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Postby wendy » Aug 11, 2007 9:50 pm

I just now read this thread, and it kinda cracked me up. :rofl:

X-mart in Florida is the name of a chain of adult themed retail stores. They have harnesses, but I don't think they are for caving. lol
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 12, 2007 9:25 am

Teresa wrote:It's not the Mom and Pop factor so much as the big elephant factor. After the big elephant steps on all the mice, it doesn't stay around to bury them.
If the elephant moved in and became head vendor, and stayed, not so many people would be squawking.

I don't doubt you. To the best of my knowledge everywhere I've lived or spent time that ever had a Wal Mart, still has a Wal Mart. However I have seen a K Mart or two close down, and the whole chain of Ames stores. Now most of my experience is closer to the coasts, and not so much in the middle. I'm also usually in city-sized areas, but I can imagine smaller communities would be more dramatically affected by large stores coming and going.
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 12, 2007 9:44 am

wendy wrote:X-mart in Florida is the name of a chain of adult themed retail stores. They have harnesses, but I don't think they are for caving. lol

:banana: :big grin:
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Postby CaveGimp » Aug 13, 2007 10:14 am

The X-marts and other box stores, REI, etc offer something the caver stores just couldn't afford. And that is returning stuff when it "falis to work properly" after a long cave trip. Heck, REI will take back my hiking boots after several years of hard use and give me a new pair. My wife bought climbing shoes, 6 months later we were pregnant with our first. Now her shoes no longer fit, so off to REI for a new pair. As we were talking to the guy he told us to bring in the old ones and they will exhcnage them for the bigger size. $100 shoes isn't much to REI, but a smaller store, that would be a big issue, and may even take food out of the owners mouth. I wouldn't expect them to foot that bill, but its part of the business plan of REI and Wal-Mart and others.

That being said, I typically only buys things from REI I expect I will wear out. The other gear I get from the caver vendors online. But if I need an extra biner or somethign the day before a trip, I will be in REI. The mail from WV to AZ isn't that fast.
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Postby Scott McCrea » Aug 13, 2007 11:24 am

CaveGimp wrote:Heck, REI will take back my hiking boots after several years of hard use and give me a new pair...... but its part of the business plan of REI and Wal-Mart and others.

That being said, I typically only buys things from REI I expect I will wear out.

:sadbanana: Bad Karma.
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 13, 2007 4:21 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:
CaveGimp wrote:Heck, REI will take back my hiking boots after several years of hard use and give me a new pair...... but its part of the business plan of REI and Wal-Mart and others.

That being said, I typically only buys things from REI I expect I will wear out.

:sadbanana: Bad Karma.

How so, Scott? :question:

Do you mean it's bad that REI, LL Bean, and a ton of others offer lifetime unconditional guarantees and gear swaps - or did you mean CaveGimp and the rest of us are bad people for doing exactly what the store policy allows?

Curious...


(PS - I actually did finally buy one of your genuine Swaygo packs at Convention - and from a caving vendor, of course. I would have liked something a little bigger than the Sink, but I'll see how it does.) :wink:
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Postby Scott McCrea » Aug 13, 2007 5:38 pm

The REI Guarantee: ...If you're ever dissatisfied with an item, you may return or exchange...

LL Bean: ...If you're not satisfied with your purchase, we'll replace it or give you your money back...

Satisfaction is the key word in these and many other 100%, lifetime, unconditional guarantees. Returning something because you wore it out or out grew it does not make a product unsatisfactory and causes bad Karma.
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Postby JoeyS » Aug 13, 2007 6:55 pm

Well, anyway, what were we discussing? Oh yah, cave specific vendors and manufacturers...
Hank; could you maybe list (separately if you want), some of the great cave gear vendors over in the UK, etc..? Manufacturers like Speleotechnics, Dale's Wear and vendors like Bernie's Cafe, Inglesport, etc..
For our friends across the pond who frequent this site too! :waving:
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Postby fuzzy-hair-man » Aug 13, 2007 8:41 pm

Some international caving suppliers:

http://www.srte.com.au SRTE (Aust)
http://www.mtde.net MTDE
http://www.daleswear.co.uk Daleswear (UK)
http://www.berniescafe.co.uk Bernie's (UK)
http://www.meander.sk Meander
http://www.aspiring.co.nz Aspiring (New Zealand)
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 13, 2007 11:18 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:Satisfaction is the key word in these and many other 100%, lifetime, unconditional guarantees. Returning something because you wore it out or out grew it does not make a product unsatisfactory and causes bad Karma.

Sorry to drag this out... but you're only half right. "Satisfaction" is the key word, which may or may not have anything to do with whether a product proves "satisfactory" by any presumed standard. Two similar words there, but with subtly different connotations. Personally I respect Karma, but like so many other things in life each person's interpretation can vary. Your Bad Karma radar must be working overtime with all the evil-doers out there, so I'll leave you to it.


Annnnnywaaaay... here's another caving vendor for the list.

Bivouac Outdoor (New Zealand)

Got my first rope, descender, Jumars, and a few carabiners there. OK, so it's really just a small chain of outdoor stores - but it is one of few retail places in NZ where you can actually buy caving stuff, so it gets a plug.
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$$$Karma

Postby cavedoc » Aug 14, 2007 2:16 am

NZcaver wrote:
Scott McCrea wrote:Satisfaction is the key word in these and many other 100%, lifetime, unconditional guarantees. Returning something because you wore it out or out grew it does not make a product unsatisfactory and causes bad Karma.

Sorry to drag this out... but you're only half right. "Satisfaction" is the key word, which may or may not have anything to do with whether a product proves "satisfactory" by any presumed standard. Two similar words there, but with subtly different connotations. Personally I respect Karma


I have to agree with Scott on this one. Not sure about Karma but increased prices for everyone else is a given whenever someone invokes this "unconditional" guarantee. If the product survives normal use, it has been satsifactory. Taking something caving is not normal use for most products. I bought a pair of boots on the way to a week of lava tubing. At the end of the week there were holes in the toes. Were they defective? No. Had they performed satisfactorily for what they were designed for? Yes. Did I turn them back in for a refund or exchange? No.

Take this to an extreme and you have cavers wanting to pay once for lifetime equipment that gets exchanged every three months when it's no longer in good shape. You'll probably take worse care of your gear so that it gets out of shape earlier. This is clearly not right. And it makes every other person buying there pay more. When the merchant objects after the 4th time that someone does this, most people would let it slide thinking that they've gotten their money's worth out of the transaction. But if it's wrong on the 4th exchange, it was wrong on the first exchange.

Think of it another way. If you wouldn't do it to some poor caver trying to make a living driving 1000 miles to a speleo-event, then don't do it to Anonymous Big Box Store. ABBS will survive, but the returns just get cranked into the formula of how much to charge for said product tomorrow. When "I" want to buy it.
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Postby brianallmotor » Aug 14, 2007 3:17 am

you wont return your boots after a defective single one-weeks use??? most high-quality boots are guaranteed for life. yet you claim that if you were to exchange them four times that it would hurt the chain/company? i dont know of a cave equipment provider that sells boots with such a warranty--- and almost all manufactures who have such a warranty will begin to question you after two returns/exchanges...

where are you comming from with this???
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Postby Stridergdm » Aug 14, 2007 5:45 am

wendy wrote:I just now read this thread, and it kinda cracked me up. :rofl:

X-mart in Florida is the name of a chain of adult themed retail stores. They have harnesses, but I don't think they are for caving. lol


So does this mean it's ok to shop there if we're doing adult only caving?
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Postby Stridergdm » Aug 14, 2007 5:53 am

CaveGimp wrote:The X-marts and other box stores, REI, etc offer something the caver stores just couldn't afford. And that is returning stuff when it "falis to work properly" after a long cave trip.



See and I've often found the exact opposite. Ma and Pa shops live and die by reputation. If a single dissatisfied caver convinces 100 cavers to stop shopping at Wal-mart, Wal-mart won't see a much of a drop in their bottom line.

If the same dissatisfied caver convinces a 100 cavers to stop shopping at Ma and Pa's Caving Supply, it could very well put them out of business.

And it's more than simply returning equipment. It's product knowledge. Ask your typical Wal-Mart employee how well a lamp may stand up to a cave environment, you'll get a blank stare.

Ask your local caving retailer and they can probably give you first hand experience, or at least second hand experience. That alone can often be worth the price difference.

(btw, anyone remember when Wal-mart proudly proclaimed "Made in America"?)

(oh and NZCaver, you're right, being restricted to the coasts, you tend to see less of the Wal-mart method of doing business. They start out in an area with a number of smaller stores, "get people hooked" and then tend to shut them down in favor of fewer larger stores. Rinse, lather repeat. The fewer larger scales gives them definite economy of scale. This is more common in the middle US where they started and the urban density is lower.)
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Postby paul » Aug 14, 2007 6:53 am

fuzzy-hair-man wrote:Some international caving suppliers:

http://www.srte.com.au SRTE (Aust)
http://www.mtde.net MTDE
http://www.daleswear.co.uk Daleswear (UK)
http://www.berniescafe.co.uk Bernie's (UK)
http://www.meander.sk Meander
http://www.aspiring.co.nz Aspiring (New Zealand)


You can also add:

http://www.caving-supplies.co.uk Caving Supplies (UK)
http://www.hnh.dircon.co.uk/ Hitch'n'Hike (UK)
http://www.inglesport.co.uk/ Inglesport (next door to Bernie's!) (UK)
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