Here in Vancouver, I patronize three excellent scuba dive shops. Since they’ve all given me good service, I’ve got no reason to breakup. Until they give me a reason to.
As I was leaving a Vancouver dive store where I recently bought a housing for my camera, the owner called out to me, “thanks again for shopping here. I really appreciate it. Really.”
That’s the reason I returned not too long after to buy a new dive computer.
This year, I’m saying goodbye to two foreign dive shops for behaviour that doesn’t merit spending another penny.
For the last three years, I’ve spent a couple of weeks each December at a particular dive resort. Dropped about $7,000 USD in those years. What I liked most was seeing the same folks return every year and the non-management staff. What I’d come to dislike was the divemaster disgruntlement, the street noise, the expensive, limited menu, favoured clients, a horrible little dog, not being permitted to flush toilet paper, and the resort’s distance from town.
As well, there was the introduction of the party boat, aimed not at divers – the resort’s core clients, but people who wanted to spend an afternoon drinking and getting sunburned, while snorkelling and swimming and blasting loud music at a remote beach. What a racket they made when they returned to the resort in the evening.
Still, I was prepared to tolerate these annoyances, remain loyal and return every December. And, pay up the minute I arrived at the hotel. And, tip. And, recommend the resort to other divers. And, post positive reviews on TripAdvisor.
Then, the tipping point.
This year, as always, I reserved my spot early. For a $2500 USD reservation, a 50-percent deposit was demanded. There was NO way that was happening in July for a December booking. Especially when there’s so much hotel and dive shop competition on the island, and this resort isn’t special. I offered $200 USD, which they accepted and sent back a confirmation saying the rest was due “upon arrival”. Seemed to me the 50 percent demand had been dropped as it had been in the past. Perhaps the owner recalled the conversation we had once had in the restaurant about lowering the deposit amount.
Recently, I needed to add another night. That’s when I was informed I hadn’t responded to an earlier email demanding the 50 percent deposit. I immediately offered another $250 USD and the rest when I arrive.
Remember, this was to be my fourth year at this establishment.
Long story short, I was told my past reservations, where lesser deposit amounts were accepted, hadn’t been authorized by the owner and had been against company policy. The tone was rude and unprofessional, IMHO.
I was asked to pay up. Or, they could return my deposit.
Yes please to the latter.
I’ve been in touch with several other hotels and dive shops. Guess what? They all have room for me. They offer similar or superior quality, are cheaper and closer to town. I’ve just rebooked with a terrific dive shop. It also booked my hotel. The dive shop owner emailed to welcome me. WOW. I’ve also saved about $1,000 USD.
I just don’t get it, since the resort seemed pretty empty when I was there in December 2014. Wonder what business school teaches this kind of customer service.
Coming soon: Roatan: noise at 3:00 am and the uncaring owner.