Opinions: Do you help other shoppers in audio stores? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-03-2006, 02:44 AM
I was in an audio store the other day buying a universal remote. In Seattle, there are four or five high-end and mid-fi stores on the same block in the Roosevelt district. So when I'm up there, I make the rounds and check out the latest speaker lines, gadgets etc. Sometimes I'll listen to something, but if I'm not really in the market I don't like to pester the salespeople who need to spend time with folks who are actually gonna make a purchase.

I noticed a guy listening to the same song in a couple stores and struck up a conversation, "hey, weren't you just in that other shop..." etc. It turns out he was shopping for a CD player and auditioning three different CD players in three different stores with three different sets of speakers. I've been at his hi-fi thing for long enough to know that the rooms and the speakers are making a helluva lot more difference in this guy's auditions than the CD players are, and I wanted to tell him that, but I refrained.

My question to you is, do you ever try to help out fellow customers when you see them making these kinds of mistakes in their audio shopping? I'm not talking about obvious breaches of etiquette: I'm not gonna tell a customer that he can find "better" speakers across the street or online. That would be taking cash out of some salesperson's wallet. Besides, "better" is all a matter of opinion, and telling some stranger what is "better" is none of my business.

But when you see someone "auditioning" CD players in different rooms with different sets of electronics and speakers, or you notice some other glaring error in their shopping, do you ever butt in?

Just curious,

Another place this conversation could go is whether or not you say something when you know a salesperson is mistaken or worse yet, lying. I helped a friend purchase a home theater a year or so ago. He landed on Klipsch speakers, which are not my cup of tea, but that's why they make Fords and Chevys right? The salesperson was telling him "One thing about these Klipschs is that they require A LOT of clean power, so you're going to have to buy a big amp." They were the RF-7s, which at 102dB were probably the most efficient speakers in the store. Either the salesperson was mistaken or the salesperson was lying, but since the customer was a buddy, I could set him straight. Would you ever butt in if you knew a salesperson was misleading a customer?

I don't have a set opinion on either of these matters, so I'm interested to hear what folks here think.

01-03-2006, 03:33 AM
My question to you is, do you ever try to help out fellow customers when you see them making these kinds of mistakes in their audio shopping?
Another place this conversation could go is whether or not you say something when you know a salesperson is mistaken or worse yet, lying. .
Three good reasons:

I don't spend a lot of time in audio stores, in turn, that's because I don't have lot of time or cash to spend and because I form my opinions of most products based on professional reviews or consumer comments in this and other forums.
Sales people are inclined to resent interference from other customers -- though, like you, on occassion I have tried to correct egregious misinformation.
Other customers often have their own, cherished notions about things and they too resent interference; the other customer has to seem genuinely receptive to learning new stuff.

01-03-2006, 04:56 AM
Yeah, as much as it sometimes pains me, I rarely interrupt another shopper's conversation with sales staff.
I do sometimes stike up a casual conversation with a few though, and offer any ideas I might have.
I find it difficult though. In high-end shops, people either know far more than I do, or are so far lost in the world of audio voodoo that nothing I say contributes anyway. In stores like Best Buy, I can't convince people that Monster Cables aren't the greatest thing since sliced bread. I told my story here a year or two ago about some salesguy pitching Monster interconnects...he told the couple that they make a 15-20% differenceand then he talked about the dramatic improvement in his own system.
15-20%? In a freakin' cable.

I talked to this same guy later and he told me all about Monster. Told me how the 20% improvement was measured in Total Harmonic Distortion...I almost lost it there. If cables are introducing or removing measurable THD we've all got bigger problems.

I'm sure we've all had encounters where people just ignore the advice you try to give them. For some reason, this seems to happen at Best Buy more than anywhere else. I can't blame ignorant consumers for this, Best Buy does present itself as the a/v expert for the person in need of a quick solution. There's a lot of trust involved here. Sometimes the best thing to do is let a person make their mistakes.

If they care enough, they'll learn a valuable lesson and be smarter the next time. Or they'll enjoy matching their $200 A/V receiver with $200 in Monster cables, and be no worse off for it.

01-03-2006, 05:25 AM
I don't help out with audio equipment a lot, but I will help out with music info if I hear someone has a question about a band or a song.

01-03-2006, 05:25 AM
Well i wont get into cables, but i have spend 600$ on speaker cables and would do so any day again. I once helped out people but got sick of all those "deals" and people saying that the "new technology" must be better and "oh look at those blinking lights". Argh!

The people who want good sound will find it, but most buy into shiny little boxes and advertisments and reviews and wont ever hear real music. But to each there own. So to answere your question, i once did and never again. But i dont go to audio stores anymore, since they usually demonstrate equipment on boxes which is useless to me for evaluation.

01-03-2006, 05:35 AM
Well i wont get into cables, but i have spend 600$ on speaker cables and would do so any day again.

I think the point here is would you spend $600 on cables to match to a $1200 system?
Or if you have a $20000, system, would $7000 of it consist of cables?

01-03-2006, 05:54 AM
I agree on that, if you have a 500$ system you shouldnt spend 700$ on cables. Has to match of course ;-)

01-03-2006, 06:37 AM
I usually won't butt in unless it's someone I know very well. Mostly because I don't know enough to help. I did start laughing when a Salesperson at CC was telling someone that the Bose lifestyle was the best money could buy. I couldn't help myself. It just slipped out. When they stopped to look at me I just walked away.

01-03-2006, 07:18 AM
I do if the salesperson leaves long enough. I was at frys and the salesguy was telling the buyer how great this combo will sound with all the NEW dvd's that are coming out in 7.1.

01-03-2006, 08:11 AM
Whenever I go to BB, I usually swing through Magnolia, drool over a speaker or two and go about my business. I could care less about what's going on around me. I don't even bother going into the audio dept. at BB and CC. They don't even have listening rooms. How can people audition speakers 3' in their face :confused:

01-03-2006, 08:53 AM
I did ask the guy in BB if they were going to do the upscale thing and he said no,the store wasnt one of them. It sounds like they are going to far overboard up the upscale stuff. He talked about $50,000 big screen and aidio brands i've never heard of.

01-03-2006, 09:01 AM
I have had similar experiences with BB and CC. I was at Circuit city and there was a lady in her 50's looking for a dvd player. she had settled on a $75 dolllar player im not sure of the model. The lady asked if all the cables needed to hook the player up were included. The salesman told her she needed a Monster brand component video connection for the best picture and that it cost 59.95.The lady cringed at the price then reluctantly agreed.
At this point the salesman walked away and i had to interject. I told her that the cables that were included would work nicely and the salesman only wants to add to his profit.
if she were spending 2-300 dollars on a DVD player then the higher end cables would be worth it. but with a 75 dollar model for someone who is going to watch a movie once in a blue moon its not worth it...

By the way i own Klipsch RF-7 speakers and I run a pretty big amp on them. An Adcom GFA 7807. i started running them with my Onkyo receiver and found that they do get quite loud but they lacked something. it was like night and day after addding the amp. I agree that a lot of people either love or hate Klipsch but not everyone hears the same way. I worked in my familys bowling center for a long time and im sure it has afffected my hearing. The Klipsch to me just sound real and alive. Most of the people that have listened to them were blown away, the only exception being my brotherinlaw who is a Bose man. He said that my speakers sounded harsh and that I should give Bose a good listen. I told him i have listened to Most everything Bose makes including those crappy dinky Acoustimass speakers. Now to me those sound harsh they dont carry the highs or lows with much ease.