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Old 12-31-12, 09:05 AM   #1
hotbike
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$5.00 Question



A neighbor dropped off a black Raleigh. He just wanted me to store it for a couple of days. (he broke up with his girlfriend, and she threw him and his bike out of her apartment.) He didn't want to ride the bike back to his mother's house, on account it was raining and sleeting.

I couldn't stand the fact that the bike was not working right. I put some air in the rear tire. The freewheel was sticky, making the chain go around, so I lubed it with some light teflon oil. I had a spare deraileur cable (in a crate where I keep my combat boots), so I installed a new rear deraileur cable.

Question: Should I charge the man five dollars for the new cable? since he didn't actually ask me to repair the bike , I believe he is not obligated to pay? Note: this bike is so large, I can not ride it.
Anyway, I will tell him it's a christmas present if he can't pay.

I don't want any bike leaving my shop in non-functional condition !

Cable was missing, just a piece of it tied in a knot at the rear axle.
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Old 12-31-12, 09:16 AM   #2
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Neither a Scrooge nor a patsy be.

Tell your friend exactly what you told us. If he offers to pay, say "Thank you." and take the money. If you really think that he doesn't have the money, say "Merry Christmas." and feel good. If he says "I didn't ask you to fix it." let it slide. It was a cheap way to learn of his lack of character. Win-win-win.
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Old 12-31-12, 09:18 AM   #3
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Just say Merry Christmas and tell him what you did. If he offers to pay, tell him what you want. Otherwise it's a gift, and mentioning a price changes that.

IMO- if you ask for dough and he says no, then it's isn't a gift but an acceptance that you can't collect, which isn't the same thing.
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Old 12-31-12, 09:18 AM   #4
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if you know the guy well enough to be storing his bike for him; then it shouldn't matter either way.
if thats not the case; then wtf?? why would anyone leave their bike with a stranger?

I'm guessing that, based on the carefree way he leaves his bike in odd places (ie, yours ) combined with the lack of maintenance evident on it... that he doesnt care too much about it and the prospect of spending 5$ will be an annoyance; alternatly giving the parts/work as a gift will be unappreciated
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Old 12-31-12, 09:20 AM   #5
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Seriously?

He asked you to store it...

You took it upon yourself to "fix" the bike and now you're contemplating on charging him for the parts.

Storage charge...maybe.
Unauthorized repair/parts charge...NO.

And, although your intentions were good, what if you have screwed something up or made an adjustment he didn't want?

Would it be wise of him to take it to an LBS to verify your repair/adjustments were made correctly and send you the bill for it?

If I were you, I wouldn't even bring it up. I would just say I put air in the tires to make it easier to move.
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Old 12-31-12, 09:46 AM   #6
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since he didn't actually ask me to repair the bike , I believe he is not obligated to pay
Bingo.
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Old 12-31-12, 10:06 AM   #7
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I agree you did the work on your own accord, just give him the bike and say you made a few adjustments for him.
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Old 12-31-12, 10:42 AM   #8
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Surely you don't need the $5.00 so badly that its worth creating the potentially awkward situation of asking somebody to pay for services that were not requested?

Don in Austin
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Old 12-31-12, 10:49 AM   #9
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Make it a gift and feel good about your generosity!
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Old 12-31-12, 11:02 AM   #10
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This is the holiday season, get in the spirit.
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Old 12-31-12, 11:13 AM   #11
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Old 12-31-12, 11:14 AM   #12
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Make it a gift and feel good about your generosity!
+1. How would even not mention it to him.
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Old 12-31-12, 11:21 AM   #13
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You modified someone else's bike without permission and you want them to pay you? you had no right to touch his bike.
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Old 12-31-12, 12:31 PM   #14
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You might be ahead of the game and offer to purchase the bike. He apparently doesn't need it that much, but, hold "some" value in it. Give him $20 bucks and he might just be thrilled!
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Old 12-31-12, 12:53 PM   #15
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Consider it a Pay It Forward and don't worry about it. I would let him know about the cable replacement so he knows he can actually change gears.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 01-01-13, 01:05 AM   #16
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Reminds me of a Santa Cruz riddle. Q: What do you call a guy in Santa Cruz the breaks up with his girlfriend? A: Homeless.
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Old 01-01-13, 01:18 AM   #17
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Reminds me of a Santa Cruz riddle. Q: What do you call a guy in Santa Cruz the breaks up with his girlfriend? A: Homeless.
So true! The biggest homeless magnet in N. Kalifornia!
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Old 01-01-13, 01:31 AM   #18
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Consider it a Pay It Forward and don't worry about it. I would let him know about the cable replacement so he knows he can actually change gears.
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Old 01-01-13, 01:41 AM   #19
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So true! The biggest homeless magnet in N. Kalifornia!
I had no idea...learn something new every day.
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Old 01-01-13, 11:24 AM   #20
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Slap a mechanic's lien on that baby and it's yours........................
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Old 01-01-13, 11:43 AM   #21
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Neither a Scrooge nor a patsy be.

Tell your friend exactly what you told us. If he offers to pay, say "Thank you." and take the money. If you really think that he doesn't have the money, say "Merry Christmas." and feel good. If he says "I didn't ask you to fix it." let it slide. It was a cheap way to learn of his lack of character. Win-win-win.
I'd agree with this except the part about "learning of his lack of character". If someone fixed my bike when I didn't ask them to I'd be unsure whether they were doing it to practise their skills, or expecting me to pay for something I didn't ask for. It might only be $5 but if he didn't ask you to do it then you have to be willing to accept him not paying for it.

If he offers you the money freely then by all means take it if you consider it appropriate. If he shows even the slightest bit of awkwardness about paying you fall back on the Merry Christmas line and leave it at that.
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Old 01-01-13, 11:52 AM   #22
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I never ask for payment when I do someone a favor.
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Old 01-01-13, 12:13 PM   #23
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Surely you don't need the $5.00 so badly that its worth creating the potentially awkward situation of asking somebody to pay for services that were not requested?

Don in Austin
Okay. The man gets the cable for free. He said "thank you" , and " my family doesn't have any money ". I won't miss the five dollars.

(Where does the word "Dollars" come from anyway? I have a hunch it comes from the word "Dole" ... When they first began "Doling out the money", they were instantly known as "Dollars", perhaps?)

But I digress.

I have a bunch of spare cables , I won't miss one of them.

This cable probably is from my Fuji Mountain Bike- when I installed BMX handlebars, I had to get "Tandem" cables at the LBS, due to the longer , or higher, position of the brake handles and grip-shifters.

He plans to pick up the bike on Thursday.
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Old 01-01-13, 12:22 PM   #24
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I never ask for payment when I do someone a favor.
+1. I've worked on friends bikes in the past and never asked for payment or accepted it if it was offered. Within reason, I'll use replacement or repair parts from my stash if I have suitable ones, still at no cost.

One time I was overhauling a friends bike with him watching and learning as we worked. The cones in his rear hub were pitted and I didn't have replacements on hand that would work so we drove over the the LBS. There, he jumped right in and paid for the parts with absolutely no hesitation. He even insisted we stop for lunch and he picked up the tab. The day was very rewarding.
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Old 01-01-13, 12:23 PM   #25
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Sell the bike on Craigslist. Put the five bucks in your pocket and give him the rest.

No, that was just sarcasm. Actually, I can't believe that you're having such a hard time with this. If I took it upon myself to fix my friend's bike, I'd never in a million years ask for money. If s/he offered it, I'd turn it down.
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