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nhluhr

Feathered Friends - Hit AND miss

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While visiting the Seattle area earlier this month, I made it a point to stop into Feathered Friends. My first visit was a delight. The guy who helped me was extremely knowledgeable about everything I asked and made very useful recommendations on various things. I didn't buy everything we looked at but I did spend a couple hundred $$. Both my girlfriend and I walked out talking about how good the guy (and other personnel) were and how much we were going to shop at FF once we move to Seattle in December, and we wanted to get a FF Nalgene to spread it around.

 

I stopped by again a week later before I was leaving town and it was a different guy at the front desk. I was just looking to get a gift for my girlfriend and unfortunately they didn't have what I was looking for in stock. Now, I had no issues with this other salesperson, but a couple other customers came in, one of them wearing a very typical school style backpack and the guy at the desk made them check the bag in. I found this offensive. Why treat (potential) customers like criminals? Instead of the arcane bag check or putting up anti-shoplifting cameras, why not just engage the customers as they come into the store? And I'm not talking about "hi is there anything I can help you with?". That is not engaging. That is triggering a reflex answer of "no, just looking" - even if the customer really did want something specific. Instead, converse with them about their interests, the awesome trip you did, the trip they are about to go on, how gnarly the suncups were on Adams last week... whatever. TALK to them. That way, they not only see you as people (instead of guards) but they also have fond memories of your shop and are more likely to buy from you instead of your competition across the street. Plus, if you engage them in such a fashion, they'll start talking about what it is they want and you'll be able to demonstrate your superior product knowledge, further cementing the customer-salesman relationship. If this person you're talking to just really wants to steal something, your presence will quickly deter him.

 

This is a LOT better way to spend your day than sitting behind the front counter flipping through magazines and webpages.

 

Security is for after-hours, not for preventing shoplifters. Customers remember good service.

Edited by nhluhr

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It is not unusual to be asked to check a bag at any shop nowadays. People shouldn't take it personally -- whether or not they appear to be singled out for it.

 

Engagement of the customer is another issue. I personally prefer not to be overly "engaged" unless I have a question, and I find overbearing salespeople to be ... well ... really off-putting.

 

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Engagement of the customer is another issue. I personally prefer not to be overly "engaged" unless I have a question, and I find overbearing salespeople to be ... well ... really off-putting.

Yeah, I agree... I don't mind genuine engagement but I hate it when I go to Safeway, for example, and it is painfully obvious that every employee is required to say hello to me, even if it is done in the most un-genuine, fake manner. There is always a fine line of being too pushy or not available. The bag checking seems reasonable if asked in a nice way, though.

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Asking to check your bag is understandable when a store has many items worth 100s of dollars that you can stuff in there when using the dressing room. Its a lot better than them asking to search your bag before you leave. The fact is, there are people who jack merchandise, and they dont wear "thief" uniforms.

 

If you want to forego the demeaning bag-check, you could always champion the idea of a theft-offset-collection-jar. You put a couple of bucks into it when you enter the store so you can enjoy the convenience of being able to carry your bag around. This way , the dont lose any money from the thefts that will indeed occur.

 

nhluhr, get over yourself and stop expecting the entire world to treat you like your shit is made of brown gold.

 

 

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Because of FF's downtown location, they deal with shoplifting attempts pretty regularly. Don't take it personally.

 

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all i can say is if a business like FF puts a policy like that into place, they must be having a bad shoplifting problem (are gangstas finally ditching North Face for a better quality puffy?)

 

I can see how it would put you off, but keep in mind that is is very, very unlikely that FF is just doing it just because they enjoying messing with their paying customers.

 

i think the same could be said for a lot of small companies. a big company like REI might be able to take the shrinkage hit, but a small company like Feathered Friends, it hits closer to the bottom line.

 

they do help sponsor this site, and i'm greatful that they do.

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bag check at the front counter is standard for many high-end downtown retail shops. Lighten up!

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I like FF as well and will continue to shop there... I just also like my 4th Amendment rights :lol:

 

I am commencing the "lighten up" as per above recommendation.

Edited by nhluhr

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Text of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution:

 

"The right of douchebags to be secure in their backpacks against having to check them when entering retail outdoor establishments, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the backpack to be searched, and the douchebag and his backpack to be seized."

 

Wow, I didn't realize until just now that the 4th amendment protected douchebags from having to check their backpacks at FF.

 

 

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Thought I'd just weigh-in here:

 

I'm glad you had a good experience the first time you came into our shop - we work hard to make sure everyone who walks in our door is treated like a friend and fellow climber/backpacker/hiker, not just a customer. Also, we don't just hire "salespeople", we hire folks who are just as excited to run around in the mountains as our customers are. Our staff may look a little rough around the edges sometimes, but they can also give you the blow by blow on almost any route at Index, where the good camping spot is at Josh, outfit you for Denali, and we have two guys who are thru-hiking the PCT and the CDT as we speak. We'll always give their outdoor resume a more critical eye than their sales experience.

 

Our bag check policy is an unfortunate solution to ongoing issues we have with shoplifters. Every so often we still see folks who are very willing to stuff clothes in the packs they walk into the store with, and walk right out without paying for them. High end outerwear is made to compress and pack down very small, and it costs us a lot of money to lose. If we had a floor full of Carhartt clothing and flannel it probably wouldn't be an issue :) We do have a camera system installed, but we don't have the personnel to sit in front of the monitor during store hours (like REI does). It's mostly been used to identify thieves and learn how they're ripping us off (backpacks in the store is a common way - hence the policy). We know 99% of you wouldn't even imagine doing it...but like usual it's the 1% that screws it up for everyone else.

 

Anyways, I hope this clears a few things up. Thanks for your patience and understanding if we request that you leave your packs at the front door while you visit. And thanks for your continued support of our shop!

 

If you have any questions you can reach me here, :brew:

 

Eddie

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+1 for feathered friends. On my recommendation, a friend of mine just went in to get a backpack for his girlfriend, and had as great an experience as the ones I've had there. :brew:

Edited by rob

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I just also like my 4th Amendment rights :lol:

 

You need to figure out what the constitution is about. You are entering a PRIVATE business. If FF wanted you to strip naked an wear down pasties in order to shop at their store they could. The constitution is about how the GOVERNMENT and the PEOPLE interact.

 

As FF policy - what is the big deal? Some shops do allow food or drink, some make wear shoes and a shirt, some make you ring a bell before coming through the door. Some even say we reserve the right to refuse service.

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Although I respect the point, I'm not sure it's 100% correct. Government frequently asserts rules governing what can happen in businesses, such as no smoking laws. Some businesses have sought to circumvent such rules by converting to PRIVATE clubs. I am uncertain that Feathered Friends is a private business.

 

While business may have the right to restrict foods and beverages, require shirts and shoes, I do not believe that they have the right to require customers to break laws, and wearing pasties would probably break some law concering public decency or disturbing the peace, or something - particularly if someone complained.

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Gee, dinomyte, thanks for clearing that one up. I was really afraid that the next time I walked into REI that I would be forced to become a member. After that, down pasties wouldn't sound so bad!

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I was in pro mountain sports and saw a guy swipe a $60 cam and run out the door. Didn't have a backpack either...

 

True, at FF climbing equip is behind the desk, but people are turds, and stealing a $200 down coat would be simplistic with a backpack.

 

Sorry, life sucks

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