No matter where you are in the world, your local skate shop can be an intimidating place to visit. Unless you’re with “the in-crowd,” you never really know what vibe’s going to be. Is the hometown hero going to be there showing off his latest IG clip? And what about that dude behind the counter who always seems to be lurking, does he even work there?
There are a lot of variables to navigate when working your way into the inner sanctum of your local skate shop but don’t worry, we’ve got some tips that’ll help you go from “that guy,” to “the good homie” in no time.
Becoming a shop-local comes with endless benefits, from first dibs on the latest deck shipments to backdoor hustles on the newest SB drop, so you’re going to want to follow these tips if you want to make it.
Unfold all of the shirts before choosing “the right one”
Every so often a skate shop will have a pretty cool shirt with the shop’s name on it that you can’t find in any Zumiez. If you’re even slightly curious about buying a shirt, unfold them all while you’re browsing. You don’t want to buy the wrong size. And normal skaters are horrible at folding – it’s actually the one thing you have to learn to work at a shop – so they get to flex their skills for a minute.
Get a good feel for the board
There’s only one way to make sure a deck is right for you, and that’s to stand on it and do a few shuvs to check that it has the right concave and tail shape. Make sure you place it on the hardwood and not the carpet because hardwood feels more like the streets than some plush vintage rug. Also, try kicking it up a few times to verify it has that satisfying pop sound that all good decks have. Don’t worry if you rip the plastic, the homies won’t care, right?
Tell the employees about prices you saw online
Shop employees really enjoy talking about prices and discounts because every other customer talks to them about getting one. If you wanna join in on the fun, the best way is to ask if you can try on a shoe in your size. While they’re busy finding the box, quickly Google the same shoe and open a bunch of tabs showing them online for cheaper. When the employee comes over with the shoe you asked for, show them your phone and ask if they could match the lowest price you found.
Don’t forget to say, “Please,” you don’t want to be rude.
Talk about how much you miss the old shop that went out of business
We all love a good skate history lesson, so people will be hyped if you designate yourself as your scene’s local historian and “put people on” about stuff they might have missed from the good ole’ days. Find the youngest employee and start to ramble off every single story from the shop that used to “hold it down.” Tell them about every signing and every pro that stopped by and sold you a lightly used board for $40 in the parking lot. They need to know this kind of stuff if they want to be a part of the new shop.
Ask kids if they want to buy weed
Part of being a skater is getting used to people trying to sell you shit you don’t want all the time, whether that’s a chipped up deck, an old pair of shoes, or some mid-ass weed. It’s better to expose kids to this experience in a safe environment, so turn your local shop into a part-time dispensary whenever you come in. Any bystander parents will be hyped that you’re taking their kids under your wing.
Hate on the video that’s playing
Skating is all about finding and liking the most obscure shit, then making fun of people who don’t already know about it when you bring it up. That goes for board brands, shoe brands, local crews, and especially videos. Everyone hates the types of skaters who are always on about the “classics” like Mouse and Video Days, and we all know the coolest ones find the super chill lo-fi edit with less than 2,000 plays on Vimeo.
Regardless of whatever your shop is playing that day, tell them it ain’t shit compared to “Summer 2018 Edit [ESKEDDIT REMIX v2]” and then Airdrop them the link.
Try pants on without underwear
This one is a no brainer. Everyone knows swamp ass is horrible, and sometimes it gets so bad you have to entirely ditch your sweat-soaked underwear after a hard sesh to avoid getting some serious chafing. That means you have to know ahead of time what it’s going to feel like to go commando in the new pair of pants you’re eyeing, so go ahead and hop in that dressing room, strip down to your birthday suit, and let those Vans Chino Glide Pros glide all over your giblets.
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November 25, 2020 5:22 pm
I remember this one time a few years ago I went to this sk8 shop when it first opened, tried on a pair of work pants in the fitting room and the button popped off when I tried them on. I just neatly folded them up and put them back where I found them without saying anything and ended up buying just a deck instead. Not my fault the work pants had a poorly sewn button.
November 27, 2020 9:20 pm
That’s one of the most badass things I’ve ever heard.
November 25, 2020 10:19 pm
I managed a shop in the SF bay area in the early ’90s. Used to have a lot of local kids in there giving me a hard time, because that’s what kids do. One busy holiday afternoon i had a good friend (later turned pro) take a board down from the wall, walk out the front door which was through a large toy store, and came back in to tell me how easy it was to steal from me. He was one of the nicest dudes, sickest skaters and always had his friends back. RIP Phil. I actually got caught in the same store many years before trying to steal 3 wheels. Yes, three. Those Alva rocks were good ass wheels.
November 26, 2020 12:47 am
I have to step on the board.
November 26, 2020 6:56 am