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Insane bike dealer, or what?(32 posts)

Insane bike dealer, or what?Wendell Homes
Feb 10, 2002 8:54 PM
Let me relate a story of what happened recently after showing up for the LBS's shop ride on a Saturday morning having just purchased a high-end custom bicycle from another dealer instead of the brand name bike from the LBS, where I shop for lots of my gear and participate in shop rides consistently, and where only a major brand (such as a Trek, or other big name) are sold.

The owner of LBS was there Saturday morning to ride along with all the usual gang like always. Many people noticed my new bike right off and said nice things and some asked several questions, too. The owner was silent and appeared to be bothered by my new purchase. We all rode the loop and I never gave it a single thought as to if what I had done was a major slight to him. He had to have known I was interested in a new bike different from the line he carries since all his employees and members of the ride have heard me mention a couple choices I was considering over the course of many weeks. I even asked him a month ago to test ride his brand and said I was looking to buy something by Spring or before.

Later Saturday evening after the ride the owner calls me at home and asks right up front where I bought it and how much did I pay. I felt offended at his question. We then had a long conversation in which I was very uncomfortable justifying my decision and telling him that who I bought it from was a dealer I've known for ten years and have bought three previous bikes from, (including the road bike I had been riding on the dealer-in-questions' shop rides for over two years). I've only known this LBS owner for these same two years. I have given him most of my accessories business since he is within two miles of home and my custom dealer is located thirty miles away.

I am appalled that a business owner who I don't socialize with outside of riding with our group would call me at home and voice his displeasure at how I chose to spend my hard earned money. He claimed I was unfair since I didn't give him a chance for the business even though he's never sold a custom like mine that I've ever seen. He in fact had many opportunities to inquire as to what I've been considering, or offered his service if I felt I had something in mind since I'm a regular in his store and ride every week with him. The burden is not on me to offer my business to him but rather the other way around. If any customer is starting to look and ask questions and talk to several people and to make known by announcing he's in the market and even asks about test rides then it's obvious that this is a sales opportunity and if the dealer misses this it's his own damn fault.

Do you agree?
Small minded shop keeper.guido
Feb 10, 2002 9:17 PM
The guy shows no class, or he would have complemented you on your choice. I worked at a "pro" bikeshop for a couple of years, and there's a clubby atmosphere in most of them. The owner or head mechanic plays expert and mentor, and wants your loyalty in return. When you make an independent decision, he feels miffed. Throw a little money at them, though, and they usually get over it.
re: Insane bike dealer, or what?johnjohn
Feb 10, 2002 9:25 PM
Throw it back on him! Ask him if he would have ordered the very bike you wanted and beaten the price you paid. If he says yes, find out why in the hell he didn't say so in the first place. Ask him why he let you spend the extra money! When he stammers something out, tell him "Hey, I've been buying stuff from you for years, and this is the consideration you show for me? Thanks for nothing." Of course, you may have to find some other folks to ride with, depending on what kind of social clout he has, but hey, IMHO, there simply aren't too many institutions (LBS's included) that deserve unquestioning loyalty.
of course he'll say he could beat the price afterwards...(nm)
Feb 11, 2002 6:48 AM
whether it's true is another thing
re: Insane bike dealer, or what?tr
Feb 10, 2002 9:29 PM
Yeah, i think he expected you to buy a major brand name. When you asked about test rides he should have offered to work with you on any other frame you might be interested in. That was his opportunity and i think he missed it and didn't pay attention. I don't think he should have called you at home and given you grief about it. I consider that unprofessional on his part, especially if you give him your accessories business and you are on friendly terms with his employees. His reaction to your new bike should have been like everyone elses, he should have been happy for you and i think he would want one of his longtime customers (30 miles away)to continue to buy from him.
re: Insane bike dealer, or what?DINOSAUR
Feb 10, 2002 9:49 PM
First off: It's your money and you really don't own him an explanation. On the other hand, perhaps he lacks a little finesse but at least he came forward and let you know how he felt instead of not saying anything and sulking. As previously mentioned I'm sure he feels a little niffed as you didn't talk to him about a purchase. I sort of goofed when I purchased my recent ride three years ago. I ordered it with assistance from a shop employee, later I found out if I would have contacted the owner he would have given me a discount and I probably would'nt be riding what I am now as he would have steered me toward another bike.

Oh well, you got your bike right? No sense in complaining over spilled milk, what's done is done.. Just ride and enjoy...
ask his daughter out on a date nmsecourir
Feb 10, 2002 10:13 PM
How about DELL and GATEWAY computersbikejack
Feb 11, 2002 2:05 AM
An easy way to avoid all this crap with an LBS is buy on-line - and save a bunch of money too. DELL is the biggest seller of personal computers and they do not even sell them in stores - you just order it online and get more computer for your money. I think if people looked at the deals from on-line sellers like bikesdirect and Colorado; that most buyers would end up with better bikes for their money.
How about DELL and GATEWAY computersDaveL
Feb 11, 2002 5:24 AM
That's an accurate observation. There's a $3-600 price difference in on-line and local retailers for bikes and frames where I live. Add state sales tax in on a purchase, and I really don't know how I could factor in 'loyalty' to the local shop. The only way to go for me is on-line.
Not a problem for long ...pmf1
Feb 11, 2002 5:37 AM
This guy sounds desparate. And stupid to boot. Do you feel comfortable going into his shop anymore? Will this encourage or discourage your purchases at his shop? I'd drive 28 miles to avoid him. I bet he's not in business for much longer.

Way out of line in my opinion.
Not a problem for long ...Wendell Homes
Feb 11, 2002 6:32 AM
Thanks for the support, guys.

I've decided to find another group ride on Saturdays or train on my own. Also, I'm not giving him anymore business unless he makes some sort of overture.

We've lost other group riders at this LBS because of the treatment they received from this dealer. I hope he begins to understand why there is such attrition.

The only reason the group rides together, as you all know, is the fact the people enjoy the group dynamic. Many people show up to ride who don't buy from the dealer and don't really care about him just to ride a group ride. They ride once and you don't see them again for months.

I wouldn't doubt that the LBS guy calls my custom dealer and gives him some grief. He really takes this stuff personally and steps over the line of discretion.

Again, I appreciate your comments
Too bad ...pmf1
Feb 11, 2002 6:42 AM
you feel that you have to miss your group ride on the count of this bozo.
I agree with your decision . . .morrison
Feb 11, 2002 7:14 AM
not to patronize his shop any further if this is where things rest. I would, however, try one more overture. Call him at home, when he's not surrounded by employees or other customers in front of whom he may feel the need to posture. Let him know that his behavior was off-putting. Tell him how you have enjoyed your relationship with his shop for accessories, as well as the group rides. Tell him, too, that others have found his behavior out of line in the past. Also, you may want to explain how he could have helped you with your bike purchase since he and his employees knew that you had been shopping for some time. If he is a classy guy (which he admittedly probably isn't), he will admit that he was in the wrong, apologize, and encourage you to continue patronizing his store. If not, move on.

The bottom line is just that, the bottom line. He is a business owner, and probably was disappointed that he lost the profit on the sale. He may be experiencing real financial stress, or some other problem in his life. Give him a chance to make things right before you cut him off completely.

Finally . . . I have a friend who used to be a silent partner in a lbs. He said that, with serious cyclists, his shop ALWAYS tried to arrange discounts, help with bike purchases on lines they didn't normally carry, and tried to sell as close to 'cost' as possible. He said the profit wasn't in the one time bike sale, but rather, the repeat business on parts, accessories, etc. On the other hand, he said they had a pretty heavy mark-up on cruisers, comfort bikes, etc., b/c he knew those guys wouldn't be buying much else.

good luck
wrong solutionmr_spin
Feb 11, 2002 9:31 AM
Don't let this guy intimidate you from doing the group ride. I'd try to force him out of the group, especially if he has caused other riders to leave. One way to do this is take temporary charge of the arrangements and schedule the ride earlier or later than the usual time. Then forget to notify this guy. Then, make sure everyone on the ride knows what happened to you. There may be others who have experienced the same thing but still do the ride. Eventually this guy will become an unwanted participant.

Personally I wouldn't want him to make any overtures. You got a flash of his true colors, and anything he says after that is certain to be insincere. If he has done this to other people, you know any apology is insincere.

And never go to his shop again.
Just because he knows bikes doesn'tgrandemamou
Feb 11, 2002 5:43 AM
make him a good business person. Frames are small potatoes the real money is in the consumables. Most people I know buy frames every 4-5 yrs. But, you will need tires,chains,tubes etc for many years to come. Being short sighted he may have missed out on future sales dollars.

I have a friend with a high end bike shop. I looked at what he had to offer first. I settled on a frame that wasn't one of his brands. He offered to build it up. He gave me a great price on a build kit. I got the frame I wanted and he sold me a build kit. We both got something out of the deal.

I do support my LBS but I do so because I get the service I need and want. Your "friend" needs to hustle if he wants the business he shouldn't feel like he gets everyones business by default. He must earn it!!!!!!!!
passionate bike dealer, that is...colker
Feb 11, 2002 6:12 AM
that could be the beginning of a good friendship. he is p**ssed but kind of trying to do what he should have done before, contacting you about your bike purchase.
it happens with me all the time, one lbs p*ssing on other lbs brands, telling me the other shop scr$wed me, cinelli is cr@p, pinarello is wonderfull. no , pinarello is bad, cinelli is great. i take it as a game and give businness ot everybody.
keep riding with him, buying form him and begin your next bike discussions with him now. a cx bike?
sounds like a psycho in Cary, NC!(nm)
Feb 11, 2002 6:43 AM
I was thinking the same thing!merlinguy
Feb 11, 2002 7:53 PM
Not the SPIN CYCLE, sy it isnt so!str8dum1
Feb 12, 2002 6:01 AM
CYCLING BROKEN HERENM
Feb 12, 2002 6:33 AM
..speaking of psychos....merlinguy
Feb 12, 2002 12:40 PM
Steve's probably too psychotic for something this tame. I could, however, see him stealing the guys bike(and angrily denying having anything to do with it) then offering what he would consider a really good deal(i.e. -a good screwing on last years closeout) to the guy on a similar bike from the lines he sells. The pouty, scornful silent treatment would seem to fit one of his personalities at least.Just my .02$ worth.
re: Insane bike dealer, or what?badabill
Feb 11, 2002 7:16 AM
Its your money, spend it how you like. After buying 3 bikes from my LBS over the years decided to buy online and go custom with the last 2. Built them up myself and saved a bundle.I could tell my LBS guys were a little miffed I didn't buy from them but they got over it. I still get the usual stuff from them but big ticket itms are bought online. Dont let this bozo chase you off from the group ride. Talk to other riders and I would bet thay all have the same reaction.
who cares? There's just to many insane LBS owners...Barnyard
Feb 11, 2002 7:42 AM
Similar experience when I bought my Atlantiscory
Feb 11, 2002 8:34 AM
After I read Grant Petersen's ideas on fit, sizing etc., I was convinced I wanted to try them. I went to two bike shops where I've bought bikes before and told both owners (I've known them for at least 10 years) what I was looking for. They pretty much blew me off--"That's not a good idea;" "The frame is too big" and so on.
So I got the Atlantis, and it fits and it's comfortable and I love it. But one of the LBS owners is really huffy (oops) about it now--we used to be semi-friends, and now he'll barely sell me tubes and patch kits. I sympathize with local business people who are getting killed by mail order, but I GAVE YOU A CHANCE, dipwad!
re: Insane bike dealer, or what?Tri-State Cycler
Feb 11, 2002 9:05 AM
I feel that in order to own a LBS, one must be a little insane. No excuse for his behavior. Being self-employed, that kind of response is the last thing I would give to any client or prospective client (there are times when I could just smack the cr*p out of people for saying or doing something stupid, but to what end? Just hurts myself). Maybe he just has to learn the hard way. In this day & age with competition coming from the web, other lbs', eBay and other auction sites and even bike specific classifieds, customer service is rule number one. Too bad he hasn't figured that out and seems to have lost a good customer.
re: Insane bike dealer, or what?Wendell Homes
Feb 11, 2002 9:33 AM
Everybody here, I'm sure, is aware of the competition from mail order and internet sales and the effect on LBS's. This guy's main concern was that I didn't buy from a Supergo.

But since when is a Serotta sold at Supergo?

He said he felt better that is was bought from a real bike shop but that wasn't the end of our discussion. He had no right to call me at home and bend my ear for a half hour. What I did was right for me and I got the full service and advice from an experienced dealer in the Serotta, way above what I could've expected from the major brand franchise LBS dude.

Should I show up at the next ride on the new bike wearing the complimentary free jersey (with bike dealers'logo) that I got with my purchase and rub his nose in it? I'm tempted to.
I would !! NMbadabill
Feb 11, 2002 2:17 PM
drop him and find a better LBSsecourir
Feb 11, 2002 9:38 AM
my lbs treats me like a peer rather than a customer. they know that i have particular needs and cycling fetishes that they dont stock. they also know i am aware of where to buy everything cheaper.

i still spend $$$'s with them and often. they have club or cycling membership discounts. it usually works out that tax is taken off and sometimes a bit more. for most things where its under $100 i just tell them what i want and even if they dont stock it they will get it for me. i know and respect that their mechanic is fantastic, experienced and a true artisan and im happy to pay for whatever labour/service they will charge as well as looking after the mechanic with some wine or a little gift. i have never asked them how much something will cost if buying through them as they are aware of web prices and my knowledge of products and if they think i might get a bit of a shock at the price they will charge me they have said so upfront. they see i am happy to pay more and spend some cash their way purely out of principal. not always but if i need ill at least ty to pick up a knick nack if i pop in. socks, tube, chairing bolts whatever it may be as it all adds up.

they stock some high end frames but not ones that i have been interested in. for them to purchase a one off frame for me would be expensive for them and me. i change and trade bikes and parts often with no consistency or logic and im sure they are sometimes glad i buy elsewhere as it would be confusing and time consuming for them.

they admittedly make most of their business from lowend bikes and mtb's. generally the higher a frame or bike costs the less their mark-up. i do as much as possible to refer business to them even if i suggest buying stuff from elsewhere and getting the lbs to assemble. without any referal telling them so they know if i have sent them. they even know what stuff i have to sell if one of their good customers wants something but cant buy it new they will send them my way.

they are even interested in having a good look at what i have bought elsewhere and asks lots of questions and never have they tried to hide or felt uncomfortable with other customers eyeing my bikes when i have popped in. they have been in business in NYC for over 45 years and will always be in business because they are going the right way abound it. they are happy that more people ride and know that the more cyclists the more bigger the pie for them to get a slice of.

in a way my kind of business is good for them as i always know what i want and choose my products. i think i am very little maintenace compared to most of their customers. i ll just call with a request for a certain item (style, size, model #) and they get it. i always pay cash which helps them.

and yes i have seen them tell customers who have been idiots to get out of the store in the most frank of ways. they wont suffer fools. i am happy to see any of the store owners or emplyees outside of the store and to me its like meeting friends. and yes if they were having a hard run of sales i would purchase more than i normaly would from them. but they would NEVER question why i had purchased elsewhere as it is my money. they have even offered advice between items that i will be buying elsewhere.

i figure 35% of my bike spending goes to them - and thats 35% that will never set foot into at least 5 or 6 stores that i had previously thought of as my LBS and for one reason or another didnt seem to care. i proudly carry my LBS water bottle on my bikes. some of the others are good stores but i never seemed to get off on the right foot with - i may not be a wonderfull customer either. a relationship is something that devlops and is particular. for whatever reason we didn't gel is not something i think of too much.

lbs emplyees and owners are people too - i dont think bad of them or wish them failure - i have my bad days too. there are more roads to ride.

and its OK to let your LBS know that you appreciate what they do for you even if it be in words. i have often pulled the owner aside and told them so and with just a little gesture i have seen it make their day. you know you are on a good thing when its all smiles and laughter when you see each other - YES people of the two wheel motorless persuasion tend to like each other. and good LBS's will always be around.
re: Insane bike dealer, or what?mmaggi
Feb 11, 2002 10:08 AM
It's not so much what he did, but how he did it. Afterall, you have been giving him other business for quite some time so I'm sure he felt jilted a bit. I would've waited until you came into the shop and if there were no other customers around, I would've asked you why didn't you ask me.

I have a LBS owner who's Jekyll & Hyde. There are some who swear by him and others who think he's just whacked and a bad businessman. I tend to think he's a bad businessman.

I was in his shop once to ask him for a price on Deda 215 bars. After the 3rd time I asked him (and waited 15 minutes for an answer) he responded to me "whatever Colorado cyclcist sell it for". Wrong answer simply because I haven't got a clue what Colorado Cyclist wants for them. I responded "Have a nice day" and left. That's the last time I've ever been in there and it's a shame because I'd love to give a local guy the business, but his attitude is so poor.

Another time I asked him how much to assmble a bike if I brought in everything. All I needed was for him to assemble the bike. He repsonded $250. I told him 3 other bike shops quoted me $125-$150. He responded that they won't do as good a job as he will. I laughed in his face and responded that "We're talking about building a road bike, not shooting a rocket to the moon". He still tried to convince me to go with him for $250. I told him not for $250. I told him for $150, he had a deal. He came down to $200. Fool. My bike was built up at another shop (one of his competitors) for $150 and the bike is doing just fine.

What a dope. Really.
If you go to a football game and the other team scores...Spoke Wrench
Feb 11, 2002 4:23 PM
Should you be expected to cheer? I think that it would be insane to expect a guy that you have a relationship with to be happy that you bought a bike from someone else.
Newsflash...duh
Feb 12, 2002 8:15 AM
This ain't a football game... If the other team scores do you have the right to call them at home after the game and ask what the play was and where they learned it? Didn't think so.
You're in the right...coonass
Feb 11, 2002 4:43 PM
Since when does anyone have to explain how they spend their money (spouses excluded :))....if my best friend sold Chevys, I wouldn't hesitate to get a Ford if that was the car that I wanted and was going to pay for!!!!!
MY money, MY decision !!!!!!