Would this be a crappy thing to do?

In another thread in this forum, I’ve been asking about satellite Internet. Based partly on the responses there and from other sources, I’ve pretty much decided to go for it.

I’ve been dealing with a company about 50 miles away, because I first saw their ad in our local weekly paper and at the time they were the only dealer in this area. They’re in a small town that I never visit. They’ve been answering my questions via e-mail and also sent me their application packet via snail mail. However, I’m still waiting for a reply to my e-mailed question of yesterday morning.

In the interim, a sign has gone up at the digital place in town where we used to have our cell phone account (we switched to pay as you go, and they didn’t have a plan that suited us) and who also installed our Dish Network equipment, advertising that they are also a WildBlue dealer. We’ve always been happy to deal with them, and they’re right there in town. I like being able to stop in and ask a question.

Would I be a shit if I signed up with the local dealer instead?

Yes, I know it’s a free market and I can go wherever I want. But I’m also the type that goes back to the salesperson I’ve been dealing with. They’ve got an “investment” in reeling me in. (My independent bookseller friend always got peeved, and I think rightfully so, when people would shop and browse in her store, and then TELL HER that they were going to buy the identical book at Big Box Bookstore 50 miles away because they had a discount.) The faraway dealer has been fairly prompt about answering questions, but this recent delay has me wondering. Yeah, if it were urgent I could call them. And maybe my e-mail got lost or something. But still.

On the other hand, it seems like it might be a pain sending an installer from way up there rather than from right in town – the whole convenience thing – even if customer service were equal across the board.

And of course, this morning when I checked, it turned out that Faraway Dealer now has an address in a town only 15 miles away. Better – but still. 5 miles still beats 15. (I live in the middle of a constellation of small towns, so doing business in another municipality is fairly common, if that’s where The Place is. No one town has everything.)

What say you?

I don’t think you’d be a shit for going with the more local dealer. But you might be able to parlay this into something better. Contact the people you’ve been questioning, and let them know of your concerns about them sending a technician from further away. Ask them if there’s any particular reason you should deal with them instead of someone closer. If you do that, they might offer you a discount on your first month’s bill or something, which would clinch the deal (at least, it would for me). Or they would offer you nothing, and you would know that they’re obviously not that serious about getting your business, and you wouldn’t have to feel bad about going more local.

Any business offers you information in hopes of getting your business; you’re not obligated to take their service if they if there’s another provider that can do the job better for you.

Bookstores and other specialty shops, I think, are a different matter, because their margins are so low and they provide a product to a smaller market (I think the demand for satellite service is probably strong enough that the two businesses 50 miles apart). I also am willing to pay extra because it’s useful for me for them to stay in business. For example, I can always get yarn cheaper on the web, and often faster, too, as the local store often has to special-order what I want. But I still make sure to throw some money their way from time to time because it’s so important to have a place where you can see and feel the actual yarn, and they carry better quality yarn than the chain craft stores. Their continued existence is valuable to me. But would I pay more (or in your case, put up with some inconvenience) to keep a local satellite company in business? Naw.