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supporting the local bike shop? (that charges too much)

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supporting the local bike shop? (that charges too much)

Old 10-27-04, 08:34 PM
  #1  
digs
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eh... I just bought a computer from a local bike shop for $43 (including tax)... got home to find out that they had it priced $20 over MSRP, and I paid $13 (tax included) over MSRP... and that I could have gotten the same thing, shipping included, for $25 off of the internet

it kind of bummed me out... but I mean, I live in a fairly small town, with *very* few bikers... and pretty much every specialty shop of any sort here has to over charge...

I was considering returning the computer (unopened) when I went tomorrow to pick up my rack/fenders... what are your opinions on that? Keep in mind, I'm a college student... and after my bills I am left with $6 a day to survive on... so the $18 difference in price is really a big deal to me

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Old 10-27-04, 09:08 PM
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emilymildew
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Dude, it's up to you. I tend to buy things from my LBS because they are nice to me and they help me out with things. It might be a few bucks more but it's worth it when they help me figure something out.

Last time I was in there, I was shown one of the new Bianchis and told that it is about $1100 but that I'll do better than that. That is what makes it worth it to me.
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Old 10-27-04, 09:56 PM
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I'd return it. I can see supporting the LBS when buying a new bike, and getting it serviced...but really, they sold something to you over MSRP, return it.

I learned economics, I know that something is worth what someone else with pay for it, but it still seems shady.
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Old 10-28-04, 05:34 AM
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Are you sure they charged you $20 over msrp, ie, over the suggested retail price? Or was it $20 over a discounted website price? There is a big difference. I pretty much expect LBS to charge list/retail/msrp. They have to in order to survive. It costs a lot of money to maintain any sort of business location. On the first of the month that shop owner probably is faced with several thousand dollars of fixed costs - rent, utilities, financing payments on all the inventory he keeps in stock so when you need something he hopefully has it in stock. He has to make these payments whether he sells a single bike or computer that month or not, plus the salaries of everyone who works there, and hopefully has something left to make a living for himself. And only a portion of each sale is "profit" available to make those payments.

I buy most stuff from my LBS, but I will admit to doing some bottom feeding bargain hunting online, but usually on things that the LBS doesn't carry and are not worth him ordering. I will also admit that there have been a couple of occasions where I was disappointed in something my LBS suggested or recommended. I, personally, did not return them. Just learned to be more careful. I love my LBS. They it is one of the best in town. They are not infallible.
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Old 10-28-04, 06:50 AM
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As much as it hurts sometimes, I agree with buying from your local bike shop. Sure, we can find almost everything cheaper on the Internet. The LBS in my area is owned by someone who rides, commutes, and tours. I have gotten some really nice used parts from him REALLY cheap. He is also my age so he understands my needs. He is more expensive on new parts/components. But I like the "full service" I get from him when I go into his shop. Even if the "full service" is nothing more than talking bike stuff over coffee.
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Old 10-28-04, 07:51 AM
  #6  
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I prefer to support my LBS whenever possible, but $20 over is ridiculous and I would return it and let them know why you are returning it. I'll pay $5 or even $10 more at the lbs for somethings but loyalty only goes so far. To me if a lbs is ripping people off they don't deserve loyalty.
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Old 10-28-04, 08:12 AM
  #7  
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It all depends for me here. Esp in canada, buysing things online often means getting it across the boarders, which has some aditional custom fees, and UPS's overcharge for paying those custom fees.

I think it all depends on the LBS. I think a lot of shops around here could learn to be more personal with the clients, and try to respect their clients more. It's hard to be a small retailer nowadays, in this mass-consuming world.... So in my opinion, today's bike shops need to:

-Have employees that *love* bikes and that are bikers themselves. Not just another guy who can do the job.

-Well trained employees. Training takes time, but in the long run, it's worth it.

-Employees that don't pressure you into a sale, or try to sell you the most expensive bike/accessory. Best a client buys something cheaper then get out with nothing no?

-Put in the extra time to really test a repair that they just did. Best do it once, then have an unsatisfied customer back with the same problem.

I know for me, those make me feel "at home" in a bike shop, and I will willingly pay more money (to a certain extent of course) on items in this LBS. Because service is worth something.

Unfortunatly, in my area I haven't found something like this. There are some in my town, but I'd like to try and find something within 15km.
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Old 10-28-04, 08:17 AM
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Take it back to them, tell them the story and see what they have to say. You will soon know what type of people you are dealing with and whether or not you should support them
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Old 10-28-04, 08:26 AM
  #9  
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Well if it REALLY was $20 over retial price then FOR SURE take it back to the LBS and give them a bag of crap. Tell them how you would love to support them but you are not going to do it if their prices amount to highway robbery. If they charged you even retail then IMO they should install it for you and explain all of the functions, THAT is the added value that a LBS can provide and a rason to pay retail rather than buy mail order.
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Old 10-28-04, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by RainmanP
Are you sure they charged you $20 over msrp, ie, over the suggested retail price? Or was it $20 over a discounted website price? There is a big difference.

I agree with RainmanP. I was thinking the same thing when I read the first post. You can always find a better deal off the internet vs. buying from an LBS. If they did charge you $20 over the MSRP, then go back and see if they'd at least
refund the difference. But if you're comparing the price to the lowest bargain basement price you can find online, then forget it. It's okay to try to bargain with the LBS with their local competitor, but not with the internet. One local car stereo store nearby has a sign on their counter: "Stereo installation is free if purchased here. We will gladly install your internet-puchased stereo for the cost you saved plus 20%." Gotta love it.
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Old 10-28-04, 09:12 AM
  #11  
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I buy stuff from my LBS, but not much. If I bought 100% from them, I wouldn't have been able to properly equip the bike I bought from them. I try to buy stuff from them once in a while, maybe every couple of months, but the majority of my stuff comes from Nashbar.
My wife already complains when I spend money on bike stuff. How much worse would it be if I were buying the $100 and up panniers (all they stock) at the LBS, instead of the $24 (on sale) Nashbars? I'm not the sort that gives a damn what something looks like or whos name is printed on it, as long as it works well enough.

I like the guys at the LBS, and I do point people to them for buying bikes, but I'm not ready to pay multiples of the cost for basically the same thing.
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Old 10-28-04, 09:26 AM
  #12  
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he charged me $10 over MSRP (or 133% of the MSRP)... and $20 more than I could have bought it for off of the internet...

I'm not taking it back, but I'm going to explain the situation to him when I go to pick up my stuff today... tell him that the price he had listed on the item was $20 over MSRP (he gave me $10 off what he had it tagged at), and I still paid $10 over MSRP... and that I'd like to support his business, but as a customer it's discouraging to go home and find out that your "good buy" was actually 33% higher than MSRP, so I doubt I'll be returning or putting in any good words.
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Old 10-28-04, 09:30 AM
  #13  
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The LBS gets my labor business, and some small parts $$ (Tubes, pads, water bottles), but I really save big coin on the internet. Panniers and a rack from Nash came in under $45, where it'd have cost $140 at the shop. Fenders, pedals, wheels all online.

If they can get within 15%, I'll go local.
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Old 10-28-04, 10:49 AM
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It is so much cheaper, and so much more convenient, to order stuff online that I rarely buy from the local place. Plus, at the LBS the selection is enormously limited compared to what I can find on Performance and Nashbar. Is an LBS going to recommend a product that they don't carry, even though that product might be better suited to the customer's needs?

I think a lot of this bike stuff is already outrageously expensive. Take the cycling jerseys for instance. Some of these are $70, even on the internet!

What do you really *need* your LBS for, anyway? Repairs? I'd rather have them make their profits with expensive repair fees, and then I could pay for their "personal" service when and if I need a repair. That way I'm not subsidizing someone else's repairs by buying expensive merchandise.
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Old 10-28-04, 11:13 AM
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That much over MSRP is crazy.

The bike shop I go to doesn't like selling stuff. It's weird, but true. They like repairing bikes, and that's about it. They'll special order bikes for people and they do some things, but most of it is tools and repair items.

And with me they're very good and honest. They've talked me out of a few purchases and unnecessary repair jobs. Since then they're the only place I take my bike and I refer everyone to them.
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Old 10-28-04, 12:06 PM
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I really don't see any need to pay a premium to support the LBS. I'm a pretty enthusiastic cyclist and I havenít even been in a bike shop for several years. I go to performancebike, nashbar and coloradocyclist on the web every day though.
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Old 10-28-04, 01:36 PM
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You might mention to the folks at the store that you had seen it somewhere else for less. They might be able to knock something off your next purchase, or make some other adjustment.

Small bike shops often pay a lot for items that they buy in "ones" and "two". They are told "Well, buy fifty of these computers, and will give you another 30% off". But, the shop does not need fifty computers. So they pay prices that are sometimes close to the Nashbar price for stuff.

Because I am dangerous with a screwdriver in my hand, when I buy something at my LBS, I ask them to install it. They usually install stuff for free, or a minimal charge. So, it gets installed correctly, which it would not if I bought mail order.

Because I buy a lot of stuff from my LBS, they will often stop what they are doing if I come in and need a five minute adjustment on my bike. And, my "big" repairs seem to go to the head of the line, compared with the folks who come in just once a year or so.

If we all bought everything mail order, there would be no LBS. And I would have a bunch of bikes sitting around needed adjustments. So, I use mail order only for stuff my LBS does not have in stock, or when the LBS and I disagree about brands. I use Continental tubes, my LBS uses something else.
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Old 10-28-04, 02:05 PM
  #18  
Raiyn
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I have a rule of thumb when it omes to buying things online. If I can buy it locally for say within 10% (depending on the item) of the internet price + S&H it gets bought locally - if not then hello e-tailers.
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Old 10-28-04, 02:30 PM
  #19  
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This is a tough situation. Unfortunate for the LBS as we know it. Talk about out-sourcing. As much as we wouldn't like it to happen to us, the way we buy goods is simply changing in a big way. However, the fact remains that if I had to pay LBS prices for everything cycling related, I would simply not be financially able to participate in cycling anywere near as completely as I do.

Take cycle wear for instance. If there is anything as overpriced as lycra shorts and jerseys I am not aware of it. There is absolutely no way that I can afford to drop $200 plus dollars on ONE cycling outfit (shoes, shorts and jersey). This is where I apologize to no one for being a dedicated bottom-feeder, blow-out internet sale shopper. As a matter of fact, I was so jazzed when I found suitable socker jerseys at WallMart for like, 12 dollars apiece. All they were missing was a couple pockets in back. $50 dollars or so is a high price to pay for a couple pockets. I'll put my stuff in my bargain basement trunk. Thanks very much.

Don't get me wrong. I like to pick something up, pay for it and take it right home as much as the next guy. But more often than not, I regreat paying 20-30% more, plus sales tax, for parts and accessories at the LBS.

Then again, one thing most LBS have, that most .com stores don't, is a parts bin for traded out, but nearly new components. This is where I have no problem holding up a virtually new but technically used handle bar, stem, etc. and really haggling - to the point of putting it back down and starting for the door. After all, the bike owner probably just gave it to the shop, so in most cases it is pure profit for them. Last week I got a NICE pair of aluminum risers for $10.

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Old 10-28-04, 02:37 PM
  #20  
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I always try LBS first before buying off the Internet. Keeping my retail dollars local is a priority with me, so I can certainly understand your predicament on such a mark up. In that case I would talk to them about it.
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Old 10-28-04, 03:23 PM
  #21  
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I much prefer to support locally owned businesses for a variety of reasons.

Take the cyclocomputer for example - specifically a Cateye Astrale 8:
LBS price: $35 plus tax = $37 and you get it the same day. A good LBS (like the one I go to) will install new items for no extra charge.
Typical online price: $30 + ship (sometimes 0$ if a special, sometimes up to $10 - especially if you don't want to wait a week)
Online sale price: $25 + ship and you have to wait for that deal to come up.

Not only do I get instant gratification from the LBS purchase, but it it breaks or the install wasn't right I can get it taken care of immediately. Not so with any online purchase. Well worth the extra $12-15 to me, let alone the fact that I am supporting local business.

Al
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