Audiophile 'Attitude'

Okay, we love our hobby: we love the music, the equipment, the esoterica, and the deranged quest for perfection the likes of which would make even the greats of classical composition shake their heads. But you've got to admit that there exists a certain 'attitude' among some of our group that can be..... difficult. Often this is sexist, arrogant, elitist, impatience, and so on. I think this would be a fertile ground for interesting stories, some humorous and some just jaw dropping. Would anyone like to share? Remember, there are many stories about those other folks outside the hobby who don't get our brilliance and force us to painfully tolerate their ignorance, I'm talking 'bout the other side: WHEN

I will gladly start: when my wife and I decided to sell our entire Vandersteen home theater (this is different tale of audiophile arrogance, btw) we started looking for a new brand and a new sound to replace my
formerly beloved Vandys. My first 'target' was Martin Logan. It just so happened that there was a ML dealership less than a mile from where I lived at the time in Champaign, IL. Wonderful I thought! So my wife and I toddled over there.

Now it should be noted that my wife has become quite an audiophile herself. She wasn't this way when we met, but she has become fairly well educated in matters of audiophillia, she has an excellent ear, and she is a brilliant woman (she is a vice president for Bank of America after all). So we choose much of our equipment together.

So we go into this ML dealership with about four CDs In hand to get a brief audition and ask to hear some MLs. Instead of going straightaway to letting us listen the salesman decides he needs to try and 'sell' us on the MLs, the very speakers we'd come to hear in the first damn place! So after tolerating his drivel for a few minutes my wife's asks a question. Instead of answering her, he answers me.... then he turns to my wife and, while pointing to that screen with holes that MLs have on so many of their speakers, he says, "now this isn't here so you can hang clothes to dry."

It honestly took me a second to realize what he had just said and I think my wife wafinally looted. After a couples seconds I said, "well, I guess we won't want these speakers then." And we walked out. We also scratched Martin Logan off of our list. No one treats my wife that way.

Okay, your turn....
Was welcomed into my local audio shop to audition a pair of LessLoss Anchorwave speaker cables on a system I hope to own someday. The manager—who had never heard of LessLoss—quickly points out, in comparison to the Siltec 770L which was already hooked up—that I was about to be terribly disappointed. (This is what he says with a grin on his face to his audiophile friend, as we begin hooking them up). I really don't care if he's had 20 or so years experience in the business, that's just pure arrogance. The outcome of this is a different story altogether.
I often wonder while reading threads like this, how many of the examples given of arrogant salesmen are actually thin-skinned audiophiles that can't take a joke.
Weinhart Designs in Bel Air, California (that's right next door to Beverly Hills) takes the cake when it comes to Eliteist, condescending customer service. The guy used to own Ambrosia Audio years ago, but changed the name to his own namesake at some point. If you are a Grammy winning recording engineer, or a Movie mogul, or Movie star, or a Professional NBA star, or a Doctor, or a Lawyer, or just a plain 'ol Millionaire with a few Bentley's and a MIGHT get courteous service. Otherwise count on him to ignore you for long periods of time while he sits in his office and yaps on the phone with "other" more important customers than you. He CAN be a nice fellow when he wants to be, as I have seen that "side" of him once. But that's usually reserved for when you actually make a real purchase from him. Which I did. But as the story goes, I contacted the owner about a pair of German speakers he had advertised for sale right here on Audiogon. He had the audacity to tell me (#1) that I could not afford them. (#2) they were not the "right" speakers for me and that I should ultimately purchase something different based upon my current line-up of equipment (at the time.) And (#3) they were a "show off" speaker and really did not offer the best sound available at which point he tried to steer me in a different direction. All very presumptious and judgemental approaches from a guy who sells really "top shelf" and expensive gear to the "upper crust" Audiophiles down in L.A.
I ultimately traveled over 4 hours from my home, to his shop in Bel Air...and I DID end up purchasing those German speakers that HE had told me over the phone that I COULD NOT AFFORD, and which were not the "RIGHT" speakers for me.
When I got to Southern California with CASH IN HAND, his "attitude" toward me changed dramatically and all of a sudden these were the "best" speakers ever for me, and were going to "work wonders" and sound "fabulous" his opinion. Complete turncoat attitude from my phone conversation with him a week earlier. Now I'm standing in his store and he's my best buddy!
I loved those MBL 111e's I purchased from him. Those speakers totally kicked ass beyond all my expectations and sounded wonderful being run by my big 'ol Krell MDA 300 monoblocks and Theta Digital front end gear. My BAT VK 51se preamp mated with Krell produced the smoothest presentation, coupled with ball-crushing bass "slam" and deep extention. Too bad Weinhart told me I wouldn't like them, and that they were way too expensive for me, and to buy something else...'cause I was soooooooo disappointed after I bought them (sarcasm intended). I owned those 111e's for 3 years and loved them the whole time. I sold them a few years back and replaced them with MBL 101e Mk2's which clearly were not purchased from my "Buddy" in Bel Air. Oh, and by the way, My new 101e Mk2's probably were not the "right" speakers for me either, and God knows I probably CAN'T afford them either!! (more sarcasm intended). They sound absoultely killer being driven by my NEW B.A.T. VK600se Monoblock Amps, (which I'm sure I cannot afford), that Weinhart Designs also is a dealer for. Too bad for him. Brand spanking new MBL 101e Mk2's (still in the crates fresh from Germany)- 67 Thousand dollars a pair. Brand spanking new B.A.T. Vk 600se mono block amps- 26 thousand dollars a pair. Purchased elsewhere from someone who didn't try to tell me I couldn't afford that caliber of gear-PRICELESS.

Damn pious, eliteist highend audio dealers! Can't stand 'em. Judging customers, being rude, then changing their tune completely when the cash is bad business. Point of it all is to treat everybody with kindness and respect, right? Be a professional. Take care of people and (most of the time) they will come back to you and give you their return business. Screw them, and they'll go elsewhere. Those pompous dealers with "attitude" will never know why customers like me don't come back. One day they won't be at the top of their game anymore, and wonder what happened? So many once popular, once successful, highend audio stores have gone out of business. They just needed to learn how to treat people right.

Real experiences like the one I had profoundly affected how, and with whom I now take my business to.

Ok, so now I'll get off my soap box. Hope others reading this thread will contibute their experiences as I'm sure there are some real loo-loo's out there.
In a "high-end" shop several years ago, I asked if they carried any turntables. The response was "why would you want one of those dinosaurs-they're extinct." He then proceeded to tell me why cd sound was much better (plus his explaination on how a cd player reads information was incorrect). In hindsight, this was not a real "high-end" shop but a mid-fi-sell-you-whatever-I-can type of place. Its long out of business.

I wonder how many people were interested in the high-end, who were turned off by bad advice and/or arrogant behavior?
These are interesting stories. I guess the lessons I draw from this thread are (in no particular order):

1. This is sort of an elitest hobby, in some ways (and I know some folks -- mostly bicyclists and woodworkers of my acquaintance -- who would scoff at calling it a hobby, by the way -- too much focus on "buying" and too little on "making" or "doing"), and I suppose some salespeople play to that element. That's their choice, and the only time I resent it is if I have gone out of my way to visit the store, not realizing that I'm not welcome because I do not appear affluent enough (it has only happened twice, but boy is it irritating). We're not going to change those folks, so all we can do is avoid them.

2. Dissing the female of the species is ALWAYS a mistake (like that's news!).

3. Really good salespeople know that it is very dangerous, these days in particular, to judge a book by its cover. I once worked for a very, very wealthy man (you'll find him on the Forbes 400 list to this day) who drove a beat up, 10-year-old Chevy with a caved-in front passenger door that didn't open. It doesn't pay to assume too much based on clothes or age or gender.