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My gripe after several visits to local and most convenient shop for me.

About two months ago, I started my search for a carbon frame. I checked out a shop in the nearby city (Store 1) that sells the Trek Madone. When I entered, teh only two people in the room were chatting away in the shop area. I don't think they said "hello" or "welcome to ...." After finding the right sized Madone frame on the upper rack (typical shop set up, about chest height) and admiring it, I decided to pull it down which took about two seconds (the bike was in one of those roof-top like racks w/ the back wheel secured only by the 'J' hook from the wall). As I took it down, the shop dudes freaked out and started telling me "you'll break it." There were no signs that I could see saying "do not touch", I'm a grown man in his 30s, and after a few minutes browsing, it should have been obvious that I knew what I was looking for. I explained that they should have offered their assistance instead of ignoring the only customer in the shop. Anyhoo, a sales person arrived and was great and helpful. Since I was still pissed off at the other people, I wrote an email to the shop and praised the salesman, but explained my dissatisfaction w/ the other employees. I didn't receive any response or acknowledgement.

Their other store (Store 2) is located closer to my house so I stopped by there one day while on a ride to pick up a new water bottle. Although my purchase was promptly rung-up at the register, I got the impression that I was bothering the cashier who didn't even say, "how can I help you" or "thank you."

Despite these less-than-friendly encounters at two of this local chain's stores, I went by Store 2 again to test ride the Madone. The sales person seemed friendly, if not 100 % well-versed in the Madone 5.2. He did, however, ask a colleague for info though when he did not know an answer. So far, so good. He quickly swapped my pedals and off I went. Unfortunately, the ride was not pleasant. For all I know, the Madone is great. My real concentration on the frame and fit was hampered by the dangling, hand-sized, handlebar-mounted, store tag which they didn't remove, a bontrager skewer tag that rubbed against the spokes like a child's baseball card, Ultegra components that skipped, popped and rubbed, and a rear brake caliper that rubbed agains the rim and was out of whatk. As much as I tried to move things around and adjust while on the ride, I wasn't too successful.

When I returned to the shop, the friendly mechanic swapped my pedals w/o fuss, but the salesperson was no where to be found. No one else (there were a few other sales folks hanging around) asked for my assessment of the bike, how it worked, if it fit, etc. etc. I had to ask another employee to go track down my sales person so I could claim my license and credit card which was being held as collateral. On my way out, I had to voluntarily tell them that the components were out of whack and which resulted in a disappointing ride. Their only response was, "tune-ups come with your purchase." I haven't test ridden other new bikes from other shops which required this much adjustment.

This shop has a few great people, but otherwise the rest of the staff seems apathetic. It reminded me of a local Best Buy where there is a 1:7 ratio of knowledgeable and helpful employees to apathetic ones. There are other Trek shops in the area so it is not like I don't have a choice. Moreover, there are also 10 other shops in a 10 mile radius that I can patronize and that carry everything from Trek to Specialized, C'dale, Orbea, Litespeed, Guru, Bianchi, Fuji, etc etc. I'm lucky that I can test out a variety of cycles and and be secure in my purchase.

I feel better about ranting and I thank you for reading (are you still there?) :). We all seem to like our local shops and expect a level of service that consistent w/ our level of enthusiasm. I just hope the shop and others are not thinking the bikes will sell themselves just b/c Lance rode one.

there. All better now. I just need to call the other nearby Trek dealer for a fresh test.
 

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never have that problem...

The last time I bought a bike from a LBS was 1992. I buy everything except the occasional water bottle from catalogs (now all on-line). I get better prices, no sales tax and what I want within days.
 

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Sorry to hear about your experience. Unfortunately, that seems to be more and more the norm in retail anymore. When I was a young lad working in service jobs, it was stressed over and over that the customer is the reason you're there, so you had better take care of them and make them leave with a positive overall impression of their experience. Nowadays, people in these jobs seem to view customers as a necessary intrusion on their day, to be tolerated and disposed of.

There are exceptions, of course. In my area are a couple of LBS that have been in business for years, mostly because they still know how to treat a customer.

Jim
 

· eminence grease
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You have pretty clearly articulated why I don't waste my time going to LBSs any longer. Each of the things you've described have happened to me at one time or another. While I am sure that there are many dedicated LBS employees out there (many post here), the rules of thumb in my city seem to be: 1) why are you bothering us, we're busy jawing with our buds 2) we don't have it, 3) we have no idea what you're talking about, 4) I have better things to do than wait on you.

Which is pretty sad.

When I was a Stingray riding elementary school tad, I used to visit an LBS slightly across town. It was like going to the library, more cool stuff and helpful people than one could possibly imagine. I would love it when my Dad would find time to drive me over there. These days, it seems that places like that are by far and away the exception, and places like you visited are the rules. I'm as sorry as the next guy to see LBSs head down the business drain, but it just seems like too many of them are doing it to themselves.
 

· Non non normal
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I agree with Terry on his assessment of the normal LBS.
The only LBS in our whole county sells bikes and patio furniture in the same store. In the winter they take out the lawn furniture and sell snowboards and ski stuff. I think it is just getting to be an unprofitable business in most markets. They have to pay low wages and there is a lot of turnover, etc.

Recently, the last couple of times when I went to the LBS I felt like I was watched as a potential shoplifter rather than a customer. When you try to buy an ultegra der. or a fixed gear cog everything is special order and I have to come back in 2 to 5 days to pick it up I will just order it myself, save myself the two trips, tax, and frustration.

The only shop in my area that I enjoy shopping in is the Performance store. Go figure.
 

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This is the kind of experience that makes me not go back to a certain LBS. I'm lucky enough to have a great bike shop a block away. I mean really great. In the past it's been a pain to drive further or miss out on club discounts by going to a better shop.

Silas
 

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Shop #1 is a "run away from" shop.
Shop #2 is a "walk away from" shop.
 

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Yeah, if a shop really doesn't have its ducks in a row, it's pretty hard to be successful selling things like $5000 bikes. The amount of inventory you have to have on-hand, compared to the rate of sales for these things, is staggering.

When starting up a business, people need to remember that these things cost as much as a decent used car.
 

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Bad Parents

Just shows how bad parents are today and how spoiled some kids have gotten (in general).
We instill please and thank you into our 3 year old constantly, so it becomes an auto response. And that politeness will stay with him the rest of his life. And you better believe that as he gets older, he will have some chores and be mowing the lawn. All around me I have parents getting mowing services, in some cases for very small yards, even though they have mutliple teenagers in the house who I never see doing anything. These kids are getting soft, lazy, and privileged. Then they go get a job at the LBS when they finally needed extra pocket money, and we see the result. There is a general lack of social skills with these kids, where you can clearly see how they were noever raised to properly address people and be courteous. Most of that is the parents, and then also bad store management who is not training sales skills and expecting good behavior from the employees, or otherwise kicking their butts out the door. If I was the manager and found out an emplyee was not greeting customers, ignoring them when they are essesntially doing nothing else, and then not saying thank you after the purchase, they would immediately get the Donald Trump treatment - You're FIRED!
 

· Downhill Juggernaut
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I love my LBS. A comfy couch, they encourage everyone hanging out, good conversation, music playing, and best of all- free beer on tap from a local microbrewer.

They never treat me like an idiot, no matter how banal or stupid my questions might seem. Never steer me towards an unneeded purchase, and have in fact talked me out of a few hairbrained schemes I wanted to try because it would almost exactly duplicate a bike I already have. Sure I pay a bit more for some things compared to online purchases, but when I have a problem with my bike on a Friday afternoon and I have a big ride on Saturday... I know it'll get taken care of in time (and has). I know that won't be happening with Nashbar or Performance. In fact, I've never seen them treat any customer poorly.

I'm sorry you have a troublesome shop. Reading the many post like this one makes me appreciate mine so much more. There are some good shops out there, apparently they're just few and far between.
 

· Downhill Juggernaut
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jaseone said:
Free beer? Your LBS has free beer? I must talk to mine about this concept....
Heck yeah, and good beer too. None of that rotgut crap that I see at so many places. They had looked into Shiner Bock, but ended up working out a deal with a local, independant brewer here in Fort Worth who makes fantastic beer. There is a donation kitty to help defray their cost... but not required. Nothing like a nice cold beer after a long ride on a hot day!

If you ever end up in Fort Worth give me a shout and I'll hook you up.
 

· Downhill Juggernaut
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I thought I might have had a few pics of the tap on my hard drive and I did. I think these guys have spoiled me for any other shop around...

Here's a few pics, IIRC they're after a pub crawl we did a few months ago, you'll notice in the second pic almost everyone has a pint glass in their hands:
 

· Home Brew User!
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Seems like the requirements that Trek places on thier dealers makes for an LBS like you describe. It is my understand that it is very difficult for smaller "mom and pop" type shops to carry them. In any buisness where the employees do not have a vested interest sevice will suffer.

Like many of the other poster I'm lucky to have a great shop fairly close. Although there are at least 4 closer it is worth the 12 mile drive. Family owned, groups rides everyday and free bagels on Saturday Mornings. No Beer:mad:
 

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And LBS owners wonder why online sellers are killing their business. There are 2 shops in my area that offer great service. One is a bicycle mega-store and the other is a pretty small shop.

Sadly, customer service is just about dead these days. I remember the good old days when you could go to Radio Shack and actually learn something about electronic components.
 

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Chris H said:
Heck yeah, and good beer too. None of that rotgut crap that I see at so many places. They had looked into Shiner Bock, but ended up working out a deal with a local, independant brewer here in Fort Worth who makes fantastic beer. There is a donation kitty to help defray their cost... but not required. Nothing like a nice cold beer after a long ride on a hot day!

If you ever end up in Fort Worth give me a shout and I'll hook you up.
Hey Chris, where is your LBS located? Today I just put a down payment on a Six13 in Grapevine (Mad Duck). They have free beer too! They have a keg (was empty) :( , but I grabbed one out of the fridge (stout), the worst they have is Red Stripe.
 

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With regards to Radio Shack: I had a buddy who worked there during college. He told me he spent half his time educating people about electronics and the other half watching movies on the tv.

With regards to the LBS: I guess Im one of the lucky ones. The LBS I frequent now is a smaller mom and pop joint. Its just the 40 ish owner and his wife who man the floor and do the wrenching with help from a part time mechanic when hes not wrenching for a pro team. They are the friendliest most helpful people Ive met and always try to cut me a break even though I didnt purchase my bike from them (I recently moved into the area). The other LBS i patronized, I couldnt spend 3 minutes in there without a salesperson coming up to me and politely informing me that if i had any questions at all, please feel free to ask. Two truly exception LBS's.

I try to buy some of my "extras" at the LBS and an occassional compenent if the difference between that and online sales isnt too large.

Im pretty sure my next bike will be from one of those two shops though.
 

· Downhill Juggernaut
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It's Panther City Bicycles on Magnolia in Fort Worth.

Haven't been to Mad Duck yet, but I've been looking for a reason to get up there. I just don't travel up that way very often. A guy I ride with every now and then has been to there shop a few times and seemed to like it.

Jason, if you want shoot me a PM and I might be able to hook up with you, but I'm sure you could find it on your own if you wanted to. I don't think I'm on shift next weekend, but I don't have my schedule in front of me right now...
 
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