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LBS Policy against working on your own bike!

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LBS Policy against working on your own bike!

Old 11-01-21, 05:04 PM
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LBS Policy against working on your own bike!

Let me preface this by saying I'm 62 years old. I have been working on bikes since the mechanics in the bike shop close to my house would let me hang out when I was 10 and hand them tools and be otherwise annoying. I live in a small East Texas town. Closest bike shop is an hour away. I go there if I am close and need something, otherwise I order parts online. I was in that town today so I stopped in because I needed some cable and housing. I walked in and asked for a mtb brake cable and a full length piece of housing. The guy was pretty condescending telling me every bike is different and he needs to know exactly how long to cut the housing. I told him it's for a rear disc brake and the housing is full length so to cut me 5 feet. That seemed to annoy him so I said just cut it the length of the cable (knowing full well that there would be some left over). He blew and shook his head in frustration and I turned and started looking at the bike tools (ironic) thinking he was getting the housing. I heard him talking on the phone and mentioning housing. A minute later he gets my attention and asks me if I was bringing the bike in for installation. I told him that I would be installing it myself. He then picked up the cable and told me that I cannot install it myself, they had to do the install per company policy. ??? I know this shop changed hands recently and like to give them business when I am in the area but this is the last time I will give them business. Anyone else ever seen anything this absurd from a bike shop? Sorry for the rant.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:31 PM
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I feel another LBS bashing session about to come to life!

DID YOU TALK WITH THE OWNER ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE? If not, stop right here and do so. Go on now, get it done!
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Old 11-01-21, 05:36 PM
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Failing that, tell them to take a flying leap at a rolling doughnut. Absurd indeed.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MrK. View Post
Let me preface this by saying I'm 62 years old. I have been working on bikes since the mechanics in the bike shop close to my house would let me hang out when I was 10 and hand them tools and be otherwise annoying. I live in a small East Texas town. Closest bike shop is an hour away. I go there if I am close and need something, otherwise I order parts online. I was in that town today so I stopped in because I needed some cable and housing. I walked in and asked for a mtb brake cable and a full length piece of housing. The guy was pretty condescending telling me every bike is different and he needs to know exactly how long to cut the housing. I told him it's for a rear disc brake and the housing is full length so to cut me 5 feet. That seemed to annoy him so I said just cut it the length of the cable (knowing full well that there would be some left over). He blew and shook his head in frustration and I turned and started looking at the bike tools (ironic) thinking he was getting the housing. I heard him talking on the phone and mentioning housing. A minute later he gets my attention and asks me if I was bringing the bike in for installation. I told him that I would be installing it myself. He then picked up the cable and told me that I cannot install it myself, they had to do the install per company policy. ??? I know this shop changed hands recently and like to give them business when I am in the area but this is the last time I will give them business. Anyone else ever seen anything this absurd from a bike shop? Sorry for the rant.
Never seen this yet, not surprising, so many things changing in the world now days.

Sounds like you need to reach out to any and all concerned besides him. If that's the new rule of law then so be it I guess, express your utter dismay and disbelief and see where it goes, won't be surprised if you get no more traction, so much mamby pamby BS permeating so many things now.

They may have had a couple of diy sales go sideways and decided its not worth it if they can't cater without problems.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:39 PM
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I can guess that they want to do the install themselves because they are thinking of some liability issues, which is a long shot, IMO. But maybe their installation policy is also just their method to try a generate a little more business, especially with low profit margins they might be carrying. I think the salesperson you talked to just wasn't that good marketing their services and wrongfully gave you the attitude. I would be more than glad to pay that little bit more to a bike shop to support their business, if they just used the right way of asking me if I want a component I bought, installed by them.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:42 PM
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I've got a policy against going to my LBS.

So I guess that works out.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by MrK. View Post
Let me preface this by saying I'm 62 years old. I have been working on bikes since the mechanics in the bike shop close to my house would let me hang out when I was 10 and hand them tools and be otherwise annoying. I live in a small East Texas town. Closest bike shop is an hour away. I go there if I am close and need something, otherwise I order parts online. I was in that town today so I stopped in because I needed some cable and housing. I walked in and asked for a mtb brake cable and a full length piece of housing. The guy was pretty condescending telling me every bike is different and he needs to know exactly how long to cut the housing. I told him it's for a rear disc brake and the housing is full length so to cut me 5 feet. That seemed to annoy him so I said just cut it the length of the cable (knowing full well that there would be some left over). He blew and shook his head in frustration and I turned and started looking at the bike tools (ironic) thinking he was getting the housing. I heard him talking on the phone and mentioning housing. A minute later he gets my attention and asks me if I was bringing the bike in for installation. I told him that I would be installing it myself. He then picked up the cable and told me that I cannot install it myself, they had to do the install per company policy. ??? I know this shop changed hands recently and like to give them business when I am in the area but this is the last time I will give them business. Anyone else ever seen anything this absurd from a bike shop? Sorry for the rant.
I've never had anyone not sell me cable or housing. Could be a newb associate not knowing how these things work. I've had shop personnel ask me clarifying questions to make sure I got the right thing (which I appreciate, I sometimes get things wrong), but the only outright refusal I have gotten was when I asked a local mountain bike suspension guy if he would recharge the nitrogen on my motorcycle shock. He declined since he hadn't completed the full rebuild himself, but that's a safety issue that I totally understood after he put it in that light. The PSI can be in the hundreds and having a shock blow up on you could be dangerous.

If you still want to patronize the shop and you care enough, then I would send them an email to them to verify that is actually their policy. Their response will tell you whether or not it's worth continuing to patronize them.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:53 PM
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So basically that shop does repairs, but doesn’t sell parts. I have had experience with that back in the 80’s, but I haven’t used a shop for repairs or parts since then. Another ½ generation and there won’t be many Americans fixing any of their own stuff.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:54 PM
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I wonder if this is similar to one of my local LSB's (I am blessed with four, plus another in the next town). They recently shut down on weekends and said they were going to "focus on sales and service." I haven't gone in to buy parts since they changed format, since the shop a mile up the road from them is still open on weekends. I strongly suspect your shop is merely pumping for profits. I recall TV repair shops refusing to sell parts because of the small profit margins involved. That was never a problem back in the days when we had lots of electronics parts stores.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:59 PM
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If it were me, it would be a waste of my time to pitch a fit or contact the owner or protest. I'd simply never go there again.
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Old 11-01-21, 06:01 PM
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Well, worst case scenario = the shop sucks. May or may not be true. Some places suck. Been that way forever. I know of a sucky deli, a sucky convenience store, sucky auto repair garages, sucky appliance dealers, hair salons, and more. I think these places suck. Others don't. That's ok.

Easiest thing to do is laugh, and then go online and spend the $12.99 elsewhere.
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Old 11-01-21, 06:07 PM
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The way this guy spun out and escalated tells me he's in way over his head.

Threadless, cartridge, disposable, throwaway, profit at all costs crap is to blame for this.

If it ain't plug and play, they can't get there from here.
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Old 11-01-21, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
If it were me, it would be a waste of my time to pitch a fit or contact the owner or protest. I'd simply never go there again.
This... My fit has already been pitched in the original post. I think the mech/ sales guy was talking to the owner or manager on the phone who told him not to make the sale. Pretty easy not going back since it is an hour away. I could have stopped at a walmart on the way home and picked up some there but was trying to help out the LBS.

ETA: If he would have cut me the 5 feet I originally asked for, I would have only wasted about 6 inches.

Last edited by MrK.; 11-01-21 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 11-01-21, 06:13 PM
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One shop I worked at we had stuff in the service department we wouldn't sell to customers. Cables out of the box, lengths of housing, tubeless goop from the big tubeless goop jug, Slime from the 5 gallon Slime jug, loose bearings, tubes that weren't labeled for resale, etc. That stuff was all for shop use only, primarily so we could track material costs in the service dept.

You could buy all this stuff in individual retail packages out on the floor, and once in a blue moon if we were out of stock on the floor, and the customer had a good sob story, we'd sell service dept stock in a pinch.

Maybe this was the situation, but the mechanic wasn't able to accurately describe the situation?

Hard to tell though.
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Old 11-01-21, 06:22 PM
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The shop changing ownership is a key.

I think I would have shifted strategy.
“ok, I have another bike from the 1970’s, for that I need 6’ of housing”.
I will return with the other bike.
Gives a way to save face, you buy an extra foot of housing.
depart, and never return.

when folk get backed into a corner now, they just dig in and escalate the trauma.
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Old 11-01-21, 07:02 PM
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They want the revenue from the LABOR of installation.

Really, it isn't that crazy.... Try going to a Goodyear, Firestone, Tires Plus, National Tire, PepBoys, Wal-Mart, etc... and they probably will not sell you CARRY OUT car/suv/truck tires. Even if they did, they wouldn't at the specially advertised Sale prices. With these tire dealers, essentially, you hook them in with the Advertised price and the 60 minute in and out time to unstall them, but to a certain degree they hoodwink/con unsuspecting naive customers with faux upselling of tire stem quality & balancing, as well as lifetime tire repair. There is no difference in tire stem quality and a properly balanced tire cannot be improved upon. The lifetime tire repair has minimal value though because it is actually something, but the fact remains that the odds are such that your flat is likely to occur somewhere far from that particular tire store chain's stores. Lifetime balancing is not usually an issue as the lead weights usually do not come off of the wheels during the life of your tires. Certainly if your going off-roading or daily driving over the worst washboard, pothole roads that one can imagine, then perhaps the weights could get knocked.
Most tire dealers will just write-up the customer at the higher charge mounting & balancing + valve stem cost UNLESS the customer speaks up. Tire dealers also have had a decades long ritual of selling faux front wheel alignments when said tire dealer knows that the measured front end alignment specs are perfect(NOT NEEDING ANY ALIGNMENT OR ANY ADJUSTMENT AT ALL). They tell unsuspecting, naive customers that there car needs a Front End Wheel Alignment, and many times they will show the customer a print-out or a CRT display of bull$#!t numbers that differ greatly from the suggested factory acceptable specs and hard sell them to accept the additional charge for the "needed" alignment. Many times they simply do absolutely nothing, and just have you wait another 35 minutes and then tell you that we fixed your alignment for just $189. Yes, perhaps this LOCAL BIKE SHOP is being somewhat unwelcoming to the walk-up, over the counter person who just wants to buy the needed part and exit accordingly and do a self-install at home. Hey, you do know that you can buy a BELL PITCREW 600 complete cable set for $10 from WALMART online & ACE HARDWARE online, plenty of Wallyworld stores do carry this on the shelves in the bicycle section but it is often sold-out on the hanging pegs inside Walmart stores. Ace does not carry it in any of its stores. You've got everything that you'd need in the BELL PITCREW 600 cable set. WELL ACTUALLY YOU'LL NEED TO ALREADY OWN OR NEED TO BUY A $17 BRAKE CABLE CUTTER TOOL(pliers) ....several online bike shops carry this UNBRANDED version which looks like the PEDRO's & other name branded versions which are twice the cost....so you don't need it to say frikking PARK, or YA-PAY-A-2-MUSH.
This dumbass bike shop obviously doesn't want to sell just a $12 or $14 piece of Cable, as they want the minimum Labor revenue for installation as well.
You as a customer have a right to choose who you wish to do business with, just as that LBS has the right to choose exactly how it wishes to sell certain items.
Simply put, just forget about those fools, and do not give them your business! How hard is it to source something from trailthis, bikewagon, or at least twenty other online places that have everything you'd need and you can get it within four days at your door. No need to burn gas, driving all over searching for it at local bike shops.
Support local bike shops that treat (YOU) their customers well, but give the single middle finger salute to the few that don't value you as a customer. If they don't want your business, then don't give it to them! Most good local bike shops can be telephoned to determine that they have said item in stock and the price, before you drive there in person to buy it. Often you can purchase a single needed item at the "good" Local Bike Shop, where though you might pay double for the lowest Amazon price but where it materially matters is when the knowledge of the counter-help or proprietor can truly tell you that this part is a better fit or works better with your existing set-up than another part might. There are numerous times when perhaps multiple different parts are indeed applicable and may work okay.........when the vast knowledge of the counter-help or shop proprietor can show & explain why one particular said part is BETTER in your APPLICATION than the other options............THAT IS ALMOST PRICELESS.....where you are GLAD that you did pay twice as much..........................a very small difference when the problem solution does turn out so much better!
Sure, most everytime, you don't need that expert help, if you already are very experienced in repairs & adjustments, but you shouldn't forget that the expert-braintrust is there at nearly every good local bike shop. Not every local bike shop is "GOOD". Those like that will likely not remain an ongoing concern for too long. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Remember that you ultimately choose every day, which business establishments, that you support with your hard earned dollars.
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Old 11-01-21, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
The shop changing ownership is a key.

I think I would have shifted strategy.
“ok, I have another bike from the 1970’s, for that I need 6’ of housing”.
I will return with the other bike.
Gives a way to save face, you buy an extra foot of housing.
depart, and never return.

when folk get backed into a corner now, they just dig in and escalate the trauma.
Yep, "gonna double down and stand my ground".
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Old 11-01-21, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MrK. View Post
Anyone else ever seen anything this absurd from a bike shop?
Nope.

Sorry for the rant.
As Pedro, the disembodied head in a box, would say, "s'awright."
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Old 11-01-21, 08:44 PM
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This situation is weird.

Personally, I would contact the owner. It might actually be his policy but they need to get customer feed back.

At first, I was going to say it sounds like "Detroit syndrome", drawing parallels with "stealership" practices for automobiles. Then it struck me, even with auto dealers, you can go to any dealership parts department and buy the parts for your car. You do not need to go through the service department to get your parts installed.

Yours is an LBS which will not be around very long.
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Old 11-01-21, 08:47 PM
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Similar situation when Bob Odenkirk needed change.

[language nsfw]

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Old 11-01-21, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
This situation is weird.

Personally, I would contact the owner. It might actually be his policy but they need to get customer feed back.

At first, I was going to say it sounds like "Detroit syndrome", drawing parallels with "stealership" practices for automobiles. Then it struck me, even with auto dealers, you can go to any dealership parts department and buy the parts for your car. You do not need to go through the service department to get your parts installed.

Yours is an LBS which will not be around very long.
in SoCal, there is a comical situation. Go to the parts dept of almost any car dealership and the over the counter parts price ( or in the service drive as part of a repair ) is 25-30% above typical retail. Order that part online. And buy it for 10-15% below retail. Even from the Same dealership. They are willing to ship it to you but not willing for you to pick it up at the counter.
wild.
the way it is.
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Old 11-01-21, 09:05 PM
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Call the owner. Give polite feedback. Listen to response. Buy online.

Bike shops have changed with the times. Businesses don’t really value customers as much anymore.

Sell high tech bikes. Service those bikes. Bike tech chain store types are eliminating the little old time, “I think I might have a SunTour Lepree jockey wheel somewhere” shops.

Luckily one of the 9 shops around still has the “bike shop” vibe.
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Old 11-01-21, 10:27 PM
  #23  
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I would probably give them one more chance. If they treat me properly, I'd figure they had a bad day the first time and keep them in my shopping rotation. . If not, that would be that. For some things, going up the chain of command to lodge the appropriate complaint is worth it. Cable housing is not one of them.
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Old 11-02-21, 01:07 AM
  #24  
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Bikes: Early 1980's Ishiwata 022 steel sport/touring, 1986 Vitus 979, 1988 DiamondBack Apex, 1997 Softride PowerWing 700, 2001 Trek OCLV 110

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Originally Posted by MrK. View Post
He then picked up the cable and told me that I cannot install it myself, they had to do the install per company policy.
Didn't you at least ask why? I love my LBS. I have 5 bikes and do 99% of the repair/maintenance myself (a huge part of the joy of cycling for me), but I totally trust my LBS to do the stuff I can't and to not bull**** me on stuff that they think I can't do.

Last edited by Gonzo Bob; 11-02-21 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 11-02-21, 01:36 AM
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Lazyass
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The three shops nearest me are all 30-40 minutes away. I haven't walked into one in about 5-6 years now. The last time I also had an attitude problem with one guy. Everything is overpriced and none of the shops carry anything cool anymore. Not even worth browsing around in them, very limited selection. Trek dealers are the worst because everything in the shop is Bontrager stuff. Bontrager parts and Pearl Izumi clothing haha.

Performance Bike was actually the coolest one, they had all kinds of stuff but of course they're gone now. I miss the 80's and 90's, I could browse around in them all day.
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