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Dealer Fun (minor semi-annual rant)

edited 12:15PM in EggHead Forum
I picked up a replacement firebox at NH eggfest last month. I'd talked to the distributor (who was hosting), and they approved the warranty claim, so when i was there, i mentioned my name and lo and behold there was a firebox waiting for me.

they didn't have any warranty firerings, so i was planning on going thru a dealer. the distributor mentioned that i had a couple dealers near me, one "right in your town".

well. the guy has been selling a couple years maybe, but i swear every time i ask a question it's like the first time he's ever heard of it.

trying to be a team player, i pulled in today and figured i would try again. i asked how often he got shipments from the distributor, and he said "twice this week". excellent. better than i'd heard from the distributor. i said "i'd like to get a couple warranty items included in the next shipment".

i could see his brain gelatinizing as i said the words.

"um. the warranty is handled by atlanta".

"well," i said "actually, the distributor (our particular area's distributor) has an office in New Jersey and that's where they handle the warranty claims. needs to go thru the distributor who runs it thru BGE corporate i guess. then they 'ok' it and the distributor sends it out on the next delivery to your store"

he says "they have an office in NH, the distributor. not New jersey" ugh. so i am forced to explain to him that the distributor has yes, two offices, but their NJ one handles the warranty items, the woman's name is Robyn. she ok's it and has the NH office (warehouse) ship out the parts. see?

Suddenly the "twice a week" turns into "last time i did a warranty items it took me 6 months to get compensated by BGE".

i wanted to say "well i can see you aren't interested in helping a customer..." hahaha. i swear, i go into his shop (since day 1) and buy a bag of high-priced Royal Oak in a BGE bag every now and then just to keep things going. ask about accessories (virtually none). Every time i get the stone-faced stare when i ask a question.

Just to see how much of a help he'd be i finally threw out, "well, it sounds like it is a lot of trouble for you, you know what? i'll just deal wth Robyn again and go thru the guys in Arlington (his competition, another dealer in a neighboring town) because i think they get a shipment in pretty regularly and i'll just have them toss the stuff in with the next one" He says "ok".

he adds "i don't understand why atlanta doesn't just ship you one anyway instead of going thru the distributor and dealer. who is your original dealer anyway?"

he asked what i needed, and i said it was a fire grate and fire ring. i said the firebox had been replaced already. he looks at me sideways and says "how do you manage to break a firebox anyway?"


i said "well, charcoal can hit 2000 degrees. after 5 years or so, the cycle can kinda become too much and it cracks." i wanted to add "you'd know this if you actually used one of these things once in a while"

anyway, thanks for nuthing.

my buddy dropped 900 in his store last week, too,on a new egg. he can sell them, but i guess the whole "service " thing isn't in the so-you-want-to-be-a-BGE-dealer 'how-to' manual.

i am jealous of you southern guys who have dealers that actually KNOW the egg, and how to service it. anyone can sell something... but keeping customers coming back, and keeping them happy, i guess that's rocket science in these parts.


  • Ick. I'm trying to get a friend who runs a high end cooking store in Beverly to become a dealer. They actually use the stuff they sell (they have a test kitchen set up where they also hold classes), so I think they'd do a great job. Hopefully that will work out soon.

    In the meantime, BBQ Barn in Arlington is the best I've found, though even they don't quite get the warranty stuff.

  • ZippylipZippylip Posts: 4,679
    Jeff, this is exactly the reason I refuse to remove my firebox/ring (each part is in pieces), because I fear my dealer is the same as you've described. Now, I don't know that for a fact, however I've extrapolated it through a conversation (roughly reenacted below) I had with him a couple years ago when buying my mini

    "good day sir, I'd like one mini please, to go :) "

    "why do you want a mini?"

    "I'd like to cook some food without firing up my large every time"

    "well that's just crazy talk"

    "what do you mean?"

    "you can't cook anything on the mini"

    " :huh: "

    "it's too small"

    "I assure you its not"

    "yes it is"

    "look, I happen to know for a fact that there are a 1000 things you can do with the mini"

    "I think you're crazy for wanting one"

    "Look, are you gonna sell me the damn mini or not?"

    "If you insist"
    happy in the hut
    West Chester Pennsylvania
  • krickskricks Posts: 244
    st!ke wrote:
    i could see his brain gelatinizing as i said the words.

    I like that phrase...

    They aren't all so wonderful down here. I live 2 miles from the mothership and thought all dealers were sort of like that. i.e eggcelent. The other day I went to Georgia Backyard, a big high end outdoor store up at the Mall of Georgia... I remarked to the people I was with "If anyone bought an EGG here I feel sorry for them". They had nothing but lump laying around and a couple of eggs. I asked one of the "sales people" about the egg, just to see you know... your phrase came to mind.
  • loco_engrloco_engr Posts: 3,673
    WOW! I am surprised those 2 "dealers" are still in
    business selling anything! :sick:
  • first time i went into his shop i offered to answer any questions if customers had questions that he didn't have an answer for. not because i'm an expert, but just because i thought he might like to be able to say "i have a regular user i can call", or "give this guy a call, he can help you out".... i mentioned he'd installed his hinge/band upside down... offered to help out if he wanted to do any demo cooks....

    no, i didn't smother him, just mentioned it all casually during conversation. i also said "there's a forum you can go to to get the hang of things, and you might want to point your new customers to it too, lots of help, answers, blah blah blah"

    i think he sees the whole things as a goofy 'cult'.

    my buddy bought an egg there a couple weeks ago. the guy said to him. "oh, i hear there's like an internet group for these things. for the real eggheads"

    yes. that's it exactly. for the real nutjobs who actually use and are familiar with them. hahaha
  • ZippylipZippylip Posts: 4,679
    well, my dealer is a "high-end" outdoor kitchen dealer, the eggs are buried in one small section of the store which is otherwise filled with those nine-thousand dollar shiny kitchen island rolling box-like piles of sh!!, so I guess he's making out pretty well rolling those ridiculous monuments to bad food out the door & into the waiting delivery trucks of the unaware, uninformed, starving for tasteless food cooked on a 'tastefully appointed stainless steel outdoor kitchen', throngs :ermm: :huh: :laugh:

    sheep, sheep I tell ya
    happy in the hut
    West Chester Pennsylvania
  • when working with the distributor re: my firebox, she was a great help. said that the BBQ Barn gets a much more frequent delivery, and that I could try them. she was saddened to hear about my experience with my more-local dealer, but said if i felt that way, i had options (i.e. BBQ Barn in arlington).

    I was resolved to deal with them (BBQ Barn), but happened to be on the street where mylocal dealer is, at a red light. i wheeled in, in the spirit of "one more chance".

    and i walked out feeling EXACTLY like i had the other few times i asked anything remotely unusual "any platesetters for the small?" , "how do you like the XL?", "are you going to start carrying accessories?" "do you know if the nomex gaskets are going to become the standard gasket, or are they an accessory...?"

    all met with the look where you know he's just thinking "ugh. this is one of those EGG people..." hahaha
  • my first dealer told me i didn't want an egg. that it was a "yuppy" thing.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    My first reaction was "unbelievable", but then again, it's really not.
    I do consider myself lucky to be within short driving distance of Tucker.
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    Guess I'm one of the lucky ones. My dealer, a Pinch A Penny store, is knowledgeable, helpful and has an inventory 2'nd only to the mothership. Always a pleasure to stop and talk with someone who truly wants to help. Plus I get to use his grill trailer ;)
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,874
    you should have visited your friend at the windham fence place, i couldnt even get him to look up the price for me :laugh: i dont think he sells them anymore but im not checking in to see. the hampton place helped me out albeit i had a written letter from bge with a name and number if a problem arose.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 21,921

    Actually my dealer, Hearth & Patio in Peoria, IL took it upon themselves to stock a reasonable inventory of replacement fireboxes, rings, bands and some other parts so that any customer needing one can walk in and get it on the spot. They then process the paperwork and get credit toward future orders via the wholesaler who works with Hotlanta. Domes and bases are another matter but those warranty claims are less common anyway.
    L, M, S, &  Mini
    And oh yes...also a 17" BlackStone gas fired griddle! 
    Dunlap, IL
    Re- gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time!
  • the fence place was where i bought it from originally. the guy was ambivalent. he sold it almost begrudgingly...

    i know about hampton and kirley masonry and the other options.

    but is it too much to expect my dealer a mile away to know what the heck the protocol is?

    here's a crazy idea, why doesn't BGE corporate or the distributor have someone go in to these places every now and then and ask a couple dumb questions and see how their product is being marketed/serviced/represented.

    if i were at HQ, i would want to know these things. either so that i could fix them, or find another dealer.
  • deepsouthdeepsouth Posts: 1,796
    my dealer (Geo from the forum) is awesome! always helpful since day one. he even comes to our homebrew club meetings from time to time.

    good brew and good que are hard to beat.
  • from what i was told, there are "warranty" fireboxes (for example) and "regular" fireboxes. same ohysical things, just accounted for differently.

    as an example, i didn't leave the eggfest with a warranty fire ring, because they had no 'warranty' ones set aside. they had fire rings in stock, sure. but there seemed to be a separate pile accounted for under warranty claims.

    i know some dealers are so hard-score service-wise that they will reach into a floor model egg and hand you the part. but i think that's rare. i'd just be happy if the guy knew how to get me a warranty item via the regular route....
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    Most times I just wait for Eggtoberfest. Right now I have three large eggs with cracked fire rings and one of my small eggs has a cracked fire ring. I reckon I'd send your local guy to the looney bin..

    My local dealer is used to Doug (TNW) and I. Guess I am pretty lucky. Bonus: a couple people there are on the forum..
  • 427sohc427sohc Posts: 21
    I would avoid Kirley as they are not very knowledgeable about Eggs and want top dollar on everything. No package deals or any incentive to buy there which sucks as I live 3 miles away. I bought my large Egg package at the pool and spa store in Lakeville (just off 495) for a great price. Plus the owner has been Egging 8+ years.
  • sad to hear about kirley. i thought they were pretty solid.

    there is (or was) a dealer in Rochester NH that knew his stuff and was a regular on the forum here. good guy. doesn't post any longer. i think he felt run-off. too bad. i am amazed more dealers don't hang out here. no, they don't need to sell things via the forum, i just mean participate.

    some folks are hostile to them here. i don't understand why. it benefits everyone to have a little communication
  • when the guy asked "how did you manage to break a firebox anyway?" i almost shook my head.

    ah well.

  • RVHRVH Posts: 523
    Hearing these kinds of tales makes me so happy that the OKC dealer is very service oriented. Not the cheapest but so helpful with everything. And they actually cook on BGE's!
    Hopefully your dealer will get squared away sometime soon.
  • thought you guys lived in a land of super-BGE dealers. hahaha
  • yeah. that's a plus.
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    My dealer occasionally posts here as grllmandan and your right it's a fine line dealers walk around here. Great guy and very helpful to all his customers. I believe Mainegg hired his mom as a hooker just to try and get the employee discount on future eggs :laugh: :laugh:
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 7,803
    The closest dealer to me in League City, TX (Chim-Chimneys Inc.)is great. They sell a full line of grills but all have cooked on the BGE and many own as well. They have, over the last couple years, really jumped into the Egg. They stock all sizes and every add on in the book. They even had BGE bumper stickers on my last visit. Most of the other dealers in the area that I have visited in the past were more in line with your above post. Even one that "was" a nation wide chain gave me no help after the sale. Same song and dance. "You must contact Atlanta for warranty parts"...
    Been a while since you made a cartoon.
    Don't you hate when a business bitches about having to front warranty repair and waiting to get paid? At that point a do my best to make sure they cover the part. Should be a credit on their next order.
    Thank you,

    Galveston Texas
  • just checked the web, and 'fences unlimited/ the stove shoppe' has a big BGE blurb on their web page. wtf? did they start selling them again?
  • 427sohc427sohc Posts: 21
    The only thing I get at Kirley is Wicked Good Charcoal at $21.25 per bag. A little steep, but they're the only retailers near me in Norton.
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 7,803
    My first visit with a dealer was the same. They were listed on the BGE site as a dealer but did not have a single BGE item. They told me they no longer sell BGE because they had to many returns due to breakage and defects. I said you are still listed on the BGE site. They said "yes, it's free and brings people into our store". A few months later I went to the Texas Eggfest and it was all down hill from there. :lol:
    Thank you,

    Galveston Texas
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,873
    st!ke wrote:
    i think he sees the whole things as a goofy 'cult'.

    Well? We ARE a goofy cult! hahaha
    my first dealer told me i didn't want an egg. that it was a "yuppy" thing.

    Yuppies? Us? :lol: :lol: :lol:

    My dealer is 40 miles away and I haven't been there since I bought my large almost a year ago. He had no eggs in stock and the only accessories were lump and a few non-BGE items like hickory chunks and grid brushes. Which was more than the dealer in my town had.

    That said, I had my CI grid replaced (twice) with no hassle. Emailed a pic and a buddy of mine picked it up and brought it to me in the office. When the second one broke too, I emailed the dealer again and he ordered another replacement. The distributor shipped it to me directly though the dealer didn't realize he was going to do that.

    We'll see what happens when the firebox goes. Though I cant' imagine how THAT could possibly happen. :lol:

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • i just got a call from the distributor. she was (just as she was before, with the firebox) incredibly helpful and clear.

    we all know BGE HQ is solid, and my interaction with my distributor has been great too. seems my only let down is with the dealers locally
  • Morro Bay RichMorro Bay Rich Posts: 2,227
    My dealer, Eggs by the Bay in Santa Clara, CA is run by Smitty The Smoker, a forum member. He is only 200 miles from me. I consider it worth every mile to deal with someone who ONLY deals in Eggs and cooks on them in competitions. B)
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