Freedom is an amazing thing. Often it is taken for granted or sometimes it's obscured by policy, hypocrisy or greed. In the world of skateboard retail, there are a lot of players each vying for skater's business. No one will look out for you as a consumer. You have to educate yourself so you're not taken advantage of. Beware - there are lots of folks who'd love to screw you over!
The truth is... no one is getting rich re-selling skateboard products. Its a tough gig and margins are small. Your local skate shop probably has very competitive pricing. Other retailers will try any trick to get you inside their stores hoping to take your money.
Always buy skateboard products from your local skate shop. They can help with recommendations, set-ups and tell you about new products. They want you to be a customer and develop a relationship with you. Box-stores just want your money.
Uninformed skaters/consumers need your help. You can lend a hand and help support local skate shops by downloading these SYLSS "Crappy Skateboard" WARNING LABELS (4-up PDF files) and stick 'em on those crappy products you encounter in the mall, discount stores, toy stores and sporting goods stores.
Only independent skateboard shops sell quality products that won't break or fall apart in the first 10 minutes of use. Boards purchased from crappy department stores and gluttonous box-stores are unsafe and will usually result in unnecessary injuries.
Your local skate shop is the only place that cares about you and ensuring you get high quality equipment. Department stores and sporting goods stores only want your money. Independent skate shops want to keep you as a customer by helping you get the best products available.
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