So I'm kinda pissed maybe, not sure what to think. Let me start off by saying that I am a really good friend of the shop. I buy 95% of my fly fishing stuff at this shop. Rods, waders, reels, lines, fly tying stuff, the whole bit. I guided for them for two seasons. I even go to Bible study with the shop owners. Anyway...
I spent the last two afternoons test casting several 4wt rods at my local, preferred fly shop. Two days ago I wanted to test cast a 490 Sage One. They didn't have one, but had the 486 so I cast it. I mentioned to by fly fishing mentor, we will call him Steve, and shop employee my wanting to compare the 490. He says cool, he'll put it with his pre order stuff and it should be here in a week or two. The shop manager, we'll call him Tim, says no freakin way is that happening because no one is dumb enough to buy a 490 One and he does not want to be stuck with a rod he can't sell if I choose the 486.
Steve orders the rod anyway says don't worry about it. It's a rod that they should be carrying anyway. If I don't buy it he can sell it for sure.
The next day, I see Tim the manager and he jumps all over my ass and asks why I would have Steve order the rod? I told him what Steve says and he calls bull **** and thinks that I won't buy either rod. He continues to keep squawking about it for the next hour as I cast other 4wt rods.
I then see Tim again today and he continues to ride my ass about the 490 Sage One. So I told him that's cool. If this is how a customer who is gonna buy a new premium rod and reel will be treated, I'll probably buy the rod at their only competition in town, and their incredibly heated rivals. Seriously they hate each other worse than when you step on a LEGO.
He says cool. It sucks that they're losing a sale, but he still doesn't think I'll buy a rod anywhere and thinks I just wasted one of their preseason order slots.
I'd say he WILL sell the ONE. And if he really wanted to, I'm sure Sage would take it back when it arrives for another model. There are lots worse things that can happen to a person than having a ONE arrive at the shop.
As far as between you and he....that's just something only you can know what to do. Go with your instincts I suppose.
Sounds like the shop owner (Steve) has a little sand in his Va-j-j.
But, I would still buy the rod from them, since Tim was courteous enough to order the rod up. Really the issue is between Tim and Steve. Steve doesn't like to take a risk, and Tim is more willing to. At any rate, the shop is only out the cost of the rod, but still stands to make $300+ on it when and if it sells. Worst case scenario they sell the 490 on closeout at the end of the season, but they still recoup their costs... So really no one should be whining about it. Especially if they want to keep you as a customer.
Whatever you do, don't lose sight of this: be respectful, courteous, kind, even if you take your business elsewhere.
From what you write, it sounds like you're upset because Tim and Steve put you in the middle of their own dispute. That's certainly cause to be a little irritated because you are a customer who's only buying a fly rod. They should be the ones who know the policies and be on the same page.
Here's my suggestion: See if you can gently engage Tim (and maybe Steve) in another conversation about this but gently point out that you are being placed in the middle of a dispute between his employee and him. Let them both know your dissatisfaction and that you were poorly treated (Use the old "I-feel" statements e.g. "I felt disrespected as a customer when I was lectured for something an employee did and said was OK."
Show them, especially Tim, what you're willing to do. It sounds to me like you are willing to buy a rod one way or the other. Communicate that and your willingness to remain a loyal customer. The real prize in this is not a fly rod, but the opportunity to build/rebuild a relationship that's good for all three of you, and sounds like it has been very good till this point. It can keep being that way. Communicate to them that it ought to be worth an extra fly rod in stock.
Maybe give Tim some time to think about it after you speak with him. Let him process it. If he can;t see it then that other fly shop might be worth a visit.
This is Palm Sunday, so I'm essentially putting in a plug for the cross. You don't have to take it up, but it gives life. Take this up, and you might get a chunk of that life and blessing for yourself, Tim, and Steve. You might end up with a nice fly rod, too.
I'd go buy from somewhere else! No one who works in a fly shop let alone the manager should call you dumb for wanting to test a rod! Still be respectful to them, eventhough they (or the boss in particular) treated you tht way.
I'd go to the other shop to see if they have a 490 and cast it. If that's the rod, buy it from the original shop because your mentor Steve put one on order for you. If not, then let Steve know and see if he can make a change to the order.
Since you said you know the owners, I would have a conversation with them about how you were treated in their shop. I'm sure they'd like to know because if this is happening to you, it might have happened to others. Acknowledge that you're a loyal customer (I'm sure they know this) but you're happy to take your business elsewhere. Whether it's the other shop or internet, there are too many choices these days to have to deal with bad customer service.
As far as Tim's behavior: I question how he's in a position to be a manager with such poor customer service skills, let alone thinking that a flagship model in a highly popular configuration won't sell. Add to the fact there's a good chance the order can be changed. Maybe the guy had a bad day? In any event, that's no excuse to take that out on any customer, let alone a loyal one.
Since you said you know the owners, I would have a conversation with them about how you were treated in their shop.
I agree. Most owners really want to know when a good customer is unhappy.
Not fly equipment, but the same principle - a local restaurant where I buy a couple of hundred meals per year had a problem with the cooks on a particular night of the week. It was so bad, to me, that I stopped buying there on that night.
After a couple of months of avoiding that night of the week, I mentioned the problem to the owner. He asked why I didn't tell him sooner. And, he fixed the problem that week just by telling his cooks what he expected.