Bad Service from Lhbs....????

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APendejo

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Just got back from a 1+ hour drive over to the lhbs. I got a mega list of stuff I needed to start the new year off. On the way over I started thinking about one of their Pale Ale extract kits I brewed once and the OL loved , thought I would add one to the bill
I did not see one on the shelf so like the sign on the shelf says, if you don't see what you want ask, we will make it up for you. I asked the clerk if he would fix up a pale ale kit, he flat out says no. I asked what that meant and he replied he was really busy, I'm the only customer in the store, he also said that pale ale took a lot of hops and there was a shortage, oh, and that he was really busy and walked away towards the back.
I guess he was too busy to fill the rest of my grain bill and ring up the 3-4 hundred dollars worth of supplies on my list.
I took my list, stuck it in my pocket and l left.
Business must be booming for them, turning customers away like that.
I don't know if I should email them a nastygram or just cross them off my list for good. Not mentioning any names but they are the only lhbs in Long Beach, Ca.
AP
 
OP
A

APendejo

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They are a co-op, so who knows wtf goes on there, I think their email goes right to the computer next to the cash register and I have seen different people using it.
AP
 

blacklab

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I was not a fan of online purchases of HB stuff before I received a gift cert to AHS this Xmas. ~50lbs of stuff to my door in 7 days for $6.99.

www.austinhomebrew.com

No attitude noted from their website.
 

cd2448

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and they are great on customer service too - they missed the priming sugar from two kits i ordered and i contacted them, and got the sugar within about three days.

i love my lhbs though, for a noob like me, there's nothing like being able to pick someone's brains in person about brewing techniques and recipes. they're very cool: Home Sweet Homebrew in Philly.
 

arturo7

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At this shop, it all depends on who's minding the store. Sometimes the service is outstanding. Other times it is as described.
 

Joker

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That is bad.

Makes me grateful I have 2 good hbs in my area.
 

5 Is Not Enough

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You can probably even save money and get the products shipped to your door...
The internet, it not just for pornography anymore :D
 
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APendejo

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I order stuff on-line all the time but I do, or I should say did like to support the local guy too. I'm gonna wait until I chill out a little before emailing a nastygram.
AP
 

arturo7

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APendejo said:
I order stuff on-line all the time but I do, or I should say did like to support the local guy too. I'm gonna wait until I chill out a little before emailing a nastygram.
AP
You may want to call their attention to this thread.
 

DUCCCC

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APendejo said:
I order stuff on-line all the time but I do, or I should say did like to support the local guy too. I'm gonna wait until I chill out a little before emailing a nastygram.
AP
In this day of having all you need a couple mouse clicks away, and usually cheaper to boot, the only advantages of the LHBS are service and availability. My LHBS isn't really stocked very well for individual ingredients. They stock a good variety of kits, and the owner obviously prefers making wine rather than beer, but he's a good guy just the same and I'll buy there first, even if it cost a few bucks more.

That said, if he ever cops an attitude I won't ever darken his doorway again.

Unless the proprietor of your shop fires this a-hole, or if this dude was the owner, I'd definitely take my business elsewhere.
 

Joker

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APendejo said:
I order stuff on-line all the time but I do, or I should say did like to support the local guy too. I'm gonna wait until I chill out a little before emailing a nastygram.
AP
Might be more effective to call and make sure you get the manager or owner.
 

Surly

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APendejo said:
I order stuff on-line all the time but I do, or I should say did like to support the local guy too. I'm gonna wait until I chill out a little before emailing a nastygram.
AP
Good idea.

If this is a Cooperative as was noted above, there will be a Board of Directors. Maybe e-mail the manager and cc the Chair of the Boad.
 

Brewsmith

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I also go to the place you are talking about. Service has been hit and miss lately. And since Christmas they have been out of several ingredients, Kolsch yeast, Crystal 60, Crystal 75. There are a few people that are really helpful, and a couple people that I'd stear clear of. Just watch them closely if they are filling out a grain order. I've had a couple grain bills screwed up by not weighing correctly, confusing pounds, ounces and kilograms, and misinterpreting "Special Roast" with "Roasted Barley." The best example involved a pink-haired employee confusing 2 oz of Roasted Barley with 0.25 kg. My 2 oz turned into over half a pound...
 

Brewsmith

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GaryA said:
Might be more effective to call and make sure you get the manager or owner.
The problem is that with this place, there is no one "owner." As someone else has said in an earlier post, it's a co-op by the California Fermentation Society. Maybe they should be the one to contact.
 

heinz57

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The guys over at Culver City Home Brew Supply are always helpful when I'm there. Sometimes on weekends I head over there just to hang out and talk beer for awhile.

If you were planning on spending that much cash, the extra mileage might be worthwhile.
 

BuffaloSabresBrewer

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Defiantly send them an email and put in the subject To manager confidential or owner confidential etc.
 

Silviakitty

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*nod* The locals are really good guys, and they've been nothing but pleasant to me (I'm apparently an anomaly; the owner said I was the first woman he'd ever sold a beer brewing kit to).

I agree with Ma2brew on this as well: buy what I can from the local guy first, then go online. But if the LHBS cops a 'tude...it's done. I don't see that happening, however, which is good. :)
 

oguss0311

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Retail- weather cooperatively owned or not- needs to adapt or die in the wake of the online and mega-store Phenomena. I'd be talking to the powers that be down there- for sure. Especially when the typical LHBS will talk to you More than you want or need to if you let them.
I'm all about rewarding good service. I'm pissed to read about this!
Should you choose to address this with them- and anything good comes of it- I hope you post it.
 

talleymonster

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After a few bad shopping experiences, I completely stopped shopping at my LHBS. AHS gets everything I order to my door in about 4 days, everytime. One time my LME burst open in transit and they gave me half off my next order. Definitely good customer service, and with the 6.99 flat rate shipping I have no reason to shop anywhere else......although I'm going to order some hops from Hops Direct.
 

westerntrout

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i must be incredibly fortunate, my LHBS (Valley Vintner in Eugene,OR) has a complete inventory, better than reasonable prices, always a friendly knowlegable homebrewer for sales help, great tips to help you improve your beers, and apparently the owner must have a relative in the hop business as there is still a full stock of whatever you want. an example of the type of LHBS that would really hurt internet sales
 
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APendejo

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Thanks for all the advice. The guy that got me into homebrewing is a member of their club and "knows people". Talked to him last night and he says he will see what is up.
AP
 

TexLaw

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BuffaloSabresBrewer said:
Defiantly send them an email and put in the subject To manager confidential or owner confidential etc.
Sure. Certainly, no would else would dare read such an email. ;)

OP, I'm glad to hear you got through to someone, though. That's a ridiculous situation. I'm glad I have a couple good LHBSs around me.


TL
 

Revvy

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I'd contact the california fermentation society and email or fax them a list of what you would have been paying them 3-4 hundred dollars for. And tell them that that day they lost on on 3-4 hundred worth of business, and also any future business you might have had with them, because of the attitude of one of their employees or associates or members (whatever they are)....Not to mention that you ALSO posted your frustrations on a large internet brewing forum read by thousands of people around the country, including probably several of their current customers as well as any future customers in their area who might have been considering going there and spending money....

Never know what could happen....If they're a coop and or a nonprofit, or a profit making venture to fund the society, I'm sure a couple hundred dollar lost sale was/is nothing to sneeze at for them.
 

EvilTOJ

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Silviakitty said:
*nod* The locals are really good guys, and they've been nothing but pleasant to me (I'm apparently an anomaly; the owner said I was the first woman he'd ever sold a beer brewing kit to).

I agree with Ma2brew on this as well: buy what I can from the local guy first, then go online. But if the LHBS cops a 'tude...it's done. I don't see that happening, however, which is good. :)
Silvia, you are an anomaly, but we love ya anyways :p I've heard most places don't have very many women brewers, so I'm not surprised at your experience. My LHBS has a couple that runs the store, but it's usually the wife that's there whenever I'm in there. She's really knowledgable and helpful with any questions. Last time I was in there, it was chock full o women (of course, that was two weeks before christmas so they were probably doing christmas shopping).
 

Silviakitty

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Nothing wrong with being anomalous. Keeps people on they toes. ;)

Basically, I'm pretty okay with being 'the female brewer' in the area...the guy that runs the LHBS knows me when I come in and shows me the good stuff. He got hold of a few precious ounces of Hallertaur hops and let me know they were going to be available before he put 'em out. He wanted the regulars to get dibs, which I thought was pretty cool. :)
 

bs22619

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Well if your in Long Beach and driving an hour to get to that place you can drive down to San Diego. My LHBS usually seems pretty stocked, and is also a functioning brewery. The brewery is called Ballast Point and they also have a tasting bar in the shop. The service I get there almost always helpful and friendly, even when I ask those same questions they hear everyday. Sometimes you get a guy working who just doesnt seem to enjoy being at work very much and isn't very helpful, but its all good.
 

Schlenkerla

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bs22619 said:
Sometimes you get a guy working who just doesnt seem to enjoy being at work very much and isn't very helpful, but its all good.
Very True!!! - I think this is the problem most often with hired help, especially if they don't brew. Most often I think people have a passion for it when they work there.

My old HB shop here was like that on & off. The guy who ran the place had two businesses Home Brew & industrial machine design/build. The latter being his prefferred work.

One day I asked him what are you drinking now. Thinking whats in his kegerator.... He snorted and said "Natty Light!" I'm like what? He said "I don't do this $hit.", pointing all around.

He asks me what do you do for a living. I told him. He says do you do that at home. I said normally, no. He says "See"

He's been an a$$ on and off but I'd always been giving him repeated business. This is even after his continuous bitching about how people ask about his price then state he's too high. (He doesn't put prices on his products, so you have to ask, so its his own fault.) He is too high in comparison my other LHBS. He complains he's going out of business due to pricing on the web. He'll go out of business due to attitude. I think people would pay slightly extra if the experience is good.

My new HB shop (open just this fall) is very competitve, helpful and is willing to order whatever isn't on the shelf and he brews himself! He also sells any beer you can think of on the market. You can buy them by the bottle or mix match up a sixer. Its a good way to try something new. I've been thinking of getting a bottle of Saison to find out if I should make 5 gallons.

I'm glad I have decent LHBS now w/o a cranky MF behind the counter.
 

arturo7

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On a positive note...

Today I stopped by the Long Beach store in question was and given excellent service. One of the guys walked by the hops 'fridge and I commented on the lack of Cascades. He apologized and said they weren't expecting any soon. We talked about what I was brewing and he gave me a rundown of several other types that I could use as a substitute.

I opted for the Palisade, which can be used for both bittering and aroma. The guy said he was making an IPA with all Palisade hops.

This guy has given me outstanding service on several occasions. Often accessing the store's brew software to help me with recipes.
 

cowgo

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Schlenkerla said:
My new HB shop (open just this fall) is very competitve, helpful and is willing to order whatever isn't on the shelf and he brews himself! He also sells any beer you can think of on the market. You can buy them by the bottle or mix match up a sixer. Its a good way to try something new. I've been thinking of getting a bottle of Saison to find out if I should make 5 gallons.

I'm glad I have decent LHBS now w/o a cranky MF behind the counter.
What store is that? Sounds like you have a new LHBS! Very cool.
 

dpt222

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I was not a fan of online purchases of HB stuff before I received a gift cert to AHS this Xmas. ~50lbs of stuff to my door in 7 days for $6.99.

www.austinhomebrew.com

No attitude noted from their website.
I AGREE!! Just bought $130 (27 pounds) of stuff from a company in the SW (I am on the East coast) and cost me only $13.00 shipping. I figure my LHBS is $6 in gas away plus sales tax $9, it's cheaper to shop from my computer and I have much more variety. So what if I only had to wait 3 days to get the stuff.
 

dpt222

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I do, however, like to support my LHBS if they have the stuff I need. But I say if they're being a-holes then kick them to the curb...or open your own HBS!!
 

cowgo

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I have a pretty decent LBHS nearby, Ale 'n' Vino. It's been around for nearly 20 years so they must be doing something right. Probably like most LHBS, some of the prices are excellent, some fair and some a little high.

They do a good free crush and the grain prices are competitive.
 

cd2448

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that's pretty much my experience with my LHBS. very helpful and pretty well stocked (excellent grain selection, suffering a bit for hops but then isn't everyone). price wise, i think they are very competitive as i'm not yet in the 55lb grain bag zone.

when i was there last weekend, the owner was telling us a tale of some guy who came in wanting to buy 1lb of a particular hop, but no grain. he proudly tells the shop owner he ordered the bulk grain online cheap and so the owner suggests he do the same thing with the hops... he's been limiting the hops to 4oz per hop per person, and didn't want to give a large chunk up to someone who gets their grain elsewhere.

silvia - one of the co-owners of the LHBS is a woman - but i think it's the guy that does the brewing although the woman is very knowledgable about everything.
 

CBBaron

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I'm not about to drive an hour to visit a not so local HBS so I am limited to a local beer store that also sells brewing supplies or the internet. The beer store has a great selection of beers and a decent brewing supply including a couple different base grains in 55# bags. They also sell used glass jugs and wine bottles for cheap. The jugs are nice for small batches of mead and wine. I tend to buy bulky items like bulk grain and bottles at the beer store and order specialty grains, hops and yeast from my not so local online HBS.
However if I started getting the type of service described by the OP from either source I would take my business else where.
Craig
 

korndog

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I have found that LHBS clerks are generally aloof and cranky. The are either hungover, beer snobs, or just plain incompetent. However, there are some exceptions. I have found that customers are very friendly and helpful. I have 3 to choose from, but find that self sufficiency is the order of the day.
 

chione

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bs22619 said:
Well if your in Long Beach and driving an hour to get to that place you can drive down to San Diego. My LHBS usually seems pretty stocked, and is also a functioning brewery. The brewery is called Ballast Point and they also have a tasting bar in the shop. The service I get there almost always helpful and friendly, even when I ask those same questions they hear everyday. Sometimes you get a guy working who just doesnt seem to enjoy being at work very much and isn't very helpful, but its all good.
I have been going to American Home Brew Supply http://www.redkart.com/ahbs/ and really like them. Vance the owner is the only employee. When I first went in I
had a partial brew kit that someone gave me. I just brought everything in and said I want to make beer what else do I need. He spent over an hour with me and didn’t recommend the most expensive products nor did he sell me anything that I didn’t need plus spent a bunch of time telling how to brew step by step. Every time I go in he has been super helpful.
 
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