To Buy or Not to Buy…

Writen by: Hank Wethington

Posted on 12 February 2010

I’m dealing with  a quandary and looking for input. Here’s a bit of the back story.

The plan is, I’m going to start running due to all it’s wonderful benefits and want to get the right shoes. I’ve found that bad shoes make for a horrible experience and hence a short, unsuccessful attempt at running. So taking the advice of some running co-workers I headed over to GH Sports, a local company that focuses on running. They provide a great service by analyzing your gait and how you run to recommend the proper shoe. And this is where the quandary starts.

The shoe that was recommended was awesome, it felt great, and it was extremely expensive. I knew I couldn’t buy it that day, before I even walked in, but I still wanted to know what was the right shoe for me. The problem came after checking on-line for information about the show. The local cost was around $150, while the on-line cost was around $95. That’s a big difference! As a local business myself (shameless plug for Hank’s Homemade), I’m passionate about supporting good local businesses, but to what extent?

GH Sports did something that Amazon or Google or any other on-line shopping experience, or even chains like Big 5 or Sports Authority, couldn’t come close to. The analysis was performed free of charge, obviously as a way to encourage purchasing the shoes from them, but was the service worth the price differrence? I’m not advocating setting a mark, say 20% is ok, but 21% isn’t, but at what point do we put a cost savings above the service rendered? A co-worker said today “it’s not like they’re a doctor, they just bought some software and video taped you,” while true, no one else I’ve been to has offered this type of service.

So what’s your thoughts? Should buying local, no matter what the cost be supported, or is there a point at which you take the info and buy somewhere else? If I don’t buy from them, perhaps they eventually go out of business, taking that type of service with them. However, justifying a 50% price bump to the wife presents it’s own issues, not to mention the hit to the bank account.

Let’s here it people, I need your help.

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