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Holy rant, Batman!(15 posts)

Holy rant, Batman!Cheezhead
Aug 6, 2003 7:15 PM
OK, I don't usually do this. As a matter of fact, I don't really post much on this board, but what happened today at work leaves me searching for some sanity. I work at a small bike store, where we pride ourselves in our great customer service. About 3 weeks ago, this guy walks in and places a special order for a set of the Tour de France special edition Michelin Pro Race tires. So a couple days later the tires come in and he picks them up, no problem. A week after that, he comes in with one of his wheels, claiming the tire he just bought was defective, and insisting that it be warrantied. He claimed that the rubber was separating, and that a small piece of wire from the casing poked out and caused him to flat.

I took the tire and inspected it. First thing i told him was that this tire doesn't have any metal wire in the caing; it must have poked through from outside and caused the flat. He didn't believe me. "I think that there's wire in there and that it's defective. Call Michelin." Then I looked at where he claimed the defective tear was. It was right smack in the middle of one of the silicium bands (the dark blue one). I told him that in my opinion, it looked like he ran over glass and it tore a whole in the tire. Obviously the tire is ruined. Here was the conversation that ensued:
ME: "Well, it looks like you ran over some glass and it tore a hole in your tire."
HIM: "No way. I dont run over glass."
ME: "Well sir, nobody MEANS to run over glass. It happens."
HIM: No. I'm very careful when I ride. I always avoid glass, and I stop every 5 miles and brush off my tires to make sure there's nothing on them."

Yup, he said that. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing in his face. Then i looked at the inside of the tire and noticed that the tear went all the way through the casing. I showed him and said, "Look, the tear went all the way through, no way it's a defect, you ran over something." But he kept insiting that I call Michelin. "Fine. I'll call monday and see what they say."

So being a man of my word, I swallow the embarrasment and call Michelin, asking if this could possibly be a defect. The reply: "HAHAHA. That's no defect, he ran over something. We haven't had any problems with those tires." They didn't offer to replace the tire. So I call the guy and leave him a detailed message about what Michelin said, and even left Michelin's contact number in case he wanted to call himself.

So just today, 5 minutes before we close for the day, he walks in to get his tire. I hand it to him and say, "Sorry this couldn't turn out better for you, we did everything we could. This stuff happens sometimes." Without saying a word he grabs the tire and starts heading for the door. Then he swings around and says "You know, I shop at your stores all the time, and I go on a lot of your group rides, but I can guarantee you that you'll never see me here again." and storms out! It took every bit of willpower not to go off on the guy as he left. I mean, WTF? How does he get off saying this?

I want your guys opinions. What would you guys have done? How could I have handled the situation differently? I mean, I can understand why he's upset. I would be too if I bought a $50 tire and a week later it's ruined. But suck it up! Be a man! Don't b!tch to the bike store and expect retribution! I'm not going to give him a new tire for free because of his misfortune... Damn I'm pissed!
You're a saint!CritLover
Aug 6, 2003 8:17 PM
Where's your store? I wanna shop there, because my LBS would not only have laughed in my face, but abused me for the next five years.

Guy sounds like a moron who lives in a delusional world where it is impossible to run over glass. Maybe he was high on steroids or EPO. I mean c'mon, that's just insane.

You're a real saint and your boss should give you a raise!
are you f/n kiddin' me!The Human G-Nome
Aug 6, 2003 9:54 PM
you obviously sold him a defective tire and now you won't refund his money. WTF!?! i wouldn't have been as nice as this gentlemen... i would have definitely smashed out all your shop windows and pi$$ed on the Colnago out front.

seriously bub, are you kidding? your question is like asking: "My girlfriend just cheated on me with my best friend... how should i feel?" you already know the answer. the guy is a nimrod and he was lucky he got someone as nice as you to listen to his whining. the guy was trying to cheat you out of a tire instead of owning up to ruining it on his own. that's dishonest and a downright lie. when people lie to my face, i tend to treat them with very little respect.

good luck though.
Nothing to do but for you to suck it up.MXL02
Aug 7, 2003 4:48 AM
Customers can be a$$holes...all you can do is ignore it...if the customer is so ignorant that he does not recognise that the more you ride, the more disposable parts wear, he's the idiot. You handled him fine. Take some deep breaths, count to ten, now handle yourself.

PS- 50 miles of hammering will also help. ;-)

Keep riding.-
You're probably better off without him...Chicago_Steve
Aug 7, 2003 5:11 AM
Seriously... If the guy is that big a pain to you then your probably better off spending your sales efforts on other customers. You did a good job dealing with him and if you treat all your customers with knowledge and respect the good ones will become loyal. Let him go hassle some other shop...

Steve (worked last year as a part time wrench and had similar experiences)
I would have unleashed on are nicer than I ambiknben
Aug 7, 2003 5:15 AM
IMO: No sense in remaining calm for someone who says he will never see you again. That's not the type of customer you want anyway. I would have sternly told him why he is wrong and then let him walk out.

When he gets more miles in, he'll reluctantly realize you were right.

Those types of peeps piss me off. Everyone is accountable except him? Total A-Hole!!!
re: Holy rant, Batman!tarwheel
Aug 7, 2003 5:36 AM
I think you handled the situation just right. However, your story is the main reason why I buy my tires on-line and not from bike shops. I can't afford to spend $50 for a tire, particularly when they can get ruined so easily. I hit a rock and tore a big hole in a Michelin Axial Pro with less than 100 miles on it. Fortunately, I only spent $20 on the tire. If I had spent $50, I would have been as pissed as that guy was. From a shop owner's perspective, perhaps the best way to handle a situation like this would be to offer the guy a discount on a replacement tire. Sure, the tire wasn't defective, but it might be a good way to keep a customer coming back and buying those $50 tires!
It all depends on...MShaw
Aug 7, 2003 10:01 AM
...whether the guy actually does spend a lot of money in your shop AND whether you want him to keep spending money there. From your comments, it doesn't sound like this guy is a "regular," not that it should matter, but it does.

Be that as it may, he's going to go tell 10+ of his friends what arseholes y'all are, and not to shop at your shop. If you'd accomodated him, he'd only tell 3-4 friends what good service y'all have.

The thing is, he'd probably have spent a lot of money on special TdF stuff for his custom whatever with Record 10. Now all that future income is pretty well gone because the shop wouldn't bend over and take it on a lousy $25 tire.

I agree with you that he was being unreasonable, but sometimes ya gotta eat one to keep people happy. (within reason that is!)

Performance probably would have taken it backColnagoFE
Aug 7, 2003 5:36 AM
I hate the service you get there, but they do take pretty much anything back. I once returned a year old pair of Performance brand mountian bike shoes after the sole cracked in half. I didn't have a receipt or even ask for a refund, but the store guy said this shouldn't happen and gave me a refund. Tough call in your case. Tires do get ruined, but I'd be mighty upset if I only had an expensive tire for a short while and it bit the dust that quick. If he was a really good customer I might have given him a new tire or at least partial credit towards a new one--even 10-15% off the next one would have been a nice goodwill gesture.
My experience with Continental Attack/Force . . .ms
Aug 7, 2003 6:24 AM
In May I bought a pair of the Continental Attack/Force tires on the recommendation of my LBS (the front and rear tires are different and they then were being sold as a pair only). Within a week of my buying the tires, I had a large gash in the rear tire -- given than there still was a shard of glass embedded into the tire I knew that it was my fault and was not a manufacturing defect. My LBS (where I am a loyal customer) did not offer me a discount on a replacement (which I did not expect since the problem was my fault), but when I said that I really did not want to buy the Attack/Force pair only to replace the rear tire, the LBS agreed to break and pair and sell me the rear tire only. I very much appreciated the break. (I now understand that Continental is or soon will be selling the Attack/Force tires separately).

My point: As a customer, I do not expect the LBS to be responsible for my mistakes and accidents -- the LBS is a business not an insurance company. However, when a mishap occurs, the LBS's doing something like breaking a pair of the Attack/Force tires cements my loyalty to the shop.

It sounds like your customer was an unreasonable a@@hole and you had much more patience with him that I would have had.
I've never been on a group ride where...DERICK
Aug 7, 2003 7:32 AM
we stop every 5 miles to brush off our tires. Seriously, the guy is just and a$$ and a liar. As a restaurant manager I deal with people like this every day. They'll say their steak was cooked wrong and want a discount after they have eaten all but 2 bites. Or they'll say they ordered an hour ago and havent gotten their food yet. When I check with my host staff they tell me those people have only been in the building for 30 minutes. You do the math. For some people the truth goes out the window as soon as they get a little bit upset.
As someone who deals with this all the time I would say you handled it OK. I think if you had offered him a small discount(maybe 5%)it may have ended better. Sometimes giving in just a little bit gives them room to back down and still save face. A parting comment like that usually means the person was as embarrased as they were upset. If you give them a reason to hold their head high they will usually take it.
He's a Bozo, but...53T
Aug 7, 2003 7:52 AM
I'm glad he gave you the line about brushing off his tires. Shop staff have been dishing out BS like that for decades, and It's good to see some going the other way.

This event should bother you, but not for more than one day. If you have trouble forgetting about it, seek professional help.
re: Holy rant, Batman!aliensporebomb
Aug 7, 2003 7:49 AM


Last summer some jokers tossed a Sobe bottle on the MUT
I commute on and it shattered and my rear tire got an
cut/abrasion that affected the casing.

It held, but went to the shop where I'd gotten the bike the
month before and just bought another tire.

I still have the tire - it's got maybe 200 miles on it and
it "looks" okay but the cut is about as wide as my thumbnail
so taking chances at 40 mph downhills isn't in the picture
I'm thinking.

I didn't blame the shop since it wasn't their fault.

Sometimes you gotta spend some money and things aren't in
your control.

But being a dink about it isn't a cool thing to do.

Oh well. Nothing you can do about it - some customers are
like that.
I would have gone Bruce Lee on him.Turtleherder
Aug 7, 2003 9:35 AM
You did a lot better than I could have. I would have been throwing tire levers at him like Ninja stars and impaled him as he went out the door. Just chalk up his a-hole behavior to a tramatic toilet training incident in his childhood and forget about it.
You are a nicer guy than me, but you did the smart thing.jhart11
Aug 7, 2003 7:13 PM
I've worked in bike shops and waited tables and everytime I'd run into an a$$hole like this I'd want to unleash on him verablly, but I always held back--until finally I'd had enough and I decided to lose my job over one particular a$$hole. Long story short, it was VERY satisfying to both tell this guy to go f*ck himslef, and to be truly nonplused about losing my job in the process. In the aftermath, however, it took me two years to find a job with as many perks (race-friendly schedule and pro-deals gallore) after I lost my temper. Sure it felt good at the moment, but I think that I gave the customer what he wanted--I let his anger push me to the point of losing my job.
You handeled the situation VERY well, and it might not have felt like it to you at the time, but you probably pissed the guy off as much as you would have had you lost your temper by simply being firm yet polite. He wasn't able to control you--you won! You still have your job and he didn't get to bully you into giving him a new tire.
Besides, he'll flat again, and when he does he'll probably swear off business from the next bike shop he deals with; this is a guy who will be paying full retail for the rest of his life. Way to go.