The LA Fitness that I normally got to has a Sports Authority right next door in the same complex. When I went to go swimming last night, I stopped by to take a gander of what I might need to buy in the near future. I went to the swimming section first, and looked at prices of the pull bouys, webbed gloves (for pulls), board for kicking, etc. I then decided that I would go to the heart rate monitor section after looking at some warmup clothes and base layer stuff for the winter.
I finally find where they put the heart rate monitors, and I begin to look at what they have to offer. They also carried some off brands, as well as Nike, but I wanted Polar (or the Garmin Forerunner, which they do not sell of course). One of the associates asked if I needed some help (he looked to be about 20-21 years old). I politely told him that I had found what I was looking for, and if I had any questions I would let him know. It is funny, in some small way I know how some of you more "experienced" (by that I mean age) colleauges feel when someone younger than you trys to assist you, push you around, etc, whatever the situation is, and you are thinking, "What in the hell, to me you are knee high to a grasshopper, and I know just as much as/more than you, so leave me the hell alone and go back to what you were doing!!!" Anyways, I will get back on track now. He begins telling me about all the great "F" series Polar HRMs they have. I told him that what I was really looking for were the "S" series 520 and above. I mentioned I was a triathlete and that I needed functions that the "F" series could not provide. The young associate (who in reality is only 5-6 years younger than I, I am still considered a spring chicken to some) then trys to sell me one of the higher "F" series models, stating it can store multiple lap times, VO2 Max, etc... I then again, politely as I could, that I needed an "S" series model for additional functions suited for a triathlete. He then told me that they did not carry the S models, and I should go online to purchase them directly, or through the Sports Authority website. I told him thanks, and then went about my way. No crap, I have reasearched them online for the last couple of months. I walked away with nothing, but I really don't have any extra money to be spending right now, so that is good for me.
Thank god there are two Cycleworks locations near me, as well as an all3sports about 15-20 minutes North of my house. For shoes I would suggest Fleet Feet Sports if there is one in your city. They mold your foot to see what shoe(s) will work with your feet best, and they even will let you run in the shoes and try them before you buy. I can also order online, but sometimes you just like to go in and physcially browse/try out the merchandise. There, I just wanted to get that off my chest.