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Frustrations With My Local Coin Shop...

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Pillar of the Community
United States
784 Posts
 Posted 06/25/2013  9:16 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add rking007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I hope this doesn't come across as simple complaining because I do want to know what you all think but... A few things that I have noticed at my local coin shop and why I don't think I'll be going back.

- Everyone seems put out or cranky when I go there and I've only been there three times! The owner seems to have a knowledge for coins and they answer my questions about silver and have helped me grade one of my wheat pennies. I've purchased three or four BU wheats and some supplies but I get the general feeling of annoyance when I'm not there to buy bullion or slabbed coins.

- Regarding their slabbed coins, from what I can tell they are sorely overpriced. When I ask to see one, it's with another air of being put out that they have to get in there and pull it out at all. Again, if I'm not there to either simply buy or sell bullion, I just don't feel served.

- Mint and proof sets, you can't go through them to pick the ones you want. You have to tell them the date and they go into the back to find one for you. Why? I want to see what I'm buying right? Maybe pick the better of the lot?

- Junk silver coins - Same story. No such thing as picking through the lot or even seeing them at all. You have to tell them how many ounces you want and they simply shovel that weight of coins into a bag for you and you pay.


Am I missing something here? Granted I am a new collector and am currently only into wheat pennies mostly and working on clad sets, and maybe my purchases haven't been ground breaking for them but should that matter? Is it an unspoken thing that five and ten dollar purchases for supplies be made online or at Hobby Lobby?

Should I have some type of pity for this guy because he's had to basically become a bullion mart and not a coin dealer (which I suspect is why he got into it all in the first place)... I don't know, like I said, I really don't want to come across here as a whiner but as a twenty year veteran of both working and managing in various customer service related businesses, it seems something is missing.

Generally speaking, when I find someone else who is 'into' the things I am (music, movies, being nice... etc.) I find that they are all about chatting and sharing various knowledge or get excited about their passion or learning about me and my interests. You know the funny and ironic thing is that there is another coin shop literally right across the street. I mean, you could throw a rock and hit it. So, I will be going there to check it out. I am a firm believer of finding a solid place of business for type items (hardware, computers, groceries, etc.) and supporting them so why a SMALL business owner wouldn't have that in mind...

Have any of you found this to be the case in your local coin shops? Do you have better luck elsewhere? Am I missing some important component or secret handshake/coin speak? Or am I, like all of us, just insanely lucky to have been blessed to meet all of you people on this forum and have your passion as a measuring stick to the real world?

OK, I'm done now. :)
Edited by rking007
06/25/2013 9:20 pm
Pillar of the Community
Canada
4219 Posts
 Posted 06/25/2013  9:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chequer to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've seen those kinds of dealers many times. I don't go back. Hopefully there's another avenue for you, where they'll appreciate your business.
Valued Member
United States
492 Posts
 Posted 06/25/2013  9:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TJB17 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sounds like you need to find a different shop, just like I do. I went into mine last Friday and asked if they purchased any of the 2013 ASE sets. The guy behind the counter said "Oh, they did that again this year?" Wow.
Bedrock of the Community
13014 Posts
 Posted 06/25/2013  9:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ive found shops like that before and havent been back. I've also found very good shops. Theres a small one in place I travel fairly regularly and like your shop he has most of his stuff in the back. The difference is he has no problem getting stuff out for you or going to the back to get stuff so you can see it because he knows hes helping himself doing it.

One of the dirty secrets of coins is some dealers do want you to prove yourself to them before they care about you, some are also just not friendly people, but many others are the opposite. If you dont enjoy going there I would say not to go back. With the internet you can find basically anything you want to without ever setting foot in a shop. If you find a good shop thats great, but if you dont you dont need one to add to your collection and can just buy online which some dealers dont seem to understand.

The mint set thing is kind of absurd by the way. Its not hard to bring out a few of the same date and let you look at them to see which one you want.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1729 Posts
 Posted 06/25/2013  10:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pls to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The shop is now a bullion mart? Don't expect any hobby chat. And I don't feel sorry for him at all.
Valued Member
United States
335 Posts
 Posted 06/25/2013  10:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add zookr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Shops who frequent this board should take note here on this thread - you're a customer based business.
Pillar of the Community
United States
784 Posts
 Posted 06/25/2013  10:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rking007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I can't believe I forgot the most ironic part of all!

I stopped by my local UPS store to pick up some printing and I noticed a typical "We buy gold and silver" joint. Just out of curiosity, I walk in and ask the gentlemen behind the counter if they sold silver. I told him that I was simply a coin collector and wondered if anyone ever sold them old silver coins. He said they did so I asked him, a guy who primarily only BUYS gold and silver, if he would ever let me pick through any old coins they had come through to buy for my collection. I was expecting him to just brush me off and say no but he actually got a big smile on his face, threw down a pad of paper and told me to put my e-mail address down and whenever they got any old coins in, he would simply e-mail me and I could come in, search them AND he would sell any coin regardless of date or condition to me at spot plus their commission so the business makes a profit.

So from bad customer service and barely interest in coins from a coin dealer to bend over backwards service and full on search their stock rights for potential deals from a bullion dealer...
Edited by rking007
06/25/2013 10:49 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
1080 Posts
 Posted 06/25/2013  11:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add specksynder to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well, is he busy when you go in? Be sensitive to how much time you are taking vs. what you appear to be spending. If a dealer is slammed with bullion customers and thinks you are treating him as a museum or free third-party grading, he may be short.

The shops I love visiting, I have built a relationship over time. And I have a much better relationship with my primary shop, so I behave differently there than the other places.

You've seen Gran Torino with Clint Eastwood? You know the repartee he had with his barber? You know how he said it's because they've known each other for 30 years? If you want a shop you enjoy visiting, you'll have to invest time (and money) to make it happen.

Just my 2 cents.
Valued Member
United States
158 Posts
 Posted 06/26/2013  12:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Roscue2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The only coin shop in my town is a We buy Gold place, that is also a very small, and crummy coin shop. Has a 20 ft barely filled glass counter with nothing but worn coins and ASE... Next time I go in I might ask what his prices are, but I have a feeling they are up there.
Pillar of the Community
Canada
3691 Posts
 Posted 06/26/2013  12:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Libertad to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One place I used to frequent removed their "fun" coins from regular stock and became a bullion, Royal Canadian Mint distributor, and rare coin only store. They only whip out the "fun" coins at coin shows, and the prices are the same: sky-high because they overgrade their stock. It was fun to rummage those world coins but now that is past and anything not PM related is not worth their effort. But my main shop is both and never got stung with the PM frenzy in an all-in fashion. I like that I can go to a shop that sells flips and other supplies and just talk about whatever coin or history.
Valued Member
United States
301 Posts
 Posted 06/26/2013  01:16 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Mach1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yea, some shops can be like that. We have one shop in town, and I stop in once in awhile to buy an ASE for way too much over spot.

The guy that owns the shop keeps a ton of halves in his cash drawer, and gives them out in change. One time I was in there buying his overpriced ASE's and he gave my a Kennedy in change. I flipped another buck on the counter and asked if I could please have two more halves.

His sharp reply was: "Why? What are you gonna do with them?" Gosh...so worried I'm going to screw him somehow on halves he intended to give out as change anyhow. I guess he was worried that I knew something that he did not. All of this after I just got done paying $9.00 over spot for an ASE.

I explained that I just like to have them as pocket pieces. He straightened up after that, but still.....geeze.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1302 Posts
 Posted 06/26/2013  02:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cc99999 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
sometimes you just have to figure out a way to cope with the personalities. I had a very bad impression of a coin dealer near where I live- but eventually I really grew to like him- and he's been good to me.

he runs a similar type of operation as the one you describe. All I can say to you is this. Realize that businesses are run by people and we often take for granted that things should be one way or the other. I agree with those who point out that retail businesses are customer oriented. but businesses are not run by machines, they are run by people. and people, for better or worse, do tend to prejudge people.

try to be friendly, tell them you appreciate their help, massage their egos if you will. it goes a long way. also, give them your business. if that doesn't make them come around, then do what other posters say and don't go back.

Pillar of the Community
United States
1795 Posts
 Posted 06/26/2013  09:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add BadToTheBone to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Actually I judge a shop how I'm treated. I realize they are in business to make a profit (living etc.). I conduct myself properly and bring respect when I enter their business and I expect the same. Now as far a checking out something before I buy it I feel that is normal. As I always say if I have a smile on my face I have no problem spending my money. he he
Pillar of the Community
United States
7743 Posts
 Posted 06/26/2013  10:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oih82w8 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pretty sad, but I think this is becoming the new "normal". My childhood Coin Shop recently was sold by the owner who retired due to bad health and new owner turned in into a Gold & Silver Exchange. Out of curiosity I stepped in and it looked like a high-end jewelry store complete with an armed guard. I asked the guy behind the counter if they had a "1917 Type I" for my 7070. He was sorting through a pile of silver dimes and barely looked up to reply that they don't carry Buffalo nickels only gold and silver. At first I thought that I said it wrong, so I asked again, and he stopped, huffed at me and repeated that they only carry gold & silver. I apologized for bothering him and have not been back since.

Oh well, some people are in business only for the money, not the enjoyment of the hobby.
Edited by oih82w8
06/26/2013 10:18 am
Valued Member
United States
211 Posts
 Posted 06/26/2013  10:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JimmyJames to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Your second and third complaint would annoy me too.

I think the silver one is a reasonable practice. If I had a store I would only let customers pick through the silver if they were willing to pay more than the going silver price. I have tried selling coins locally and on eBay and the amount of labor involved can easily get out of control if you don't try to keep some things simple. I think there could be a theft prevention element to this too.

In general, I wouldn't expect everyone in a coin shop to act like your friend but I would expect them to at least provide good customer service. I would expect them to be polite, but I would not expect them to carry on an off-topic conversation with me. A lot of these guys have worked in the business a long time and have had the same conversations over and over and over again.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1088 Posts
 Posted 06/26/2013  11:02 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add stud722 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I found similar actions when I first started collecting coins. I was having trouble finding a coin shop in my area. The first one I went to gave me a terrible feeling. He would not give me the time of day for questions. I knew very little and wanted to gain some knowledge. I found a different coin shop in the area. It did still take going there a few times to gain the trust of the owner. He typically sees two types of customers, those selling off there inheritance or those buying bullion. After going there a few times and being very polite and asking questions, I have built a great relationship with the owner and his wife. They have a wealth of knowledge that they share with me. I believe that in the business of coins, it can get pretty frustrating with some of the customers just selling off collections that took so long to obtain. In many cases, the coin shop I go to was were the person who passed away bought all of there stuff. I often will be at the coin shop for a few hours a week just chatting about coins, life, etc and see the routine customers come in for the same thing. some are flea market and garage sale searchers of silver, some just buy bullion every week, very few are coming in to add to a collection. When the coin shop owner sees that you are a true coin collector with good intentions, I think his attitude may change. Hope this helps
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