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mechBgon 07-22-02 08:17 PM

How to be a bad customer (satire)
I hope everyone realizes this is satire, intended to give some perspective from the "other side of the counter." ;) If you've ever worked at a shop, you know most of them already. If the content offends you, tell a moderator and I'll delete it on request. So here we go, my first thread: how to be a cad to your LBS.

  • Make a habit of hanging around and tell the LBS employee (more than one, if possible) every possible detail of your last race or event. This is a great way to keep the employee(s) from attending to their other duties or helping other customers. Ignore any fidgeting or repeated monotone responses of “wow,” “yeah,” and “riiight.”
  • Ask the service department to hold a repair slot for you so you can drop your bicycle off the day of the repair, instead of leaving it... then miss the appointment. This technique is particularly effective in the busy season, when it will cause the service department to lose money because they saved you a spot instead of selling that labor to someone more patient.
  • Take a brand-new bike on a test ride for an hour and bring it back dirty. Bonus points for crash damage, which should be blamed on the bike or the assembly work. Ask to try several more.
  • Come in ten minutes before closing and ask for an on-the-spot repair, a test ride, or any other service that will keep the employees from going home on time.
  • Book your bike in for a repair and tell the mechanic “do whatever it needs,” and hurry off so he/she cannot give you a detailed analysis and estimate. If he/she calls you, repeat your instructions to "just do whatever it needs." Upon pickup, raise a fuss because the mechanic did what it needed and you “didn’t realize it would cost more than the bike’s worth.”
  • Have a small repair done at the LBS, then blame all subsequent problems on them, related or not. You will need to practice this technique, which requires resolutely ignoring any rational thought while repeating the mantra, “You worked on it last! It must be something you did!” If necessary, resort to accusations of deliberate sabotage in order to get a free repair.
  • Special-order parts from the LBS, then refuse them when they arrive. Bonus points for casually adding, “oh, I found it on the Internet for less.” Alternately, buy an item, then begin an endless chain of exchanges, returns and refunds. Finish by asking for a refund because you need money to take your dog to the veterinarian (yes, this DID happen to me!).
  • Ask the LBS to match a price you saw on the Internet, or in a mail-order catalog. Bonus points for bringing in the catalog or a printout of the site. Ignore their silly explaination about how they have to make 30% margins just to meet overhead, before the shop owner has anything to put in his/her pocket.
  • Variant of the above, #1: Pick the brains of the LBS employee until he/she has helped you decide what to buy. Then order it from the Internet/mail-order house and bring it in to the same LBS employee, asking for pointers on how to install it.
  • Variant of the above, #2: Go into the LBS and try on their shoes, helmets, gloves or clothing so you can determine what size fits you, then order it via the Internet or mail-order because "I found a better price on it." Alternately, order first, and if you get the wrong size, ask if they'll swap with you for the one you need.

Hope that was worth a few chuckles... :) For some of the lesser offenses, the penance is to treat the shop to a fresh, hot pizza or two. ;)

MediaCreations 07-22-02 08:33 PM

You mean the guys don't like it when I do all that stuff? Gee, some people are never happy.:D

Inkwolf 07-22-02 08:50 PM

I can't imagine anyone being offended by this. :p And if they do these things, they probably deserve a little offense.

Chris L 07-22-02 09:02 PM

Well, if they don't like me doing all that stuff, they obviously don't want my business, so I'll take my money elsewhere thankyouverymuch! :p

mechBgon 07-22-02 09:23 PM

Hehe! :D

Note that I'm not saying anyone's naughty simply for buying things mail-order or online... let's face it, not many LBS's have the arsenel of selection you find in a catalog or online. Just be discrete and don't drag the LBS into the equation while you're at it ;)

JaredMcDonley 07-22-02 11:04 PM

I must say that after working in a shop for a short while that this list is very true!!! hehehehehe i have to say that i did the shoe thing. . .but i worked there and get it thru there order list. . .not to sure if thats the same thing :)


MichaelW 07-23-02 03:03 AM

When I worked in retail, we sometiomes got really busy. You could rest assured there would be one loopy customer who would want to know every detail of some cheap piece of gear, whilst scores of other customers knew what they wanted and were ready to hand over hundreds then scoot.
Being paid partly on comission, we had to spot the loop and evade them for as long as the money was rolling in.

threadend 07-23-02 05:50 AM

Looks like you've pretty much summed up human nature at it's worst. It's not just the LBS, these schmucks are everywhere!

a2psyklnut 07-23-02 06:26 AM

My favorite is the one where the customer comes in and wants a full refund on the bike purchased LAST year because we sold them the wrong bike: It's a mountain bike, (what was they asked for, shown, and suggested they buy a comfort bike or hybrid for their style of riding) and NOW wants a road bike because their friend rides faster on their road rides together!

Or, the person who comes in for a flat repair, gets their tube replaced, gets another flat and claims it must be a faulty tube! Umm, did you ride through some more sand spurs(or other foreign object)? No, what are all these spurs in your tire? Yes, the same tire I cleaned the spurs out of last time! Yes, the same type of spur that I showed you that pierced your last tube! Yes, the same type of spur I suggested you avoid in lieu of your refusal to buy tire liners or thorn resistant tubes!

How about the kid that completely abuses their bike, hucking it off of "whatever" and then breaks something, continues to ride the bike, tries to fix it himself w/ improper tools, destroys it in the process and wants a full refund or warrantly claim!


ljbike 07-23-02 06:45 AM

What about the guy, who has never been in the shop before, and admits buying this used bike "a few days ago" but arrives at the shop 10 minutes before quitting time on Friday and demands it be overhauled right now because he is leaving for a weekend tour at 8: the next morning.

diamondback 07-23-02 11:01 AM

You forgot the guy who brings in the trashed-broke toy store bike and then crys because it can't be fixed or will cost $45 to fix.

TEC 07-23-02 11:28 AM

Don't forget this one...

Customer: Gee, I like this red bike here. Sure looks pretty.

Bikeshop: Thanks. It's a very nice bike for the price.

Customer: Oh, how much?

Bikeshop: $500

Customer: WHAT!?! But I just saw a red bike at [a department store] for $150. They are both red.

Bikeshop: Begins to explain the features of the bike.

Customer: How come the red one at the [department store] is so much less?

Bikeshop: You are right, go and buy the other red bike.

This actually happened to me.


a2psyklnut 07-23-02 11:35 AM

That happens ALL the time to me!

We have a LOT of retirees down here who play a lot of golf. If they are wearing a shirt, hat, socks..etc., with a Golf logo on it, I ask them if they play. If they say yes, I ask them what kind of clubs do they have. If they know right away and are proud of the brand name, I ask them how much they paid. If it's a lot, I tell them, "I just saw a pair of clubs at X-mart for $79.00 why did you spend so much on yours?" When they start to explain, I cut them off and say, "Same thing with bikes"

I also use the same analogy when I see them pull up in an expensive car!


webist 07-23-02 02:10 PM

I wonder how often a "test ride" becomes permanent. My LBS says it happens less than once every two years. As a small business, I wonder how many he needs to sell just to cover his cost on one stolen bike.


a2psyklnut 07-23-02 02:14 PM

The insurance deductable is usually more than the cost of the bike so in most cases the LBS "eats" the $ lost. We did have a series of smash/grabs about 5 years ago that came through town and most every shop got hit! That was an insurance claim, but then the rates went up! You can't win for trying!


orguasch 07-23-02 05:16 PM

there are no bad customer, But I can safely say that there are bad sales clerk, or sales staff

LittleBigMan 07-23-02 06:15 PM

I have to admit, when I first started riding, I had a one of those, "KABOOM!" flats. I forgot what exactly caused it, but I know it was due to my bad installation.

I went back to the LBS that sold me the tube and demanded a refund.

The best part of the story is, the owner gave me a new tube, knowing it was this newbie's fault.

(The LBS was, "Skate Escapes," -- I think -- directly across from Piedmont Park.)

Amir R. Pakdel 07-23-02 09:10 PM

It is better to be a bad customer than a bad sales clerk.

Just yesterday I took my road bike to the LBS to use one of my free tune-ups. Today I got a call from the mechanic and he said since two of the spoke nipples were mangled (I had screwed them up a bit when the spoke wrench slipped), he had to replaced them. He said it will cost labour and insisted that he could not true the wheels unless five of nipples were replaced. I knew that there were only two mangled nipples.

I tired to tell him that he could just use pliers and have the wheel trued, he said no. So I thanked him for letting me know.

When I went to pick it up and they told me about a $20 labour charge I acted all dumb and surprised. I argued I didn't know he was gonna go through with it and that I didn't agree I'd pay for it. After all, he had just called me to let me know of how much it would cost *IF* I wanted the nipples fixed.

The nipples cost a few cent at most. I'd spend five hours replacing the nipples myself before paying the mechanic 20 bucks.

The reason I put the bike for the tune up was only to have my wheels trued, since I hate doing it myself. I could have repalced the nipples myself and taken it to another shop and have the wheels trued for less than 10 bucks.

He said it took him an hour to put in the new nipples.:rolleyes:

Maybe it did, or maybe it didn't. Maybe they weren't trying to jip me or they were. Maybe they were being honest or not... but I know I wasn't.

That didn't matter. What mattered was that I was promised a free tune-up and this sounded like a catch to me. Before steppin in the store I had made up my mind that I wasn't gonna pay a cent for the labour and that I'd walk out with my bike.

And I didn't. The money didn't matter to me much. The fact of getting trapped by an attatched string did.

Inkwolf 07-24-02 07:30 AM


Originally posted by orguasch
there are no bad customer
Something tells me Orguasch owns a store. And never worked retail in a store he didn't own. :P

I never worked in an LBS, but I worked for many years at Toys R Us, and I can vouch for the fact that there ARE bad customers!

Like the kids who get on the bikes and pedal cars and have their own Tour de Store throught the aisles, knocking over other customers....there was even one group, one summer vacation, who came in every day as a contest to see how fast they could get themselves thrown out.

Or the lady who wanted something that wasn't on the shelf, and after a salesperson spent a great deal of time searching the store room and returned items and managed to find one, instead of being grateful, snatched the item and ran through the store screaming "They're hiding things in the back!"

And the parents who turn their toddlers loose (sometimes going to other stores meanwhile) while the child opens the boxes, plays with the toys, and uses the display-model playhouses as personal bathroom facilities.

Or the 12-year-old kid who called the store, NOT knowing the name of the item he wanted, and was told by the clerk she couldn't find it: so the kid came in himself and found it, then insisted on talking to a manager so he could get whoever talked to him on the phone fired. (Didn't work, the manager told me that if I ever saw the obnoxious brat in the store again, to call me and he'd be thrown out.)

Or the people who scream because the store isn't open Christmas morning (as if the employees have no lives) because "What if I need to return something fast?! My little girl believes in Santa Claus! What am I supposed to tell her--that Santa brought her a toy that didn't work?"

Or the customers who dither and change their mind three times at the conveyor belt and keep going back for just one more thing, and then take 20 minutes to search their purse for a means of payment and then act surprised when all their credit cards are expired....meanwhile the line behind them keeps getting longer and angrier......

Richard D 07-24-02 07:54 AM


Originally posted by Inkwolf

I never worked in an LBS, but I worked for many years at Toys R Us, and I can vouch for the fact that there ARE bad customers!

Didn't Dante write something about your experiences :)

lotek 07-24-02 08:00 AM


Personally If I owned the shop, the next time you
came in for free tune up, or some
other work, I'd refuse the work.
Somehow I don't think a free tune up includes replacing
spoke nipples and retruing a wheel that you don't
want to true.
This sure isn't the way to build a good relationship
with your LBS.
just my $.02


goodcatjack 07-24-02 12:04 PM

I know this gets kinda ridiculous, but I am quite sincerely put off from buying a road bike by the test ride process. I'm serious! I feel guilty as hell about the time the person has to spend to get me fitted to a bike before I go out to see how I like it. Now I find myself going out of my way to far-off shops just so I don't feel like the local guys will hate me for not buying one after spending however many minutes staring at a few bikes.

I mean, I'm already the sort of person who wants to know everything possible about something before making a major purchase; this makes my search pretty stressful, let me tell you. I know what it's like to have someone take up my time at work, and I DO know the difference between someone who's sincere about the process (like me) and someone who's a time waster, but still. I have a very clear albeit subconscious line in my head between not caring what people think when my own interests are on the line as opposed to worrying about impressing people with whom I might be riding someday.

I went through all this years ago when I was first getting into firearms, which interestingly enough can cost comparable amounts of money. Also interestingly, you know how there're stereotypical generalisations made about which groups of riders are nicer than others? Same thing with guns. You get different groups which you can identify either immediately or within a few words.

--weight not off chest, but at least shifted around,


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