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Alque01

Cleaner Shrimp
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
172
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Baton Rouge
Just wanted to post my experiences.

I have never been much for LFS. The quality, price and paying sales tax was a bigger turnoff than the convenience and instant gratification LFS purchase provide.

So I went through the traditional online search and destroy. Stuff arriving dead, CSR less than helpful, sizes do vary. I am truly a rookie when it comes to this stuff, but it would seem that the phrase "You get what you pay for" does not apply when you never really see what you are paying for. I like many others have thought that any company worth while would simply ensure that the customer is satisfied. So if what I got didn't look like your picture, GMMMB. Not a credit, I want cold hard cash in my hand. But I digress.

I was at Marks when the shipment came in... Some of the best stuff I have ever seen. Not an expert but each bag was truly off top. (slang)
Seemed worth the price tag. Luckily, I was able to buy a piece.

So I have been reading the post here and it is so all over the place.

The bottom line is it is next to impossible to compare oranges to oranges.
I come to this site to get insight, and knowledge well beyond my years in the hobby.

SO, I hope this site stays open to people expressing opinions, insight, and the occasional problems. I read and learn from it all.

Thanks LARC
 
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Anonymous

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I think it is well within reason to compare oranges to oranges.
 

Alque01

Cleaner Shrimp
Thread starter
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Messages
172
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Baton Rouge
No pics, but I will try to get some.

Problem is it is never really oranges to oranges. Its personal taste, personalities and many other variables.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Alque01 said:
...Its personal taste, personalities and many other variables.
no, those are opinions. It is possible to objectively judge a LFS to an online vendor.
 

huge1day

Emerald Crab
Joined
Dec 4, 2005
Messages
106
Location
Alexandria
When I first entered this hobby I was a hobbiest then I opened a store that I had for about 3 years, ended up selling my building and now I am a hobbiest again. So, I might have a little different perspective than most.

It is a huge benefit to have a great relationship with your LFS. The LFS is just trying to make a living. If they mark up a fish 100% (which is typical, but there is always an exception to the rule.) For each fish that dies they have to sell one just to break even. Most of the suppliers to LFS don't do much with credits for doa's. The LFS just eats them. So if are dealing with a small store, they may might not sell every fish every week so they see more fish die, than the store that sells more. But the opposite is also true, if the LFS has had a fish for a few weeks and they look good, the likelyhood of the fish living is greater than the store that just got the fish into their store.

We had people that internet shoppers in our store all the time. I can appreciate the cheapest price out there. If you give me a chance to match internet price, great. If I could and make a buck sometimes I would, but you have to take into consideration the shipping cost. There were others that would come in ask all types of questions, learn from the LFS then go home and find it on the internet cheaper and buy it. That is frustrating to any LFS. If you are going to take up their time and learn from a "professional" you should be willing to pay a couple more $$ for you being able to ask questions and learn. The worst ones are the ones that ask all the questions, then buy on the internet, then ask you to come hook up their system. Needless to say, those did not get any break on the hourly rate.

The last part of my rant is if someone bought something from me, we would try to warrant it. i.e. if a pump went out, we would give a replacement pump to them until the pump was returned under warranty. There was definite value to knowing we kept replacement pumps and you could call anytime and get help. If you did not shop with us, and we know all you ever did was pick our brains then purchase everything online, if something broke, you would have to pay dearly to have a replacement pump today.

Now that I don't have the store anymore. I still love the hobby and will frequent LFS when I travel. FYI, I buy a lot of my dry goods from CC in New Orleans because I get along well and have a good relationship with them.
 

jaytizzle

Skimmate
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
500
Location
Baton Rouge
huge1day said:
Most of the suppliers to LFS don't do much with credits for doa's. The LFS just eats them.

I bet that could be tasty sometimes... BBQ eel...

j/k all joking aside, that is a great perspective and from many of us on here, thank you for taking the time to write out your experiences as a former LFS owner
 

Alque01

Cleaner Shrimp
Thread starter
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
172
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Baton Rouge
Great point.

I support local when I can, and I do the online thing when the savings are just to much to not consider. A LFS patron should pay a premium for info and help.

I just don't know if you can set an objective list (grading scale for comparison) to anything in this hobby. But I would love to see the criteria by which this list is created.
 

jrl

Blue Hornet Zoanthid
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
Messages
2,772
Location
Denham Springs
For the most part i try my best to stick to LFS...i believe its a big part of our hobby is to support your local fish store, that being said i think its equally important for the LFS to try and make a relationship with their customers...i frequent one store soley because every time i go im treated well and can chat it up and not feel like they are waiting on me to buy something and get the heck out, and i dont go to another store because of that reason. Ill buy online if and only if shipping isnt killer and i know exactly what im getting but thats rare. Also the fact that i can get one on one advice from someone and getting a personal opinion from someone in the hobby much longer than myself is worth the extra bucks to me.
 

TwistedTiger

Montipora Coral
LARC Supporter
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Apr 15, 2005
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5,198
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Baton Rouge
JMO but there are some areas where the LFS just can't compete with the online retailer and probably shouldn't even try. I can't justify paying $200 for a pump I can have delivered to my door for $100. If I had unlimited funds maybe it would be better to pay the extra and support the LFS but unlimited funds isn't a problem I've been blessed with yet. I do however play powerball so there is still hope yet.

Livestock is one area that the LFS can IMO be competitive especially since shipping live cargo is so expensive. I would also much rather see what I'm buying first hand when it comes to livestock. In the past it seems that the LFS has been a little slow at responding to the requests of local reefers for different stock and have kept with the proven money makers. I'm not sure the reason why and can't totally blame them because change can be risky and it is their business. However a couple of LFS in my area have recently made some changes in what they order and decent SPS are now available for the first time in a very long time.

I applaud their response to local demand if that is indeed what pushed them in that direction. I hope it is profitable for them so that we will continue to have livestock that will truly be what you see is what you get. Having in stock what reefers on the board want to buy goes a long way in relationship building between the members and the LFS. I hope this continues to move in a positive direction so I can buy all the livestock I need right here near home.
 

jrl

Blue Hornet Zoanthid
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
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2,772
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Denham Springs
good point jay and id like to point out as far as LFS i buy my livestock from them but as far as equipment goes i do stick to online because shipping is cheaper than markup
 

110reef

Aussie Rainbow Acan
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
3,745
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Baton Rouge, LA
I try and use LFS as much as possible. I tend to only use the internet for buying used items, or something not carried by the LFS. I do get a good amount of my corals from the LARC community, however.

Remember, if we don't patronize the LFS they will go away....
 

huge1day

Emerald Crab
Joined
Dec 4, 2005
Messages
106
Location
Alexandria
TwistedTiger wrote"JMO but there are some areas where the LFS just can't compete with the online retailer and probably shouldn't even try. I can't justify paying $200 for a pump I can have delivered to my door for $100."
I agree 100% with you, unless your LFS gives you something to offset the $100, like if the pump goes bad here is a replacement TODAY until your pump is fixed. In my opinion, that helps at least closes the $100 gap and if you don't have to go shell out $200 for a new pump when the pump goes bad.

I also agree with 110reef, "If we don't patronize the LFS they will go away."

Anytime that it is close I am going to support the LFS. But I do see times that the difference between internet and the LFS is too great to purchase from anyone except online. But even then, if you have built a relationship with your LFS it would be cool to at least ask, I can buy this at x price, can match it or at least get close?

Bart
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Some very good arguments. Of course, I am the nay sayer. Sure, its nice to be able to go to the LFS and get a replacement pump same day. However, I can post in the used gear section and get a response within an hour from one of my fellow reefers more than willing to help. Sure, I can pay out the arse in exchange for "LFS support" but that is why I come to this board. There is more knowledge here than in a whole staff of ANY LFS owner. Not to mention if I had been listening to LFS advice all this time I wouldnt have anything left alive. I can't speak of the numerous times I have been "encouraged" to buy something that was only gonna screw up everything in my tank at one point in time or another just so the owner can make a few extra bucks that day in hopes that I will come back and restock my tank there.
Sorry people, this is a competitive market. When a LFS starts showing us pictures of what we can get and help us with group buys and such, I'll be much more interested in supporting them on an active basis. Not to say I dont but from LFS, because I do, but I am not going out of my way to make sure the business stays open when there are so many selctions of vendors out there. Its not meant to be pretty, businesses either sink or swim.(good pun right?)
 

oimate842005

Reefers Anonymous
Global Moderator
LARC Supporter
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Apr 5, 2005
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7,519
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Lake Charles, La
Coff, move to Metairie/Kenner and you'd have a different outlook on the LFS's. Many hundreds of fish/and thousand or so coral to choose from between the triangle, and best part is its all wysiwyg :D Oh and the prices ain't bad either, I get livestock and drygoods pretty spot on with online prices ;)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Move to Kenner or buy online ;-) Gas is expensive... And you are correct, I'm sure my views are a bit tainted but you can only respond to what you are given.
 

Alque01

Cleaner Shrimp
Thread starter
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
172
Location
Baton Rouge
I would love to see the LFS shift their paradigm and make themselves more competitive.

Imagine if you will:
If I order something specific, pay for it in advance, I get a deep discount. The caveat is if it arrives DOA or in anything less than pristine condition, I still pay a certain percentage. I don’t know how many people would take advantage of that. But if it only applied to corals, I doubt you would get many problems.

OR

How about a LFS setting up a Frequent Buyers Club? I pay a small monthly fee to have access/first dibs on merchandise at a discounted price. LFS get the money from monthly fee, plus whatever is left on their mark up; we get the first shot at some good stuff, and a good price.

Just thinking of alternatives. What say ye to this!
 
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