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Old 12-04-2010, 10:44 PM   #43
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2005 25' Safari
Trabuco Canyon , California
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I live in southern Orange County CA. It's generally suburban, built over the last 30 years. Many stores and restaurants are chain operations.

While I like Costco and Lowes, I'm not a fan of Best Buy (push extended warranties) and the like. I shop frequently at Amazon for variety from printer ink to garbage disposal.

The trailer, with its ever present lust for parts, does see a lot of local purchases. Baums Auto Supply has been very helpful in Mission Viejo.


I shop at Andy's Inland RV in Corona, just over the Santa Ana mts.
Camping World and other local authorized dealers for proprietary parts.

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Old 12-05-2010, 11:13 AM   #44
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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So, as with most things, there's no one answer. I, like Ganaraska, give the local vendors a chance, but many give me reason to look elsewhere. This leads to a feeling that all local vendors are out to get you, are ignorant, or rude. That isn't true, but the bad ones are the enemies of the good merchants. Local chambers of commerce don't do anything but beat the happy drum.

Some places have a greater proportion of bad merchants than others and I and Ganaraska seem to live in them (though I read about Ganaraska's town, Cobourg, Ontario, and it sounded pretty nice) . Stephanie doesn't. Our local hardware store (the one that wouldn't take back a $1 item despite the fact we had the receipt) never has hired many people that know anything. They know where things are, but don't know what they do. When I have to go there, I usually teach them something.

One would think that in small towns bad merchants would be driven out of business. But when there is a tradition of badness, bad merchants stay in business. What is normal in one place would not be tolerated in another.

I learned early from my father to watch for phony sales, bad products, lying salesmen. It feels worse than it was back in the '50's, but we have more options than ever. Those without computers or the education to know how to look for the best products and deals are at a great disadvantage.


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Old 12-05-2010, 11:49 AM   #45
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Oak Creek , Arizona
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Buying locally is always the first option because I like to see what I'm buying and be able to return it if it's not the right fit.

I have found that the local stores will match price on many items. Bought two flat screen TVs at the local stereo shop for the same price as Best Buy and they delivered and set up everything.

Local RV shop has been very willing to help although their business is primarily SOB's. They are always busy and have to make an appointment way in advance to get service though.

Had my fill of CW. They won't get any more business from me and they are all too far away any how.

In rural areas, online shopping is often a necessity to find what you need sometimes, and I like delivery to the door.
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Old 12-05-2010, 01:49 PM   #46
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Battle Ground , Washington
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I think the overall problem can be described as the loss of 'customer service'. It used to be expected that when a customer walks in the door they are greeted, and asked if they can be helped. And if they can't you say 'well, let me know if there's anything I can do for you'. At least that's how I was taught. Customer service is the one place small shops can shine. Anyone who doesn't understand that doesn't deserve to be in business long.

Now we're surrounded by big box stores where there aren't any clerks on the floor looking to help anyone with anything. If they're out there it's just because they're restocking. It's unlikely they know anything about the products. As folks have mentioned, even small stores hire cheap labor to man the store, and they can't answer anything beyond the most basic questions.

Even the cashiers are robots who just scan the items and hit the right buttons. If anything goes wrong they have to call over a supervisor to push the magic buttons to let them correct it. That is, for the stores that still have cashiers, since many of the big stores have gone to u-scan-it systems. At our home depot you can go in and buy a box of screws and never talk to an employee.

Which is all the more reason to support the small stores that do it right. I'm thankful to live in a town where we have these kind of places!

Because of my varied hobbies I still have to go find things online often. There are things I need that I couldn't find within 30 miles of home. So I buy those online. But I rarely skip over buying something at a local store that deserves the business just to go find it cheaper elsewhere. I figure you vote with your dollars, and if you vote for big box stores with non-existent customer service, then someday that's all you'll have to choose from.

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Old 12-05-2010, 06:47 PM   #47
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Cobourg , Ontario
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"One would think that in small towns bad merchants would be driven out of business."

When there is only one shoe store, one hardware store or one furniture store in town it didn't matter how bad they were. Everyone had to go there whether they liked it or not. In those days people didn't drive from town to town to go shopping. There were no malls and no internet. But the small town merchant never stopped complaining about how the mail order houses and chain stores were taking away "their" customers.

When cars got better, interstate hiways got built and they started building shopping malls the bad merchants started to go out of business.

You are right about Cobourg being a nice place. It was then and is now. The downtown has better stores and better merchants than ever. The old gougers with ingrown dispositions are long gone. The new stores are cleaner, better stocked, and better run than ever.
Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:35 PM   #48
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Spokane , Washington
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This thread has taken off in a strange direction. OK, buying locally is a good idea, competition is a good idea and customer service is even a better idea. True, all true. The competition from the Japanese auto industry in the 80's was the wake up call for the Big 3 and because of that, we now have some great American cars on the road again.

I don't see WM as fair competition and what they have done and continue to do to the American economy is a shame. Sure, you can go in and get a nice television for a pretty good price. This is why they fill their stores with customers every day. When you look behind the scenes to find out why the prices are so low you will see some damaging practices. Damaging for the workers, damaging for the American manufacturing sector and yes, damaging for the local economies in the end. Do a little research and see how they treat their suppliers and what kind of benefits do they provide for their workers? Compare this to what goes on at Costco and you might understand why so many choose to avoid WM. Of course you need to have an open mind when you start looking around.

When Sam Walton started his business he always sold American products. His claim was everything was made in America. Upon his exit from the company that has all changed.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:45 PM   #49
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I live in the big city and I'm poor.

Hi, Mom & Pops were gone when I was a little kid. I buy what I want from who I want and I don't want to waste money on pride. I bought my house about thirty years ago and bought a commercial grade garden hose, with a life time guaranty. I don't even remember who I bought it from and certainly don't have a sale slip, but Lowes gave me a new one anyway. I have returned many items to Wal-Mart and never had a problem. Once I needed a part from a percolator; I talked to the store manager to see if he could order one for me. He told me to take one off of the shelf, bring it to the cashier, and show her what part I was taking, for free. I don't have to drive very far to get anything; I could probably walk to get anything I want. [Lowes, Home Depot, Costco, Wal-Mart, Airstream repair center, and many more] But I don't, I drive. I will say though, knowledge in any store isn't what it used to be. I feel we are at the beginning of the big separation; Those with High School diplomas will work at the hamburger shop and anyone wanting a job above minimum wage will have to be College educated.

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Old 12-06-2010, 01:07 AM   #50
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Morada , California
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I'm usually a 'Location-location-location' kind of shopper...

If the store has poor parking, access, etc., I just won't go there, 'price' doesn't enter into these decisions...

If I need 'expert' advise for an item, I look for a store that specializes, expecting they are up on their stuff...

If I need a 2x4, I go the closest, accessible source - If I need a whole pallet of lumber, I'll shop around for the best price - goes without saying...

When it comes down to 'big box' stores vs 'down town' shops, it's a matter of convenience to me - I'm not going to spend extra time, fuel, traffic, etc. just to 'support' one kind of particular business for the sake of 'supporting local business'...the path of least resistance is human nature, IMHO...

I'm co-owner of a small local business, and sure, our sales are affected by the big box stores - But we try to offer friendly, expert advise, easy parking, all available in a timely manner - the kind of service we've tried to 'earn' over the years...

As a small, local shop, our customers can come in and purchase, or have a new car battery installed in 5-10 minutes, and be on their way - try that at WM - sure you might save 5% on the price, but you'll have to park in the 'north forty', look up your own info, wait in line to purchase, and if needed, installation will probably take at least an hour, if you're lucky...

When it comes to RV parts...I do use the Net for purchases of unique items usually not stocked locally - and of course price is a factor - most RV outlets I've visited sell their stuff at higher prices to help their dealer's bottom line - can't blame them - it's a part of this kind of 'disposable income' business...

If you're spending a few $100's, it's hard not to shop for it on the Net these days...sales tax alone can be a big item, as can 'specials', etc., that you may find, and many vendors will pay for the standard shipping as well...Hey, I like to save a 'dime' as well as the next guy...

Happy Spending to All, and to All a Good Night...


Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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