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  1. #1
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    A day at the local LBS! She asked ______

    Well today was busy and interesting. A young couple comes in with little kids in tow and are looking for a bike for the wife. They are driving a $ 65,000 SUV. The wife can not make up her mind on which bike to get primarily based on color. She liked the far more expensive comfort bike at the other place because it "looked prettier".

    She did want to test ride a bike and she complained terribly about all the noise it made when shifting. I explained that she needed to keep pedaling to shift and not stop pedaling - shift and then start again.

    So, she asks a normal question for a noob. "When I am going up hills how do I know what gear to put it in?" I thought for a second to make sure I framed the answer so she would grasp it and before I could say a thing she says: "What's wrong, you don't like answering questions?"

    Response: "Of course not. I love answering questions. I just was trying to make sure that I could make the answer simple enough for you to really get it."

    The look on her face was priceless!
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  2. #2
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Well done! Don't you love it when you have the perfect response to people like her? My perfect response is typically an hour or so to late to deliver it.
    Embrace diversity: hug a conservative.

  3. #3
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I'm guessing you didn't make the sale?
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  4. #4
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    Sounds like your customers better watch out for you. I'm wondering what their car has to do with any of this?

  5. #5
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Oh, I hope that didn't cost you the sale! It didn't sound (read) snarky enough to tick her off. It just sounded like the perfect response. But I guess that depends on the delivery...
    Embrace diversity: hug a conservative.

  6. #6
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Sounds like your customers better watch out for you. I'm wondering what their car has to do with any of this?
    I am always polite and calm, but do not suffer arrogance and poor manners well. I am blessed with a decent vocabulary and the wit to be able to strategically and succinctly get my message across clearly. Barbs intact!

    The car, well I was just painting a picture of the typical South Orange County materialism so common here. The sense of entitlement and snooty attitudes exhibited by the self appointed royalty of our community.
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruF View Post
    Oh, I hope that didn't cost you the sale! It didn't sound (read) snarky enough to tick her off. It just sounded like the perfect response. But I guess that depends on the delivery...
    Could very well be, but based on his snarky comments about the car they were driving and the fact that anyone would have the audacity to choose a bike based on appearance (certainly NO roadies would do that now would they?). Makes me think she was getting the message loud and clear.

  8. #8
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    In my opinion, a person who talks down to you as she did is not worth having as a customer. I realize the boss expects you to swallow that kind of crap to make a sale, but as we grow older it becomes more difficult. Obviously I didn't make my living in "sales".

    I spent the last 20 years of a 30+ year career dealing with major tire companies, and was never disrespected like that.

    That woman is a jerk.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rober's Avatar
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    If she was more concerned with the bike's color and visual appeal, and would have gone to another shop to get one that she thought was prettier looking, she wouldn't have been a loyal customer anyway. Better to spend your time (on a Saturday, no less) with someone that is new and enthusiastic rather than someone that is new and blaze. You guys that work in shops are incredibly patient - I would be fired for being rude to spoiled, indifferent, arrogant yuppies in a day.

  10. #10
    Hills! speedlever's Avatar
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    If you doubled or tripled the price of that bike, it might become more attractive to her. And I'd bet the gears would shift nicer too.


  11. #11
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    In my opinion, a person who talks down to you as she did is not worth having as a customer. I realize the boss expects you to swallow that kind of crap to make a sale, but as we grow older it becomes more difficult. Obviously I didn't make my living in "sales".

    I spent the last 20 years of a 30+ year career dealing with major tire companies, and was never disrespected like that.

    That woman is a jerk.
    You must have read a different OP for this thread than me. Was the original OP deleted and replaced with one where it reads to me like a salesmen with an arrogant snarky attitude is boasting about insulting a customer. I assume the OP is not the owner of the store and would not like his employer reading his message.

  12. #12
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rober View Post
    If she was more concerned with the bike's color and visual appeal, and would have gone to another shop to get one that she thought was prettier looking, she wouldn't have been a loyal customer anyway. Better to spend your time (on a Saturday, no less) with someone that is new and enthusiastic rather than someone that is new and blaze. You guys that work in shops are incredibly patient - I would be fired for being rude to spoiled, indifferent, arrogant yuppies in a day.
    I suspect you are correct about the normal reaction by profitable employers to rudeness by self described "experienced/enthusiastic" sales personnel talking down to lowly customers with the wrong profile.

  13. #13
    Cycler Suzie Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fthomas View Post
    The car, well I was just painting a picture of the typical South Orange County materialism so common here. The sense of entitlement and snooty attitudes exhibited by the self appointed royalty of our community.

    And riding around on a bicycle costing more than $200 might smack of snootiness and self appointed royalty too. Depends on which rung of the ladder you happen to be standing...

  14. #14
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    You must have read a different OP for this thread than me. Was the original OP deleted and replaced with one where it reads to me like a salesmen with an arrogant snarky attitude is boasting about insulting a customer. I assume the OP is not the owner of the store and would not like his employer reading his message.
    "salesman with an arrogant and snarky attitude"

    You obviously read into my OP things that others did not. Providing a quality bicycle shopping experience is what it is all about, which includes creating a warm and welcoming environment particularly for those that are new to the sport. Given the numbers of customers seen every weekend it is amazing that the vast majority - 99.9999% - are absolutely a delight to deal with and it is my responsibility to ensure they leave excited and confident with their bicycle purchase decision and return as loyal customers in the future. You can not do that by being a "arrogant and snarky salesperson".

    It takes a great deal of quality communication to fit a bicycle properly. If you can't fit the person it is better to pass on the sale rather than sell someone a bicycle that they will be uncomfortable or even unsafe on. It is no surprise that some people are just flat out rude, but it is interesting that those that are don't ride bikes. Even the serious roadies I deal with are great one on one.

    Sorry that you did not pick up on the jest of the OP.
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fthomas View Post
    So, she asks a normal question for a noob. "When I am going up hills how do I know what gear to put it in?" I thought for a second to make sure I framed the answer so she would grasp it !
    Like you said, that's a pretty normal question. I'm surprised that you didn't have the answer at the tip of your tongue.

  16. #16
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    Nothing I like better then a wiseass sales person.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Rober's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    I suspect you are correct about the normal reaction by profitable employers to rudeness by self described "experienced/enthusiastic" sales personnel talking down to lowly customers with the wrong profile.
    Transactions are a two-way street. Both salesperson and customer have to agree to share it. I suspect if you were the customer in this situation and behaved and thought in the same manner as the OP's customer did, you might have left the shop feeling dissatisfied and insulted. Oh well. Its not what happened that upset you, its what you make it mean.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hask12 View Post
    Nothing I like better then a wiseass sales person.
    So "What's wrong. You don't like answering questions?" isn't a wiseass comment?

    How would you have responded to such an individual?

  19. #19
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I'm betting the OP is having second thoughts about having started this thread. It's reading more like a thread in the Road forum.

    If indeed the customer was rude, giving little time to respond to a question before following up with a smart alec response, I can understand why the OP was irritated. Customers have no right to be rude. That said, I would have suggested a less snide response.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  20. #20
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rober View Post
    Transactions are a two-way street. Both salesperson and customer have to agree to share it. I suspect if you were the customer in this situation and behaved and thought in the same manner as the OP's customer did, you might have left the shop feeling dissatisfied and insulted. Oh well. Its not what happened that upset you, its what you make it mean.
    If I were that customer, I would have been insulted. But thank goodness, I've never been that kind of customer.

    If I were that store's manager or owner, I might not have liked the OP's response. But given that I'm not, it sounded pretty appropriate to me. I enjoy seeing rude people get their comeuppance.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  21. #21
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hask12 View Post
    Nothing I like better then a wiseass sales person.
    "What's the matter? You don't like answering questions?" Is a pretty snotty comment. It sounds to me like the salesman was responding in kind. That's not an acceptable excuse because it's our job to make the customer happy. They don't have to make us happy. In the heat of the moment, however, I might have responded the same way. I don't always do everything perfectly.

    The fact is that most of the time other people reflect our own attitudes back at us. Difficult people lead very difficult lives because everybody they meet, all day every day, is reflecting their own attitude back at them. I, on the other hand, only have to deal with a difficult person every now and then.

  22. #22
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I'm with Fred on this one.
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
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  23. #23
    fredelicious mini-masher overthere's Avatar
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    The way I read it, I thought it was funny! Of course, I live in Northern California...

    fthomas, I really didn't read your reply to her as 'snarky' at all. But then, I still get my gears mixed up, no matter how many miles I ride.

  24. #24
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    I don't know... maybe it's just me but a lot of these replies sound like they're written by people who own large, expensive SUVs and are feeling a little defensive.

    OTOH, a good point is made about the cost of our bikes and how that's perceived.
    My Giant lists for $2300. It was on sale for $1800 and I got it for $1700.
    I guess the shop owner liked me. Well, that, and Mrs S was buying a new bike, too... that helps.
    But I digress...
    You tell the average person that you only paid $1700 for a bicycle and you can get some pretty weird looks.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  25. #25
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    You paid $1700 for a BICYCLE !?!?!

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