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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 02-04-19, 03:48 PM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
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?
You must have missed the recent thread on this subject where one LBS owner from Brooklyn waxed eloquently about the virtue of doing the right thing by tipping LBS employees.

There have been other report on the Interwebz from those who share this view.

See Fat Cyclist Blog Archive Bike Mechanic Tipping Etiquette for Dummies

https://www.bicycling.com/repair/a20...your-mechanic/
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Old 02-04-19, 03:49 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
You must have missed the recent thread on this subject where one LBS owner from Brooklyn waxed eloquently about the virtue of doing the right thing by tipping LBS employees.

There have been other report on the Interwebz from those who share this view.

See Fat Cyclist Blog Archive Bike Mechanic Tipping Etiquette for Dummies

https://www.bicycling.com/repair/a20...your-mechanic/
wut mate. we'd outright shame that over here. hand the money back i tell ya.
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Old 02-04-19, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
You must have missed the recent thread on this subject where one LBS owner from Brooklyn waxed eloquently about the virtue of doing the right thing by tipping LBS employees.

There have been other report on the Interwebz from those who share this view.

See Fat Cyclist Blog Archive Bike Mechanic Tipping Etiquette for Dummies

https://www.bicycling.com/repair/a20...your-mechanic/
Yes, you can find a few people arguing for any dumb thing you want, but it just isn't common.
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Old 02-04-19, 05:28 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Yes, you can find a few people arguing for any dumb thing you want, but it just isn't common.
Didn't we just have a multi page thread with people arguing in favor of that exact point
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Old 02-04-19, 05:30 PM
  #105  
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For those who ride only occasionally, a trip to a bike shop for repairs is probably justifiable.

For those who enjoy riding more frequently and/or own several bicycles, it's well worth it to invest in a set of tools and a bit of time watching videos to learn how to do your own repairs.

--

For me, the variability and unpredictability of the skill of the mechanic as well as their customer service skills always gives me pause. Going to the bike shop is not something I look forward to.

I used to try to visit during off hours but quite a few shop employees enjoy the leisure of down times and aren't especially thrilled to actually see a customer when they could be enjoying themselves socializing or doing nothing.
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Old 02-04-19, 07:22 PM
  #106  
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@GrizzlyPeaks : Good but you should also go back when it is bad not because you need to shop there but to get the issue corrected. You cannot say "welp they didn't fix my bike right so I will just move right on" Humans do make mistakes and I hope you realize that. If people don't correct their behavior then you don't go back but you won't know if you don't do anything about it. I am not a fan just giving up on the first try, if we all did that nothing would ever get done and we would be stuck banging rocks against the dirt.

My comment about parents not raising people right was not directed at anyone in particular but we have lost a lot as a society manners wise.

I do like dogs, one of our locations has shop cats and it was always nice to have them around except when people brought dogs and Melora would go on the attack. But she is an attack kitty ; )

@Phil_gretz : Please actually READ THE COMMENT before replying. Just seeing small parts of it and commenting doesn't do anyone any good. However to explain people easily go to places of hate and fear because maybe something bad happened or someone said something bad happened and people jump on that bandwagon. It is the root of many of the -isms that plague society and needs to stop. Hopefully that helps but if not I can go into further detail if you don't get it after reading the comment.
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Old 02-05-19, 08:57 AM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
@GrizzlyPeaks : Good but you should also go back when it is bad not because you need to shop there but to get the issue corrected. You cannot say "welp they didn't fix my bike right so I will just move right on" Humans do make mistakes and I hope you realize that. If people don't correct their behavior then you don't go back but you won't know if you don't do anything about it. I am not a fan just giving up on the first try, if we all did that nothing would ever get done and we would be stuck banging rocks against the dirt.
Bikes are not complicated devices. Why are they going out the door not done correctly to begin with? These are supposedly professional mechanics. If they screwed up something that I have to return to have it fixed without them having noticed before it went out the door, why would I go back and expect it to be done right?

Somebody botched the heck out of my ice skates last time I had them sharpened. I did not return to that shop to have them fixed, because if they did that crappy of a job and didn't notice (or worse, didn't care) the first time, I have zero reason to believe they are going to put the time and effort into doing it properly when I return to complain. And, if they only do a proper job when I am sitting there complaining, what incentive do I have to ever give them business? Are they going to reimburse me the labor rate I paid for it to be done, for the inconvenience of returning until they got it right?

If I am paying money for them to repair something, it is not my responsibility to sit there and make sure they are doing it right. I am paying them because they are trained and qualified to do it right without my supervision. Saying I need to cut them breaks is just an excuse for poor professionalism.
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Old 02-05-19, 04:34 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Didn't we just have a multi page thread with people arguing in favor of that exact point
Yes we did and some of those BF posters argued that allegedly socially unaware patrons of LBS weren't hip or smart enough to recognize the positive karma that comes from bringing beer and treats for the bros and wrenches at the LBS.
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Old 02-05-19, 04:48 PM
  #109  
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Bike shop owners are so out of touch. If only they knew how off putting their arrogance and contempt for customers was. Actually I doubt they'd care. They'd rather go out of business than humble themselves, set aside their egos and serve their communities.
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Old 02-06-19, 09:37 AM
  #110  
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Arrogant bike shop owners? I've run across two. "Good people" owners, the kind that'll bend over backward to be helpful? Let me see, I can think of two, no three, four, five, maybe six, seven...
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Old 02-06-19, 11:45 AM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Arrogant bike shop owners? I've run across two. "Good people" owners, the kind that'll bend over backward to be helpful? Let me see, I can think of two, no three, four, five, maybe six, seven...

This!

The arrogant ones tend to go out of business pretty fast. And in my neck of the woods, they're pretty easy to avoid.
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Old 02-06-19, 01:08 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
This!

The arrogant ones tend to go out of business pretty fast. And in my neck of the woods, they're pretty easy to avoid.
But, it is not proper to not support your LBS, how do they lose business?
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Old 02-06-19, 02:11 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
But, it is not proper to not support your LBS, how do they lose business?

Please quote anywhere I ever said anything of the sort. Take all the time you need.

I like doing business with the LBS that I like doing with. Apparently, in your eyes, that makes me some sort of fanatic. I buy most of my parts and accessories online, and I frankly don't care whether you do or don't find LBS useful.

Not sure why you feel such need to convince people they shouldn't. You went way beyond rational on this subject about 1000 posts ago.

Just to be clear, I have very limited tolerance for wrenching, and can do the rudiments and don't particularly want to learn to do much more. So a good LBS is useful to me. It's not some sort of fan boy religious thing.
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Old 02-06-19, 07:25 PM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Bikes are not complicated devices. Why are they going out the door not done correctly to begin with? These are supposedly professional mechanics. If they screwed up something that I have to return to have it fixed without them having noticed before it went out the door, why would I go back and expect it to be done right?

Somebody botched the heck out of my ice skates last time I had them sharpened. I did not return to that shop to have them fixed, because if they did that crappy of a job and didn't notice (or worse, didn't care) the first time, I have zero reason to believe they are going to put the time and effort into doing it properly when I return to complain. And, if they only do a proper job when I am sitting there complaining, what incentive do I have to ever give them business? Are they going to reimburse me the labor rate I paid for it to be done, for the inconvenience of returning until they got it right?

If I am paying money for them to repair something, it is not my responsibility to sit there and make sure they are doing it right. I am paying them because they are trained and qualified to do it right without my supervision. Saying I need to cut them breaks is just an excuse for poor professionalism.
Things happen, people perceive things differently and sometimes something works well in the stand and then can have issues after some riding and not every mechanic every single time can always go out and test ride every single bike always. It would be nice but if the weather is crap or something like that you might not be able to or if you are backed up with a lot of clients you might simply not have the time especially when people want things back quickly. It shouldn't need to be restated but humans can make mistakes and if you are going to tell me you have never made a mistake at work or anywhere else in your life than you are a liar. People sometimes make mistakes and if you don't allow someone to correct it then I guess you shouldn't be allowed to correct mistakes either at any point and why not be punished for it?

I never said anything about whining and complaining nor sitting there while it is done. I did mention providing some actual constructive feedback and allowing someone to right their wrong but I guess it is not feasible for you as an adult to do that. Some people can and some people can't, I guess? If someone makes a mistake I would allow them to correct it, if they cannot not or will not then I take my business elsewhere. I don't just give up almost before I start but our new culture is all about that for whatever reason.
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Old 02-06-19, 07:43 PM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
You must have missed the recent thread on this subject where one LBS owner from Brooklyn waxed eloquently about the virtue of doing the right thing by tipping LBS employees.

There have been other report on the Interwebz from those who share this view.

See Fat Cyclist Blog Archive Bike Mechanic Tipping Etiquette for Dummies

https://www.bicycling.com/repair/a20...your-mechanic/
Maybe propagated idea by bike shop owners who want their employees happy?... and don't pay minimum wage?
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Old 02-06-19, 07:50 PM
  #116  
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There are tons of incompetent small businesses in various semi-skilled crafts. This includes tailors, shoe repair stores, auto body repair shops, watch sales and repair, etc. There's enough demand to support a few shops per town, but not enough to support a large variety of shops in any particular niche. This means that there is very little competition for these types of businesses and traffic is not so high that negative reviews can pile up and drive these stores out of business.

Here's what I've done with incompetent repairs:

1. shoe repair: the repairperson replaced the sole but left a rather large "lump" where one of the nails pushed up into the bottom of the shoe but didn't quite pierce the bottom. Horrible job. I never complained. The shoe is ruined.

2. eyeglass repair. The repairperson was incompetent, glasses fell apart. I returned and the owner yelled at me that the person who performed the labor was his son. He tried to repair the glasses, said it was impossible.

3. watch battery replacement: back of the watch was scratched very badly. I complained, the manager offered me a replacement watch.

4. bike shops: enormous variation. Totally unpredictable outcome.


I think yelp has helped a lot which has enraged a lot of small business owners, quite frankly. I do feel some reviews are unfair to certain types of businesses, but overall online reviews can be quite helpful.
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Old 02-07-19, 08:13 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I like doing business with the LBS that I like doing with. Apparently, in your eyes, that makes me some sort of fanatic.
Nope, what makes me think people are fanatics is when there is seemingly a 10-1 ratio of shops that'll bend over backwards to meet any and all expectations versus ones that are arrogant and quickly go out of business. That has simply not been my experience. In all the cities I have lived in, over all the different local "hobby" types shops (whether it be biking, guns, homebrewing, hockey, fishing, car stuff, hardware, etc) they seemingly all fall into a very similar ratio: out of ten, 1-2 might be what I call exceptional that I will willingly go out of my way to support, 6-8 are "meh", bone stock average retail experiences that neither encourage or discourage active supporting, and the remainder remain in business only because people insist on supporting local shops, with truly atrocious service.

Maybe I'm not tipping enough, but I haven't found a wealth of any local businesses that are truly going above and beyond. I find plenty that are simply doing the job they need to do, so maybe our definitions differ, but when I hear folks say that every bike shop around them is the best place ever, either they live in a wonderful place or they are far more optimistic on the service they receive than me.

Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Things happen, people perceive things differently and sometimes something works well in the stand and then can have issues after some riding and not every mechanic every single time can always go out and test ride every single bike always. It would be nice but if the weather is crap or something like that you might not be able to or if you are backed up with a lot of clients you might simply not have the time especially when people want things back quickly. It shouldn't need to be restated but humans can make mistakes and if you are going to tell me you have never made a mistake at work or anywhere else in your life than you are a liar. People sometimes make mistakes and if you don't allow someone to correct it then I guess you shouldn't be allowed to correct mistakes either at any point and why not be punished for it?
That is not making a mistake, that is not verifying the work you have done is correct. That is exactly what I cannot forgive. In my skate example above, checking with one simple tool would have told the guy he botched it up, and he had plenty of time to fix it before I returned and even knew it was bad. Instead, he tossed the skate covers on and let me pay and go on my way.

Yes, people make mistakes. Yes, when they are minute or something that wasn't easily caught, I can forgive. No, when it is glaring, when it is something process should have caught if process was followed, or when it was conceivably covered up and sent out the door knowing wrong, I am not giving them a chance to fix it, I'm marking the place as incompetent and moving on.

If you took your car to a shop to do tires, and they forgot to tighten the lug nuts on a wheel and that wheel came off as you were driving down the road (true story on a buddy's Jeep I was riding in, luckily we caught it before the wheel came fully off), would you ever go back to that place knowing that same person might work on your car again next time?
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Old 02-07-19, 08:28 AM
  #118  
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Sorry, my last message got cutoff somehow, continued....

Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I never said anything about whining and complaining nor sitting there while it is done. I did mention providing some actual constructive feedback and allowing someone to right their wrong but I guess it is not feasible for you as an adult to do that. Some people can and some people can't, I guess? If someone makes a mistake I would allow them to correct it, if they cannot not or will not then I take my business elsewhere. I don't just give up almost before I start but our new culture is all about that for whatever reason.
Once again, if I am utilizing a paid-for professional service, it is not my job to give constructive criticism on your job performance. It is your job to do a professional job that doesn't require me to go back over your work and make sure it was done correctly. There is a reason I hire professionals, and that is generally either I don't have the competency or the tools I need to do the job myself. If I have to critique workers, and send stuff back for rework because they couldn't do it right the first time, you've lost my trust. It really is that simple, I will take my business to one of your competitors the next time. And yes, that happens all the time in the engineering world.

Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Maybe propagated idea by bike shop owners who want their employees happy?... and don't pay minimum wage?
If bike shop employers paid their workers fairly, maybe they wouldn't need me to tip their employees to keep them happy.
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Old 02-07-19, 09:07 AM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Maybe propagated idea by bike shop owners who want their employees happy?... and don't pay minimum wage?
Or perhaps do pay minimum wage but allegedly compensate the employees by providing a convivial working environment where they can partake in treats and beverages provided by appreciative patrons.
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Old 02-07-19, 09:35 AM
  #120  
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So basically, the LBS thread has reached the point of predictability where I'm reminded of the joke about jokes in prison.

A new inmate gets locked in his cell with his cell mate.

He hears another inmate yell "Number 42!" All of the other inmates laugh loudly.

His cellmate suddenly yells "Number 87!" All the other inmates go into hysterical laughter while the new inmate stares blankly.

Finally, the new inmate asks his cell mate why everyone is laughing.

"We've all been in here so long that we know all of the jokes, and we've just numbered them."

The new inmate yells "Number 44!" Absolute silence from the other inmates.

His cell mate looks at him and says "You told it wrong."
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Old 02-07-19, 12:42 PM
  #121  
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Imagine if every time you made a mistake at work your boss fired you. Seems as though you would have a new job at least every week, if not every day. Unless you are perfect, of course!

Lighten up Francis, and pull the plank from your own eye first.
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Old 02-07-19, 06:53 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Nope, what makes me think people are fanatics is when there is seemingly a 10-1 ratio of shops that'll bend over backwards to meet any and all expectations versus ones that are arrogant and quickly go out of business. That has simply not been my experience. In all the cities I have lived in, over all the different local "hobby" types shops (whether it be biking, guns, homebrewing, hockey, fishing, car stuff, hardware, etc) they seemingly all fall into a very similar ratio: out of ten, 1-2 might be what I call exceptional that I will willingly go out of my way to support, 6-8 are "meh", bone stock average retail experiences that neither encourage or discourage active supporting, and the remainder remain in business only because people insist on supporting local shops, with truly atrocious service.

Maybe I'm not tipping enough, but I haven't found a wealth of any local businesses that are truly going above and beyond. I find plenty that are simply doing the job they need to do, so maybe our definitions differ, but when I hear folks say that every bike shop around them is the best place ever, either they live in a wonderful place or they are far more optimistic on the service they receive than me.



That is not making a mistake, that is not verifying the work you have done is correct. That is exactly what I cannot forgive. In my skate example above, checking with one simple tool would have told the guy he botched it up, and he had plenty of time to fix it before I returned and even knew it was bad. Instead, he tossed the skate covers on and let me pay and go on my way.

Yes, people make mistakes. Yes, when they are minute or something that wasn't easily caught, I can forgive. No, when it is glaring, when it is something process should have caught if process was followed, or when it was conceivably covered up and sent out the door knowing wrong, I am not giving them a chance to fix it, I'm marking the place as incompetent and moving on.

If you took your car to a shop to do tires, and they forgot to tighten the lug nuts on a wheel and that wheel came off as you were driving down the road (true story on a buddy's Jeep I was riding in, luckily we caught it before the wheel came fully off), would you ever go back to that place knowing that same person might work on your car again next time?
I may not go back to that shop for work but I would go back to explain the situation and make sure it gets rectified. I wouldn't just walk away and never go back and just write an angry yelp review or do nothing. I would talk with the manager or the person who did the work in a calm and polite manner and go from there.
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Old 02-08-19, 08:01 AM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Imagine if every time you made a mistake at work your boss fired you. Seems as though you would have a new job at least every week, if not every day. Unless you are perfect, of course!

Lighten up Francis, and pull the plank from your own eye first.
Of course, the corollary of that is what motivation would a business have to ever change to be better, if everyone continued to use them out of a sense of obligation to only shop local? One can take this to the extreme in both ways.

I'm probably amongst the youngest to be able to do so, but I can perfectly remember a time before the internet and online shopping, where one was forced to utilize whatever local shop existed if they wished to participate in a hobby (and still do, in the cases of where things cannot be ordered online out of legality or practicality). Maybe I'm just jaded, but I don't recall them all with the fondness of some. Competition is a good thing, operating shops in a vacuum of any is a bad thing. Operating shops with no competition allows one to be lazy and noncompetitive, which while good for the owner is bad for the consumer.
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Old 02-08-19, 12:30 PM
  #124  
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Number 6!
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Old 02-08-19, 12:37 PM
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selenarichard
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Originally Posted by JonBailey View Post
CONS

1. In my experience some are unfriendly towards customers but not all of them are.
2. Many don't have a liberal return policy on parts and accessories even for items that don't fit correctly.
3. Some don't like it when the customers ask questions about warranty coverage on new bicycles.
One time I asked a shop if routine adjustment on brakes and gears was covered on new bike purchases
and I couldn't seem to get a straight answer.
4. These shops can be quite expensive for new bikes, parts, service and accessories.

PROS

You can find quality-made bicycles there albeit more expensive than BSOs. Unfortunately, I can't find quality brands like Cannondale listed on amazon.com
where returns are easy and liberal. I can find Cannondale from independent bicycle stores online, but their return policy might not be liberal like amazon or Walmart.

Cannondale is a quality bicycle but it might be yours for keeps once purchased by you. It might be best to buy a Cannondale at one of those pesky LBS's where at least
you can try one on for size to see if it fits you and inspect it for damage before buying. You might be better off buying aftermarket parts and accessories from places like Walmart or amazon.com where the returns are liberal and easy and the prices more reasonable.

Do you find your LBS to have friendly, knowledgeable and helpful staff?
Do they treat you right if you have to take your new bicycle in for work under warranty?
Do you even like their return policy?

Does Cannondale even offer a decent parts/labor warranty or some kind of customer-satisfaction guarantee on all its new bicycles?
Pacific Cycles, a BSO company, pays for parts but not for labor to fix manufacturing defects. You may need to buy a SquareTrade plan on top
of a new bike purchase because many manufacturer's warranties are crappy these days.
I never like their return policy.
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