Words| Matt Leontis Illustration| Ami Voutilainen
Do you really think we're going to stop the mega-resort monopoly, put an end to the cork race, and actually get kids to buy DVDs? Let's focus on something we can actually impact: the cool-guy shop kid. Hey dude, you might even be reading this!
We've all had an experience with this guy, whether it was when you were a stoked grom, out-of-towner, or maybe just cruised into a shop you've never been to before because you wanted to see if they had any United Shapes boards or Crab Grab mitts left. One way or another, you know the kind of shop employee that I'm talking about, and you don't like him.
He's the kid with the "locals only" mentality that thinks an essential part of being core is being a dick to people he doesn't know. This kid is hurting the snowboard industry in a few different ways—the main one being that a huge part of our seasonal industry's revenue comes from tourists during peak season. What is cool-guy shop kid's least favorite thing to do? Help tourists during peak season.
He, like all of us, hates the traffic and long lift lines during Santa's busy hour. But instead of adjusting to it for the few weeks out of the year, he sits in traffic and gets angry about being late to work. How does he channel his anger? By taking it out on the customers that made him late.
Now, I'm not saying we don't all feel the same anger that cool-guy shop kid feels. What I am saying is that he should be more careful with where he directs it. Why? Because our permanent vacation is funded by tourists' actual vacations, and that's pretty cool. There's a lot of talk about getting customers into core, brick and mortar shops, but why would the average consumer do such a thing when shopping online means lack of a run-in with our retail floor combatant?
Shop kids should be hyped to share their passion and expertise with those less in the know. That is their job—to genuinely help them and lead them to products and brands that they believe in. Get them on the proper gear, direct them to the proper resort, and tell them where to get the best tacos. The vast majority of shop employees do this, but some don't. And to those that don't, as an intern, I dislike you as much as the potential sale who just walked out. Because of you, the industry loses possible revenue, which is potential money to pay interns. On that note, I'm going to check the office fridge for abandoned leftovers.