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I'm OK Never Setting Foot Inside an LBS Again

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I'm OK Never Setting Foot Inside an LBS Again

Old 08-30-17, 03:09 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
Walking into a bike shop is just begging to be inundated with endless examples of arrested development. Thank god for internet sales.
Using your logic, I'd never buy anything online again because of all the unpleasant encounters I've had with customer support.
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Old 08-30-17, 03:43 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
Yelp.com

It will likely tell you first hand from other customers if the shop is good. The resources to vet a shop already exists. If a shopper doesn't use them, that's his problem.

If you put in some kind of regulation it will drive prices up and likely not do anything of any real value. You have to be licensed to be a car mechanic and pass standards and there are still a ton of garbage mechanics out there that don't know a break rotor from an oil pan. Same goes for cosmetology. You have to have a license to cut hair and pass government standards. Yet lots of people get lousy haircuts every day.

Government regulation of an industry rarely raises the actual product standards of that industry. It just adds an extra layer of cost that's passed along to the consumer. More regulation is almost never the answer to improving anything.
It seems that you consider certification to be a bogus principle. Is there any type of formal education that you consider legitimate?
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Old 08-30-17, 03:54 PM
  #78  
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My LBS is a mom and pop operation including two sons who are excellent mechanics. Part of why like to shop there is the superb repair/maintenance these guys offer, and also because I can try out anything before buying.
Online I have come across some items I liked, but had a different view once I received the item. Touchy, feely, sniffy before I purchase..... I like that.
Plus they have a regular bbq for folks who show up that day and ride. Great customer service and a family feel.
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Old 08-30-17, 03:59 PM
  #79  
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Staff I don't really have a problem with because, quite frankly, if I don't like their attitude I just dismiss them. I's perfectly ok to say "I don't want to talk - I'll call you when I need you". I look, I ask specific questions, and if I get persistent attitude I tell the owner that is why I left without purchase.

Having said that, good staff makes all the difference. I deal primarily with one store simply because of the staff. I buy a lot of small parts because I wrench a lot, often get decent discounts and drop as much of my purchasing there as I can. Usually it's stuff they don't carry or order that I buy elsewhere. In Canada shipping is more expensive + exchange rate so online isn't always that attractive.

Even with all the nickel and dime stuff when it happened I bought a new bike there as well. I wanted to swap out the stem but the owner balked a bit and I was getting such a good deal I didn't press but the next day one of the staff messaged me to say she had talked further with the boss and he agreed to swap it in the end so I could come on in and get it. Now that's customer service!
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Old 08-30-17, 04:04 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Using your logic, I'd never buy anything online again because of all the unpleasant encounters I've had with customer support.
Yeah pretty much. I had a couple of bad online experiences so all online is bad
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Old 08-30-17, 04:07 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
Chuck, I'll have to respectfully disagree with you about the customer "knowing what they want." I've worked in retail as well as preventive maintenance industries of customer service and I always approach every customer as if they are at the beginning of their search for information about my products. You mentioned about customers asking questions and I believe that it is part of the salesman's job to also ask questions to help inform the customer about the product in which they're interested.


I never thought of my customers as a "sale" waiting to happen. The core of my business approach was based on education and I felt that it was my job to assist in educating my customer to enable them to make and informed decision about a purchase. Notice that I didn't say an informed purchase because sometimes an informed customer realizes that they shouldn't purchase anything. The internet can be a very valuable tool in extending this educational search and assist the customer in finding out more about the product or service in which their interested.


There have been a few times in my life when I've been on the receiving end of such a customer service approach and it is so comforting to know that the person with whom I'm speaking is more interested in assisting me in making the best decision for me that everything else is easy.


Customer service skills have died in America, for the most part, and many of the employees that you meet in a retail environment are clueless about what their real job should be in cultivating a long time customer. Unfortunately, the internet has stripped much of the profit from LBS and reduced the sale agents to minimum wage robots without a brain regurgitating canned facts and not really helping the customer. The internet has also made it real easy for anyone to buy almost anything for a cut rate price. However, when you're shopping on price alone, you loose a lot of the services and personal assistance that may be required in the education of the customer who "doesn't know what he/she doesn't know."


A friend recently bought to hybrid bikes online and have taken up biking with us. Unfortunately, these same friends didn't know anything about fitment or purpose so they have two new bikes that don't serve them very well and are already looking to purchase two more bikes to replace their new online bought bikes. I would think that this could be a common problem that many riders might encounter that could turn them away from riding because of ill fitting equipment that creates a poor experience.


I am a big proponent of supporting local businesses of all kinds because these types of businesses are usually staffed by friends, neighbors and residents of our communities. I support "shop local, buy local, live local." The responsibility of becoming an informed customer is totally upon me but great customer service can go a long way to create a credible relationship that benefits everyone including the local economy.


Just my $.02 worth of preaching and not worth the paper it's written on...I'll get down off my soapbox now. Thank you for reading my rantings...


I agree with many things you said.


Let's take an example and you can tell me how you would handle the customer. The customer decides to take up golf. They have never played at all and they've heard Callaway is a good brand from their friends. You have a set for $900 in your store. It is the best set you have. Would you rather they know something about golf clubs, understand the basics of the game, understand the level of difficulty, understand that you can't buy a golf game, know who Ben Hogan was, or to be totally ignorant?


The person that knows nothing does not know enough to make an intelligent decision no matter how sincere you are, how knowledgeable you are, or how much you want to help.
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Old 08-30-17, 04:12 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by WT21 View Post
Yeah pretty much. I had a couple of bad online experiences so all online is bad
Come to think of it, I got bad service at a restaurant once. I'm never setting foot in a restaurant again!
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Old 08-30-17, 04:47 PM
  #83  
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I don't go to local bikes shops anymore, but not because I'm so snobbish as to look down on people who don't make a lot of money. And when I did go I didn't need help, I already knew what I wanted or just wanted to browse. And having a mechanic work on my bike for me would be like losing my manhood.
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Old 08-30-17, 05:37 PM
  #84  
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I guess I'll chime in on this one. Several years ago I got back into cycling as an off-set, sort of, to my quitting smoking. Thought cycling might help. Did a Google search on nearby cycle shops. One stood out re: service, Aberdeen Cycle in Chelsea, MI.

Though 15 miles away, went there. Bought my first bike there, a Specialized Expedition. Great bike though always thought it a bit small, thought an X-Large would have been better. I wanted to try a different configuration, gravel. Did not buy from Aberdeen, but Nashbar, on-line.

Ran into an issue with a detent (see this thread, https://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...35-detent.html), Aberdeen Cycle couldn't have been better They seem to be quite accommodating. Definitely have my business going forward.
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Old 08-30-17, 05:53 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
Chuck, I'll have to respectfully disagree with you about the customer "knowing what they want." I've worked in retail as well as preventive maintenance industries of customer service and I always approach every customer as if they are at the beginning of their search for information about my products. You mentioned about customers asking questions and I believe that it is part of the salesman's job to also ask questions to help inform the customer about the product in which they're interested.


I never thought of my customers as a "sale" waiting to happen. The core of my business approach was based on education and I felt that it was my job to assist in educating my customer to enable them to make and informed decision about a purchase. Notice that I didn't say an informed purchase because sometimes an informed customer realizes that they shouldn't purchase anything. The internet can be a very valuable tool in extending this educational search and assist the customer in finding out more about the product or service in which their interested.


There have been a few times in my life when I've been on the receiving end of such a customer service approach and it is so comforting to know that the person with whom I'm speaking is more interested in assisting me in making the best decision for me that everything else is easy.


Customer service skills have died in America, for the most part, and many of the employees that you meet in a retail environment are clueless about what their real job should be in cultivating a long time customer. Unfortunately, the internet has stripped much of the profit from LBS and reduced the sale agents to minimum wage robots without a brain regurgitating canned facts and not really helping the customer. The internet has also made it real easy for anyone to buy almost anything for a cut rate price. However, when you're shopping on price alone, you loose a lot of the services and personal assistance that may be required in the education of the customer who "doesn't know what he/she doesn't know."


A friend recently bought to hybrid bikes online and have taken up biking with us. Unfortunately, these same friends didn't know anything about fitment or purpose so they have two new bikes that don't serve them very well and are already looking to purchase two more bikes to replace their new online bought bikes. I would think that this could be a common problem that many riders might encounter that could turn them away from riding because of ill fitting equipment that creates a poor experience.


I am a big proponent of supporting local businesses of all kinds because these types of businesses are usually staffed by friends, neighbors and residents of our communities. I support "shop local, buy local, live local." The responsibility of becoming an informed customer is totally upon me but great customer service can go a long way to create a credible relationship that benefits everyone including the local economy.


Just my $.02 worth of preaching and not worth the paper it's written on...I'll get down off my soapbox now. Thank you for reading my rantings...
Sorry, but I’m going to get pedantic here. The word is “fit”, not “fitment”.

Fitment – noun - a fixed item of furniture or piece of equipment, especially in a house.

How did this even become a thing?
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Old 08-30-17, 09:02 PM
  #86  
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Yelp? You trust Yelp?
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Old 08-30-17, 10:09 PM
  #87  
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More hilarity and lulz from your friendly neighborhood LBS:

(tl, dr: dude was charged $200 for a repair under warranty)

https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-mechanics/1120356-paying-specialized-warranty-service.html

Paying for Specialized Warranty service??

It seems odd to have a $200 bill for warranty work. I know there are many of you that work in shops that can give me some inf.o to clarify this.

I have an electric bike store myself, but I dont carry Specialized, but my Turbo S crapped out with a motor problem.

I took it to a local Specialized dealer (not the one I bought it from) to have them take a look at it. A number of STUPID service errors occurred, but they finally did ride it enough to have the system shut down. (ed: LMAO!) They tried to give it back at first saying there was nothing wrong with it but never asking why I even brought it in!

First communication was proof of purchase. No problem. Confirmed a 2 year warranty. Wait another 2 weeks and get a message about the work being done for $200. Called Specialized and they said they only warranty parts and the dealer can charge whatever they want for labor. Diagnosis and installing a wheel shouldnt be $200!

How might this problem work at your shop?

-SP
gl

Last edited by speshelite; 08-30-17 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 08-31-17, 06:53 AM
  #88  
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I occasionally go to most of the shops in my area. But really I don't buy allot for several reasons. One, two of the local "chains" (one has 4 stores, another has two) I simply despise. But I do have some things done, and buy some items. But I have had a dealer tell me that my cracked frame wasn't cracked even though I got a second opinion from a structural engineer where I work. Have also take a wheel in for a replacement spoke (as I had allot going on and didn't want to take the time) on a Saturday, and did not get the wheel back until Friday even though they were there and doing nothing when I took the wheel in.

1. It's like I'm a walking pork chop on the floor for most of them.

2. Most have the same basic kind of crap.

3. Most of that crap is overpriced. i.e. Plastic wind breaker jacket (shell) with Zero insulation for $150 puleaeze!

4. Sometimes have been treated as though I have no clue, even after I have busted them on the BS they were trying to sell.

5. Part of the enjoyment is educating myself, and so for a particular area of interest, I often don't need the "help" and if I do need help, it is rarely available at a shop.

6. Lastly, and this is probable at least equal to all the others combined. I'm naturally independent and hate being reliant.

Overall, I try to give some of the locals a chance from time to time, but none stand out much, except in a negative fashion, and the one I have the most positive opinion of is an hours drive. So I do nearly everything myself.
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Old 08-31-17, 07:13 AM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by quicktrigger View Post
I occasionally go to most of the shops in my area. But really I don't buy allot for several reasons. One, two of the local "chains" (one has 4 stores, another has two) I simply despise. But I do have some things done, and buy some items. But I have had a dealer tell me that my cracked frame wasn't cracked even though I got a second opinion from a structural engineer where I work. Have also take a wheel in for a replacement spoke (as I had allot going on and didn't want to take the time) on a Saturday, and did not get the wheel back until Friday even though they were there and doing nothing when I took the wheel in.

1. It's like I'm a walking pork chop on the floor for most of them.

2. Most have the same basic kind of crap.

3. Most of that crap is overpriced. i.e. Plastic wind breaker jacket (shell) with Zero insulation for $150 puleaeze!

4. Sometimes have been treated as though I have no clue, even after I have busted them on the BS they were trying to sell.

5. Part of the enjoyment is educating myself, and so for a particular area of interest, I often don't need the "help" and if I do need help, it is rarely available at a shop.

6. Lastly, and this is probable at least equal to all the others combined. I'm naturally independent and hate being reliant.

Overall, I try to give some of the locals a chance from time to time, but none stand out much, except in a negative fashion, and the one I have the most positive opinion of is an hours drive. So I do nearly everything myself.

For me, it would really depend on how well the store has become part of the local cycling community. I'm primarily a runner, and there is one running store in my area that does SO much to promote and support the local running community that I will buy products there and spend more money than I would for the same product purchased online. That's because this store makes running such a terrific thing to be involved in, and the experience wouldn't be the same if the store went away.

I'm SURE there are bike shops that operate in the same fashion. I personally haven't found one in my area, but honestly I haven't really looked into it.
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Old 08-31-17, 07:15 AM
  #90  
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My closest Trek Dealer LBS is an hour and half drive from my house (100 miles). So when I travel to the LBS, it's either to buy a new bike or have a bike serviced. I rarely buy accessories and apparel from the LBS. I buy all of that stuff online now. The service is outstanding at the LBS and the bike mechanics are younger, millennial stoner types... but they do a great job and most of them are friendly.
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Old 08-31-17, 07:15 AM
  #91  
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I have a great LBS -- Spokes in Alexandria, Virginia. They've been nothing but helpful and respectful to me, my friends (mostly middle-aged women) and our dogs (dog-friendly shop). We go there primarily to have our bikejoring mountain bikes and dogscooters (Diggler Alpha Discs) serviced. I've bought three bikes there.

Going back there this Saturday to have a Jones H-Loop Bar put on my Farley 5.


.
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Old 08-31-17, 08:11 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by Rider_1 View Post
Sorry, but I’m going to get pedantic here. The word is “fit”, not “fitment”.

Fitment – noun - a fixed item of furniture or piece of equipment, especially in a house.

How did this even become a thing?
I am glad someone went there. The improper use of "fitment" on BF has always bothered me.
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Old 08-31-17, 09:47 AM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I just got done car-shopping. Talk about sociopaths? Makes LBS seem like a day in the park.
done, done, as in, bought a car? or fed up done & staying with your current wheels? or done for the day & trying to figure out your next move?
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Old 08-31-17, 09:51 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
handful of specific personality types at
nice rant. yeah going into a bike shop can be risky. once you know the LBSs in your area you can edit your visits & use them with discretion. if your're shopping you might try my car shopping technique. visit dealerships that are NOT near you. there are so many if one dealership doesn't suit you move on to another. feel bad for that crying dude. you throw him a tip? $5 goes a long way to making someone's day. just fold it up in the palm of your hand, shake his hand in thanks for the test ride & use one finger to press the bill in his palm (if he doesn't pick up on what's happening). it's all about technique & showing appreciation
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Old 08-31-17, 10:08 AM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
It seems that you consider certification to be a bogus principle. Is there any type of formal education that you consider legitimate?
Sure.

But education and certification are completely unrelated.

One can be well educated and highly qualified at a task without government certification. And many people are government certified at something that they absolutely suck at.

My statement is that forcing a government certification on a bike mechanic will do little to nothing to improve the quality of bike mechanics but will certainly increase the cost of bike maintenance.

If you've like to dispute that statement, have at it. But I won't respond to your dispute of a different statement that I didn't make, such as education being illegitimate.
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Old 08-31-17, 10:25 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
There was someone asking about buying from BD and it just reminded me of the many goofballs I've dealt with over the years at lbs's. There seem to be a handful of specific personality types at the lbs:

1) immature kids such as stoner teens that the shop hired because they're the only person in town willing to turn a wrench all week long for $8 an hour,

2) bored, confused millenials who don't have a career path and are trying to avoid adulting

3) pompous middle aged bike zealot whose ego is completely tied up in owning the latest carbon fiber Dura Ace Di2 wunderbike.

4) late on their rent desperate shop mechanic pushing their used bikes on you instead of the bike you wanted to test ride

5) rip off artist owners trying to upsell you to a $9K carbon road bike with discs when you came in for a $400 hybrid bike.

6) depressed floor sales guy who breaks down emotionally and cries when you come back from a 15 minute test ride and tell him you're going to "think about it" and get back to him.

Walking into a bike shop is just begging to be inundated with endless examples of arrested development. Thank god for internet sales.
You forgot 7 - The guy/gal who got into the business because he/she loves bikes.

I dunno, man. I don't pay full retail for much except need items (like a spare tube if I need one immediately), but I do check out local bike shops. As compared to other retail establishments, they seem like pretty happy places, but maybe that is my just feeling happy surrounded by bikes.

It seems to me if you treat people right, they are pretty receptive. I am aware, though, that timing is important when it comes to dealing with bike shops. Here in the Midwest, if you just want to pick some bike mechanic's brain, or kick the tires (figuratively), you will get a better reception doing that in late October November or December midweek than you will in mid to late June on a Friday or Saturday afternoon, when these guys are busting a gut keeping up with repairs for customers picking up their bikes for that big annual charity ride they have and just realized the day before their bike needs a repair.

But even then, nobody likes to feel like you are wasting their time, only to go buy something online. Now, you might say this is foolish but if I spend more than 5 or 10 minutes of a guy's time, I do try to buy something, but that is me. I have a friend who feels differently. I went with him last winter to a bike shop about 45 minutes away that I ran across on business. They had a bunch of bikes on sale I thought my friend would like. But when we got there, my friend was more interested in chewing the fat with the shop owner for over an hour than he was actually buying one of these bikes. I thanked the owner and bought a few odds and ends. Some socks, a spare tube, stuff like that. Interestingly, my friend felt not such compulsion to buy anything, though, IMO, he should have.

Last edited by MRT2; 08-31-17 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 08-31-17, 10:29 AM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
Walking into a bike shop is just begging to be inundated with ...
Only in the "wrong" sort of shop. (Agreed, there, that there are such shops that exist.)

Plenty of decent shops around. Just not every one in every town.

In my own area, we've got a handful that are quite good, with solid leadership, high-quality techs, and with staff who don't have a pushy no-listen bone in their bodies.
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Old 08-31-17, 10:32 AM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
you throw him a tip? $5 goes a long way to making someone's day. just fold it up in the palm of your hand, shake his hand in thanks for the test ride & use one finger to press the bill in his palm (if he doesn't pick up on what's happening). it's all about technique & showing appreciation
You make it sound like a bribe, or a drug deal!

Yeah, just got a car. Had one try to arm-twist me for hours (literally) to buy an extended warranty; another was the classic bait-and-switch. Wound up buying from the local dealer who I had previously sworn off -- zero hassle and BS.
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Old 08-31-17, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
You make it sound like a bribe, or a drug deal!

Yeah, just got a car. Had one try to arm-twist me for hours (literally) to buy an extended warranty; another was the classic bait-and-switch. Wound up buying from the local dealer who I had previously sworn off -- zero hassle and BS.
they're thieves. you gotta pay them protection money, or is that extortion? recently told my son to carry his license & debt card & emergency cash separate from his wallet so if he gets mugged he can toss down his wallet with some money & run away

had a sales guy say to me "give me your keys, I'm going to sell this car to you today" when I said "no you aren't but thanks for the test drive" & got in my car he came running over & asked what was he gonna tell his sales manager. felt bad he was so desperate but that's no reason to buy a car. shudda thrown down a wallet with some cash before I drove off, huh?

congrats on the car!
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Old 08-31-17, 11:52 AM
  #100  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
You make it sound like a bribe, or a drug deal!

Yeah, just got a car. Had one try to arm-twist me for hours (literally) to buy an extended warranty; another was the classic bait-and-switch. Wound up buying from the local dealer who I had previously sworn off -- zero hassle and BS.
Off bike topic a bit, but related. Key to buy a car/bike is timing and waiting for that good deal that you want to fall in your lap then act quickly. Last car (truck actually). Wasn't looking. Went online because a co-worker was buying and had been for months, and knew I would have to eventually and just wondering about current market. End up landing in a 2 year old truck with less than 14K miles for less than the book "trade in value". I got double book value for my old truck than book value (had it for 11 years) as well. Keys were that it was end of year, they were about to have to pay taxes on it, and they had had it for a few months, and my old truck was in good condition. So rather than pay taxes, they were willing to give me what it took, and I had armed myself with homework, and printouts of other good deals that I made sure to lay on the desk so they (sales people) could see. I walked on the car lot and drove off done less than two hours later. Done. Oh, and the old truck, did similar thing with similar result. Always be ready to walk on any deal, do your homework, and it will be allot less stressful, and will keep you in control. Sales people don't like it.... oh well.

Timing and patience goes for bike as well. Just bought a gorgeous 2017 carbon frame mountain bike for just over half price because they are are trying to clear inventory ahead of 2018's.
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