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Having set out on this journey into diving and having just shelled out a considerable amount of money   (yes Dave, I know I haven't finished yet!), I was wondering how you guys deal with this dilemma.

The place where I did my OW has a dive shop (natch) and after the course we were talking about kit (also natch and I tried on a BC and talked about other stuff...well I said that we (Jo, my partner and I) would be back to buy a load of stuff.

Well, of course you can get stuff cheaper on the internet...my dilemma is, should you support your local dive shop or just go for the cheapest deal?

I admit to buying our Suunto dive computers on the net but the rest I bought from the shop...I did negotiate a discount..

I now feel that I have done my bit and a lot of anything new will be purchased for the cheapest price I can get...

Is this right? What do you do?
 

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Lucky Man
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Is it right? Debatable.

What do I do? Buy cheapest I'm confident in over the net.

People argue you need an LDS for advice etc. Personally I find my club, YD, and Divernet (on occassion  
) are more use than LDS staff for advice, and less biased towards the brands/models they stock/have in stock.

Do need a LDS for air though. Haven't gone as far as personal compressor - for starter I live in a flat  


All the best,
Dave.
 

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I follow you around after all your posts hoping that the lads/lasses here will persuade you to sell off all your new kit to buy twinset, wing, backplate, manifold, HID torch, 3 miles of webbing, VR3...


...then I can get hold of some decent hardly used 2nd hand kit...because there basically isn't much of it out here


tas (hehehehehehe)
 

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THere's no sentiment in business, i'd buy wherever the deals were best, as long s you're sure that you'll get decent service in the event of returns, can't go too far wrong with the likes ofDWH
 

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Since my club has it's own compressor (And Nitrox!) I don't actually need my LDS for anything. Training I get from my club (or off YD, recently..), oxygen cleaning of cylinders I go up to Runneymede for...

So, I buy from wherever's cheapest these days.

LDS can't complain, they've had several hundred off me in the past as it is.. Besides, they don't like our club very much. And they can be funny about some types of gear..

If you need your shop to stay up & running - for air fills or whatever - then consider supporting them. If it's a luxury you can do without, do what you like.
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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Best price isnt always the cheapest, for instance I bought a reel and dsmb at the dive show but to hook it all up and fold it just right I needed help. Before YD or Club so my LDS did it for me as I bought all the clips etc from them, so I should have bought it from them really, and did they tell me. Tend to get my stuff in the LDS now as I get good advice. However I do shop around and if I can get something second hand or cheaper and they cant match the price then at least I let them try and match. Generally they are OK with this as they know I'm going to buy something else form them sooner rather than later.  


HTH
Matt
 

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I also like to support my local dive shop (you'll find it normaly gets abreviated to LDS on here), however not too much! What Il normally do is surf the web and find out how much I can get it for (dont forget to figure in the P&P). I then march into my LDS and say "I can get this for this much, buying off the web, can you get close?".
If they can get close enough to the price I'll then buy it off them (for the convenience of being able to go in and throw it back if there is a problem).
However it is generaly considered "bad form" to go and try out loads of kit at your LDS and then buy it all off the web, as it does cost them to stock the kit.

Simon A
 

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"hardly ever here"
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<font color='#000080'>i'm not really a big fan of LDSs - i get all the advice and air i need from YD and my own club, and my experience of LDSs is that they don't give good deals on kit and are obviously biased towards their own stock when they give advice (not that i blame them for this of course!).

if you need a LDS (e.g for air or a club), and you can afford to buy things more expensively than off the internet, then by all means give it your business. i personally buy all my kit off the internet from kent diving, SDS, deep blue, denny diving and divers warehouse, and have never have any problems.

and whatever you do, don't buy chandlery goods from them (bungee, clips etc) - they'll rob you blind. go here
 

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I will phone my LDS for a new dry suit tomorrow. (mmmm Gates PRO-VSN 1100-TEK) I already know I can get the same suit, maybe 50 quid cheaper from other sources.

But I always have a laugh with the guys from Wittering, do all my training with them. They know me by name, know my history, requirements, etc. Plus I can mooch about the shop trying things on and get left alone till I'm ready to talk to someone. This is well worth the 50 quid in my book, but then i have no experience of other LDSs, so they may be different.

Anything that requires advice, sizing, etc, I always go to the shop. Anything such as spares, small items etc, i go online for that.

Gareth
 

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A few years ago a few mates and I decided to go on hols to the Red sea and learn to dive.  So amongst the preparations we made was the desire to buy snorkel, fins, mask and boots.  Individually we all trotted off to our local dive shop where we found the most horrendous attitude and as a result we all went into the wilderness to find a 'friendly' diveshop.  

We ended up in a DS in Didcot where the service could not have been further from that at 'our' LDS, the upshot being 5 new divers buying mask, snorkel etc late on on a Saturday afternoon.

The last time I went in there I needed to hire a tank..they wanted a £300 cash deposit...now please somebody tell me that's not normal!  


So now we buy stuff from a variety of sources, net, diveshow, SDS and my local MikesWW.  Incidentally Mikes get quiet a bit of my cash because they are willing to explain things and allow me to try stuff on even if I'm not buying on that day.

Rob
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (ainsley @ Mar. 03 2004,15:45)] We ended up in a DS in Didcot where the service could not have been further from that at 'our' LDS, the upshot being 5 new divers buying mask, snorkel etc late on on a Saturday afternoon.
That'll be Aquarius. They're by no means cheapest but they stock almost everything you need, although it's a poky little shop, and will get you anything they haven't got in stock in a couple of days. Although I live in Sweden, I've bought a lot of bits and pieces from them during visits to the UK as my mother lived in nearby Cholsey and my sister still lives there. They've also posted various items to me. The owners are very nice, helpful people and it's a good example of what an LDS should be like. Even so, I've bought over the Internet when the price difference has been too great. I can't afford to be soft-hearted.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Simon A @ Mar. 03 2004,14:12)]I also like to support my local dive shop (you'll find it normaly gets abreviated to LDS on here), however not too much! What Il normally do is surf the web and find out how much I can get it for (dont forget to figure in the P&P). I then march into my LDS and say "I can get this for this much, buying off the web, can you get close?".
If they can get close enough to the price I'll then buy it off them (for the convenience of being able to go in and throw it back if there is a problem).
However it is generaly considered "bad form" to go and try out loads of kit at your LDS and then buy it all off the web, as it does cost them to stock the kit.
I do exactly the same.

For things like regs I wouldn't but from the internet because of servicing/backup reasons.

I know that if my regs have a problem I can take them back to the shop easily and 'borrow' another set until mine are fixed. Try doing that with a shop where you didn't originally buy from!
 

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John

Yep you're right it was Aquarius.  For the stuff we bought the price seemed about right, and the advice was top notch too.

We've tended to buy stuff in small groups which has given us some nice discounts at dive shows and LDS' in the past.

Next planned purchase, a dry suit each!  


Rob
 

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I tend to gets suits, boots, gloves and small items from my LDS as it means that there is less faffing about if they don't fit, leak, etc. Other items such as regs I get from LIDS (save all year and take the car time!).

I've recently gone off Internet shopping a bit as I have found that, if you shop about and are cheeky enough to ask, you can get a price which is pretty much the same from your LDS or you get lower quality goods (like cylinder valves  
) but you can get some good deals online.
 

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Fair weather diver
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (John Gulliver @ Mar. 03 2004,15:10)]...
That'll be Aquarius. They're by no means cheapest but they stock almost everything you need, although it's a poky little shop, and will get you anything they haven't got in stock in a couple of days. Although I live in Sweden, I've bought a lot of bits and pieces from them during visits to the UK as my mother lived in nearby Cholsey and my sister still lives there. ....
I used to live in Cholsey when I worked near Reading.  I still go back regularly

Aquarius are great. All my other LDS have been rubbish so far.  I get most of my stuff on-line or at the show and I get my advice on the net or from my club.  Air is another matter.  They can't be making a loss at £3 a fill so that counts as support.
 

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Jonah
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (nickjb @ Mar. 03 2004,16:09)] Air is another matter.  They can't be making a loss at £3 a fill
I bet they are, actually, when you take things like compressor cost & servicing, staff wages, insurance and other overheads etc into account.

The air is what they use to get you in the door, the other stuff is what they make the money on.
 

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Liberal Lefty
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Living in London I have a choice of LDSs.  I spend some money at them and some on line.  Like Nick, I buy items at the LDS for convienience (spelling?) and the ability to return them.  For example, trying out my new Aerdura drysuit I found that the autodump was leaking - drove straight from Wraysbury to Mike's and they had a look at it.  Tried it agian the next week and the leak has almost stopped.  

Price is not the only factor to me, service and advice is worth it's weight in gold - I'm prepared to pay the price for good service and after sales care.  I spent a good hour mooching around Mikes in various drysuits and undersuits finding a good match - they then ordered one to my specs (boot size etc) without me leaving a deposit.  And I got a good price, only a few quid more than the cheapest on the net.

Don't just buy on price - you may need the service and after sales that a good LDS can provide.  If they don't provide a good service and they cost more, they go out of business.

PS Not connected to Mikes WW in Chiswick, just had a good experience with them
 

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Do your homework, find the best price you can and then if your LDS are helpful and give you good advice and help give them a chance to come close.  

They might not be able to match the price for various reasons but if they can get somewhere near the mark (and only you can decide what the premium is worth to you) then it maybe worth paying the price.

They hopefully offer airfills, advice, the opportunity to look feel and try on kit, servicing and also what you might consider a easy returns policy.  

If they consider you a valuable customer you should consider the additional services that they may offer, such as free or cheap kit loans in the event yours is being serviced or returned under warrenty.  

If you feel they are trying to take you for a ride they probably are.  

And finally do not believe they can offer unbiased advice.  Virtually every LDS I know will try encourage you to buy the brands they actually stock or the ones that give them the biggest margin (and it might not always be the most expensive items!).

So do your homework, make sure you have all the facts and have made an informed decision and see what they can do.

Daz
 

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if you have a good local dive shop then you should support it, you cant get a fill from the internet!
Having said that , if you shop around on price and you find what you want much cheaper on the net then you should take the price to your local dive shop and haggle, they might match it or come close enough to make you think it's worth spending your money locally.
I beleive, in all things, in spending my money in the local economy unless you are being ripped off. We have a decent butchers in my village, it's only there because people buy stuff from him...

jules
 
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