Disappointing news; Baltimore Area (Towson) Woodcraft is closing

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"Mike Marlow" wrote:
<snip>

<snip> ------------------------------------------------------------- The sole job of a sales person is to GO TO THE BANK!
IOW, help the prospect reach a point where they make the decision to buy the service or goods being offered and spend money.
The sales person doesn't need to have or even should have a working knowledge of the service or goods being offered, but they better be skilled guiding the prospect thru the buying cycle by using the most basic tool of the sales person, the question.
This most basic of communication tools is also used by your doctor when you visit.
Having a working knowledge of all the bells and whistles of a product or service does not necessarily aid in GOING TO THE BANK.
Helping the prospect feel "warm and fuzzy" so they can go to the bank is why the sales person has a job in the first place.
Education is not free.
The user almost always ends up knowing more about the product or service they own than the manufacturer of that product or service.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

company! I thought a sales-person was there to help the customer fulfill a need.

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"Mike Marlow" wrote:
<snip>

<snip> -------------------------------------------------------------
Lew Hodgett wrote:

"Bill" wrote:

Lew Hodgett wrote:
If you want an argument you will have to change the subject. --------------------------------------------------- "Bill" wrote:

Lew Hodgett wrote:
See above.
Lew
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wrote:

I may not have explained myself well. I am not an expert on any subject and never think I am. I wasn't seeking product use knowledge (appreciated, but not expected), but rather something more elemental.
I am looking for the guy that knows where hammer drill bits are in the store. I want to find the guy that can tell me were the 3/8" plumbing supply lines are, or someone that can tell me where the roof sealer in a caulk tube resides in their store. Store knowledge is good. Product location is good. The local HDs we have are disorganized enough that certain products simply aren't on the isle they say they are on the announcement board.
HD used to be good about hiring at least a guy or two that had perfunctory knowledge of product and application. Now I have no idea what their standards are locally.
Strangely, the HD in a small town about 40 minutes from here is great. The folks in the store know where everything is, and will ask you a simple question like "have you used this before?" if it is something like a new mold killer or pipe sealer. If you have, they ask how you like it while they are checking you out.
< What's worse is when I

Mike, there are a host of folks everywhere that love the "big me, little you" situation, as long as they are on top. No one is an expert at everything, and few I run into are an expert at anything. My personal experience rings true with the biggest mouth usually knows the least.
And so what is someone knows more about a machine than another guy. The guys at the box stores are for the most part just trying to earn a living. They don't want to be the next Norm, Nakashima or Krenov. All I want from those guys is to tell me where the deck screws are. (Why aren't they with all the other fasteners??? At some stores they are...)
The only time I am pissed off is when someone attempts to tell me how to use a product or a tool when I have not solicited their opinion, and made it clear I don't want it. When I go in to the store and ask for a very specific item by brand name, model number and size, I don't want the jovial, middle aged nit brain to say "well, wait a minute fella, what are you going to use this for?"
And when purchasing oil based products in one of our local HDs, the pin head in the paint department on deck (my regular guy is an ACE) told me he wouldn't sell me naptha to thin their old based paint with because it was the wrong product. He was really serious, too. He told me mineral spirits or nothing, although we both know I could pick up any can I wanted.
Even after I told him I did this kind of work for a living, he continued with his diatribe about using the proper thinner for each paint so that you would get the best results. He quickly inserted the fact that HD would not be responsible for the results if I used naptha instead of mineral spirits.
I pointed out to him HD never guaranteed my final product anyway, so he could sleep well at night. It escalated as he followed me down the isle telling me that he had gone through two different training classes on paints and did a bit on the side as a contractor... then I made a real scene... the store manager came over to where I was wrong... read him the beads, too. All I wanted was my bright white paint for trim (did you know HD has the brightest white enamel in the business? Available nowhere else?), my thinner, and get out.
What gets me Mike, is that each HD and Lowe's have distinct personalities. Now, when I suggest something for clients or contractors, I send them to different stores. Since no two HDs have the same inventory, I go to three or four of them fairly often, and they are as different as they can be.
Anyway.... we are on the same page. 99% of the time in any retail establishment I am happy if the folks just say "go to isle 27, about halfway down, look about eye level on the right. If they have moved it, come get me." That's all I need.
Robert
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I may not have explained myself well. I am not an expert on any subject and never think I am. I wasn't seeking product use knowledge (appreciated, but not expected), but rather something more elemental.
I am looking for the guy that knows where hammer drill bits are in the store. I want to find the guy that can tell me were the 3/8" plumbing supply lines are, or someone that can tell me where the roof sealer in a caulk tube resides in their store. Store knowledge is good. Product location is good. The local HDs we have are disorganized enough that certain products simply aren't on the isle they say they are on the announcement board. <snip> ------------------------------------------------------------- That's known as knowing the range.
Gotta know the range before you GO TO THE BANK.
The sales person need not know what a "hooseydinger" is, much less how to use it, but at a minimum, knows how to ask enough questions to determine what the prospect thinks a "hooseydinger" is, and what trade is likely to use it.
Armed with that info, the sales person can then direct the prospect to an area of the store where they might find a "hooseydinger".
The Home Depots I frequent have sales personal who after that conversation say something like "follow me" and take off to the "hooseydinger" aisle.
Reminds me of when I was 16, working in a hardware store, not having a clue what most of the things I sold were used.
Maybe it also doesn't hurt that most of these sales people could pass as my grand kids.
Lew
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On Mon, 20 May 2013 23:09:55 -0700, "Lew Hodgett"

Another problem is the sales person who doesn't give the proper information on a product or just doesn't have the time to give a detailed description.
Case in point. When I was in the Borg the other day, I was listening to a salesman educating a customer on how to use toggle bolts. The customer stated more than once that he wanted to hang a small spice rack and then add additional sections to it as his collection grows.
I listened politely for a few minutes and then after the salesperson left, I showed the customer the difference between toggle bolts and hollow wall anchors as well as their respective capabilities and *faults*.
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On Mon, 20 May 2013 23:09:55 -0700, Lew Hodgett wrote:

When I was a kid, Belknap Hardware was still in business in Louisville. When I read about it today it's called a wholesale outfit, but I never had any problem buying from them as a retail customer - must be they were both. They claimed 40 acres of floor space :-).
Anyway, they had employees who knew where everything was in the whole 40 acres. At least it seemed that way. Some of the rooms were floor to ceiling drawers and the employees in that area knew the exact drawer.
It's worth looking at their history:
http://www.wkfinetools.com/hus/0-hardw/belknap/hist/byBS/bHistory1.asp
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On Tue, 21 May 2013 16:21:42 +0000 (UTC), Larry Blanchard

Ballard Hardware in Seattle, they started out servicing the fishing boats. They had an old building about 7-8 stories, old wood floors and wood parts drawers. You literally got a guide when you went in there, and they did know where everything was.
Mike M
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On Sun, 19 May 2013 21:59:38 -0400, "Mike Marlow"

Why not? When I go to Wal Mart, the people at the register are able to discuss the attributes of every product they sell. They can give expert advice on product use too.
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I agree, but only marginally and it's getting worse as time goes on. Between cost cutting, the relatively poor wages paid to typical Borg workers and the frequent replacement of those workers, we can't expect the same type of expertise or knowledge that we used to get. The exception is when you get some of the older, retired people who are there because they need to supplement their pensions just to survive. And maybe too, those few who do it just to keep busy.
It's usually, only the smaller stores with employees that have been employed there for some time that you can find the knowledge (and experience) many people seek.
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Good one!
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On 5/20/2013 5:09 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Oh! your Walmart cashiers speak English?
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On Sun, 19 May 2013 21:59:38 -0400, Mike Marlow wrote:

When I worked part time at Woodcraft, that attitude would have got me fired. We were hired for our woodworking knowledge and were expected to attend vendor seminars to learn more.
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On 5/19/2013 10:20 AM, woodchucker wrote:

Plus 1!
Not sure what caused the flip flop (though I hadn't really noticed a major difference in pricing between WC and Rockler).
Hereabouts - Northern Illinois - the Woodcraft store uprooted itself from what was a convenient location for me (within a mile of a Harbor Freight store) that I would be in for "Saturday breakfast club" on nearly a weekly basis. They moved that store a couple of years ago a number of miles north and east and it was just inconvenient for me to get to whereas the Rockler store in Schaumburg was still handy due to my normal travels in the course of business.
I stopped in at Woodcraft finally, for the first time, a couple of months ago. Nice store, well laid out, product on display like in a museum (with the same prices you might expect in a museum). Gone were the clearance items, odd lot sale pieces, etc.
Also had occasion - shortly before that visit - to stop by at the Milwaukee, WI store which I hadn't visited in a coon's age. Found that to be the same.
Between the convenience, sale items, inventory, and people... Rockler is my go to place these days and will likely remain so.
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wrote:

I'm coming to that conclusion too. I used to spend far more in Woodcraft than Rockler but it's pretty much reversed.

Both are on the other side of Atlanta from me (about an hour, depending on traffic). I like having both "locally". Better is Highland but I haven't bought much there, other than a bit of Festering stuff, either. I did buy a 106" guide rail and the parallel guides fairly recently, though.

I'm not too impressed with WoodRiver, either. I really liked the Colt drill bits but they've dropped them. OTOH, some of the unique tools at Rockler, like the pocket hole clamps, are really nice.

I just find them different. Each has its strengths but I agree that Rockler has gotten a bit better (or perhaps the opposite). I'm sure the economy has a lot to do with it.
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Sure is a shame to see this store is going to close! I know the prices are a bit higher than some other stores, and the selection is limited on certain things too. But you could always depend on the guys that work there to be friendly, honest about their knowledge level and willing to talk over your personal issue with the other guys to try to arrive at the best possible solution for the customer. Some of the guys were only slightly more knowledgeable than my own "Hobbyist" level in some areas, while being very knowledgeable about particular areas of expertise. Other guys were extremely smart with respect to most topics, and willing to share that knowledge without talking down to a customer. Bottom line is simply this . . . The store filled the niche it was designed to fill. There were items that only a pro would want, or know how to use. And there were the standard tools and supplies that every woodworker needs. I think the balance was just right for most guys who enjoy woodworking. At least I could be reasonably sure that the store would have a decent quality saw blade, or router bit if and when I needed it. I didn't have to make due with the offerings from some warehouse store. The sales guys knew enough to recommend a certain type of tool for a specific application, instead of just showing you what the chain chose for offerings. At times, these guys would go way beyond the salesperson role to help you with choices of tools and materials that fell into an application area that was new for you. I bought a little lathe from another store because it was a great deal. I knew I would only use it on rare occasions when I bought it. So I went to the local WC store for a set of cutting tools, knowing absolutely nothing about the subject. The guy who helped me actually really helped me! He told me about the tool size ranges, grades of steel, grind angle,andle design and material etc.. I had no idea! I ended up buying a set that far surpassed my needs, but not out of ignorance. I was just grateful for all the knowledge the guy had shared with me. Service like that deserves a bit more loyalty from it's customers. Talk is cheap, labor not so much. If you want a store that offers high quality service . . . Make the purchase from the place that gave you the service . . . Even if it costs a bit more. Too many people want to go to the local high end retail store that offers reasonably knowledgeable sales people, and then go to the warehouse store with minimum wage labor to make the purchase at 10% less cost. I had even talked about this very topic just a week or two before getting my "Going out of business" post card. Everyone loves the service offered by retail, but only want to pay the wholesale price. If you enjoyed the added service of the retail store you use . . . Be a man of conscience and loyalty . . . Buy from the guy who actually helped you with the purchase. Everyone loses when any business of this type goes under. The owner loses, the employees lose and so does the customer. When this store closes, I'll be forced to go to Rockler, or one of the other online stores for anything other than the "Home Depot version of a tool. I won't be able to walk into a local store for a demonstration, or additional information. I won't be able to pick up the tool to feel the weight and balance etc.. There won't be weekend classes for areas of interest I want to explore. And I won't be able to get the odd tool I need for a project on the weekend while I still have the shop a mess, or need to complete before the pending gift occasion on a Monday. Retail stores serve a certain niche. They offer more in a lot of respects, and you pay more for an item as a result. Nobody gripes about the prices they pay at a convenience store, as a result of having the convenience. But the tears flow, and the complaining starts right away when one of these other retail stores has a slightly higher price on a specialty tool, or name brand supply. I for one am glad to pay a little more for a good tool that I need right away. I know I can order most anything from an online store for a lower price. But it's convenient to hop in the car and get the tool when I need it. And it's even better if the store has someone around that knows a bit more than I do about the project I'm jumping into. Just my two cents, for what it's worth. It will be a sad day when this store closes it's doors. There is little left to replace all that this store offered in our area. I'm sure most of the customers who used it will agree. . . . Probably the next time they can't finish the project they are involved in, because that little specialized convenience store just isn't there any more.
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Pricy, but a MUCH better selection of finishes than HD. I wouldn't use polyurethane to varnish a cat litter box, but try to find a varnish that ISN'T poly based.
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