situation and should do something that doesnt require human interaction. I tried to treat everyone with respect and as a potential current (or future) customer. But we're only human and some days it was difficult, especially with some of the crap people pull. Audiophiles can be some of the most neurotic, entitled, indecisive people ive ever met. I've also met some really cool people and made lasting relationships that endured decades past my retail years.

    Some of the things that consumers do that is inexcusable has already been pointed out...Wasting a stores resources and buying somewhere else. Wasting peoples time with no intention of ever buying, expecting huge discounts after the salesperson has bent over backwards trying to perfectly match gear to your system. These are the major ones. I know in some of the posts here people didnt do these things and were still treated badly. Theres no excuse for that, even if the salesman just learned he lost a big sale after spending hours with someone, and you were next. But its hard to come back from that.

    Be a proper and respectful consumer. I once heard something that I've never forgotten:

    "If occasionally you come across people that act like a-holes, they might be having a bad day, or are really an a-hole.
    If everyone you meet is an a-hole, YOU'RE the a-hole"
    Shoes1916, AaronW, timind and 2 others like this.
  9. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy - Touch The Face Of God -

    Northwest, USA
  10. jfine

    jfine Forum Resident

    I buy from whoever. If I excluded the jerks IME that would narrow it considerably.
  11. chili555

    chili555 Forum Resident

    This has happened to me several times over the years and not just in audio salons. Auto dealers are the worst. There are, however, quite a few customers wearing shabby Walmart jeans and cheap looking t-shirts and Rolexes in the service waiting area at my nearby BMW dealer. Wise dealers are smart enough to not judge a book by its cover.
  12. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    SW Washington, USA
    Sound Factor was a nice shop! I spent a little money and a lot of time there back in the day. Dr Jack always treated me well.
    Hendertuckie likes this.
  13. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    No, I wouldn't buy from a dealer who was rude and insulting.

    I wouldn't want to reward that behaviour, and I wouldn't want that memory associated with that product. And I wouldn't want to deal with that person again if there were problems with whatever I purchased.

    There are plenty of competitors out there, and some retailer forget that it's a different retail landscape now compared to last century.
    timind likes this.
  14. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Rule no. one.

    Never under any circumstances make any transaction with a person you don’t like , is rude to you , etc.

    the sale will never feel right, good , or satisfying.

    This has ALWAYS served me well.

    Always follow your instincts.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2021
    timind and Riktator like this.
  15. AppleCorp3

    AppleCorp3 Forum Resident

    I was in a used record/CD store and when the owner belittled the artist I asked for, I went about putting every CD I had back and left the store never to return. He had some good stuff too and prices weren’t bad. I had a stack that I was ready to purchase.

    So, I guess based on that (with a comparatively small amount of $$$ compared to gear) my answer would be NO!
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  16. BillWojo

    BillWojo Forum Resident

    Burlington, NJ
    Well I hope that dealers are watching this thread. I just returned from a nearby shopping mall and it was a ghost town. Parking lot looked like it might for say a mid week evening during the off season. 3 or 4 years ago you had to park at the outer extremes of the parking lot and hike in. Mall was pretty much empty. Lot's of closed stores.
    I know Amazon and Covid has much to do with this. I suspect that non of the anchor stores will remain in business after this season. Christmas season accounts for the bulk of their sales and keeps them financially able to remain open the rest of the year.
    I don't think brick and mortar audio stores will be around much longer. Last thing they can afford to do is piss off a potential customer.

    Shoes1916 likes this.
  17. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Eagle, Idaho
    There are two dealers I've done business with for 15 years. Over the past year, year and a half, both of them were so rude to me I'll never do business with them again.

    One of them I think was having a mental breakdown.
    Shoes1916 likes this.
  18. brucej4

    brucej4 Forum Resident

    West Coast, USA
    I never had a problem with New Jersey dealers when I was buying there 30-40 years ago. They spent time with me, and I twice got equipment to try out at home that I ended up buying.

    I've been living around Silicon Valley for 20 years now, and I don't even have a nearby suburban dealer to visit. Going into San Francisco is no longer an option, for many reasons. All my buying is online.
  19. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident

    Columbus, Ohio
    Two observations:

    1. In every industry (audio, car real estate, jewelry, you name it) there's always wives tales of people coming in driving a beat up truck, wearing bib overalls, ripped jeans buying $200,000 worth of gear. Most of those stories are false. However, most high end dealers I have visited is full of t shirt, ball cap wearing customer/visitors. So I don't believe most of the "they were rude because I wasn't dressed to the hilt" or "I was not driving an expensive car" stories. Sure there may be exceptions....but it's rare.

    2. If a dealer or sales person is rude, go somewhere else. Write the store owner and share your experience in a polite way. It could be a case where the owner is not aware of their employees behavior, or it could cause the owner to re-evaluate his/her own behavior. Just because someone owns a business does not mean they are great or even good managing other people.
  20. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Yes, I've encountered rude audio salesmen in the past and no they didn't get my money.
    Most of the times I was judged based on age - because "19 or 20 year olds only use soundbars and don't spend on real audio gear".
    Luckily I got rid of that stigma now that I'm a few years older.

    But this is not exclusive to audio stores.
    I've been at a watch store not too long ago looking for a Formex Essence, while I was wearing a Seiko Premier.
    Luckily they had two on display, so I asked to fit one (it's not a common brand, even in the Swiss watch niche market).
    Instead I was told that it's a mechanical watch that takes more maintenance and they suggested that I should look for a quartz watch instead...
    I told them that I already knew that it's a mechanical watch, that I didn't want another quartz watch and left.
  21. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Inspiration, move me brightly

    Tempe, AZ USA
    Everybody got a price.
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  22. Gi54

    Gi54 Forum Resident


    Yes, been there. I have a few very rare Girard Perregaux high-beat watches from 60's & 70's and going into some boutique watch emporiums without an immediately recognisable watch on the wrist (Rolex, Panerai etc) often elicits a vibe that I’m not worth their time. And with that kind of response, guess what? - so far as their shop is concerened, they're right!
    Oelewapper likes this.
  23. Mebsuta

    Mebsuta Well-Known Member

    Khemi, Stygia
    Last time I bought a car I was wearing flip flops and probably the same shirt I slept in. Dealer didn't care. They just wanted to sell me a car.
  24. yamfan

    yamfan Forum Resident

    I'd chalk that up to different people like different music. Someone criticizing the music or artist I like doesn't detract from my enjoyment of them.
  25. Jim N.

    Jim N. 2024 is 1968 sans the great music

    So Cal
    I spent a lot of time in that store, too. We had quite a variety of shops at that time (Stereo Hi-Fi Center, Paris Audio, Systems Design Group just to name some within a few miles) and was treated pretty much OK at all of them. I could see if they were busy and would not insist on being helped unless I wanted to buy something NOW. They need to make their living. I was a long-hair in T-shirt and jeans but it did not seem to matter. Stereo Hi-Fi Center had the same primary salesman (and one owner) in the 80's and 90's. Shopped a lot, bought a little (NAD integrated amp, M&K satellite/sub setup). Really nice guy who drove a vintage Mustang.

    Now when I went into the LA /Westside stores it was a different vibe altogether. Did OK at Shelley's in Santa Monica (Adcom GFA 545 and GFP) but the others were a waste of time. When 2005 rolled around the number of shops had declined and the survivors were primarily into A/V setups. That's when I started internet shopping and have not looked back. I can see why existing stores can get irritated at someone who is just using them to demo gear.

    Would I buy from a someone who treated me poorly? Nope. If they treat you poorly while you're trying to buy something can you imagine what they might be like after a sale?
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