The Do’s and Do Not’s of Getting Good Service at a Running Specialty Store: Part One

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DO put your shoes to good use and don’t worry about getting them dirty! It’s like buying a Jeep and trying to avoid puddles.

DO have a good attitude.  I don’t care if you just spent an hour in traffic and you have runner’s knee and are stressed about work.  You’re in your happy place, or more accurately, you’re in MY happy place.  You’re buying running shoes, awesome new running shoes.  And you came to a place that is going to make sure you’ve got the right pair on your feet at the end of the day.  So put a smile on that face and be really excited that your running experience is about to get better.

DO NOT belittle the shoes.  You will hurt their feelings.  Purposely mispronouncing the names of shoes or calling them ugly isn’t going to make this shoe selection process any easier or more pleasant.  Plus, more than likely, you’ve just offended my favorite pair or shoes or the shoes that might be right for you and now it’s a little awkward.

DO bring your old shoes, your custom insoles, the socks you usually run in.  It doesn’t REALLY help me to know you were in a Asics shoe three years ago since they make about twenty four thousand different models, all of which have changed between the time you got the shoe and now.  But please bring anything that could help me figure out what you liked and didn’t like in the past so I can better pinpoint how you’re going to feel in a shoe once you walk out the door with it.  Information is golden and every single piece of information you can give me will only get you closer to picking the right shoe, or not picking the wrong one.  Help me help you.

DO NOT hold grudges.  Maybe you had a terrible experience in a Brooks shoe when you were in college.  Chances are, your needs have changed and the shoe has changed.  Plus, see above in that we may not even know what model you’re talking about and I may put you in the right Brooks instead of the wrong one, so keep an open mind and don’t hold a grudge against a shoe or a brand just because you may have been put in the wrong model in the past.

DO communicate budget ahead of time if it’s an issue.  Running shoes can get expensive.  I can always work within a budget within reason, but also know that the right shoe for you might require you to reach a little deeper than you wanted.

DO NOT assume we work on commission.  I don’t.  I think it’s the best way to run a retail store because there is nothing for me to gain by selling you a more expensive shoe than you need or worse yet, up-sell you additional items you don’t need.  When I recommend an insole for you or a certain sock, I’m really just trying to make your running experience better and sometimes that takes upgrades in a few areas.  You can take my advice or not, but know that it’s only for your benefit.

DO be honest.  If you would love to run marathons but can’t really make the time to train and realistically won’t in the near future, don’t tell me that you always spend your weekends doing three hour long runs.  If you love running on the trails but you realistically run around your neighborhood 99% of the time just out of convenience, make sure I know that too.  Be honest with yourself and with me when it comes to your running habits and your goals.  If you haven’t run a 50K race yet but want to work to get there and are committing to that goal, tell me that so I know what shoe to recommend to let you go the distance.

DO NOT tell me that your shoe has 600 miles on it.  I feel like a little piece of me dies every time someone takes pride in running their shoes into the ground.  It’s dangerous people!  Rule of thumb is 400 miles and really the way that running shoes are made these days to be lighter, most will only feel good and be safe up until 300-350.  Start working new pairs into the mix sooner rather than later and you’ll actually extend the life of your shoes and save yourself from some gear related injuries.

DO follow up.  I love to hear people’s success stories.  Nothing puts a smile on my face more than knowing someone is out there enjoying running because of a decision I helped them make.  Also if you had a bad experience, make sure we know that too.  Be nice, of course, but tell us what the problem is and you’d be surprised how often it could lead to a quick, easy and inexpensive solution.

DO NOT not get a shoe because of color or the way it looks but DO let it be a deciding factor if you’re torn between two shoes.

DO have fun.  Shopping is fun and running is fun and Marin is fun and SFRC is the happiest place on earth so lighten up and have as good a time as we are.

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