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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 10-18-06, 11:49 PM   #1
xpenny
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Are online parts really a taboo for LBS?

Again, I upsetted another LBS guy today. This is the second time such thing happens, in two
different LBSs. I had a dawes lightning sports and wanna fix it. I got a set of Mavic/Formula
from bicyclewheels.com, sugino RD 165cm crank from sheldon brown, soma cogs and lockring
from nashbar. I naively went to an LBS for help simply because I don't have a crank puller and
maybe his professionality can help me figure out how to optimize the chainline. I mean I
am planning to pay for the labor, advices and additional parts if needed. So I am gonna copy
the conversation verbatim between me and the LBS guy (who is the only employee in that LBS, in fact, I
think he owns that shop) from the moment I walked into the shop:

me: Hey, how's going

LBS: what's up. (without looking at me)

me: I got some question. Recently I've been trying to convert my roadie to a fixie. I got some parts and I need some help.

LBS: where did you get the parts?

me: .....I got them online.

LBS: then why are you wasting my time here?

me: (embarrassed) but I don't have the tools

LBS: well I am sure that you don't. You can get the tools online and they would tell you how to use them.

me: so you are not gonna do it?

LBS: abso-fxxking-lutely not! First of all, your project is trying to take a good bike and convert it
to what it's not designed for.

me: all right, thanks.


Then I just left the shop. Why this guy was so agitated? Are all the LBS guys hating online parts? Maybe
I am missing something about how an LBS makes a living by ordering parts for customers. Anyone think that my request is humiliating their professionality, or just because of their self-protection?
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Old 10-18-06, 11:50 PM   #2
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guys a ****** who missed out on making some money. **** him.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by xpenny
LBS: where did you get the parts?

me: .....I got them online.

LBS: then why are you wasting my time here?

me: (embarrassed) but I don't have the tools
I think most shops see themsevles as more than just "the place where that special wrench-thingie lives".

I see your side, and his side. I've been on your side before, and didn't get it. Then I spent a lot of time at the LBS, and saw how a shop should be run, and what they value in a customer.

Not to sound rude, but bike co-ops were designed exactly for your needs, i.e. conversions and franken-bikes. Seek one out. The LBS is for buying parts, frames, and whole bicycles. They are much more than just a glorified tool box.

Why would they spend time on a guy who doesn't want to give them business, when a repeat customer could walk in the door any second? Same with a resaurant server. If you just want some fries, she might suggest take-out. Why waste a whole table for the guy who walks in with a boxed lunch?
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Old 10-18-06, 11:55 PM   #4
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guys a ****** who missed out on making some money. **** him.
You know this guy?
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Old 10-19-06, 12:00 AM   #5
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there is no reason for that ****. what shop is this?
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Old 10-19-06, 12:01 AM   #6
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It's a sign of the times. The bike shops have got to learn to live with the internet. I have a buddy that owns a 4th generation family tire shop and he's pissed because customers buy tires online and then bring them to him to install. He told me that, "Hell, my customers can buy tires online cheaper that I can from my distributer!"

The problem is, it's messing up a decades old revenue model and they haven't exactly figured out how or if they can live (and make a living) with it.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Serendipper
I think most shops see themsevles as more than just "the place where that special wrench-thingie lives".
So from the moment I purchased the first part online for my project, I actually doom to do the
whole thing on my own without a qualification to get well-earned input from professionals? (given that there're no co-ops available)

Those of you ever bought parts online had similar experience?
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Old 10-19-06, 12:04 AM   #8
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You know this guy?
sorry. guy ACTED like a ****** and lost money. **** him.

not every city has bike co-ops, and LBSs should realize that they gain customers and business by treating people well and doing wrench work on bikes regardless of where parts are purchased. that is part of building a relationship. if they don't, they lose business and they deserve to.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:08 AM   #9
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there is no reason for that ****. what shop is this?
Except for the reasons I listed. Ever try to run a business, people?

Bike co-ops are there for the express purpose of providing services to those who can't afford it.

Ever try taking you car to the dealership with a bunch of parts in the trunk so that they could just work on it for you? That's not how it works. Ordering parts is a part of the bottom line. They may cite liability if you ask...but unless you know the owner/service people, expect a businessman to decide if you are the kind of customer he wants to fool with. Simple as that.

Whet makes you think you have priveledges at someones private place of business. That's why I like appointments. Let's assess one another before we get ourselves any deeper into this deal. But no...we want it NOW. Instant service. Point and click.

Whiney voice " I'm here, a perfectly good customer that doesn't want you to see you profit from this deal...and I want my toys delivered yesterday!." Please. Give me a break.

Over there is Ace Hardware...over there is the bike co-op...over there is a dude working out of his apt.

Make the informed choice, and get over your spoiled selves.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:09 AM   #10
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sorry. guy ACTED like a ****** and lost money. **** him.

not every city has bike co-ops, and LBSs should realize that they gain customers and business by treating people well and doing wrench work on bikes regardless of where parts are purchased. that is part of building a relationship. if they don't, they lose business and they deserve to.

I guess my request is too small to be considered as business by him
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Old 10-19-06, 12:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by xpenny
So from the moment I purchased the first part online for my project, I actually doom to do the
whole thing on my own without a qualification to get well-earned input from professionals? (given that there're no co-ops available)

Those of you ever bought parts online had similar experience?
Yes. I have had this experience. That's where I'm coming from. I was just like you...then I saw the other guy's perspective.

LBS's that have been open for 20+ years aren't going to change overnight. Don't expect them to.

It's been said, but striking up a relationship first, then bringing up the project works wonders. Especially if there's beer and/or lunch involved. Give and ye shall recieve...
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Old 10-19-06, 12:14 AM   #12
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I guess my request is too small to be considered as business by him
Imagine this:

You walk in unannounced at 2:05. He got a call from a racer at 2:00 needing his CX bike overhauled. The racer will be in at 4:00, but needs his bike the next day.

Your job will earn im $60. Maybe. The other job will earn him $200-300. More later when he drops $1000+ on that new CX bike coming in. "Gotta have a backup bike when you're racing"...Get my drift?

Business, nothing personal. Unless you slept with his wife. Then it may be personal.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipper
Except for the reasons I listed. Ever try to run a business, people?

Bike co-ops are there for the express purpose of providing services to those who can't afford it.

Ever try taking you car to the dealership with a bunch of parts in the trunk so that they could just work on it for you? That's not how it works. Ordering parts is a part of the bottom line. They may cite liability if you ask...but unless you know the owner/service people, expect a businessman to decide if you are the kind of customer he wants to fool with. Simple as that.

Whet makes you think you have priveledges at someones private place of business. That's why I like appointments. Let's assess one another before we get ourselves any deeper into this deal. But no...we want it NOW. Instant service. Point and click.

Whiney voice " I'm here, a perfectly good customer that doesn't want you to see you profit from this deal...and I want my toys delivered yesterday!." Please. Give me a break.

Over there is Ace Hardware...over there is the bike co-op...over there is a dude working out of his apt.

Make the informed choice, and get over your spoiled selves.
a) most cities don't have bike co-ops. this shouldn't be hard to understand
b) bike shops don't do wrench work for free last time i checked
c) paying someone to work on your bike doesn't really seem like a privilege to me
d) bike shop employees often need to get over their own sense of self-importance.
e) while i can understand a bike shops frustration with stuff like this, i still don't think it's reason to act like a total ass
f) all acting like this does is ensure that the shop doesn't get any money from the potential customer
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Old 10-19-06, 12:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipper
Imagine this:

You walk in unannounced at 2:05. He got a call from a racer at 2:00 needing his CX bike overhauled. The racer will be in at 4:00, but needs his bike the next day.

Your job will earn im $60. Maybe. The other job will earn him $200-300.

Business, nothing personal. Unless you slept with his wife. Then it may be personal.
i'm sure this was the case
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Old 10-19-06, 12:15 AM   #15
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Yes. I have had this experience. That's where I'm coming from. I was just like you...then I saw the other guy's perspective.

LBS's that have been open for 20+ years aren't going to change overnight. Don't expect them to.

It's been said, but striking up a relationship first, then bringing up the project works wonders. Especially if there's beer and/or lunch involved. Give and ye shall recieve...
I guess I've learned a lesson here: the way they treated me is a direct result based on the balance between time and profit potential. I will just go ahead and order a crank puller from nashbar. seems that's all I need at this moment. let the LBS do their big projects.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:19 AM   #16
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Imagine this:

You walk in unannounced at 2:05. He got a call from a racer at 2:00 needing his CX bike overhauled. The racer will be in at 4:00, but needs his bike the next day.
Isn't it a slightly different scenario? I didn't even mention when I wanted it to be done.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:20 AM   #17
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and on the flipside - should we expect shops to treat us like **** when we purchase components and tools from them and then do our own wrenching and deprive them of the money they'd make on labor?
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Old 10-19-06, 12:23 AM   #18
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and on the flipside - should we expect shops to treat us like **** when we purchase components and tools from them and then do our own wrenching and deprive them of the money they'd make on labor?

I think most LBSs assume that you come to their shops for their better and richer knowledge, and that knowledge includes what they can get for you and how to put them on.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:24 AM   #19
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If what you say went down actually went down, then that guy wasn't being very nice. Maybe he had a crappy day, or maybe he's just a dick. The fact of the matter is, he shouldn't have been so mean unless there's something you're not telling us.

I'm curious. Where do you live?
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Old 10-19-06, 12:26 AM   #20
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i operate on a very simple level with shops. i'll give you a couple tries, but if you act like an ass you lose my business. using this tried and true method i've narrowed NYC vast shop selection down to 3 or 4 shops i regularly deal with. works for me.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:27 AM   #21
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If what you say went down actually went down, then that guy wasn't being very nice. Maybe he had a crappy day, or maybe he's just a dick. The fact of the matter is, he shouldn't have been so mean unless there's something you're not telling us.

I'm curious. Where do you live?
I swear that I have put every single word from the beginning till the end of my dismayed conversation with him. He always acts like a jerk. I knew that. But I do not have anything to do with him personally. Only from experience he treated others. But I thought jerk is not equal to dick. Seems now I have to redefine jerk in my understanding.

I live in urbana, IL.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:29 AM   #22
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Also, maybe the LBS owner was salty for another reason as well. Maybe he is also against modding the bikes out of what they were designed for. Not unlike a Honda dealership not willing to take modded Hondas in for service. Some don't want to touch the project for warranty, liability, or other reasons.

Imagine this conversation:
Rider: "You converted my bike a week ago. My chain dropped and I flipped and broke some teeth. I think it's your fault."

It clearly isn't the LBS fault. But, no LBS wants to be in that situation.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:32 AM   #23
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He didn't have to be a dick about it though.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:34 AM   #24
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Also, maybe the LBS owner was salty for another reason as well. Maybe he is also against modding the bikes out of what they were designed for. Not unlike a Honda dealership not willing to take modded Hondas in for service. Some don't want to touch the project for warranty, liability, or other reasons.

Imagine this conversation:
Rider: "You converted my bike a week ago. My chain dropped and I flipped and broke some teeth. I think it's your fault."

It clearly isn't the LBS fault. But, no LBS wants to be in that situation.
He can talk about the liability issue nicely with me then.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:37 AM   #25
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True.
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