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To support LBS or Mail order??(12 posts)

To support LBS or Mail order??Stevey2001
May 27, 2001 10:55 PM
At what point do you switch your loyalty to a Mailorder from a LBS? What is the magical dollar figure that you say, I have to conserve my money and buy Mail order?? versus LBS. I truely like my LBS but I am in a position to save an incredible amount of cash... what to do?
Not just about the moneyCurtis
May 27, 2001 11:04 PM
I like my LBS, too, but I have been waiting for two weeks for a set of tires!!!! They may be in already; I don't know 'cuz the LBS hasn't called me. I called when they were SUPPOSED to be in, but I've been very busy this week. To make matters worse, I could have gone mail order, had the tires in 3 or 4 days and they would have cost me A LOT less. The LBSs can't compete with the prices; they had BETTER compete with great service.
This topic has been posted a lot.9WorCP
May 28, 2001 12:16 AM
I'm curious as to whether shops have really been hurt by the internet/mailorder houses that much or not. I haven't seen any close down in my neighborhood. I bought a new XT/mavic 517 rear wheel for my mountain bike recently for $170. I could have had an XTR set up for both wheels at $250 by internet if I'd of done my research first. Honestly, I bought the wheel waited a couple days and rode off. Really not a lot of service involved and I probably won't be back for that level of purchase again. I'm not knocking the guys; they treated me well but really, one feels a fool for the hit in the wallet. Another aspect is most shops can't afford to stock high quality parts or rigs so it's actually a matter of ordering parts yourself or having the bike shop order for you and add in their markup. I know the "support your LBS" mantra and I understand the logic but has anyone actually seen their local shops fold because of mail-order competition? Don't they focus on the lower and middle price-points anyway? Doesn't it make sense to purchase the higher end parts on your own and utilize the LBS for installation if you don't have the tools or time?
Mailorder...dave
May 28, 2001 7:01 AM
Unless you want to go to the shop to ask for a price match (and look like a cheapskate) I'd go mailorder. Almost anything I want to buy is either unavailable or outrageously priced at the LBS.

I only go there if I need something in an emergency (very rare). I'm able to do all my own mechanical work, so I really have no use for the LBS.

With any purchase over $100, just the sales tax savings will pay the freight.
Buy mail order but don't...Alpine
May 28, 2001 11:00 AM
I'm a friend of a family that owns a large high quality chain of bike shops in my area. I still buy mail order if it is a large ticket item that they can't even come close to matching the price on. That said...
Whatever you do, don't go to your LBS to research what parts you are going to buy mailorder. Imagine you spend 15 minutes of your time showing some guy the difference in wheelsets on a busy day in your bike shop. Then a week later the guy rolls in with the wheelset you know he didn't buy from you and wants some help setting them up. Know imagine that you see this kind of thing all the time but you just can't do much about your prices. If you plan to depend on the shop for service on your new gear but are never there for the buying side then you might have a cold reception coming.
Can't agree more...biknben
May 28, 2001 12:09 PM
Don't expect to get the warm fuzzies from your LBS if you go there to try on shoes then walk in a week later after you bought them from mail-order. Most good shop guys will remember a sale. They also remember when they lost a sale.

I am real close with the guy at my LBS. We don't BS each other. He knows that I only shop in his store. He knows I pass 3 other stores to get to his. He offers me the best price he can afford (close enough to mail-order). I open my wallet and say thanks. For the most part, the only time I buy something on-line is if my LBS can't get it in a reasonable amount of time.

I think it has a lot to do with respect. Treat them with respect and you get more respect.
I agree!James
May 29, 2001 1:47 AM
I worked in a construction tool store and you could always tell when an internet shopper would suck you for info. I tried on a pair if sidi's at my LBS, found my size, and bought them there. They were a little more, But you pay the higher price on things when you need a salesman's help.
Right on!Duane Gran
May 29, 2001 5:40 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with you. I feel the same way about people who browse for books at a book store and then go purchase the book online. An employee at my LBS explained his viewpoint on it. He said that he didn't blame people at all for ordering online or from a catalog if they didn't need any real depth of service and support. However, he felt that if a person uses a shop to compare products and learn from the sales staff, they should purchase at the shop. In a way I think it is a minor form of theft to use the shop and not patronize it.
I support my LBSDinosaur
May 28, 2001 5:52 PM
I do about 90% of my purchases at my LBS. Once in a blue moon if I see a super close out mail order deal, I'll mail order. I've been burned a few times by mail order and hav'nt been sent my full shipment, even after my order was confirmed. If it's something I REALLY need, I go to my LBS. I like the guys that work there, they are nice, pleasant and go out of their way to help me. I'll even put in a plug for them, Cambria Bicycle Emporium in Auburn Ca. Nice shop, huge inventory and I lust over the Colnago's each time I visit them.
Best part is I get a 10% discount on non-sale items....
Support bothmike mcmahon
May 28, 2001 5:55 PM
I split my money between mail order and LBS. When I'm at my LBS having work done on the bike, I always purchase some stuff I need, even when I know it can be had cheaper on mail order. On the other hand, I just saved $100 over LBS prices on a pair of Castellii bibshorts and jersey by ordering through zonabici.com. I love supporting my LBS, but not to the point of pricing myself out of the gear I'd like to have.
Spread it around ...bianchi boy
May 28, 2001 7:50 PM
I use my LBS for service and buy the parts from them. But I seldom buy jerseys, shorts, shoes, etc. from them because they don't have much selection, never have my size and their prices are considerably higher. I also buy items like tires and tubes from catalogues because I can replace those myself and can't bring myself to spend $50 per tire when I can get the same thing on sale for half the price.

Although I have bought several new mtn bikes from my LBS, I just bought a new bike via catalogue/on line (Excel Sports). I was looking for a nice Italian steel frame, and few of the LBS in my area stock such bikes. To special order a frame from my LBS and build it with the components I wanted, would have cost me about $300 more and I would have had to wait weeks and weeks. Plus, I would have had to pay $150 in sales tax. Now I won't expect any special attention when I bring in my bike to them for service, but that's the way it goes. To buy the bike I wanted from my LBS, I would have had to delay the purchase another 6 months or scale back my plans. I wish I could afford to buy everything from my LBS, but I don't have that kind of money, and bike equipment and components are expensive -- no matter where you buy them.
Some LBS's are great some aren'tAdamz
May 29, 2001 2:45 AM
Um.... yeah.

Performance Bike shops- though they don't have all the high end stuff their in store service is great, very friendly.

Individual LBS's- most of the ones I've been to seem to size you up when you come into the shop. If you look like your going to purchase an item they'll be friendly. If you look like your just browsing they'll steer clear. I hate that.

Internet/mail order- no questions, no haggle, just the lowest prices.