I have built several Nitro's and electric cars/trucks and spent many hours at both CD and Eliminator. Shadrack, it's so simple. The owners of Eliminator are NOT retail trained people (I managed several retail stores in my 20's so have the experience). They sure as hell dont appear to enjoy their job lmao. My wife just got me something there for my birthday, had never been there before and came home a little put off because when she asked about returning it if I didnt like it the staff member was a total prick to her. She will never go back... so yeah Eliminator, you definately have obvious PR problems and losing customers out your a$$ because of the attitudes there.
When I was amature, Ryan sold me so many items that were not what I needed and the wrong parts, and so did Laurie (although Laurie has always been pretty helpful). I know they do that on purpose, because they need to move items with high mark up that hobby pro's wouldn't buy cause it's garbage. BUT, they also KNOW you will realize it's crap and come back to buy an upgrade. Example? When I bought my first truck they sold me the worst battery and charger they had, telling me they were "not bad". Well of course they sucked, and I had to upgrade. Smart, but dishonest and sneaky. And I bought them on Ebay because I had 14 day 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Staff? There is a few (i think the daughter as well as a newer guy) that are very nice. I have, mind you, heard staff swear at customers who said they would go to CD b/c they didnt like the service, so that goes both ways. The ones that are nice don't know
about the product lol. I have also heard some E staff several times telling customers, "I will help you with ____ but it will cost you. did you buy it here?" I had an issue with a controller so brought it to E and explained the problem to Ryan and his first Q? "did you buy it here?" I dont bother to keep the receipt because you dont take anything back dip$hit. Anyways it took him 25-30 seconds, literally, to help me. Who gives a fudge where I bought it, it's not the first most important question needed to be asked. Your the biggest hobby store anywhere near here so suck it up and give me 30 seconds of your life after I drove all the way there to seek your "expertise" (you should have been flattered but instead arrogant) to keep me happy and maybe consider buying more stuff there. Clueless. Ryan is so smug and thinks he knows everything, but more times than not he has sold me the wrong part, so your not as much of an RC god as you think you are Ryan.
Laurie (i think thats her name) is usually really nice but can be quite abrasive and moody at times. I was looking at a display truck and turned the steering once to view a part I needed while explaining an issue and she snapped " Hey... dont turn the wheels it will damage the servo!" She snapped he he he. Really? transporting my cars from the garage to the basement to the car to the track...... checking suspension....... wd40-ing bearings..... I have done that HUNDREDS of times and NEVER EVER had to replace a servo yet in years (except Hi-Tech servo's that came with a used truck). I did it ONCE and you snap at me? That was the last time I was there and it actually really pissed me off!! Dont you dare talk to me in that tone of voice, I have ALWAYS been very very nice to all the staff, and I am what you call a customer, I help pay your rent weather I spend thousands of dollars there or just a few bucks for parts. again common sense.
CD has ok staff, always helpful but dont know much at all about trucks/cars and dont have too much stock. But they do everything they can to give you the right information. I have found myself turned away from CD many times only to have to go to Eliminator to find the part in stock. I ordered RPM parts and they took much longer (2-3 weeks) than advised, but got them eventually and was not too happy about waiting. I could have easily bought them cheaper on ebay but want to support my LHS and thats what I got for it. I have kind of given up on CD because they seem to be more into planes than trucks and they dont have much stock. But I have always found them friendly and very willing to sort out a problem so will check there first. I have returned an item there and although they werent thrilled they did take it back.
As for margins? Everything I sold when in retail had at least 100% mark up. If I sold it for $100 I paid $50 for it. 4%? no freakin way not even a common sense guess. they would have been out of business years ago and would not afford to pay any staff I guarantee you that.
So, if it were up to me I wouldnt go to either store. I buy 80% of my stuff on ebay and RC Universe,and I have a couple thousand invested over the years so I know my stuff. Both stores are losing my business to the internet, mostly because most parts are easily half the price. Both stores have advantages and disadvantages. If you are serious enough about the hobby, research what your buying before hand and dont ask for the advice of E staff. A good friend of mine says CD guys have excellent product knowledge and expertise with flying things so if its planes your after go there.
I dont want to trash E because they have all the stuff I need and I kind have grown to like a few of them lol. But I always go with a part number and research it before hand. They have become more like a grumpy supplier that a retail store.