If you read my last post you may recall that I have had some minor issues as I attempt to start learning how to ski. I had gone to multiple ski shops only to find that no one would adjust my ski bindings. All of that changed yesterday when I took my skis to a new shop. I was quite distrustful of ski shops at this point, so I had made sure to call ahead and confirm that they did in fact have the bindings I was looking for and that they would install them for me. So I entered the shop with the same wariness that a shark attack survivor has when going swimming. Upon my arrival I was greeted by a smiling attendant who took my name and ushered me to the back of the shop to find the right kind of bindings. I stood for a few moments looking at the wall of expensive bindings when I heard, “So dude, you must be the one looking for bindings.” I inwardly groaned at the sound of a stoner/California accent and turned around to meet the guy who would hopefully fix my binding issue once and for all. I shook his hand and immediately told him that I would not under any circumstances consider buying new skis and that I only came for bindings. I said this with a somewhat crazed look in my eyes since every other ski shop I had been to had tried to sell me on all new ski equipment. He said that was fine and led me over to the wall of bindings. We looked through the different kinds and I shuddered at the high prices. I finally asked him to show me the cheaper ones and was led over to an off the beaten path display of the “inexpensive bindings”.
Most of the cheap bindings looked like something a preteen girl would have installed on her hot pink skis, but after some searching I came across some silver ones that were comfortably resting within my price range. I told him that I would like to buy them and asked if they could install them for me. Here is how the conversation went:
Surfer dude at the ski shop– “Sorry man, but we are all backed up. The soonest we could have your skis done would be the end of December.”
Me– (At this point I was starting to become convinced that I was not meant to ski) “The guy I spoke to on the phone yesterday said that I could bring them in today and have them installed.”
Surfer dude at the ski shop– “Well, we have a ton of equipment in line before you, but you could always take them to a ski resort and have them do it.” (This is not something that I ever wanted to do again since the last time I took my skis to a ski resort they had not fixed them and had tried to sell me new equipment).
Me– (I was not ready to head home with un-bound skis yet again, so I decided to try a customer tactic that is something that I had probably seen in some Disney Channel movie years ago) “You know what, that’s totally fine. I think that the best thing for me would be to just buy them online for the price I found earlier and then have them installed by another shop. Thanks for your help though!”
Surfer dude at the ski shop– “You know what, we actually have a lot of guys working in the ski shop tonight. Let me go and see if they can fit you in.”
It turned out that they could magically fit me in within thirty minutes and that I would end up taking my skis home before the end of December. I learned a few valuable lessons:
1) A surfer accent AND ponytail are not required to work at a ski shop. The people who assisted me at the past few ski shops had all had ponytails along with their drugged voices, so I had begun to think that they were requirements of the job. However, at this shop the guy who helped me only had the accent and not the ponytail.
2) If you act like you are going to take your business elsewhere, sales people will really jump to get things done for you. I really had no intention of going somewhere else, I just wanted to get my bindings installed, but when threatening to take my business to another shop I quickly obtained the results I was hoping for.
3) Things often go wrong, but when everything finally works out, it is well worth the wait. This is a lesson in progress because I honestly would have preferred to have my ski bindings all fixed the first time I took them over to my friend’s house. However, I have learned quite a bit about ski/snowboard shop culture and maybe one day I’ll grow out my hair and learn to speak like someone pumped full of Xanax so I can work in a ski shop.
I am happy to say that I now have properly bound skis and am ready to hit the slopes next week (weather permitting). I can’t wait to see how it turns out and will make sure to update the blog with my experience. Who knows? I may have a story of a broken leg to tell at the dinner table.
Until next time,