The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Zimba
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby Zimba » 9 Nov 2015, 9:08am

Harry Hetchins (pictured) was apparently a bit of a grouch behind the shop counter. We used to frequent a local bike shop when we were teenagers run by two brothers. One of them was very gregarious, but the other painfully shy with a bad stutter. When the jolly one was out of the shop, when the door bell rang the shy one would run and hide through the back shop! ! This of course led to a fair bit of pilfering. Though they seemed to do very well, selling the business after 50 years in the trade.
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Vorpal
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby Vorpal » 9 Nov 2015, 10:03am

I'd much rather crotchety but knowledgeable than condescending, especially if it's combined with sexist.

When shopping for bikes or bits for myself, I've had some awful exchanges with people who assumed I didn't have a clue about bikes.

That was certainly true the last time I bought a new (not used) bike. But even after calling around and asking people a list of criteria questions, I ended up with a few duds. In one shop, the gent I talked to was absolutely convinced that I couldn't be interested in a road bike and kept trying to get me to look at hybrids. I stated bluntly that I already had a hybrid, and aked if he could order something in for me, and he said that he wouldn't because if it didn't suit me, he'd never be able to sell it. Not because of the size, but because he assumed I would need a women's sepcific model. When I figured out what he was on about, I just left without another word.
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Zimba
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby Zimba » 9 Nov 2015, 2:50pm

I'm with you sister! My wife is generally patronised in about all bike shops, just because she's a woman. However shes recently learned quite a few technical aspects of cycling after doing a Silver award bike repair course and now floors these cocky salesman with interesting jibes like 'What's the stand over height of that bike there? ' or 'what gauge/make spokes do these wheels have'. The stunned silence and the gormless look that follows does bring a smile to her face ;)

whoof
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby whoof » 9 Nov 2015, 4:27pm

I don't seem why being knowledgeable and pleasant is such a struggle for some people, they shouldn't be mutually exclusive.
I wouldn't hire a plumber to fit a bathroom if they were really good at installing toilets but rotten at baths. So I also won't frequent a shop that has a good mechanic who's also rude/ignorant/sulky when you talk to them. One is just as much part of their job as the other.

pete75
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby pete75 » 9 Nov 2015, 4:36pm

whoof wrote:I don't seem why being knowledgeable and pleasant is such a struggle for some people, they shouldn't be mutually exclusive.
I wouldn't hire a plumber to fit a bathroom if they were really good at installing toilets but rotten at baths. So I also won't frequent a shop that has a good mechanic who's also rude/ignorant/sulky when you talk to them. One is just as much part of their job as the other.


A good point well made.

reohn2
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby reohn2 » 9 Nov 2015, 5:09pm

pete75 wrote:
whoof wrote:I don't seem why being knowledgeable and pleasant is such a struggle for some people, they shouldn't be mutually exclusive.
I wouldn't hire a plumber to fit a bathroom if they were really good at installing toilets but rotten at baths. So I also won't frequent a shop that has a good mechanic who's also rude/ignorant/sulky when you talk to them. One is just as much part of their job as the other.


A good point well made.

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lingy
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The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby lingy » 9 Nov 2015, 6:26pm

To be fair to bike shops, for every story of sullen or incompetent service, there's certainly at least one about difficult, time wasting, grouchy or completely unreasonable bike shop customers. I know someone who works in one and some of the stories defy belief and bike shop workers soak up a fair amount of rudeness. Essentially, amoung bike shops as in the general population, all of life us there!

akc1
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby akc1 » 9 Nov 2015, 7:54pm

lingy wrote:To be fair to bike shops, for every story of sullen or incompetent service, there's certainly at least one about difficult, time wasting, grouchy or completely unreasonable bike shop customers. I know someone who works in one and some of the stories defy belief and bike shop workers soak up a fair amount of rudeness. Essentially, amoung bike shops as in the general population, all of life us there!

True - but remember that they want our hard earned money! My most local bs decided what I 'wanted' and wouldn't hear otherwise. Very happy with my final Internet purchase - bit sad it came from Germany. Spent much more than the lbs insisted - but cycling with a smile!

oneten
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby oneten » 9 Nov 2015, 11:47pm

When I was on my recent tour in North Germany, I needed a couple of inner tubes and was headed for the LBS as it appeared on a map ( I gather it was a pristine eat-your-dinner-off-the-floor showroom type as I went past it later) but someone pushing their bike along with a flat rear tyre said they'd show me the workshop they were going to which was a only a 5 minute walk away. :?:
I was surprised and pleased to find a lovely old workshop with an old boy in grease-stained overalls who reminded me of Bert Large in the Doc Martin TV series.The floor was concrete, a bike was being worked on in a stand and the walls were festooned with wheels and other bike bits. :)

It took a while before he finished his conversation with a visitor ( not sure if it was a customer). I asked for tubes and he wanted an explanation first as to why I needed them . :roll: I had to relate how I'd had some snakebite punctures then scolded me that I shouldn't be touring on such narrow tyres (25mm) and 'road wheels' but when I protested that I was already underway and asked 'What else can I do?', he half jokingly suggested that I could always buy another bike from him! :wink:

At first, he doubted that he had any of the right sized inner tubes in stock to suit my tyres but then he rummaged about in a bank of wooden fronted drawers labelled with marker pen which were mostly labelled in imperial sizes which surprised me. In fact,he referred to my 700c wheel size in imperial as 28 Zoll (28 inch)! When I told him the 'road valves' as he called Schraders, weren't suitable and that I needed Presta, he started looking again saying to himself ' Ah...he's got French rims.' He rummaged some more and then produced the last two suitable tubes. He sold me the two inner tubes, priced at 6.75 Euros each reduced to 12 Euros for both and gave me a little container of self-adhesive patches as a freebie.

It turned out to be a good experience and the feeling that I'd been in a 'real' bike shop. There was during lots of good-natured banter with the lady with the puncture, who was a regular customer, and he had a nice down to earth approach. :)

hercule
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby hercule » 12 Nov 2015, 8:43pm

I have learned to lie when asked questions in bike shops.

My bikes are a bit off the beaten track - I've long been a fan of Moultons and in the last 10 years or so have discovered the joys of recumbents on two and three wheels. They work for me, I like riding them.

However some 25 years ago I went into a well known bike shop (that, to be fair, has now changed hands I think). I wanted a fairly standard bike part, I think it might have been a headset, I asked for what I wanted by name. I got very suspicious looks as though I had been asked for bomb making equipment. "What's it for?" was the response. When I responded that it was for my Moulton AM I was treated to a 10 minute lecture on how bad they were, how shoddily built they were, how they were no good for anything.

I think I got the headset in the end, but next time I was in there I was prepared to say I was purchasing for something more conventional.

I've had the same response in more recent years from a local LBS when I foolishly responded to a similar question that it was for a recumbent. Apparently after several thousand miles of riding I should have noticed how dangerous they they are by now :roll:

Many bike shop owners seem to be a totally incurious bunch, focussed on their own little niche, and not (as I think I would have been in their shoes) fascinated in the unusual and uncommon.

Cyril Haearn
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby Cyril Haearn » 12 Jul 2020, 11:53am

Thread resurrection alert
..
Went to a cycle shop in Germany, asked about stronglight parts
'Haben wir nicht, dafuer muessen Sie nach Frankreich!'/'Yes we do not have them, you must go to France if you want such!' : :?

Shop closed (or moved?) later
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simonineaston
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby simonineaston » 12 Jul 2020, 12:10pm

I remember being slightly intimdated by the guy behind the counter at a cycle shop in Kilburn, name and exact location (I think it was on the north side of Willesden Lane, just up from the junction with Kilburn High Road and was a Campagnolo dealer) hazy in the mists of time. He appeared pained when fools like me asked vaguely for a product and didn't know exactly what they were talking about. Now, having worked in what's known these days a customer-facing role for 2 decades, I can't say I blame him.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

drossall
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby drossall » 12 Jul 2020, 12:18pm

Traditional bike shops could be like that. Our LBS when I was a teenager was pretty intimidating. We were basically a bit afraid of him. But when you got to know him he was brilliant. And it was one of those traditional shops where you went in with an obscure bolt that needed replacing, and he brought out a couple of trays of random little bits and stirred them with his finger till something turned up, quite possibly second hand off a previous job. Modern shops would welcome you with open arms, superb customer service and the offer of an excellent coffee, and explain how you needed to buy at least half the parts on a bike to fix the issue.

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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby Bmblbzzz » 12 Jul 2020, 12:19pm

Picking up on the theme of sexism in bike shops, mentioned in earlier posts: This isn't only a problem for women, it also creates an unpleasant atmosphere which affects male customers too. It's not a pleasant attitude to be around and tends to be associated with other forms of unpleasant attitude. That's before we even get on to the more direct but perhaps less tangible aspects, such as the reverse of the ignorance assumption (you're a man so you get pigeonholed as a mamil even if you only use your bike for commuting, etc). Of course, and sadly, this is found in so many different types of shops.

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simonineaston
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Re: The Worst Bike Shop Review Ever

Postby simonineaston » 12 Jul 2020, 12:42pm

Of course, and sadly, this is found in so many different types of shops.
I have a cod-psychologist theory on this subject, to wit: All men are somewhere on the autistic spectrum (I include myself, of course, so don't think I'm being snippy!), thus they are obsessed, one way or another, by lists and putting things in order (etc.). We are, mostly, poor at social interaction, preferring to talk about football (great for lists!) and naturally find it difficult to tolerate other folk who are not equally obsessed by lists, like most females. It's not that we don't like females in bike shops, per se, it's just that we find it difficult to intereact with them... they're just too - what the right word?... too sensible!
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)