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The pros and cons of mom-and-pop bicycle shops.

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The pros and cons of mom-and-pop bicycle shops.

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Old 01-29-19, 04:03 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by StillBiking@71 View Post
Reasons to appreciate LBSs:
You don't know what an allen wrench is and don't care to know or to use one.
You don't like to get grease under your finger nails
You believe that a bicycle is more complicated than you can ever comprehend
You believe that you can't choose the "right" bicycle for yourself without a "demo" ride around the parking lot
You believe it is your moral responsibility to support local businesses owned by people you know, share interests with and, perhaps, like
Your time is more important to you than your money
You don't mind sometimes dealing with tense, frustrated or ornery LBS owners or employees
If you have to be guilt-tripped into buying a product or service, it probably isn't very valuable. There's also the distinct possibility it's actually bad for you.

Originally Posted by StillBiking@71 View Post
Give your LBS a hug and pray that they somehow stay in business until that very rare, but almost certain, day when you need an expert skill (like wheel building), expensive special tool(s) or hard to find part(s) to keep your bike rolling. Or, be prepared to discard it and buy a new bike on-line simply because there is no longer anyone available locally to fix it or sell you another one..

For all their faults, God Bless the LBS!
The percentage of the bicycle riding population who "need" a wheel builder is close enough to zero to call it such. As far as "expensive special tools" or "hard to find part" you are far more likely to find such tools at a reasonable price online and you are far more likely to find that "hard to find part" online as well.

Not to mention you can easily find wheel builders online. It's absolutely not necessary to find a wheel builder at a local shop. You're likely to find someone more skilled online anyway, usually at the same or lower rate. In effect, you have proven that local bike shops are irrelevant.

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Old 01-29-19, 04:21 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by StillBiking@71 View Post
For all their faults, God Bless the LBS!
Speaking of exercises in nostalgia:

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Old 01-29-19, 06:43 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by StillBiking@71 View Post
In any event, I am glad that you were amused by my comment, even though I didn't intend that. Feel free to be sarcastic as much as you like, though. That's amusing to me.
I wasn't being sarcastic. I'd watch a YouTube series of Froome walking into a LBS asking the mechanics to fix a tire that went flat on a training ride, it'd be hilarious.

Although perhaps Sagan would be more inclined to participate in such a show....
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Old 01-29-19, 06:48 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
As far as "expensive special tools" or "hard to find part" you are far more likely to find such tools at a reasonable price online and you are far more likely to find that "hard to find part" online as well.
+1. Ever shop for a hard to find part? Unless it is hard to find because it is the latest and greatest, or you are fortunate enough to have a shop that one guy has owned and operated since the 60s and is just this side of a hoarder, the odds of finding it at the LBS are practically nil. Same goes for any specialty tools, the only ones most shops tend to have are shop use only, not for sale. Actually that is one place REI really outshines the LBS, most of my tools came from them, they have a consistently better selection.
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Old 01-29-19, 09:22 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
+1. Ever shop for a hard to find part? Unless it is hard to find because it is the latest and greatest, or you are fortunate enough to have a shop that one guy has owned and operated since the 60s and is just this side of a hoarder, the odds of finding it at the LBS are practically nil. Same goes for any specialty tools, the only ones most shops tend to have are shop use only, not for sale. Actually that is one place REI really outshines the LBS, most of my tools came from them, they have a consistently better selection.
+2.

I find the LBS model seems to work best when the customer is ok deferring to the "expertise" of the owner and wants what that shop stocks.

It tends to break down when the owner tries to lord their "expertise" over more experienced riders or when someone wants a product lines not ordinarily carried.

I like to buy local just because I'm sorta old fashioned that way and find it a chance to build relationships when I do but...

I recently wanted some small panniers. I tried to source Ortlieb front city rollers locally but no dice. One shop said they had them on order and expected them, took my name and promised to call. After a while with no answer I decided on some Carradice Carradry front bags instead. No local shop had them or seemed interested in ordering them for a reasonable price. Thwarted IRL, within a couple of minutes and clicks I ordered them straight from the factory and received them promptly in the mail.

I still haven't gotten that follow up call.

This is not a unique problem to bike shops. I also dive and it is a common subject there as well (the fate of the LDS). In both cases it does seem some shops are stuck in a bricks and mortar paradigm and can't make the transition to online sales/resales or can't evolve from the Fiefdom model wherein they feel entitled to lord over their little kingdoms and exclude those who also have knowledge. That used to work out when there was no other choice available but now the net allows knowledgeable cyclists to bypass those little kingdoms. Today's LBS owner probably needs to figure out how to use the net to their advantage instead of feeling threatened by it and how to make customers feel valued for their knowledge instead of feeling threatened by it.

Bad experience with LBS: Staff trying to make me feel stupid because they are unfamiliar with the parts I am seeking.
Good experience with LBS: Staff taking an interest in what I am doing, being open to learning something new, and working with me to find a solution.
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Old 01-29-19, 09:47 PM
  #81  
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Con's of mom-and-pop bike shops

They are filled with humans, with personalities, with whom you have to interact
They can't sell the cheapest bikes
Actual pro's and con's vary from one shop to the next, making generalization difficult

Pro's of mom-and-pop bike shops

They are filled with humans, with personalities, with whom you have to interact
They are capable of selling quality bikes
They are capable of serving customers who are not home mechanics
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Old 01-29-19, 10:13 PM
  #82  
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It's a shame that not every shop can be a Harris Cyclery.

Universal Cycles is right up there in making the model work. There are a very few others. But the 5 or so brick & morter paired with a broad internet presence and Amazon-esque shipping efficiency seems to be the model that works.

Custom bike manufacturers seem to be the other niche. But they thrive by word of mouth and personal service. Their customers are, by definition, coming in for the shops expertise. Being able to physically touch a customer with a measuring tape is something the internet hasn't figured out how to do yet.

Those that haven't adapted are just incidental successes. The local Performance Bike just closed permanently yesterday. What'd they miss? The real estate cost of large brick & morter space, homoginized inventory with low product density, & failing to unify their online presence with Nashbar. They cannibalized one for the other & back again. Their stores were not "cozy" and welcoming or conducive to interpersonal relationships consistant with cycling. Great store managers, but run like a Wal-mart. 17 medium rain coats that the store got a good deal on, sitting on the shelf doesn't do anybody any good if all you need is one large to make a sale. That sort of thing.

If you ever get the chance, go to Universal Cycles in Portland. You will see what I mean. It's overflowing with a diverse inventory & knowledge packed into a dense sales floor that says "we have what you need, come explore!"

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Old 01-30-19, 08:43 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
It's a shame that not every shop can be a Harris Cyclery.

Universal Cycles is right up there in making the model work. There are a very few others. But the 5 or so brick & morter paired with a broad internet presence and Amazon-esque shipping efficiency seems to be the model that works.
Yep, I've got Tree Fort local to me. Its a decent place that "gets" what they need to do to survive: supplement their somewhat of a focused, niche B&M (cater to gravel/MTB/fat bike crowd fairly exclusively) with a good online presence.
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Old 01-30-19, 11:54 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
Yup. Amazon hasn't been able to crack the bike market, yet.
WalMart still has them beat. They have access to the same bikes, but WalMart has a way to sell bikes fully assembled due to in-store labor and floor space.

A bike that snaps together and needs no adjustment would overturn this market.
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Old 02-02-19, 07:17 PM
  #85  
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Grassroots shops are disappearing
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Old 02-02-19, 07:43 PM
  #86  
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I'm fortunate enough to have an LBS 1/3rd mile away from my home; closer than the nearest grocery store (1/2 mile) or hardware (1 mile), and only a little further than the nearest convenience store (1/4th mile).

They're more focused on mountain biking than on road, but do still carry some road bikes and equipment. They don't carry Cannondale, so if I were looking for another one new I'd have to look elsewhere. But I'm on a first name basis with them. I buy tires, tubes, fenders, CO2, mini-pumps, shoes, gloves, bottles, tools, cassettes and chains from them usually. If they don't have what I need I'll ask if they can order it. If not I'll order online. They usually will match online pricing if I ask. If I don't ask they usually offer some discount anyway.

When I broke a shift cable last year, they replaced it for the price of the parts only. When my disk brakes needed realignment they did it for me but showed me how for the future. When I needed advice on creaking in the headset they gave it. When I bought tools to swap a cassette myself, they showed me how to use them. And when my shifting was degraded and I was out of ideas they checked and tweaked hanger alignment for me free.

So to me having one nearby is nice, and I try to express my appreciation by making purchases there as my first option.

It's not mom and pop though. It is brother and sister plus a few decent mechanics.
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Old 02-02-19, 11:33 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Unfortunately a lot of those "cons" seem to be related to a very tiny number of shops or small bad experiences that can be had anywhere at any time for any number of reasons. Also generally a pros and cons list starts with the pros first. It is very easy to malign an entire group of something because of one small bad incident or massive groupthink or something like that, look at racism, sexism, speciesism, homophobia, transphobia...
A good number of these incidents can be easily solved by keeping calm and respectful throughout the process and talking with the manager or owner. Also realizing that our time is valuable and we aren't a free service that is subsidized by anyone and while we love bikes, we cannot work for free.

As someone who does warranty work quite a bit with various different cycling companies, I have found most are quite good with warranties. Specialized for instance has a lifetime warranty for the original owner on their frames and literally replaced an 11 year old frame for me with little fuss. Light and Motion has replaced countless lights for myself and co-workers and customers. Focus/Gazelle has gone above and beyond so many times to help out clients it is crazy. Those are just a few. There are plenty more out there. Sometimes warranties can be a little fuzzy and hard to remember because let's face it I have a lot of knowledge on bikes and parts and repair that sometimes knowing the legalese is tough to remember. Usually that is outlined on the company website or via the owners manual for those still doing print copies.

Generally most shops will offer some sort of tune up after some riding. Some offer more tune ups after that and some don't, it just depends on the shop and one way or the other doesn't matter too much.

As far as liberal return policies, those are terrible and if you don't know what you are buying, don't buy it. I can understand returning something defective but returning something because you chose to buy the wrong thing or because you decided you couldn't afford it or you refused to try it on in the store, is ridiculous. I don't walk into a store wondering about returns because if that is my end goal or a main worry then I probably shouldn't go in. You don't go to a restaurant order an appetizer and when it comes out and you eat a bite decide, no I actually don't want it (at least normal people don't) why should it be so different here.

If your local shop has some issues, talk with the owner in a calm respectful tone and give them helpful feedback that is constructive so they can improve. A lot of folks say "I had a bad experience so I am done" and don't give anyone a chance to right their wrong. You have to give people a chance to change and better themselves. This is why so many people who get out of prison, cannot get jobs and housing because "you were bad at one point and their is no chance of you having changed according to my narrow mind".


I have had plenty of customers that are an absolute joy to work with and some that no matter how much you bend over backwards for them and treat them with the utmost respect they still walk over you and treat you like garbage and then you are to blame because they are just nasty people.

So hey everyone let's maybe stop the blind hatred of bike shops unless one particular one has done you so wrong and not even tried to correct it after you were calm and respectful the entire time and didn't go to unreasonable levels. If that happens then talk about that shop and only that shop and don't attack an entire industry. Some of us actually work hard and enjoy our jobs, if you don't maybe you should try working in the cycling or outdoor retail industry it is way more fun than sitting at cubicle.
i stopped reading when you said that the customer is supposed to give the business another chance to correct their wrongs. LMAO thatís backwards logic and a 1 way trip to failed business. No way any sort of business stays open with that logic unless it has a monopoly. But given I have amazon/internet and YouTube bike shops have millions of alternatives. And really only have service. So good luck with that mentality.
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Old 02-03-19, 08:04 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by GrizzlyPeaks View Post


i stopped reading when you said that the customer is supposed to give the business another chance to correct their wrongs. LMAO thatís backwards logic and a 1 way trip to failed business. No way any sort of business stays open with that logic unless it has a monopoly. But given I have amazon/internet and YouTube bike shops have millions of alternatives. And really only have service. So good luck with that mentality.
The only thing missing from the dissertation about how aggrieved customers should keep calm and respectful throughout the process and talking with the manager or owner is a recommendation that said customers should bring treats and beer for the LBS employees next time they visit the shop if they expect to get quality service.
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Old 02-03-19, 06:10 PM
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@GrizzlyPeaks and @I-Like-To-Bike:
I am sorry maybe you should act like complete fools and immature babies to get what you want. I forgot it is 2019 so any form of decency and respect should go out the door because we have the power of YELP threats. People tend to get hot headed and stay hot headed instead of being calm and respectful because they realize now people will bow to that being a nasty brat seems to have a fine effect, they get what they want for free and don't have to be mature adults in the process. People obviously cannot make mistakes anymore and the bike shops are just all terrible because someone had one bad experience that never got resolved. I have never gone to a restaurant and gotten a mis-order and decided to make a big scene and walk out, if they cannot take care of it, then I would speak to the manager and explain the situation if they cannot take care of it then I would leave like an adult and probably not go back and if there is someone higher then the manager I might write the situation up to them.

"SCREW THE BIKE SHOP THEY FORGOT TO PUT THE VALVE CAP ON, THEY SHOULD ALL DIE ALL THE AIR LEAKED OUT OF MY TIRE AND THE GUY WHO WORKED ON MY BIKE SMELLED LIKE PINE AND I ONLY LIKE CEDAR"

Look I know it is hard to be mature, I struggle with it all the time, being a kid is awesome, not caring and having all the worries that you have as an adult is great. However when you become an adult you have to learn maturity at least for certain situations, maybe hanging with your friends and making jokes is not a needed place for it but when transacting business or dealing with an issue that you have with someone maturity is very important. I am quite sorry that a lot of folks around here just don't want to be mature in those situations.
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Old 02-03-19, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
The only thing missing from the dissertation about how aggrieved customers should keep calm and respectful throughout the process and talking with the manager or owner is a recommendation that said customers should bring treats and beer for the LBS employees next time they visit the shop if they expect to get quality service.
My mind is always blown when the whole ďjust bring your wrench a 6 packĒ to get service is thrown around. someone pleesssaase tell me why anyone should have to kiss ass to a business to get good service. The only pre requisite needed to get said service is walking through the door and to be a decent human. This logic is very comical when you consider everyone is wondering why every LBS is going out of business.
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Old 02-03-19, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
@GrizzlyPeaks and @I-Like-To-Bike:
I am sorry maybe you should act like complete fools and immature babies to get what you want. I forgot it is 2019 so any form of decency and respect should go out the door because we have the power of YELP threats. People tend to get hot headed and stay hot headed instead of being calm and respectful because they realize now people will bow to that being a nasty brat seems to have a fine effect, they get what they want for free and don't have to be mature adults in the process. People obviously cannot make mistakes anymore and the bike shops are just all terrible because someone had one bad experience that never got resolved. I have never gone to a restaurant and gotten a mis-order and decided to make a big scene and walk out, if they cannot take care of it, then I would speak to the manager and explain the situation if they cannot take care of it then I would leave like an adult and probably not go back and if there is someone higher then the manager I might write the situation up to them.

"SCREW THE BIKE SHOP THEY FORGOT TO PUT THE VALVE CAP ON, THEY SHOULD ALL DIE ALL THE AIR LEAKED OUT OF MY TIRE AND THE GUY WHO WORKED ON MY BIKE SMELLED LIKE PINE AND I ONLY LIKE CEDAR"

Look I know it is hard to be mature, I struggle with it all the time, being a kid is awesome, not caring and having all the worries that you have as an adult is great. However when you become an adult you have to learn maturity at least for certain situations, maybe hanging with your friends and making jokes is not a needed place for it but when transacting business or dealing with an issue that you have with someone maturity is very important. I am quite sorry that a lot of folks around here just don't want to be mature in those situations.
donít have to because if I get bad service somewhere I just donít go back. Their loss not mine. LBS need ppl waaaaay more than we need them. My service at LBS has been **** 3/4 shops. Funny thing is my service at chain stores like mikes bikes and performance has been 100% perfect. Plus mikes always has cute dogs so thatís a plus. From my experience LBS are snobby and rude and very intimidated by ppl with some knowledge on bikes. Further more Iíve been pressed by shop owners as to why I didnít purchase a bike through them. Maybe I should have brought them some beers to get better service ?
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Old 02-03-19, 06:44 PM
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I wonder if you perceive bad service at a lot of places? It feels like that is the new trend or like most something minor happened and rather than actually resolve it, you went the typical "fk them not going back all bike shops are bad because of it" It seems like either way could be the case? Yelp is a powerful weapon in the hands of morons.

People used to be nice and pleasant and mature, I wonder where all that got lost?

Bring me beer, don't bring me beer, I don't care, I will still give my customers excellent service. So much so that I have had folks following me from different shops and going out of their way to seek me out when I have moved farther from them and we have other shops closer to them. I guess my parents actually put time and care into raising me so I wouldn't turn into a jerkwad and be nice and respectful towards other people? Sorry others parents didn't do the same.
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Old 02-03-19, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I wonder if you perceive bad service at a lot of places? It feels like that is the new trend or like most something minor happened and rather than actually resolve it, you went the typical "fk them not going back all bike shops are bad because of it" It seems like either way could be the case? Yelp is a powerful weapon in the hands of morons.

People used to be nice and pleasant and mature, I wonder where all that got lost?

Bring me beer, don't bring me beer, I don't care, I will still give my customers excellent service. So much so that I have had folks following me from different shops and going out of their way to seek me out when I have moved farther from them and we have other shops closer to them. I guess my parents actually put time and care into raising me so I wouldn't turn into a jerkwad and be nice and respectful towards other people? Sorry others parents didn't do the same.
when I do get awesome friendly service I go back hence 1 out the 4 LBS I was talking about. Service like what you say you provide sounds awesome! Nice try taking a dig saying I wasnít raised right though lol. And no Iíve only ever received bad service at LBS and maybe 1 or 2 restaurants a year. Iím not rude at all to the LBS. in fact I kept my cool and just never went back. I can tell your a decent logical person. Youíd just have to take my word that I got very rude and snobby service treatment at 3/4 LBS. if your saying Iím the problem then why is it EVERY time I go the mikes bikes(NorCal chain) Iíve had nothing but the BEST service and friendly staff. That do not care if I bought my bike with them, rather I bring my own parts, rather I buy used or new, etc and the cute dogos(Iím sold on the dogs alone). My gf and I go to shops when ever we are out and about in the Bay Area and we both agreed so far in our experience mikes trumps all the LBS we have been too by far. And your wrong I go to LBS when ever I see them when Iím out and about. My girl and I just like looking at bikes. The 3/4 reference was to LBS when I went go to get something done(been a while because YouTube and my garage is cheaper, more efficient and I buy myself the beers )

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Old 02-04-19, 07:45 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
...It is very easy to malign an entire group of something because of one small bad incident or massive groupthink or something like that, look at ... speciesism...
Wow. As I understand it, everyone on BikeForums is of the genus and species h0m0 sapiens sapiens, so I'm unclear what other species we might be discussing here. I guess that I've seen bears and parrots ride bicycles, though. So, there's that...
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Old 02-04-19, 09:53 AM
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I generally prefer a local mom-and-pop shop. Very seldom have I had a bad experience. My local LBS has the best service and best mechanics. The chain stores here (three of them but one is closing...) are ok but I don't get personalized service there. I'm just a guy off the street.

At my LBS they know who I am and greet me every time and make me feel like my business is special. FWIW, my LBS has been here for a very long time and the guy that started it ran the best shop I've seen in years. He catered to the racing community also and was an ex racer yet he and his staff treated every customer like they meant something to the business. When he sold, the new owner carried on that same customer service. That's why I keep going back.

Also, if you have a really high-end bike, Colnago, Pinarello, etc they are the only ones I'd trust to work on it...because they sell them. None of the other chain stores do.


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Old 02-04-19, 03:10 PM
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acidfast7
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I make relationships with people and thus I like smaller places.
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Old 02-04-19, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Wow. As I understand it, everyone on BikeForums is of the genus and species h0m0 sapiens sapiens, so I'm unclear what other species we might be discussing here. I guess that I've seen bears and parrots ride bicycles, though. So, there's that...
Probably the genus of Sapiens includes Serious Sapiens who make up the clientele of fine LBS everywhere, and Lowlife Sapiens who make up the unworthy population of slugs who do not take seriously the righteousness of Serious Cyclists and the so-called mom and pop LBS that cater to them.
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Old 02-04-19, 03:25 PM
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People in a couple of different industries have earned my loyalty as a consumer by making something right after it had gone wrong. Humans make mistakes, sometimes it's me, sometimes it's them, and I appreciate it very much when the person works with me to fix the problem. What I won't tolerate and will cause me to never darken their door again is when someone tries to blame me for their mistake.

The notion that this doesn't happen with online retailers as well as lbs absolutely astounds me in its ignorance. Most of good customer service IS getting it right the first time, but it's also fixing the inevitable occasional mistakes without making someone feel bad. There are some great LBS I go to from time to time, and there are ones I wouldn't go to again on a bet. Online retailers likewise vary accordingly.

Outside of a few random posts on BF, I have never seen anyone suggest bribing or tipping a bike tech. Any chance we can stop pretending that's standard industry practice?
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Old 02-04-19, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I make relationships with people and thus I like smaller places.

Can't get everything I need reasonably that way, but I agree.
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Old 02-04-19, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Can't get everything I need reasonably that way, but I agree.
It rings true after a while mate.

At the chippie and with used Apples. Same wit Turkish barbers.
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