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So, when a collector feels ignored at a dealer's table, who's to blame?

53 posts in this topic

It is not particularly unusual to hear collectors complain that they waited patiently (or in some cases impatiently) at a dealer's table, while the dealer ignored them. Sometimes the dealer was said to have had their back turned and/or was engaged in other business and/or talking on the phone or doing absolutely nothing, other than ignoring the potential customer.

 

For those of you who have been on either or both sides of the table at coin shows, how often do you think the dealers are to blame and how often do you feel the would-be customer is at least partly at fault? I believe that both parties share the blame in many cases. Please feel free to share real life experiences. Thanks.

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Personally, I'd rather not have a dealer attempt to engage me in chitchat the moment I reach their table. If there's something I want to see, I'll speak up.

 

In fact, I was just reading that thread across the street. I find it amazing that any collector couldn't go to the trouble of saying 'excuse me, there's a coin in here that I would like to see'. If that's too much effort, then take what you get.

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i havent been to a big money expo or anything but in the smaller mall type. i am happy when the seller looks at me and welcomes me when i come up to booth/table. then let me do some looking.

 

i have noticed that the ones that ignore me seem to go by the looks of the buyer. they look at me and see a "young, thuggish,non money having person" when a nice dressed person is looking its all about them :(

 

just like when i baught my 2002 cadillac, the sales person saw me looking at it. i wasnt wearing my bling or my name brand cloths ( learned that from dad :P ) first thing the sales person asked me was "are you sure you can afford this car" not" might i intrest you". i left and came back 1 week later in some very nice wear and all my bling on. the new sales person figured i had the best credit in the world :P

 

also when i talk to attorneys they say all the time " you cant afford me" i laught and say "i could buy you" "if i couldnt afford you i would be talking to a public defender of some sort".

 

so i think its about what money it looks like you have.

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When I have a table I typically greet folks with a simple variation of a hello and a statement that I would be happy to take any coins out for them to view more closely. Aside from that, I don't ask what people are looking for or anything else. As far as I know, I have never ignored someone who has approached my table.

 

As a buyer, I have always attempted to politely ask for help if I have felt that I have not been noticed. Only once have I ever had the feeling that I was being ignored and that was a stange event where I sat at a well-known dealer's table and asked to see a specific coin. The dealer stared at (through) me and I repeated my request. The dealer continued to stare at (through) me and then turned ninety degrees and continued to stare. I sat there for a few more uneasy moments and then left.

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Personally, I'd rather not have a dealer attempt to engage me in chitchat the moment I reach their table. If there's something I want to see, I'll speak up.

 

In fact, I was just reading that thread across the street. I find it amazing that any collector couldn't go to the trouble of saying 'excuse me, there's a coin in here that I would like to see'. If that's too much effort, then take what you get.

Bruce, thanks for saving me the work that I was going to have to put into my follow-up post later. You pretty much summed up my feelings on the subject.

 

My guess is that as many potential buyers might feel uncomfortable when greeted immediately as would be put off by being left alone - there's a fine line in being friendly and helpful vs, being obtrusive. And I believe that both parties should have some responsibility in establishing a comfortable atmosphere.

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When I have a table I typically greet folks with a simple variation of a hello and a statement that I would be happy to take any coins out for them to view more closely. Aside from that, I don't ask what people are looking for or anything else. As far as I know, I have never ignored someone who has approached my table.

 

Usually, all I want from a dealer when I walk up is a simple hello, just acknowledging me. If I see something I like, I'll ask to look at it. Or if I don't see what I want, I'll ask him if he's got it behind him or something, if he seems to have similar material out front. Now, if he's with another customer, I'll be patient and wait if I really want something. But if he's not doing anything and doesn't even acknowledge me when I walk up, I more often than not will just walk by. This dealer comes across as unfriendly or uninterested, and I don't really want to do business with either.

 

Communication is a two way street - both parties have to let the other party know what they want. I can't expect a dealer to read my mind and pick out the coin for me.

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I've been on both sides of the table at shows, but only a little on the dealer side. I've also experienced the horrible attitudes of dealers who are bothered to try and do something outrageous like sell me a coin.

 

I feel that if there is a person standing in front of the table, it is the responsibility of the dealer to see if they can be of assistance. The dealer is the one trying to sell the coin to make a living. What is wrong with the dealer (seller) saying something like "If there is anything I can help you with, please let me know."? Yes, a collector can speak up, but if you want to sell me something, then you need to be more active and nice!

 

At the NYINC show earlier this year I was at a dealers table - whom I have done some small business (~$3K) with a few times in the past couple years - and asked to see a couple of coins. The dealer told me he was busy! He was standing behind the table and staring off into space. With a look of disgust he decided to show me a couple of coins and he made it clear that he was not happy about it. I ended up buying a couple of coins only because they were a good deal, but I will never do business with that dealer again.

 

Additionally, when the dealer handed me my purchases, he ended up handing me one of the wrong coins. He handed me a more expensive coin than the one I purchased. I didn't notice this until a couple hours later when I was back in my hotel room. I was going back to the show the next day and normally I'd have gone first thing straight to the dealer to rectify his error, but I was just too busy staring off into space. :shrug:

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Honestly... from my experience at coin shows, I think dealers are much better at coin knowledge than they are with customer service. I get better customer service at McDonalds and by a lot!

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I ended up buying a couple of coins only because they were a good deal, but I will never do business with that dealer again.
Not even if he has some REALLY good deals? :devil:
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I ended up buying a couple of coins only because they were a good deal, but I will never do business with that dealer again.
Not even if he has some REALLY good deals? :devil:

 

I won't know if he has any REALLY good deals as I won't be going to his table at all. :)

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I have never been to a coin show, but I would want the same treatment I give when doing a poster presentation at a scientific conference. If I'm at my poster and someone comes by, I nod to let them know I see them, and then if they're there reading for more than 15-30 seconds, I ask them if they would like me to go through it or explain anything to them, or just to let me know if they have questions.

 

I'd want the same treatment at a coin show. I would want to look at what they have without them interrupting me or trying to do a sale, and then if I had questions or wanted to look at a coin more closely, I'd ask.

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Additionally, when the dealer handed me my purchases, he ended up handing me one of the wrong coins. He handed me a more expensive coin than the one I purchased. I didn't notice this until a couple hours later when I was back in my hotel room. I was going back to the show the next day and normally I'd have gone first thing straight to the dealer to rectify his error, but I was just too busy staring off into space.

 

Granted, you felt slighted - but this is still wrong.

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There are different reasons for dealers to be at coin shows and the proper way to act depends upon why they are set up there.

 

Some dealers are public buyers. They live and die by greeting the people at their cases.

 

Some are wholesalers - they couldn't care less about you so don't even bother being po'd when they ignore you.

 

Some are in between and you just need to get their attention.

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I don't think I have ever felt ignored....if I want to see something I ask? If they want to chit chat...that's cool with me....if they don't I will just look through there inventory and If I don't see a coin I like...I move on.

 

 

But the simple answer is....Mark is always to blame.....this thread is now over.... (thumbs u

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A low amperage Tazer® works well to get the attention of some. Also effective against the overly aggressive and the just plain offensive types. (“Hey, you! You look at my coins and then don’t buy nothing.’ G’d’m’f’’’%^&*&^%^&*”)

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I have had good luck at shows. I have found if you be friendly usually the dealers will remember you. I also have made many friends who want to talk and catch up on what I have been doing when I am able to attend. Most of these were small shows with 50 tables or less.

I also know the cold shoulder from dealers who just don't see me in front of their cases even though I speak. I have found it is the bigger shows where this has been a problem. There has been a few big shows that I have traveled a long way to see that after several cold shoulders I have turned around and left without buying a thing. I will never go to another ANA show because of this. Being disabled and it is getting harder and harder for me to travel it will be the local shows for me.

 

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Additionally, when the dealer handed me my purchases, he ended up handing me one of the wrong coins. He handed me a more expensive coin than the one I purchased. I didn't notice this until a couple hours later when I was back in my hotel room. I was going back to the show the next day and normally I'd have gone first thing straight to the dealer to rectify his error, but I was just too busy staring off into space.

 

Granted, you felt slighted - but this is still wrong.

I took Greg's comment to mean that he returned the coin, just not as quickly as he would have otherwise. I'm giving him the strong benefit of the doubt that he didn't actually keep the more valuable item which was delivered to him in error.
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Are we talking about "real" dealers? Or merely someone who is sometimes dealing in coins, more for fun? I ask, because to me, there is a difference.

 

If someone's bread-and-butter is dealing, then I would expect them to be available pretty much all the time. But if someone is, for example, a coin collector who isn't depending on dealing for his food, then it doesn't bother me one bit if he ignores customers.

 

Hope my distinction makes sense.

 

There's a certain dealer in silver dollars who is constantly on the phone or on his laptop, back turned to the bourse floor. He is a full-time dealer, but most often seems unavailable for questions. That, I do not like.

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Are we talking about "real" dealers? Or merely someone who is sometimes dealing in coins, more for fun? I ask, because to me, there is a difference.

 

If someone's bread-and-butter is dealing, then I would expect them to be available pretty much all the time. But if someone is, for example, a coin collector who isn't depending on dealing for his food, then it doesn't bother me one bit if he ignores customers.

 

Hope my distinction makes sense.

 

There's a certain dealer in silver dollars who is constantly on the phone or on his laptop, back turned to the bourse floor. He is a full-time dealer, but most often seems unavailable for questions. That, I do not like.

James, I think your distinction makes a little bit of sense, but not a great deal :devil: Even if someone is there "more for fun", if he has items on display which are for sale, I don't think he should automatically be held to a different/lower standard of proper/polite conduct, whatever that standard is ;)
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A low amperage Tazer® works well to get the attention of some. Also effective against the overly aggressive and the just plain offensive types. (“Hey, you! You look at my coins and then don’t buy nothing.’ G’d’m’f’’’%^&*&^%^&*”)

 

An overly pushy or offensive dealer is just plain unacceptable. There was a dealer at FUN a couple of years ago that really irked me. I asked if he had any George IV shillings, and he pulled two out for me - one low grade one was corroded, the other one was VF or so with grafiti. I saw the problems and tried to hand them back, telling him, politely, that I wasn't interested. He had the gall to ask, rudely, "What's wrong with them? You're not going to get a better deal anywhere else." I just set them on his case and walked away.

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Personally, I'd rather not have a dealer attempt to engage me in chitchat the moment I reach their table. If there's something I want to see, I'll speak up.

 

In fact, I was just reading that thread across the street. I find it amazing that any collector couldn't go to the trouble of saying 'excuse me, there's a coin in here that I would like to see'. If that's too much effort, then take what you get.

 

Great response. I couldn't agree more!!!

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We have to remember that these dealers set up at coin shows. For some folks, that is what it means (mostly) - a place to show their coins, and whether or not they actually sell any means little. (That's how I am, though I suspect I'd be considered a particularly attentive "dealer".)

 

But for some people who are known to be dealing full time, for them to set up at a show then ignore most or all potential customers can easily be perceived as poor etiquette by those customers who expect that, as a full time dealer, the seller should give full time attention.

 

I'm having trouble explaining myself on this one :insane: ....

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I had a dealer recently get mad when I did not asnwer his question - he asked what I was looking for and I replyed nothing special at the moment. He moked my words several times to a dealer at the table next to him as I walked away.The truth to the matter is I had just purchased four $5 FRN's and was tapped out unless something just jumped out at me. I was rounding the remaining tables leaving people to conduct their business.

 

 

His loss, he had a $5 FRN I passed on that I still can not find 4 weeks later.

 

 

Oh well - what can you do...

 

 

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Real life experiences…OK “Sundays”

 

It was 1983, Oklahoma City, I remember the year because it was the year I was there, simple. The coin show was running Fri-Sunday with Sunday being the day the dealers wrap up early, even though the show is supposed to run till 4:00 PM, but for some unseen law, they always end early.

 

Anyway, I could not get to the show until about 2 PM Sunday afternoon, there were still a lot people milling about and you could see the dealers were already gathering up odds and ends around their tables. I strolled past one table where there was this rather robust coin dealer choking down a hot dog in one hand, while strapping a box onto an aluminum dolly with the other.

 

I had spotted some raw BU Franklins in plastic flips that he had laid out under the flip-up glass case and I was looking at the dates but none of the mints were listed, so I asked if there were any “S” mint Franklins in there. He just looked over at the general vicinity of the coins, swallowed a bite of dog and said “Yes, there are some “S” mint Franklins in there” and immediatly went back to wrestling with the cart.

 

I just kind of stood there stunned that he did not stop what he was doing to assist me in helping me determine which ones were the “S” mints. I kept looking, other people approached the table, briefly looked over his inventory and then moved on.

 

The announcer over the PA reminded everyone that the show was going to conclude in about an hour, so this made the dealer even move a bit faster! I guess he just wanted to get the hell out of there for what ever reason, but I had just began my quest no more than 45 minutes ago.

 

Well, he finally got the hotdog down which freed up the other hand, wiped his mustard encrusted mouth with a blue handkerchief, tugged on both his suspenders and finally looked at me and said, “Can I help you?” like it was the first time he’d ever seen me!

 

I knew right then and there that this was not going to be one of the best experiences that I would be encountering on the bourse floor that day. It just seems like the dealers have tunnel vision late Sunday afternoons…why even have the show on Sunday if your not going to attempt to sell anything? It reminded me of the pits at the Indy 500, everyone running around like a mad scramble to accomplish getting out of there!

 

I have seen it again and again, even at gun shows where dealers race to see who gets out of there first! There needs to be some sort of imposed fine if a dealer wants out early, I paid my money to get in and I expect to get a chance to look at everything the Friday and Saturday (less of course sold inventory) people got to see!

 

There is a lesson here, if you can’t go to the coin show on those two days, don’t waste your time, because it appears that the majority of dealers really don’t care to be there on Sundays anyway.

 

The end.

 

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I had a dealer recently get mad when I did not asnwer his question - he asked what I was looking for and I replyed nothing special at the moment. He moked my words several times to a dealer at the table next to him as I walked away.The truth to the matter is I had just purchased four $5 FRN's and was tapped out unless something just jumped out at me. I was rounding the remaining tables leaving people to conduct their business.

 

 

His loss, he had a $5 FRN I passed on that I still can not find 4 weeks later.

 

 

Oh well - what can you do...

 

 

He really shouldn't have acted that way - people like that are just looking for an impulse buy.

 

My preference at a show is for the dealer to smile and say, "Hi, howareya, if you would like to see anything, just let me know" and then leave me in peace and quiet to peruse his offerings.

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If I feel I'm not seen, and the dealer is on the phone or speaking to someone, I'll interrupt them just to ask that they speak to me when their through. If they continue on forever and I feel ignored...which has happened to me, I just leave.

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So, here are my thoughts. Sometimes it's your fault, sometimes his and sometimes no ones.

 

The fact is, you have to remember where you are at and what table you are at. There are those customers that don't want to be bothered, and there are some dealers that don't want to be bothered.

 

If you are at a table that has a lot of thousand dollar items and you are browsing the 10 dollar traffic items... and you expect attention... that's on you.

 

The fact is, this is a snooty sport, there are a lot of dealers that are snooty and there are a lot of us that are snooty. I am not one of those and I make it a point to stop by and talk to the dealers even if I'm going to just purchase a ten dollar item. Of course, if they are busy with a customer then I wave and that's ok too. It's amazing how soft a snooty dealer can turn when you say hello.

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I have had a few dealers totally ignore me when I have asked "excuse me, could you help me with this coin" while the dealer was just string into space. After the second entreaty with no response I just said fine, and walked away. Other dealers talk to neighbors and totally ignore me, despite my being 2 feet in front of them. Did you ever feel invisible? I stand for there for a few minutes, say excuse me, still get ignored and then mentally note, dealer to stay away from.

 

I normally dress nicely casual, with gold rings, wear gold Rolex and don't look like a wild forest creature. I can't understand rudeness. When I had tables, I always tried to be engaging if the person wanted it, quiet if they didn't.

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OT3,

 

Try pulling out a roll of $10K in hundred dollar bills from your pocket as you walk away and see what happens. I don't know about coin shows but it works in the poker room. I was watching a high stakes game the other day that had an open seat. One of the players in the game said very rudely "are you gonna just stand there or are you going to play." I responded by taking out a large stack of hundreds which I began counting and said "I am going to play something" as a I walked towards another game. The other players in the game became furious at the rude player who just chased away what they perceived as a wealthy fish. Morale of the story, money talks.

 

Paul

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Coin dealers are merchants, and as such, need to be open and responsive when customers are at their tables. I worked as a volunteer at the Phoenix ANA show, and got to do more people watching and obseravation than 90%+ of the attendees. we had a ANA Staff and ANA volunteer lounge above the convention hall, with five large windows where you see have a birds eye view of every inch of the exhibition floor. from this vantage point and on the floor for hours I noticed a good deal of apathy, fatigue and overall negative body language being shown by the dealers. This show was crammed in among other major shows, so the fatigue I can understand.

 

The "turned backs" things was seemingly everywhere, with dealers either on the phone, typing away at their laptops or both. If this were your first major show, a newbie or both, this can be very disconcerting. Many of us really aren't too bothered, as we'll pipe up if we'd like to see something..........but many more will not. Will they be put off by this and leave the hobby? maybe. But maybe they just won't see it as worth their time to attend another major show, and the foot traffic will start to decrease as a result. In this day and age, there are tons of places online to buy coins, and some will simply go this route.

 

I for one have noticed that our hobby is graying out. Yes, there has been an influx of younger collectors entering due to the myriad of US Mint products and state quarter stuff, but how many of them will turn into more than casual collectors. At major shows, you see a lot of middle aged and older collectors, with the kids and under 25 crowd just sprinkled in. Dealers need to keep this in mind at major shows, so they don't seem intimidating to younger collectors.

 

Now many here don't want "chit chat", as they simply don't need it. But remember, we on these forums are among some of the most informed collectors out there. Too much chit chat is often seen by us as negative and sets off the BS meter; to many newbies, chit chat can be useful in introducing someone to that coin's history, et cetera. For anyone that has ever seen dealer Tony Tumonis (whom ran unsuccessfully for the ANA board of Govenors last year), he is the prime example of why chit chat helps new collectors. Even when his table is small at shows, he gives no-BS info to collectors, many of which seem thrilled to hear his insight. Tony will go into the historical aspects of a coin series, explaining neat little tidbids and other things that are fun to hear. He avoids more mundane (to newbies anyway) about the grade on the slab, the difference between grading companies and other things unless they ask. It really doesn't matter if a person is a seasoned collector or a newbie, something can be learned from guys like him and the latter folks seem to really enjoy listening.

 

I think asking the questions on this forum will illicit a lot of responses like "doesn't matter to me, i'll ask away", but taking this type of thing to new collectors and others will likely bring different views. Body language and willingness to help are important in keeping our hobby fresh, thriving fun for folks of all ages and collecting levels.

 

 

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