Hey Kids, Get off My Lawn!

I hesitantly write this post at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, but I'm pretty sour about this one.  Plus, I've been rather uninspired to write since the fishing in Georgia...so bear with this rant of less than epic proportions.

"Support your local fly shop!" 

That's what the lecturing masses say...

Me?  I say...


I sent the (only) local fly shop that shall remain unnamed a message through their social media page basically informing them that I'd like to spend just shy of $350 in their store.  You'd probably like a quick $350 if you were a retailer in a "dying" industry, right?  

I asked if they were able to pre-order a reel ($250) and also when their next round of saltwater fly fishing classes would be held ($100) since the last one posted on their website was in March.  Pretty simple questions.

Did I mention that was back on May 1st?
Today is the 15th.

Did I also mention they've posted 7 times to that social media page since?  
It's not going unchecked.

Selfies over $$$, makes sense to me.

Two weeks later, still no reply.  
I must have the wrong currency in my wallet.

Oh well...off to the internet it is.

Maybe I can find a fly shop in Pennsylvania that can help out with that reel...
Heck, I don't even like fly fishing with reels.

At least I tried.

*end of rant*


  1. This is going to make me sound really rude but quite honestly, the local fly shop owners are, in my opinion, really rude! : ( I actually visited a fly shop that will remain nameless this past Sunday and yesterday, Wednesday, and both times I had no help and on Wednesday the guy wouldn't stop talking to his buddy on the phone actually making fun of a client he guided the other day.

    Maybe I just go in at really off times but for what poor service I received at the counter at multiple shops, I don't want to support my local fly shop. I hate to say this but this has happened on numerous occasions at pretty much every single fly shop I have been to. I don't know if I always catch them at a bad time or they're just born arrogant and prideful but no one has really been helpful. I came from Michigan and now reside in Georgia.

    It just really makes me wonder about people sometimes. I buy from local shops occasionally but I mainly buy from In the Riffle. Sorry for such a long winded rant. Just really bothers me how rude fly fishermen can be sometimes. : ( Am I out of line for saying this? I know everyone has a personal opinion but I just feel like I have been wronged so many times but I am too nice to say something to their face!

    1. I wouldn't say all local fly shops are rude. I had a really good one when I lived in PA. I stopped by a great one in Utah that was super helpful. I bought stuff from them I didn't even need just to repay the generosity. I wouldn't even say this particular one is "bad," I'm just disappointed by this experience. That's why I don't want to outright flame them. That said any sort of acknowledgment would have been better than none.

  2. Why are you not naming names? If the service is that poor I would like to know which shop it was so I can avoid wasting my time there.

    1. There's only one fly shop in Jacksonville, FL. It really doesn't need to be named. This whole post is really more about the "you must buy from your local fly shop" doctrine...they've got to hold up their end of the deal too.

  3. I feel for you. Not to rub it in... but I have 3 shops within 40' of my house that all have provided consistently awesome service... So if you are ever in Mass and need a fly shop... Concord Outfitters, Lower 40 Outfitters and Evening Sun fly shops are awesome. And if you are near cape cod, Bears Den is awesome too...

    Time to fire up the interweb...

    1. I agree with you, Will, about our local fly shops. They are all great. I visit Charley the most because he's closest, but to Mike's point, they aren't very social savvy. Bears Den website is horrendous. Concord Outfitters finally updated theirs and Charley keeps his updated and is starting to do outbound social, but is definitely old school. My best advice to Mike is to call, or better yet visit the shop. It's called local for a reason.

  4. Curious - why not pick up the phone and call, or stop by the shop? There could be explanations other than apathy.

    Social media can be great, but it has its limitations (as do most forms of communication). Some businesses (large and small) don't know how to use social media well.

    I have 2 friends who own/run a fly shop. It's small and sometimes they get uber busy (especially during trout season) and things can get dropped. Usually the first things to drop are their social media postings/responses. Posts and photos of successful guide trips go up more often because they drive more business to them within hours of the postings.

    I am not saying apathetic, egotistical, immature, and rude fly shop don't exist. But maybe this was just a simple miss? Without knowing more I cant tell if this is a one-off or a pattern. Just because they know fly fishing doesn't make them business experts...maybe they need to know they messed up. Then if they choose to ignore your complaint - let the market take care of it.

    1. I certainly could call, or stop by the shop. I've been there before, it's not exactly close by, but I don't live in a fly fishing mecca. They very well could be busy, who knows. I hope they are. I work in retail, I know how that goes.

      I gave them two weeks to respond in any form. That's fair. A simple response...even a "let us look into that for you" is better than silence. They would have had my $350. Especially when they are posting pics of $6 deer hair packs instead.

      I knew this post would be somewhat controversial, but I don't feel the need or responsibility to hunt anyone down. If they had a dead Facebook page, I wouldn't have used that method to contact them. On the contrary, it's relatively active. It's 2014, the retailers need to adapt to the customers, not the other way around.

    2. I hear you. I work in tech and have spent many years on the product quality side of that equation. Our customers telling us where we unknowingly screwed up is a hugely valuable information source that statistics alone wont always uncover. If this business owner is worth his/her salt, they would want to know that they missed this opportunity. It might give them what they need to train, retrain, or fire employees who are costing them money, credibility, and customers. Nope, you don't owe it to them. But going away without letting them know why wont give them information they need in order to keep you as a customer. If they have the info and don't change, that's another matter. I personally would hate to see a semi-local shop fail if I had a chance to help them see the error of their ways.

    3. All true points. Not looking for anyone to fail.

  5. Mike,

    Come back to Norristown where you belong. Sulphurs are up on Valley. I'll sell ya a few flies & give some free advise...it should be pleasure doing this business, esp when it is a hobby as well as a profession.

    Tight lines,

    Tim Hough
    Orvis, Plymouth Meeting

  6. Mike, you've hit on one of my biggest pet peeves in all of the fly fishing world - and that is, people who tip every server the required amount of money even when the service sucked eggs. Well, that's the analogy I make about it anyway. "Support your local fly shop" is only applicable if said fly shop deserves your support. To be honest, imho - most have never "deserved" to be in business and these days in this dwindling economy, most certainly don't deserve to be in business. As you know, I'm a capitalist and I believe that there's nothing wrong with making money. I also don't think there's anything wrong with supporting a local fly shop that's worth supporting - but too many of them still think this is 1987 and that customers can be ignored or mocked or looked down on (when new customers ask "stupid" questions like where to fish or what to use ). I support whoever gives me the best service and that doesn't mean they have to bend over backwards, but it does mean I'd like for them to say hello at some point during the 20 minutes I spend poking around their shop. I'm talking to you, NC fly shop near Biltmore Estate where I will never darken your door again. These days, you'd think most shops would scramble to answer an email or message of any kind for even the potential of a $350 sale - and that brings up the question no one is asking. Has the "support your local shop" philosophy given new (extended) life to fly shops that should have been run out of business a long time ago? I think so. PS - stop tipping your server if they suck, and you'll get better service in the long run y'all.

    1. About three years ago, this became The first economic topic on which owl Jones and I actually agreed...if you own a business, let's do business! Not let's me treat you like a charity.

  7. PS - yeah, i said it. I'm looking for all bad business to fail. Why should we support horrible service and mediocrity and hope it continues just because it's a store that sells things we like? I hope every bad fly shop and gun store and restaurant and toy store and grocery chain and pizza joint goes down tomorrow. It would make plenty more room for people who need jobs that would eagerly do things the right way. Just imagine how much more successful good fly shops would be if people stopped settling for crap service and outrageous prices and rude workers? Success or failure should never be based on emotional ties to our hobby, but on value and service and the ability to treat people with respect when taking their money in return for goods and information. Sorry for the book. :)

    1. Your book is fine.

      I don't want bad businesses to fail. I'd like them to improve. I think Mark up there in the comments made a good point. Inform them of their shortcomings, if they can't recognize them and improve...then they are free to fail. Just like that place that serves chopped pork instead of pulled pork. I mean WTF?

  8. Sounds like your "local shop" isn't very "local" at all! Do they know your name? Thankfully I like my local shop, they know my name, as well as every other fisherman within 20 miles! If you're gonna start pointing and clicking online, I second Hibernations recommendation to the Bears Den, I've met the dude at fly shows, seen his stuff, talked to him, and can say he knows his shit. He has a real flyfishermans beard too! Does your Jacksonville herb have a beard?

  9. I hear you brother Mike...you're not a curmudgeon yet. Oh wait, did I say that out loud? One of the things I have found lately is a lot of fly shops are like this while the online outfits have discovered that you don't need to be face to face to have great customer service. So keep ranting, we've got a lot of great choices out there.

  10. Great rant, Michael. I have enjoyed reading all the comments. I just want to add that "supporting your local fly shop" is something that I used to be able to do and did for thirty years. Nowadays, because of living on a fairly meager Social Security income, I have to get the best deals. If that is online with a dealer, so be it! It's a sign of the times, folks!

  11. Well I'll double down on the curmudgeon angle. Pick up the phone and call, Mike. I think most local fly shops don't "get" social media. Just because they have a Facebook page doesn't mean they know how to use it. Most likely a young shop rat set it up and moved on. While we if the digital age have expectations on how do do biz through social networks, many small businesses don't have a clue. If you haven't called them after not getting a response to your message, then you are as much as fault as they are IMHO. Be kind when you call and use it as a teaching moment for the fly shop owner.

    1. It's business. If you're selling $300 reels, you should know your customer base well enough to know that someone wanting a $300 reel is probably working and busy,....they'll try to contact you once and that's it. I don't have time to chase local business owners around because they work 12 hours per week and I work (currently, unfortunately) 60-80 per week.

    2. Dean - I can understand your response...I just don't share the same belief. It's not my responsibility to call them to follow up a non-replied to message. It's also not my fault that they use, but don't know how to USE, social media. My only fault is assuming they would...I mean if they can post pictures and make comments, they could reply to a message. I haven't contacted them yet...but probably will...just to let them know of the missed opportunity. I'm not mad, just disappointed. I'm also probably spoiled by the service of other entities such as Austin Kayak (among others) that have stellar online-based customer interaction.

  12. Blogger needs an edit response button....

    I'm a very a patient person, Kirk and Mike. I do want local businesses to thrive and will go beyond a typical online transaction if it's not working. Like I said above in a comment to Hibernation, it is called local for a reason.

    If I want shop on the internet, then there are plenty of options that could provide possibly a better price and certainly better initial service.

    I shop local fly shops for a couple reasons.
    - I like the guys who run them and will hang and chat for a bit when I visit. Talk about the kids, rivers, etc...
    - If I'm buying a line or reel, they will set it up with backing typically for no additional charge.
    - If I want anything they don't have, they will usually order it for me saving me shipping charges.
    - If I'm looking for local knowledge or spots, they bend over backwards to help.
    - If I have issues with the items purchased, I don't need to ship it back and wait. I usually can stop in and have things fixed (or at least get a loaned replacement while its getting fixed).
    - One can try before you buy. My local shop will lend rods, reels, etc.
    If the local shop needs a nudge to become more internet savvy, then I'll prod and help where I can.

    I too work way too much, Kirk, and know the one local shop owner in my area has a full time sales job with an industrial chemical firm and opens the shop for business in the afternoon and on weekends. We all have busy lives with work and family. Squeezing in some fishing time is sometimes impossible, but we find a way. If the local shops were rude or talked down to clients, then yes, move on. Helping were we can with these guys helps us all in the the long run.

    BTW, Mike. I can't stop looking at that ridiculous selfie. WTF is that from?!?

    1. Ha. Not sure where the selfie came from. Google image searched it up somewhere.

      All valid points to shop local. I totally agree on all of them. In fact, two of the bullets were the very things I was seeking.

      My particular local shop does sell online. It also runs a co-branded restaurant, and lodge in the Bahamas under the same name. Not exactly the small local guy, they seem to be doing fine.

      Again, I'm not mad. It wouldn't stop me popping in at a later date to pick up supplies, I'm just disappointed with this experience. I've conversed with other fly shops in the same fashion - Western Rivers Flyfisher (SLC, UT) and Mossy Creek (Harrisonburg, VA) - and always got prompt replies & service. I only sent the note to try and "do the right thing" and shop local, but also prevent a wasted visit.

    2. I found your local fly shop with a simple search. I see your point. These guys are pretty engaged online, possibly to a fault with too much going on to be responsive (restaurant, lodge and fly shop). I didn't see the option to send a message to them from the facebook page (I assume you needed to like first before you could message). Orvis, Patagonia, Simms dealer with "Worldwide Shipping" makes one feel like they could give a shit about one customer. Their site needs some serious design updating. Looks like the owner has built a rep and is riding it.

      Go beat them up, Mike.

  13. I agree, Micheal. Give me a reason to want to spend my dollars at your shop. Just because a shop exists doesn't mean I can't shop where I wish. With that said, we like our local place, 5 star customer service.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Fear & Loathing In Packing For Fishing

The Blessing of the Driftless

Gear Review: Greenerways Organic Bug Spray

A New (Family & Fishing) Fitness Plan

The Driftless Photo Dump