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A LBS Mechanic's Ranting

Apr 28, 2006
235
0
North White Plains, NY
I'm not sure how many of you all have or currently work in a LBS, or for that matter any small local business; for those of you who do/have however, perhaps you'll appreciate my frustration and inability to comprehend the actions of people. We all know that the internet has given rise to bargain-basement style shopping available to people 24/7/365. At first, this was difficult for most small businesses to accept, but for now, things seem to be going well. People still need service work and the ability to talk directly with a reliable source of information, rather than simply relying on the faceless internet.

What bothers me though is how I can have a customer walk into my shop, sit and talk with me for 15-20 minutes about various parts, allow me to give him suggestions on how to install the brakes and fork which he got a screaming deal online; and then when I'm asked "how much do these tires go for" and I point to the Nevegal's I've got hanging and say $50, I get "cool, so do you think I can probably get those online?"

Who does that? I even proceed to tell this customer that I can probably match any online price (even if it means cutting our profits to basically nothing). For some reason though, he seems to think I'm being an ass and simply restates "I'll just get some online". Why are people so opposed to buying things locally, even when it's just as cheap or even cheaper then online prices?

I have no issue with someone buying something elsewhere when it is in fact cheaper. But when it's a matter of less than $5-10 difference, and you don't have to wait, and your supporting local businesses, why shop online?

Perhaps I'm missing something here, discuss...
 

DirtyDog

Gang probed by the Golden Banana
Aug 2, 2005
6,599
0
You're always going to run into ultra-cheap asses with no loyalty or tact. I'll buy the part at your shop, and you a beer for spending the time with me. That should make up for having to work with an occasional butt ferret.
 

lachy_mtb

Monkey
May 25, 2008
124
0
i just think that everyone has lost a sense of loyalty. im all for buying online, if im going to be saving a big amount of money, but when it comes toy tyres ill support my local just because the price different is nothing. if im going to go to the bike shop for advice, ill buy the thing that im getting advice for (unless its ridicliously expensive) because its using the people if you get advice then buy online, its a waste of their time and as a result funds.
i think its great that you match the price, more people should endevour to do this.
 

DirtyDog

Gang probed by the Golden Banana
Aug 2, 2005
6,599
0
For the record - I rarely ever buy anything online. Can't remember the last time. I support Webcyclery because they also happen to be my local shop and they are awesome.
 
Apr 28, 2006
235
0
North White Plains, NY
I'm glad to see people seem to have the same feeling as I do. As I said, I totally understand and support buying anything elsewhere or online when it's saving you a decent amount of money, but when it isn't, you're just being stupid for not supporting your local shops, be it bicycle or otherwise.
 

-dustin

boring
Jun 10, 2002
7,162
1
austin
i don't think people realize the 'fringe' benefits of buying locally. i don't really care that others see it as favoring one customer over another. fact is, if i know Joe buys from me and will continue to buy from me, his work will get bumped up, or he'll get some labor credit. his loyalty is rewarded in some way or another.

anywho, i won't talk about how to perform various labor tasks. i also won't usually let customers peer over my shoulder and watch me work.
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
0
SF
I try direct honesty.

I would tell a customer that since we cannot compete with mail order pricing, we have to offer repair and install services.

I understand that you ordered these parts (which I would be glad to install for you) from online, but I don't make a living by giving free advice away, especially to someone who never has spent a dime here.

On the hand, I guarantee your parts will be installed to your satisfaction. That's why I'm here.
 

jbro

Chimp
Apr 13, 2007
68
0
I purchase all my bike stuff online.
My local shop blows and i would not give them another dime.
I wish my local guy was cool with matching prices but they only want your money and wont even cut deals to long term customers.
 

Stray_cat

Monkey
Nov 13, 2007
460
0
Providence
Hmm..I hear yah. One of my least favorite things to deal with when I was in a shop (both climbing, and bike). My tact was always to bite my lip, smile, and grit through it. Service is what we really we're selling so the hope was to show exactly what we could offer over an online retailer. There were however a few regulars who would continualy pick your brain for online shopping prowess. They we're cut off.
 

Tweety

Chimp
May 30, 2007
62
0
None of the LBS in my area carry DH gear, and I work on my bikes almost exclusively. Still, given the chance, I'll buy stuff from my fav LBS first over online stuff. Most of the time, they'll do price matching, but they don't usually have it in stock. If they don't have it in stock, and I have to order it anyway, why should I wait longer, have to call and see if it's in (instead of checking the tracking on the shipment myself), and probably pay more (add tax, minimally). I fully desire to support my LBSs, and do for a very large extent, but I won't condemn anyone for shopping online.

the actions of the "customer" described by the OP are pretty reprehensible, though. Makes you want to put up a "bang head here" sign on a concrete wall....

B
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
63,155
9,014
media blackout
There's a lot of good points being made here.

As a former mechanic who still does most of his work himself, I have no problem going to my LBS to pick up some small stuff. I knowingly and willingly pay for it, mostly for the convenience factor.

but probably the underlying reason: I just like bike shops. I like being around bikes. I like being around bike parts. I like being around other people that like these things too. I like the vibe. Does this always hold true? Alas, no. Some shops just flat out suck big floppy donkey d*ck. I like making relationships with a good shop because there are certain things I am not equipped to do myself. Also, having been a mechanic, I know the value of a loyal customer who is friendly and doesn't walk in with a sense of entitlement.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,986
1,268
Seattle
I purchase all my bike stuff online.
My local shop blows and i would not give them another dime.
I wish my local guy was cool with matching prices but they only want your money and wont even cut deals to long term customers.
Matching internet prices isn't at all feasible for a LBS, and you have no reason to expect that they should do so. If that's your only reason for why your LBS sucks, then you need to seriously rethink your definition of suck.



People are twats sometimes. If they want to buy stuff online, there's nothing I can do about that, but don't be surprised when I charge you a bunch to deal with the mess you made by buying ____ on the internet and trying to install it yourself. Don't expect me to be sympathetic when you show up with parts that don't fit because you ordered the wrong ones.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,986
1,268
Seattle
When my LBS tried to charge me over $75 dollars for 36 spokes with NO nipples, I gave up. Our LBS where I'm from blow pretty hard.
WTF? The shop I work at charges less than that for 36 Sapim CX Rays with aluminum nipples. And I bet you were buying way cheaper spokes than CX Rays.


Out of curiosity, what kind of spokes were they?
 

-dustin

boring
Jun 10, 2002
7,162
1
austin
WTF? The shop I work at charges less than that for 36 Sapim CX Rays with aluminum nipples. And I bet you were buying way cheaper spokes than CX Rays.


Out of curiosity, what kind of spokes were they?
CX Rays are ubelievable expensive. We won't stock them, and try not to sell them. Customers would be required to purchase boxes of 20 at about $70/ box. Plus, for average joe, the benefits are pretty much lost.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,986
1,268
Seattle
We've pretty much given up stocking them too. Now that I think of it, the last pricing from us that I saw was several years old. They're probably more now.


We usually use 14 or 14/15g DTs.
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
0
SF
Just your run of the mill DT Swiss Comp. 14G.

Freaking ridiculous. I think he was charging $1.99 per spoke with no nipples.
Frankly, if he thinks customers who can build wheels can't figure out the prices for spokes, then he should lose your business.