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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

I don't get it.....

Old 03-09-06, 09:43 PM
  #1  
treechunk
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I don't get it.....

What part of "every part of your bike is either worn out or mangled and your bike may injure or kill you" makes me an *******?


Today a young lady came in the shop to ask me to chop the ends off her riser bars. I said I'd look the bike over and see what I could do, so I put it in the stand to check it out. I could tell when she walked in the door that the bike was hurtin' somethin' fierce. I put it in the stand and tried to shift and the brake levers moved. It's a Gary Fisher MTB, a Marlin or something I think. When I say the brake levers moved, I mean they were floating around the bars, not anywhere close to clamped to them. So she says she tried to fit the levers on some drop bars and it didn't work (yeah...). So we move on, and we talk about the shifting, which isn't really working, and I suggest that she might be better off investigating other bikes, used, new, whatever, either will probably be cheaper than getting this thing even close to proper function. She doesn't want proper function she says, how much will it be to get the brakes to work. I quote her a slightly lower than full everything cost for what she needs done, 'cuz we don't usually charge the $5 for cable installs anyway, and she says she has cables and brake pads at home, and we agree that I'll do the work if she brings the parts. Then I look some more at her bike. I tell her the brake levers might break, as they really aren't designed to be stretched that way and bending them back might just cause them to snap, I show her that her suspension fork is bent backwards significantly, her headset is so indexed it barely turns, etc. She's spent the entire time the bike was in the stand and I was talking looking at me like I'm telling her she's an ugly ***** and saying dirty things about her mama. I don't get it. Why the **** do you give the look of death to someone who is trying to help you not die because you've abused the **** out of your bike?



Can anyone tell me what the deal is?


I mean really, a simple, plain explanation that any number of parts on one's bicycle are very likely to break causing injury or death in the kindest words I could come up with were met with this wall of icy death!

Ugh.
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Old 03-09-06, 09:52 PM
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So you're just now figuring out that people are stupid? You must be awfully young...
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Old 03-09-06, 09:53 PM
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I'm sure I've had mechanics that thought I was crazy.
"You know your gears aren't shifting correctly, right? Did you want me to fix it?"
me: "Nah, it's fine."
"Man you might as well scrap these wheels. Truing them just isn't worth it. It's sketchy as hell."
me: "Yeah I guess so *scratches back of head*. But I'll still ride it"
But this mechanic was cool, he gave me a list of places to buy used parts. The problem is I DO want my bikes in perfect working order but I'm generally so broke that I can never get this stuff taken care of. today though I bought a used fork for 5$ (with free help installing it!) when a shop quoted me 60$ for a new fork. Now that I've discovered that DIY shops DO exist, I think I'll be able to do more affordable work on my bikes.
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Old 03-09-06, 10:00 PM
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that's the thing, bike work is expensive, it certianly should be and it's certianly usually worth it(not always but that's another story) for the kind of work you were talking about on her bike it would certainly be worth it. the problem lies in the fact that people think of thier bikes as indestructable and things that don't need to be maintained. her look was probably shock, it's rough but having worked for a custom one off t-shirt business i've learned you have to learn to brush off sticker shock
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Old 03-09-06, 10:08 PM
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Customers suck, that's why.

Seriously, she thought you were scolding her for having a bike in such a state of disrepair, I guess.

I should say, though, that I am far from expert on this subject since I was possibly the worst bike shop employee in the world for my rather limited time in that field. I hated selling, so I avoided the counter and customers. I hid in the workshop doing repairs and builds. Also, I would cheerfully ignore the limited repairs outlined on the ticket and spend godawful amounts of time doing general cleaning and tune-up of customers bikes. Really. That's the sort of behavior that should have given a manager/owner an ulcer. I just loved to make things (even crappy things) work better.
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Old 03-09-06, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor29
So you're just now figuring out that people are stupid? You must be awfully young...
agreed

XVX
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Old 03-09-06, 10:47 PM
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People have a stratospheric sense of expectation nowadays. They want to have their cake and eat it, too - AND not have to pay for it. Don't take it personally - she probably cops that attitude to everybody.
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Old 03-09-06, 10:50 PM
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Don't ever criticize my bike. that just makes me mad.
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Old 03-09-06, 11:23 PM
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The shop I worked at had a policy of, if you can't make it stop, we ain't gonna make it go.
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Old 03-09-06, 11:27 PM
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If you ever pay for something with credit card at the freewheel on hayes in SF, look at the reciept. it says something along the lines of "we specialize in ******* customers"
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Old 03-09-06, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor29
So you're just now figuring out that people are stupid? You must be awfully young...

LOL I tought the samething when i finished reading
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Old 03-09-06, 11:39 PM
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Please, please always put a customer's safety before their lame wants/desires.

It seems that you already do this, which is excelllent. I wouldn't care if I felt like the dumbest person on the planet. If I took my rig into a shop and they let me know (in a very clear way) that I was riding something that was hazerdous to my safety, I'd alter what I "needed".

It sounds like you were trying to not make them uncomfortable, which is understandable in your situation.

I go out of my way for customers at my job, and it seems like you do the same. If you have their best interests in mind, then don't get down on yourself. Go on with your bad self.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:01 AM
  #13  
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I have this happen all the time when I look at my friends' bikes and think out loud. "Wow, that BB is smoked, doesn't the squeaking bother you?" "That's a pretty good road bike, but you never go offroad, why do you have big nubby cross tires?" "dude, only half your brake pad is touching the rim, the thing has an L worn into it." "How do you even brake with the cable housing split like that?"

Bikes are like sneakers in most people's minds. Imagine if you walked into a shoe store just to buy a new set of laces and the salesman told you (with genuine concern for you) "man, you know, those have classic overpronation wear, the longer you wear them the more you are messing up your feet and knees. Those are really the wrong shoe for you anyway, that's a trail runner and you're wearing them on pavement 99% of the time. And man, the treads are shot, that's really dangerous, some day you're gonna slip and take a bad fall, maybe in front of a car or bus." Ok, maybe one of us who is into how stuff works would get into like an hour long conversation about shoes and foot anatomy and sizing and stuff and really make both our and the shoe guy's day, but most people are just going to be like, "Look dude, they're my shoes, they got me in here, and as soon as you sell me the laces I came here for they are going to get me right back out again."

There's not much you can do about it besides break it to them gently and do everything you can to prove you're not just trying to take their money, even if it just means doing a $20 triage job today and hoping they come back for what it really needs.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:11 AM
  #14  
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that's the thing, bike work is expensive
No it is not. If it was people could make a good living at it.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:11 AM
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You need to stop being so nice.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:16 AM
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My guess, she wasn't sure, but she was worried you were preying on her ignorance and trying to fleece her. You see people who don't understand mechanical stuff fear mechanics, because they never really know if they can trust them. They don't feel qualified to call you out on a lie, but they're pretty sure you know that. She comes in to have her bars cut down, and you tell her she needs a full overrhaul. So how does she know she can trust what you say? If you do right by her, you may gain her trust, and earn a loyal customer, but the first time she walks through the door, she just doesn't know.

Oh, and women tend to feel this way more often than men, because they feel that merely by being a woman they are expected not to know about mechanical things, and therefore are targets for dishonest mechanics. Obviously women who DO know which end of a wrench touse don't have this fear, because if you explain it to them it makes sense, and anyway chances are if their brakes don't work they already know it.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by treechunk
I suggest that she might be better off investigating other bikes, used, new, whatever, either will probably be cheaper than getting this thing even close to proper function. She doesn't want proper function she says, how much will it be to get the brakes to work.
Sounds like a great prospective customer. The time you wasted talking to her is coming out of your check.
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Old 03-10-06, 10:39 AM
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I go to bike shops where I actually trust the mechanics, because I know I don't always know what the **** I'm talking about. i just know something's wrong.

This sounds more like a case of people who expect bike stuff to be simple and cheap, because it's "a toy".
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Old 03-10-06, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mattface
My guess, she wasn't sure, but she was worried you were preying on her ignorance and trying to fleece her. You see people who don't understand mechanical stuff fear mechanics, because they never really know if they can trust them. They don't feel qualified to call you out on a lie, but they're pretty sure you know that. She comes in to have her bars cut down, and you tell her she needs a full overrhaul. So how does she know she can trust what you say? If you do right by her, you may gain her trust, and earn a loyal customer, but the first time she walks through the door, she just doesn't know.

Oh, and women tend to feel this way more often than men, because they feel that merely by being a woman they are expected not to know about mechanical things, and therefore are targets for dishonest mechanics. Obviously women who DO know which end of a wrench touse don't have this fear, because if you explain it to them it makes sense, and anyway chances are if their brakes don't work they already know it.
+1.

also +1 on the sneaker comment.

when i was working in a shop, it took me a while to learn how to explain what i thought a customer needed based on their needs, not on my own perception of what i would do in their shoes. obviously the OP's story is a more drastic example of that but i'd put it in the same category. most people don't need the most elegant, efficient, or ideal level of functioning, especially as appraised by a wrench or shophand. "i don't care, it works for me, and i couldn't be bothered" is a very natural reaction.
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Old 03-10-06, 11:23 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by queerpunk
+1.

also +1 on the sneaker comment.

when i was working in a shop, it took me a while to learn how to explain what i thought a customer needed based on their needs, not on my own perception of what i would do in their shoes. obviously the OP's story is a more drastic example of that but i'd put it in the same category. most people don't need the most elegant, efficient, or ideal level of functioning, especially as appraised by a wrench or shophand. "i don't care, it works for me, and i couldn't be bothered" is a very natural reaction.

That's fine, but if I tell someone that something MIGHT KILL THEM, I expect a LITTLE different reaction.

Have you ever seen a fork failure at speed?
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Old 03-10-06, 11:38 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by treechunk

Have you ever seen a fork failure at speed?

yup. from the worst possible persepctive. now when I see people with bent forks I show them my scar and tell them to get a new ****ing fork. then I see them 6 months later and they still have the same fork. ungrateful bastards.

then again I hated it when the guys @ my lbs ragged on my conversion
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Old 03-10-06, 11:54 AM
  #22  
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eddy b had a good point. Too bad it's gone.

Basically, you were "selling" her something she didn't want, even if you were "doing it for her own good."
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Old 03-10-06, 05:12 PM
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some customers are stupid... and some salemen are stupid too... I think its equal the ammout of stupidity in both sides. One do not care and the other one trying to sells "rocks in the moon" at any cost. Besides... many LBS salemen likes to play Geek with people.. If u guys know what I mean... Many tech terms that costumer dont really understand and dont care... But at the same time if they arent well attended they wont comeback at all...

The question is what to do? in my case im a costumer that knows exaxtly what he needs, other ones only go to get robbed with crap they dont really need anyways... my advice.... say hi.. ask how may i serve u? listen... and offer him any crap because usually any crap will work 4 themm I talking about costumers that will ride the bike for only 2 weeks... do not get in trouble even trying to fit them right in the bike.. because they dont care...and u'll waste like 3 hours fitting a moron in a crapy bike with an awefull geometry... dispatch the guy as fast as u can... besides.. usually LBS fits are awefull anyways becuse the sales man has no clue and because of a bike design/parts problem and noone seems to notice that aswell... and again to finish... like 80% of the clients in a LBS have no idea and they dont care... why would u care... tell him whats wrong its their problem if they die of something happend to them... not yours...

If the client dont care... why would u care...

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