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Performance Bike shop...you gotta laugh sometimes(16 posts)

Performance Bike shop...you gotta laugh sometimesColnagoFE
Aug 7, 2003 5:56 AM
Sorry for the semi-long diatribe that follows...I actually bought a bike from Performance the other day. It was a special order--a Fuji tandem cruiser. They had the brand and had it at a good price. Plus I'm a Team Performance member and get discount coupons if I spend $ there. Anyway...I just picked it up last night. The front seatpost was way too short for me so I had to buy a longer one for another $10--no offer to just swap it out but then again I only spent $475 for the bike in the first place so I just suck it up and pull a tenner out. The wrenches were pretty busy assembling a kid's bike so the manager (i think) on duty decided to make the swap. He fiddled with the seat and post for a good 15 minutes and even with me holding the seat steady he couldn't seem to get the bolt in to hold the seat. At this point I just wanted him to hand me the wrench and let me put the seat on and get on my way, but I let him keep trying since the sign said "we no longer loan tools out". Eventually he had to call in a wrench to help. Turns out he thought the clamp was defective so he goes in the back to get another post and int he starts complaining that he has scratched the new post and can't resell it. I was half expecting him to ask me to pay for another one. Anyway...the funny part is when he comes back and keeps fumbling with the clamp he starts complaining again saying "Damn department store bikes!" and railing on the quality of the bike as the reason he can't make the new seatpost work. Mind you this bike isn't a $6000 Santana tandem or anything, but it's a cool new bike that I'm happy to be purchasing from them and I thought it was pretty uncool of him to be saying that no matter what he thought of the bike personally. For a moment I thought I'd mention the 9 other bikes at my house and that I tend to buy a lot of bikes--not all of them $500 department store specials, but I bit my tongue and drove off. What is with these people? I'm sure the guy was frustrated at his lack of mechanical talent, but do you have to make fun of the bike you just sold right in front of the customer?
Performance Is The Wal Mart of Bike Shops.Terry_Swisher_PMF
Aug 7, 2003 6:12 AM
I think what you experienced yesterday is what is wrong with society in general. We aren't service oriented, and we don't stop to think what the customer is thinking. We rather push them out the door quickly so we can go back to the water cooler and finish talking about the chick that we almost go lucky with on Friday night. It is the same thing when you go out to eat. That waitress complains when you leave a small tip, but she is nowhere to be found when your cup is empty and you are choking to death because you can't wash down your food. I found Performance to be the same way. You save a lot of money, but is the lack of service and the unprofessionalism worth it. Performance won't see one dime of my money this year. I don't like thier attitude. I don't like how they hurt the shops that really care about cyclist. Further more, the owner of Performance is a mail order man, and not a cyclist. He never was before opening Performance out of his basement. They are buying up all the rest of the mail order chains quicker that you can say sprocket wrench. They now own SuperGo, Nashbar, Bike USA, and that probably doesn't include everything. Just like every other business in this world, they have forgotten about who makes them great. Half the people in their shops haven't a clue how to talk to customers or a good knowledge of product. At least their return policy is liberal. You can take back a bike after a season of riding on it. Just say it no longer fits right or something to that effect. That is the only plus of Performance.
Performance Is The Wal Mart of Bike Shops.coifmo
Aug 7, 2003 8:21 AM
Nashbar, Supergo AND Bikes USA?

Yikes.
Don't laugh, but I actually worked , part time ,at a PerformanceMR_GRUMPY
Aug 7, 2003 6:34 AM
Shop. The quality of the people that they hire there is somethin' else. If a customer bought a tubular, and wanted it mounted, they had to wait until it was my day "On".
Talk about managers, we had one that wanted to "help out" the wrenches with an Ouzo Pro fork. He measured everything twice and then cut the fork. Problem was, is that he forgot to add in the stem height. Oops, anybody need a fork for a 45cm frame ? I've got enough stories to write a book.
There might be a short Colnago Star fork available too. Doug? nmPdxMark
Aug 7, 2003 8:12 AM
ha! i'm sure that's an episode doug wants to forget about-- nmColnagoFE
Aug 7, 2003 9:59 AM
do this please...sievers11
Aug 7, 2003 6:43 AM
Send a letter or call and ask to talk to a manager. Ask them to listen to your story and leave it at that. It will make a difference even though it feels like a wasted phone call.

I spin wrenches and it pains me to see others giving us a bad name.

I don't see any fuji's bikes in department stores around here. I have put together a bunch of Fuji Crosstowns and they are cheap, but to blame your lack of wrenching skill on a the bike is a crock. Oh, you can't fix the $200 bike, I'm sorry. Does that big mean coaster brake scare you?
I did that...SpoiledBikeDaddy
Aug 7, 2003 9:08 AM
I wrote a letter after being utterly ignored when I went in to buy my first bike (What? You want to spend several hundred dollars here? Yeah, whatever dude...).

The manager sent me a $30.00 gift certificate. Nice, but not enough to make me ever want to buy anything else from them besides the occasional box of Clif Bars or pair of socks...

(Plus, now that I know a little more about bikes, I wouldn't buy from them anyway - they're a clothing store that happens to also sell bikes)
It didn't really get to me that muchColnagoFE
Aug 7, 2003 10:02 AM
I shop Performance because it's cheap and I usually know what I need/want and am willing to accept the tradeoff of reduced service. I pity the poor person who walks in off the street to buy their first bike there though. Sad though...they had me in an ideal setting to make me believe they can deliver good customer service and they blew it.
typical sales managergtx
Aug 7, 2003 7:01 AM
Most of the ones I worked with didn't/couldn't even work on their own bikes. Oh well.

btw, that bikes sounds cool. I'm gonna check it out.
I'll post a pic of it soonColnagoFE
Aug 7, 2003 10:07 AM
I don't think Performance typically stocks the tandem, but they were able to special order it for me. Looks like Fuji isn't making it anymore. I got it for $475--normally It was something like $599. It is a pretty hip looking cruiser tandem though. Three speed Nexus hub should help a bit with the hills and V-brakes in addition to the coaster ones.
danggtx
Aug 7, 2003 11:16 AM
yeah, I looked on the Fuji web site and didn't see it. I'll check with the LBS who has Fuji. 3 speed hub and V-brakes sounds cool.
I've complained a few times--quick response but no fix.cory
Aug 7, 2003 8:35 AM
I've been an occasional Perf customer for close to 20 years, and it's gone WAY downhill in the last five or six. I was bummed when they bought Nashbar, because N. used to be much better, at least in my experience.
FWIW, I've complained about a couple of Performance experiences, most recently a pair of shoes that was "coming next week" for four months. In both cases I got a very quick (same day) response and an apology, but no solution. The shoes (ordered in February) never have shown up.
Big decline, too, in the help. There are three Performance stores close enough to places I travel that I get in occasionally, and they used to be staffed with bike guys. More and more, though, the help is just low-end cash register operators, unable to answer questions. Good news for the LBS, if it can hang on long enough.
I actually used to RUN a PBS store...MShaw
Aug 7, 2003 9:48 AM
...back before there was an upper management change ('96). Back then, there were 31 more or less autonomous shops that used the same name and paperwork, and had the same lines. We could take care of our customers, order them things that weren't in the catalog, and were generally shops (as opposed to stores).

Then the powers that be hired a bunch of idiots from Bass shoes, and the rest is history. No more actually going out of your way for special customers, no more anything special. Heaven forbid trying to cater to the cyclists in your area! Unlike shoes, in most cities cycling is different from one part of town to another.

I go into a PBS every once in a while and cringe every time I do. There's a bunch of people in there that don't know squat about cycling!

Supergo is quickly going the same way. I live across the street from a Supergo, and have seen the degeneration of employee's attitudes and the loss of good people.

I haven't shopped at Nahsbar in a while (pretty much since they shut their store in the Anandale, VA area) so don't know how their takeover by PBS went.

I've seen what happens when PBS moves into town and takes over a chain. All the other shops run scared. Ya gotta remember that PBS is basically a parts and clothing store that happens to sell bike stuff. If you're a good shop, you'll probably sell more bikes, labor, etc. but are going to take it in the shorts in the clothing department. Here in San Diego, there's room for another shop (chain?)that actually knows cycling and helps their customers.

Mike
I hear you...it must be hard to compete on low end stuffColnagoFE
Aug 7, 2003 10:21 AM
I live in Boulder, CO where there are quite a few bike shops. The ones that do well cater to the high end market or offer such good service that you go there for everything. With the 10% off Team Performance thing and the constant clearance sales they have they are hard to resist for stuff like tubes, tires, certain clothing items (though all but the elite line is pretty much junk). Still I go to other stores for specialized parts, bikes, and higher end accesories and any service I can't perform myself. Then again I'm probably not a typical bike customer. I think I've bought bikes at most of the good stores in town now.
As much as it pains me to defend Supergo...The Walrus
Aug 7, 2003 11:22 AM
...I'd have to disagree that it's going downhill; my experience, at least with the Santa Monica store, is just the opposite. The original store in SM was an excellent shop that had a wide variety of brands/models/aftermarket stuff (and not house-brand items, either), plus the staff was knowledgeable and helpful. Prices were good, too. I think I bought four bikes/frames from them. Supergo started going down the toilet when they began expanding and going into the "celebrity" phase, e.g., when the range of bikes and parts became less important that the fact that Elton John had bought a couple of low-end Stumpjumpers from them. Now
i there's
a ringing endorsement, cycling fans! I stopped shopping there for years because they became the Costco of bike chains; they'd buy up whatever they could get a good deal on in mfr closeouts, with the result that the brands they carried would change every season. They had the worst salespeople I'd encountered in a bike store--bored, rude, lazy and ignorant (it really gripes my *ss when it's obvious that the "help" knows less about bikes than the customers, and they couldn't care less).

I went back for the first time in 3 or 4 years last spring to get some parts they had at a truly unbeatable price, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much better the staff was. There's still far too much house-brand merchandise, but the revolving-door approach to brand selection seems to have tapered off a bit. Granted, a "real" LBS is still infinitely preferable, but now at least I no longer feel cheap and sleazy after doing business there.