Just the other day I received this comment on my blog l posted last week about staying humble and in check:
“Ah well said…but I was hoping you might touch upon the truly self absorbed, hot shots….the ones that often work in a shop…the trout bum. All the obnoxious traits above are trumped by the bum”
I will do just that Mr B. Some of them shop rats are dicks, but most all of them are not. I will have to agree that the ones that act “Holier than thou” do leave a really bad taste in a persons mouth.
First off, I need to make a few quick points:
A) In any sporting industry be it skiing, snowboarding, skate-shops, and the mother of them all- surf shops, there is always the “chip on the shoulder” guy that believes there is no one better than him in his world. (You never see this in a hockey store; it’s the only sport where ego gets a punch in the face).
The fact is, there will always be those guys that feel it necessary to misrepresent their love and skill of their chosen sport with a pedestal built of arrogance, What sport doesn’t?
B) Some shops actually condone this behavior. It either stems from the owner that by nature is grumpy to the bone and it trickles down to his small and unpleasant staff or it’s just a bad shop. By the way, I love those shops, it can be so much fun just to ask stupid questions to get a rise and wait for what might spill out of their mouths. It can be priceless. But if you chose to do that, remember, many life long fly fishermen are hunters, more than likely they are locked and loaded.
Here is the truth. It is a shame that you had to experience this type of shop guy, it is in everyones best interest not to be that ” asshole” behind the counter. It is bad for the customers, it is bad for the guides and it is just plain bad for business. I have new clients that come from other shops to fish with us because they could not stand the fact that they were paying a lot of money for a trip and the owner was just disrespectful, and a good guide lost his client because of that owner. Totally uncool.
In my experience from both sides of this, as customer and guide, you can do a few different things:
1) Don’t buy anything, leave and go to another shop in town that is more than happy to see you. Simple as that.
2) Call him out. “Dude really? You’re awfully cocky for a 10 year old…” I have found that a bit of quick wit and carefully placed sarcasm can be a very powerful tool when have to defuse an unnecessary ego fueled situation. Word of caution, don’t pin ego with ego. Your goal is just to punctuate his attitude, to make him realize how stupid he sounds.
3) If you’re going into the shop for a fishing trip, I suggest talking to everyone in there and stick with the one that engages you in return. We ALL walk into a room and form our opinions of everyone in there way before anyone is introduced. I do it, you do it, everyone does it, it is human nature.
My only comment I would have to make is that a “trout bum” is a person that is so enamored with the sport that they are willing to live “that” lifestyle; they are OK with being broke, always chasing trout and working in a fly shop. The guys that bug you are just punks with rods or a shop owners without a business plan.
I hope this answers your question.