Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down
Tom Blum wrote:
> From the back of the choir loft:
> AMEN BROTHER!!!!
Umm, what the hell are you Amen-ing?!?
Bill "pick & choose from posts below" S.
> "Carl Fogel" <email@example.com> wrote in message
>> firstname.lastname@example.org (Chalo) wrote in message
>>> email@example.com (Carl Fogel) wrote:
>>>> It sounds as if your friend works for someone who has decided to go out of business instead of
>>>> leasing and moving into a new shop.
>>> Actually, the landlord has reached his limit of patience with The Bikesmith being late on rent.
>>> I could wish that he were more charitable in this case, but that is not the inclination of
>>> landlords IME.
>>> It would be difficult to imagine that Val could take on a new, most likely more expensive lease
>>> while already in arrears to the point of eviction on his current one.
>>>> In all this fuss about a business ending, no one seems to have asked the obvious question. How
>>>> badly did the owner want to continue?
>>>> Keep in mind, something like 95% of all small businesses vanish within two years. Most of the
>>>> rest vanish when the owners grow old or tired.
>>>> For all I know, the owner may be secretly relieved. He may be ending years of frustration and
>>>> scraping by, month by month.
>>> I certainly can't blame him if this is the case, but I have to wonder about the virtue of a town
>>> in which some cheesy, basically worthless bike shops can prosper but a truly helpful, expert,
>>> and well-versed shop like Val Kleitz's can founder.
>>> It's much the same as when chain "restaurants" thrive while local owner-operated eateries fold,
>>> or when Wal-Mart exterminates entire small-town economies in exchange for a few percent discount
>>> on crappified goods.
>>> Most folks are tools, proved so by their actions. I might have to acknowledge it, but I don't
>>> have to approve of it.
>>> Chalo Colina
>> Dear Chalo,
>> Offering something of little value to the vast majority of people is no recipe for easy economic
>> That's why there are far more restaurants than bicycle shops--people like to eat far more than
>> they like to ride bicycles.
>> Within a given field, offering helpful, expert, well-versed advice is still no recipe for easy
>> economic success, unless the field is extremely demanding.
>> A surprising number of things don't actually require quite as much self-trumpeted expertise and
>> advice as we experts and advisers believe. Despite our dire predictions, many people seem to get
>> along just fine without paying computer consultants, bicycle mechanics, personal trainers,
>> financial experts, psychologists, travel guides, and other folks whose expertise is often dwarfed
>> by their self-importance.
>> Right now, there's an amusing thread ("What Bike to Buy") in which a college student is asking
>> for advice about what kind of $800 bicycle to buy for a daily round-trip commute of 4 miles and
>> possibly joining a bicycle group.
>> He's already been warned not to buy a bicycle without extensive research and pestering the local
>> bike stores silly--and God forbid that he should commit suicide by buying something with two
>> wheels from WalMart that works better than what my friends who were Boy Scouts rode to earn merit
>> badges by pedalling 50 miles to the mountains and back.
>> If we work at it, I believe that we can terrify the boy so badly with our expertise about carbon
>> forks, the right gear ratios, the best cleats, proper wheel-building, whether to wear a helmet,
>> Shimano versus Campagnolo, quality parts, and the mysteries of frame fit that he'll end up
>> walking to class.
>> (Of course, then he'd need a lot of expert advice about what kind of shoes to buy to avoid
>> ruining his feet.)
>> While you're disgusted with a city that won't support every bicycle shop that you like, I'm
>> amazed by a country where someone old enough to join the Marines sincerely believes that he needs
>> extensive expert advice to buy a bicycle to ride less than ten minutes each way to school--and we
>> stand ready to reinforce that notion.
>> Beware of considering everyone else jerks just because they don't share your interests or spend
>> as much money as you wish they would on things that you like. You could end up a crank like me,
>> wondering why there are so few all-Vivaldi music stations in this heathen wilderness.
>> Carl Fogel