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  1. #1
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    A reminder to all bike shop salesman

    Two weeks ago I went into my local bike shop to check out replacement tires for my GF Utopia. He recommended these Bontrager H4's. Very nice but also would have been almost 100 bucks with tax. I said I'll wait until after Christmas. However my bike needed a tune-up. So I would plan on bringing it in. Two days later my co-worker said he had a brand new set of tires that he bought but was the wrong size. However they were exactly what I was looking for. They are the Kenda Kwest 700c x 40. He lost his receipt so he could not exchange them. They also say "GIANT" on the side. I paid him the 40 bucks and have been using them. So today I took my bike in and my brother asked me if he can come with me to the bike shop that I have been pretty loyal to for 5 years. He wanted to by a bike today. I was excited to show him my bike shop. Well when I got there and brought my bike in, the guy saw my tires and goes "WTF MAN?!" I'm like excuse me....he was actually pissed.....he said this to me "I can't believe you brought this bike in here with these tires". He felt like they had some kind of disease. I then got mad and told him I can buy and put whatever I want on it. It's mine!!! And he goes "well I'm not working on it".At this point my brother found a Trek bike he liked but did not like the workers tone. So we left and my brother bought a Giant Escape at another shop. MOFO could have had a sale!!!!

  2. #2
    Big Test Icycles
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    Things never seem to change. My brother was in the process of buying a $2000 Spec S-Works back in 1990 when he wanted to swap out a stock part for a more expensive one. The employee in the shop made some comment about money, questioning if he could afford it, which caused my brother to end the sale. He failed at customer service that day which lost the shop a good customer and a decent sale. That shop went under and my brother has since spent loads of money on bikes. It seems that some people that get hired at bike shops forget that they are in driven by customers spending money. I still see this attitude today in some shops. This is why, along with pricing that many people would rather just buy on line and avoid the arrogance.

  3. #3
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    ^^ yep, have yet to see an arrogant hyperlink.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  4. #4
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    I've been in a few shops where you can just FEEL the condescending looks.

    If you don't walk in there with a 3500 dollar felt road bike and an italian accent, half the time they treat you like you don't know what you are doing. Or as if you found your bike on a trail some wheres and wandered in on accident.


    But that isn't the norm in my experience.

  5. #5
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    Not uncommon. We let the bike shops get away with bizarre stuff. No one lets any other service industry have that kind of CS, but cyclists bend over and take it, and then tell all their friends to shop at lbs's too.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot
    Not uncommon. We let the bike shops get away with bizarre stuff. No one lets any other service industry have that kind of CS, but cyclists bend over and take it, and then tell all their friends to shop at lbs's too.
    Man you sure are right! My LBS is cool, but I completely know of that culture where bike shops are the "cool kids" and can get away with acting like fools and people keep going back. I work in the auto industry and on most days get treated like toilet paper and still have to be nice to people cause they are spending bennies. Some bike shops seem to have it reversed. From an outside perspective, it isn't surprising the internet is knocking out some of the brick and mortars.

  7. #7
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    At the shop I work at that guy would be gone and no longer work for us. We treat everyone that walks through the door as though they are buying our most expensive gear as we want them to keep coming back and buying stuff from us or just hang out at the shop. We are unique as we approach every sale with a no pressure attitude. If you actually like the stuff you are selling there is no need to force it on someone. We like that we have a wide varity of regular customers that don't feel like they have to buy something everytime they are in the shop. It's nice as most of these people have turned into friends.
    I do not buy anything from anywhere that has employee attitudes. I can always find what I am looking for somewhere else.

  8. #8
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    I do not understand the business model of most bike shops. Ex. Recently went to the LBS to discuss essentially ~$2k worth of suspension and wheel upgrades and maybe even more. Came in with all my homework done and had about a 20 minute serious discussion with them, left my business card with my contact info filled out some paperwork from them was told "we'll call you Monday, Tuesday at the latest". Nothing yet, 2 weeks later.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdole
    Nothing yet, 2 weeks later.
    That's because they misplaced your card...it's under the computer at the counter and they can't remember where they set it down.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdole
    I do not understand the business model of most bike shops. Ex. Recently went to the LBS to discuss essentially ~$2k worth of suspension and wheel upgrades and maybe even more. Came in with all my homework done and had about a 20 minute serious discussion with them, left my business card with my contact info filled out some paperwork from them was told "we'll call you Monday, Tuesday at the latest". Nothing yet, 2 weeks later.
    Some shop's guys are lazy and assume that they are too cool and that you should do all of the work and get back to them or pester them to get the info that you want. It must be nice for them to make so much money that they don't need to get in touch with you to make the sale and to not even care about losing it. Then they will complain if you go somewhere else.

  11. #11
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    My LBS is as snobby as a golf pro shop. I buy everything online except for the occasional cable.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by illini
    My LBS is as snobby as a golf pro shop. I buy everything online except for the occasional cable.

    Hey now I run a golf pro shop and have for 8 years. We are not all snobby! I sell closeouts, and bulk buys at deep discounted prices. I never fault somebody for buying something off ebay or the cheap, hell I'll even work on their stuff if they don't mind paying me labor.

    My LBS rocks I buy some stuff online and I always tell them about the great deal I snagged up online. He can't blame me if I bought it for less than he can buy it for. He knows he gets most of my business and is happy with that. Thats how my golf shop is and thats how I expect the LBS I frequent to be.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    Cableb!tch: living, breathing proof you can be right and.still be a dick.

  13. #13
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    If the guy at the bike shop isn't the owner, I'd let the owner know that his employee cost the shop a sale and some serious good will. If the owner is a good business person, he should talk to the guy about correcting his attitude.

  14. #14
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    I have a bike store by me that I go out of my way not to buy from anymore because of bad attitudes, and thats after I spent $4000.00 on a bike. It's bad for me because I like to see stuff before I buy and this place has some stuff I like so I see what it looks like at there store and order at another.

    I think they work on commision and get bent out of shape if you aren't spending alot of money everytime you go in to there store.

    I like supporting local stores and don't like buying online to save a couple of dollars because those stores are gonna be there when I need something right away but I don't feel like being treated like crap because I want to fix something rather than replace with something new.
    Bill

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  15. #15
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    Aight now, I have been working in bike shops for years now. And yes there are quite a few slack a$$ shops out there, but there are some things most people dont know about working in a bike shop. These are REGULAR occurrences! People come in and ask my advice on something, do something completley different and get mad at me. People come in to get fiitted, or find out what part they need, and buy it online (like shoes). I have had people get on yelp and burn me because I told them that "buying a $400 commuter bike to race, will not get him to the podium. Our cheapest road bike is about $900 and if you want to see a race bike heres a $3300 carbon Tarmac." He burned me by saying I was trying to shove a $3000 bike down his throat when a $400 bike would be fine. He made me out to be a d!ck when I knew what I was talking about and in no way came of arrogant, but thats what he thought. The list goes on. But I assure you that most shops want your business and some shops know what they are talking about. ANd yes some shops suck. I also think that there is some sort of intimidation factor when people walk into a shop that compounds things.

    Shawn
    "If Liberace was alive, he'd be proud to ride that mofo."

  16. #16
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    I see both sides of the CS spectrum a lot here in Salt Lake. Places like Go-Ride and Guthrie are great shops that always are willing to assist, even with things that may not equal big bucks for their pocket. Go-Ride is especially great, IMHO.

    Then there are places like Contender and Bingham. Not everyone at those shops sucks, but a lot of them ruin it for the minority that know good CS. Last spring, I walked into Bingham with cash in hand, ready to drop several grand on a new ride. One other customer was getting a training-wheel bike for his daughter, but other than him, it was an empty shop. No less than 3 sales associates were gathered around the register. I milled around looking at the bikes for about 20 minutes, and nobody asked if I needed assistance. I'm 6'3" too, so yeah, they could see me. I walked up to the register to ask some questions, and I literally stood there two feet from the brosephs as they talked about something on Facebook or whatever for 5 whole minutes. I watched the clock behind them, so that's no exaggeration. I then asked them if I could ask a few questions about some bikes. BIG mistake, I guess, because I instantly got the 'who are you to interrupt us when we're busy being awesome?' look from all four of them. I just told them, 'Sorry to interrupt. That must be a lot more important than you getting a commission from this money for selling a bike, right?' I held up the wad of Benjamins in my pocket and walked out. I doubt it made any difference to them, but it does for the shop in the long run. That branch actually closed down a while afterward. Story ended well, though. Go-Ride got my money, I got a sweet ride, and they'll be getting more cash when I buy my next bike.

    Arrogant d_bags ruin it for a LOT of people.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HTFR
    ...I have had people get on yelp and burn me because I told them that "buying a $400 commuter bike to race, will not get him to the podium. Our cheapest road bike is about $900 and if you want to see a race bike heres a $3300 carbon Tarmac." He burned me by saying I was trying to shove a $3000 bike down his throat when a $400 bike would be fine. He made me out to be a d!ck when I knew what I was talking about and in no way came of arrogant, but thats what he thought...
    I bet Lance could win a few local races with the $400 bike...

    If I had an experience like that, guess what? I would never step foot in that shop ever again and tell all my friends to stay away. Period. The dude was justified in my opinion.

    He worked hard earning what little money he had, and you just had to insult him like that? I am betting you are a great guy, but maybe you need to step back and think about your choice of words.

    Customer service goes a long way.

    Bryan d
    Just keep pedaling, don't stop pedaling.

  18. #18
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    That story is totally insane to me. I don't understand how anyone is CS would act that way. I've been to a number of LBS now, an they all have a different feel. Most of them are positive, but I've seen one where I could see a bad experience occuring. I cant imagine something like this happening though. Why would that guy balk at the bike so much? He still had labor costs to earn, at the very least. I wouldn't think any LBS would be doing so well that they would just want to shove customers out the door.

    The eady solution is simply not to go back.
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  19. #19
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    ... and if we just ...

    My LBS sucks! Back in 06 I built up my dream bike. I had been going in for a while trying to get them to "fix" my Jekyll. After several hundred dollars they still couldn't get it! I was new in town and that was my only option.
    I decided to give up on the CDale and go big! I've got a lot of ??s before I drop 5k on a bike! After several trips in one of the owners looses his **** on me! With all sorts of tone and disgust he proceeds to tell me that X,Y and Z are all the same... and whatever I choose will be better than what I've got now! Which I Already Knew!
    The next day I drove an hour and ordered up the Dream machine from a very reputable shop. After riding it for a few rides I decided to go 29. After the shock goes out on the 29er I'm back on the dream bike. Out riding with some buddies my front rim just snaps where it's pinned together. Just riding along . Totally F myself and bike all up! Go into the shop and am told I'm S.O.L.! Granted it had been 16 mos or so since I bought it. It still had the nipples on the original tires. Tried to plead my case but....He didn't care! Went home ordered up a stand and tool kit. Lesson learned! Too much savings on the interwebs and too much attitude in the shops.

  20. #20
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    This thread makes me sad. I must be really lucky, since I recently moved to Seattle and there at least half a dozen shops I have been into for this or that, and I never felt cheated or insulted.

    Another thought to the OP, I don't know if there is a sales lesson here, since the shop knew they were losing your business when they kicked you to the curb. If you walk into a place and they say "I don't want your business" then they probably know they aren't getting your money. Kind of wasted indignation.

    Come to think of it, I wonder if there is more to this story. .

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_d
    I bet Lance could win a few local races with the $400 bike...

    If I had an experience like that, guess what? I would never step foot in that shop ever again and tell all my friends to stay away. Period. The dude was justified in my opinion.

    He worked hard earning what little money he had, and you just had to insult him like that? I am betting you are a great guy, but maybe you need to step back and think about your choice of words.

    Customer service goes a long way.

    Bryan d
    First off what the hell does lance have to do with any thing?

    I dont appreciate the emotional picture you paint about the guy. The guy came in wanting to get into road racing. I dont know how much money the guy has, so I show him the mid to low end spectrum of what would be a competitive road bike. (What I show everybody who is looking to get into raod). He might have a couple million he might not. I dont know. I find it condescending when some one assumes I only have 3 bucks in my pocket.

    You are a prime example of what Im talking about. You think im arrogant and you weren't there. The guy comes in wanting advise and Im a bad guy because this is an expensive sport. I deal with college kids try to commute to school on $350 all the way to a regular who buys a new $works every year with no questions. You cant just look at someone and assume.

    How d!ck would it be if I just sold him what ever just to get a sale. Telling him "oh yeah this would be great for road racing". Or someone talking you down from the bike you want because you dont know they dont have your size in stock. Or if someone came in looking for a full on competition level XC race bike (that the shop cant get) and talking them into an equally expensive something else because its available. This ***** happens. Dont be so quick to judge! Im just saying it is easy for a bike shop to get a bad rap over something stuid. And for some reason it usually happens when someone asks questions, doesnt like the answers, and getts all pissy.
    "If Liberace was alive, he'd be proud to ride that mofo."

  22. #22
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    I discovered a really great LBS by word-of-mouth a couple months after I bought a GT Sanction 1 from Performance on clearance. This shop sells mainly Giant, Pivot, Santa Cruz, etc. but what was cool was that they gave me absolutely zero attitude about service for it - quality service better than what Performance was doing for me.

    Of course, this paid off for them too as I soon went on to buy some serious upgrades for it from them including CK hubs, then had them convert my old ride to SS with some upgrades too, plus bought a lot of gear - better quality stuff than Performance sells since it basically is a mtb-specific shop. I plan to buy a niner from them in the future too.

    They give a 10% discount to members of my mtb club and their wrenches are great guys who do everything possible to get their regular ride-year-round (PA winters) customers back on the trail either the same or next-day if at all possible. The owner made it clear that he will never let any customer's ride sit around if he knows that the owner rides regularly. Little stuff they 'll fix for free.

    My advice after dealing with both chains and bad LBS's: When you find a LBS that fixes your ride right, sells high-quality stuff, and treats you well - take care of 'em by giving them your business, clean your rig before having them work on it if its caked in mud, give them the benefit of the doubt if there's a delay in getting your ride back, and give them a little present or two at the holidays.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by HTFR
    First off what the hell does lance have to do with any thing?

    I dont appreciate the emotional picture you paint about the guy. The guy came in wanting to get into road racing. I dont know how much money the guy has, so I show him the mid to low end spectrum of what would be a competitive road bike. (What I show everybody who is looking to get into raod). He might have a couple million he might not. I dont know. I find it condescending when some one assumes I only have 3 bucks in my pocket.

    You are a prime example of what Im talking about. You think im arrogant and you weren't there. The guy comes in wanting advise and Im a bad guy because this is an expensive sport. I deal with college kids try to commute to school on $350 all the way to a regular who buys a new $works every year with no questions. You cant just look at someone and assume.

    How d!ck would it be if I just sold him what ever just to get a sale. Telling him "oh yeah this would be great for road racing". Or someone talking you down from the bike you want because you dont know they dont have your size in stock. Or if someone came in looking for a full on competition level XC race bike (that the shop cant get) and talking them into an equally expensive something else because its available. This ***** happens. Dont be so quick to judge! Im just saying it is easy for a bike shop to get a bad rap over something stuid. And for some reason it usually happens when someone asks questions, doesnt like the answers, and getts all pissy.
    Whats your shop called so I can be sure to never step foot in it? You dont seem to get it, throwing out excuses like "The guy comes in wanting advise and Im a bad guy because this is an expensive sport." and "buying a $400 commuter bike to race, will not get him to the podium." This guy is your average guy, just like 90% of us on here and wants to make sure the money he is shelling out is going to get him what he wants. On the occasion that I do race, my experience is to pit myself against other guys to see where I stand, how my skills have developed, and hey if I get in the top 10 out of 40 im stoked. What you have done to this guy, and I'm willing to bet to many others like him, is made his entry into our sport *****ty from the get go. This is what a lot of shops have done to a lot of people.

    You and every other owner out there have a chance to not only make money by keeping your arrogance and patience in check, but by realizing that maybe only 1 out of 100 of your customers are ever going to "see a podium." people will tell their friends to go to your shop over D!cks r' Us down the street cause that customer satisfaction will keep them coming back.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MobileMech
    On the occasion that I do race, my experience is to pit myself against other guys to see where I stand, how my skills have developed, and hey if I get in the top 10 out of 40 im stoked.
    Last spring I came in third in sport class on my KHS Brentwood. I was Stoked! Especially since it only cost me $280! The guy at the LBS said it would suck for racing, but he clearly was a schemer trying to get my money. Good thing I already knew what I wanted when I walked into the shop and started asking a bunch of newbie questions.

  25. #25
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    And HTFR, I want you to know that I understand you have a living to make off of guys like us, and yeah, newbies can be a PITA sometime, but that is something that you have to know is just part of your business.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    Last spring I came in third in sport class on my KHS Brentwood. I was Stoked! Especially since it only cost me $280! The guy at the LBS said it would suck for racing, but he clearly was a schemer trying to get my money. Good thing I already knew what I wanted when I walked into the shop and started asking a bunch of newbie questions.
    Right on man! Thats something else I see a lot of is these guys with their $6k bikes thinking that because they were willing to drop that coin that it will automatically get them in the top spots. TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN!!!! haha that bike is only as good as the guy riding it.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MobileMech
    Right on man! Thats something else I see a lot of is these guys with their $6k bikes thinking that because they were willing to drop that coin that it will automatically get them in the top spots. TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN!!!! haha that bike is only as good as the guy riding it.
    Oh man I know! I have been training hard. What burns me up is that I bought this bike for $280 at the LBS, tuned up and ready to go with free adjustments for a month (albeit with this snobby you can't race this attitude) and then this pops up on the net.

    To think I could have snagged this and saved myself $81 and the hassle of interacting with people I am going to end up seeing out on the trails, and maybe want to some day be friends with!!!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by MobileMech
    tell their friends to go to your shop over D!cks r' Us down the street cause that customer satisfaction will keep them coming back.
    Funny, there's a D!cks r' Us up on Capitol Hill, specializing in alternative riding equipment. I don't know myself, but I have hear they have great service, and their satisfied customers come back over and over again.



    Whooo I am on a roll today!
    Last edited by fotu; 12-12-2010 at 06:09 PM.

  29. #29
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    HTFR has some good points, and so does MobileMech. You both seem to be arguing different facets of the same thing. I agree, it's gotta be tough to tell someone that the 'entry level' race bike is around 3 grand without knowing his or her budget. BUT! I'd be hard-pressed to find a person who is truly serious about racing on a $300 Nashbar hodge podge. Could it be raced? Sure, and very successfully by the right rider. Is it a true race bike? Not really. But from a sales floor worker's point of view, that's a tough call to make off the hip, without knowing the client. So MobileMech, don't get too mad at HTFR, and vice versa.

    Point is, if you're in a shop intent on getting a new bike, don't get mad if the salesman misreads your desires at first. He isn't telepathic. Just let him or her know that's not what you're after. Salesmen, don't be snobbish and don't try to push people into things they can't afford/don't want. And don't be rude. I think we all can agree on that, both consumer and shop worker alike. Now both of you go hug it out.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by HTFR
    Aight now, I have been working in bike shops for years now. And yes there are quite a few slack a$$ shops out there, but there are some things most people dont know about working in a bike shop. These are REGULAR occurrences! People come in and ask my advice on something, do something completley different and get mad at me. People come in to get fiitted, or find out what part they need, and buy it online (like shoes). I have had people get on yelp and burn me because I told them that "buying a $400 commuter bike to race, will not get him to the podium. Our cheapest road bike is about $900 and if you want to see a race bike heres a $3300 carbon Tarmac." He burned me by saying I was trying to shove a $3000 bike down his throat when a $400 bike would be fine. He made me out to be a d!ck when I knew what I was talking about and in no way came of arrogant, but thats what he thought. The list goes on. But I assure you that most shops want your business and some shops know what they are talking about. ANd yes some shops suck. I also think that there is some sort of intimidation factor when people walk into a shop that compounds things.

    Shawn
    Doesn't matter!!! Someone wants advice on parts or sizes....you help them! Someone wants to race a commuter, you sell it to them!! If you feel your time is wasted, get a different job.

  31. #31
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    ^^^ Yup, the shop I tried on a bunch of shoes at, but ultimately bought online, saw a lot of business in socks, tubes pump etc, that way outweighed the price of the shoes...
    Why?
    Great CS/attitude
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  32. #32
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    If all bike shops were to disappear then consumers will have to turn to MTBR for purchasing advice , repairs & parts

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalayon
    Doesn't matter!!! Someone wants advice on parts or sizes....you help them! Someone wants to race a commuter, you sell it to them!! If you feel your time is wasted, get a different job.
    hmmm...as I suspected. Did you say something like this to the sales person who shipped you?

    I don't know what you do for a living, but I wouldn't like being treated like this by my client, customer, or colleague. Can't expect everyone to act like a whore, just cause you want to spend your money.

  34. #34
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    So if you're not happy with the service at the shop, talk to the manager. There's no reason to go online and vent about it - man up and get something done.

    If I ever encountered a situation like yours, I'd talk to the person in charge. Calmly explain the situation, and inform them that you will no longer be bringing business to their store, nor will you be recommending them to your friends.

    Works a lot better than anonymously blasting a mystery shop on these forums...

  35. #35
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    It takes me back to listen to these stories.

    On my return to cycling it baffled me (and still does) that someone working at a bike shop can dare to have a snobbish/condescending attitude toward anyone and especially their customers. It's downright unfathomable to me, if not for riding myself, I'm at a loss to know that there is anything to have any airs whatsoever about I mean...c'mon..they are only selling goddam bicycles..

    I noted this when walking into a few bike shops to see about getting parts and specific services. The "weighing and measuring" looks, being allowed to mill about way too long when I'm plainly waiting for some assistance, the obviously grudgingly acquiescience to lending me some time to wait on me.

    I have since purchased all manner of tools and do everything myself, every part I purchase I buy online (cheaper anyhow). I'm finding myself with little use for bike shops and even less sympathy. As for service and advice..well internet forums have now become a source for that.

    I'm more than willing to support good shops and service and know that there are great ones about but I swear the bad apples do truly spoil the bunch. I bought a couple of bikes this year from a couple of shops and had a good experience at one and an so-so experience at another. (felt bs'ed to a little bit along the way with timing and installed components..got resolved tho)

    Treat your customers right and they will stay with you anything else and I'm at a loss why I should give you a single cent of my hard earned coin.

    No worries OP, I still think you are a man..vent all u want. More than a few of us have simmilar experiences and understand completely. No need to talk to the manager, it's his problem now.
    Last edited by Moozh; 12-13-2010 at 03:30 AM.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR. ED
    My LBS sucks! Back in 06 I built up my dream bike. I had been going in for a while trying to get them to "fix" my Jekyll. After several hundred dollars they still couldn't get it! I was new in town and that was my only option.
    I decided to give up on the CDale and go big! I've got a lot of ??s before I drop 5k on a bike! After several trips in one of the owners looses his **** on me! With all sorts of tone and disgust he proceeds to tell me that X,Y and Z are all the same... and whatever I choose will be better than what I've got now! Which I Already Knew!
    The next day I drove an hour and ordered up the Dream machine from a very reputable shop. After riding it for a few rides I decided to go 29. After the shock goes out on the 29er I'm back on the dream bike. Out riding with some buddies my front rim just snaps where it's pinned together. Just riding along . Totally F myself and bike all up! Go into the shop and am told I'm S.O.L.! Granted it had been 16 mos or so since I bought it. It still had the nipples on the original tires. Tried to plead my case but....He didn't care! Went home ordered up a stand and tool kit. Lesson learned! Too much savings on the interwebs and too much attitude in the shops.
    That's not the shops fault. Warranties on parts rarely extend more than a year, and even if yours did extend 16 months you don't just bend a rim "riding along". That is caused by abnormal stress. Most shops can't afford to give out free wheels to everybody that bends one. I hope you're being sarcastic, but I don't think you are...

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    ^^ yep, have yet to see an arrogant hyperlink.
    Going to have to agree here.

    As much as I'd like to believe the "support your local bike shop" ideology, my experiences over the past decade been a good eye opener. It probably affects new comers to the sport more than others as the after sales technical support is usually a big contributing factor for these folks making a large purchase such as a complete bike. Of course there have been shops (not many) that a simple inner tube purchase is followed by a "if you have your bike here I can get that on for you no charge" etc. A simple gesture sometimes goes a long way to establishing a good client base and repeat business. It's not a perfect world however.

    Just to contribute a little more, I believe most shops these days have a website of some sort, along with location etc. i encourage forum members to actively rate shops in the reviews section (the ones that are listed anyway), just as they would bikes, frames, components for example. As feedback starts to aggregate, better informed decisions can be made.

    Now about that shop hand working at a Specialized dealer in Austin, Texas that viced clamped my frame to the point the seat tube was dented and feigned ignorance....

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chromagftw
    Now about that shop hand working at a Specialized dealer in Austin, Texas that viced clamped my frame to the point the seat tube was dented and feigned ignorance....


    I hope you went and got the boss, none of the shop owners I know would be impressed with said staffer if a customer came in with a freshly dented bike... but then none of the shops here would do that in the first place.

  39. #39
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    Because of bad experiences at bike shops, I learned how to wrench on my bikes myself. The only way a LBS will get my money is if I need a tire or a tube. The rest I can do on my own and I can buy everything online for about 1/2 the price I can find it at the LBS.
    Learn how to fix your own stuff and you too can be LBS free.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by HTFR
    First off what the hell does lance have to do with any thing?

    I dont appreciate the emotional picture you paint about the guy. The guy came in wanting to get into road racing. I dont know how much money the guy has, so I show him the mid to low end spectrum of what would be a competitive road bike. (What I show everybody who is looking to get into raod). He might have a couple million he might not. I dont know. I find it condescending when some one assumes I only have 3 bucks in my pocket.

    You are a prime example of what Im talking about. You think im arrogant and you weren't there. The guy comes in wanting advise and Im a bad guy because this is an expensive sport. I deal with college kids try to commute to school on $350 all the way to a regular who buys a new $works every year with no questions. You cant just look at someone and assume.

    How d!ck would it be if I just sold him what ever just to get a sale. Telling him "oh yeah this would be great for road racing". Or someone talking you down from the bike you want because you dont know they dont have your size in stock. Or if someone came in looking for a full on competition level XC race bike (that the shop cant get) and talking them into an equally expensive something else because its available. This ***** happens. Dont be so quick to judge! Im just saying it is easy for a bike shop to get a bad rap over something stuid. And for some reason it usually happens when someone asks questions, doesnt like the answers, and getts all pissy.
    You are attempting to make a nuanced point to an eMob that would require them to see two sides of an issue. Good luck with that.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  41. #41
    JMH
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    If we all agreed to start paying 30% more for bikes and components, maybe in a few years the shops could afford better employees. And give them benefits. And train them.

    My job could be selling Lear Jets to the Sultan of Brunei and if I was making $9 an hour part time, I might not give a **** either.

  42. #42
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    When I was younger, in the late 90s, I worked in a few different bike shops doing sales and repairs. I was only a middle/high school kid at the time, but I still treated customers with respect and tried to sell them something they would be happy with. I knew a lot of other people who worked at various shops in the area, and most of them acted the same way.

    After riding the same bike for 10 years, I decided it was time for something new a few months ago. I went to one shop that came highly recommended (Proteus in College Park, MD) and they were some of the nicest, most helpful people I've ever come across. Unfortunately, they really didn't have anything close to what I was looking for so I went to a couple other local shops who did. I would walk in, clearly be looking at new bikes, and be completely ignored by the sales people, who were standing around doing nothing. Eventually I had to go up to the front counter and interrupt their conversation to get someone to help me. The first sales guy was nice, but hardly knew a thing about any of the bikes. I could tell he was making things up as he went along, hoping I was equally clueless. Eventually he called over another sales guy to answer some of my questions, who acted like he was doing me a big favor and he had better things to do. I was so turned off by the whole thing, I bought a bike online and have continued to buy all of my parts and supplies online ever since. I know how to do my own repair work so I have no need to give the local shops my business.

  43. #43
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    worked in a shop for 10 plus years and it was easy to be professional and honest with customers, who are now all good friends that I ride with to this day. Gotta look or get lucky but there are good folks out there who genuinely share the stoke.

  44. #44
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    im lucky, i guess. we have a REI store here. they could care less if i buy something or return it all day long. i bought a MTB from them, rode it for a year and then the back wheel got all wobbly. i took it back, they tried to fix it but couldnt, so i switched it for a brand new GT MTB, which turns out it fits me way better.

  45. #45
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    Is the service from a shop really comparable to the service online? Why do people feel so bent out of shape about not a having live person to have a courteous conversation about a part at shop (without guaranteeing a sale), and then they go and order stuff from a machine online? How many online retailers do you call and shoot the $h!t with for an hour without buying anything? Go ahead and call pricepoint and see how long they talk to you if you don't know exactly what you want before you call.

    Seems like some people have their own snobby attitudes about how a salesperson is "supposed" to behave. And that may be contributing to you bad experiences.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino
    So if you're not happy with the service at the shop, talk to the manager. ...
    Yes!! The owner/manager is the one ultimately responsible for ensuring that customers have a good experience at the shop. They should ensure that every employee provides great customer service, and their job depends on it.

    The discussion about the price of the bike for racing reminds me of some local races I did about 20 years ago. A lot of guys would show up on their lightweight high-dollar bikes wearing matching kits, etc., and this one guy would show up with an entry-level heavy steel Trek, wearing surf shorts with his boxers hanging out, and basketball shoes, and he would proceed to kick everyone's butt. I remember that he would just dismount and run past everyone on the climbs. It was so cool to see, and made it obvious that I didn't need to upgrage my bike.

    I'm lucky that I have multiple LBSes that know about customer service. The people are eager to help, there is no pressure, and no snobbery. If they don't have a part I want they will order it, even if it is just a $10 item. When I bring in my 1993 vintage hardtail they don't scoff at it -- they think it's pretty cool to see that old stuff still being used. There are several locally-owned shops here plus big chains like REI, Performance, and Dick's, so they have to fight for your business.

  47. #47
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    When I go into a shop I expect a customer seller relationship, i neither expect or want some over exgratiating experience or to have someone act like they are doing me a favour , or bullsh1tin the living daylights out of me. I've found nowhere within an hours drive of me that doesn't fall down either on the above or by having the equivalent of a thousand monkeys with a thousand type writters working as a "mechanic"

  48. #48
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    I hate my LBS. I tried to warranty some grips last year that came on a 2002 Giant AC-1 that I gave my little brother a few years back and they wouldn't give me the time of day!

    They said they wouldn't warranty them because I didn't buy the bike there, nor were they ever a Giant dealer AND the manufacturer of the grips was no longer in business. Bunch of jerks.

    I hate them.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by slcrockymountainrider
    I hate my LBS. I tried to warranty some grips last year that came on a 2002 Giant AC-1 that I gave my little brother a few years back and they wouldn't give me the time of day!

    They said they wouldn't warranty them because I didn't buy the bike there, nor were they ever a Giant dealer AND the manufacturer of the grips was no longer in business. Bunch of jerks.

    I hate them.
    I think I had the same brand of grips. Were the floury? The grips on my Brentwood just failed one day as I was riding along. I almost crashed!!! I walked into the shop where I bought my bike and said "These grips suck! Fix it NOW! I am the customer and I am ALWAYS RIGHT! This place would be nothing, NOTHING without me!!!! AGGGHHH!"

    They did the work right away. That's how you have to deal with the LBS these days. Gotta intimidate them right from the start, or they will walk all over you.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMH
    If we all agreed to start paying 30% more for bikes and components, maybe in a few years the shops could afford better employees. And give them benefits. And train them.

    My job could be selling Lear Jets to the Sultan of Brunei and if I was making $9 an hour part time, I might not give a **** either.

    This is a pretty ignorant statement. Either you have never worked retail before, or you do not understand what it means to be in a sales-based industry. Satisfied customers = food on your table.

    And only making $9/hour is not an excuse for poor service. There are plenty of people out there looking for work who wouldn't complain about a wage like that.

  51. #51
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    the only thing worse than a dbag sales staff is a grumpy dbag wrench. fact.

  52. #52
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    I like the way when you read through this thread you can identify the people that work in LBS's and yet they still seem to want to go out there way to act like the numpties everyone else in this thread is complaining about

  53. #53
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    I understand it's hard to hire an employee that is:

    1. Competent and knowledgeable (either sales or shop tech)
    2. Will work for under $9/hour
    3. Is generally a pleasant person to be around
    4. Who isn't a jerk to retarded and/or ignorant customers
    5. Is smarter than your average high school graduate

    People like that can meet all five of those requirements generally are going to cost too much for an owner to fill the shop with. So, instead you get a mixture of good and bad employees. I find that the good shop owners keep the dickbag employees in the back of the shop working on bikes and not dealing with customers. Then you've got the sales staff that is friendly but knows less about the product than the customer. It's hard to find good employees, and not just in the bike business. The other problem with hourly, non-benefit employees is that once they gain experience, they move on to some place willing to pay them for it.

    What I find intolerable is when the shop owner or manager doesn't even meet the requirements above. I've encountered a few of those, and I don't spend any money at those shops any more. Thankfully, there are a few shops in town that manage to have friendly AND knowledgeable staff, and that's where I spend my money.
    "Got everything you need?"

  54. #54
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    If bike shop employees were jerks more often, I'd save a lot of $$.

    If I have a good experience in a bike shop, I almost always walk out with a lighter wallet.

  55. #55
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    With the bike I do like I do with the car: have it serviced/buy parts from all of them, as well as online when the savings is well worth it or can't find it locally. I like to support the local shops, but I've never had a discount when I was loyal to one of them, why should one get all the money for jobs that all of them do well?
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  56. #56
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    It goes without saying there are good shops and bad shops, if you are lucky to find a good one, give them business, recommend to all. I've been lucky there are 3-4 good ones by me, they are all talk tough over the phone, about how much they charge for service, but most of the time ended up charging me half or free, it's a good surprise because I expected to pay.

    It's a tough business no doubt, it's a tough sport with steep learning curve. Bikes, Frames, Components, Accessories, Gears you name it, there's one for everyone's liking, almost

    Riders go through stages. When you are new you either fixed on certain brands, or looks you want. Then move on to weight, and upgrades, then sensible durability.

    Component difference can turn a same $1700 bike in to a $4000 bike and some riders don't know why. New riders may not know from the start what make someone choose the more expensive over the other. It takes times to learn all this. That's why we still see people riding wallygoose, or Hybrid bikes on the trails. It's not their fault just hope they don't learn it the hard way.

    Bike shop requires their staffs to know the material as well as having great attitudes and people skills, at the same time will take $9/hour or less. Buying experience at LBS should be the opposite of buying a used car, it's best to tell the shop up front what you want to spend, what kind of experience you have, and what you expect out of the bike you purchase. Take the guessing game out of play.

    PITA would always be there, just have to deal with it. I witness first hand many instance where a customers would quote the online price(usually the lowest, closed out, eBay), and demand to be matched, well you know what the response would be, go get it there . My LBS I'd asked if they'll work with me on the price, usually they do and sometimes it's even cheaper than online, Bonus

    The problems I see is that most bike shops still model their business the old fashion way. Which way? it's for them to figure out. My definition of a "fair" price would be avg price of product+shipping+10-15% mark up. I'd spend money there. Also be current on the price trend, if a product price drop you'd just have to follow the trend after a while.

    I know that LBS do not buy product the same way online does, but it's the name of the game, if you want to play, know the rules.


    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_d
    I bet Lance could win a few local races with the $400 bike...
    No, he can not, if the bike ever breaks, he's done. He doesn't know how to fix the bike, even had a hard time fixing flats He a geek who does not ride a POS, if it break, and it will who's going to fix it for him.

    Can you race and win with the POS, Absolutely! Will you keep racing with the same POS after you win, Absolutely Not!

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by HTFR
    First off what the hell does lance have to do with any thing?

    I dont appreciate the emotional picture you paint about the guy. The guy came in wanting to get into road racing. I dont know how much money the guy has, so I show him the mid to low end spectrum of what would be a competitive road bike. (What I show everybody who is looking to get into raod). He might have a couple million he might not. I dont know. I find it condescending when some one assumes I only have 3 bucks in my pocket.

    You are a prime example of what Im talking about. You think im arrogant and you weren't there. The guy comes in wanting advise and Im a bad guy because this is an expensive sport. I deal with college kids try to commute to school on $350 all the way to a regular who buys a new $works every year with no questions. You cant just look at someone and assume.

    How d!ck would it be if I just sold him what ever just to get a sale. Telling him "oh yeah this would be great for road racing". Or someone talking you down from the bike you want because you dont know they dont have your size in stock. Or if someone came in looking for a full on competition level XC race bike (that the shop cant get) and talking them into an equally expensive something else because its available. This ***** happens. Dont be so quick to judge! Im just saying it is easy for a bike shop to get a bad rap over something stuid. And for some reason it usually happens when someone asks questions, doesnt like the answers, and getts all pissy.
    This guy is quite correct. I have seen things like this first hand.

    "Hey I wanna do road/xc/downhill/etc etc. What kinda bikes do you have?" And they expect to walk outta there with a completely tricked out down hill rock humper 6000. Most people don't realize how expensive a good bike can be.

    I'd HOPE the people on this forum understand you really do get what you pay for 90% of the time with most any type of bike.

    Would you want some pos bike that you will more than likely be disappointed in, and on top of that be back half way through the season to replace the damn thing? No, I don't like that idea.

    Are there snobs out there that think in order to even TRY to get involved in any kind of cycling you need to drop a mortgage payment? Yes, more than a few. But that can be confused with trying to sell quality too. Most people that work in a LBS (in my experience) have ridden bikes all their lives. So they know what's a good product and what isn't, because they have more than likely used the very same products they sell (of coarse I'm assuming everyone subscribes to the business practice of not selling **** to your customers).

    Show them the best, show them the worst. Let them see the difference, and decide where their needs land on that scale. If I own a LBS I'm telling my employees to put our customers in a ride that they need, like, and won't return in 10 days or have it fall apart on them. I'm not going to let some guy walk outta my LBS with 400 dollar road bike and then have him tell all the guys at his cycling club "I got this 89 fuji at so-so's bike shop, they said it'd be awesome for me" So customer X spends the next 8 hours sucking wind and hates the sport.

    I think LBS's have to tread a fine line of giving the customer the best deal, but also giving him/her something they will enjoy and be proud of. It'd kinda be like going into a well respected tattoo parlor and saying you want a penis on your forehead. They won't do it, because they don't want a reputation of providing shitty product to their customers.

    Does that make the d-bags justified? No, never. But it is easy to get wires crossed and think the LBS is just pushing the most expensive what-ever on you.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_d
    I bet Lance could win a few local races with the $400 bike...

    If I had an experience like that, guess what? I would never step foot in that shop ever again and tell all my friends to stay away. Period. The dude was justified in my opinion.

    He worked hard earning what little money he had, and you just had to insult him like that? I am betting you are a great guy, but maybe you need to step back and think about your choice of words.

    Customer service goes a long way.

    Bryan d
    No he couldn't.

    Plastic pedals and drivechains designed for casual use would break under the stress of any race Lance has done in the last 10 years.

    No salesperson in any industry would push products almost 8 times over their customers price range, either.

    A customer comes in, and depending on the topic of conservation, I steer him towards certain kinds of bikes.

    He says, "I want to start riding to work", I steer him towards the $500 bikes (except for the guy who was commuting 50 miles round trip).

    He says, "Well, I'm thinking about doing criteriums", then the carbon bikes is the way.

    That's a pretty obvious distinction, but the real question is how to do you approach the guy who just walked into the shop?

    I mean if this customer wanted a $400 bike, where was the communication breakdown that had him shown a Tarmac?

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro
    No he couldn't.

    Yes he could. Forge Sawback 5xx.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro
    No he couldn't.

    Plastic pedals and drivechains designed for casual use would break under the stress of any race Lance has done in the last 10 years.

    No salesperson in any industry would push products almost 8 times over their customers price range, either.

    A customer comes in, and depending on the topic of conservation, I steer him towards certain kinds of bikes.

    He says, "I want to start riding to work", I steer him towards the $500 bikes (except for the guy who was commuting 50 miles round trip).

    He says, "Well, I'm thinking about doing criteriums", then the carbon bikes is the way.

    That's a pretty obvious distinction, but the real question is how to do you approach the guy who just walked into the shop?

    I mean if this customer wanted a $400 bike, where was the communication breakdown that had him shown a Tarmac?

    lol, so true! some people just get on the boat and rant

    It's commonsense how can a conversation of a $400 bike turn into a gotta get the $3600 bike, somethings is missing or someone is fibbing.

  61. #61
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    Hah, after 5 years of riding, i just recently found an lbs that isnt filled with *******s...

    And, with what jt said, perhaps if CS was better, those bike shop people would be getting paid more because people would acctually want to shop there...

    Ive never felt like an ******* clicking at all the part at pricepoint or jenson, i like online shopping, mainly cause i never get mail...hehe
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  62. #62
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    This Sunday, I had a salesman turn me off at a LBS,
    I wanted a Kona Brochure and was interested in seeing the Kona Abra Cadabra, they had one, when I saw, what appeared to be a cheezy looking spring loaded device, located above the bottom bracket. I asked did it work! To me the location would also create a nice resting place for trail debris from the rear tire. I thought I would get and explanation, however I received a very arrogant "No it doesn't do anything! Kona just put it there for looks!" at first I thought he was kidding, but he was not and never smiled during our 10 to 15 minute conversation. I was turned off and just wanted to get away from this guy. After I said the bike was to heavy and was not interested, he tried to tranfer me to Brand S. Which i don't like because of personal experience with the brand. He demanded an explaination. I just wanted to leave, and when the opportunity came i did.
    I also threw the Kona Brochure in their trash bin.

    Even at $9/hr, get someone friendly in sales.

    I emailed the General Manager about my experience.

  63. #63
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    Some shops suck, some are great, and some customers will never be happy. That's the way it goes.
    I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

  64. #64
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    Bicycle shops and motorcycle shops are one in the same with customer service. Whenever I get better-than-you attitude from shop sales guys, I will straight tell them that I make four times what they do a year and to get a real job. It's true. Show me some respect as I spend my hard earned cash where you work and provide you your livelihood.

    I've worked in shops and I was good at it. I enjoyed it and I worked hard at them to make money and to be immersed with people that enjoy riding.

    If you were that good at riding, one, you'd not be working and/or two, you'd be a lot cooler about it.

  65. #65
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    I think most bike shop problems (not all) tend to be problems with communication, frequently at both ends. Remember, you get pretty big mixes of very savvy and knowledgeable customers and complete beginners, and its frequently up to the employee to educate and teach customers what they can expect out of a given bike and price range, so that they can get exactly what they want, and still have the correct expectations.

    If somebody comes in and wants a bike as cheap as possible, thats great, its awesome and I'd love to get them riding and help them out, but its also part of my job to make sure they know that it simply wont last as long, and it'll be getting maint. more frequently (or fall apart much quicker) in order to make it work correctly. I'm not looking for an upsell when I do this, I just don't want to sell the guy a 250 bike with the tagline BEST BIKE EVER IT"LL BE GREAT FOR EVERYTHING" and have him come back in a few months pissed off because the pedal is falling apart, the paint is dim, and the bike feels nowhere near as good as it did in the store.

    Generally, people that come in with reasonable expectations (eg, I can get a good solid reliable town bike for 350-500, something a little nicer and more bling blang for more frequently/daily use town riding for 500-800, etc etc) come out having a great experience. The people who come in expecting that since they paid 30 dollars for a singlespeed huffy cruiser made in the USA in 1951, 400 dollars should get them a top of the line handmade carbon USA crafted road bike that lance could ride, are pretty well destined for disappointment, and not everybody is capable of explaining bad news very nicely.

    Also, the last thing - bike shops are in it for the money. I agree, there are some shops that suck balls, but at the end of the day, they need to make sales, and as customers don't walk around with signs on their head saying "just browsing today" or "I'm looking in the 400 dollar range" there is one more place for errors in communication - frequently the customer doesn't know exactly what they want, and give some vague specifications, and its up to the employee to start showing them some baslines of what they can expect with various types of bicycles.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpuk
    I like the way when you read through this thread you can identify the people that work in LBS's and yet they still seem to want to go out there way to act like the numpties everyone else in this thread is complaining about
    Classic. Did you get too many wedgies as a child?

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by William42
    I think most bike shop problems (not all) tend to be problems with communication, frequently at both ends. Remember, you get pretty big mixes of very savvy and knowledgeable customers and complete beginners, and its frequently up to the employee to educate and teach customers what they can expect out of a given bike and price range, so that they can get exactly what they want, and still have the correct expectations.

    If somebody comes in and wants a bike as cheap as possible, thats great, its awesome and I'd love to get them riding and help them out, but its also part of my job to make sure they know that it simply wont last as long, and it'll be getting maint. more frequently (or fall apart much quicker) in order to make it work correctly. I'm not looking for an upsell when I do this, I just don't want to sell the guy a 250 bike with the tagline BEST BIKE EVER IT"LL BE GREAT FOR EVERYTHING" and have him come back in a few months pissed off because the pedal is falling apart, the paint is dim, and the bike feels nowhere near as good as it did in the store.

    Generally, people that come in with reasonable expectations (eg, I can get a good solid reliable town bike for 350-500, something a little nicer and more bling blang for more frequently/daily use town riding for 500-800, etc etc) come out having a great experience. The people who come in expecting that since they paid 30 dollars for a singlespeed huffy cruiser made in the USA in 1951, 400 dollars should get them a top of the line handmade carbon USA crafted road bike that lance could ride, are pretty well destined for disappointment, and not everybody is capable of explaining bad news very nicely.

    Also, the last thing - bike shops are in it for the money. I agree, there are some shops that suck balls, but at the end of the day, they need to make sales, and as customers don't walk around with signs on their head saying "just browsing today" or "I'm looking in the 400 dollar range" there is one more place for errors in communication - frequently the customer doesn't know exactly what they want, and give some vague specifications, and its up to the employee to start showing them some baslines of what they can expect with various types of bicycles.
    This pretty much says everything.
    I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino
    This is a pretty ignorant statement. Either you have never worked retail before, or you do not understand what it means to be in a sales-based industry. Satisfied customers = food on your table.

    And only making $9/hour is not an excuse for poor service. There are plenty of people out there looking for work who wouldn't complain about a wage like that.
    Actually, it's an extremely informed statement that you either don't agree with or don't understand. I don't agree with or condone the treatment of the OP, but scenarios like this happen all the time... why is that?

    $9/hour is not an excuse for poor service, it merely explains why you sometimes encounter poor service. If wages were higher, there would be more competition for jobs and a higher level of professionalism. If bike shop mechanics were paid $40/hour, it would be safe to assume that you would find higher numbers of long-term employees who value their jobs and have turned them into professions. As long as wages are barely more than those paid by Burger King, you will tend to get employees who are a bit more professional than those at Burger King. As long as online retailers can kill the LBS with pricing, salaries won't increase because people are unwilling to pay for good service. But boy are they sure willing to whine about the opposite.

    If you don't see the logic in this, "Either you have never worked retail before, or you do not understand what it means to be in a sales-based industry."

    And yeah, I have worked in three different shops and held numerous CS jobs over the years. I don't devalue these jobs or the people like me that do them. Rather, I accept the reality of getting what you pay for as an employer AND a customer. And I have certainly cold-shouldered an entitled assbag or two when he marched into the shop thinking he was doing me a favor. The customer is not always right.
    Last edited by JMH; 12-14-2010 at 02:18 PM.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMH
    ...people are unwilling to pay for good service. But boy are they sure willing to whine about the opposite.
    word!

    Quote Originally Posted by JMH
    ...And I have certainly cold-shouldered an entitled assbag or two when he marched into the shop thinking he was doing me a favor. The customer is not always right.
    "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

    BTW, lets not forget this right was exercised on the OP. And from my experience, it takes more than just a missed sale of two commuter slicks for this to happen.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMH
    Actually, it's an extremely informed statement that you either don't agree with or don't understand. I don't agree with or condone the treatment of the OP, but scenarios like this happen all the time... why is that?

    $9/hour is not an excuse for poor service, it merely explains why you sometimes encounter poor service. If wages were higher, there would be more competition for jobs and a higher level of professionalism. If bike shop mechanics were payed $40/hour, it would be safe to assume that you would find higher numbers of long-term employees who value their jobs and have turned them into professions. As long as wages are barely more than those paid by Burger King, you will tend to get employees who are a bit more professional than those at Burger King. As long as online retailers can kill the LBS with pricing, salaries won't increase because people are unwilling to pay for good service. But boy are they sure willing to whine about the opposite.

    If you don't see the logic in this, "Either you have never worked retail before, or you do not understand what it means to be in a sales-based industry."

    And yeah, I have worked in three different shops and held numerous CS jobs over the years. I don't devalue these jobs or the people like me that do them. Rather, I accept the reality of getting what you pay for as an employer AND a customer. And I have certainly cold-shouldered an entitled assbag or two when he marched into the shop thinking he was doing me a favor. The customer is not always right.
    Right. In the shop that I work at, my two full time co-workers (4 including my boss and his wife) are just about the most knowledgeable and pleasant people you could ever hope to meet. I don't know how much they are paid, but it's not a lot. Despite their wonderful attitude, we still get the occasional indignant customer who is angry about nothing. One very sad customer coldly accused one of my coworkers of pulling a "bait & switch" when the bike he had inquired about the previous week was not available the week after. This was because we had not yet received the catalogs for the new year of inventory and we were not aware that the company had discontinued that particular model. In no way did any shop employee pressure him into buying something else, but he still left pissed off.

    ^^That's when my boss comes in. He's not so pleasant sometimes...more practical-minded. If a customer is being ridiculous, he will tell them to leave. If they are unhappy with work we've done and will not accept any of our resolutions, he will not hesitate to write them a check for the full amount and tell them to "leave and tell your friends about it..."

    Shops aren't easy to run.
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  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    Classic. Did you get too many wedgies as a child?
    .........really?

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMH
    $9/hour is not an excuse for poor service, it merely explains why you sometimes encounter poor service.
    My response was because your first statement inferred that it was acceptable for low-wage employees to treat customers poorly. I think there is a minimum level of service expected of all employees, regardless of pay - your first post indicates you believe otherwise.

    If I had a $9/hour employee who regularly treated customers poorly, I'd replace them with someone better. It's not rocket science, but some shops still don't get it.

    That's the beauty of capitalism - I can just take my business elsewhere. The shop will eventually suffer for treating me (or the OP) in a condescending or insulting fashion.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino
    My response was because your first statement inferred that it was acceptable for low-wage employees to treat customers poorly. I think there is a minimum level of service expected of all employees, regardless of pay - your first post indicates you believe otherwise.

    If I had a $9/hour employee who regularly treated customers poorly, I'd replace them with someone better. It's not rocket science, but some shops still don't get it.

    That's the beauty of capitalism - I can just take my business elsewhere. The shop will eventually suffer for treating me (or the OP) in a condescending or insulting fashion.
    Fair enough, I wasn't too clear.

    I do believe that, unfortunately, there is a minimum wage that must be surpassed before you can stop hiring idiotic kids (like I was) and find folks that give a damn and understand that good CS makes them more money. The LBS is on that thin line, and I don't envy a shop trying to build a reliable staff that can handle the roughly 1 in 5 customers that is completely unbearable.

    No, really, there are THAT many on some days.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMH
    Fair enough, I wasn't too clear.

    I do believe that, unfortunately, there is a minimum wage that must be surpassed before you can stop hiring idiotic kids (like I was) and find folks that give a damn and understand that good CS makes them more money. The LBS is on that thin line, and I don't envy a shop trying to build a reliable staff that can handle the roughly 1 in 5 customers that is completely unbearable.

    No, really, there are THAT many on some days.

    Minimum wage in your state is $7.25/hour. Making almost 125% of minimum wage is better than almost all of my jobs in high school and college, which included a bike shop, multiple restaurants, and as a sales associate in a clothing store at a mall. I didn't feel that my low pay was an excuse to suck at my job, because I knew that if I performed above average, I would be rewarded, if only with a good reputation.

    It's not always about the pay. It could be about the community, the opportunity, the benefits or simply the work environment. The culture of the shop needs to be about educating and servicing customers, starting with the owner or manager. This will attract quality employees and more business.

    Hopefully the OP's LBS can figure this out on their own.

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    There are good shops and there are bad shops, the common problem is they are all stoned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirthead451
    ... Whenever I get better-than-you attitude from shop sales guys, I will straight tell them that I make four times what they do a year and to get a real job. .
    I call your 4x and raise you 10x your salary.

    Does that make me better than you?

    I've worked on farms, in my family's boarding kennel business (talk about dealing with adzholes, usually the rich guys were the worst), for minimum wage, restaurants, bars, US Army, etc etc.

    Now I'm comfortable, and don't feel threatened or PO'd when I get bad service. BUT, I like having an LBS three miles away, and I give the workers the benefit of the doubt. I know more than most of the sales guys there, and that's not too much. I like the owner (even though he's a roadie), and I give them all the business I can. They give me a fair price, and I want them to survive.

    /rant off

    I need to go for a ride, but sub-freezing is too cold for me.

    dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Misfire
    I've been in a few shops where you can just FEEL the condescending looks.

    If you don't walk in there with a 3500 dollar felt road bike and an italian accent, half the time they treat you like you don't know what you are doing. Or as if you found your bike on a trail some wheres and wandered in on accident.


    But that isn't the norm in my experience.
    That exactly how a shop nearby is. Thankfully there's another shop nearby that does nothing but good things for me and all their other customers

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    In a way I am glad my LBS is full of pricks. It removes the guilt from doing all my shopping online. If they were totally cool, I'd feel compelled to pay double for all my parts to support them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885
    The problems I see is that most bike shops still model their business the old fashion way. Which way? it's for them to figure out. My definition of a "fair" price would be avg price of product+shipping+10-15% mark up. I'd spend money there.
    By your formula ^^ that means that we should lose money on every sale. If you had any idea what it costs to run a successful retail operation today you would change your ideas.

    Some of us pay dramatically better than the assumptions I'm seeing thrown around in here. Even the "stockboy" at my shop makes over $15/hr. We have a full time year round staff of more than 25 and to keep "A Team" players so we can provide the level of service that you folks expect margins need to be WAY higher than the no service (during and after the sale) online retailers. If you have the ability to purchase the right product at the right price and install it yourself then by all means go ahead and save a buck but don't just assume that we're all overpriced and incompetent.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover
    By your formula ^^ that means that we should lose money on every sale. If you had any idea what it costs to run a successful retail operation today you would change your ideas.

    Some of us pay dramatically better than the assumptions I'm seeing thrown around in here. Even the "stockboy" at my shop makes over $15/hr. We have a full time year round staff of more than 25 and to keep "A Team" players so we can provide the level of service that you folks expect margins need to be WAY higher than the no service (during and after the sale) online retailers. If you have the ability to purchase the right product at the right price and install it yourself then by all means go ahead and save a buck but don't just assume that we're all overpriced and incompetent.


    Thanks for this. I admit that I'm not sure how much some shop employees get paid nowadays, but your example adds further support to my argument that it shouldn't be a problem finding good employees.

    I knew there were a lot of unemployed people out there who would love a $9/hour job, but would kill for a $15/hour job. That seems like a great wage considering I didn't get paid that much until after I graduated college...

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    Seems like in my area we have the extremes - a few shops that only cater to the 5k and above roadie crowd and many shops that don't know anything about parts or technology. With the first type you get ignored if they don't know you, the 2nd type acts like you're asking for a kidney if you ask them to order something they don't have. First one has racers working for extra cash, the latter has stoned high school kids.

    Unfortunately the only store where they know their stuff and actually greet you is a Specialized concept store so the selection is limited. But I like specialized tires and shoes so they've gotten most of my locally spent money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by olegbabich
    There are good shops and there are bad shops, the common problem is they are all stoned.

    You know what is sad about that statement, IT'S FAWKING TRUE!!!!! A bunch of kids who spend all of their free time building up their bikes when they are not riding and when they aren't doing that, they are busy snorting bath salt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rael
    I call your 4x and raise you 10x your salary.

    Does that make me better than you?

    I've worked on farms, in my family's boarding kennel business (talk about dealing with adzholes, usually the rich guys were the worst), for minimum wage, restaurants, bars, US Army, etc etc.

    Now I'm comfortable, and don't feel threatened or PO'd when I get bad service. BUT, I like having an LBS three miles away, and I give the workers the benefit of the doubt. I know more than most of the sales guys there, and that's not too much. I like the owner (even though he's a roadie), and I give them all the business I can. They give me a fair price, and I want them to survive.

    /rant off

    I need to go for a ride, but sub-freezing is too cold for me.

    dave
    At 10x what I make I would certainly treat you with respect and make you feel better about it as I peel those $100 bills out of your hands. I get better service spending $5 on a burrito at a taco shop than I do at the majority of the shops here in San Diego.

    Yes, in my book, disrespect earns disrespect. You want to be petty, I'll dish it right back at you. I've paid my dues. I have money to burn.

    It's not like I would ever walk in anywhere with"I make such and such" as my first attitude or state it to earn respect, acceptance, or to be better than thou. Again I've paid my dues.

    I am there to spend money and no other reason. Not listen to the shop numbnut about how cool he thinks he is or how not in-the-know he thinks I am. I've been in the "industry" and I get it and I'm over it. Make me feel good about spending my money at your shop.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirthead451
    At 10x what I make I would certainly treat you with respect and make you feel better about it as I peel those $100 bills out of your hands. I get better service spending $5 on a burrito at a taco shop than I do at the majority of the shops here in San Diego.

    Yes, in my book, disrespect earns disrespect. You want to be petty, I'll dish it right back at you. I've paid my dues. I have money to burn.

    It's not like I would ever walk in anywhere with"I make such and such" as my first attitude or state it to earn respect, acceptance, or to be better than thou. Again I've paid my dues.

    I am there to spend money and no other reason. Not listen to the shop numbnut about how cool he thinks he is or how not in-the-know he thinks I am. I've been in the "industry" and I get it and I'm over it. Make me feel good about spending my money at your shop.
    That's only because you can't order a burrito through nashbar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    Classic. Did you get too many wedgies as a child?
    lol..it's like you are not getting it.Folks here are describing their experiences dealing with their LBS. All these guys saying how they have been negatively affected and you are finding fault with us and expressing your irritation with us by your commentary. Which you are totally allowed to do but do you realize that it is simply lending confirmation to what we are stating about the poor level of treatment we have experienced from LBS staff?

    You own a bike shop or work at one I presume?

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moozh
    lol..it's like you are not getting it.Folks here are describing their experiences dealing with their LBS. All these guys saying how they have been negatively affected and you are finding fault with us and expressing your irritation with us by your commentary. Which you are totally allowed to do but do you realize that it is simply lending confirmation to what we are stating about the poor level of treatment we have experienced from LBS staff?

    You own a bike shop or work at one I presume?
    Yes, you presume. And you presume wrong. What is this, Sharks vs. Jets? When you're a jet your a jet your a jet all the way!

    I don't own a shop. I don't work in a shop. I have worked at the deli section of a super market slicing meat. Some people are very particular about how they want their meat sliced, and let me tell you, there are some customers that just cannot be civil.

    As far as bike shops, I have been to crappy shops and good shops. I buy parts online. I also buy designer coffee (since moving to Seattle). There are some BS snobby coffee shops here. One time, I got some attitude cause I didn't order a fancy espresso drink, just a regular drip. I threw a tantrum, and they kicked me out!!! Can you believe that? And do you know what? I will never do business with them again (not that I have a choice at this point)!!! I hope that shop fails! My pride is permanently bruised!!!

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover
    By your formula ^^ that means that we should lose money on every sale. If you had any idea what it costs to run a successful retail operation today you would change your ideas.

    Some of us pay dramatically better than the assumptions I'm seeing thrown around in here. Even the "stockboy" at my shop makes over $15/hr. We have a full time year round staff of more than 25 and to keep "A Team" players so we can provide the level of service that you folks expect margins need to be WAY higher than the no service (during and after the sale) online retailers. If you have the ability to purchase the right product at the right price and install it yourself then by all means go ahead and save a buck but don't just assume that we're all overpriced and incompetent.

    May be your math is wrong

    Give you and example of what I'm talking about

    2010 Shimano XTR Hollowtech II Crankset FC-M970 w/BB
    Retail at 675, could be sold in January 2010 at retail, if I wanted bad enough I'd buy it.

    Now the avg price is $400-430, cheapest is about 370 free shipping from Asia (we'd scratch that)

    I'd walk in to my LBS and pay 425+15(shipping)+mark up any where from $30-50+tax so roughly $500-525, I'll be ok with that. If you are expecting to charge $675+tax on 2010 XTR triple then you are not being competitive. What's wrong with my math? Unless you are selling Chris Kings stuff where the price is fixed, you gotta update your market price. Especially, now that Dyna-sys 2x10 is selling at the same retail price. How much do you sell yours for? Tell me I'm not fair on my price. Obviously, I have no bargaining power if I want the 2011 XTR, and I accept that.

    BTW, I got my XTR groupo from Asia for about 1k and they made money on the sales, so I know there's room for profit. Different story now that the $ is so weak if not the 2011 XTR groupo would be about the same price as well.

    You can go on charging full premium on tubes, housing, accessories, shoes, clothing, and what not. The hot selling items its best to follow the trend, surely your staffs do not pay full price for the product, and they often browsed online for parts and price. May be you as the owner do the same as well.

    We are all hope that price of things go up but reality is they go down, so the longer you keep the products the more money you loose, once the credit become liability you need to let go of the high ticket items to minimized damage and maximized profit. If the product is dated it must be priced accordingly. That's what it take to run a successful retail business. It's my commonsense, tell me I'm wrong. It's not the customer's fault the market price change.

    I make no assumption, there are good shop and bad shop. But I know the good one survived, because they adapted and stay current. I gave a lot of Kudos to shops that stay competitive on the forum, I want them to succeed. I bought a FiveTen at InCycles Pasadena, most selling for $125, I just asked if they work with me on the price, they said yes, I took it to the register not knowing how much, hoping $5-10, they gave me 25% off. That's a sure way to keep a customer.

    You are the shop, you are the expert of your domain, what can be discount, and not. Charging premium on everything is just not the way to go, I may not know retail but I'm an expert in being a repeat customer, and I would not come back, as you can only skin me once

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    Haha this thread cracks me up. It's totally the same as motorcycle shops.

    People get into owning or working at bike shops because they love bikes. Almost none of them know how to run a business - at first. If you're lucky they learn some customer service too. They can't pay much so they hire kids who love bikes too. 9 times out of 10 at the LBS I'm talking to somebody half my age.

    At small shops, make it a point to find out who the owner is and talk to him (or her). Because that's a guy who knows a lot about bikes. And he doesn't want to work for The Man anymore either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirthead451
    At 10x what I make I would certainly treat you with respect and make you feel better about it as I peel those $100 bills out of your hands. I get better service spending $5 on a burrito at a taco shop than I do at the majority of the shops here in San Diego.

    Yes, in my book, disrespect earns disrespect. You want to be petty, I'll dish it right back at you. I've paid my dues. I have money to burn.

    It's not like I would ever walk in anywhere with"I make such and such" as my first attitude or state it to earn respect, acceptance, or to be better than thou. Again I've paid my dues.

    I am there to spend money and no other reason. Not listen to the shop numbnut about how cool he thinks he is or how not in-the-know he thinks I am. I've been in the "industry" and I get it and I'm over it. Make me feel good about spending my money at your shop.
    I didn't mean to be too harsh. I would never try to get one up on someone by talkiing salaries. I've worked too long at minimum wage to think I'm any better now because of my paycheck.

    I agree with you on "making me feel good about spending my money at your shop". If I get poor service at a restaurant, I'll leave a smaller tip than usual (you got to really screw up to get stiffed from this ex-waiter/busboy/bartender). If the food is bad, or the owner is rude, I'll never go back.

    At my LBS, I bought a bunch of stuff a few months back - shirt, Fox hoodie (luv it!), winter socks, power bars, probably spent $300. The owner checked me out and said "Thanks for giving me your business". He also gives me a 20% discount off of everything, because of my repeat business (even special orders). That will give him my loyalty even if I run into a snot-nosed grom sales guy next time I go there. And forget about the wrenches, but they are the only ones that know their ****, so I put up with them somewhat.

    It's not easy running a small business, and with the internet, LBS could go the way of hardware stores, ma & pa grocers, record shops, musical instrument stores, etc. They need to adapt, and we need to patronize them or they'll be gone soon.

    dave
    08 575
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    yep those things happen. there's also this fitness supplement website i've been loyal to for quite sometime. but on the last order i made, they clearly mixed up my message. i think because of they're so big and they got this mailing program that will direct incoming email to the next person on the last one receiving email.

    so the first email i told them that my order is not complete, some items are missing. the first guy check it out, and admit that was their fault and said they'll send me the missing items. so i reply the email and told him to postpone the shipment of missing items, because i wanted to order something else in addition of it and also want the items to be sent to other address. which will save cost for them too on shipping fee. the next guy said it'll be no problem and will wait for my confirmation on ordering and settling the bill.

    not long after i received an email from the courier for my Air Way Bill. i was shocked and forward the message to the customer service, and ask them to put it on hold or at least change the receiver address. but the guy who's replying, i'm late on giving a notice like that.

    WTF man??? two of his colleagues already confirmed that i can add additional order to shipped together and can change the address. that's a very dissapointing facts. i usually very happy with their excellent service. just minutes after i sent email to them at any time, i'll get the reply already.

  91. #91
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Taranis's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    Well here's my 2c.
    I have worked in customer service for years doing technical support, from entry level to database and network support with end users who have masters in CS to those who just got their first computer. I just got my first bike last year and went from shop to shop till I found one that was not snobbish, off-putting and impatient, 6 shops till I found my LBS that get all of my business.

    The trick is to figure out the person's experience level- it's usually not hard, you just listen to the language and terminology they use. Then one has to strike the right balance of informative and helpful without being condescendingly basic in the information provided.

    One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the newb does not usually like anyone to know that they are a newb and can be really sensitive and defensive if they detect the slightest condescension. They are scared that they will look and feel stupid.

    A good salesperson will ask a lot of questions and listen more than they talk for the first ten minutes. Don’t be afraid to ask about a persons experience level, -but don’t ask what they have to spend in the first two sentences! You will probably understand better than they do what bike and riding is best for them in the first 30 secs, but keep asking questions anyway and once you have a complete picture explain why you recommend what based on what they have just told you.

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