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Old 09-28-09, 08:22 PM   #1
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Do you live in a MSRP zone?

What do I mean by a MSRP zone? A place where it's almost impossible to find something at a LBS that's marked below (or will ever be sold) the MSRP. I'm lucky enough to have 5 bike shops within 5 minutes of me, but 90% of the time I buy online.

As an example, my car rack broke this week and I need a new one by tomorrow. So I decided on the Saris Bones-2 rack and started calling around. Every single place was selling it at MSRP or more ($130+). Of course, I could find it online for under $100, but I was in a hurry, so I just went to the closest shop and bought one.

Then I got home and curiosity got the better of me and I started calling shops within a 250 mile radius. At least 75% of the shops I called had it in stock and priced lower than MSRP. A few shops within 2 hours of me had it for less than $100.

And this isn't just the Saris rack. In the past few months I've bought a Specialized Dirt Bag, new wheel, some Bontrager h2's, and a helmet for my girlfriend. Not once was I able to get any of these things under MSRP.

It makes me think that all of the shops have an agreement to not discount anything. I mean, if just one shop would do even 5% off, they would get all of my business.
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Old 09-28-09, 08:49 PM   #2
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Your local shop owners are probably drinking buddies. Sounds like price-fixing to me, I'd keep buying off the intraweb.
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Old 09-29-09, 06:11 AM   #3
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If price-fixing is occurring, that's definitely some against-the-law shenanigans. Only reason I know this is because I just had to sit through 8 hours of my companies annual 'ethics training' where they teach me about all sorts of stuff that has NOTHING to do with my job. Oh well.
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Old 09-29-09, 06:54 AM   #4
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Every LBS I've visited around me generally has MSRP on everything. One shop only caries "off brand" stuff so their stuff is cheap, but obviously the quality is not there (They sell stuff like "pyramid" brand tubes ????).

However one LBS is large enough that they are good about spreading the wealth with coupons for 20% off discounts and stuff like that. I always find coupons in the local Val-Pak or pennysaver, and generally am able to save a few bucks on stuff I need.
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Old 09-29-09, 07:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mitchxout View Post
Your local shop owners are probably drinking buddies. Sounds like price-fixing to me, I'd keep buying off the intraweb.
Or become a drinking buddy so they give you a "good guy" discount on everything. Don't underestimate the value of networking and being a repeat customer.
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Old 09-29-09, 09:33 AM   #6
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I shop at one lbs enough that always mark a couple dollars off for me at the register [$15 Waterbottles for $8], free tubes, and usually 10-15% off anything $100+ [assuming it has any profit margin for them]. They're pretty generous about ordering stuff in too, usually they do overnight shipping unless it's a weekend or something.

I guess you just gotta look around for a decent shop.
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Old 09-29-09, 10:46 AM   #7
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I haven't shopped in an LBS in a long time. Mainly because of the pricing. I actually went into a couple days ago and they looked at me like I had 2 heads. Guess not many of their customers actually come into the store anymore. Yeah, they actually have a store front.
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Old 09-29-09, 01:00 PM   #8
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I support my lbs as often as I can, but not if they are 20% higher than online pricing. My shop always does well for me. Find a good one and stick with em where you can. If you do a good business with the shop and they don't impress you in some way, keep truckin!
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Old 09-29-09, 01:03 PM   #9
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I live in a MSRP + $500 zone (aka Canada). Have bought enough from the LBS to warrant 10% off everything and 20% off accessories when we buy a new bike.
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Old 09-29-09, 02:05 PM   #10
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Old 09-29-09, 04:39 PM   #11
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MSRP was invented to get around the price fixing laws. Since MSRP is just a "suggested" price and there is no mandate that the product be sold at that price, the price isn't "fixed" between retailers.

It is still, however, a most obvious ploy by mfg's to fix prices and avoid competition.

If your LBS is not below MSRP then shop elsewhere. End of discussion because they are ripping you off and they KNOW it.
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Old 09-29-09, 05:38 PM   #12
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I may willingly pay more at some small Mom & Pop type stores that are struggling against the firmly entrenched oligarchy that undersells them. Such as a WalMart - which drives small, family-owned, shops into oblivion and ruining the charm of the small towns that have these monsters in their backyard.

Same goes for bike-shops. If you have a truly outstanding LBS, I'd pay the extra coin to keep them alive. Shops like these are gems and should be cherished in my opinion.
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Old 09-29-09, 08:12 PM   #13
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I suspect that whether or not shops charge MSRP, or higher, has to do with the area they are located in. The larger the metro area the more likely that they will need to discount due to competitive pressure from shops which do discount and/or sell on the web.

When you consider the costs of doing business I do not consider the average LBS to be ripping people off when charging MSRP. You try running a small business with the expenses involved including rent, utilities, taxes, employee salaries, insurance etc. Bike shop markups are often less than a lot of other businesses including jewelry, clothing, furniture, restaurants etc.
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