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  1. #1
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    Just curious what people from different places consider LBS faux pas? What things are do's and dont's in the LBS world?

    Things like haggling too much, buying online even though the LBS is a similar price, testing at a shop only to go to ebay afterwards etc.

    Just wondering what everyone else thought on the matter? When buying a bike? When you bring it in for service? When looking at bikes for an upcoming purchase? Anything really. Just curious about bike shop etiquette in peoples experience.
    Last edited by Flak; 02-26-06 at 06:12 AM.

  2. #2
    Behind EVERYone!!! baj32161's Avatar
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    I try to buy all of my bike stuff at my (not so local) LBS. I used a good deal of their time when shopping for a bike. Got good honest service and got all of my questions answered. When it came time to buy there was no question as to where I was going. I have since gotten a used MTN bike off of ebay and took it to the shop to get it a checkup. I didn't feek bad at all doing this, even though I didn't buy THAT bike there. I bring my roadie (that I bought there) in when I need to, and I bring this one. They make money servicing your bikes too. I do, however, think it is very bad form to utilize their resources (test riding bikes and such), take up all of their time, only to go buy online just to save a few bucks.
    Last edited by baj32161; 03-05-06 at 03:29 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flak
    Just curious what people from different places consider LBS faux pas? What things are do's and dont's in the LBS world?
    Biggest faux pas? Sadly enough, it is often stepping through the front door. I try hard to support my LBS at times but I really have to try hard. Service is pretty darned weak, and prices are pretty darned high. They are SO good at making the internet and DIY repairs look so appealing.

    I have probably had my bikes in the LBS about 8 times in my life. The rest of the time i DIY. Of those 8 times, i think at least 7 of those times they screwed something up. They order the wrong part, or forget to order it, or install it incorrectly,or don't call me, or use a substitute that doesn fit, etc. Like i said, it is really WORK to deal with them. It shouldn't be.

    Sadly, they are nice guys but so terrible at running a business.

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    Here's a faux pas for you. Implying that people my age should stay away from mountain bikes. Hey, I'm not that old. Then he shows me a 16" hybrid, even though I probably need a 20". This LBS only had two hybrids, a handful of entry level Trek road bikes, and everything else was two to three thousand bucks (except for the mountain bikes which I'm too old for, according to them). So, I'll drive 60 miles to some other stores.

  5. #5
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    -The biggest fauxpax is not paying attention to your kids when they are in the store.
    -If little suzy is crying and says she needs to go to the bathroom take her before she pees on the floor(It has happened)
    -If little Billy needs to go to the bathroom and requires help at home you need to help him in our bathroom to(Also happened, crap all over the seat, the handle, on the floor)
    -Parents will let their kids take off on bikes running into customers, knocking over displays.
    -Kids run around the store pulling stuff off the hooks and leaving it on the floor.
    -The shop is not a child sitting service for you while you shop elsewhere.
    -Everybody loves bells, until they have been listening to you or your kid ring them for the last half hour. Testing the sound of a bell is a five second process not a thirty minute one.
    -If you show up at 9:30am and the lights are out, the sign says closed and the other sign says the store opens at 10:00 but you see a guy in there eating breakfast, let him eat. Don't start banging on the door. Don't start calling on your cellphone(This happens a lot)
    -If it is 7:30pm and the lights are out, the sign says closed, the other sign says the store closes at 7:00pm but you try the door anyway(?) and it is unlocked, it does not mean the store is open.

    These are not so much bike shop fauxpax as they are general store fauxpax, except for the bells.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    My favorite has to do with buying shoes. Go to a bike store. Try on all of their shoes. Ask a million questions. Get them to install the cleats. Save the receipt. Then buy an identical pair of shoes from an online source and return them to your LBS.

    If I can get just one person on the jury who's ever worked retail, they'll never convict me.

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    A guy who ran a LBS before he retired and closed his doors forever told me a good story.

    A woman came in and purchased an expensive 3 bike, trunk mount bike rack. He helped her install it on her car and showed her how to use it. About ten days later she returned it claiming it was unsatisfactory. He reluctantly and painfully returned her money.
    Some time later he was talking to another customer who by chance happened to know the aforementioned woman.
    Turns out the woman and her family took their bikes to Florida for a nice weeklong vacation...swimming, sunbathing, and bicycling.

    This is just plain dishonest and mean spirited. And we wonder why LBS owners are sometimes surly.

  8. #8
    Senior Member skiahh's Avatar
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    The only faux pas is thinking there are specific LBS rules. They are a commercial retail outled and you are the customer.

    Other than the GENERAL stupidity things pointed out by UADave, Rev.Chuck and Louis, when you go into any commercial retail store YOU are the boss as the customer.

    Haggle as you feel you need to; the bike shop isn't going to sell you anything if they don't make some money from the sale. So, if you're haggling and they agree then you're both getting something from the deal. If they don't, they're not being buttheads or anything, it's just not in their interest to do business with you; and there's nothing wrong with that whatsoever.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    I think a major faux pas is when the LBS puts the "sale" above the customer's needs\desires, just because LBS wants to get rid of inventory.
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    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  10. #10
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    My experience has been that LBSs are lousy business people. They lose more business than they could even imagine because of bad or non-existent service. I have a couple of stores in my area where it's virtually impossible to spend your money, because nobody will wait on you. Here's a good one: My wife bought be a $60 tool kit for Xmas. It came with a coupon for a free tube. When I went back to claim my tube, I was told we don't carry those tubes. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
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  11. #11
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis
    A guy who ran a LBS before he retired and closed his doors forever told me a good story.

    A woman came in and purchased an expensive 3 bike, trunk mount bike rack. He helped her install it on her car and showed her how to use it. About ten days later she returned it claiming it was unsatisfactory. He reluctantly and painfully returned her money.
    Some time later he was talking to another customer who by chance happened to know the aforementioned woman.
    Turns out the woman and her family took their bikes to Florida for a nice weeklong vacation...swimming, sunbathing, and bicycling.

    This is just plain dishonest and mean spirited. And we wonder why LBS owners are sometimes surly.
    Whoa, that lady is going to get karma owned. Soon.
    That is just abusing the return policy.

  12. #12
    mac
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    They see me rollin' mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis
    A woman came in and purchased an expensive 3 bike, trunk mount bike rack. About ten days later she returned it ... Turns out the woman and her family took their bikes to Florida for a nice weeklong vacation...swimming, sunbathing, and bicycling.
    In CA we have a "no cooling off period" when buying a new car. i.e. you can't change your mind 3 days later and return it. The car dealers get screwed and only sell it as "pre-owned." The reason for this law is that a-holes like that lady above would purchase a car on Friday, drive to Vegas, etc. for the weekend, then return it on Monday. I don't know how some people live with themselves, but it had to be a lot of them to make this law necessary.

  13. #13
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    If and when I do use a shop

    1 - make sure bike is clean - not spotless, but not filthy like I just came in from a ride
    2 - if I have a part already, regardless of where it is from, I don't expect a discount on service.
    3 - If I buy a part from a shop, I expect a discount on service.
    4 - I never expect the shop tech, to know more of the "paper" details then myself. Usually I will research something till the cows come home, the likelyhood of them knowing most of those details is pretty small. When I first started biking I couldn't figure out why they just refused to know any details beyond the mundane, related to the computer world, shop techs and salespeople are way behind.
    5 - I expect the shoppy to be a rider. If they aren't I quicky leave. Beyond customer service, guys who work in shops but don't ride are about as useful as mcse's who haven't sat at a real network.
    6 - I have helped a shop buy stuff online as it was cheaper than there dealer.
    7 - in the mtb world lbs's sponsor lots of kids. I hate pompus little kids who expect the shop to automatically give a discount because they ride when they haven't even competed etc. This is a major problem here
    8 - Due to how small shops are here, I never get frustrated if they don't happen to have a part I need asap. Slow shipping times, small rental spaces, and expensive prices are part of the game here, if I need something asap, I expect to wait and pay a small fortune. (this is why I have enough parts for an entire spare bike at all times)

    That said, I go into bike shops to peruse. I never ask for help and I rarely buy anything. LBS's *here* are heavily overpriced, and I don't want to use up the salespersons times on stuff I can research on my own. Then I don't feel bad when I buy it only at 50 to 75% off the cost online.

  14. #14
    Airborne Titanium EricDJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac
    In CA we have a "no cooling off period" when buying a new car. i.e. you can't change your mind 3 days later and return it. The car dealers get screwed and only sell it as "pre-owned." The reason for this law is that a-holes like that lady above would purchase a car on Friday, drive to Vegas, etc. for the weekend, then return it on Monday. I don't know how some people live with themselves, but it had to be a lot of them to make this law necessary.

    Some used car places still do a 3 day period, but the allotted miles isn't enough to get to Vegas and back. I worked for an electronics store here in LA and hated selling radar detectors. During the sale i'd ask where they were from and what areas it was to be used in. If they were from another country which a lo of customers were, i'd sell to them. If they were local to LA we'd say all the radar detectors were out of stock. We kept all the radar detectors tied up on an invoice so it would look as they werent avail.

    After too many problems they stopped selling them altogether.

  15. #15
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Don't get the bike filthy during a test ride. This can require a lot of puddle dodging here in Portland.

    Ask permission before pulling a bike down from the top rack? I don't really know how LBS owners actually feel about this, but I always ask because I've seen some people bang bars and pedals a little roughly doing this, and sometimes the employees prefer to do it themselves for this reason.
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    You gotta get the right tools and do your own wervice. It's the only way. Bikes just aren't that complicated. If you do, you will know what to carry and how to deal with problems on the trail. That's the payoff; way less chance of being stranded. bk

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    It's hard to tell when you are being sold what they have instead ow what you need. Bad fit is often the result. You need to know what you need/want. bk

  18. #18
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    The only thing more perplexing to me than my LBS's poor service is the people who continue to faithfully patronize it, seemingly unbothered. Of course there is only one shop in town but still. I have seen people in there who have stated that they have been in on three or four different occasions over periods of several weeks and parts still weren't in.

  19. #19
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    I guess I am just spoiled... My LBS greets everyone as soon as they walk in the door, even if they are busy. Sure, they are more expensive then online sites, but that is buisness 101. I will sometimes buy online, but I make it a point to buy from the LBS every time possible.

    They are so service oriented, that I really have to start watching myself... If they don't have a part, they will take it off a bike on the floor just to make me happy... then the mechanic has to spend the time taking it off one bike, then putting it on the other.... then ordering the part, then waiting for it to come in, then putting the floor bike back together... Because of their service, I will NEVER buy a bike from anywhere else... until they close the doors of course.

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  20. #20
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    My old shop back in Aus was super laid back and i never even considered there was "rules" or anything like that. But since i moved here and started looking to buy, 2 of the shops i visited i didnt feel comfortable in them at all. Couple that with some of the things ive read on bikeforums, and it got me curious. Fortunatly the shop that is super friendly also happens to be less than a block from my house and carry lots of brands.

  21. #21
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flak
    My old shop back in Aus was super laid back and i never even considered there was "rules" or anything like that. But since i moved here and started looking to buy, 2 of the shops i visited i didnt feel comfortable in them at all. Couple that with some of the things ive read on bikeforums, and it got me curious. Fortunatly the shop that is super friendly also happens to be less than a block from my house and carry lots of brands.

    And I don't feel comfortable at the Gap. A place for everyone. Not every shop sells everything for every customer.
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  22. #22
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    -The biggest fauxpax is not paying attention to your kids when they are in the store.
    -If little suzy is crying and says she needs to go to the bathroom take her before she pees on the floor(It has happened)
    -If little Billy needs to go to the bathroom and requires help at home you need to help him in our bathroom to(Also happened, crap all over the seat, the handle, on the floor)
    -Parents will let their kids take off on bikes running into customers, knocking over displays.
    -Kids run around the store pulling stuff off the hooks and leaving it on the floor.
    -The shop is not a child sitting service for you while you shop elsewhere.
    -Everybody loves bells, until they have been listening to you or your kid ring them for the last half hour. Testing the sound of a bell is a five second process not a thirty minute one.
    -If you show up at 9:30am and the lights are out, the sign says closed and the other sign says the store opens at 10:00 but you see a guy in there eating breakfast, let him eat. Don't start banging on the door. Don't start calling on your cellphone(This happens a lot)
    -If it is 7:30pm and the lights are out, the sign says closed, the other sign says the store closes at 7:00pm but you try the door anyway(?) and it is unlocked, it does not mean the store is open.

    These are not so much bike shop fauxpax as they are general store fauxpax, except for the bells.
    Great list. Most of those go for nearly any retail store. Ever seen a kid with a temper let loose on a 'binder isle' at a office retail store? 2 shelves of 3-ring binders: 8, 8ft sections, both sides = 128ft of things they can knock on the floor with little effort.

    (This scene was repeated 6 months later when a guy walked out on the job after getting in an argument with the manager - only he took out all 5 shelves)
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  23. #23
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    I hate it when the LBS doesn't stock critical parts for the bikes they sell. It's worse when they don't follow up on parts I asked them to get. They force me to get parts on the net and do the work myself.

  24. #24
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    And I don't feel comfortable at the Gap. A place for everyone. Not every shop sells everything for every customer.
    Yeah just thought it was odd that they werent interested in paying me any attention when i was there shopping for a $1000 hardtail. But its not just a bike shop thing when i think about it. Those shops werent the first, nor will they be the last to lose my business for crappy customer service.

    It did make me wonder wtf though? I was a fairly average looking 25yo guy dressed in jeans and a sweater with a baseball cap on looking at some decent bikes. At the time i wondered what it was about me that said "he's not worth the effort"....but after i left i realised that they probably treated alot of people like that.

  25. #25
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    One LBS in town has not honoured its original quotes when parts ordered come in. There's always some excuse why the part or even a bike cost more than the original quote.
    Another LBS has honoured the price even when it cost them money. The second LBS has come out ahead because I spend a lot more money there than at the first one and I always reccommend them to others

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