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Shoe Sizing Ethical Dilemma(28 posts)

Shoe Sizing Ethical DilemmaDoctorNurse
Feb 22, 2002 8:02 AM
Folks, I am a rider who will be dealing with a new LBS (I'm moving) in a few months and I have a bit of a quandry, and I would love your input....

I am getting all my ducks in a row to purchase my Pinarello Opera from these folks, and I am choosing shoes...I am partial to SIDI's, but the $180 entrance price the LBS charges just grinds my teeth especially when I know I can get them online from UK dealers at a 50% discount...

The problem is that I am not sure of my shoe size and there is the rub...

Is it poor form to go to my LBS, try on all their shoes to get the proper size then buy the things online? I mean, I will be giving them $3k+ for the bike and all components, so its not like I am screwing them totally on the sale y'know?....Should I be up front with them and tell them that I am using them to get me sized, but will buy the merchansdise online? How would/did you folks deal with this?

I like the LBS, and they have been really great so far, and I am not trying to just piss them off, but really, $100 could be used to get a nicer computer, pay for pedals, get some lycra, all of which I would be willing to buy from them, but I just think they charge too durned much for their shoes! (Disclaimer: While I clearly don't mind paying for quality frame/components/wheels, I do try to look for bargains in accessories)...

Any input from more experienced hands would be greatly appreciated...


2 (or more) optionsmuncher.
Feb 22, 2002 8:06 AM
1) Try the shoes - buy then on line - you have given them a fair break on the new bike.

2) Ask them to match the price on the shoes in with the bike deal (no harm to them)

3) Buy the shoes on line and change them if they don't fit - just ask if this is OK first - they will say "yes".

I would prob try 2, then 3, then 1.

But then that's me...
re: Shoe Sizing Ethical Dilemmabdacaret
Feb 22, 2002 8:08 AM
you just answered your own question with your statement:

but really, $100 could be used to get a nicer computer, pay for pedals, get some lycra, all of which I would be willing to buy from them, but I just think they charge too durned much for their shoes! (Disclaimer: While I clearly don't mind paying for quality frame/components/wheels, I do try to look for bargains in accessories)...

Tell them this, if they are customer service advocates and in the business of providing world class service in addition to selling products and services, this little "test" should prove or disprove of futher transactions/dealings with them. You need to know this kind of stuff, especially when switching LBS.
offer to pay them something for the fitting?Tallywhacker!
Feb 22, 2002 8:09 AM
Either that or see if they can come down on price a bit. I dount you'll get them for the same as mail order but i bet if you explain your dilemma they will budge--especially if you're buying a bike at the same time.
I agree. 'Dick' has something here. ;-) nmmorrison
Feb 22, 2002 12:09 PM
that's BSJack S
Feb 22, 2002 8:10 AM
And don't think they won't notice either. You're better off going to another shop (one that you don't give a rat's arse about) to try them on.
I wonder how many LBS owners lurk here???BDBike
Feb 22, 2002 8:10 AM
I would say to be honest with them the day after trying out shoes. say you were on line and found them for this price and bring them a print out of the prices. tell them you would rather spend money localy than abroad but they need to come close to matching price. I would glady give my LBS a little more money $10-$20 dollars than I could buy them on line for. Plus instant gradificatin. First give them the option if they say no then thats their answer and you buy them online....

I have found it to be advantagous to both parties invloved to be honest.
Prob'ly not the owner of Spokes, Wheaton!! (nm)MisJG
Feb 22, 2002 9:38 AM
I bet they do....js
Feb 22, 2002 3:19 PM
given the fact a few came out and actually posted that it was a great shop blah blah blah
shipping costKEN2
Feb 22, 2002 8:34 AM
Don't forget about the shipping from GB. I doubt it'll be 50% off after you add the $30-35 shipping costs. No, I am not a dealer, but I have bought from both sdeals and totalcycling and shipping does add a chunk.
re: Shoe Sizing Ethical DilemmaTJeanloz
Feb 22, 2002 8:51 AM
Ask up front if the shop will cut you a deal on the shoes, considering the bike purchase. It probably won't be 50%, but let them know that that's your target- and make it a part of the bike deal. If they see it as: we lose all of our margin on the shoes, but are still making money on the bike, they might go for it. If you've already nickel and dimed them down on the bike, it probably won't work.

The trying on in the store and buying on-line is the WORST offense that you can give a shop employee. It is much worse than asking for a recommendation on some other component and buying that on line. This is because helping somebody with shoes is the most onerus task for the bike shop sales person. I would rather work on a dirty mountain bike than help somebody try on shoes. Having somebody try on shoes and then buy them somewhere else is absolutely the worst.
The Worst? What about shorts? :-) nmmuncher.
Feb 22, 2002 8:59 AM
So...Lots of votes for honesty huh?DoctorNurse
Feb 22, 2002 9:03 AM
Okay! So I gather that the best approach is to try to maximize my deal on shoes by negotiating the price with the bike....I can dig it! I'll give it a try next time I stop in the LBS (This weekend)

As usual, thanks for the great advice, and I'll be sure to let you know how it came out...

I go to REI to pull that kind of stunt.Alex-in-Evanston
Feb 22, 2002 10:47 AM
The shoes are displayed out on a rack, and you can just help yourself in trying them on.

not all REIs are like thatnm
Feb 22, 2002 10:50 AM
re: Shoe Sizing Ethical Dilemma_Marty_
Feb 22, 2002 11:38 AM
see if they are willing to drop their price by a truckload.. i mean.. you ARE buying a 3grand bike from them!! they might be willing to slash the price of some extras.. talk to them.. if they still wontr budge.. shop online! nothing worng.. u tried!.. they failed!.. why should u pay more?
Prob is, they're not making a profit on the bike...Marlon
Feb 23, 2002 2:33 PM
3 grand is a whackload to put down on a bike for any individual, but the harsh reality is that any LBS could make more money selling those low-end commuter bikes that all roadies pretty much beat up on. Profit margins for high-end bikes are notoriously slim, and in the time and effort that it takes to sell 1 high-end bike for $4k, a shop could sell at least 5 low-end bikes and make at least twice the net profit as with the high-end bike.

If you don't know what you're doing, and the LBS does a superlative job in helping you, I'd say paying the extra price compared to online shipping is worth it. Being on good relations with your local bike store can come in handy, especially on those days when you pooch your rear derailleur into your spokes 1/2 a day before the big race...
Size the shoes at home.czardonic
Feb 22, 2002 12:46 PM
I think it is a bit tacky to ask an LBS to match an on-line price, but I'm the non-confrontational type.

I've heard this suggested elsewhere, and I think it is the approach I would take in a similar situation:

  • Find the shoes on-line on a site with a liberal return poilcy.
  • Buy 2 or 3 pairs in a range of sizes such that you know that one is going to fit.
  • Ship back what you don't want.

    Chances are the site isn't going to charge you much more to ship 3 pairs than one, and even with the cost of return shipping on the extras you are way ahead of the LBS price. You've got your shoes at a decent price, and no-ones feelings are hurt.
  • Switcheroo!js5280
    Feb 22, 2002 1:04 PM
    From the William Jefferson Clinton book of situational ethics:

    1) Make sure you LBS will give cash back for shoe returns
    2) Go to LBS, buy shoes in correct size.
    3) Order same exact shoes (size and style) online
    4) Wear shoes from LBS while waiting for Online ones to arrive
    5) When Online shoes arrive, put in LBS box.
    6) Return new Online shoes in LBS box
    7) Collect $$$

    Pro: You get your shoes ASAP but at the online price
    Con: If something goes fubar, you might be stuck w/ the LBS price

    Personally I'd just go in try them on. Say you have to get okay from the wife/boss. Then buy online instead.
    Feb 22, 2002 2:20 PM
    just don't show up on a club/store ride and get noticed with them on
    Brilliant. Technically illegal, but brilliant. Reminds . . .morrison
    Feb 22, 2002 2:30 PM
    me of a game I used to play w/ the airlines when I was doing a lot of work out of state. I used to have to fly into El Paso from San Diego for lunch meetings on a twice monthly basis. If I bought the round trip for the same day, I would pay 3 times as much as if I had an overnight stay. So . . . I started buying the tickets in pairs. I would buy a round trip with the flight departing on the date of my next scheduled meeting, and returning on the date of the meeting after that. Then I would buy a round trip from El Paso to San Diego (reverse) with the flight departing in the evening of my next scheduled meeting and returning on the evening of my meeting after that one. The trick was to get paper tickets and not electronic tickets. Then you mix and match the coupons so that you can fly out and return same day for both trips.

    Saved a bundle. Hee hee hee!
    Criminal fraudcyclaholic
    Feb 23, 2002 6:45 AM
    This is a clear case of criminal fraud. Maybe not the crime of the century, but it is fraud.

    If you do this, you are a criminal. Again, you may not be John Dillenger, but you are no better than the common shoplifter or street punk.
    Your super ego is hugeBarnyard
    Feb 22, 2002 1:25 PM
    I'd just be up front with them. Ask if they'll match the online price. They just might.
    heck, thats what i did to size my Sidi'sjrm
    Feb 22, 2002 2:30 PM
    ANd i still patronize the LBS.
    That's not exactlydjg
    Feb 23, 2002 8:09 AM
    an ethical dilemma. An ethical dilemma is when there are strong ethical reasons in favor of doing two incompatible things. What you have is an ethical inconvenience: the right thing to do--being honest--is liable to be either awkward or expensive.

    Trying on shoes is not a promise to buy them. On the other hand, you can bet that the LBS isn't stocking all those sizes for the convenience of their mail order competitors. They might feel that implicit in the act of trying shoes on is the promise that you really are shopping THERE for shoes you might buy THERE. Bracket the question whether you agree or disagree. Do you want to drop major coin on a Pinarello from a shop, from which you might need/want follow-up help (swapping stems, whatever) only to sour the relationship over a pair of shoes? You know, they might just remember that you spent an hour trying on various SIDIS, when you show up in your new ones to get the new bike dialed in. In my experience, shops will often cut a deal for serious customers; maybe most often for serious customers in the process of buying a serious bike. Why not ask, in the context of your bike deal, whether they'll cut you a break on accessories, like shoes, purchased at the same time?

    Look, I've got nothing against mail order--I've bought lots of stuff mail order. But it's best--and most straightforward--if you already know what you want. Just eyeballing this and that and shooting the breeze with shop folks before you know what you want? Seems fine. Still seems fine to me, even if that experience colors what you eventually buy cheap through the mail. Using the pretense of a potential purchase just to get a free sizing--not so much. Of course we can imagine middle-ground situations, but you already seem to know where you are standing. You say you are partial to Sidis--why not just order the same size you have now?
    One thing no one has mentioned.Ian
    Feb 23, 2002 8:46 AM
    I would second the advice of others and ask the LBS for a discount. Most dealers will give a discount, usually 10%-15% with a bicycle purchase. So if you get a 15% discount, that brings the price down to $153.

    If you buy online and the price is $100, plus $30 shipping as another post implied, then the cost is $130.

    I don't think $23 is to much to pay to make sure you get the correct size and the help of your LBS.

    But the one thing no one has mentioned is the warranty. Sidi road shoes come with a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. So if you buy from the LBS, and two years down the road the Lorica tears, you take the shoes back to a Sidi dealer, and they will get you a new pair. Worst case, you contact Veltec Sports (Sidi's United States distributor) and they send you a new pair.

    But if you buy overseas, you can't do either of the above. Even if you could find a LBS willing to help you, Veltec would deny the claim. So, best case here, you send them back to the internet site you bought them from, and they might get you a new pair. Worst case, I hope you speak Italian, because you will need to contact Sidi directly.

    You guys are all (well, not all, but some) are talking as ifbill
    Feb 23, 2002 8:50 AM
    you're trying to hide skipping class from the teacher. Look, your LBS is in business to make money. He/it is not a public service or a church or your teacher. To make money, he cultivates customers that he thinks will make him money. The other side of this coin is that he doesn't owe you or anyone else jacksh*t. If you think that it's worth it to not be one of those guys that he/she/it is interested in cultivating, and you don't care about supporting or paying for the service, than use him for as long as he/she/it stands for it, and than, when he realizes that you're a jerk, he can treat you that way. And you'll deserve it.
    And you should expect it. You can be sure that, somewhere along the line, he will take it personally, because even though it's not a sin, you've treated him badly, and that's the last good deal you'll get out of him. That's apparently what you want out of the relationship, and that's what you'll get.
    If you want honesty, be honest. If you want service, pay for it. It's called the Golden Rule, if you want to give it a name and a moral/theological context. It's also called business. If you want a local guy, for what the local guy offers, you've got to pay for the service. It's not charity; it's your paying for something you value. If you don't, you won't have it to kick around any more.
    I've got to chime in with something here -- the guy who "took a page out of the Clinton book of situational ethics" obviously intends a slam at Clinton, but he shouldn't be throwing stones.
    Feb 23, 2002 9:45 AM
    Try the shoes on at a bike shop, just not your LBS. There must be another one in town who sells the same brand? Better still, ride out to non-LBS, try on the shoes, and use the excuse of not being able to carry the shoe box in your rear pocket for not buying there and then.