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Fun times with the LBSs

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Fun times with the LBSs

Old 01-04-22, 04:53 PM
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_ForceD_
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Fun times with the LBSs

Interesting experience in a LBS in southern Florida. Wife and I are here as snowbirds for a couple of months. I brought along a couple of my road bikes. As luck would have it, a spoke on one of them broke day 1. They’re older bikes, and I have always done all my own work on them. So, I brought along my tools as well. The one thing I failed to pack was some replacement spokes. So I looked up a couple of LBSs near me. I called the first one and simply asked if I could buy a single 28cm spoke, and possibly a nipple. The guy said “Why don’t you just bring the bike in and let us check it out. Spokes vary in length.” I said to him that the bike didn’t need “checked out” and that all I need was a spoke and nipple. Again he gave me the “spokes come in varying lengths” line. And again I asked if he had any 28cm spokes. Now getting a little terse attitude, to that he said “Well, I cut and thread all my own spokes. So…” So I asked if he could cut and thread one 28cm for me. To that he responded “Yeah, I’ll sell you a single spoke. But I’m not going to help you make the repair or tell you how.” Thank you. I’ll be there shortly. But then just before hanging up he said “Is that a J-bend or a straight pull?” I told him I needed a J-bend, and he said he only carried straight pull spokes, and that I need to update my bike (???). OK, thanks anyway.

Call to the next shop…
I spoke with a male voice (I’ll explain that in a second). Can you sell me a single 28cm J-bend spoke, and possibly a nipple. “Yes. We’re a bike shop. We can do anything. But you should probably just bring the bike in. Special tools are needed.” I just need the spoke and nipple. I have the tools. “Well, I’m not giving you my knowledge or loaning you tools so you’ll have to do it on your own.” But you can sell me the spoke, right? “Yes. we’re a bike shop.” Great I’ll be there shortly. So I walk into the LBS and I go to speak with the wrench in the shop area. This person is a transgender woman, but I can tell by the voice that it’s the person I spoke with on the phone. Now, I have no issues with transgender people but this person was quite uppity, and/or having a really bad day. Again with the same attitude as the first LBS, and when speaking with her on the phone. So finally she’s cutting and threading the spoke for me. While she’s doing the work, another guy comes in the shop pushing a bike. He stands there for a minute or two and then says to the wrench “Excuse me, sir.” At that she spun around and I though she was going to throw the tool in her hand at him. “Don’t you call me sir! It’s miss or ma’am. Do you understand that?” The guy just stood there silent. She goes back to making my spoke. Another minute or two goes by. Then again the guy says “Excuse me sir.” This time I spun around and said to the guy “Didn’t you understand how she wants to be addressed?” He just shrugged his shoulders. I thought the wrench was going to explode. I paid for my spoke and got outta there. I got home and of course the spoke was the wrong length. Too short. But I wasn’t going back to that LBS. Luckily I found a longer nipple in the bottom of my toolbox so at least it was usable to get the wheel true.

Dan

Last edited by _ForceD_; 01-04-22 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 01-04-22, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Interesting experience in a LBS in southern Florida. Wife and I are here as snowbirds for a couple of months. I brought along a couple of my road bikes. As luck would have it, a spoke on one of them broke day 1. They’re older bikes, and I have always done all my own work on them. So, I brought along my tools as well. The one thing I failed to pack was some replacement spokes. So I looked up a couple of LBSs near me. I called the first one and simply asked if I could buy a single 28cm spoke, and possibly a nipple. The guy said “Why don’t you just bring the bike in and let us check it out. Spokes vary in length.” I said to him that the bike didn’t need “checked out” and that all I need was a spoke and nipple. Again he gave me the “spokes come in varying lengths” line. And again I asked if he had any 28cm spokes. Now getting a little terse attitude, to that he said “Well, I cut and thread all my own spokes. So…” So I asked if he could cut and thread one 28cm for me. To that he responded “Yeah, I’ll sell you a single spoke. But I’m not going to help you make the repair or tell you how.” Thank you. I’ll be there shortly. But then just before hanging up he said “Is that a J-bend or a straight pull?” I told him I needed a J-bend, and he said he only carried straight pull spokes, and that I need to update my bike (???). OK, thanks anyway.

Call to the next shop…
I spoke with a male voice (I’ll explain that in a second). Can you sell me a single 28cm J-bend spoke, and possibly a nipple. “Yes. We’re a bike shop. We can do anything. But you should probably just bring the bike in. Special tools are needed.” I just need the spoke and nipple. I have the tools. “Well, I’m not giving you my knowledge or loaning you tools so you’ll have to do it on your own.” But you can sell me the spoke, right? “Yes. we’re a bike shop.” Great I’ll be there shortly. So I walk into the LBS and I go to speak with the wrench in the shop area. This person is a transgender woman, but I can tell by the voice that it’s the person I spoke with on the phone. Now, I have no issues with transgender people but this person was quite uppity, and/or having a really bad day. Again with the same attitude as the first LBS, and when speaking with her on the phone. So finally she’s cutting and threading the spoke for me. While she’s doing the work, another guy comes in the shop pushing a bike. He stands there for a minute or two and then says to the wrench “Excuse me, sir.” At that she spun around and I though she was going to throw the tool in her hand at him. “Don’t you call me sir! It’s miss or ma’am. Do you understand that?” The guy just stood there silent. She goes back to making my spoke. Another minute or two goes by. Then again the guy says “Excuse me sir.” This time I spun around and said to the guy “Didn’t you understand how she wants to be addressed?” He just shrugged his shoulders. I thought the wrench was going to explode. I paid for my spoke and got outta there. I got home and of course the spoke was the wrong length. Too short. But I wasn’t going back to that LBS. Luckily I found a longer nipple in the bottom of my toolbox so at least it was usable to get the wheel true.

Dan
I read this whole story, hoping there was a point...
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Old 01-04-22, 05:20 PM
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As to LBS adventures, someone here or on facebook posted recently that they'd brought a, IIRC, 8 speed (could have even been a 10 speed!) bike into an LBS and they wouldn't work on a bike that old. Which is preposterous of course. The responses advised this guy to find a better bike shop.

Last edited by Camilo; 01-04-22 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-04-22, 05:42 PM
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This story demonstrates once again that people are not perfect. Why is that such a shock every time one encounters a less than perfect person??
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Old 01-04-22, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I read this whole story, hoping there was a point...
I think the point is, many LBS's are not set up to deal with customers who do their own wrenching and/or they've had bad experiences with customers who do their own wrenching BADLY.
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Old 01-04-22, 05:57 PM
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I think you would have had a better experience if you asked for a 280mm spoke. I know it’s the same thing but the conventions around spoke lengths probably had a lot to do with the attitude.

Did you measure it or have them do it?
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Old 01-04-22, 05:59 PM
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I would love to hear the LBS' side of the story as I have a feeling the stories might not be close to the same. However yes having known a lot of people who lack the tools and knowledge to work on their bikes especially at the level of spokes it is not uncommon to have some reservations and wanting to see the bike. I have had more than a few say I need this length spoke and then come back and say "no I need different" or "you sold me the wrong length spoke" and I go and use the Park Tool Spoke Measuring ruler and it measures to what they asked for and show it to them.

You are not the normal type who comes into the shop or asks for these things. Daily I get people wanting stuff and they are hemming and hawing because they aren't sure sometimes they will point to a random bike they don't own and say "it looks kinda like that" and we have to see if they are sure enough so we aren't having to take back used service parts that we cannot sell to someone else.

Also spokes are typically measured in MM not CM so that could be an easy red flag for someone. Not that CM is not a valid measurement and it isn't hard to convert but coming at it like that isn't always a good way to go about it. However regardless I am curious to hear their side of the story and see how close they match up. I have heard enough stories over the years.
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Old 01-04-22, 06:46 PM
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You were given the correct length spoke asking for 28 cm. Should have asked for 28.0 cm, 280 mm or maybe 0.280 m length. Most likely they played a joke on you for the odd units.
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Old 01-04-22, 07:39 PM
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Oh, the drama. Who'd a thunk that "I had a hard time getting a spoke cut in Florida" was thread-worthy material.
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Old 01-04-22, 07:46 PM
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I want my 2.8 minutes back.
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Old 01-04-22, 08:33 PM
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At least they didn't try selling you wiper blades or a couple bottles of injector cleaner.
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Old 01-04-22, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
I want my 2.8 minutes back.
Are those metric minutes or standard minutes?
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Old 01-04-22, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
I want my 2.8 minutes back.
Pre or post DST?
Asking for a farmer.
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Old 01-04-22, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
I want my 2.8 minutes back.
i skimmed, .28 min refund requested here
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Old 01-04-22, 09:55 PM
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Also going to guess that the 28cm vs 280mm was a red flag, spokes can be but more often aren't a nice even 270, 280, 290 so by asking for a 28cm it suggests you're maybe not familiar with the actual measurement and the importance of knowing that a 283mm might not fit a 280mm need or even 279mm if you're just estimating to that even number.

My favorite when in the south was walking into the LBS and telling them I just needed a spoke for a 27" wheel, "you know, the typical boxy style with a bunch of spokes" usually followed by "don't worry, I'm sure what you give me will work fine." They always just shrug and hand me a random size spoke; which always worked to clean the hair clog the SIL would manage to make in the shower drain between annual visits to the MIL's house. Never had an actual argument over the proper length, just the shrug and a random spoke. At least you found shops that care enough to check. Next time just bring a wheel and let them measure, I always preferred that rather then trusting a random customer to know what they were doing.
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Old 01-04-22, 10:02 PM
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If you thought the LBS was fun, this thread has to be pure ecstasy.

John
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Old 01-04-22, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I read this whole story, hoping there was a point...
there is: Florida’s a nut-house - enter at your own risk
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Old 01-04-22, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I think the point is, many LBS's are not set up to deal with customers who do their own wrenching and/or they've had bad experiences with customers who do their own wrenching BADLY.
Yes. This is pretty much the point. I should have explained that in my OP. I haven’t gone into LBSs much in the past couple of decades. When I did…the staff was friendly. Twice in one day I seek the service of and LBS and they tried to make me feel guilty for doing my own work. Is that they way they’ve become?

Dan
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Old 01-04-22, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
At least they didn't try selling you wiper blades or a couple bottles of injector cleaner.
Interesting that you mention that. One other question I asked the first LBS that didn’t have the j-bend spokes was if he could direct me to a store that did have them. He told me to try a nearby auto parts store. I thought that was kinda odd and didn’t call them, and ended up at the second LBS.

Dan
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Old 01-05-22, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
I haven’t gone into LBSs much in the past couple of decades ... Is that the way they’ve become?
Yes. Every single one of the thousands of bike shop across America has become just like the two you visited in Florida. You've exposed the conspiracy.
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Old 01-05-22, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Interesting that you mention that. One other question I asked the first LBS that didn’t have the j-bend spokes was if he could direct me to a store that did have them. He told me to try a nearby auto parts store. I thought that was kinda odd and didn’t call them, and ended up at the second LBS.

Dan
Helps having the VIN on hand as well as knowing if it's fwd or rwd.
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Old 01-05-22, 07:03 AM
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Like any part with numerous variables, I would have brought the old spoke with me.
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Old 01-05-22, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I read this whole story, hoping there was a point...
You must be new(ish) around here.
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Old 01-05-22, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
I want my 2.8 minutes back.
You get 1.4 minutes back. 2.8 is about 2nd grade reading level.

Dan
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Old 01-05-22, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I read this whole story, hoping there was a point...
I think the point was that the OP went out of their way to tell us a common boring story about finding any random part we need so they could interject the aspect about the interaction with the transgender person. Whatever agenda the OP may have had about bothering to present that.

So, I've no idea why this was presented in this manner other than to open a door to an argument about that somewhere in the replies to the topic.

Since this is in the general section........no, there was no point. As I'm going to ignore that part of the original post.
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