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bend over and take your CO2(20 posts)

bend over and take your CO2WhoWasThat
May 21, 2002 8:04 AM
Attention, LBS owners, here's a little anecdote to illustrate a point about treating one's customers with respect. Here are the prices of 12-gram CO2 cartridges at three stores in the Virginia suburbs of DC:

Big Wheel Bikes, Arlington: $3.95 each
Performance Bike, Fairfax: 99 cents each
Wal-Mart, Fairfax: $7.97, box of 15

Yes, LBS's need to make a profit. I often pay a bit more for stuff to get the service of my LBS, and the ongoing support of the wrenches. And I gladly pay sales tax locally to support services, schools and the like.

But you folks should think twice before you show such contempt for your customers, and treat us with so little respect for our intelligence, that you would price 50-cent items at $4.

Fine, charge me $99 for the Giordana winter jersey. If I like the jersey, I'll pay it, and I don't begrudge you your markup.

But don't nickel and dime me with absurd little exercises such as this one. I wasn't born yesterday, and I prefer to take my business to a shop that seeks fairness in its relationships with customers, rather than looking for every opportunity to gouge. If something is worth 50 cents or so, OK sell it for a buck, not $4.
May 21, 2002 8:21 AM
I have told my LBS guy that I cannot pay his prices for equipment and accessories, but I will pay for labor for him to install it and/or re-fit me to my bike, depending on what is required. He laments that he cannot buy in enough volume to bring his prices down anymore...I sympathize but business is business, and the net is just way too competitive in terms of price.
make sure you're comparing apples to apples herelonefrontranger
May 21, 2002 8:30 AM
Some of this is beyond the control of the LBS and has to do with manufacturing cost, bulk and standards.

The Wal-Mart cartridges are small, unthreaded cartridges manufactured in bulk that work in air guns, paintball guns, and a number of other applications; hence they are a cheap "standard" spec. These **only** work in a specific type of inflator that will accept unthreaded cartridges, like the Superflate style. You typically have to use 2 or even 3 of these to bring a big MTB tire to proper pressure.

The giant, threaded $4 cartridges your LBS sells are specialty items manufactured in small lots only for the bicycle industry. The benefit of them is that they will do an MTB tire in one shot with some left over. They will also universally work in most if not all inflators.

And, no matter which type you use, always remember to let the CO2 out when you get home, and replace it with regular old air. Why? Because CO2 is a smaller molecule and will "leak" out of a butyl tube, leaving your tire soft, if not completely flat within 12-24 hours.

My .02
Why let the CO2 outMel Erickson
May 21, 2002 8:59 AM
if it will leak out by itself? Just top off your tire when needed.
I think the actual point waslonefrontranger
May 21, 2002 9:07 AM
not to criticize the LBS for charging for a specialty item.

The CO2 comment was merely an aside...
there must be another explanation to the leakingsurf
May 21, 2002 9:00 AM
air is about 20% O2 and 78% N2. Both of these should be smaller in size than a molecule of C02 not larger.
make sure you're comparing apples to apples herePaulCL
May 21, 2002 9:09 AM
The Walmart cartrides (12g) are identical to the cartridges (12g) that my LBS sells for $1.49 each vs Walmarts $.50 each. They work in my inflator just fine. I have never been able to find 16g cartridges anywhere but in a LBS or catalogue. Personally, I go ahead and spend the $2.50 for the 16g cartridges because they save space and time. Though I have about 10 12g cartridges still to use.

By the way....TOSRV was a blast. Cross winds and severe cramping on Saturday and a 5:18 century. Sunday gave us a tailwind for 80 miles then a downpour with head or crosswinds for 20 miles (my initiation to the TRUE TOSRV) but we still did a 4:33 century. My group was joined by a couple of Cat 3's who wanted to lead the whole way. With that leadout and a tailwind, we just plain flew. Next year I won't be that lucky. Paul
That may true, however;look271
May 21, 2002 2:56 PM
I paid $2.50 for a 12 gr cartridge in Chattanooga, TN, that was the exact same brand and size that I bought in a hardware store in PA for $4 for 6 cartridges.
Problem is I hate Wal-Mart and their take-over tactics,Paul
May 21, 2002 8:30 AM
so I won't go there for any reason. K-Mart has them also, but don't know the price as they never seem to have them in stock. Probably one reason they are in trouble. A couple of flats over a year won't bankrupt me buying at Performance.
But I hear you loud and clear.
Same phenomenon for all niche productsAlex-in-Evanston
May 21, 2002 8:38 AM
Pet products come to mind. Flourescent "sunlight" bulbs at the hardware store and "plant-growth bulbs" at the pet store can be price differenced by a factor of 10. Check the specs and they're identical.

Big Wheel is still open? nmDjudd
May 21, 2002 8:48 AM
try going to Wal-mart to fix your bike...Djudd
May 21, 2002 8:57 AM
if we don't support our LBS soon we won't have them. Sounds naive but it's true. The LBS of course can't compare to the massive Wal-Marts of the world in buying power but if I want my wheel trued, or try out a new bike I don't go to Wal-Mart. Why don't you try talking to them and asking questions instead of assuming your being gouged. Life is more than a price.
that's not the issueWhoWasThat
May 21, 2002 9:04 AM
I do support my LBS; that doesn't mean I'm required to be ignorant to shop there. The cartridges are identical. Even if the LBS bought them at Wal Mart and rsold them, they'd still be gouging. *Assuming* I'm being gouged? Like assuming I'm getting wet when it's raining?
LBS pay much more for them. . . butteacherguy
May 21, 2002 9:15 AM
you have to realize the bulk that Walmart and such buy those at. I picked them up at Dicks. But I bought the pump at the LBS. The wrench suggested I get them there because of the bulk (paintball, BB guns) But I know where to go when I need bike specific parts and service. (And it aint gonna be some "Dick" waiting on me. ha ha)
it's self-evident that a small shop will not be able...Djudd
May 21, 2002 9:35 AM
to match the price a giant retailer can get. The only thing a small business can do is offer better service. I say again- go to your shop and show them the huge price difference. You might be able to work a compromise or a solution. To me that's what dealing with a small, local business is all about.
I agree but............................Dave Hickey
May 21, 2002 9:55 AM
Whats wrong with a small shop getting creative in their purchasing? I'm sure most small shops order most of their supplies from a cycling related distributor. Whats wrong with going to a CO2 distributor? I will pay for service but I won't pay 2x or 3x the price for CO2.
"Life is more than a price."Crankist
May 21, 2002 1:02 PM
Agreed. Now see if you can get my LBS to agree...
give me their phone number...Djudd
May 21, 2002 1:08 PM
I'll give them a good talking to
re: bend over and take your CO2Shad
May 21, 2002 10:29 AM
I also wouldn't pay $4 for something I can buy elsewhere for .50. That said, the bike shop only has to sell one cartridge for every 7 or 8 that Wal-mart sells. That may be the better pricing tactic for them. Also the bike shop offers convenience that a separate trip to Wal-mart might not. I also wouldn't buy golf balls at the course pro shop or ammo at the gun range, but many people still do. If it's one in seven or eight that do, perhaps it works out.
re: bend over and take your CO2John445
May 21, 2002 12:05 PM
I agree with your LBS hangup. I am willing to go to my LBS see things, try them on and pay a little more for the local convienience (sp). But, I also receive at least 4 different mail order catalogs and am very up to date on prices around the net. When the LBS wants to charge 40 - 50% more, I mail order. 10 - 20% ok, sounds fair. And when I hear about the competition being able to buy in bulk it makes me laugh. I am a consumer, and buying only one and can still get a better price by sometimes 50 -75%. That said, I love my LBS and give them as much business as feasibly possible.