Originally Posted by griz
These places just don't get it that customer service is ALL they have going for them these days. When then is not offered then there is NO REASON not to go online or go to Dick's, Sportman's Warehouse,Cabellas ect.
That's exactly right. Why more shops don't understand that is beyond me. The ONLY reason to patronize a small shop is the service. If that is lacking then that's a shop that's not long for this world. And, rightfully so.
The large shops, and big box chains, generally have better selection and lower pricing. Most up-to-date local fisheries information is available online these days. There are lots of books, magazines, DVDs and the like to learn rigging and techniques. Fly fishing clubs and online boards fill the social gap of not gathering in or around a shop. Service really is all that small shops have as an advantage these days.
Sorry to hear your friend had such a bad experience. Hopefully that incident doesn't discourage him from the sport. But you might want to remind him that shops are frequently staffed by folks whose egos seem to ignore the fact that they are working for just slightly more than minimum wage. Not taking many of them as seriously as they take themselves is a healthy approach. It's fly fishing; not surgery.
If the problem wasn't with the owner of the shop, you might either give him/her a call or write them a letter letting them know about the problem. My guess is a change in staff might be the result--to the betterment of that shop and the sport as a whole.
Good shops, with qualified and friendly staffs, are awesome. But it only takes one or two experiences with the bad ones to really give the whole system a black eye. With all the other options, small shops need positive public relations stories more than ever.