Or….Can’t we all just get along?
In any industry, the general rule is that what’s good for the industry is good for all the indsutry members, and the scuba industry is no exception. So it never ceases to amaze me to see the back-stabbing, bad-mouthing and juvenile games that are played by so many owners and professionals in the industry. This past month I have had the opportunity to experience quite a few fine examples of this, and felt that it was just too good to not share with our blog readers. So, in no particular order, here is a sampling of what I heard and saw recently:
One local shop posted, on a public bulletin board system (BBS) website, a listing offering a “great deal” on some older Faber cylinders. They were new, but had hydro test dates that were twelve to eighteen months old. As a result, he offered them for a reduced price, compared to the shop’s regularly posted price for the cylinders. Well gosh, who am I to not take advantage of the Information Superhighway, as Al Gore coined it when he invented it back in the 80’s. So I made a posting, offering Faber cylinders, with current hydro’s, plus our free lifetime inspection program, at our regular price – which was still lower than the other shop’s “great deal!”. Well you would have thought I shot the pope, with the blasting we got on the website from the original poster, who offered to his readers the following explanation – “Well, at least we are a reputable shop not just smoke and mirrors.” I suppose he never passes through Harleysville! I’ve taken the time to visit his shop; he might consider coming to see ours! The ‘welcome mat’ is out every day!
On the same site another poster, who came by and visited IVS’s new facility, wrote a pretty nice post telling the readers what he saw and how we were able to help him on some of his equipment needs. The attacks he had to endure for his honest appraisal were amazing, although frankly I take it as a compliment that Indian Valley Scuba inspires such emotion from other dive shop pro’s. Cool!
On another BBS site there was a post by another member complaining about the delays and excuses he got from his local dive shop when he needed his cylinders hydrotested. One of our customers noted the post, and wrote that Indian Valley Scuba offered hydrotesting in-house, usually with a two day turnaround. One poster asked for clarification on what our Free Testing for Life program included, and I wrote back, explaining that it included annual VIP’s as well as Hydro’s every five years. Well, he wrote back, “Thanks for IVS for responding, but again, and pardon my cynism (sp?), but a dive shop having it’s own DOT certified hydro facility? Why? That equipment is expensive, the training is expensive, the re-certs are expensive. A huge outlay. Again, I am not saying there is anything askew here, just something that makes me go ‘hmmmmm?’. “ Well we’re glad we inspired him to sing about us, but gosh, you can wait weeks for your cylinders to come back from one shop, or pick them up two days later from IVS and get back to diving…you do the math. Einstein!
About a year ago DEMA, the dive industry trade association, put together a pilot program that involved running a series o ads on a cable network about scuba diving, and linking a message in the ad to direct you to a website where you could find a participating dive center near you. DEMA representatives asked us if we would help them out and participate to help get this program going and the bugs worked out. It was partly funded by the participating shops, and also by matching advertising dollars from DEMA, some manufacturers, and some dive destinations. Well the area that DEMA had bought the cable coverage just barely touched on IVS’s geographic area, but we’re team players, so what the heck, we’ll buy in. So the ads ran for about 90 days, and we got some calls as a result, and DEMA worked the bugs out of the program and got ready to launch it in more areas. One of those areas was the greater Delaware Valley marketplace, and earlier this year they approached one of the dive shops in Philadelphia to head up the local project. So that shop put together a list of local shops and DEMA members to invite to participate, secured the matching funds, and launched the ad campaign. Shops from Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and even Lehigh counties were invited to the campaign, but guess who wasn’t? Turns out the shop who was working on DEMA’s behalf had lost some customers to Indian Valley Scuba, so they felt a need to ‘punish us’ for, well, being us! And does DEMA do anything about this? No, they showed their spineless nature on this one, rather than doing the right thing and working to amend this clear act of exclusion from the program. Nice to see an association that you pay dues to and support when they need you turn out to be so one-sided when you have a situation like this come up. Sad.
And some of our favorite customers are our Dutch Springs ‘Secret Shoppers”, who call in to Bev during the week to order items that Indian Valley Scuba actually stocks and offer at great prices, unlike some other shops, and then ask us to bring it along to Dutch Springs the next weekend for them to pick up. Of course we do, heck why not, and we enjoy the secretive visits late in the afternoon, after the rest of their group has gone home, and they come to our tent or trailer to get their delivery in the plain paper bag. Seems if their regular shop found out they were shopping elsewhere they would get thrown out of the group, and ostracized as some sort of turncoat. And all because they simply wanted to have product in their hands, today, at a great price.
Enough today, we’ll now return to our regular broadcast of the show in progress!