Halfords, don't be so blind!

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Al Ford, Feb 24, 2003.

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  1. Al Ford

    Al Ford Guest

    One thing that annoys me on this group is that Halfords very often gets a good slagging off for
    quality control, staff, range of products, etc..... There seems to be a childish attitude towards
    the company who brought BMX and ATB bikes to the UK mass market. I have experience rather big
    dollops of eliteism from LBS nationwide.

    Halfords can get more componentry than the majority of LBS in the UK. The problem being is that the
    company does nothing to promote such facilities, nor does it sufficiently advertise their price
    promise! I can currently get hold of 18,000 individual items. The trick when shopping in Halfords is
    to ask for the cycle specialist.

    You cannot expect every member of staff in a given store to know everything about bikes, in much the
    same way you wouldn't expect a mechanic to sell you a car in a car dealership. Another complication
    is the vast number of areas cycling now encompasses (Road, MTB, Trials, BMX etc....) How many
    roadies have a true deep knowledge of trials bikes?

    I'm lucky that the store where I am/was the manager of the cycle department has followed a policy of
    recruiting cyclists, rather than sales people. You can teach a cyclist to sell but you can't teach a
    sales person every facet of bikes.

    I used to race nationally myself up to first-cat level.

    I have working on my department

    1 trials rider, 1 Downhiller, 2 multi-discipline riders. (One of whom was Welsh Champion in various
    discipline ranging from cyclo-cross to Road Race to Cross-Country - at youth levels. The other is an
    up and coming cyclist and recently finished 2nd or 3rd in a national series) 1 General enthusiast
    who doesn't compete but just rides. And myself, former Roadracer, Cyclo-cross and Triathlete.

    My store is one of the normal Halfords stores, not a "BikeHut".

    And before people start slating me for this post, I'm leaving Halfords on Friday so have no reason
    to defend them.
     
    Tags:


  2. No problemo :)

    My local Halfords has given good service in many ways - the staff *are* helpful, and indeed, bought
    stuff there. Indeed I have posted examples here in the past. Alas, much of the *equipment* purchased
    has had to be taken back due to poor quality control of the items bought. This isn't a reflection on
    the staff of my local Halfords, but it is of the buying in of the stock at whatever level it is
    done. It's also near a LBS where I now will not go in because, as a woman, I am ignored. Sad but all
    too true on too many an occasion in there. I have found a good LBS in Norwich, Specialised Cycles in
    Connaught Road (Vernon had his bike built there) and Steve there gives good *quality* service and
    does know his bikes. If anyone needs a bike shop in that area, I do recommend this LBS! In Fakenham,
    there's Spokes, run by Trevor who has ERV Bianchi UK team - I got my bike from him and it's a good
    bike which will last me many a year :) Problem I find with Halfords is that if you want a MTB or
    basic kids' bike, or shopper type - it's fine, but for a "proper" road bike, be it racing, touring,
    audax, it isn't of any use. It is excellent for a good range of helmets :)

    Cheers, helen s

    p.s. Wherever you are moving to - best of luck!

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Flush out that intestinal parasite and/or the waste product before sending a reply!

    Any speeliong mistake$ aR the resiult of my cats sitting on the keyboaRRRDdd
    ~~~~~~~~~~
     
  3. Frank

    Frank Guest

    "Al Ford" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > One thing that annoys me on this group is that Halfords very often gets a good slagging off for
    > quality control, staff, range of products, etc..... There seems to be a childish attitude towards
    > the company who brought BMX and ATB bikes to the UK mass market. I have experience rather big
    > dollops of eliteism from LBS nationwide.
    >

    I went to Halfords yesterday, Do you sell spokes I asked, No was the answer.
     
  4. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    Al Ford wrote:
    > One thing that annoys me on this group is that Halfords very often gets a good slagging off for
    > quality control, staff, range of products, etc..... There seems to be a childish attitude towards
    > the company who brought BMX and ATB bikes to the UK mass market. I have experience rather big
    > dollops of eliteism from LBS nationwide.

    For my part that's based on the fact that Halfords in my home town undercut and killed off most of
    the small bike shops (and small car parts shops) but never did carry the upper snarkle bracket for
    the flanged grobbly pin that Brian used to keep in the rack of drawers out the back. This is nothing
    personal about Halfords, it happened in every area of retail.

    > I have working on my department 1 trials rider, 1 Downhiller, 2 multi-discipline riders. (One of
    > whom was Welsh Champion in various discipline ranging from cyclo-cross to Road Race to
    > Cross-Country - at youth levels. The other is an up and coming cyclist and recently finished 2nd
    > or 3rd in a national series) 1 General enthusiast who doesn't compete but just rides. And myself,
    > former Roadracer, Cyclo-cross and Triathlete.

    If my local branch was like that I would probably shop there. As far as I can tell we have: 1
    spotty youth with a bad attitude 1 slightly less spotty youth with a bad attitude 1 empty desk most
    of the time

    But to be fair I haven't darkened their doors in a while.

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.

    http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/09.shtml#103 http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/09.shtml#104
     
  5. J-P.S

    J-P.S Guest

    On Tue, 25 Feb 2003 09:11:16 -0000, Just zis Guy, you know? scrawled: ) > One thing that annoys me
    on this group is that Halfords very often ) > gets a good slagging off for quality control, staff,
    range of ) > products, etc..... There seems to be a childish attitude towards the ) > company who
    brought BMX and ATB bikes to the UK mass market. I have ) > experience rather big dollops of
    eliteism from LBS nationwide. ) ) For my part that's based on the fact that Halfords in my home town
    undercut ) and killed off most of the small bike shops

    Yes. I cancelled the post now. But I said something about Starbucks bringing good lattes to the UK
    mass market, and how that was no excuse for them doing That Thing They Do. It would be childish to
    /ignore/ Halfords' anti-competitive, homogenizing practices, simply because they brought us such
    nice bikes. No need to gnaw fingers. Buy things. Buy things from we.

    It strikes me that the Halfords described in the original post bears no resemblance to most Halfords
    I know about. The selectivity of posting to uk.rec.cycling means that any Halfords manager who posts
    here is bound to run a tighter cycling shop than at other Halfords. That doesn't change the fact
    that most drivers and cyclists I know wouldn't go near their "local" Halfords.

    J-P
    --
    Subject: [Dept] Fire Strikes tests=DEAR_SOMEBODY,KNOWN_MAILING_LIST, LINES_OF_YELLING,
    MIME_NULL_BLOCK version=2.43
     
  6. [email protected] (wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter) wrote
    > It's also near a LBS where I now will not go in because, as a woman, I am ignored. Sad but all too
    > true on too many an occasion in there.

    I have heard of many women who have that problem with shops. I have never felt that, probably
    because I have very specific needs when I go into a shop (I need spokes to go with this rim & hub; I
    need a straight aluminum handlebar; I need a British Standard rear LED light) and they pretty soon
    realize that I know exactly what I'm talking about.

    It is a real shame that this seems to happen so frequently. They ought to realize that women are
    half of their potential customers, and pay more attention to them...

    -Myra
     
  7. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

    > level it is done. It's also near a LBS where I now will not go in because, as a woman, I am
    > ignored. Sad but all too true on too many an occasion in there.

    They are training the assistants up for hi-fi shops and car repair garages.

    OT I was once with my ex in Computer World. The assistant who came over to help failed to make eye
    contact with Sue for the whole transaction. Anything she actually asked of him was answered by him
    looking at me and saying, "Sir,..." He probably works in that LBS now.

    Colin
     
  8. David Pipes

    David Pipes Guest

    In message <MPG.18c5501c5a960b13[email protected]>, Colin Blackburn
    <[email protected]> writes
    >OT I was once with my ex in Computer World. The assistant who came over to help failed to make eye
    >contact with Sue for the whole transaction. Anything she actually asked of him was answered by him
    >looking at me and saying, "Sir,..." He probably works in that LBS now.

    <OT> I was in a branch of PC World wanting to buy a monitor. Most weren't set up properly, some
    weren't connected but there was one I was interested
    in. I looked around for an assistant - two were arguing (one looked in my direction but ignored me),
    another was shelf filling. After ten minutes waiting I got really hacked off and phoned the
    store. I watched someone answer a phone and ask 'Can I help you?'. I said I would like to buy a
    monitor. 'Just one moment, I'll get someone to speak to you.' 'Fine, if you turn around you'll
    see me - I'm wearing a beard, green jacket and angry expression.' I ended up with two
    assistants, the manager and a security guard taking care of my purchase, carrying the box,
    holding the door, loading my car.

    Pay, peanuts and monkeys are the three words that spring to mind - possibly.... </OT>

    Halfords is a convenience store, not unlike PC World, Dixons, B&Q, Office World, Tesco, etc. If you
    want personal attention, something out of the ordinary or in-depth advice, I suggest they may not
    the best places to get it. No offence to any staff of the aforementioned establishments intended,
    I've often had excellent service from them. On the other hand I've been greeted in a LBS by a chain
    smoking lardy whose knowledge of bicycles was limited to putting money in the till. You pays yer
    money and makes yer choice - or vice-versa.
    --
    DP
     
  9. The message <[email protected]> from [email protected] (Myra
    VanInwegen) contains these words:

    > [email protected] (wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter) wrote
    > > It's also near a LBS where I now will not go in because, as a woman, I am ignored. Sad but all
    > > too true on too many an occasion in there.

    > I have heard of many women who have that problem with shops. I have never felt that, probably
    > because I have very specific needs when I go into a shop (I need spokes to go with this rim & hub;
    > I need a straight aluminum handlebar; I need a British Standard rear LED light) and they pretty
    > soon realize that I know exactly what I'm talking about.

    > It is a real shame that this seems to happen so frequently. They ought to realize that women are
    > half of their potential customers, and pay more attention to them...

    Yebbut what do you say to the sales droid who informs you that a 2.4v, .7A bulb is *exactly* the
    same as the 2.4v, 0.83A bulb you seek? [1]

    Having long fair hair and smooth skin seems to be licence for the blokes to spout nothing but pure,
    natural BS.

    [1] This happened to me a while ago in Halford's. I was totally speechless at the time. A friend
    later suggested I should offer to pay 70p for an item costing 83p...

    --
    Helen D. Vecht: [email protected] Edgware.
     
  10. Helen Deborah Vecht wrote:
    >
    > Having long fair hair and smooth skin seems to be licence for the blokes to spout nothing but
    > pure, natural BS.
    >

    They've probably been basking in female adoration for so long that, like boy band members, they've
    never learnt to speak coherently. ;-)
    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
  11. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Colin Blackburn <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > OT I was once with my ex in Computer World. The assistant who came over to help failed to make eye
    > contact with Sue for the whole transaction. Anything she actually asked of him was answered by him
    > looking at me and saying, "Sir,..." He probably works in that LBS now.
    >

    Many years ago I knew someone who was once trying to close a big deal with a company and had the
    Managing Director and his wife visiting for the final closing. He had arranged for a car and driver
    to take the wife sightseeing and shopping while he did the business with the MD. "Why would I want
    to do that?" asked the wife. After lame excuse from friend wife responded "But its my company, my
    husband just runs it for me" Fervent wishing for large hole to open up and swallow highly
    embarrassed friend.

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them
    their job."

    Samuel Goldwyn
     
  12. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Al Ford" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > One thing that annoys me on this group is that Halfords very often gets a good slagging off for
    > quality control, staff, range of products, etc..... There seems to be a childish attitude towards
    > the company who brought BMX and ATB bikes to the UK mass market. I have experience rather big
    > dollops of eliteism from LBS nationwide.
    >
    > Halfords can get more componentry than the majority of LBS in the UK. The problem being is that
    > the company does nothing to promote such facilities, nor does it sufficiently advertise their
    > price promise! I can currently get hold of 18,000 individual items. The trick when shopping in
    > Halfords is to ask for the cycle specialist.
    >
    > You cannot expect every member of staff in a given store to know everything about bikes, in much
    > the same way you wouldn't expect a mechanic to sell you a car in a car dealership. Another
    > complication is the vast number of areas cycling now encompasses (Road, MTB, Trials, BMX etc....)
    > How many roadies have a true deep knowledge of trials bikes?
    >
    > I'm lucky that the store where I am/was the manager of the cycle department has followed a policy
    > of recruiting cyclists, rather than sales people. You can teach a cyclist to sell but you can't
    > teach a sales person every facet of bikes.
    >
    > I used to race nationally myself up to first-cat level.
    >
    > I have working on my department
    >
    > 1 trials rider, 1 Downhiller, 2 multi-discipline riders. (One of whom was Welsh Champion in
    > various discipline ranging from cyclo-cross to Road Race to Cross-Country - at youth levels. The
    > other is an up and coming cyclist and recently finished 2nd or 3rd in a national series) 1 General
    > enthusiast who doesn't compete but just rides. And myself, former Roadracer, Cyclo-cross and
    > Triathlete.
    >
    > My store is one of the normal Halfords stores, not a "BikeHut".
    >
    > And before people start slating me for this post, I'm leaving Halfords on Friday so have no reason
    > to defend them.

    I'm sure everyone has 'good and bad' storys about Halfords as they do about most things. My 'bad'
    story is this. After buying a pair of new tyres, I got them home, put them on the bike and was about
    to go out for a days off-roading with my son, when, much to my amazement, I came across my innertube
    bulging out of the tyres sidewall. Needless to say I was well pissed-off and took the tyre right
    back. I was informed by their cycle guru that this happened quite a lot as when they took the nylon
    binding straps off the bulk delivered tyres, they weren't always quite careful enough with the
    stanley knife!!! - needless to say, I was gobsmacked. - This could have resulted in a fatal
    accident....I let him know of my concern regarding this practice. My 'good' story is as follows:- At
    a later date, I needed to purchase several items, totalling around £80. One item was a new saddle. I
    was looking at a standard bottom end of the market, gel saddle (arouind 20 squiddles), but I asked
    about the high-tech version with titanium rails, see thru section to view gel in-situ (?!!?) and
    v-cutout (around 50 squiddles). The assistant was so impressed with the high-tech version, he sold
    it me for the same price as the cheap one, despite my remonstrations that he shouldn't and there was
    no good reason to!!! So, for an £80 sale I effectively got £30 off...once again, needless to say, I
    was gobsmacked.

    The problem with superstores taking on a 'bike specialist' role is that they are driven by the mass
    market and will drop it like a hot potato if the market drops to a certain non-profitable level. If
    in the mean-time all the LBSs have gone out of business due to being unable to compete with
    Halfords, then cyclists will be left with no suppliers at all.......Oh Sh*t!!...what then??

    personally I try LBS first and Halfords second. They have their uses, Sunday / late night opening
    etc.I trust the Superstore client-base out there is sufficient to keep Halfords shareholders
    satisfied without my help ;-)

    Dave.
     
  13. Paul Rudin

    Paul Rudin Guest

    >>>>> "DP" == David Pipes <[email protected]> writes:

    DP> I was in a branch of PC World wanting to buy a monitor.

    Big mistake... :)

    --
    ...Um...Um...
     
  14. Dave

    Dave Guest

    <snip>
    > OT I was once with my ex in Computer World. The assistant who came over to help failed to make eye
    > contact with Sue for the whole transaction.
    <snip>

    I always force the issue with these ignorant gits by looking over to my wife and including her in
    the conversation everytime I sense they've fixed sights on me. It forces them to look at her and
    make eye contact. If they don't follow immediately, you keep doing it until they do. It always works
    and is extremely satisfying.....you'd think it'd be in the top ten rules of 'How To Sell....'
    wouldn't you ?? Cheers, Dave.
     
  15. David Pipes

    David Pipes Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Paul Rudin <[email protected]> writes
    >>>>>> "DP" == David Pipes <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > DP> I was in a branch of PC World wanting to buy a monitor.
    >
    >Big mistake... :)
    >
    True, I might have bumped into G Glitter - it was _that_ PC World.
    --
    DP
     
  16. Andrew B

    Andrew B Guest

    Helen,

    I nice to see a post from someone local to me !

    Have you ever tried John Borwells (Spencer Street, I think !) He has always been very helpful
    whenever I needed anything and is quite happy to chat and give advice.

    Regards,

    Andrew

    "wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > No problemo :)
    >
    > My local Halfords has given good service in many ways - the staff *are* helpful, and indeed,
    > bought stuff there. Indeed I have posted examples
    here in
    > the past. Alas, much of the *equipment* purchased has had to be taken back
    due
    > to poor quality control of the items bought. This isn't a reflection on
    the
    > staff of my local Halfords, but it is of the buying in of the stock at
    whatever
    > level it is done. It's also near a LBS where I now will not go in because,
    as a
    > woman, I am ignored. Sad but all too true on too many an occasion in
    there. I
    > have found a good LBS in Norwich, Specialised Cycles in Connaught Road
    (Vernon
    > had his bike built there) and Steve there gives good *quality* service and
    does
    > know his bikes. If anyone needs a bike shop in that area, I do recommend
    this
    > LBS! In Fakenham, there's Spokes, run by Trevor who has ERV Bianchi UK
    team - I
    > got my bike from him and it's a good bike which will last me many a year
    :)
    > Problem I find with Halfords is that if you want a MTB or basic kids'
    bike, or
    > shopper type - it's fine, but for a "proper" road bike, be it racing,
    touring,
    > audax, it isn't of any use. It is excellent for a good range of helmets :)
    >
    > Cheers, helen s
    >
    > p.s. Wherever you are moving to - best of luck!
    >
    >
    > ~~~~~~~~~~
    > Flush out that intestinal parasite and/or the waste product before sending
    a
    > reply!
    >
    > Any speeliong mistake$ aR the resiult of my cats sitting on the
    keyboaRRRDdd
    > ~~~~~~~~~~
     
  17. wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Quite. Mind you, a lot of the cycling press is geared towards men and ignore a lot of women in
    >cycling and readership. I feel a bra-buring moment coming on.

    Several of the young ladies depicted in MBUK (free copy with Cycling Plus
    - thank you, Future, but I am not in fact 14 years old) appeared to have already burned most of
    their upper garments.

    However, I suspect it's not so much that MBUK alienates women as that it alienates adults.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  18. Frank

    Frank Guest

  19. Dave Le Good

    Dave Le Good Guest

    On 25 Feb 2003 12:53:10 +0000 (GMT), David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote:

    >wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>Quite. Mind you, a lot of the cycling press is geared towards men and ignore a lot of women in
    >>cycling and readership. I feel a bra-buring moment coming on.
    >
    >Several of the young ladies depicted in MBUK (free copy with Cycling Plus
    >- thank you, Future, but I am not in fact 14 years old) appeared to have already burned most of
    > their upper garments.
    >
    >However, I suspect it's not so much that MBUK alienates women as that it alienates adults.

    100% right David. Sadly MBR is going down the same drain.

    Dave
     
  20. On Tue, 25 Feb 2003 15:30:45 +0000, Dave Le Good did issue forth:

    >>However, I suspect it's not so much that MBUK alienates women as that it alienates adults.
    >
    > 100% right David. Sadly MBR is going down the same drain.

    Not 100%. As long as MBUK still has Mint Sauce then it's got something going for it.

    --
    Huw Pritchard Replace bounce with huw to reply by mail
     
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