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mightyquin's picture
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Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

I've often found hifi stores difficult places to shop. Every review or advice you read always talks about 'auditioning' whatever products you're thinking of buying, but really, who actually manages to find a store that a) has everything in stock and b) is willing to go to the hassle of setting stuff up for you?

OK they might turn the volume up a bit on a system that happens to be on display, but that's about it.

This supposes you can find a member of staff to actually serve you. I've left countless shops empty handed because the staff always seem very busy doing nothing in particular. I've worked in retail before and really, it is possible to serve more than one person at a time, and you don't need all of your staff to serve one person!!

OK this is a bit of a rant, but, I popped into my local Richer's last night. I'm in the market for new speakers and whilst I'm thinking of buying s/h, as they have a sale on I thought I'd have a look. Same thing. In fact one salesman kept asking me to move out of the way whilst he was showing another guy (who spent most of the time ignoring him while texting on his phone) some iphone docks. They asked me to move out of the way three times! Not once did he think to ask if I needed help or to call one of his colleagues over.

Another guy was at the counter but then disappeared to the back room - great when you know there are customers to be served in the shop.

Honestly I sometimes think the demise of the high street is well deserved!

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

The answer is to use a specialist dealer and book a dem.......simples.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

mightyquin wrote:
I've often found hifi stores difficult places to shop. Every review or advice you read always talks about 'auditioning' whatever products you're thinking of buying, but really, who actually manages to find a store that a) has everything in stock and b) is willing to go to the hassle of setting stuff up for you?

Clearly no-one is going to have EVERYTHING in stock, that would require premises the size of a warehouse, just isn't practical.

Quote:
and b) is willing to go to the hassle of setting stuff up for you?OK they might turn the volume up a bit on a system that happens to be on display, but that's about it.

Sorry but that's not been my experience of any decent dealer, even my local branches of Richer Sounds have demo rooms and are prepared to setup a system if you ask. You might need to book a demo though.

Quote:
OK this is a bit of a rant, but, I popped into my local Richer's last night. I'm in the market for new speakers and whilst I'm thinking of buying s/h, as they have a sale on I thought I'd have a look. Same thing. In fact one salesman kept asking me to move out of the way whilst he was showing another guy (who spent most of the time ignoring him while texting on his phone) some iphone docks. They asked me to move out of the way three times! Not once did he think to ask if I needed help or to call one of his colleagues over.

Another guy was at the counter but then disappeared to the back room - great when you know there are customers to be served in the shop.

Did you at any point actually tell any of the staff you wanted to look at some equipment? Most people I talk to these days get irritated when the sales staff dare to ask you if they can help with anything, feeling they should just leave the customer alone until they make it clear they want some assistance, so maybe that's how Richer's staff play it now. You can't have it both ways.

And really, if you're standing in front of all the iPod docks and you can see the salesman is trying to show them to another customer, would it have killed you to get out of the way at the first time of asking? It really doesn't matter if the customer was looking at his phone, perhaps he was selecting music to try out the docks with?

Either any time I go into a hi-fi dealer I'm always dealt with with the level of assistance that I want, as I make it clear when I go in whether I'm just browsing or want to seriously investigate some items in detail.

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

It's not just you. With the exception of my local Audio-T and a (long closed now) dealer in Chichester I used to use, most hi-fi shops used to be like that.

I say "used to be" because almost all of them have gone out of business now.

There is precisely one hi-fi shop in our city (200,000 people and 200,000 more in it's 'catchment').

There is another one 25 miles away (same chain, same stock and sometimes the same staff) and a couple more about 55 miles away in Guildford.

Some specialist photography / camera shops used to be like that.    I was even refused Ilford HP5+ film in a small camera specialists in Wells (Somerset) once, because a local regular normally bought HP5+ and my purchase would not have left him any! (As far as I am concerned, if it's not under the counter and reserved, then I should be able to buy what's on the shelf.)

Maybe you were just unlucky. I have read good and bad things about Richer's here over the years and so it probably varies on a branch by branch basis.

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

Spent 6 years working at Richer. Pretty much a golden rule, one customer at a time.

 

 

Like toilets, a person can only properly look after one arsehole at a time. 

 

 

Seriously though, they have a 8AM-8PM demo booking service these days. With a bit of notice I'm sure that they can get most things ready for dem depending on stock levels. 

 

In an ideal scenario, we would have set up the kit at least 24 hours in advance. More if it was a Naim dem.

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

I don't think this is isolated to just Hi-Fi stores, most shop assistants are pretty useless these days. I guess it's down to all the frustrated graduates who have worked hard for their, nondescript, fandangled, useless degrees and have landed up working as shop assistants.

When you do find an assistant that's not just talking or generally dossing around their knowledge of the product they are selling is usually dismal. I think they sometimes forget what their job title is, shop ASSISTANT.

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

eggontoast wrote:

I don't think this is isolated to just Hi-Fi stores, most shop assistants are pretty useless these days. I guess it's down to all the frustrated graduates who have worked hard for their, nondescript, fandangled, useless degrees and have landed up working as shop assistants.

When you do find an assistant that's not just talking or generally dossing around their knowledge of the product they are selling is usually dismal. I think they sometimes forget what their job title is, shop ASSISTANT.

Well, would you want to do that job? Outside of hi-fi or possibly high-end cars I certainly wouldn't. And anyway if you go into a shop with that kind of attitude people aren't exactly going to respond favourably to you.

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

The_Lhc wrote:

Well, would you want to do that job? Outside of hi-fi or possibly high-end cars I certainly wouldn't.

Well that's OK then, so long as they don't want to be there just do a shit job and the customer can lump it. Nice one Sherlock.

They are getting paid to do a job, I don't personally give a toss if they like it or not I just want them to do it, and well.

The_Lhc wrote:

And anyway if you go into a shop with that kind of attitude people aren't exactly going to respond favourably to you.

I generally go into a shop looking for advice, if I don't get it the attitude comes later  Wink

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

I worked in a M.I./Pro Audio/Musical Instrument shop for 4 years at the beginning of my career (and indeed of time itself).

I had good days and bad days.

It is questionable whether one can adequately serve more than one customer at any one time, simply because it is considered impolite to do so by most people. If someone comes into a shop, they are there for a reason, especially in the case of hifi shops. They are there for professional, experienced advice and would, I believe, expect one-on-one service without any dilution of effort or focus by the salesperson.

At the same time, unlike the USA-style over-friendly, intrusive and fake approach adopted by many poor salespeople (especially in the car industry), I still think that "British reserve" exists, so it is difficult to get the balance right - as a sales assistant does one go for the direct "how may I assist you ?' approach, or does one wait for a request for help ?

Either way, there is no simple answer - so, maybe be a little more patient, ask for help if you need it and if someone blanks you at that point, take your business elsewhere.

As for demos - Richer Sounds provide some of the best demo facilities in the industry anywhere in Europe - all one has to do is ask and book an appointment. I received a call the other day from someone while they were having a demo at a Richer Sounds store; they called to say how well the demo was managed - and they got a cup of tea as well.

Let's be nice to those working in the stores.

Without them, we do not have an industry.

 

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

eggontoast wrote:

The_Lhc wrote:

Well, would you want to do that job? Outside of hi-fi or possibly high-end cars I certainly wouldn't.

Well that's OK then, so long as they don't want to be there just do a shit job and the customer can lump it. Nice one Sherlock.

They are getting paid to do a job, I don't personally give a toss if they like it or not I just want them to do it, and well.

They're getting paid minimum wage, you'd barely be able to persuade me to even make eye contact with the public for that, never mind concern myself with detailed knowledge of the product. Then you have that idiotic maxim "the customer is always right" when almost invariably they're anything but. No, anyone that works in retail gets my sympathy, not my scorn.

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

ROTH AV wrote:
I worked in a M.I./Pro Audio/Musical Instrument shop for 4 years at the beginning of my career (and indeed of time itself).

I had good days and bad days.

It is questionable whether one can adequately serve more than one customer at any one time, simply because it is considered impolite to do so by most people. If someone comes into a shop, they are there for a reason, especially in the case of hifi shops. They are there for professional, experienced advice and would, I believe, expect one-on-one service without any dilution of effort or focus by the salesperson.

At the same time, unlike the USA-style over-friendly, intrusive and fake approach adopted by many poor salespeople (especially in the car industry), I still think that "British reserve" exists, so it is difficult to get the balance right - as a sales assistant does one go for the direct "how may I assist you ?' approach, or does one wait for a request for help ?

Either way, there is no simple answer - so, maybe be a little more patient, ask for help if you need it and if someone blanks you at that point, take your business elsewhere.

Let's be nice to those working in the stores.

Without them, we do not have an industry.

Hear hear.

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

OK I'm not an idiot, and no, I don't expect to find every advertised product in stock, but if you look on a stores website and pick out 6 potential speakers but find NONE in stock then I think that's poor. 

Yes it is possible to serve more than one person at a time. For example the assistant plugged in some docking unit to an amp and let the other guy play with it. I was obviously interested in speakers as I was standing looking at them (oh and getting in their way as well). Assistant could have said, "have a play with Sir whilst I see if I can help this other chap a moment". As it was the guy sat down, listening to some tracks from his phone, while the assistand just stood there like a lemon. I decided to leave at that point. 

I have worked in retail, in a camera store as it happens, and I know some of the 'challenges' with dealing with time wasters, and fools. I've bought a lot of stuff from Richers in the past but usually I've decided what I want from reading reviews or hearing stuff owned by friends. The couple of times I have asked for auditions it's always been that the item is out of stock, or they're too busy (empty store). 

It's no biggie, I'll buy s/h, or buy from the cheapest place on the web so I can audition at home and return them if I'm not happy under the distance selling rules. 

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

I went in to Richer Sounds today, £10 off VIP voucher in hand, ready to buy a centre speaker. A guy came straight out of the back room as soon as he saw me enter, and I asked him about the speaker I wanted.

"Yes, we have it here sir"

"Great. I need it in walnut please"

"Haven't got the Walnut here sir, would have to get it in for you from our warehouse"

"Can I use this voucher still?"

"Sorry sir, you can't use that on special orders"

"OK. Bye"

I wasn't asking for it to be delivered to my house, so why couldn't they include it in the next delivery they got from their warehouse, honour the money off voucher that they sent to me, and let me come and collect it when it arrived?

It makes no sense to me, and now they've lost the money I was going to spend.

 

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

That's stupid. I had one of those vouchers too (in case I found a pair of speakers I liked). AFAIK the only thing it can't be used for is sale items, I'd try another branch if I were you, if you really want the speaker that is. 

Anyway, their lack of attention to detail lost my business too! 

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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

That's stupid. I had one of those vouchers too (in case I found a pair of speakers I liked). AFAIK the only thing it can't be used for is sale items, I'd try another branch if I were you, if you really want the speaker that is. 

Anyway, their lack of attention to detail lost my business too! 

mightyquin's picture
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RE: Hifi stores - is it just me or....?

Anyone remember this? (and no, it's not the Richer Sounds staff training programme!). 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxQqWSnsHoA

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