(Topic ID: 169917)

Awful first experience with PBR, any good alternatives?


By Otaku

2 years ago



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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by ForceFlow
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    #51 2 years ago
    Quoted from FrankJ:

    I've never heard of anyone picking up an order at PBR. Has anyone here picked up an order?

    I occasionally pick up orders at PBR if the order inclydes something large. If I'm working down in NYC, I'll set things up so that the order is ready on the way home. They are not far off of the taconic pkwy.

    #52 2 years ago
    Quoted from Blackjacker:

    First-time email orders at PBR need to be paid before they're shipped.

    Ahhhhh that's right I forgot about that being that my first order was over 20 years ago.lol oops

    #53 2 years ago

    I've had nothing but good experiences with PBR.

    I hope you can work it out and move forward, especially since he has some stuff that is hard to find elsewhere

    #54 2 years ago

    I've gone to his site with an order in mind and then checked every other pissible site to complete my order. Def paid more in shipping to do that but ease of business trumps the ancient business model he has.

    I'm just glad i haven't run into anything that only he supplies, I'd have to find my 1996 checkbook.

    #55 2 years ago

    A few years ago I made my first few orders via email and everything went well until on day I called Steve to find out where my emailed order was. Was not a smart move on my part and I won't do that again.

    A few months later later I needed some motor service parts and Jimmy insisted I must call Steve regarding motor orders. I pleaded but no good. It took me a week to pucker up courage to call him again. I had everything ready part numbers, correct vernacular, etc still can't believe he made me so nervous. Since then I have had some very good conversations and he has helped me a lot, however I still get nervous just before I call. If it is not a motor related part I email Jimmy.

    Also while we are giving pointers, don't send Jimmy pictures especially after he tells you no pictures. He can get as grumpy as Steve.

    All said I only order from PBR unless they tell me that they don't have it.

    #56 2 years ago
    Quoted from SteveinTexas:

    I needed some motor service parts and Jimmy insisted I must call Steve regarding motor orders.

    Only time I have spoken to Steve was for motor parts, sent my order in and he responded back that I needed to call. I did my best to be prepared before I called, was afraid he would ask a question I could not answer.

    #57 2 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Once you figure in your 10% discount for exceeding $100 on your order, you will find the PBR to always be the least expensive option, with the best quality parts.
    The only reason that PBRs prices are so good is because they don't accept Paypal or CreditCards.
    Their shipping prices, even on large items like playfields, is rock bottom.
    PBRs rubber is excellent, and their pop caps (unlike other sellers) are correct.
    If you can get your ship together, PBR is one of pinball's best resources.

    If you're in NY, you get hit with 7% sales tax (because PBR is located in NY).

    I had a playfield shipped not to long ago, and it was only about $36.

    PBR is usually my first stop for most things.

    I did have some trouble a while back with gottlieb shooter rods, though. The metal knobs had serious manufacturing marks. Not sure if it's been corrected at this point or not.

    #58 2 years ago
    Quoted from SteveinTexas:

    Also while we are giving pointers, don't send Jimmy pictures especially after he tells you no pictures. He can get as grumpy as Steve

    If you have to send pictures, link to them, rather than attach them. Jimmy seems to be ok with that.

    I'm guessing downloading large attachments hold up the works.

    #59 2 years ago
    Quoted from Rondogg:

    and then checked every other pissible site

    That's why his is the best! The others are pissible!

    #60 2 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    If you have to send pictures, link to them, rather than attach them. Jimmy seems to be ok with that.
    I'm guessing downloading large attachments hold up the works.

    Yep, oldschool internet does not like large pics

    modem (resized).jpg

    #61 2 years ago

    Call, apologize, have all your parts shipped. Don't get cheap trying to save $10 in shipping. Make Steve's life easier... And you'll get what you want.

    #62 2 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I'm guessing downloading large attachments hold up the works.

    Yeah, don't clog up Steve's 150 baud modem.

    Analogue_modem_-_acoustic_coupler (resized).jpg

    #63 2 years ago

    Beat ya to it Vid but snarky minds think alike LOL

    #64 2 years ago
    Quoted from metallik:

    Yep, oldschool internet does not like large pics

    Your picture was better because of the rotary dial phone!

    #65 2 years ago

    I gave Steve a bad check once. I took responsibility, paid his returned check fee, and sent him a postal money order for everything I owed him. I also apologized and never once let it sound like it was anyone's but my fault and that he wouldn't get ALL of his money he was owed. I use my bank's "Bill Pay" option to send him payments now. Works great. Oh, and that happened like 17-18 years ago. I met him at a show 4 months later and he told me my checks were good! He's rough to get used to but a real nice guy once you get to know him.

    #66 2 years ago
    Quoted from Blackjacker:

    First-time email orders at PBR need to be paid before they're shipped.

    Last I heard, Steve will ship a first order without payment, but I believe it has to be under a certain dollar amount.

    #67 2 years ago
    Quoted from FrankJ:

    I've never heard of anyone picking up an order at PBR. Has anyone here picked up an order?

    Yes. My dad and I drove there to pick up a back glass and some other stuff. We met Steve and were treated to a tour of PBR!
    Steve seemed like a hell of a nice guy, and I have given him many orders since, via email. Never had a problem.
    E

    #68 2 years ago

    Man up and apologize, it's good practice

    #69 2 years ago

    I was chided once by Steve, I got over it and now we chat it up a bit when I order. His bark is mean but his bite is all but non existent. High quality parts, quick shipping and great prices.

    #70 2 years ago

    Like so many others I received a semi-ass chewing from Steve, and it was on my first order. It was more than 20 years ago so I don't remember the specifics, just that the Bally flipper bushings I ordered (used the part number from the manual) did not fit in my game so I called him up to explain the problem and ask for the proper parts (it was just one part of a much bigger order). He was totally up my ass at first but I'd had a lot of customer service experience even back then so I kept it calm, told him I was sorry if it was my fault but I didn't think it was. His first answer was something like, just cut them down to size (or something like that) and I told him I had no way of doing it, could I send them back and politely asked if he knew what the proper part number was. He completely changed demeanor from one sentence to the next, talked me through exactly what I need, told me it was a least partially their fault and he'd just ship me what I needed, no return necessary. 20+ years and many orders later they are still the first place I go to for parts unless I know from experience it's not something they carry. It is pretty old school the way they do business but I think that fits the pinball hobby pretty well, especially if you're working on old Gottlieb (I don't) pins! Sometimes we all have to swallow our pride a little, it's best washed down with something other than a PBR in my opinion.

    #71 2 years ago

    Recently placed a few orders from pbr for my gottlieb Atlantis. There is a process, but I found them to be great. I didn't have all the part numbers and wasn't sure exactly all that I needed, but they were helpful and sent me links to diagrams. I think I was pushing the envelope, but I like dealing with them, no bs and parts showed up fast...old school operation.

    #72 2 years ago

    I only order by email, it's alot easier.

    #73 2 years ago

    Sell all your machines, you are too young to deal with such old timers in this industry..hahaha No, seriously I have dealt with Steve and his wife and have never had an issue. If you did that to me as a business owner, I would cut you loose as well. Time is money.

    #74 2 years ago

    Just wait a few weeks, apologize, and order again. Steve is old school. He does not like bullshit, but does offer forgiveness.

    #75 2 years ago

    I actually have always called in my orders. The one time I emailed an order I got an auto reply asking me to call lol.

    Anyway, same same.. I have learned to properly prep for my call. One thing I like about calling is that if you catch him in a lull he can sometimes get curious about what your working on and even has suggested something better or in addition to what I was getting.

    I will say this... steve is a lot easier to place a phone order with than Bills Hamburger on clement in SF, I got hung up on with them lol.

    And speaking of the soup nazi, the lady at clement restaurant (dim sum to go) is the female counterpart. "I'd like two spring rolls please". "NO!! Three one order! You take three, not two!!" "Um, okay, sorry". Makes ordering fun and delicious.

    Yes, its dinnertime, and I'm starving lol.

    #76 2 years ago

    I think we all at one time have been roasted by Steve. (Call it your initiation to the pinball scene.)

    #77 2 years ago

    Steve is a sweet man with the voice of an angel and an encyclopedic knowledge of the parts that keep my beloved machines humming along. Every conversation has been enlightening and engaging, treasure this man.

    #78 2 years ago
    Quoted from bangerjay:

    Steve is a sweet man with the voice of an angel and an encyclopedic knowledge of the parts that keep my beloved machines humming along. Every conversation has been enlightening and engaging, treasure this man.

    Agreed!!! I call in every single order at least every two weeks. Its cool because sometimes he's in such a good mood that the conversation gets lengthy and he drops knowledge on me left and right. I like that he will actually ask why you need a specific part and if he feels your problem doesn't warrant a need for that part he will sell you what you actually need and in my case has been 100% correct every single time.

    #79 2 years ago
    Quoted from sohchx:

    Agreed!!! I call in every single order at least every two weeks. Its cool because sometimes he's in such a good mood that the conversation gets lengthy and he drops knowledge on me left and right. I like that he will actually ask why you need a specific part and if he feels your problem doesn't warrant a need for that part he will sell you what you actually need and in my case has been 100% correct every single time.

    Yeah once we were talking about a part I wanted to order and he asked about it and then said "I have the part but nobody since the dawn of time has EVER ordered it. So I don't think this will fix the problem."

    He was right

    #80 2 years ago

    Thanks for the replies all. I will order again in a few weeks and will mail and my check and order at the same time, but I guess the only problem with that is knowing how much shipping is. I guess I'll send extra, or e-mail and just have it shipped.

    In the meantime, I took all of the my old parts (and the new I already had on hand from other places) and shined them up and it actually looks really nice and now I don't need half of the parts anymore.

    It has indeed been a learning experience.

    Thanks again.

    Quoted from Manic:

    Yeah once we were talking about a part I wanted to order and he asked about it and then said "I have the part but nobody since the dawn of time has EVER ordered it. So I don't think this will fix the problem."
    He was right

    What part? :O

    #81 2 years ago
    Quoted from Otaku:

    but I guess the only problem with that is knowing how much shipping is.

    It's usually fairly reasonable. Certainly less than the cost of the gas you'd use driving for a pick-up.

    #82 2 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    It's usually fairly reasonable. Certainly less than the cost of the gas you'd use driving for a pick-up.

    Yeah, no problems with that, I just meant in terms of payment. I'd have no way of knowing exactly what it was if I mailed in check + order at the same time. It sounded really good when somebody mentioned it earlier, but that's a little bit of a flaw unless I just overpay to keep a little bit of balance in my name.

    #83 2 years ago

    No parts for you!

    nosoup (resized).jpg

    #84 2 years ago

    The best way is just call and be nice. They will ship the parts even if it's your first order as long as it's not to much money. When the parts and invoice comes in, mail the check/money order pronto. If he does want you to pay first on your initial order just send it in. No problem. After that you are in like Flynn.

    I always call. Yes he may be a little grumpy sometimes but others he is very entertaining and he may suggest a better part or solution. After you get the hang of his system it is actually much easier and it keeps the prices low. Easy ordering and low prices, can't beat that!!

    #85 2 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    It actually saves the business money because of service fees associated with credit/debit cards.

    maybe in the USA
    but here in Australia, much cheeper and easier to take card or cash, than a check

    -1
    #86 2 years ago
    Quoted from Otaku:

    Yeah, no problems with that, I just meant in terms of payment. I'd have no way of knowing exactly what it was if I mailed in check + order at the same time. It sounded really good when somebody mentioned it earlier, but that's a little bit of a flaw unless I just overpay to keep a little bit of balance in my name.

    That's why you wait till you get your parts then you will get a bill with your parts that has a total of how much you owe, then you write out a check and put it in an envelope with a stamp and his address then walk out to your mailbox and put it in there, then raise the red flag on the side and your done. Sounds like you still aren't sure how the process works yet. Be prepared to get yelled at again.

    #87 2 years ago
    Quoted from crlush:

    That's why you wait till you get your parts then you will get a bill with your parts that has a total of how much you owe, then you write out a check and put it in an envelope with a stamp and his address then walk out to your mailbox and put it in there, then raise the red flag on the side and your done. Sounds like you still aren't sure how the process works yet. Be prepared to get yelled at again.

    Again, I can't do it like that on the first order.

    Just weighing my options.

    #88 2 years ago

    This reminds me of the one and only time I encountered a gas station that didn't take credit cards. Had been driving for years and years but never encountered this. So, I have to prepay, but of course I don't know exactly how much I need to top off my tank, so I have to overpay and then go back to get the difference? Or underpay and not top off the tank? What?

    Obviously the world got on fine with this stuff before plastic but it does create some situations that seem pretty bewildering to people who have never known a world without it, in 99% of the transactions they make. There are lots of cases where avoiding plastic to save money on fees makes sense, mainly in-person transactions where you can just hand over cash. Mail order, with all the mail back and forth, shipping calculations, etc, isn't one of them.

    #90 2 years ago

    I had a similar bad experience with Steve. He was really rude and mean on the phone because I had a part that I didn't know the part number. I eventually got what I wanted but it was a bad experience. I try to get everything I can from Marco these days. Great website, great availability, someone picks up the phone and tries to be helpful whenever I call about something. They're not the cheapest but its worth it to me.

    Steve has some Gottlieb parts you just can't get anywhere else. So you might have been boxed in. But I strongly recommend checking out the other vendors in this hobby too. There are some really good ones who don't belittle new customers.

    #91 2 years ago
    Quoted from Otaku:

    Again, I can't do it like that on the first order.
    Just weighing my options.

    Yeah, I thought you already had a total with shipping on the order. In that case, email your itemized parts request with part numbers (preferably PBR numbers, not OEM unless that's all you have). Tell them you are a new customer and need a total with shipping to your zip code so you can send a check. Include one sentence: Sorry about the misunderstanding with my earlier order.

    That's it. You will get a couple of emails regarding that status of your order. Mail the check. Get parts. Fix stuff. Call Steve in a couple of weeks thanking him for the great service and cheap prices. Buy more projects and pray Steve doesn't quit his business!

    Everyone happy!

    #92 2 years ago
    Quoted from Richthofen:

    He was really rude and mean on the phone because I had a part that I didn't know the part number.

    This is just Steve being direct. If a customer doesn't have numbers, they have to do research which eats working hours.

    WHO GOT TIME FOR THAT?

    #93 2 years ago
    Quoted from cody_chunn:

    This is just Steve being direct. If a customer doesn't have numbers, they have to do research which eats working hours.
    WHO GOT TIME FOR THAT?

    pasted_image (resized).png

    #94 2 years ago
    Quoted from cody_chunn:

    This is just Steve being direct. If a customer doesn't have numbers, they have to do research which eats working hours.
    WHO GOT TIME FOR THAT?

    That's one way to look at it. Another way is that by extending a little more effort, he might win a customer for life and therefore earn more money. But it isn't about that.

    Steve has parts people need and no one else has them. He can be as rude as he wants because TINA (there is no alternative). It's petty and lame, and IMHO he's a poor ambassador to the pinball community.

    I can't tell you how many people have helped me in this hobby. People paying things forward, people going out of their way to help me understand things. Businesses who spend an extra few minutes on the phone to make sure I get what I need. Hell I've had people invite me into their homes when I was basically a stranger so they could help me with pinball stuff. That's the kind of people who make this hobby great. I've tried to emulate that kind of thing, by paying it forward, giving away parts from my taxi restore that I don't need anymore, etc.

    I know he's running a business but lots of people run businesses and are not rude to newbies.

    #95 2 years ago
    Quoted from Richthofen:

    Steve has parts people need and no one else has them. He can be as rude as he wants because TINA (there is no alternative). It's petty and lame, and IMHO he's a poor ambassador to the pinball community.

    You gotta understand where PBR is coming from. Have you ever been behind someone in line at a fast food joint and they take 5 minutes figuring out what they want, constantly confusing the person taking the order? This is like that, except Steve has been dealing with it for many, many years.

    OP: Don't over-engineer your new order. Order something simple like a manual or a rubber ring kit. I ordered an EM schematic just for fun, they are cool full size prints. Send the order in with payment, even if you pay $5-10 more than you expect. He is willing to extend credit to you on future orders, so be a little more relaxed about PBR holding a single digit credit amount on your account. It's a relationship, not a one time transaction.

    You are still young enough to where your social skills are developing and I get the feeling that you are taking this like a pretty serious rejection.

    Relax, take a breath... You just had a disagreement with them. It happens. Use it as a learning opportunity.

    #96 2 years ago

    I've been ordering from Steve for 30+ years now I use my banks bill pay and it works great. I truly fear the day that he calls it quits especially as a big Gottlieb em fan.

    #97 2 years ago
    Quoted from Otaku:

    most of my bills/expenses are online now.

    I think you are making this too difficult. PBR is doing exactly what you are used to.

    They are giving you credit.......he is like a credit card.
    1. Your order
    2. He "charges" your account
    3. You get a bill
    4. You go to your "online billing" enter PBR as a payee
    5. Press submit

    To me it sound just like any other credit card/credit account. Unfortunately now you don't have a PBR black card anymore. I just don't see how it is any different from ordering from any other store.

    I could see your frustration of you had to send a check prior to shipment, that would be old school. But, this ships right away, and you pay the bill (same as your Visa).

    #98 2 years ago

    You seem to want him to change his personality. I would much rather him remain the same (not petty or lame, IMO) and people grow thicker skin and develop an assertive aspect themselves and meet him on equal footing.

    You can read these periodical "PBR attitude" threads and the great majority of responses start much like yours above but end with that person learning and having no trouble at all conversing with Steve. He's not a coddler. Never was, never will be.

    I will admit that I will defend his personality to the bitter end, and to quote Ozzy: "No one's ever gonna change the way I feel."

    It is not as big a deal as some people make it...they are too easily offended or put off. He is just VERY direct.

    Yay, Steve! RAH, RAH, RAH!!

    #99 2 years ago

    Steve is a good guy. This is just the way things were done in the past and he never changed. If you just accept that, then it's really not that bad - just funny. You order something, and then pay the bill later. The first order though you have to pay for first so they know you aren't trying to rip them off.

    Having your customer number on future orders always makes him happy. And if you know your part numbers, and tell him what you are doing, he will give you a story about parts not being made anymore, etc...

    I always call myself (not email) and I expect an odd experience. They ship super fast and I mail the check as soon as the order comes. Never had a problem.

    The first time is always odd though. Welcome to pinball

    #100 2 years ago
    Quoted from sohchx:

    Honestly there is nothing over complicated about ordering from Steve. First, phone your order in while having all of your part numbers at the ready.

    I find he likes it more when you call without part numbers and say "yeah I need a post for <insert game name> that goes on that triangle thing above the floppy thing that you can move the ball with." That makes him extremely happy, try it some time

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