Andrew Ragas, fisherman, web designer, and the head guy over at Fishing-Headquarters, wrote a great piece titled, Bass Pro Shops :: World's Leading Supplier of Premium Overpriced Fishing Tackle. It really hit home with me and sparked something within to touch on the subject myself.
It was written in typical Andrew form (well written, thought out, etc...) and I have to say that he definitely has some valid thoughts about a couple of things like biased - or uneducated - recommendations from BPS employees and high prices.
I have to admit that I can understand his frustration and I am POSITIVE it is shared by many! As an alternative, he puts out some suggestions - solutions to the problem, if you will - on how to avoid having to deal with the big box suppliers of outdoor gear. He is right that online retailers are a great way to save some dough on your fishing gear. While you might have to pay for shipping that could jack the cost back up to BPS prices, you typically get to avoid paying the government their sales taxes (for now). Still he is right; it will typically be cheaper online, even with shipping, but I think he missed something...
What about the little guy with a small, hometown, tackle shop? In my experience, they are almost always on the high side of the pricing spectrum and generally carry a limited inventory and selection. What you get in return, though, is a friendly face, someone to shoot the breeze with, or a guy with the inside track on what's working in your home waters - but are the high prices worth it?
That small town tackle shop has to charge more for several reasons. First, he has to worry about paying the rent, bills, and possibly a small salary to himself and/or his staff. He has to figure out how to cover all those expenses, and more, with a tiny fraction of the customer base the big corporate stores have. Second, he doesn't get the same buying power that BPS gets. BPS can call up Rapala with confidence and tell them what they are willing to pay for an item because they are buying 100,000 at a time - Triangle Bait Shop is buying five. Who is going to get the better pricing?
But then there are those that might defend those BPS's of the world. There are those that might point out that BPS has many stores that they have to pay for. They have BIGGER stores that they have to pay for. They have many employees that they have to pay. They have tournaments and pro-anglers that they have to pay for. They have advertising expenses that they have to cover and I am sure the list goes on and on.
People may argue that you may not get the local knowledge at BPS that you would get from the local bait shop or the cheap prices you might find online, but you get other things in return - A huge selection, a fun place to look at, a place to learn, a place to get your child's picture with Santa, or a place to explore.
There are many sides to consider and I think before anyone dismisses any of those choices, they have to evaluate what it valuable to them. BPS has something to offer that the others don't. Online retailers like Tackle Warehouse, have something else to offer. Local tackle shops like The Salmon Stop have something else to offer. Let's also not forget about the local tackle manufacturers like Sims Spinners or McCustom Rods - they too have something unique to offer.
So what side of the argument am I on? Simple - I spread my love to all of them.
What about you?
© 2011, Nick Doumel, used with permission