Friday, September 16, 2016
The more things change...
When we first started motorhoming, visiting a Camping World was a big deal... it was the RVer's equivalence of their first time in a Walmart - Camping World had everything you might ever want, and a whole bunch of things you didn't even know you needed, for your RV. They offered quality installation for the things they sold... and we bought a bunch of stuff from them over the years.
It was started in the 60s by David Garvin, whose father owned a campground... he was the "Sam Walton" (see the above Walmart reference) of RV supplies. In the late 90s, Garvin sold the company to the Affinity Group... who also owned The Good Sam Club, Motorhome Magazine, Trailer Life, and some membership campgrounds. Things began to change.
In 2007, the company combined with Stout's RV to form Freedom Roads, an RV sales organization. The focus of Camping World (in my opinion) went from selling RV stuff to selling RVs. Frankly, we haven't had great luck with RV dealers being proficient with selling and installing RV "stuff." The service/installation at Camping World stores (again, my opinion) went downhill.
There is a Camping World in Rapid City. It used to be a locally owned RV dealer... we tried doing business with them a few times over the years, and it (again, opinion) felt like they were always trying to take advantage.
There are a few items we'd like to check out, so we thought we'd give this Camping World a shot. Yes, they have a large inventory of RVs for sale, but they also have a decent "RV stuff" store. We looked around... I found an item I was interested in (a wiring harness to put a switch on a fuse for the CR-V when towing). They had a big display board telling about the Fusemaster. I went to the service department and asked what it would cost to install the Fusemaster harness.
The reply, "The what? I've never heard of it. What does it do?"
I started to explain, but the guy cut me off: "Go ask the parts guy - if it is something that exists, he will be able to get it."
The parts guy was about 3 steps away; no doubt he could hear the conversation. I asked him; his reply, "No, that isn't something we handle. Where did you hear about it?"
I said, "From the display you have about 15 feet away. That's OK - I think I have heard enough to know what I need to know." You would think if they had any customer service savvy, they would get off their ass and walk the 15 feet over to the display. In their store. Literally, you could see the display from where I was standing at the counter. The only one who made a move was me... as I walked away.
On the bright side, I looked up the part ($20 less on Amazon than in Camping World) and the install looks very easy. I should send them a thank you note - their incompetence and indifference saved me money and the hassle of a service appointment. Win/win. Well, for me. ;-)
For the record, we stopped in a couple Camping World RV Sales places when we were motorhome shopping. Not even close on price, even though they handled some of the same brands we considered. I'm gonna miss Camping World... well, the old version.
We drove around a bit in Rapid City. We have visited a few times since we moved away from the Black Hills 10 years ago, but a lot has changed. Some important stuff: like they have a Famous Dave's, a Five Guys, and a Dickey's BBQ. Probably some other stuff I'm not remembering. ;-)