I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything in my blog and, I’ve probably more to say than I will. I started my open water training about this time last year, and have worked my way through rescue, and am now a DMIT (dive master in training). I’ve learned so much. Diving is the missing piece of the puzzle in my life. I will be a instructor, and couldn’t care less if I made a dime doing it.
I see a lot of comments in the forums and blogs about buying gear online. One thing I find very hard to swallow is talk about their local dive shop gouging customers. This upsets me. Just because you can buy something from a nameless, faceless retailer cheaper online, doesn’t mean you are being taken advantage of by your local retailer. I don’t know a rich dive shop owner in the area, and in my area, there are only four shops in the four counties that make up our region. I was lucky, I liked the owner of the shop that is in my county. He cares about the safety and quality of training that his customers receive.
Do I pay more for the same item I could get online? Yes, of course I do. But, is a nameless, faceless online retailer going to train me? Is a nameless, faceless retailer going to fill my tanks? Is this retailer going to have genuine concern about any problems I may be having, and take the time to sit and have a cup of coffee with me while addressing my concerns?
The bottom line is folks, if you don’t have a dive shop near you that takes the time out of their day to make you feel like you matter, I’m sorry. All that means is there is room for a quality dive shop to move in. when your dealing with online retailers of dive equipment, your dealing with the Walmarts of the dive industry. They don’t care about your safety. They don’t care whether the gear your buying fits your style of diving. They care about volume and numbers. You become a nameless faceless dollar that they are going to collect from you without caring if you understand how to use what you buy.
One of the best things I’ve read on here I believe was written by Greg. It said shop around, but if your local retailer can get it within 20% of what your seeing, then buy it locally. I believe this is a good guideline. Don’t make your local shop the first place you shop. Make it the first and the last place you shop before buying. Be straight with your local retailer. Most of them have Internet access. Show them what your looking at. And, before you assume your being taken advantage of, take the time to get to know them. See how they they live. Most of them either come from a family that find other means of income outside of diving or live month to month just like a lot of us do.
Well, after a year of diving, this is how I see things. I work(more or less volunteer) at my local shop. I see their cost sheets, and I know what their overhead is. If you feel like your not being taken care of, tell them. If there is no other place to go in your area, and your not receiving, quality training and service, then write about it here. Maybe it is time for competition in your area. But, always be forward and honest with your local people first.
This is how I see it,
Joe A.K.A Dwightfrie