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  1. #1
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    Why do Bike Shops have to Suck so Bad?

    Sorry for the "bmx attitude" in my title but it is getting late and i have had a very long day of frustration with a bike shop. First of all I am very limited in bike shops around here. I am in the market for a road bike and the city i live in although it has a shop, does not have a road bike on the floor. They can order me one. No chance to test ride!

    So i head off to Manhattan (no not New York-wish it was) which is 70 miles away and also has ONE bike shop. I was in there last week and talked to a guy extensively about bikes. He sent me home with a Specialized and a Trek catalog and told me to come back and ride when i had time.

    That was last Friday, and he took a lot of time explaining stuff to me, most of which i already knew because i do tons of reading and have been living bikes for the last couple years. However i am new to road bikes and it so happened that he had a few i was interested in. I didn't have time to ride that day so i made plans to come back.

    Well since i am very horny for a new bike, i decided that today. I called ahead and talked to Dave and told him who i was and that i was coming over. So i headed there late afternoon arriving around 4:45. I walked in and immediately noticed that they were busy. Dave was in the back so i went and found him and he started off pretty decent. First he showed me the Specialized Allez Sport 04 that he had for $750. It was a 62cm and it fit pretty decent but seemed to really make me reach for the hoods. I am 6'2" BTW.

    He noted that he thought i was having to really reach and so he started to put on a 90mm stem. At that point some of the young kids working there kept coming to him and asking him questions. He was starting to get flustered as his face kept getting red and he kept muttering that he needed to leave pretty soon to go the School Board Meeting. (like that was my problem) Soon he had the shorter stem on and ran off to help another of the incompetent youngsters. He asked the kid behind the counter spinning wrenches to give me a hand. In the mean time i had noticed that he didn't even remotely tighten the headset and it was WAY loose.

    I told the kid and he tightened it before i went and got killed on a test ride. After riding it i found it was simply to long on the reach. So after wandering around for 10 minutes and nobody helping me, i finally just went and grabbed the 58cm Allez which is the next step down in size. It still felt like i was having to reach more than i felt comfortable with and this bike required the seatpost to be really jacked up to get the leg extension. I should mention that i rode this bike without anyone even knowing, they were completely ignoring me so i just grabbed it and took off. They were never going to help me otherwise.

    I quickly found that i really didn't like the way the Allez felt and then i went and finally collared the kid and asked him if i could ride one of the Trek 1000's in the 58cm. He hooked me up and this bike felt sooooooo much better than the others. I wasn't having to stretch so much to hit the hoods.

    Finally i decided to just buy the Trek. (told you i was bike horny.) I told the young man (after i found him) and he said ok, i'll tune it up. I knew that was going to be good because they had all locked the doors and were staring at me waiting for me to get the heck out of their store so they could go home.

    I went up front to pay and the girl at the register said, "i need to go figure out how much a Trek 1000 is. She came back and said $649. I said, whoah, he told me $599 the other day. Well i'll have to call Dave on his cellpone (at the school board meeting). Dave supposedly said that the 2004's were 599 and the 05's were $649.

    I told them that i had a catalog at home (70 miles away) where he wrote $599 the other day. Nope they said. So i left, and drove home another 70 miles. So myself and my entire family wasted a LOT of time and i still don't have a bike. I got home and pulled out the catalog and right next to the pic of the Trek 1000 is $599. I was right.

    ArgHHHHHH!

  2. #2
    cab horn
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    Next bike shop ......... please.

  3. #3
    Bent Cranks's Avatar
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    You stupid sap, what are you thinking showing up at 4:45? Are you trying to squeeze this in after work?

  4. #4
    Deported by koffee allgoo19's Avatar
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    And people talk about how bad the big stores are. Small stores can be no different. It's all case by case, store by store. Sure, I had some little problem with Performance and Supergo alike. No store can be problem free. I had some great experience with both large and small stores.
    Is it a possibility that Rqanger calls up Dave and tell him what happened and work things out?

  5. #5
    Deported by koffee allgoo19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranks
    You stupid sap, what are you thinking showing up at 4:45? Are you trying to squeeze this in after work?
    This is a little harsh. At least Ranger called the store in advance. If Dave had to leave, he could suggest for another day.

  6. #6
    Toyota Racing Dev. PWRDbyTRD's Avatar
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    ya know...I think there are bad apples all in all, period. I have had issues with online retailers, ebay sellers, and the local bike shop. I just find who will treat me the best and go there. I had a bikeshop stay open 45 minutes just to talk to me about wheels, and let me ride a bike...even though I told them I wouldn't be buying anything that day.
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  7. #7
    1.64x10^6 posts Grendel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranks
    You stupid sap, what are you thinking showing up at 4:45? Are you trying to squeeze this in after work?
    So what if he was? Why should some bike shops keep bank hours and make it more difficult for people to visit the 'hallowed aisles' of the LBS? Try staying open a little later and accomodate the working folks, or else don't complain about the business you ain't getting because people are going to the big chain stores or the Internet instead.

  8. #8
    Toyota Racing Dev. PWRDbyTRD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grendel
    So what if he was? Why should some bike shops keep bank hours and make it more difficult for people to visit the 'hallowed aisles' of the LBS? Try staying open a little later and accomodate the working folks, or else don't complain about the business you ain't getting because people are going to the big chain stores or the Internet instead.
    Thank you!!
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    When someone quotes you a good price and writes it down for you (always a good idea) BRING IT WITH YOU when you go to the store. I used to work in high end retail sales, and I couldn't remember EVERY price that I quoted someone. That's why I wrote it down for them, in my handwriting. I never had someone show up without that little peace of paper. It's spring time, bike shops are busy and bike shop workers have lives like the rest of us.

  10. #10
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grendel
    So what if he was? Why should some bike shops keep bank hours and make it more difficult for people to visit the 'hallowed aisles' of the LBS? Try staying open a little later and accomodate the working folks, or else don't complain about the business you ain't getting because people are going to the big chain stores or the Internet instead.
    The two shops I pass on my commute open at 11am (and not always then). I'd love to drop in on my way to work and pick up accessories or drop my bike off for service, but I guess it's not convenient for them.

  11. #11
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranks
    You stupid sap, what are you thinking showing up at 4:45? Are you trying to squeeze this in after work?
    WARNING TROLL ALERT.

  12. #12
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    No, really, can you go to any kind of shop and ask for a lengthy job to be done 10-15 minutes before they're due to leave? Why not say you'll take the bike, but you'll come back the next day to pick it up, giving them some time to tune it up? And when you come back, bring the written price? (Plus the price for it at some other places, most shops price-match).

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    Hey guy. I'm also 6'2" with long arms and I bought an 62 cm '04 Allez Triple on close-out from one LBS for $499.00. It was a stretch to to the hoods, but we took off the 130 mm stem on it and put a 70mm(!) Bontrager race -lite on it and that 2 inches really makes a difference!

    Specialized seems to be a good stable ride!

  14. #14
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    Let me clarify a couple points. I got there at 4:45 and they close at 6PM. Isn't 1 hr and 15 minutes long enough? I guess not. Secondly, i am very bike shop poor around here. There aren't any left to try. I have called a small shop in a town near here (90 miles). It seems to be a very active shop as they sponsor lot of rides and the guy's son races for Gary Fisher.

    He will sell me the Trek 1000 for $520. You can bet i will make him email me a price before i order it from him. THEN I WILL TAKE IT WITH ME.

    Yesterday sucked. Wife and i both cut out of work early and picked up kids to travel to the out of town shop. Then we get home late last night and i still don't have a bike.
    Last edited by Portis; 04-21-05 at 04:07 PM.

  15. #15
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Hey Ranger, my advice is, take your time shopping for a road bike, and if you're dead set on the Trek, spend a little extra for the 1200, you won't regret the higher end components once the road bike bug hits you! I think they sensed you were smitten with bike lust, and tried to get you to pay more because of it. I'm sorry to hear about your experience, and how far it is to get to a decent bike store. I've got like 5 LBSs to choose from, so the bad experiences don't bother me as bad. Where do you live that's so remote? Anyway, when you finally have that perfect road bike, you won't mind living out in the country so bad! Best of luck.
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  16. #16
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    "I was in there last week and talked to a guy extensively about bikes. He sent me home with a Specialized and a Trek catalog and told me to come back and ride when i had time."
    "That was last Friday, and he took a lot of time explaining stuff to me"
    "i am new to road bikes and it so happened that he had a few i was interested in. I didn't have time to ride that day so i made plans to come back"
    "I walked in and immediately noticed that they were busy. Dave was in the back so i went and found him and he started off pretty decent. First he showed me the Specialized Allez Sport 04 that he had for $750."
    "He noted that he thought i was having to really reach and so he started to put on a 90mm stem. At that point some of the young kids working there kept coming to him and asking him questions"


    Yeah, boy, that guy sounds like a real ass.


    Sounds like a small shop having a real busy day while trying to deal with a selfish, impatient customer who wants all the attention. When you called did you say that you would be coming by at quarter to five? Most times when a person calls to say they will be right over it means "I will be there in three to four hours, maybe, to have you drop what you are doing and help only me." When there are eight customers and three employees you don't get all the attention, don't they teach sharing in kindergarten?

    Show of hands. How many people, who work in a retail situation, will ring up an item at whatever discount the customer claims they are supposed to recieve?

    You guys that piss and moan all the time couldn't make it a week in a busy shop.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    "I was in there last week and talked to a guy extensively about bikes. He sent me home with a Specialized and a Trek catalog and told me to come back and ride when i had time."
    "That was last Friday, and he took a lot of time explaining stuff to me"
    "i am new to road bikes and it so happened that he had a few i was interested in. I didn't have time to ride that day so i made plans to come back"
    "I walked in and immediately noticed that they were busy. Dave was in the back so i went and found him and he started off pretty decent. First he showed me the Specialized Allez Sport 04 that he had for $750."
    "He noted that he thought i was having to really reach and so he started to put on a 90mm stem. At that point some of the young kids working there kept coming to him and asking him questions"


    Yeah, boy, that guy sounds like a real ass.


    Sounds like a small shop having a real busy day while trying to deal with a selfish, impatient customer who wants all the attention. When you called did you say that you would be coming by at quarter to five? Most times when a person calls to say they will be right over it means "I will be there in three to four hours, maybe, to have you drop what you are doing and help only me." When there are eight customers and three employees you don't get all the attention, don't they teach sharing in kindergarten?

    Show of hands. How many people, who work in a retail situation, will ring up an item at whatever discount the customer claims they are supposed to recieve?

    You guys that piss and moan all the time couldn't make it a week in a busy shop.
    I don't agree with your reperestation of what happened. Perhaps you are wrong because..............you weren't there. FWIW, bike shops are not the only places on earth that are busy. I personally oversee hundreds of accounts as a Service Manager. I deal with peoples complaints all day long so I know a little about being on the Service Rep side.

    I also know that they were busy. I mentioned that. I fully respected that by being polite, patient and quiet. I didn't do any complaining or any of that. I just patiently waited and road bikes. My real issue is that the price wasn't honored and i was inconvenienced. You see, being a Service Manager, i know that you can't treat everyone with the same tactics.

    If you have an account that spends 100,000 a year with you than you give them more prompt attention than an account that spends $1,000. This only applies when time is limited, othewise they are treated equally. You see, the goal in business is to make money. It really is a business, not kindergarten. I do feel like maybe I shouldn't have been ignored as much as i was. I was the only person in the shop looking at new bikes. Everyone else was there for repairs, etc. and they got there AFTER me.

    The point is that they don't OWE me anything. I don't OWE them anything. A business dealing is a mutual relationship. I want your product and services vs. you want my money. They didn't deliver what i wanted so i left. Good Riddance.

    Fortunately, like most things, it will be better in the end. I called another shop this morning and he is $100 cheaper any way. Plus the guy actually rides and cares about bikes. I did call Dave at this place back this morning and calmly explained my unhappiness. He offered to reduce the price of the bike and apologized all over himself.

    I thanked him for his apology and told him i would not be interested in doing business with them. Rev, i sense a real anger towards your customers. Trust me, i know how that can happen, as it does to me as well from time to time.

    I do think you need to work it out because it can't be good for business.

    Also Chuck, I wasn't asking for a discount. This was the bike's list price in the shop that i was asking for. The manager even told me so this morning. He said the bike always sells for $599 and doesn't know why they told me that.

    He is also saying that he told them that last night on the phone, which i doubt. I think he is covering his own butt.
    Last edited by Portis; 04-21-05 at 11:19 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    "I was in there last week and talked to a guy extensively about bikes. He sent me home with a Specialized and a Trek catalog and told me to come back and ride when i had time."
    "That was last Friday, and he took a lot of time explaining stuff to me"
    "i am new to road bikes and it so happened that he had a few i was interested in. I didn't have time to ride that day so i made plans to come back"
    "I walked in and immediately noticed that they were busy. Dave was in the back so i went and found him and he started off pretty decent. First he showed me the Specialized Allez Sport 04 that he had for $750."
    "He noted that he thought i was having to really reach and so he started to put on a 90mm stem. At that point some of the young kids working there kept coming to him and asking him questions"


    Yeah, boy, that guy sounds like a real ass.


    Sounds like a small shop having a real busy day while trying to deal with a selfish, impatient customer who wants all the attention. When you called did you say that you would be coming by at quarter to five? Most times when a person calls to say they will be right over it means "I will be there in three to four hours, maybe, to have you drop what you are doing and help only me." When there are eight customers and three employees you don't get all the attention, don't they teach sharing in kindergarten?

    Show of hands. How many people, who work in a retail situation, will ring up an item at whatever discount the customer claims they are supposed to recieve?

    You guys that piss and moan all the time couldn't make it a week in a busy shop.
    AMEN Chuck, AMEN !!!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Metro's Avatar
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    You know I would never buy a bike from a father who blew off The School Board Elections. What skewed priorities.! (I can't ride by bike today because my school board elected this bum who wants to cut the school lunch program. Now I have to buy and pack lunch for my kid every day) Everythng trickes down to your personal life.

    My bike local bike shop has recently changed hands. They used to be snobby. If you were not intersted in buying a $5,000 bike, good luck on getting someones undivided attention. Now with a new look and new staff, a world of a difference. Prices are even cheaper. I am thinking of working there part time.

    I think a little consideration of the busy nature of the early bike season should be considered, Besides traveling and shopping are part of the cost of buying a bike. When you factor all that in and still think you have been mis-treated, if your bike shop does not give you satisfaction, find another bike shop. However I think you will find most shops in similar condition this time of the year.
    Last edited by Metro; 04-21-05 at 11:28 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    I don't agree with your reperestation of what happened. Perhaps you are wrong because..............you weren't there. FWIW, bike shops are not the only places on earth that are busy. I personally oversee hundreds of accounts as a Service Manager. I deal with peoples complaints all day long so I know a little about being on the Service Rep side.

    I also know that they were busy. I mentioned that. I fully respected that by being polite, patient and quiet. I didn't do any complaining or any of that. I just patiently waited and road bikes. My real issue is that the price wasn't honored and i was inconvenienced. You see, being a Service Manager, i know that you can't treat everyone with the same tactics.

    If you have an account that spends 100,000 a year with you than you give them more prompt attention than an account that spends $1,000. This only applies when time is limited, othewise they are treated equally. You see, the goal in business is to make money. It really is a business, not kindergarten. I do feel like maybe I shouldn't have been ignored as much as i was. I was the only person in the shop looking at new bikes. Everyone else was there for repairs, etc. and they got there AFTER me.

    The point is that they don't OWE me anything. I don't OWE them anything. A business dealing is a mutual relationship. I want your product and services vs. you want my money. They didn't deliver what i wanted so i left. Good Riddance.

    Fortunately, like most things, it will be better in the end. I called another shop this morning and he is $100 cheaper any way. Plus the guy actually rides and cares about bikes. I did call Dave at this place back this morning and calmly explained my unhappiness. He offered to reduce the price of the bike and apologized all over himself.

    I thanked him for his apology and told him i would not be interested in doing business with them. Rev, i sense a real anger towards your customers. Trust me, i know how that can happen, as it does to me as well from time to time.

    I do think you need to work it out because it can't be good for business.


    I think you just proved Chuck's point....

    Funny, no one else that published responses were there either, but you did not take them to task for thier responses...maybe because they agreed with you...

    Actually, in my shop, everyone gets treated with the same tactics. Respect the customer, help them in the order they come in, make sure they get the proper items, and charge them the same prices. And be smart enough to know who the brain suckers are and cut them loose to help the real customers.

    In your own words, maybe they were doing exactly like you do. Maybe those people that were picking up repairs have spent $10,000 with the shop last year, and were picking up their tune ups. Time was limited, and they made a judgement call. So if they had spent more than you, you know how YOUR customers feel when you drop them like a hot potato when Johnny Bigbucks shows up. Feels good, huh?

    You're right, you don't owe each other anything. You wanted a better price, they wanted proof. That does not sound unreasonable.

    So there is someone that you found it $100 cheaper any way. You claim that he is much better than anyway because "he rides and his son rides for Fisher". And it is a shop in a town near you. Why didn't you go there first anyway? Sounds like Dave gave you a lot of time, information, and help. It sounds like there was a slip up at the end because YOU didn't bring in the quote. (If you are a customer service rep, and have been doing it for any length of time, you should know that people will try to get away with things every chance they get. I am sure that if you quote customers prices, you either write it down with thier names and dates, and have some guidelines (how long your quote is valid, etc.), or require that your customer bring back proof of a price you scribbled down on a sheet of paper.) It even sounds like he went the extra yard, upon realizing that there was a miscommunication, to offer you a better deal. But you are going to prove something to him... to be absolutly honest with yourself and us, you took time out of your day and Daves to call him, not to work things out, but to whine and complain and rub his nose in it knowing you are buying your bike elsewhere. Great, you got over on him....feel like a man's man now?

    BY the way, where are you located that the choices are so poor? And what business are you a customer service rep for? I like to know what point of references people are using when they beat up on others...

  21. #21
    Zippy Engineer Waldo's Avatar
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    It's always amusing to me to watch the proliferation of these threads through this forum. People rarely (if ever) take issue up with the shop first-it seems to be more fun to post something here. Rather than say "sepcific shop sucks the chrome off a trailer hitch" it becomes "all bike shops suck."
    Beyond that, what the Good Rev. and Ahctogi said.

  22. #22
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    I also wish the people that gripe would state what they do for a living. I imagine that quite a few stories of gross incompetence could be brought up about their field. For instance Ranger here is a service Rep. Well one of our reps screwed up and shipped a load of our bikes to a shop in South Carolina. Then the trucking service rep said we would have them in two days, a week later here we wait. A service rep from UPS got in an arguement with my wife because she needed a shipped item place on the back porch, apparantly beyond the call of duty. The rep I ordered springs and anti sway bars for my car from neglected to tell me the sway bars were backordered for six months. The service manager that wrote up my wifes van for inspection, forgot to put it in line for service AND lost the registration. The service manager that wrote up my car neglected to call me and let me know they could not mount my tires because they were to stiff for the machine. I found out when I came to pick it up after arranging rides twice to get there and back.
    Every body screws up or things just don't go right from time to time. Some of us grow up and learn that sh1t happens and don't let it affect every exchange of a similar nature for the rest of our lives.

    Rep at a desk in an office is WAY different than a job in a retail spot. When I start the day I have a full board, twelve repairs on Monday, then I also have to help 50% of the people that come in and answer 50% of the phone calls(Two employees) and most of the walk in small repairs, like flats and chains.. I am pretty sure most people tha work a desk do not have seven customers standing in front of them, wanting all their attention, while they try to do the full day of work already at hand.

    I am not angry at my customers. I get annoyed with them sometimes. Just yesterday, at the end of the day, a kid and his dad brought in a bare hub and a complete wheel and wanted the hubs swapped. They were pissed that we could not have it ready the next afternoon and pissed again when we told them we would have to use new spokes because the flanges were different dia. People often fail to realise, that in a service operation, there are people in line already even if no one is standing there. That is probably the only thing that really annoys me about customers. That and customers who cannot get their mind around how you have to sell stuff for more than it costs in order to stay in business.
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  23. #23
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    Funny thing....the title of this thread is "Why do Bike Shops HAVE to suck?" It isn't Why Do All bike shops suck?" It is not unusual that those of you that work in shops side with the shop. Sort of sad, that you subscribe to the theory that bad customer service is ok, but then again that is probably why we are having this discussion. Maybe too much of that in the bike shops these days?

    I don't want to flame anyone any further. Especially Chuck since he seems to give a lot of great advice and is a good forum member. However, i want to conclude by saying that there really is no debate here. I got really crappy service and the manager admitted that to me this morning on the phone. He apologized for it.

    By asking "Why do local bike shops have to suck?" I was just literally wanting to know why this problems exists. I think maybe this thread has helped to illustrate why. ??

    Rep at a desk in an office is WAY different than a job in a retail spot. When I start the day I have a full board, twelve repairs on Monday, then I also have to help 50% of the people that come in and answer 50% of the phone calls(Two employees) and most of the walk in small repairs, like flats and chains.. I am pretty sure most people tha work a desk do not have seven customers standing in front of them, wanting all their attention, while they try to do the full day of work already at hand.
    You are right about that. I have done both. To get to Service Manager, for years i had (and still do occasionally) to go out to work on broken copiers in customer's offices. People get very angry when their copier doesn't work right. And yes it is VERY much easier to hear it on the phone than in person. Fortunately i do both and know the difference.

    I have also worked all sorts of retail and can tell you that dealing with the public sucks a lot of the time. However, that doesn't change anything. The customer still needs to be handled properly, or if i am the boss/owner i need to find someone who can.
    Last edited by Portis; 04-21-05 at 12:26 PM.

  24. #24
    Zippy Engineer Waldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    Funny thing....the title of this thread is "Why do Bike Shops HAVE to suck?" It isn't Why Do All bike shops suck?" It is not unusual that those of you that work in shops side with the shop. Sort of sad, that you subscribe to the theory that bad customer service is ok, but then again that is probably why we are having this discussion. Maybe too much of that in the bike shops these days?
    You're missing the point-why not "why does x shop in Kansas that I visited today suck?"
    bike shops is plural, mon ami. You want to know why that shop sucks, ask the manager. What's the point in asking the forums?

    better yet, why not take it up with the guy first-what were you hoping to accomplish with a rant on a forum? You found the bike cheaper at a shop you liked better anyway.
    I wonder..I once had a bad meal at a restaurant and had bad service there as well. Maybe I should find a restaurant forum and write about it there. What did people do before the advent of the internet?

    I don't see where anyone in here suggested that bad customer service was ok; quite the contrary if you read Ahctogi's post. The guy that buys a tube at my shop gets treated exactly the same as the guy that's ponying up for an expensive road bike. The only person that has ever registered a complaint with me was a young man with an obviously stolen bike that couldn't fathom that I would charge him to straighten a derailleur hanger. Of course, he expressed his displeasure with a wide variety of expletives, so I didn't really concern myself with making sure he was a satisifed customer.

    You're right, it's not unusual that shop guys side with the shop-we've been the guy on the other side of the counter. Customers get frustrated by incidents such as yours, but as someone that's been in retail it is completely beyond me that a customer would expect any retail establishment to honor a quoted price with zero evidence thereof.

    Now in the age of the internet, we get to deal with more and more customers that think they know more than we do because they have an internet connection. I have an internet connection and work in a shop, thus I must be a genius. Or does working in a shop cancel out the intelligence benefits of the internet connection?

  25. #25
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    Some of the worst service I've ever received has been from copier technicians and service managers. Good ones are rare, and therefore in demand.
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