So, I’m a reasonable individual. I make fair money, I live a great life, my family is healthy, and my community is filled with good people. I am a socially sophisticated, highly trained, wired, enabled, savvy, powerful, user of the world wide web and the Internet. In fact I can talk for days about the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web. Worse I helped build big chunks of it, and repair big chunks of it during my time at MCIWorldcom. So, it sucks when I run across somebody who looks down on me because I might have a clue about it. Worse it really sucks when I am trying a real world transaction that is so much cheaper and easier on the world wide web, and get treated like garbage in the real world for my efforts.
All because I want to take my family bicycling in another town.
Knowing the stresses of the market globalization I do my best to buy locally, buy locally produced products, and help out my neighbors. Sure it sometimes costs me a bit more, but I find service and support after the fact are worth the few percentages over what I might pay on an Internet sale. Usually I find this to be a great practice and then there was today.
I made a special trip to a local Valparaiso trailer and hitch dealer. I was looking for a hitch to put on my wifes 2006 Scion xB. So a special 30 minute drive down to a place and I walk through the door. Nobody is around and I look at the controlled entrance, the multiple alarm systems, the tightly controlled path of travel, and then the requisite “bar” to purchase parts. Now we get to the good stuff.
Salesman: “What do you want?”, try and imagine a sawed off guy, with a crabby face, and a demeanor that can only be expressed as curmudgeonly.
Me: “I have a bit of strange request.”
Salesman: “Well whatcha got?”, did I mention he wasn’t a jolly little fellow?
Me: “Umm. Well I need a hitch for a 2006 Scion xB, an invisi hitch is supposedly a good fit”.
Salesman: “Well we only Draw-Tite”, thereby proving that the case was closed and I should take my business elsewhere. I should say I might try a little harder though.Just a note but the invis-hitch is a draw-tite branded product.
Me: “Well I need it to put a bicycle rack on the back so it only needs to be 1 1/4 inches”
Salesman: “Well I guess you’ve been on the Internets haven’t you.” to say this was said in a derogatory way would really miss on the obvious slur “Internets”. Kind of like tubes I imagine. Why I might have heard of that contraption too. Maybe it requires a modem or something.
Me: “Um. Yeah I looked up the available hitches and I think the draw-tite might work”
Salesman: “Listen, I don’t have it in stock. I could order it, but what you order, you bought, and there are no refunds. You want to order it?”
Me: “ Well do you have a picture, do you know how it fits, have you ever done one?”
Salesman: “All I got is a number you want it?”
Me: “Why no I don’t. I kind of want to make sure it works and I don’t want to cut the rear fascia or get something that won’t work. Thank you. Have a nice day.”
Salesman: grumble, grumble, grumble…..
So, I can get the hitch sent to me with free shipping on the Internet, it has a 30 minute install time, I can get an accessory package, AND the bike rack and if it doesn’t work they take them back. Globalization sucks, but if I can’t get good customer service locally why shop locally? Sure I have to order it and wait for it to arrive, but my local guy would do the same thing. Online I can see a picture of the EXACT product, and a demonstration of how the bike rack works.
I came so close to identifying the businesses in this blog post, but finally I decided why waste the bits. Where did I go to get the trailer hitch for a 2006 Scion xB? e-trailer.com and I’ll write up the install when I get the parts.