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Thread: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

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    Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    It is hard to believe that there is that many pool stores that treat the customer so badly. I know there are those types of service providers out there, I have two like that just 30 minutes away. Our family has had a pool for 40 + years, and we have been building for 30 of those. We stay up to date on the latest new equipment and trends. We research ideas before recommending them. We work to rovide our customers with the best information that we can get, often going around sales reps to get to the guy behind the design to learn more about the product. I am not perfect, not claiming to be, but sometimes you get what you pay for, and are treated the way you act to the service provider.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    That's true, and not every used car salesman is dishonest. But there are enough of both to make the generalization.

    I think I've found a good store near me. They did me right with my pump motor, they sell 12% and acid at a good price, and the guys working inside don't look like some part-time high school student. I've never seen anyone getting their water tested there, so I don't know how that part of it is. So I spend my pool dollars there and not necessarily where I might save a buck. And I gave them a 5 star review on Yelp.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    The locally owned store, here, is great. The franchised guys fit the sterotype. Basically, 20% is my average with pool stores.

    I buy from the local guys, who have been in that location since the 70s (maybe before). Their prices are competitive, even with online stores. I was taken to the testing station and instructed on testing (hands on), told my tests would be better (if for no other reason, the amount of time out of the pool until the test), then told they didn't sell kits, because the customers won't buy them because "it is too much trouble", so they sell strips.

    The problems I do I have with them, is they push the Lamotte strips and owner's daughter calls me "dude". I spend there, first because of service from well trained staff and I like keeping money in the community.

    The other "establishments" are friendly, but grossly incompetent. In one case, I dealt with the manager, who was "stuck on stupid", attempting to train a college kid (I have wondered since, how one can impart knowledge, but have none). Untrained monkeys would work better.

    Swimcmp, you would apparently fall into the minority here. I am sure the problems encountered by many, are nothing more than the results of a "well written" business plan, squeezing costs (payroll and training) and pushing marketing (having untrained staff push a product). To further the confusion, they claim to be "testing experts" because they use the best equipment available (they use taylor 2006), but use it to further the marketing plan by using a fancy "computer" printout of manual results, pushing marketing plan product.

    But the consumer is also to blame, like my purchase of the "superduper" cell protection product of the week. Had I done what I should have done (checked it out) I would have found a box of Boxax (under $4) would have been substanically the same as the $20 wonder chem. Further, customers who find testing "too much trouble", etc. will find out the hard way what "sheeple" means.
    My cement pond is a 36K gunite 20X40 built in mid 1960s, Hayward S244S filter, Aquarite SWCG, Jandy 1.5HP 2sp, TF-Test kit and Nitro Wall Climber

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    This is something we need to work on on this forum. We are often to quick to assume the poolstore's motive is profit but I think the large majority of poolstore misinformation is with ignorance of the individual at point-of-sale.

    This stuff is simply not easily grasped by summertime help who would rather be doing something else anyway.

    Where we hit the nail on the head, however, is just how widespread this ignorance is. I would suggest that a poor understanding of pool water chemistry is the rule at poolstores rather than the exception.

    Swimcmp, it was hard for me to believe just how widespread this lack of knowledge is but it's pretty factual based on the thousands of posts we receive over the years. Once you couple the retailers incomplete knowledge with a brand new pool owner nothing good is probably going to come from that.

    Secondly, retailers get MOST of their info from sales people who want them to buy and resell their product.....that's how everyone makes money.....I get it. But often that leads to misrepresentation often for convenience, more often from ignorance and, w-a-a-ay down the list, just plain deception.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    My experience has been indirect (I found this site before I had a "poolstore" moment) through people I help locally. The few that have asked for my help often have 100 of dollars of full and empty chemical containers (or a least the stories) that they were told to dump in their pools. Clarifiers, MPS, algaecides, nature this, mineral that, bacqua, things I have never heard of, etc. Bottom line, their pools were in bad shape and the pool store was leading them on the "try this next" path. This instead of educating the owner on the basic chemistry. Maybe this is too time consuming to do, and still make money? Maybe Duraleigh is right and they just don't know...that blows me away if they own a business that deals in pool chemistry and is inexcusable (okay maybe that is an over reaction). If they do know pool chemistry and still push the junk science or the "try this try that approach", that is even worse.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    I firmly believe its plain ignorance.

    Just testing the waters at my local leslies I asked what should be done about high CYA, and got a blank look. After trying to explain, the salesperson said "If your pool is green you should put in this" pointing to the rack of overpriced wonder-chemical next to the checkout counter.

    I never said anything about the pool being green.

    For some folks its just a part-time or summer job and not a career of educating people how to take care of their pool.

    As a business owner, I can sympathize with how hard it is to find people that care and will work for what you can afford to pay em.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    I am one to second this post, my local store, Waterworks Pool and Spa is amazing. Seriously informed on chemicals and all pool parts, they take upgrading every year and design an build their own pools now. Why is it people who have money, and can afford a nice inground pool, cheap out when going to a pool store, god forbid these places make money..for shame for shame LOL I think you have to know a general price of what you are looking for and if you feel their "mark up" is fair and you enjoy them being part of your local business community they you should by all means support them. Talk over pricing with them, you would be suprised what can result. Local business thrives on recommendations and word of mouth. One has to be informed and then communicate with these stores, remember, we sometimes mislead with our questions and the result is an answer we think is "off".

    Or....you can go to your local hardware store, or the internet and give your money to some CEO who is making 3 Million a year and could care less about LOCAL.

    Think about it...America and Canada were built on the backs of local businessman.

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    Really though, the point is you don't need to spend any money at a pool store. If you want to buy some stabilizer or a leaf rake, pool toys etc, go for it. But to spend money on elixers and potions to treat your pool, that's silly. One box of TA increaser that cost 30 bucks at a pool store cost 8 bucks at walmart. I myself could buy the pool store, but I prefer to spend my money on other stuff. 99 percent of what they want you to buy isn't needed.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    bk406 maybe you should then you could maybe get the other stores around you to educate their employees to better serve the public. It is a shame you bash the companies instead of going to them and try to help them be better.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    My local pool store isn't going to pay the bucks to hire educated (or educatable) employees, and the 18 year old girl behind the counter (if she's that old) doesn't really care.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    I have this vision.... TFP branded pool stores all over the country... Well trained staff, REAL test kits for sale... and only chemicals that actually work...
    20'x40' / 30,000 Gal / In Ground / Vinyl
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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    Quote Originally Posted by swimcmp
    bk406 maybe you should then you could maybe get the other stores around you to educate their employees to better serve the public. It is a shame you bash the companies instead of going to them and try to help them be better.
    Sure for a cut, but hey shouldnt all customers of any business try to educate the people who are representing themselves to be knowledgeable about their fields of endeavor?

    Thats kinda out there isn't it?

    I wouldn't dream of hiring a plumber and then have him give me bad advice, and I be happy with that. When businesses ask you to pay them for products, services, and advice, there is a reasonable expectation that they would at least be:

    1. honest
    2. knowledgeable about the things they say they are
    3. be interested in using their knowledge to HELP the consumer with said knowledge in exchange for compensation.

    Instead, for some reason (which I cynically assume to be short-sighted ignorance and greed) it seems that a fair percentage of pool stores (by no means all) just see customers and their problems as a bucket of money they try to empty out as best they can, maybe actually helping the problem the person came to them with and maybe not.

    My anecdotal (admittedly) experiences lead me to believe that the profitability potential of the swimming pool industry (a luxury market) leads a high number of greedy and dishonest individuals to enter it. Sad.

    Sadder is that they give the honest guys a bad rep.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    Quote Originally Posted by swimcmp
    bk406 maybe you should then you could maybe get the other stores around you to educate their employees to better serve the public. It is a shame you bash the companies instead of going to them and try to help them be better.
    Show me where I bashed a pool store in my post.

    Look, pool stores are in the business to make money, period. Most stores I've found really have no clue what their doing. Sure, they go to CPO seminars and take in what they tell them, but it's not correct. It's not my job to go around to pool stores and tell them how to correctly care for pools. I have otehr things to do. I've mentioned a few things to one local store, but they nodded their head and went on their merry way. A pool store owner isnt going to tell a customer to go and buy an $8 box of baking soda when he sells the same thing for $30.
    By and large, a pool store sells 3 things to put in pool water: chlorine of some sort, chemistry chems (TA up, pH up, pH down) and stuff to clear a green pool. If you clorinate with pucks, its cheaper at Walmart. Salt is cheaper at a big box store. Borax and baking soda are cheaper at a grocery store. All the other stuff, for the most part, isnt needed. By far the biggest problems with pools are that they are over stabilized. If the stabilizer levels were lower, and the pool properly chlorinated, all the other bottles of "stuff" wouldn't be needed.

    The point of TFP is to help people to take care of their pool themselves as economically as they can. I can tell you I've been behind people in line at the pool store that bought $300 worth of stuff to clear their green pool, raise the TA and lord knows what else. They could have done the same thing by draining a little water to lower the CYA, added some chlorox, and a couple boxes of borax.
    I think a lot of pool stores are honest, they just dont know much and even if they did, they wouldnt make much money since they wouldnt be selling much. The only really dishonest bunch i've seen is a bioguard dealer a few towns east of mine. They are truely reprehensible.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    Swimcmp posed the question, why not help pool stores do better? Which made me think.
    After reflecting, I think this a problem created by consumers, similar to convenience stores. So the question is the same, why would one pay $2.00 for a drink they could get across the street, at a grocery store for $0.80 or pay $20 for baking soda they could buy at a grocery store for $4.00. The consumer finds it convenient.

    Many find it abhorrent that the store loads up the consumer with large quantities of “unneeded” supplies, but consumers don’t want to deal with the “dirty” side of pool ownership. I wish I could count the times I’ve heard “I let the pool service….” Or “I go to {pool store} and {name} fixes me up". So the industry has created and consumers have bought into a system of a “one stop fix”. Since most of the workers have a checklist or some model to follow, they go by the “book”, because the consumer does not have a clue and the worker cannot see a pool five miles away, (to support this, think about the nubie threads “Help, my pool is a swamp/green” etc. and how difficult it is to get decent information out of the OP). The worker then recommends a “complete” package of stuff to “fix” the problem, and up-sells what will “make the pool better”, provides a written list of instructions and the consumer goes home and (contrary to instructions) dumps it in at one time, in one place and pops a cold one.

    The consumer wants a one stop fix. The industry provides it, and attempts to ensure the customer does not return with the same problem, the next day. Don’t believe me? Read the instructions on a bag of shock, telling the consumer to shock, according to directions, weekly. It, of course, sells more product, but it satisfies a consumer need, less frequent algae blooms.

    So far as pricing of common chemicals, caveat emptor. Would the convenience store owner send people to the grocery store to save a buck? Would an electrician show you how to wire your pump, for no charge? Have you ever seen a sign at a gas station “gas is cheaper up the street”? Don’t people pay $50 for food at a restaurant, they could fix at home for $5? In all cases, it is matter of convenience and/or service.

    If consumers wanted something else, wouldn’t the industry change to accommodate their customers?
    My cement pond is a 36K gunite 20X40 built in mid 1960s, Hayward S244S filter, Aquarite SWCG, Jandy 1.5HP 2sp, TF-Test kit and Nitro Wall Climber

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    If consumers wanted something else, wouldn’t the industry change to accommodate their customers?
    I think it's the consumers who don't know what they need. I didn't till I got lucky and found this site.
    They don't know that they can get the same chemicals in the grocery store instead of the high priced pool store.

    The pool store has one goal, sell this and that to make a buck. Nothing wrong with that i guess but nothing wrong with this site helping educate users of a cheaper and better way.

    Just ask the guy I got my pool from.
    18' x 42" Intex (4786 Gal @ 80% capacity) Intex 8110 SWCG, 2000 GPH cartridge filter.
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    Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    Nothing wrong with them making a buck for sure, but it should be an honest buck earned through consistent and accurate test results as well as correct advice given by staff who understand a thing or two about the subject matter.

    Sadly I don't think the majority of pool shops meet the above criteria.
    37000 litre, concrete, pebble, Viron P300 pump, Hurlcon VX7T SWCG, Viron CL-400 Cartridge filter, Solar heating, Pandora Smart Robotic cleaner

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    Buford excellent point. How many noobs have come on here with a swamp wanting advice with no pictures to tell. I have customers bring in samples "my pool is green, what do I do". What shade of green, how long, when did it turn, when was the last time you shocked? All valid questions that alot of people say I don't know. Sometimes it is the customers response to these questions that cause a pool store to sell you the $200 fix, because you don't give the total picture.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    Quote Originally Posted by swimcmp
    Buford excellent point. How many noobs have come on here with a swamp wanting advice with no pictures to tell. I have customers bring in samples "my pool is green, what do I do". What shade of green, how long, when did it turn, when was the last time you shocked? All valid questions that alot of people say I don't know. Sometimes it is the customers response to these questions that cause a pool store to sell you the $200 fix, because you don't give the total picture.
    But see, its the above where the pool store goes completely wrong, what we talk about on this site, and why the pool store gets a bad rap. The questions posed above to a customer are irrelevent. It doesnt matter what the shade is, how long its been green, or how long its been since the pool has been shocked (there are people on TFP who have never shocked their pool. Thats another fallicy. Pools do not need to be shocked unless there is a problem).
    The relevent thing with a green pool is that it needs chlorine. A full set of test results are needed (i.e. FC, CC, ph, TA, CYA, CH). THE most relevent is the CYA number. Thats what tells you how much chlorine they need to add to raise it to shock level. The pool could have been green for 2 days or 3 weeks, or 3 years, doesnt matter. All you need to know is how much chlorine to add to the pool to hit the shock level, and to know that they need to hold the chlorine levels at shock until the pool is sparkly clear, and there is <0.5 ppm FC loss over night. If the CYA number is over 100, or very near 100, the info provided should be to drain some water and refill to lower the CYA. The customer needs nothing else but pure chlorine (liquid 12% or good old chlorox) to clear the pool. Thats it.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    bk, a huge part of the problem is with the customer. A large percentage of people don't want to have to think or stick with something to fix it. They want to buy a magic pill that will cure their pool with no effort. If you tell them to shock the pool, they'll come back a week later and say they shocked it and it's still green. They are uneducated, and mostly unwilling to do what is needed to fix the pool.

    A pool store where the people working in the store actually own and care for a pool would be a different animal. I don't care what kind of school you've been to, you don't know it until you've done it, and that doesn't include weekly service visits.

    In my opinion, instructional handouts with a schedule would be ideal. Hand them a sheet with hour-by-hour instructions and sell them what they need to do it.
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    Re: Not every pool store is out to screw the customer

    Completely agree John. It's the pool stores responsibility to get it right, and the customer's responsibility to carry out the instructions.
    It's really not all that difficult as evidenced by the thousands who come to TFP with green pools and we are able to help clear them with only stepping foot in a grocery store. It starts with good, concise, simple instructions that a person can follow and then diligently following those instructions to the letter.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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