Posts Tagged ‘Educated Idiot’

We’ve had a new breed of odd customer in the shop lately.  I’m sure they were there before, but I’ve only just noticed them recently.  They are the perpetual arguer.  They’re more Curiously Clueless than Educated Idiot, but they will very vocally let me know that I’m wrong.

Case #1:  Customer comes in to ask about a Penny board.
He asks which is best (between Penny, Paradise, and Stereo), so I honestly tell him I don’t know, and that you’re really only paying for the brand name.  So then he asks why Penny boards are so much more than Paradise or Stereo…I again give him an honest response in that Penny is the most well known brand.  So he asks me why Penny is the best…so I tell him again, they’re not necessarily the best, they’re just the most well-known.  He asks me which of the three would be best for bombing HUGE hills, so I tell him that I personally wouldn’t do that, the boards are WAY too short and I’d be afraid of wobbling out fairly quickly.  So, he argues back that the small boards are better for carving and he can avoid wobbles.  I point out how narrow the board is, and he says he’ll just get softer bushings.  At this point, I was mostly concerned with him getting footbite (where your shoe slips off the deck and grabs the wheel or the road), but he had a different idea.  A third time he asks what makes the Penny brand better than Stereo or Paradise.  So, I lay it out plainly for him:  Paradise are more generic quality, that’s why they’re the cheapest.  Stereo comes with sunglasses and stickers.  Penny is the biggest brand name.  Otherwise, they’re all rehashed boards from the 70’s that are mostly novelty items.  For a fourth time, he asked me why Penny is better for bombing hills.  I told him again that they’re not necessarily better in any way, and that he would do well to look at a longboard if he wants to bomb hills; there’s a reason they stopped bombing hills on plastic boards in the 1970’s.  He looked at me with a horribly condescending look and told me that he wants to bomb huge hills, and he can carve off wobbles, as he set a Penny and a Paradise board on the floor to check out and stand on.  He eventually left empty-handed.

Case #2:  Customer was something of an Epic Brand Snob.
He looked stoned out of his gourd, and walked in to greet me with a “New guy in the shop, eh?”  He then tells this tale about how his friend bought a Dregs longboard from us, and how he was sorely disappointed in his friend.  This guy ONLY rides Sector9 and everything else is crap.  But, he likes supporting local businesses and doesn’t have a credit card, so he pays cash for everything.  He starts talking about how this Dregs board is terrible compared to his Sector9.  I point out that they’re made in the same factory (Watson laminates or a local-to-them woodshop), have the same trucks (Gullwing Chargers), and the wheels are a similar soy-based formula (something Dregs and S9 offer in certain wheel lines).  He argues some more about how Dregs sucks, then says “Yeah, I know they’re made in the same place.  Dregs just sucks.”  And with that, he left in a huff.

I hope I’m not the complete argumentative idiot here.  I’d hate to think I lost two customers over something so petty.  But, I’m still scratching my head over what exactly these two boys were trying to prove.  Oh well, that’s retail for you.

Something that really irked me about working yesterday was the number of comments about the 90’s I got, regarding the video that was playing on the DVD Player.  Being a history nerd, and a skateboard nerd, I found it incredibly hard not to slap anybody who had made those comments. 

Anybody who knows anything about skateboarding can tell you the vast differences between 1980’s skating and 1990’s skating…In the early 90’s, skateboarding evolved into what we have today, in the technical fliptricks, street-oriented skating, and symmetrical “popsicle stick” board shapes.  The clothing was different…gone were the neon colors of the 80’s, and in were the baggy pants and shirts.  The whole attitude was different in the 90’s as well.  It became less about sanctioned events, competitions, and skateparks and became all about doing whatever, whenever, wherever.  Most of the changes were due in large part to World Industries and their raping of the skate industry, for better or for worse.  Skate videos in the 80’s had lots of long, flowy street scenes, a’la Natas Kaupas in Streets on Fire and Wheels of Fire, or huge vert scenes a’la The Search For Animal Chin.  The 90’s focused a lot more on “bangers” and shorter, more compact video parts.  So yes, there are TONS of differences.

Speaking of Animal Chin, that’s actually the topic of my rant today.  AC was on the DVD player.  For those that don’t know, AC is pretty much THE iconic skate video of the 80’s.  Ask anyone about skating in the 80’s, and Animal Chin will probably come up in the conversation.  That’s why the comments I got yesterday about AC being “So 1990’s” really bugged the shit out of me.  Part of it is the historical connotations, but the big part is the huge amount of narcissism in longboarding today.  I’ve seen it all over forums, and quite a bit in the shop as well.  People conveniently forget the 40 years of skateboarding that happened before they bought a longboard and think they’re awesome, hot shit, for making this new “revolutionary” trick or idea that’s already been done.  Going back to the Educated Idiots post, it seems to be these guys who are the worst about narcissism.  There are many frustrated blogs about bad shop owners who don’t know jack shit about anything, but I’ve read a great number of those, and try to improve my customer service based on the shortcomings of others.  Many an Educated Idiot will walk in and assume that I know absolutely nothing about longboarding whatsoever, and that they’re the second coming of Biker Sherlock or something.  I’ve actually gotten quite a few comments about how a customer’s friend is “sponsored by, like, 4 different companies,” or that the friend is “like, the Tony Hawk of longboarding.”  I understand the 13-21 year old male demographic is quite jock-ish and self-centered, just based on the age and hormones and stuff, but when it’s taken to an Educated Idiot level, it’s frustrating as hell.  I’m just trying to do my job, making customers happy with what they walk out with, but this breed of Educated Idiot refuse to be happy with anything I tell them.  So, when an Educated Idiot comes in and blatantly talks shit about some very important piece of skateboard history, I can’t help but be quite irritated.