A Tale of Two Cities (abridged)
Two down and one to go...
...Music Matters, Edgbaston, and Frank Harvey, Coventry, aren't as close to me as I would like. In fact, Music Matters in Stourbridge is probably the closest real hi-fi store, but I find Stourbridge such a pain to get to and find a parking space! Be that as it may, in my current search for my next level of loudspeaker, I visited Edgbaston and Coventry yesterday. Towards the end of the month it is over to Audio Affair at the Custard Factory in Birmingham for the third, and hopefully, final stage.
I enjoyed my day a great deal, expanding my horizons well beyond my wildest imaginings. Did I buy anything? Ah, no. Was I tempted? Ah yes! But I must be patient and fair and wait until I have paid my third visit. Who knows what might be in store?! [;)]
The chaps at MM and FH were unfailingly helpful, patient and friendly. Once more, there was a complete acceptance that buying hi-fi should not be a hurried process and that I need to give a listen to a cross-section of products at different locations. I must say that I was blown away by the variety of stock at Frank Harvey: the choice was daunting. Even so, there was no pressure, no hurry. Nothing was pushed at me unnecessarily.
Two very different shops (the Frank Harvey premises are simply amazing), but two very similar attitudes. Make the customer feel comfortable (offer of coffee or whatever), settle the customer in with a bit of a chat while setting up, and then leave the customer in peace to listen, checking back after a decent while to see if the next piece of kit is required and consult.
So a big "Thank You" to the chaps at both for giving me the time and opportunity to expand my listening experience in the speaker field. Especially as they know that I will not necessarily buy from them - yes, I was upfront and told them what I was doing and the timescale.
And so to Audio Affair in a couple of weeks...PS: Sadly, I did not get opportunity to actually meet the almost-but-not-quite eponymous David at Frank Harvey. Probably ran for cover when he heard that weird 'ferret boy' was in the vicinity!