Last weekend we traveled to no less than 5 different tack shops in the area looking primarily at saddles, bridles and bits. The selection at most of the stores left a lot to be desired. It also became apparent that tack shops in this area are hidden secrets, some more than others. Perhaps the sparse selection is a result of the increasing online shopping phenomena. However we wanted not only to look at, but feel, the tack options. It’s kinda hard to sit on a photo of a saddle to see how it feels, you could…but, um, I’m pretty sure that feels flat!!
At our last stop we encountered something that left a first impression, we’ll not soon forget. The name of the shop has been changed to protect the innocent, me. Let’s call it the East shop. It’s a bit of a haul from our place, so we’ve never been. We knew the East shop carried a large selection of new and used saddles, and thought maybe they would have a good used one. We weren’t having much luck anywhere else. It seemed like the perfect excuse to finally make the trip.
When we arrived it was pretty busy, for being in the middle of nowhere. We got our hopes up as we dug out one particular used saddle, from the many stacks. There was no price on it. I asked and was given an excuse, a sales pitch and oh yeah - the price. It seemed too high, sales pitch was pushy and I could have done without the defensive excuse on why the saddle wasn’t priced yet. It wasn’t a big deal to us.
We thought the saddle was too worn for the price, but Brad tried it anyways. The clerk was nearby helping another couple with a saddle purchase/swap, when out of the blue they started yelling at the customer to stop asking them to lie. If they didn’t like the price, get the FU out of their store...more words were loudly exchanged, and the customer left with their original saddle. Can you say awkward? You could have heard a pin drop. We were only a couple saddle rows away from the inappropriateness of it all. We kept busy until things calmed down, and we could get the answers we needed to make a decision. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. We almost took the saddle home to try on Nemo, until we were given the price again - and it was higher than the first time we asked. Really?? Now you want even more for the overpriced saddle? Normally I would have questioned a price change. Not after what I observed, wouldn’t be worth it. Needless to say we left without buying anything. For them to boast how awesome their business is, they sure weren’t doing it any justice that day. It's too bad, everyone else we dealt with was really nice. Having run my own business for 13 years, I’m pretty particular about treating customers fairly – that obviously isn’t part of their daily business practice. It was a nice drive all the same.
We were so thankful to get sound advice and buy tack a few days later from Mounds. We're still working on a saddle for Nemo. I’ll post some pics when we have it all together, and make sure there is a horse modeling it. We ordered the bits, and I want to get my reins dyed to match my bridle/saddle a little closer. Yep, I like to be matchy-matchy.
When we share our shopping experience, no one is surprised. I’m guessing there is a reason, and the brash behavior at the East shop is common. I think we'll stick to shopping closer to home, the only thing that gets loud at Mounds is the friendly laughter.
Down to the river
16 hours ago