Several people have interpreted our recent comment about leaving West Marine wondering how we could spend so much and leave with so little as a slam on West Marine. It wasn't intended that way.
The price of any item designated as being for boats is generally 50% to 100% more than the equivalent item if you can find it at an auto or hardware store. That's why a stop at the best local hardware to see if we can find the item there is our "standard procedure" before going to any marine store.
But once we head to a marine store, we usually find West Marine can offer as good or better price than most other marine stores. In addition they will match any price you can find for the same item elsewhere, including the internet. So now the Internet is also a stop we make "on the way" to West Marine. Probably 9 out 10 times, we still find the best price to be at West Marine. For example, we will spend $50 less at West Marine tomorrow for the oil transfer pump we are picking up than the best Internet price we could find.
So, our original statement about "so little for so much" remains true, but as long as we own boats we'll be thankful for West Marine and the deep inventory and good customer service we have consistently experienced with them.