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Do you feel guilty buying online?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Do you feel guilty buying online?

Old 04-06-11, 03:18 AM
  #1  
JustinHorne
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Do you feel guilty buying online?

I'm looking to purchase a mid-upper range road bike in the next couple months (Right around $3K.)

If I buy the same bike my LBS has on Competitive Cyclist, I save probably 1-200 on tax alone, let alone any extra my LBS might mark up my bike.

If I were to buy one of the Competitive Cyclist Featured bikes, I'd be getting a higher end Gruppo for about $150 more than the tax my LBS would charge me.

That said, I don't WANT to buy from CC. I respect the fact that if they were my LBS, I'd love to buy from them. That said, my LBS helps me out with a lot of info, talked with me about an hour figuring out my wants and needs, etc, and I don't want to just walk away from them.

How do you guys feel?

Last edited by JustinHorne; 04-06-11 at 03:25 AM.
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Old 04-06-11, 03:35 AM
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Do I feel guilty buying online? Not in the slightest little bit. I have absolutely no loyalty to any particular LBS. LBSs can be a bit of fun to browse through on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and might occasionally have an item or two of interest. But most of our cycling stuff comes from larger online outlets.
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Old 04-06-11, 04:29 AM
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The concept of buying a multi-thousand dollar bike using an on-line fit calculator, well you are a much braver person than me. And I am in the bike business and have witnessed the sorrow of the customer that buys incorrectly. And is out a lot of money.

It's your dough.

Good luck.
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Old 04-06-11, 04:38 AM
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i never feel guilty about keeping money in my wallet. that said, i never steal time from a bike shop either.
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Old 04-06-11, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
i never feel guilty about keeping money in my wallet. that said, i never steal time from a bike shop either.
This.
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Old 04-06-11, 04:53 AM
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CC is a great shop to deal with and are very responsive before, during and after the sale. I wouldn't be riding the bike I am know if it wasn't for the markdown they had on it. That being said, I like my LBS and try to buy whatever I can from them, and I make it a point not to question or comment on their prices.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:00 AM
  #7  
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It's relative. I'm in a similar situation to you right now; I was just sized up and spent a few hours in a very friendly and helpful LBS - my budget is even the same as yours, although I found CC to much much higher priced on the bike I'm getting. I know I could shop around online and find a lower price than what my LBS is quoting, but I think they've earned the sale with all their prep work. The shop supports my local club, is individually owned, and he's saving to put his kids through college. After some test rides and measurements, we both agreed that I should be in a larger sized frame, something I wouldn't have arrived at on my own. To suddenly give someone else the profit for all that seems unethical to me, at least for a couple of hundred dollars.

Now, if we were talking a thousand dollar savings, that's a different story. I guess there's a tipping point where frugality, or maybe common sense, takes over. I don't know what that dollar figure is, but I know it when I see it. And I do tend to buy a lot of accessories online; I work hard for my money, too, and it seems like some of that minuscule crap is outrageously marked up in many LBSs. Plus, I like the variety I find online. I still throw plenty of add-on money to the local shops, though - sometime I need something and I'm not willing to wait, sometimes I use their time and expertise, other times I pick up something cool and just want it on the spot. It's more a question of if the shop "earns" the sale that effects my guilt - I don't need help with a bottle cage, but I do need help with a frame or shoes.

Maybe someday when I'm more financially secure I'll just buy everything local, but it's also a business not a charity. There's a balance, and it's different for everyone, if it's even something you're concerned with.

Back in the day, I used to enjoy listening to music with regards to audio and high fidelity. I really miss the days of going into a boutique store and auditioning equipment and getting personal service. Those kind of stores are a rarity these days, we don't have any in our area. I'm afraid the same thing will happen to bike shops that happened to hi fi shops - you're either going online or dealing with a huge chain now.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:14 AM
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The amount of hand-wringing that goes on here about LBS/online purchases amazes me. Seriously - you are buying stuff from whichever vendor offers you the best value proposition (price + service) that fits your needs. Do you guys fret so much about all other aspects of your spending - clothes, shoes, cars, gadgets, books, etc?
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Old 04-06-11, 05:19 AM
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Simple Answer.

NO
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Old 04-06-11, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
The amount of hand-wringing that goes on here about LBS/online purchases amazes me. Seriously - you are buying stuff from whichever vendor offers you the best value proposition (price + service) that fits your needs. Do you guys fret so much about all other aspects of your spending - clothes, shoes, cars, gadgets, books, etc?
+1
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Old 04-06-11, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
The amount of hand-wringing that goes on here about LBS/online purchases amazes me. Seriously - you are buying stuff from whichever vendor offers you the best value proposition (price + service) that fits your needs. Do you guys fret so much about all other aspects of your spending - clothes, shoes, cars, gadgets, books, etc?
^^^ That.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:34 AM
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Well, I love to support my LBS but it's just plain annoying to see a jersey I just bought close to 100$ for half the price online...
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Old 04-06-11, 05:39 AM
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I just did some "end of winter" shopping at CC last night. Got Capo jerseys, jackets, radio shack wind vests, lots of great deals!! the capo long sleeve jerseys were only $50!!! Hell yeah, I'm shopping online.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:44 AM
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Well my last bike I built was all from the LBS and now that I look back....the amount of money I spent I could of gotten ALOT better (and lighter) parts online for the same price.
This is why I probably will buy my next bike online.....I really like those Pedal Force bikes....built VERY nicely.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:56 AM
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I never buy anything from a local shop simply because I feel obligated to or feel bad for the shop owners. That is just plain dumb. As if any of the LBS would patronize my business simply because they know me and feel bad for me. They wouldn't. They are trying to save themselves money as well. If they make you feel bad for not buying stuff locally then they are wasting their time crying instead of adjusting margins to not lose more than 85% of their business to online shops.

That being said, I buy as much as I can from the LBS when I feel I am not getting ripped off. I VERY Rarely buy clothing from an LBS, but for parts like low end derailluers, grip tape, tools and other parts needed, most of the time you don't save much buying online, at least not after shipping and the amount of time waiting for the arrival is concerned. If I gave up riding for a day or two because I decided to save 3 dollars ordering something online, but I couldn't ride because I was waiting for stuff to get here, I would feel way worse being without my ride for those 2 days than I would dropping the extra couple of dollars at the local store.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:57 AM
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I like the phrase "buy where you shop". If I'm shopping online or cruising eBay, there is no issue at all with grabbing a good deal. But it would a bit unethical to visit a bike shop specifically to use them as a showroom in order to try things on that I plan to buy elsewhere--for example, to try on all their helmets to find the size and brand that I like, and then walk out the door specifically with the idea of buying the helmet online for less.

The above are easy calls. Other situations can get murky.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:58 AM
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I buy most of my things from the LBS now but bought online in the past. Reason for is that I am located overseas now and it is much easier to just buy from the lbs. Plus, the ppl there are really awesome. They are trust worthy on their words, even went on a ride with them and stopped by the shop to rest afterwards then the owner started to take off my wheels then started washing my bike then wheels on a bike stand (like the ones they use on the pro tour where they fork hooks up on the front. Another reason why I buy form them is that if I need to install or adjust something it will be awkward to go in and them to install something I didn't buy.

Its a small shop but carry some high end bikes and parts, like most shops in my area.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
The amount of hand-wringing that goes on here about LBS/online purchases amazes me.
Yes, that is interesting, isn't it? Many of us want the relationship to be different. We walk into Target or Walmart, and we're just a random body walking through the door. With bikes, many of us want that "Hail fellow, well met!" sort of greeting from our LBS staff. It's too bad the bike shops can't bottle that sort of thing and monetize it.

Do you guys fret so much about all other aspects of your spending - clothes, shoes, cars, gadgets, books, etc?
Actually, I do, at least to an extent. I do tend to buy where I shop, and often where I live, but all within reasonable limits.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
i never feel guilty about keeping money in my wallet. that said, i never steal time from a bike shop either.
Yes. It's amazing that so many people don't understand this concept.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:11 AM
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You know there are many, many people who don't or won't shop for bike stuff on line? Your buying decision, in that context, is almost irrelevant. There will always be LBS business if they want it.

However... the sales tax issue is one that governments generally are going to cotton on to, so don't be surprised if there is a tightening of these loopholes by various jurisdictions. It's regarded by teh retail industry as being a significant factor in their being unable to remain uncompetitive against international internet trading.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:19 AM
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My preference is to buy locally, it benefits all of us. However life isn't all that convenient and some things are found only on the net. Currently i am looking at a road bike from BD, and yes i prefer to get my bike locally, but there are no steel frame CroMo bikes at the low end.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Yes, that is interesting, isn't it? Many of us want the relationship to be different. We walk into Target or Walmart, and we're just a random body walking through the door. With bikes, many of us want that "Hail fellow, well met!" sort of greeting from our LBS staff. It's too bad the bike shops can't bottle that sort of thing and monetize it.

Actually, I do, at least to an extent. I do tend to buy where I shop, and often where I live, but all within reasonable limits.
Some of us do...which is how we did three quarters of a million dollars in sales in three days a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:24 AM
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I never feel guilty. I've been able to purchase at-cost for a while now and the markups that bike shops charge is ridiculous. I understand they have a business to run, but they'd get a lot more if they weren't, in many cases, blatantly ripping you off.

I'd be willing to pay more for stuff at the LBS, but some of the markups are 400-800%.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hammonjj View Post
I'd be willing to pay more for stuff at the LBS, but some of the markups are 400-800%.
Like what? It can't be anything of significance or someone would open a shop next door and sell stuff for a measly 200-400% markup.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:30 AM
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A big reason to buy a bicycle from your LBS (not parts, clothes, etc.) is that they will work with you even months down the line in a timely fashion if you experience problems, be it mechanical/fit/warranty/part replacement/service/whatever, and will often exchange parts such as stems, handlebars, seatposts, etc. for little or no charge. They will often also do a fit of some shape or fashion, esp. if buying a higher end bike. If you're buying a gmc denali, lowest bid wins. If you're buying a prince or an r5ca, do yourself a favor and buy from a person in a brick and mortar shop. (I realize these are extreme examples)
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