Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Dealing with vagrants at bike shop

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Dealing with vagrants at bike shop

Old 06-29-13, 12:43 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jowilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 561

Bikes: 1992 Trek 800 Antelope, 1971 Triumph

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Dealing with vagrants at bike shop

When volunteering at bike co-op, you get an extremely wide variety of customers; you could get a roadie with a CF bike looking to do repairs for a ride the next day, and then a homeless person in need of a new tube, and then an everyday guy trying to fix his bike instead of give it away. While it can be a bit overwhelming, I enjoy getting that wide range of bikes and people to help. I have been volunteering at my bike co-op for just over a month now and really enjoy it.

But on Thursday, I got to the shop early because traffic was clear and calm. When I arrived at the shop, which opened at 6pm, I was about 20 minutes early, but I usually occupy my time with something. Anyway, I got to the shop early and there was a homeless man who we were supposed to be giving a bike to as part of some organization that helps the homeless and needy. Anyone, even at first sight, would say he is homeless. Worn, ragged clothing, tattered shoes, mismatching socks, unshaven, covered in dirt and grime, and his voice; a raspy, scratchy, smokers voice. He started talking to me when I got there and he said he got to the shop at 3pm and had been waiting for 3 hours--Keep in mind this is Arizona, and the high that day was 118 degrees-- so he was wearing a sweat soaked shirt and shorts. He had been looking at bikes through the window and pointed out one he liked, but I said that it was already taken because it had a paper wrapped around it, meaning that someone was keeping track of what needed to be done on that sheet. He said "Oh well then I'll take that other one by the door. It wasn't taken so I said that that was a nice bike and that it could be ready to ride soon. He also pointed out a handlebar bag attached to a bike that he wanted. He said to me in a secretive, down-low voice "Do you think you could grab that for me?". I flat out said NO, because he was basically asking me to steal it for him, which we have been having a problem with customers doing lately. A few minutes passed and we chatted back and forth about nothing in particular. He started to tell me about where he'd been that day and suddenly decided it was OK to everyone his foot. DISGUSTING. I said "No, I don't want to look at that" (WTF, who would?!!). At this point, I am getting a little agitated.

Just after 6, the shop opened up and the first thing this guy goes for is the chair by the check-in desk. That chair is for volunteers to sit in and greet the customers. This guy is not a volunteer. I went up to him and told that he can't sit in it. He said "well, im old". I shot back at him "I'm young", hoping to convey that age doesn't matter, he still cant sit in the chair. He got up and found another one. Then, he leaves out the back door, which is supposed to be locked and only opened when the keyholder goes into the shop. He goes out and brings back a couple of his homeless friends and they start joking around at the front entrance. I watched several times as customers look around the corner, saw 4 homeless men rampantly laughing, and turned around and left. Not good for our business, on top of having him, among others, stealing products. A few more incidents occurred and by closing time, all of us had had it with him. No one wanted to tell him directly, but he was being a nuisance and only making things worse. Worst of all, he did nothing but sit in a chair for 2 of the 3 hours we were open. He probably stole a few parts too.

I only hope he doesn't come back. He said the police were looking for him, so maybe he has been taken into custody.

Does anyone else have to deal with vagrants/homeless people at their bike shop/co-op/or job?
jowilson is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 01:04 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
rebel1916's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,141
Liked 84 Times in 45 Posts
That's the thing about charity. The people who you are giving it to are jacked up. That's why they need it. They are crazy, drug abusing, smelly and ungrateful. All you can do is set limits (sounds like you did well with that) and remember that you are doing the right thing. Often, that knowledge is the only thanks you are going to get.
rebel1916 is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 01:38 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
MikeRides's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SE Kentucky
Posts: 1,276

Bikes: Trek 1.1

Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Your area has a charity that just gives bikes away to the homeless? How about helping them find proper employment so they can afford the bike themselves? By "donating" a free bike to them, you give them the opportunity to sell it for money for drugs and booze. Perhaps if your charity organization wants to donate bicycles, they can offer them to LOW INCOME households?

Back to the original question, I've never seen any homeless people inside the bike shop I shop at but occasionally I'll see one up the street holding a sign saying "Hungry and Broke Any Amount Will Help" - I've seen people throwing change at them but I refuse to give money to them, instead I offer them a $1 McDonalds cheeseburger or fries if I happen to pass by at lunch time. Ironically they're so hungry, but refuse actual FOOD and insist on money. Hmm.
MikeRides is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 05:07 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,852

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by rebel1916
That's the thing about charity. The people who you are giving it to are jacked up. That's why they need it. They are crazy, drug abusing, smelly and ungrateful. All you can do is set limits (sounds like you did well with that) and remember that you are doing the right thing. Often, that knowledge is the only thanks you are going to get.
Yes. All of them are like this. You've nailed it.
__________________

Shimano : Click :: Campy : Snap :: SRAM : Bang
IthaDan is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 05:31 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
rebel1916's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,141
Liked 84 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by IthaDan
Yes. All of them are like this. You've nailed it.
I should have said they are OFTEN, smelly etc. etc. I did not mean to paint with quite so broad a brush. But the point remains. Charity is a good in and of itself. Take pleasure in doing good. Waiting for proper behavior and gratitude, especially when you are working with street people is not a great use of time.
rebel1916 is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 08:49 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 16,771
Liked 85 Times in 40 Posts
The OP has been there for a month. Other staff must know how to deal with this if they have been working there long term. The idea is perhaps to... ask the people who know.
Rowan is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 10:24 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,037
Liked 1,339 Times in 850 Posts
Why not tell them to leave? Doesn't seem that complicated to me.
Camilo is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 11:48 PM
  #8  
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Posts: 30,061

Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi

Liked 1,607 Times in 1,085 Posts
Originally Posted by jowilson
I only hope he doesn't come back. He said the police were looking for him, so maybe he has been taken into custody.
Was your telephone broken or did you forget the number for 911 and inform them of the thievery in progress?
I-Like-To-Bike is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 11:48 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jowilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 561

Bikes: 1992 Trek 800 Antelope, 1971 Triumph

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Rowan
The OP has been there for a month. Other staff must know how to deal with this if they have been working there long term. The idea is perhaps to... ask the people who know.
I have asked them and they just say "Yeah, I agree, he's pretty sketch- just keep an eye on him"


Originally Posted by Camilo
Why not tell them to leave? Doesn't seem that complicated to me.
We do reserve the right to deny anyone service, but I don't think that he has gotten there yet. If he comes tomorrow, then the chance that we will deny him service is pretty good, because we are getting very annoyed with him. If he doesn't come tomorrow then I will be very happy.
jowilson is offline  
Old 06-29-13, 11:57 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jowilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 561

Bikes: 1992 Trek 800 Antelope, 1971 Triumph

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Was your telephone broken or did you forget the number for 911 and inform them of the thievery in progress?
I should have elaborated.

He was telling me about his day and he said he went to a Circle K to get out of the heat for a while. He left after a while and walked around, then went back to the Circle K and the clerk there told him the police came by looking for him. I told him "Well that's not good". He replied "No, that's just creepy". I thought to myself, uhhh no, that's not good, that means you did something you weren't supposed to.

And I didn't say that he did steal anything, but that he probably did. Can't put someone behind bars for "Probable Shoplifting".
Josh
jowilson is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 12:09 AM
  #11  
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,267

Bikes: See my sig...

Liked 134 Times in 99 Posts
Since we opened our second location we have been dealing with a different clientele since we are downtown and not in the University area where we see a lot of students.

We see lots of street people, elderly folks, and families that don't have a lot of cash to spend and guess what... most of them are grateful that they can come to a clean and well stocked shop and get their bikes fixed for a fraction of what regular shops charge and get professional advice.

The guys who seem homeless are not coming back week after week to have different bikes fixed for flipping... lots of these guys depend on these bikes to make what living they can collecting empties and doubt any of them can afford to drive or have a license.

We do get the odd troublemaker but the cranky old guys at the shop at pretty good at dealing with people who cannot abide by our simple rules to respect other patrons and act in a socially acceptable manner.

Bike flippers make me crazier... we get some extremely nice bikes and these folks come in and try and lowball the staff and volunteers when the prices we charge are already very reasonable and they go straight for these really nice bikes and avoid the senior volunteers, manager, and myself.

I experience this from time to time in my own small shop... I don't sell many bikes because it is a pain but when I do it is usually the best bikes I can find and every one if tuned, road tested, and might often have some very expensive parts attached.

Had a vintage Kuwahara that looked like it just rolled out of the showroom that I purchased from a private seller... first year Deore parts with nary a scratch, flawless paint and chrome, was fully serviced, and simply a gem.

One of these guys stops by and says my asking price was far too high and that the bike was only worth $75.00... tops.

I sold it to a friend who wanted a bike for her sister at a fair price, the sister moved back to the east so she gave it to her friend who thinks it is the most gorgeous bike ever and she has been commuting on it 40 km a day, every day for a year without a single issue.

This was the bike... it still looks this good and if it was donated to our co-op we might ask for a few bills since these are so desirable.



Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 06:05 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston area
Posts: 2,035

Bikes: 1984 Bridgestone 400 1985Univega nouevo sport 650b conversion 1993b'stone RBT 1985 Schwinn Tempo

Liked 152 Times in 100 Posts
What do the homeless do in AZ during the heat wave you are having right now? Here in the Northeast they are at risk for freezing to death in the winter, but still it is possible to stay alive out of doors with enough clothes, but how can they stay cool in that heat?

"There but for fortune, there go you and I...."
ironwood is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 10:29 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
Posts: 3,811
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rebel1916
That's the thing about charity. The people who you are giving it to are jacked up. That's why they need it. They are crazy, drug abusing, smelly and ungrateful....
Does it embarrass you to reread this? Are you the tiniest bit ashamed that you've classified everybody who needs help as a crazy, unbathed drug abuser?
Velo Dog is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 10:36 AM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: ?
Posts: 2,300

Bikes: i may have bike(s)

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ironwood
What do the homeless do in AZ during the heat wave you are having right now?
It is remarkably cooler in the shade even at those temps. There is also the mall...
beatlebee is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 11:08 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
rebel1916's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,141
Liked 84 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by Velo Dog
Does it embarrass you to reread this? Are you the tiniest bit ashamed that you've classified everybody who needs help as a crazy, unbathed drug abuser?
Hey sweetie, I already said I misspoke. I painted with a broad brush when I didn't mean to. But it's a good thing you were there to pile on. And again, when you are working with street people, be prepared to deal with that.
rebel1916 is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 11:28 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jowilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 561

Bikes: 1992 Trek 800 Antelope, 1971 Triumph

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ironwood
What do the homeless do in AZ during the heat wave you are having right now? Here in the Northeast they are at risk for freezing to death in the winter, but still it is possible to stay alive out of doors with enough clothes, but how can they stay cool in that heat?

"There but for fortune, there go you and I...."
Many people take of their shirts. Some pour water over their head. Some soak their shirt in water. Others stay inside. It's hard to escape the heat here, but I haven't heard of any heat strokes happening recently, so people must be learning. My step-grandfather had 2 heat strokes on vacation here. I've heard the best thing you can do is keep moving, as sitting still lets the sun beat down on you and you actually dehydrate quicker. I don't know the science behind that but I don't want to be the patient that helps discover it.

Originally Posted by robabeatle
It is remarkably cooler in the shade even at those temps. There is also the mall...
Agreed, the shade is often 10 degrees cooler. But the wind is horrible...
jowilson is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 11:30 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jowilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 561

Bikes: 1992 Trek 800 Antelope, 1971 Triumph

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
https://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region...in-100-degrees

This guy learned what riding without enough water does to you. He says to get out of the heat he waits until 8pm to commute home, and he still brings plenty of supplies, food and water. He also said something that I tell everyone who ask how I ride in the heat:

“Waiting at stop lights is how you get killed. Also, if you keep moving and avoid those it keeps you cooler to have the breeze hitting you constantly,” said Rhodes.


Read more: https://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region...#ixzz2XioLpicb
jowilson is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 04:55 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,037
Liked 1,339 Times in 850 Posts
Originally Posted by jowilson
I have asked them and they just say "Yeah, I agree, he's pretty sketch- just keep an eye on him"




We do reserve the right to deny anyone service, but I don't think that he has gotten there yet. If he comes tomorrow, then the chance that we will deny him service is pretty good, because we are getting very annoyed with him. If he doesn't come tomorrow then I will be very happy.
To me as soon as he's causing the other customers to be uncomfortable, especially if the other customers are actually turning around and leaving, he should be shown the door, period. It kind of sounds to me like the volunteers and staff for some reason (the business culture?) think that anyone has a "right" to hang out at this place, which I wouldn't agree with. I understand being welcoming to people from all walks of life. But, the people you are targeting for your services deserve to feel comfortable and welcome in your business. Any one that undermines this for any reason should be politely or otherwise be shown the door, regardless of their background.
Camilo is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 05:12 PM
  #19  
working on my sandal tan
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 22,655

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers), All-City Space Horse (hers)

Liked 2,585 Times in 1,586 Posts
Originally Posted by jowilson
Agreed, the shade is often 10 degrees cooler. But the wind is horrible...
LOL, I need to watch that movie again soon.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 06:06 PM
  #20  
~>~
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: TX Hill Country
Posts: 5,931
Liked 184 Times in 123 Posts
Try sponsoring your local ABL/USCF/Whatever-it-is-Now Cycle racing club to get experience in dealing with Vagrants in your shop.

Nothing like Cat5-1's having unwanted unintelligible conversations with paying customers, wandering through "Employee Only" shop work spaces, spending all afternoon in "the bog", expecting free everything, and behaving like Test-Demented to prepare you for the Real Thing.

Only the Real Thing doesn't cost you anything, is slightly less annoying, doesn't pick your brain to buy "stuff" online while bad mouthing your shop behind your back. By comparison Vagrants are a bargain.

-Bandera

Last edited by Bandera; 07-01-13 at 06:01 AM. Reason: bog
Bandera is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 06:17 PM
  #21  
Dirt Bomb
 
sknhgy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,886
Liked 306 Times in 255 Posts
There's a thing called Learned Helplessness. Some people are given charity - in some form or other - then they come to expect it and even demand it. They feel entitled to it. It's really a bad thing because then they quit trying to accomplish things on their own.
__________________
sknhgy is offline  
Old 06-30-13, 07:35 PM
  #22  
~>~
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: TX Hill Country
Posts: 5,931
Liked 184 Times in 123 Posts
Originally Posted by sknhgy
There's a thing called Learned Helplessness. Some people are given charity - in some form or other - then they come to expect it and even demand it. They feel entitled to it. It's really a bad thing because then they quit trying to accomplish things on their own.
Many Cat2's certainly had "Learned Helplessness", and an inability to Sprint, on our sponsored teams.
Rather than turn up for the annual "Winter Overhaul Clinic" with the rest of the team when the weather was fixed-gear-fenders-no-customers-empty-shop outside for a do-it-yourself bare-frame tear down re-pack & repair they would generally appear hours before the 1st race of the season expecting a Charity Overhaul.

At least the homeless aren't generally looking for free deep dish carbon wheelsets and tubulars for life, although they do have less delusions of Omnipotence than your average Cat2.

-Bandera

Last edited by Bandera; 06-30-13 at 08:23 PM. Reason: editing
Bandera is offline  
Old 07-01-13, 06:51 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston area
Posts: 2,035

Bikes: 1984 Bridgestone 400 1985Univega nouevo sport 650b conversion 1993b'stone RBT 1985 Schwinn Tempo

Liked 152 Times in 100 Posts
Don't always judge people by their appearances. Once when I was touring . I'd be dusty and dirty and worst of all not in a car, but ON A BIKE! People looked at me as if I was a bum.
ironwood is offline  
Old 07-01-13, 02:02 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jowilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 561

Bikes: 1992 Trek 800 Antelope, 1971 Triumph

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Bandera
Try sponsoring your local ABL/USCF/Whatever-it-is-Now Cycle racing club to get experience in dealing with Vagrants in your shop.

Nothing like Cat5-1's having unwanted unintelligible conversations with paying customers, wandering through "Employee Only" shop work spaces, spending all afternoon in "the bog", expecting free everything, and behaving like Test-Demented to prepare you for the Real Thing.

Only the Real Thing doesn't cost you anything, is slightly less annoying, doesn't pick your brain to buy "stuff" online while bad mouthing your shop behind your back. By comparison Vagrants are a bargain.

-Bandera
Originally Posted by Bandera
Many Cat2's certainly had "Learned Helplessness", and an inability to Sprint, on our sponsored teams.
Rather than turn up for the annual "Winter Overhaul Clinic" with the rest of the team when the weather was fixed-gear-fenders-no-customers-empty-shop outside for a do-it-yourself bare-frame tear down re-pack & repair they would generally appear hours before the 1st race of the season expecting a Charity Overhaul.

At least the homeless aren't generally looking for free deep dish carbon wheelsets and tubulars for life, although they do have less delusions of Omnipotence than your average Cat2.

-Bandera
What are these Cat2's you keep speaking of?
jowilson is offline  
Old 07-01-13, 02:17 PM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
TampaRaleigh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 1,940

Bikes: 1986 Raleigh Competition (Restored to Original), 1986 Cannonade SR400 (Updated to Dura Ace 7800)

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Wow... it seems that a lot of folks need to re-examine the organization for which they are "volunteering".

If one of the goals of your co-op is to donate bicycles to the needy/homeless and you don't want to be around "those people", then you need to find a co-op that strictly caters to the carbon fiber folks.
TampaRaleigh is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.