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General Climbing Discussion

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Another poor service story
5:52:48 PM
Had a classic at lunchtime today when I walked into the Paddy Pallin store in Little Bourke St making some enquiries on some CM gear and was told by the person behind the counter that they had never heard of Charlet Moser gear!
I am like ".....what the F***...." and walked out of there laughing my head off!

When will some of our climbing shop retailers get their act together and train the people they hire properly. The person in the store did not even offer to get someone more expereinced to assist!
It seems that there are two kinds of sales assistants out there. Those that climb and/or really know their stuff and can help, and others that simply have no clue at all!

aka another dissapointed customer!

1:25:38 PM
On 6/07/2004 JohnK wrote:
>It seems that there are two kinds of sales assistants out there. Those
>that climb and/or really know their stuff and can help, and others that
>simply have no clue at all!

It's probably also true to say the same of customers. Of course, as someone
who really knows their stuff (or else you wouldn't be pouring scorn on shop
assistants on an online forum) you would no doubt be aware that Charlet Moser
does not exist any longer since they were taken over by Petzl. They are now
known as Petzl Charlet.


ps: for both Petzl Charlet and Charlet Moser, try Bogong. Most of the shop
assistants there either use the gear or will point you to someone who does.
7:14:17 PM
to my knowledge Paddys has never sold Charlet gear which may in part explain why they aren't familiar with it...
2:12:18 PM
Not pouring scorn on anyone actually (incidently considering I don't run a retail business nor have worked in a gear shop I am very well informed!).
I am just sharing a dissapointing customer service experience which hopefully people that work/run a business in a retail environment can learn from. It costs nothing to try and be helpfull and polite to people that walk into a store.
In any business, if you ignore the feedback that customers are giving you, then you may as well shut shop!

2:27:12 PM
I had a similar experience a couple of years ago in Paddy's in Kent st Sydney. I went in to get some chalk. The sales assistant promptly told me I was best off going to the news agent down the road! I queried this by confirming my desire for "climbing" chalk, and was again told to go to the newsagent. Just out of curiosity I went to the newsagent, and guess what. There was no chalk!
I have found that most of the big franchise stores suffer from a severe case of NFI. I don't know why this is, but I do find that your friendly single store operations usually have great staff.

2:53:16 PM
maybe you went to the wrong newsagency..
2:59:00 PM
I can't agree with the "big franchise stores" comment. While I only ever go to the Kent Street store, MD's has always given me excellent and knowledgable service. Mountain Equipment (while I guess not really a big franchise) are excellent also. My local gym is very good too.

Paddy Pallin's however have not been so good. I went in to check the price of BD cams and the sales assistant asked me what cams were. I also know of a number of people who were told that their scarpa shoes would stretch and so got them sized right down - only to find that they were lined and hence wouldn't stretch, leaving them with very painful shoes.

9:45:55 PM
yeh i was in kent street the other week and the loser behind the counter had no idea what they were on about- said his name was james or something...

i definately agree with you on the 'either they know plenty or nothing at all comment- i work at a gym that has a pretty good gear shop, and you get guys who actually climb coming in and the managers who have no idea try and sell them toy carabiners....(as an eg.)- andrew bull came in a little while ago and ordered a LOT of stuff, and the unnamed individual was shaking their head in desbelief at how much money he was wasting - "i mean you dont need more than 1 or 2 draws do you??" (among numerous other things)

1:37:39 PM
can't expect every sales assistant to by a gun climber. But there should be one person in the shop who knows there stuff.

there must come a point however, when you know more than the shop assistant. you need to do your own research and not rely on their opinions as they often have no more climbing experience than you.

as far as i know Paddy's doesn't sell CM and most of their staff wouldn't know the diff between a screw and a stake.

Whats worse is that they don't give VCC member discounts like the other stores.

2:23:19 PM
my outdoor ed teacher went into paddys the other year, inquiring if they could set up some sort of account for the school. There would be quite a few kids needed outdoor gear for various camps, especially for VCE Outdoor Ed, and being in the industry himself, my teacher thought that they would fix him up, you know, help each other out, as you usually do when your going to generate business and in the same industry, look after one another. they offered him a 5% discount on all sales. Good bye!

3:05:49 PM
wow 5% off, that would mean they'd only be 45% dearer than everyone else, awsome!!!!
9:42:05 AM
I love reading these sort of threads where one person who is clearly a genius likes to share his genius and lack of social skills with the world.

Would be great to get your take on which outdoor retailers have a uniform level of customer service, knowledge/skills to satisfy every potential customer and their subjective take on what they think constitutes excellence.

Suppose when you asked to speak to someone who might be better equipped to help you they said no?

The way I see it is you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

11:39:37 AM
No he is merely pointing out his bad experience at Paddy's and fair enough too
5:59:35 PM
Obviously another person with some personal vested interest in retailing or in Paddy's.
Be realistic when making wild comments on this great web site.
When someone walks into a leading, nationally based climbing retail store with a load of cash they should not have to "ask" to speak to someone else by themselves (nor should they have to chase the "right" sales assistant around!).
The person serving them should have the courtecy to say "sorry mate....can't help you on this one, let me just get someone else that may be able to help" or "I don't know much about this....can I get someone to give you a call back beacuse everyone is out".
If this represents "excellence" of some type.....than God saves us all as consumers! Don't think it is asking too much. If so, then there are way too many other retailers around including on line shops that can offer far better service....bottom line...... they won't be here for the long run. In fact that's what I did...I went somewhere else where the person was highly efficient, friendly and called me back within 24hrs telling me what I wanted was available and could be ordered in!!....which I did!
p.s. and customers with unhappy experiences also share their poor experience with many others!

7:53:40 PM
Years ago when I started caving, someone really wise said "listen to what everyone says, believe less than 50% of it and react to less than 10% of it.

Paddy's, like Mountain Design, Mountain Equipment, Snow Gum etc are outdoor equipment suppliers, they carry a wide range of equipment for a variety of outdoor activities and they don't specialise in a specific outdoor activity. Their staff are employed for their general background in outdoor activities and not their specific knowledge in one niche area. The shops also stock brands, which their staff will be given some background knowledge and the staff members are obviously going to push brands that they stock. Very few sales staff will tell you to go next door, because they'll have the product that would suit you ideally.

If you go into a generalist shop, you're going to regularly find that you have more background knowledge in your speciality, than the majority of the staff. If you get enough experience, you'll possibly get to a situation where you have more knowledge than the specialist shops. So as you gain your knowledge, it's up to you to apply your knowledge and sort the sales' chaff out from the gems, in addition you'll work out which stores are more likely to sell the type of product range you want, for example I'd never go to Kathmandu to purchase a snow tent, not because they don't sell tents capable of being used in the snow, but I'd rather purchase a high quality item which was designed and has been tested for a specific purpose.
10:29:20 PM
AlanD, I have had staff from both ME's and MD's refer me to the other store to get a specific product I'm after (although I have also had staff from both explain in no uncertain terms why their product is better than the other companies - that is their prerogative). I have also never had a staff member who didn't know what they were talking about in either company. I have at Paddy's.

12:28:12 AM
Duncan, I've been referred by Paddy's and ME, but it's the exception than the rule. I've had all the stores try to totally bulls*** me, sometimes they have even succeeded.

If I'm shopping for something I'm not really familiar with, I'll do some research on the net, ask a few people I know have expertise in that area, go into the each of the Sydney Kent St stores and ask them questions, then sort through all that information to make hopefully an informed purchase. Each store has its strengths and its weaknesses, based upon its staff and its product range, you just need to work out which one is which. None of them are really strong in XC ski touring. I would say the climbing equipment wouldn't generally be a strength of Paddy's, I'd probably put them down as being extremely strong in bushwalking and backpacking. Two years ago I took my parent in the late 70's and early 80's into each of the stores to purchase equipment (boots, rain jackets, thermals, even a walking stick) for a China and Tibet trip, only the Paddy's staff showed any interest in seriously looking after them.

But someone at MD tried to sell me climbing shoes the other day that didn't fit and would never fit (wrong shape), they were in a discount bin, because they didn't have the size shoe I was after in another brand which they do stock.
2:00:52 PM
I see that "tobyc" has provided neither a name nor email address.
2:12:14 PM
I'd be interested to see some info come out of this thread on GOOD places to shop:

I think we're all busy people and don't have the time or energy to waste time shopping in unfruitful locations. Would anyone care to share stories of an experience with a retailer that was particularly outstanding?? Perhaps when a retailer has gone "beyond the call of duty" to help you get an urgent piece of climbing gear in before your next incredibly important climbing trip??

5:12:22 PM
**enter shameless plug**

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