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  1. #1
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    trying hard to buy from a bike store. they make it so hard.

    ...i won't bother retyping all my past experiences.

    but i'm shopping for a Felt frameset.
    Felt doesn't allow their stuff to be sold online.
    i went to Felt's site, and found all the dealers in a 50 mile radius.
    i emailed every one of them, telling them exactly what i was looking for, and i was up-front with them, saying that i had seen a few on eBay for X price, but would prefer to deal locally.
    asked them to quote me a price.

    i tried to do what everyone says you should do: support local bike shops, and if you find it online for substantially cheaper, give the bike store a chance to bargain with you.

    10 shops, 4 days, zero responses.

    not a "yes we have it and we can offer you X+200, but that's the best we can do"
    not a "no, we don't have the frame"
    not a "sorry, we have it but we can't sell it anywhere near that price"
    not a "well, we don't have it but you might want to try out this other one"

    don't they want business?



    side note, the ebay auction ended; i let it end because i really thought my local shop where i bought my current Felt would get back to me. now the eBay seller isn't writing me back. jesus.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Buy a complete Felt and be happy.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  3. #3
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be better to visit the shop or talk to the someone in person? What if they don't read email regularly since they may be backlogged.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
    Wouldn't it be better to visit the shop or talk to the someone in person? What if they don't read email regularly since they may be backlogged.
    would be great, sure, but like i said - i contacted all the stores in a 50 mile radius.
    seems more reasonable to expect a shop owner to check his "Contact Us" inbox than for me to drive all over 3 states just to see if they have something in stock!

  5. #5
    XR2
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    I would wait a week before getting too upset. E-mail is a low priority for many shops. Except Rivendell. Grant Petersen answered me personally in a day. I'm impressed. And in need of cash.
    I owe-therefore I am.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by XR2 View Post
    I would wait a week before getting too upset. E-mail is a low priority for many shops. Except Rivendell. Grant Petersen answered me personally in a day. I'm impressed. And in need of cash.
    yep, i will keep waiting. i've just never been in a job where i could wait more than a day to respond to a work-related email without someone being like "uh did you not get that email?"

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Rivendale is not a local neighborhood bike shop, with a long list of repairs to get thru as well as go out on the sales floor and talk to everyone coming in the door..
    they Import, sell thru the web, and wholesale, don't have to work on customer's big box store bike repairs too.

  8. #8
    Allez means go. bengreen79's Avatar
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    Try picking up the phone. Many small businesses don't have the resources to sort through the volumes of junk and spam they get on email addresses they list on their website. A truly effective, filtered electronic contact solution is too costly for most small, independent retail stores.

  9. #9
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
    ...i won't bother retyping all my past experiences.

    but i'm shopping for a Felt frameset.
    Felt doesn't allow their stuff to be sold online.
    i went to Felt's site, and found all the dealers in a 50 mile radius.
    i emailed every one of them, telling them exactly what i was looking for, and i was up-front with them, saying that i had seen a few on eBay for X price, but would prefer to deal locally.
    asked them to quote me a price.

    i tried to do what everyone says you should do: support local bike shops, and if you find it online for substantially cheaper, give the bike store a chance to bargain with you.

    10 shops, 4 days, zero responses.

    not a "yes we have it and we can offer you X+200, but that's the best we can do"
    not a "no, we don't have the frame"
    not a "sorry, we have it but we can't sell it anywhere near that price"
    not a "well, we don't have it but you might want to try out this other one"

    don't they want business?



    side note, the ebay auction ended; i let it end because i really thought my local shop where i bought my current Felt would get back to me. now the eBay seller isn't writing me back. jesus.
    Youll only know when you ask them. They want to sell entire bikes, for the profit markup. Would they turn away your business based on that? Yes.
    Did they? Only one way to know.....
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

  10. #10
    Senior Member BigDaddyPete's Avatar
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    My LBS checks email about once a week. It's the way it is for most of these guys. They're one or two people, working repairs, handling customers, managing inventory, ect. And it's their busy season. You're much better off picking up the phone or going to see them than you are with an email.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Rivendale is not a local neighborhood bike shop, with a long list of repairs to get thru as well as go out on the sales floor and talk to everyone coming in the door..
    they Import, sell thru the web, and wholesale, don't have to work on customer's big box store bike repairs too.
    Still, they do a great job. Before I bought my midlife crisis Atlantis, I went to three local shops and explained what I was looking for (something similar to an Atlantis, comfortable and durable, suitable for everyday riding and a couple of short tours a year). I've bought at least two bikes at each of those shops over the years, for my wife, kids and myself, so they know I'm a real customer. I talked with the owners personally (I know them; I've been riding in a fairly small town for 30 years). I told them I had about $2000 to spend and asked for recommendations (this was back when an Atlantis frame and fork cost $950, so it was enough money).
    No point in rehashing the details, but the result was zip. They tried to sell me what they had in stock, without any attention at all to what I wanted. I went back a week later to try again, got the same result, then phoned Rivendell with a few questions, which they answered. I ordered the bike that day.
    The argument that shops are too busy to help customers is one reason so many shops go out of business. A good bike is a major investment for a lot of us, and when somebody walks in prepared to spend all he can afford on something he's been dreaming of, it's a mistake to make him wait while you adjust somebody's derailleur.
    Last edited by Velo Dog; 09-01-10 at 10:55 PM.

  12. #12
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
    . i was up-front with them, saying that i had seen a few on eBay for X price
    I think this was your mistake.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  13. #13
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    As a former small business owner we would respond to emails in a timely manner. Typically within 24 hours, however is someone was fishing for prices they would get a generic canned response from us.

    Having worked in bike shops and still spending time in quite a few, email is a low priority when you have people walking in the front door with cash in hand. Most smaller bike shops I frequent haven't quite made it into the 20th century when it comes to electronic communications. It takes time and money to have a single person to keep up with email and other electronic media. I know we had 2 people that had to keep up with the volume at our store.

    I know I wouldn't bother quoting prices in and email to someone that was trying to price match something they found on the internet.

    Aaron
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  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    As a former small business owner we would respond to emails in a timely manner. Typically within 24 hours, however is someone was fishing for prices they would get a generic canned response from us.

    Having worked in bike shops and still spending time in quite a few, email is a low priority when you have people walking in the front door with cash in hand. Most smaller bike shops I frequent haven't quite made it into the 20th century when it comes to electronic communications. It takes time and money to have a single person to keep up with email and other electronic media. I know we had 2 people that had to keep up with the volume at our store.

    I know I wouldn't bother quoting prices in and email to someone that was trying to price match something they found on the internet.

    Aaron

    If that was the case, I'd write back and email saying "we can get you the frame but we don't quote prices over email."

    By not responding, you lose any chance of landing a new customer.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I do this with one bike shop owner I have known for 25 years, usually over the phone or in person.Sometimes we have worked something out.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  16. #16
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Email can work as part of an established relationship. I bought my Bacchetta from my local LBS when I was almost 2,000 miles from home using email. When I got home, it was ready for me.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    If emailing the LBSs is not working, maybe try calling them?

    My LBS is still in the DOS era.

  18. #18
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Lots of valid responses so far. Lots of spam emails, LBS might not have time to filter through all the emails

    But, your email doesn't make you sound like a serious customer at all. You starting your negotiations at what should be the end point, and you are doing so anonymously. You don't pull out the "I can get it cheaper on ebay" until the very end of negotiations, and only after you have clearly shown yourself to be a serious customer. The LBS has no way of knowing you are a potential customer. For all they know, you are a spy for the competition or , just someone who doesn't live in the area at all and is just looking to leverage my quote against some other LBS.

    When I think of supporting a LBS, I think of the following. Buying a complete bike, throwing some repair work their way, buying accessories or tools, buying a new set of tires/brakes, stuff like that. If I were a LBS owner and a guy who has done that in the past comes in and wants a deal on a frameset, I might be inclined to respond to his email or call, though even there, I might be inclined to encourage the guy to come into the store. A guy emails out of the blue? Maybe not.

    So to wrap things up, if you want to work with a LBS, visit a few of these shops and talk to the people there, tell them what you are looking for, and listen to their answers to your questions. If you get a good feeling for a place, buy something from them, maybe a pair of shorts, some tools, or even a spare tube. Then go back a couple of weeks later and let them know you are serious about this frameset, and suggest there might be other items you might buy from them as part of this project. Then start negotiating the price.
    Last edited by MRT2; 09-02-10 at 09:11 AM.

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