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How not to run an LBS

post #1 of 107
Thread Starter 
Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport News,
VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year, but I've had
nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today just topped it off.
I wont be going back. Thought the group might appreciate the
sentiment......

Good Afternoon,

Today I went by the new Kiln Creek store to have a freewheel removed from a
hub I was overhauling. Since I normally work with cassette-type hubs, I did
not have the proper tool to remove the old Shimano freewheel. The mechanic
at the shop was very helpful, and had the freewheel off and back in my hands
in less than a minute -- about what would be expected by anyone with the
slightest bit of mechanical aptitude. I was all set to leave happy, ready
to rethink some of my earlier impressions of the new store.

However, as I began walking toward the front door on my way home, I was
surprised to hear your employee mumble something about it "being $5.00." My
first reaction was to laugh -- obviously the guy was just kidding about
charging $5.00 for a 30 second turn of the wrench. Unfortunately it quickly
became apparent that I was wrong and the young man was serious. Too
dumbfounded for words, I handed him a fiver and watched him ring it up on
the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in case you
are too shocked to do the math.

I can afford the $5.00, and it's not going to put you guys in the Fortune
500, so that's not really the issue. I'm a pretty serious cyclist, and
typically spend about $100 a month on cycling related gear and equipment.
I'm pretty certain at this point that not much of it will be going to Bike
Beat in the future. The little $5.00 profit your shop made today is easily
going to cost you several hundred over the next few months. I'm more than
willing to offer some examples where Conte's Bike Shop across town "gets
it." I'm thinking it's worth the extra ten minute drive at this point.
Any reason I should believe otherwise?

Regards,

Tom
post #2 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 20:28:36 -0400, "tcmedara"
<tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote:
<snip>
>the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in case you
>are too shocked to do the math.

<snip>
this has nothing to do with bikes, per se, but more
to do with the evident fact that you expect
shops to stock tools, parts and people for your
usage for free! you should have tipped him
10 bucks even before he asked for a fiver.
Let's see who weighs in on your side.
....thehick
post #3 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

tcmedara wrote:
> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport
> News, VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year,
> but I've had nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today
> just topped it off. I wont be going back. Thought the group might
> appreciate the sentiment......


Hmmm. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

My LBS isn't doing so well lately either.
I live out of town and go in maybe once a week. They are familiar with me
ordering stuff and then turning up a week or two later to collect it. I
ordered a pair of tyres the other day and duely got a phonecall to tell me
that they had arrived. I went in the next week to pick them up and they'd
sold one of them to someone-else that morning.
Feeling generous, I said "That's OK, I'll pick them up next week once you
get another one in."
So I went back this week. They had sold the OTHER one and now the supplier
is temporarily out of stock - none in the country. Hmmmm. It's a month now
and I'm still waiting.
Don't even ask about the Hayes rotors I ordered three months ago.....
--
Westie
(Replace 'invalid' with 'yahoo' when replying.)
post #4 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

"tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
news:rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01...
| Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport
News,
| VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year, but I've had
| nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today just topped it off.
| I wont be going back. Thought the group might appreciate the
| sentiment......
|
| Good Afternoon,
|
| Today I went by the new Kiln Creek store to have a freewheel removed from
a
| hub I was overhauling. Since I normally work with cassette-type hubs, I
did
| not have the proper tool to remove the old Shimano freewheel. The
mechanic
| at the shop was very helpful, and had the freewheel off and back in my
hands
| in less than a minute -- about what would be expected by anyone with the
| slightest bit of mechanical aptitude. I was all set to leave happy, ready
| to rethink some of my earlier impressions of the new store.
|
| However, as I began walking toward the front door on my way home, I was
| surprised to hear your employee mumble something about it "being $5.00."
My
| first reaction was to laugh -- obviously the guy was just kidding about
| charging $5.00 for a 30 second turn of the wrench. Unfortunately it
quickly
| became apparent that I was wrong and the young man was serious. Too
| dumbfounded for words, I handed him a fiver and watched him ring it up on
| the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in case
you
| are too shocked to do the math.
|
| I can afford the $5.00, and it's not going to put you guys in the Fortune
| 500, so that's not really the issue. I'm a pretty serious cyclist, and
| typically spend about $100 a month on cycling related gear and equipment.
| I'm pretty certain at this point that not much of it will be going to Bike
| Beat in the future. The little $5.00 profit your shop made today is
easily
| going to cost you several hundred over the next few months. I'm more than
| willing to offer some examples where Conte's Bike Shop across town "gets
| it." I'm thinking it's worth the extra ten minute drive at this point.
| Any reason I should believe otherwise?
|
| Regards,
|
| Tom

Okay, just how do you think they (and I) make a living? Almost any shop has
a minimum charge for labor (ours is $4.00.) Sure, I'm likely to wave off
somebody with a quickie like that, but when it comes right down to it,
that's how they put food on the table. Quite frankly, your attitude is
what's wrong with the cycle buying public today. You didn't say what you've
done at that shop before. Have you bought a bike? Have you bought
accessories? Have you made yourself known as a regular customer? Have you
brought in some real labor work for them to do? If not, what were you
expecting.

They had to buy that shimano tool. Even the good one Park makes only lasts
so long. It's fine on honest-to-goodness Shimano freewheels but it wears
quickly on other brands or if the freewheels is almost 'welded' on. Once
that thing slips, it's pretty much done for.

You said it yourself - you didn't have the tool. It sells for around $7.
Why don't you just buy one next time.


---
__o
_`\(,_ Cycling is life,
(_)/ (_) all the rest, just details.
The Nelson Paradigm =^o.o^=
http://intergalax.com
http://intbike.com
_______
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.692 / Virus Database: 453 - Release Date: 5/28/2004
post #5 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

"The Nelson Paradigm" <paradigmpatrol@prodigy.net> wrote in message
news:2iclejFlv9fgU1@uni-berlin.de...
| "tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
| news:rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01...
| | Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport
| News,
| | VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year, but I've
had
| | nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today just topped it
off.
| | I wont be going back. Thought the group might appreciate the
| | sentiment......
| |
| | Good Afternoon,
| |
| | Today I went by the new Kiln Creek store to have a freewheel removed
from
| a
| | hub I was overhauling. Since I normally work with cassette-type hubs, I
| did
| | not have the proper tool to remove the old Shimano freewheel. The
| mechanic
| | at the shop was very helpful, and had the freewheel off and back in my
| hands
| | in less than a minute -- about what would be expected by anyone with the
| | slightest bit of mechanical aptitude. I was all set to leave happy,
ready
| | to rethink some of my earlier impressions of the new store.
| |
| | However, as I began walking toward the front door on my way home, I was
| | surprised to hear your employee mumble something about it "being $5.00."
| My
| | first reaction was to laugh -- obviously the guy was just kidding about
| | charging $5.00 for a 30 second turn of the wrench. Unfortunately it
| quickly
| | became apparent that I was wrong and the young man was serious. Too
| | dumbfounded for words, I handed him a fiver and watched him ring it up
on
| | the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in case
| you
| | are too shocked to do the math.
| |
| | I can afford the $5.00, and it's not going to put you guys in the
Fortune
| | 500, so that's not really the issue. I'm a pretty serious cyclist, and
| | typically spend about $100 a month on cycling related gear and
equipment.
| | I'm pretty certain at this point that not much of it will be going to
Bike
| | Beat in the future. The little $5.00 profit your shop made today is
| easily
| | going to cost you several hundred over the next few months. I'm more
than
| | willing to offer some examples where Conte's Bike Shop across town "gets
| | it." I'm thinking it's worth the extra ten minute drive at this point.
| | Any reason I should believe otherwise?
| |
| | Regards,
| |
| | Tom
|
| Okay, just how do you think they (and I) make a living? Almost any shop
has
| a minimum charge for labor (ours is $4.00.) Sure, I'm likely to wave off
| somebody with a quickie like that, but when it comes right down to it,
| that's how they put food on the table. Quite frankly, your attitude is
| what's wrong with the cycle buying public today. You didn't say what
you've
| done at that shop before. Have you bought a bike? Have you bought
| accessories? Have you made yourself known as a regular customer? Have
you
| brought in some real labor work for them to do? If not, what were you
| expecting.
|
| They had to buy that shimano tool. Even the good one Park makes only
lasts
| so long. It's fine on honest-to-goodness Shimano freewheels but it wears
| quickly on other brands or if the freewheels is almost 'welded' on. Once
| that thing slips, it's pretty much done for.
|
| You said it yourself - you didn't have the tool. It sells for around $7.
| Why don't you just buy one next time.

BTW - long ago before I was a wrench I was doing the same thing. I went to
the only store open on Sunday and the guy popped it right off (with a
delicate Suntour Two Prong tool.) I whipped out a fiver but he waved me off
and said "come back when you have some real work for me to do." You see,
the difference was I offered to pay for the services I requested and I got
good karma for it. Think about it.


---
__o
_`\(,_ Cycling is life,
(_)/ (_) all the rest, just details.
The Nelson Paradigm =^o.o^=
http://intergalax.com
http://intbike.com
_______
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.692 / Virus Database: 453 - Release Date: 5/28/2004
post #6 of 107
Thread Starter 

Re: How not to run an LBS

frank-in-toronto <thehickNOSPAM@canada.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 20:28:36 -0400, "tcmedara"
> <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote:
> <snip>
>> the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in
>> case you are too shocked to do the math.

> <snip>
> this has nothing to do with bikes, per se, but more
> to do with the evident fact that you expect
> shops to stock tools, parts and people for your
> usage for free! you should have tipped him
> 10 bucks even before he asked for a fiver.
> Let's see who weighs in on your side.
> ...thehick


Don't attribute arguments to me that I haven't made. I don't expect "tools,
parts and people... for free." That's absurd hyperbole used to dismiss my
point without addressing it. I made an erroneous assumption that these guys
would do me a quick favor. I paid $5.00 for that error. I won't do it
again. I don't like to get charged exhorbitant rates for things that take
no effort and will take my business to other shops that aren't going to
nickle and dime me for things like removing a freewheel. That's the beauty
of a free market, I don't have to feel bad about getting the best value for
my cycling dollar. Ironically, I would have gladly paid the LBS mark-up for
the tool if they'd had it in stock.

Despite your silly little strawman argument, I have no problem paying an LBS
for what I need if the price is right. Re-read my note -- I paid up the
five bucks (48.50 Canadian, right?) without a word. It's not like I'm gonna
stiff the shop.

Let me spell it out in crayon for you.... $5.00 is too much to charge for
removing a freewheel. The shop was empty and the guy was watching TV behind
the counter when I walked in. The fact the guy didn't even quote the price
until I was headed out was cheesy. They got their $5.00 and won't be
getting any more. They could have invested 30 seconds of time and earned
several hundred dollars over the next few months. Instead they got a quick
five bucks and convinced me to go across town.

Once a month or so there's an ocassional thread on the demise of the LBS. I
guess this is just another installment. I take it you're the type who
believes I should pay premium prices and accept ****ty service out of some
mythical duty to the local bike shop (.....see I can play the same game.)
Let's see who else weighs in on your side there.

Tom
post #7 of 107
Thread Starter 

Re: How not to run an LBS

The Nelson Paradigm <paradigmpatrol@prodigy.net> wrote:
>
> Okay, just how do you think they (and I) make a living?


By selling products and services in sufficient quantities at sufficient
prices to produce profit. There are obviously several different ways to do
that. You can nickle and dime people for little things, or you can build
long term relationships with customers who will spend more money in the
future. I gotta think when a guy walks into your shop to get a freewheel
removed because he's doing his own hub overhaul that you don't write him off
as a one-time shopper.

>Almost any
> shop has a minimum charge for labor (ours is $4.00.)


Which hopefully you won't charge to some one who just needs to get a
freewheel removed.

>Sure, I'm
> likely to wave off somebody with a quickie like that, but when it
> comes right down to it, that's how they put food on the table. Quite
> frankly, your attitude is what's wrong with the cycle buying public
> today.


Quite frankly, asserting what's wrong with the cycling public rather than
attempting to cater to that public market is what's wrong with many LBS's
today. Okay, I guess I'm wrong. And I'm gonna go spend my money at the LBS
across town that let's me be wrong. Who should I do business with, the guy
who squeezed me for five bucks or the guy who pulled a break lever off a
bike on the floor when my kid broke his? Where should I go, to the guy who
spoke-preps the spokes I bought for free, or to the guy that keeps my bike
for 3 weeks and then makes me call to find out they can't get the parts I
want? Where do you get the idea that you can run a business that runs
counter to the attitude of the public who's dollar you're after? Maybe
LBS's should stop trying to pawn of $180 Giro helmets to every rube that
buys a comfort hybrid and the "attitude" might change.

>You didn't say what you've done at that shop before. Have
> you bought a bike? Have you bought accessories? Have you made
> yourself known as a regular customer? Have you brought in some real
> labor work for them to do? If not, what were you expecting.


Actually, I sorta mentioned that in the email to the shop. But yes to all
of the above -- bought my last bike at a different store (now closed) but
same company. I was in there two days ago ordering $50.00 worth of
dealer-only parts. It was like pulling teeth.

>
> They had to buy that shimano tool. Even the good one Park makes only
> lasts so long. It's fine on honest-to-goodness Shimano freewheels
> but it wears quickly on other brands or if the freewheels is almost
> 'welded' on. Once that thing slips, it's pretty much done for.
> You said it yourself - you didn't have the tool. It sells for around
> $7. Why don't you just buy one next time.


Using that calculus, then charging five bucks is really bull****. Getting
back 70% of a capital investment in one 30 second transaction is well beyond
the norm. Ironically, I would have bought the tool if it had been
instock -- LBS markup and all. Hmm, inventory on hand -- there's a novel
concept. (Perhaps that's something else that's wrong with today's LBS's, no
inventory to speak of, just a bunch of flashy high profit retail ****.) Now
I'll order it on line, just so I don't have to go back to the shop. I guess
that's what's wrong with the cycling public -- we're willing to buy things
elsewhere when the service is better and the parts are cheaper. I love bike
shops, honest. I just don't like being treated like a mark when I walk in.

You said it yourself -- You're likely to waive off a quickie. $5.00 to
remove a freewheel is bull****, no two ways about it. I paid the guy, don't
lose sight of that. I just won't be stupid enough to do it again. If they
(and you) can manage to run their business that way then it's their choice.
I'm going across town.

Tom
post #8 of 107
Thread Starter 

Re: How not to run an LBS

Pete <ptr@usaf.com> wrote:
>
> I keep tellin ya...go to Freddies.
> Rt 17, Grafton, behind Grafton Dodge, next to the Harley dealer.
>
> Conte's is good, but I'd rather toss my business Freddie's way.
> Excellent wrench.
>
> Pete


I know, and I keep forgetting they're up there. After this last episode
with Bike Beat, I'm headin' that way.

Tom
post #9 of 107
Thread Starter 

Re: How not to run an LBS

Firewalker <firewalker2222@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Let's see here:
>
> You go to a bike shop to have them do a service for you, and expect
> them to do said service free of charge? They're doing something for
> you that you can't do (if you could have, you would have), and are
> surprised that there was a service charge?
>
> Next time, if you want it free, do it yourself. If you get someone
> else to do it, don't whine about a fee that's less than a fancy cup
> of coffee.
>
> Jeez.
>
>
> Ian Cox
>
>

Jeez nothin', I'm gonna go where I get more bang for the buck. Simple as
that. No whining just fact, I'm going to spend my money elsewhere. Your
post did make me think, though whether I should have been so surprised.
Before going down there I called and asked if the tool was in stock. The
guy said no, but then said to "go ahead and bring it buy" and they'd pop it
right off real quick right there in the shop. I guess I was under the
impression walking in there that they were going to take care of it for me
since they couldn't sell me the tool. The fact that he didn't mention a
charge until I was headed for the door is kindy ****ty too, but I guess I
should chalk that up to misperception on my part.

Still -- five bucks to remove a freewheel..... That pretty much guarantees
I'll do it myself and will go elsewhere for the things I can't. That's my
only point.

Tom
post #10 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

"tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
news:rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01...
> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport

News,
> VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year, but I've had
> nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today just topped it off.
> I wont be going back. Thought the group might appreciate the
> sentiment......


What sentiment, that you feel entitled to free services? Do you expect the
grocery store to give you free food because you buy food all the time? Free
channels because you pay the cable bill? etc... If anything local businesses
deserve more cash, not less just because customers want to feel "in" with
the shop. A minimum charge for small services for customers they don't know
well seems to be good business sense to me. I don't work for free for people
I don't know well nor do I expect others to do the same for me.

Chris
post #11 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

tcmedara wrote:
> frank-in-toronto <thehickNOSPAM@canada.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 20:28:36 -0400, "tcmedara"
>> <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote:
>> <snip>
>>> the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in
>>> case you are too shocked to do the math.

>> <snip>
>> this has nothing to do with bikes, per se, but more
>> to do with the evident fact that you expect
>> shops to stock tools, parts and people for your
>> usage for free! you should have tipped him
>> 10 bucks even before he asked for a fiver.
>> Let's see who weighs in on your side.
>> ...thehick

>
> Don't attribute arguments to me that I haven't made. I don't expect
> "tools, parts and people... for free." That's absurd hyperbole used
> to dismiss my point without addressing it. I made an erroneous
> assumption that these guys would do me a quick favor. I paid $5.00
> for that error. I won't do it again. I don't like to get charged
> exhorbitant rates for things that take no effort and will take my
> business to other shops that aren't going to nickle and dime me for
> things like removing a freewheel. That's the beauty of a free
> market, I don't have to feel bad about getting the best value for my
> cycling dollar. Ironically, I would have gladly paid the LBS mark-up
> for the tool if they'd had it in stock.
>
> Despite your silly little strawman argument, I have no problem paying
> an LBS for what I need if the price is right. Re-read my note -- I
> paid up the five bucks (48.50 Canadian, right?) without a word. It's
> not like I'm gonna stiff the shop.
>
> Let me spell it out in crayon for you.... $5.00 is too much to charge
> for removing a freewheel. The shop was empty and the guy was
> watching TV behind the counter when I walked in. The fact the guy
> didn't even quote the price until I was headed out was cheesy. They
> got their $5.00 and won't be getting any more. They could have
> invested 30 seconds of time and earned several hundred dollars over
> the next few months. Instead they got a quick five bucks and
> convinced me to go across town.
>


here's where I disagree. I do a lot of small repairs, not of the bike kind.
It's my perogoative to charge or not charge for a 30 second repair, and you
got it , $5 minimum. When someone walks into my shop with a quickie repair,
that's time that I could be working on someone else's paying job. What's
that old saying about it's not whether you have a hammer and a nail, but
that you know WHICH hammer and WHICH nail to use. It takes me time and money
to put together all my repair tools and supplies. I have overhead. I know
things that the customer doesn't... like how to replace a zipper slider
which is a 30 second job on a 25¢ part. I agree with Nelson about the Karma
bit... I'm much rather someone offer to pay me the minimum, and for me to
say no for any number of reasons that to have to say, Uh, btw, that will be
five bucks.

Now my lbs doesn't change me for little labor. But I would never, ever not
offer to pay.

Penny S

DT, your shorts are on the way back to you.
post #12 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

tcmedara wrote:
> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport News,
> VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year, but I've had
> nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today just topped it off.
> I wont be going back. Thought the group might appreciate the
> sentiment......
>
> Good Afternoon,
>
> Today I went by the new Kiln Creek store to have a freewheel removed from a
> hub I was overhauling. Since I normally work with cassette-type hubs, I did
> not have the proper tool to remove the old Shimano freewheel. The mechanic
> at the shop was very helpful, and had the freewheel off and back in my hands
> in less than a minute -- about what would be expected by anyone with the
> slightest bit of mechanical aptitude. I was all set to leave happy, ready
> to rethink some of my earlier impressions of the new store.
>
> However, as I began walking toward the front door on my way home, I was
> surprised to hear your employee mumble something about it "being $5.00." My
> first reaction was to laugh -- obviously the guy was just kidding about
> charging $5.00 for a 30 second turn of the wrench. Unfortunately it quickly
> became apparent that I was wrong and the young man was serious. Too
> dumbfounded for words, I handed him a fiver and watched him ring it up on
> the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in case you
> are too shocked to do the math.
>
> I can afford the $5.00, and it's not going to put you guys in the Fortune
> 500, so that's not really the issue. I'm a pretty serious cyclist, and
> typically spend about $100 a month on cycling related gear and equipment.
> I'm pretty certain at this point that not much of it will be going to Bike
> Beat in the future. The little $5.00 profit your shop made today is easily
> going to cost you several hundred over the next few months. I'm more than
> willing to offer some examples where Conte's Bike Shop across town "gets
> it." I'm thinking it's worth the extra ten minute drive at this point.
> Any reason I should believe otherwise?
>
> Regards,
>
> Tom
>
>


You needed a service, they provided, you payed, end of story. It's nice
when a shop tosses out a freebie but it should never be expected, not
even if you're a long time regular.
post #13 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

In news:rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01,
tcmedara <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> typed:
> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport
> News, VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year,
> but I've had nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today
> just topped it off. I wont be going back. Thought the group might
> appreciate the sentiment......
>

<snip>

Went to my LBS here in Richmond to have a crown race pulled from a fork.
The mechanic popped it off in 30 sec with a $250 Klein crown race puller. I
asked "What do I owe you?". He said "Heck, If I start charging for 30 sec
work I'll lose a ton more business than it's worth to charge you." I said
"Hey, thanks!" and proceded to buy $80 bucks worth of accessories I've been
needing.

Mike
post #14 of 107
Thread Starter 

Re: How not to run an LBS

pas <pennysinvalid@cetinvalid.com> wrote:
>
> here's where I disagree. I do a lot of small repairs, not of the bike
> kind. It's my perogoative to charge or not charge for a 30 second
> repair, and you got it , $5 minimum. When someone walks into my shop
> with a quickie repair, that's time that I could be working on someone
> else's paying job. What's that old saying about it's not whether you
> have a hammer and a nail, but that you know WHICH hammer and WHICH
> nail to use. It takes me time and money to put together all my repair
> tools and supplies. I have overhead. I know things that the customer
> doesn't... like how to replace a zipper slider which is a 30 second
> job on a 25¢ part. I agree with Nelson about the Karma bit... I'm
> much rather someone offer to pay me the minimum, and for me to say
> no for any number of reasons that to have to say, Uh, btw, that will
> be five bucks.
>
> Now my lbs doesn't change me for little labor. But I would never,
> ever not offer to pay.


Karma works both ways. I've gone into shops and bought stuff I don't need
just because I like going in and BS'ing with the guys in the shop. A pair
of gloves or a few pairs of socks are worth the price of a good
relationship. This shop doesn't seem to want to operate along those lines.
The guy was sweetness and light on the phone, said "sorry we don't have the
tool but bring it by and we'll take care of you." Implied it was no big
deal. When he finished the job and quoted a price I was surprised -- I had
been operating under the impression that he was doing me a favor. My
mistake, obviously. I should have made the guy write up work order and
invoice. I paid the man his money, and didn't give him a hassle. That
would have been wrong. None the less, it's a cheesy way to do business. I
know which hammer and which nail to use. I didn't have one and they didn't
have one to sell. If I'd known they were gonna squeeze me for 5 bucks I
would have gone home and bought the damn tool on line or across town.

It's a free country, they can run their business how they like. I'm just
going elsewhere. Thankfully this area is big enough that I have options.
The point is not that they shouldn't have hit me up for five bucks. Its
that their 5.00 minimum service charge for one turn of the wrench is going
to cost them several hundred in the future. I gotta figure that's not the
most efficient business model.

Tom
post #15 of 107
Thread Starter 

Re: How not to run an LBS

ctg <n/a@n/a.com> wrote:
> "tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01...
>> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in
>> Newport News, VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the
>> year, but I've had nothing but bad experiences with them. This one
>> today just topped it off. I wont be going back. Thought the group
>> might appreciate the sentiment......

>
> What sentiment, that you feel entitled to free services? Do you
> expect the grocery store to give you free food because you buy food
> all the time? Free channels because you pay the cable bill? etc... If
> anything local businesses deserve more cash, not less just because
> customers want to feel "in" with the shop. A minimum charge for small
> services for customers they don't know well seems to be good business
> sense to me. I don't work for free for people I don't know well nor
> do I expect others to do the same for me.
>
> Chris


What's with the hyperbole and drama? I have no sense of entitlement, just
good consumer sense. You bring up the grocery store example -- good one.
Do you you offer to pay every time you grab one of those samples the old
ladies are handing out at the end of the aisles, or do you automatically
feel you are entitled to a free sample? Do you offer to pay your buddy
everytime you watch HBO at his house? Read what I wrote -- I paid the guy
his five bucks. My point is that 5 bucks is too much, in my opinion, to pay
for a freewheel removal. They guy should have told me the price up front
rather than imply he was doing me a favor (of course that's my mistake), and
I'm under no obligation to spend any more money there. Where's the
entitlement?

The only time a local business "deserves" more cash is when they offer
products and services that make people want to part with it. You chastise
me for an entitlement mentatlity, but then suggest one exists on the part of
an LBS. And you have no idea if they know me or not and the bike shop is
the last place I need to feel "in", so you're making assumptions you know
nothing about. Sounds to me like you're projecting your own bias onto this
scenario. A minimum charge for small services may or may not make sense,
it depends on the market. When I can get better service at cheaper prices
at another store it makes even more sense to go there.
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