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Would you pay 20% more, plus tax, to buy shoes from the LBS

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Would you pay 20% more, plus tax, to buy shoes from the LBS

Old 05-22-18, 11:41 AM
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Bat56
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Would you pay 20% more, plus tax, to buy shoes from the LBS

I am looking at some shoes that I can buy online for $200 or at a shop for $250. Now, the shop has some sort of deal where you can join their club for $30 and get 20% off one full-price item each month. With that the shoes are $244 out the door. That's versus $200 shipped.

I feel like an a-hole trying on the shoes at the LBS and then buying online, but $50 is a pretty big margin. The problem with their discount club is that I do not buy parts regularly and I do my own wrenching. I also can feel like a bad citizen for avoiding taxes but that might just be a special case in this instance because I am bargaining with myself and telling myself to just buy the damn shoes at the shop and forget about it.

Can you talk me into either option?
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Old 05-22-18, 11:58 AM
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If you try them on, you should buy from them. If you don't use the store's resources/advice, buy from wherever you like.
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Old 05-22-18, 12:09 PM
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Shoes are the one thing I would NEVER buy online. There is too much variation in the sizing and last shape, so IMHO you need to try them on to get the best fit.
That means bite the bullet and buy them at the shop.
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Old 05-22-18, 12:14 PM
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Ask if they price match. Most stores will price match online prices long as it isn't some odd ball website or random Amazon seller. With those I don't risk the hassle anyway. Might get a pair of shoes that's been worn and returned. I'd just buy the shoes in store...
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Old 05-22-18, 12:22 PM
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The issue with this, and many products, is that product turnover vs inventory costs means that a LBS or even a chain like Performance can't stock many shoes.

I wanted the Fizik R3 or whatever the mid-level carbon shoe is, in a pretty standard size. No LBS had it. I think one LBS had the mid level Shimano shoes in a fugly color.

The rest of the stock was way way over priced velcro crap or stuff with a ratchet. No boa stuff for some reason.

There's too many models at too high a cost that change every year for the LBS to stock it all. And why would I order it from them, essentially on a deposit, just to try them on after waiting for a week?

Same with nice saddles. I called LBS's to see if they had any. Minimal stock, and none of the ugly yellow test units. Only a pay 100% price with exchange policy.

No different than buying online and returning if it doesn't work in my eyes.

I use the LBS for the cheaper and consumable stuff. Or an entire bike. Cables, bar tape, pads, cassette, chain. They usually stock that stuff due to repairs on other bikes. So, I buy there instead of saving $3 online. I sourced the parts for an 11spd wheelset conversion at the LBS workshop area.

Hate to say it, but shoes have moved that way. I can't imagine a LBS would want to stock 50 pairs of sizes of shoes at $200 a pop. Now, stocking 50 sets of bar tape that'll get used anyway. Sure.
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Old 05-22-18, 12:23 PM
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Cannot mail my feet to an online seller to try on shoes, can you?


[Oregon and NH dont charge sales tax]





...

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-24-18 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 05-22-18, 12:26 PM
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I shopped a an LBS for shoes, found a pair that fit well & bought them.

They fit really well & I figured I'd wear them out eventually .

I ordered 2 pair online , same brand, model & size
saving quite a few $$. (brought the average cost way down )

Support your LBS, when you can. It's good to have a good relationship with them.
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Old 05-22-18, 12:31 PM
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I would only buy shoes online if the return policy was in my favor. You are an a hole if you go to the shop to try them on for correct sizing of your online purchase.
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Old 05-22-18, 12:33 PM
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I would not try on shoes at a LBS then leave and buy them online for cheaper. That's just low class. And this comes from someone who is pretty much done with LBS's because of the poor selections of products (Bontrager and Pearl Izumi everything) and high prices today.
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Old 05-22-18, 12:35 PM
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If the shoes fit me, I am walking out the door with them. $40 isn't that significant for something I KNOW fits. I know what they cost online before I go in, if I am not willing to pay the shops price, I am not using them as a fitting room.

That said, I have tried on shoes at a shop, found that they didn't have my size (which was a 41 v the 42 I thought I was), and couldn't get it. That is the only exception I have ever made to trying on locally then buying online. In general, I never buy shoes online.
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Old 05-22-18, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by REDMASTA View Post
Ask if they price match. Most stores will price match online prices long as it isn't some odd ball website or random Amazon seller. With those I don't risk the hassle anyway. Might get a pair of shoes that's been worn and returned. I'd just buy the shoes in store...
I agree with proposing a price match. I've even done that at Performance, where they matched a PBK sale on tires.
Alternatively, if I was going to buy a pair of shoes via the internet, I'd find a place that offered free returns and order the size I thought I would fit, plus a size up and a size down.
Then I'd return two that didn't fit.
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Old 05-22-18, 01:03 PM
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I'd question my sanity first before spending $200 on a pair of cycling shoes. I don't have a $50 head and $200 feet
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Old 05-22-18, 01:54 PM
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Go to the LBS and buy them there if they have the model you want.
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Old 05-22-18, 02:01 PM
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If your online source has a bullet proof return policy, like Zappo's, and you have a good credit buffer, you could buy three pairs of shoes in a group of bracketed sizes. Keep the one that fits and return the other 2. Or just bite the bullet and buy them at your LBS, if they have them.
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Old 05-22-18, 02:15 PM
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I agree with other comments that if you plan to try the shoes on to check the size at the LBS then you should make the purchase at the LBS. And although I buy many items online, I think I'd probably opt to give the LBS the business in a case where the price difference is this small (OTOH, I'd never consider paying $200+ for shoes in any event). The $30 for joining their discount program may well save you some money down the line anyway if you need some part/tool/service 'today' instead of waiting for a shipment. And technically you're supposed to pay MN sales/use tax on your online purchases anyway although few people do. If you're buying $200+ shoes, your total annual online buying probably exceeds the $770 exemption in the state's Use Tax code:

"If the items you are buying are for your personal use (as opposed to buying items to use in a business), you can buy up to $770 worth of taxable items during the calendar year without paying use tax. If, however, your purchases total more than $770, you must pay use tax on the entire amount. This exemption does not apply to businesses.
Minnesota’s use tax rate is the same as the state’s 6.875 percent sales tax rate. If you live in an area with one or more local use taxes, you owe local use tax on your purchases as well."
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Old 05-22-18, 02:22 PM
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I've done both; bought full price shoes at the LBS, and (different shoes) order 3 pairs/return 2. Using the brick and mortar store as an unpaid fitting room for mail order is despicable.
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Old 05-22-18, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Bat56 View Post
I feel like an a-hole trying on the shoes at the LBS and then buying online,
You are an a-hole if you try on shoes at the LBS and buy online.

Shoes are probably a money loser for bike shops. you have to stock a lot of sizes so, even if you carry only a few models, you have a pretty significant inventory cost. Employee time involvement in the sale is fairly significant too. I'd guess the actual value is probably about even. The difference is, when you buy on line, you take $50.00 from the bike shop and give it to the internet seller.

To level the playing field, why should internet sellers be exempt from collecting the same sales tax that's charged at brick and mortar stores? Why do our politicians favor out of state vendors at the expense of the local folks who pay their salaries? I suspect it might be interesting to follow the money on that one.
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Old 05-22-18, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
If the shoes fit me, I am walking out the door with them. $40 isn't that significant for something I KNOW fits. I know what they cost online before I go in, if I am not willing to pay the shops price, I am not using them as a fitting room.

That said, I have tried on shoes at a shop, found that they didn't have my size (which was a 41 v the 42 I thought I was), and couldn't get it. That is the only exception I have ever made to trying on locally then buying online. In general, I never buy shoes online.
Ditto, knowing something fits / looks good before walking out the door with it is worth the extra cost for me.

On the other I've learned not to order anything from a shop that they don't have in stock. If you order online you can return it, usually if you order from a shop they either straight up won't let you return it, or will say "you can definitely return this", but then when you come back give you a lot of hassle to try to keep you from returning it. Not worth the trouble.
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Old 05-22-18, 03:14 PM
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Here is my example of why a good local LBS is worth supporting. On a recent Saturday, I jumped onto a bridge and my entire saddle assembly ass-ploded. Parts scattered and I could not retrieve all of them since they fell through the cracks of the bridge. I made the call of shame to get picked up. I planned on dropping my bike off at my LBS and wait for a few days until it was ready for pickup.

I already knew the tech and he immediately began looking for replacement parts. My saddle was being held together by Gorilla tape so now was the time to get a replacement. He picked a Serfas Variant 2 saddle for me and reassembled the saddle to the post for me. I was out of there in 15-minutes and resumed my ride. I know I paid more for the new saddle by about $10 to $15 than Amazon but to me this was excellent customer service. I gave the tech a $10 tip and thanked him. I also gave the shop a glowing Yelp review.
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Old 05-22-18, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
I'd question my sanity first before spending $200 on a pair of cycling shoes. I don't have a $50 head and $200 feet
This, sir, is the best response I have read in quite some time.

However, because whatever the OP chooses to do with his/her money is his/her business- if you find a pair of shoes at the LBS that you like that fit you, buy them there. This is coming from a person that buys 95% of her bike stuff online...but I went to my LBS for my shoes. I agree with the others that say using the LBS as a fitting room and then buying online just to save a few bucks is pretty crappy.
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Old 05-22-18, 03:36 PM
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Good stuff here. Thanks everyone. Enough of you are stressing the a-hole part of this; I am going to respect that part of me.

As for spending $200 on shoes... I have ridden in plenty of cheaper shoes over the last 25 years and they've all had various problems that make me stop wearing them before what I consider should be the end of their useful life. I'd say those shoes are mostly Shimano, PI, and Lake. I have a pair of Sidi from 15 years ago that lasted longer than any of my shoes, and I am going back to that brand.
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Old 05-22-18, 03:44 PM
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I've been in the situation where I've discovered a product online which I may not otherwise of known about as I hate shopping with a vengeance .... I've then rung my local shop to see if they had it in stock and if they do I'll go and try it for size.

You can argue if it wasn't for the online company with a far easier to access presence (or advice from forums) I wouldn't be looking to buy the product at all ... if I then buy it locally ... the company on the internet are the losers as they've spent the money promoting the products existence.

In situations like this I try a compromise ... instead of I can buy it a lot cheaper online can you match the price ..... I'd never of known of it's existence if it wasn't for the internet and hence why I'm here today and would rather support a local business ... can we meet at the mid point and then both sides feel like they've got a deal ???
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Old 05-22-18, 03:45 PM
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It would be unconscionable.
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Old 05-22-18, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
Shoes are the one thing I would NEVER buy online. There is too much variation in the sizing and last shape, so IMHO you need to try them on to get the best fit.
That means bite the bullet and buy them at the shop.
Shoes are pretty much the only product I would have to buy online. Even online it's extremely hard to find stock of size 49s. Fortunately, there are a number of online shops with free returns.
Question for OP is whether the $250 is the MSRP, or is $200 the MSRP? ie. What does the manufacturer's site have these selling for? There have been other threads about LBS charging above MSRP, and if this is the case, I certainly wouldn't hesitate to bargain down to MSRP.
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Old 05-22-18, 04:26 PM
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Backcountry will ship you multiple pairs to try on no charge and let you return them for free. They charge you only what you keep.

Give them a call.


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