What's your experience with snooty HiFi salesmen?

I began my Hifi journey in 1976 at a shop in Birmingham MI called Audio Dimensions. He was a Magnapan and ARC dealer who was kind to a 15 year old kid who bought a set of MG 1s with paper route money. The ARC amps he carried were about $4K back then- a LOT of money in 1976. In the beginning I drove my MG 1s with an old Fisher Studio Standard integrated amp. Since those lovely innocent days I have encountered some real buttholes. They act like they are doing me a favor as they quiz me about what gear I have and if I'm listening to "approved" recordings. Needless to say I don't buy from those guys. Several wives and businesses later I'm back into the hobby with a much vengeance as a 61 year old  can muster given only so many free hours in a day and only so much cash to apply due to my other vices: Classic cars and salt water fishing. 

Have you ever encountered a really good or really bad dealer (or employee) that changed your buying actions?

Darko posted a video on this topic which I found really enjoyable. Many of you have already seen it but for those (like me) who discovered it much later here's the link: 


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Great advice and trips down memory lane for Audio shops. I Miss Tweeter. Do not waste time with poor performance Dealers/Retailers. Eventually, those operations will fold. Instead, seek out Music lovers that are still into CD and Vinyl playback systems.  Servers and Streamers need not apply.

Second, steer clear of operations that engage in silliness such as Social Media scores. You know who you are.


Happy Listening!

My only negative experience was when I went to an audio store that had actually featured a bunch of Sony products at an event night, and I tried to buy a Sony HAP-Z1ES digital music player as an upgrade to my older Mac Mini.  This Sony item was priced somewhere between $1k and $2k, and I was ready to buy that day.  On both occasions, the salesmen acted like it was something they carried only irregularly and tried to upsell me to some kind of streaming system they couldn't explain to my satisfaction.  Zero dollars spent.  Mac Mini still working today, plus BluOS streaming through a Node.

If I am in a store to buy something expensive I expect to be treated respectfully.  No exceptions.  I will ask for the manager if the junior salesperson isn't courteous or acts out badly.  Same with being at a car dealership.  If it is a stereo shop and the manager or owner has a bad attitude I will just walk out.

First experience as a lad going into a Hifi salon looking for blown 12" woofer for my Sansui speaker: "Those aren’t worth the postage to send them over here from Japan."

Second experience presenting my little 25wpc Pioneer receiver to a "tech" at a Kenwood amp clinic. Me" "Is this amp any good?" Tech (snarky, dismissive): "I think you’re about to find out!"

Years later, life pointed me towards a career in audio. I went in for an interview with David Beatty in Kansas City. Mr. Beatty was "the goto guy" for quality audio in the region. The interview was conducted in the "mad scientist area" of the facility. It was at the exact moment that David first fired up an new Nakamichi cassette deck, which he messed with during the entire interview. The interview was interrupted with David’s comments (asking surprised): "This thing is good! This thing is REALLY good!" His enthusiasm was contagious and may have helped push me along into a making my hobby my career for 43 years.

I started my audio journey back in the early 70s. Myself with wife and another couple also interested in exploring good audio, would travel about 90 miles to a college town, new audio store that sold audio gear quite above anything that was available in our area. We found the small staff to be true audiophiles who were generous with their time and sharing of their knowledge and experience in audio.

We sometimes would have to schedule our listening sessions for the evenings, as after a day of work and a 90 mile trip it would put us there after closing time. They were always very accommodating, pleasant and helpful. through them we purchased some very nice gear but were never pushed to buy something just to make a more expensive or profitable sale. we also were always treated very fair when trading equipment for an upgrade. I have memories of nothing but great experiences with that audio boutique and its fine staff.

Over the years I’ve had mostly positive experiences with audio boutiques and sales people, but I did have one particularly bad experience while traveling through Southern CA. when I stopper at a very fancy looking audio store in San Diego. Having an interest in picking up a particular piece of equipment needed for a second system, I went into the store where I was met by a smug acting sales person who, not so politely, ask if I had an appointment. When I tried to explain that I was passing through the area and what I was looking for, he dismissed me, saying there wouldn’t be an appointment available until the following week. Oh well, a mer $1K or $2K sale probably wasn’t worth their time anyway. The laughable thing was that, except for a few smug looking sales people, mostly doing nothing and a couple of sound rooms set up with mediocre looking audio gear, the store was empty.