Nate Sherwood was the recent winner of our March Skateboard "Madness" contest where we put all our favorite crazy skateboarders in brackets up for voting to see who ended up crowned crazy. It's the good crazy, the kind we love. Anyway, Nate has owned a skate shop for quite some time now and sent over his list of 11 types of shop lurkers, both good and sketchy. Check out Nates list and intro here:
The military uses codes to communicate with other platoons in the field of battle. Hip hop cats make up words daily and we all seen law enforcement shows where they radio codes over the line.Well, skate shops have their own codes and if you work at one, you need to at least know these few. Study up shop workers.
The Angular is the number one offender besides a case sniper. These guys will look for loop holes to get free or discounted stuff at all costs. For example, if you run a free house grip sale with any deck, they will try to pull one over and get Grizzly for free. When you explain to them the Grizzly is 10 bucks a sheet vs the house grip that is only $5, they will think, "Oh, cool can I get $5 off the Grizzly then?" They are a product of the Internet. Most times they think everything should be free like DVDs that they download on pirate sites. They grow up with parents who do not teach them right from wrong and at times their folks will be in jail or prison. These dudes are the con men of skate retail. Public enemy number two. Watch out for an Angular. They are leaches and will suck you out of inventory. Sometimes they might be great at skating so you hook them up with a 10 percent discount here and there, when you can afford it, to keep them going. When you have your 25 percent off sale, they want that 10 percent on top of the 25 percent. Nothing will put you under faster than one of these offenders of the skate shop. Watch out.
A Stroke is a guy that will come in and claim they will buy this and that until you have a giant pile of crap rang up, then out of the blue they are broke. Strokes like to claim they will be back, but you will never see them again. Once they see they cannot con you, they leave, which brings us to our next retail monster.
3: The Grid
A Grid is somebody who will try to haggle with you on the price of anything. They will try to get something for free or discounted. For example, unlike the loop hole con artist ways of an Angular, they do not look for ops. They just will point blank come in, try on some shoes, and say, "How about if I buy these kicks at full price and a deck at full price, can I GET FREE trucks and wheels?" That's a Grid. They think a skate shop makes cash and is like a car lot. Like we sell $h!t over invoice to have you haggle. Most times, most decks cost us 43.72 with shipping and we can only mark them up to $50 to pay rent. This colon clown wants you to give him the deck at $31. They are a product most times of realty TV, watching those shows in pawn shops where people haggle all day. Their parents most times are on meth and suck at life.
4: Nerve Mental
Okay, a Nerve Mental is the biggest cause for homicide and suicide on the globe. Charles Manson and Kurt Cobain must have met one or they would have never done such evil things. A Nerve Mental is the type of guy who prices out what you got, jumps on 100 decks, asks every question known to man about every product, down to what the chemical compound difference is between Resin 7 and stiff glue. Then he'll call daily and ask the same questions as the day before on the phone, hang in the shop, never buy anything, and bug you all day. Then out of the blue, they will vanish and a week later come in with a full set up from some online store. Plus, the same shoes you sell but they got them online and an entire kit of gear stuck to them like a NASCAR skater. They will brag on how they got all this stuff online like you should be stoked for them or something for them helping your shop go under. A Nerve Mental will think you are CCS and because they only charge $3 for Grizzly, to upgrade from Mob that, you should as well. They think you should remove their Mob from their CCS set up and put Grizzly on at that same price. They will bug customers and act like they own the shop. They will try to jump in the middle of a sale and give their opinion even though they push mongo and cannot ollie up a curb. They will ask to ride for your shop and they are not on the level as your other riders. In fact, they are not on the level of your female riders and they cannot even grip their own deck. They think they know everything about skateboarding. Nerve Mentals will lead to drinking, bad moods, and at times, death. Kick them out asap.
5: A Get Me Done
These are the best types of buyers. They just want to get in and out. No chit chat, no fussing about what brand is heat transferred on the same pile of dead maple tree, and no BS. They just want to get in and out because time is skating and they need to be out shredding. These guys rip. 99 percent of the time they are on their way to skate fame and do not have time to ruin your life. They will come in like a tornado, slap down a credit card for example and say, "I want the Fallen Ramblers, the Girl 8.5 deck, the Indy 149's, the Bones STF's, the Reds in the wheels, the allen head house bolts, some house grip, and a new shop shirt." They will go to the work bench and pit crew that sucker together faster than an F1 car team and wave a peace sign as they leave. They fully support their local shop and do not bug the workers. They are all about biz and no BS.
A Skitz is a person who comes in says, for example, "I hate Spitfire wheels, I will never buy them." After seeing them in the case, then a week later says, "I love Spitfire wheels, they are the best!" Skitz jump on trends and follow like sheep. If somebody they admire buys Vans, they have to buy Vans. If somebody they look up to rides such and such brand, they ride such brand. They have no mind of their own and only sway with the wind of trends daily.This even goes into their trick selection. If somebody they hate does a trick, it's not cool, but if somebody they think is rad does it, it becomes cool. They are fashion victims to the complete. They will jump on any band wagon as long as their crew deems it okay. Skitz love to hate and brag, too. They buy little to nothing because unless your shop has a Costco of skate supply, you never have what they want in.
A relic also known as an OS, an Original Skater, or seasoned vet. These guys are by far the most rad human to ever enter your shop's door. This guy does not care about millimeter of wheels, size of trucks, wheel base, width of the board, etc. They just skate for the love of skating. They do not care about trick selection at all. They've been skating so long that they built a launch ramp in their driveway in the 80's and had rails and Rip Grip as well. In '91, they had a chain wallet and in '92, learned how to do nollie late front foot flips. In '93 they had the big pants to go with it as well as the ever slick and 39mm wheels. They pole jammed on bent poles like Matt Reason in 95 with 60 mm wheels. They tossed themselves down giant rails and rocked tight jeans in 2001 and got their wall rides on like Matt Field in 2003.
After that, their care for conformity was out the door and all that remains is the relic of the drug we know as skating. Most times a relic will have tats of past brands that are dead, like a New Deal sun, a Small Room logo, or an H-Street sign. They will punch you in the face if you say the word "SWAG," and their diet is chew brew punk under ground bay area hip hop and thrift store clothing. They support their local shop to the max and still use duct tape and Shoe Goo when needed. They hate trendy crap and love hard goods and will never buy over-priced soft goods. A relic will snake anybody at the local park and not say sorry. They own shirts that are older than most of the kids at the park combined. They always put cash in the tip jar and support their local a shop with an iron fist.
8: Funk Sway
This is the dude who has never stood on a board in his life but comes in and tells you how to decoskate your shop, what you need to carry, what you do not need to carry, etc. For example, "You guys need snowboards and roller blades. That would help out sales." They think they understand your market better than you. 90 percent chance they are some human who is bored out of their mind and stumbled in from a corner bar to see what your shop is about. Funk Sway's like to act like they are old and wise and understand business. Most of the time they live in their moms basement and never held down a job in their entire sad life.
An Engineer can be good or bad. This is the only one in the list that can. For example, I fall into this category. I need the exact wheel base, the exact width, and the perfect length. The brand does not matter. The grip do not as well. I do not care about gimmicks, but my wheels better be at the exact millimeter. My truck hangers better not poke out of the sides or under tuck and damn it, I better be able to get as tech as I want without any problems. The good thing is once you know your local Engineer, you know what they need and what to stock for them. The sad thing is they will be in the corner spending hours on each deck taking down notes and using the measuring tape all day. It is my karma for all the years I did this to shop guys, so I feel their pain. The rad thing is most Engineer's are creskative: Killian, Mullen, etc all come from this back ground. The worst, however, is when somebody only goes this road because they read somebody told them they have to. So, remember kids, one man's poison is another man's cure, so keep that in mind. A lot of the Engineers think all shapes for one brand are the same. For example, a Girl Koston will always be the same mold as the last one. Wrong. Measure first, cut once brands have different molds so do not think that just because the Koston you got three bloody years ago was one way that it will be the same now. They can be way too picky at times and you might want to punch them in the face.
10: Brain Damage
Most of the time, a Brain Damage is a teenage longboarder. Now some longboard cats are cool. They just want to relax and unwind and shred around town or to the bar or dorm room, etc. But, some long board cats are crazy. Talking about barrel and cones, speed rings, and reverse king pins, slide wheels, and a grip of other crap most skaters couldn't care less about. They cannot even stand up and are already giving you crap for not having some $800 set-up in stock. Those dudes are Brain Damage. They think the equipment will make them a better skater, not practice. These dudes are never stoked and always come in looking mad as hell. They try to outsmart you by making up names for things. No joke, I had one BD say, "Dude, I need some new dice for my trucks." I was like WTF? He said the rubber parts are called dice, "Dude how do you not know this?" LOL, they make up lingo and think they invented skating. Watch out for them.
11: Case Sniper
A Case Sniper is the kelpto who reaches into the case when you are not looking and steals crap. He is public enemy number one to any shop. There are many ways to deal with this. One is to beat them down. Two is to go casino card counter on them. Film them first with your surveillance then beat them down and call the cops to pick them up out of your back alley. Or, you can do what we do. Just hold them until the cops come if you can catch them. Ceramic bearings in a cruiser helps with this a lot.