Friday, January 14, 2011

Do You Support Your Local Running Store?

I have one of those little niggling voices in the back of my head that pop up whenever I leave my local running specialty store empty-handed. I browse but usually don’t make a purchase because, as often happens, the specialty store is overpriced compared to other places where I can get the same – or similar - product at a 20-40% cheaper price. The niggling voice sneers, “Nitmos, you should support this store because it sponsors many local races, puts on free events for your kids, and does much to promote the sport you love. If you don’t support it, it will go away as will other things you like you cheap sonofabitch.” I know this to be true because I like boobs, never bought anything at a boob store, and now there are no more boob stores around.

My little niggling voice speaks with the same derisive sarcasm with which I blog. Go figure.

My filly’s soccer team’s parents had bestowed upon me a gift card to this local specialty shop as a gesture of appreciation for volunteering to scream at coach their kids this past fall. They probably felt that I’d get some use out of it. I don’t know what tipped them off that I like to run….perhaps the fact that I wear a race shirt to every practice and game? (Sorry, I have nothing else in my closet except funeral/wedding clothes, neither of which is moisture-wicking.)

After my lunch hour 6 miler yesterday, I headed to the local running shop to hit Day One of their BIG-BLOWOUT, SUPER-EXTRAVAGANZA SEMI-ANNUAL SIDEWALK SALE. It was chaos. Cars parked everywhere. I had to stash my vehicle a ¼ mile away. I might like to run 26 miles but I sure don’t like walking a quarter mile. A half hour later, I heard that same sneering internal voice as I again headed out the door with nothing in hand but my well-ingrained sense of financial responsibility, metaphorically speaking.

I browsed. I elbowed. I price checked. The nice thing about shopping at a running store is that, if things get physically confrontational over a pair of sale-priced compression shorts and a fight breaks out, if you’ve had a hamburger within the last week you’ll probably win the brawl.* Eventually.**

So here I was with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket searching through piles of sale-priced shoes, jackets, shirts, hats, gloves, etc. Things were definitely cheaper than what they normally sell at in this store. But here’s the rub: They were still more expensive than what I could pay for the same item elsewhere. Case in point: My Asics shoes. I need shoes. I would have bought shoes at a SUPER AWESOME, HEAD EXPLODING DEAL price. The tag said they are normally $100 but marked down to $75 for this sale!! Okay….cheaper…but I normally only pay $60 for these same shoes. All they did was reduce the amount of mark-up compared to my ‘go to’ store. They were treating me like an aging prostitute. I was just being screwed less.

Even though I wasn’t even going to have to pay for the shoes thanks to the gift card, I still couldn’t pull the trigger. It felt like wasting a gift card. I didn’t let loose all that rage on impressionable children, twice a week during practice and once on the weekend game, just to get chiseled out of $15!***

I try to buy there when the price difference is within reason. All my Gu comes from their little corner of nutrition. I might buy a pair of shorts…maybe some socks. I run a few of their sponsored races each year. Heck, I even smile and wave when I cross one of their employees on the running trails – something I don’t normally do for the commoners.

So the little niggling voice can shut up.

I support the local running store. I’m with them in spirit. They get first crack at selling me something I need, and I even look at them suggestively when driving by on my way to a cheaper store. In other words, my support ends at a 10% mark-up. Max.

Happy trails.

*Yes, that was a gaunt runner (i.e. “runner chic”) joke.
** Followed by an endurance joke.
***Don’t judge. You know you get your toilet paper from WalMart too.

35 comments:

Turi said...

With my local running store, it's more like they never have QUITE what I need or want. Certainly never in my size. I'm going to give them another chance, though, and try to buy my next pair of shoes there...

Elizabeth said...

I definitely by my shoes online, primarily because the model is an old model and it's the only place I can get them...and they are very cheap. But I gotta give props to my local (and very expensive running store) because they are the ones who helped me discover the love of my life: ASICS GT-2110--a shoe perfect in every way for me. I do browse the shop occasionally though, and honestly only look thru the sales racks and rarely actually by anything. But what I like about it are the people who work there. They are fun to talk to and they like to talk about running.

Ironman By Thirty said...

"just to get chiseled out of $15!"

Pot, meet your kettle (http://boozehoundsinc.blogspot.com/2011/01/different-kind-of-taper.html?showComment=1294949457845#c2761683128944815694).

Ironman By Thirty said...

Oh, and if you are interested, the Frostbite Marathon Relay has a 1 man relay if you are feeling especially masochistic. I'll leave you to ponder whether or not a 1 man relay is really a relay.

KimsRunning said...

I just did the exact same thing at New Balance. Only I did part with my gift card for a $130 pair, marked down to $80. I'm waiting semi-patiently for their minimals March 1st. Yes, I know I just said "semi"...haahaa!!

Marci said...

I used to support them all the time, but now I don't as much. I have become pickier with clothing choices. I still buy GU and other basics from them, but shoes and clothes, not so much, more because of selection rather than price (OK -price too!)

Viper said...

And you call me cheap? How much are you paying for the shoes on sale and minus the gift card?

If I've never tried a brand of shoe before, I'll buy from my local store. But once I have some experience with the brand/model, I find it cheaper online.

And I can do you one better. We get our toilet paper at Aldi. Cheers!

Ace said...

qft

Ian said...

So what you're saying is that even though you're getting it elsewhere you're thinking of them while you do it.

The Sean said...

Road Runner Sports online for shoes after you try them on at the local running store- buy some shorts and odds and ends at the store as a "service fee". Sorry- but shoes are expensive enough already.

Andrew Opala said...

I'm with ya.

But I won't even give them the 10%.

I actually ask for the manager and tell him the price I can get somewhere else. If he is willing to match it, I won't charge him for having to ask!

This running store has a liquidation outlet! The prices there are still higher than walmart just around the corner.

Sun Runner said...

I might like to run 26 miles but I sure don’t like walking a quarter mile.

Brother, I hear you. Now, you can match my level of laziness if you admit to not even wanting to get off the couch to retrieve the remote if it happens to be across the room.

And for the record, I do support my local running store (Running Fit).

Teamarcia said...

In a moment of insanity I recently bought a $$$ jacket at my local running store. That should fulfill my obligation for a lifetime.
Can you believe not one paltry of pellet of Vicodin? What is this world comig to?

Jess said...

My best friend works at a running store and gives me a nice discount, otherwise I wouldn't bother. However, his store is in Dallas, which I don't like much, so I guess I support the store of a crappy locale.

Marlene said...

Our local running store is just like yours (OVER-PRICED) except we don't have the luxury of cheaper stores around here selling the same product. What gives!!

I'm half broke thanks to my local store!

BrianFlash said...

The local running store here is overpriced (about 10-15% higher), but they offer a loyalty program. When you spend a set amount, you get a virtual gift card for 10% of what you just spent. So that pretty much makes them a wash on the stuff I tend to buy (their running clothes are limited and way overpriced so I stick with shoes and assorted accessories).

Drea said...

Oh this is easy- just get addicted to LuLuLemon, the store price is the same as on line and they don't charge you shipping. It is so expensive that you will be screwed royally- you'll feel like a young prostitute turning high end tricks again. Of course- you'll be the dude in LuLu.

Beth said...

Local jobs, local taxes... Sorry but 10% of $80 shoes is only $8. Yes, as a percent it seems like a lot but I'm guessing most people are throwing that much away on a cup of coffee and a muffin. It's good for everyone to have local businesses and I'm willing to pay for it.

Chad said...

I've missed following your blog. Full contact shopping is where it is at.

Robin said...

I shop my local running store's sale rack. I look like a candidate for garanimals. I know what you mean, my local running store keeps my cliff shot blocks addiction in check, but little else.

I Run for Fun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I Run for Fun said...

I'm with you in this, Nitmos. My feeling exactly. Though I am not so brave as to post so elaborately about it.

Chris K said...

Jamoosh speaks very highly of you so I had to come on over. Where's your Follow Me button?

I'm a Newton shill and just buy them online, except when I flew to their store in Denver last month. Long story.

Detroit Runner said...

I'll buy from the local store on my first pair of shoes. If I like them, I'll buy others online. This time around, though, I tried on a pair of Ghost 3, and went online and bought the Ghost 2. It's working out fine but I know I took a chance. I think if the local store would face reality, they would have more people buy from them.

Chanda M. DeFoor said...

We don't have a local running store, but I have driven the almost two hours to Atlanta to use their local running stores. I trust those shoe fitting folks!

lindsay said...

i guess i do about half-n-half. buy a pair from the local store, buy my 2nd pair online. i don't really buy running clothes - those are gifts or from races for the most part. i used to buy my gu from the store but i keep winning random giveaways so that solved that problem. if only a blog would give away running shoes ever 3-4 months...

The Merry said...

Okay, now I feel guilty.

Ainsley Drew said...

First of all, somebody needs to bring back boob stores, stat. I would really like to wear a bikini this summer without looking like a preteen contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Next, there's a solution to your problem. Spend money at the store. Then shoplift whatever you can calculate to cover that 10% mark-up. Everybody wins. Especially since security probably can't catch you.

Aileen Ruane said...

You know, I never realized the specialty stores were more expensive. I just figured they were the only places where you could get a wide selection of running stuff.

Now I need to go to a Dick's Sporting Goods store or something. Damn you!

Adam said...

jeeze, look at all of the comments on this one.

I'm torn. I really want to shop at my local running store - i REALLY REALLY do - but it is hard. I actually go the opposite way of most who commented. I'll buy shoes there, but almost everything else (except for a gu here or there) is online.

Morgan said...

I shop at said store because Spike makes me. I like supporting the local stores but I've long tried to tell Spike that they are way overpriced. Down at my old running store in O-town those same $100 Asics are $85 regularly priced... and when they have their annual sale the entire store is 20% off, sale or not for one day. Now that's a deal! All that being said... I totally coughed up the $75 dollars for the previously $100 Asics cuz I needed a new pair for training.

Irene said...

Socks. They sell running socks. Sure, it's not a big purchase but I always need running socks.

Al's CL Reviews said...

The running store I go to will price match Amazon.com on some things and not others. So if I want to look at something, I'll go and ask if they will match. If they do, I'll buy, if not, I won't.

Velma said...

You had me at aging prostitute. Be nice to Playmakers.

Anonymous said...

Wish I had read this post before investing $150K in opening a new run shop. Looks like I should have put my money, time, energy and experience elsewhere.