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  1. #1
    mmm...vegan pancakes
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    mechanic liberation

    im so sick of everybody ragging on their mechanics about doing this or that wrong. or the LBS charging too much for their products (it's a business, not everyone can get it at cost, or discounted, or we would die). all your conspiracy theories about them purposfully screwing you, or tinkering with your bike purposefully to make you frown, yea i have purposefully screwed an arrogant customer or two (say put a ball bearing in their frame, clink clink clink all the time) because they treated me with the utmost disrespect possible. and came in with this attitude, challenging my intelligence, or my legitimacy. so hearing all of you saying this stuff, it's no wonder you have complaints, i wouldn't give you a smile with the service either. it's a job for me, I dont care about every customer, or their bike. dont pretend like i should. i love bikes, but being around them all the time, and dealing with snotty people 8 hours a day 5 days a week makes me hate it sometimes. and then you misguided fools can't get over yourselves and your bikes. if you want to buy parts online, do it. if you wanna put them on yourself, do it. but stop whinning about going into your LBS and them treating you like what you are, just another arrogant, disloyal customer, not supporting local businesses. you aren't special in their eyes i promise. if you aren't cool to them, and aren't loyal to them, why should they treat you with such respect. you need to get over yourselves. ive had other jobs, and people have never in any other industry other than this tried to pretend like they are so much above you. bike people seem to think they know the answer to all the problems of the world but all of them revolve aroud them. And so they have this arrogance that they bring with them everywhere, and thats why you get treated like nothing. just get over yourself, treat me with respect, and i'll do the same. and please stop the LBS trashing. without us you would be lost half the time. as many stories as you all have of us (the LBS) messing something up, I have 10 where the customer has messed something up. even you "all knowing" snotty brats out there, you know who you are, you've done it too. we're all human, we make mistakes. do you go to your job everyday and smile at everybody, and do every single menial task perfect every time with a ear to ear grin. NO! i'm sure of it. so in conclusion they are bikes, ride them, have fun, and don't take them or yourselves so damned serio
    blah blah blah...

  2. #2
    Member DeeMaGlee's Avatar
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    I hear you loud and clear. This also applies to any other service person, including the checkout assistant at your supermarket or the mailman or trash collector or the McDonald's burger-flipper. (Not meaning to put any LBS mechanic in the same skill level as a burger-flipper...) It's a good exercise in perspective to mentally put yourself in the other person's shoes for a few seconds. Dammit everyone, BE NICE!

    I read a study a long time ago that said a disgruntled customer will tell 8 people on average about the poor service they experienced compared to just 2 people when they get satisfactory service. (Those numbers aren't exactly correct, but it makes the point.)
    --deemaglee
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  3. #3
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    "yea i have purposefully screwed an arrogant customer or two (say put a ball bearing in their frame, clink clink clink all the time) because they treated me with the utmost disrespect possible. and came in with this attitude, challenging my intelligence, or my legitimacy."

    I hope this is a troll, but if you are willing to sabotage a paying customer's bike, then you deserve the disrespect you complain of. You are providing a service for money. The least you should do and have is the integrity and sense of value of your own work to deliver that. Unfortunately your customers aren't the only one with an attitude problem.

    If you can't stand dealing with the public on a customer basis--and make no mistake, not everyone is cut out for that, people can be wrong, unreasonable, and a real pain sometimes--then that is a message to you that you belong somewhere else doing something else.

  4. #4
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    I hope you own the shop you work in because you should get fired with that attitude.

  5. #5
    Senior Member spunkyruss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crusty_pedals
    .....i have purposefully screwed an arrogant customer or two (say put a ball bearing in their frame, clink clink clink all the time) .....
    Wouldn't it work better if you put a blop of grease into the frame first, and then stuck the ball bearing into the grease? The ball bearing would eventually work itself loose to make noise, but it would take long enough that they might not suspect that you had anything to do with it.

  6. #6
    Ferrous wheel
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    Sounds like you're in the wrong business.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by crusty_pedals
    it's a job for me, I dont care about every customer, or their bike. dont pretend like i should. i love bikes, but being around them all the time, and dealing with snotty people 8 hours a day 5 days a week makes me hate it sometimes.
    As a mechanic who is making this his life's work, I advise you to leave the industry. It's an attitude like that that gives the rest of us a bad name and is what creates the sort of customer you're describing. I'm hesitant to even refer to you as a mechanic, because that'd be putting you in the same group as me and I want nothing to do with that.

    I don't work in a shop anymore (more on that in a second) but when I did I treated every single bike as if it were my own. From $6000+ Dura-Ace/Record equipped road bikes to $69.99 Wal-Mart specials. My purpose for being there was to make the bike work and make the customer happy, and that's what I did, every time.

    These days I'm a factory mechanic for a major bike manufacturer and I although I don't have any direct contact with the consumer anymore I still put the same amount of pride into every bike I lay my hands on; whether it be a 16" kids bike that somehow found it's way to my workbench or a prototype downhill bike that only a handful of people on the planet have ever seen.

    You're not a mechanic. You're a kid* that got a job at a shop to buy parts cheap that wound up having to turn wrenches. You don't enjoy what you do so you do a poor job at it and you get angry when people call you out on it. You put no pride in your work and it shows.

    It bothers me too when I see or hear people giving their mechanics grief over something. It bugs me too, but you know what? I've watched a lot of other "mechanics" work, I've fixed a lot of other "mechanics" work, and I can completely understand why there's grief to be given.

    All I can do is try to do my job the best I can and hope that I can make people happy with my work. Hopefully they'll pass on the word.

    * I don't know how old you are, and I must admit I'm only 23, but your attitude and writing style don't say much for your maturity.
    i ride bikes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fore
    As a mechanic who is making this his life's work, I advise you to leave the industry. It's an attitude like that that gives the rest of us a bad name and is what creates the sort of customer you're describing. I'm hesitant to even refer to you as a mechanic, because that'd be putting you in the same group as me and I want nothing to do with that.

    I don't work in a shop anymore (more on that in a second) but when I did I treated every single bike as if it were my own. From $6000+ Dura-Ace/Record equipped road bikes to $69.99 Wal-Mart specials. My purpose for being there was to make the bike work and make the customer happy, and that's what I did, every time.

    These days I'm a factory mechanic for a major bike manufacturer and I although I don't have any direct contact with the consumer anymore I still put the same amount of pride into every bike I lay my hands on; whether it be a 16" kids bike that somehow found it's way to my workbench or a prototype downhill bike that only a handful of people on the planet have ever seen.

    You're not a mechanic. You're a kid* that got a job at a shop to buy parts cheap that wound up having to turn wrenches. You don't enjoy what you do so you do a poor job at it and you get angry when people call you out on it. You put no pride in your work and it shows.

    * I don't know how old you are, and I must admit I'm only 23, but your attitude and writing style don't say much for your maturity.
    This about sums it up.

  9. #9
    i am dead
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    you are all hypocritcal,
    your condesending attitude towards crusty pedals only reflects the same hatred he has for ignorance and attitude. if you read into what he is saying you would understand but instead you poke holes. bashing on the fact that sometimes he gets pushed to the edge. but you do not know him and insulting him is only making you look like silly little children flocking to the ice cream truck. this is a place to vent to question and to understand and when somone whos involved in the same thing as you with the same amount of passion needs to vent. instead of making a enemy, understand.

  10. #10
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    >"if you read into what he is saying you would understand but instead you poke holes."

    I don't think there is any mistaking what he says. The quality of his work and his willingness to do right by his customers and his employer is subject to how he feels about that particular customer, and to how he perceives they feel about him. So it seems it's all about him. That isn't hard to understand, and it is an attitude about work that is common as dirt. It is also unprofessional. His dislikes seem to be more important than doing a good job. And if that is the best he can do, and if he can't bring anything better to his work, then he should quit.

    Saying that he has had a bunch of other jobs just makes me think he has an underlying personality problem, not a wealth of experience or wisdom that makes him understand his work or his customers any better.

    You can act ethically with the knowledge that you can't and won't be able to please every customer, and that there are going to be people you have to tell to go somewhere else with their business because they are impossible. Taking others' bad behavior personally to the point that you deliberately do poor work is not a mature or constructive response, no matter how good it makes you feel. All it does is make those who speak ill of you have a good reason for doing so.
    Last edited by CHenry; 02-24-06 at 07:40 PM.

  11. #11
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    I have put ball bearings in a coworkers bike(The best place is the stem) and we put streamers and a safety flag on the bosses full Record TCR. I would never tamper with a customers bike, no matter how big an ass they are. I do take pictures of their screwups tho. I started that after a recent repeat of one of the many "any body can fix a bike threads"
    It can be very frustrating. fore, you get the pleasure of always working on decent bikes for people that appreciate what you do. I don't(And I have been doing this since you were in sixth grade)
    The hardest part is not dealing with the arrogant customers, or the less than bright, but having to shift direction all day long. When you are in the middle of rebuilding a Sturmey, the last thing you want to do is help someone pick out a pair of socks, but that is how it goes in a small shop. The sales guys don't have this hassle because I will not let them touch the bikes becuase they are not good enough for my tastes. But at the same time I don't want someone to leave because the salesguy was already helping someone. That brings up patience. When you are in a small shop you sometimes have to wait. If there are two employees and three customers, some one is going to wait or leave. I don't want that guy to leave, but I am helping someone already and they have the right to my full attention. Which brings another thing, when you see a mechanic working on a bike, that is not"standing around doing nothing" He is helping a customer who just happens to not be there at the moment. Maybe that bike needs to be done in the next twenty minutes for pickup, the customer went around the corner to get a gelato before their ride, and they dropped the bike off for a new shift cable. That person has an expectation that their stuff will be ready when they get back. The mechanic is not ignoring you, he is helping someone else.
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  12. #12
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    What if your doctor had this attitude? A good mechanic would never sabotage something deliberately because he didn't like the customer. Also, I don't think this persons attitude is limited to his job. There are some fundamental problems this guy has, and he is probably a jerk in every aspect of his pathetic little life.

    hey crusty pedals, why don't you tell us what shop you work in.

  13. #13
    Ferrous wheel
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger lodge
    you are all hypocritcal,
    your condesending attitude towards crusty pedals only reflects the same hatred he has for ignorance and attitude. if you read into what he is saying you would understand but instead you poke holes. bashing on the fact that sometimes he gets pushed to the edge. but you do not know him and insulting him is only making you look like silly little children flocking to the ice cream truck. this is a place to vent to question and to understand and when somone whos involved in the same thing as you with the same amount of passion needs to vent. instead of making a enemy, understand.

    How was I hypocritical, insulting or condescending? What is wrong with children flocking to ice cream trucks?

    I understand that people in all sorts of fields have to deal with customers who are arrogant, uninformed or worse. The trick is in learning how to deal with them, and ******* up their bicycles is an unacceptable way to do it. "Purposefully screwing" a customer is not the same as venting.

    For the record, I like my LBS a lot.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    fore, you get the pleasure of always working on decent bikes for people that appreciate what you do. I don't(And I have been doing this since you were in sixth grade)

    Rev, I started out in a shop that sounds exactly like the one you described. Spent about two years there learning everything I could that would make me a better mechanic. True, these days it's rare I see anything other than Ultegra or D/A, or Chorus or Record, but I remember fully what it's like having to put $100 worth of work into a $50 bike for someone that wouldn't fully appreciate it. There are times I wish I could go back to that sort of wrenching purely because of the challenge and creativity involved with it. Working with high-end stuff is easy, it all generally goes together without too much hassle.

    And the fact that you've been doing it since I was in sixth grade, I admire that. If nothing else it shows your loyalty to both the sport and the profession.

    I also keep a photo collection of screwed up bikes. We occasionally get bikes back from some demo event or something that has a few "what the hell were they thinking?" things done to them. Always fun.
    i ride bikes.

  15. #15
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fore
    There are times I wish I could go back to that sort of wrenching purely because of the challenge and creativity involved with it. Working with high-end stuff is easy, it all generally goes together without too much hassle.

    And the fact that you've been doing it since I was in sixth grade, I admire that. If nothing else it shows your loyalty to both the sport and the profession.

    I also keep a photo collection of screwed up bikes. We occasionally get bikes back from some demo event or something that has a few "what the hell were they thinking?" things done to them. Always fun.

    Trust me, you are in a better spot. If I had started younger, and was not in an obligation to others I might have ended up where you are. And you may have to deal with the real racers, I have a couple and they are pretty fussy(annoying fussy, not perfect bike fussy)

    What can I say, I like to fix stuff and bikes are the best thing to fix when you have to do it everyday.

    My dad had a collection of screwups from his engineering jobs. I started doing it as stories, but now that I have a decent camera(digital, my 35mm takes to long), I try to take pictures of everything, from the guy that managed to cram 3/8ths nuts on a 10mm axle to the guy with 26es on his two door Impala.
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  16. #16
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    Second post. Similar writing style. Could roger lodge be a crusty pedals alias? Clever.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

  17. #17
    mmm...vegan pancakes
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    you've all missed the point, horribly. the point is, look at it like this. service jobs are annoying, to say you enjoy a service job, isn't saying you have self esteem. and working in a bike shop doesnt make it any easier. all i was saying was, people give mechanics too much crap. we're people too, we make mistakes. deal with that. this guy up here (i dont even want to look at it again to get his name) says he's treated every bike as his, even the huffy's EVERY SINGLE TIME! c'mon man, thats a lie, and we all know it. we all have bad days. and to say ive messed with a customer's bike isn't right, i'll take that one. ive thought about it, but never actually done it (it's just passionate emotion speaking on that comment). though i have given customers less than my best, not to say that isn't good, just not my best. almost all the time, i will do extra things to a bike nobody will ever even know, because it wont show on a receipt. tighten a bottom bracket on an economically challenged person's bike for no charge. just because i have it in the stand, and im putting in a new tube. or adjust the der. or the brakes. and to say i have an attitude problem is wrong. i never lash out to a customer, though they will at me, i always keep my cool. the only time i kicked someone out was when this guy physically threatened me because i didnt have any bike boxes to give him. we had to pack a bike, and only had one bike at the moment. i will take their ****, not with a smile though. i have my pride, is that not okay. this was a plea for more respect. and the beugoise (i dont know if that is spelled right) got the best of most here. so im sorry for that. have a good life all of you. and please look at what ive said a little more carefully. and im sorry if my emotions got in the way of you all saying that. i really feel i have something to say, that many people need to hear. and ive heard alot of people on this forum speaking negatively of people because un-consequential things, its just sad all and all.
    blah blah blah...

  18. #18
    i am dead
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    i write like a pimp not some joker

  19. #19
    mmm...vegan pancakes
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    rodger lodge is a friend, but not me.
    blah blah blah...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by crusty_pedals
    rodger lodge is a friend, but not me.

    Huh. I wonder why you didn't welcome him when he made his first post. Anyway, welcome, roger.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by crusty_pedals
    to say you enjoy a service job, isn't saying you have self esteem
    So the millions upon millions of service workers in this country all suffer from a lack of self-esteem? I highly doubt that's the case. I have a job I enjoy doing, people I generally enjoy working with. I have friends I see regularly and love being around. I have a dog that never fails to greet me at the door when I come home. I'm happy with my life. There are a few things I'd like to change eventually, but I'm in no rush.


    Quote Originally Posted by crusty_pedals
    this guy up here (i dont even want to look at it again to get his name) says he's treated every bike as his, even the huffy's EVERY SINGLE TIME! c'mon man, thats a lie, and we all know it. we all have bad days.
    That was me, and that was the honest truth. Every bike I put in my repair stand at the shop was later double-checked by someone else and if it wasn't right I was sure to hear about it. Sure, sometimes I'd miss something, I can admit that, but I would try my hardest not to make that mistake again.

    I had plenty of bad days, for a lot of different reasons. You're right, we all do, but it's the best that can do their job without letting that affect the quality of their work. It sounds cliche, but it's absolutely true: a job worth doing is a job worth doing well. Fixing bikes or not.


    Quote Originally Posted by crusty_pedals
    and to say i have an attitude problem is wrong.
    Based on the way you've presented yourself and your work ethic in this thread, I'd say it's not.

    Aside from my day job, I'm also on-call to work with the National Team and with any of the major Neutral Support programs. I also get calls from a couple different pro teams when they come through my area and need help. I got where I am because I'm able to put my problems aside and concentrate fully on whoever I happen to be working for. Giving any less than my best doesn't cut it in the big leagues, and that goes for both turning wrenches and interacting with people.
    i ride bikes.

  22. #22
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    fore im so glad to know all that is you

  23. #23
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    i'm never said that anybody who works a service job, has no self esteem. i was saying that if you enjoy that job, like really enjoy that job (and everything that comes with it), the working environment, i have great friends i work with, then that's not sane. it's one menial task after another, not very fulfilling most of the time. why are you all being so defensive all the time. stop picking apart what i write, and making it into these 'oh my god, i can't believe he said that' comments. im venting, about stupid people, making stupid comments, and you're feeding that, by continuing to make these off base remarks, and making a deal out of things that weren't the point, and were filler comments to represent my point more. but you somehow have missed that, and keep going off on these rants about how "bad an attitude he has". grow up.
    blah blah blah...

  24. #24
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    I'm a mechanic, but not bikes and currently I have almost no contact with the public. I have held down a lot of different types of jobs in the last 26 years, and I've developed a philosophy that let me endure all of them:
    Standards: I work to my own set of standards. I try my best to do a job I'LL be satisfied with, and hang the boss and the customer. If I work to MY standards, they are getting a better shake than they could hope for otherwise.

    Politics: I don't play 'em. In the blue collar world there's little to be gained by cozying up, character assassination or spin. My life is simple this way. Simple and straightforward equals less stress for me.

    Customer relations: It's business, so don't read more into it. You don't have to like them or vice versa. Polite is all that's necessary on your part.

    It really bothers me to see a young man like yourself who is letting this type of problem defeat him. You will be working at one job or another for the better part of your lifetime, barring a Powerball win or a hefty inheritance. Since you probably can't count on either of those occurrances, I urge you to make peace with the nature of work. Develop your own philosophy and be true to it, and try not to let people get to you.

    Al

  25. #25
    ride, paint, ride simplify's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlatTop

    It really bothers me to see a young man like yourself who is letting this type of problem defeat him. You will be working at one job or another for the better part of your lifetime... I urge you to make peace with the nature of work. Develop your own philosophy and be true to it, and try not to let people get to you.

    Al
    +1

    And that is not easy sometimes, especially when people aren't respectful to you. But remind yourself, when that happens, that these disrespectful people have their own problems and may have a chip on their shoulder because someone else was disrespectful to *them*. It's contagious, this attitude thing. That's why we all need to try to have a little compassion for each other. Like Al said, focus on your own work ethic, and find solace in that. It will take some time and practice, but you can do it. Every task is important, not menial, and can be done very well and with pride. That is very much what Zen is about. You are a Zen practitioner when you do your job well and find joy in it.
    Last edited by simplify; 02-25-06 at 08:13 AM.

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