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Slap in the face ???(96 posts)

Slap in the face ???Sirius
Aug 28, 2003 9:13 AM
Just wanted to share an experience I had yesterday at a LBS here in San Diego. I have been shopping online for a Deda Newton size 46 online for about 79~89.00 I was however able to locate one locally so I told that shop that I was coming to get it. When I got there the sticker price was $119.00. So I asked the guy if he can price match and then he asked me which store so I told him Colorado Cyclist. He then turned around and asked his father (shop owner) if he can do it and the father said NO NOT interested. So I told the son well that is fine whatever you can do would be fine. He then asked his father if taking 10% is ok. That is when he came unglued. He then started yelling why I should get 10% off. I said well as a consumer in a very competive market I shop for the best price and I chose to help support a LBS. He said that no shops price match and I told him he was definetely wrong and that by my asking to price match was a slap in his face. I said that it doesn't hurt to ask but he disagreed. He really was pissed off. He said his shop is there for "me" and that online companies don't take care of you. I have been there several times before dealing with his son and other shop employees and never really asked for discounts although most of my purchases from this shop have mainly been accessories and parts. We came to an agreement on a price after an earfull because I really needed the bar and I try to avoid online shopping because I like helping out the LBS's. I felt I was slapped in the face. I realize that the shop has to make money but most shops know that consumers have choice and shops should be willing to make changes/ adjustments to the times. When I originally asked about the price match all he had to say was no and leave it at that. Was I wrong ???
I've got one sitting right here.Zonic Man
Aug 28, 2003 9:22 AM
I can sell it to you.

Let's call it $85, shipped?

jedpeters@hotmail.com

Oh yeah, the bar's brand new, Newton OS, 46cm.
Please name the shop.Aztec
Aug 28, 2003 9:28 AM
I'm sure there are several father - son shops in town but was this one in La Jolla?

I don't think you were out of line at all. If you don't ask you'll never know. I've noticed some small shops are very sensitive to requests for price matching with online stores. I don't mind being told no but don't need a lecture on the difficulties of running a small business. I'm also quite aware of how the etailers have cut into the small shops business so I can see both sides of the picture quite clearly.

I've resigned myself to the belief that if I want it right now then I'll pay more at the LBS. If I'm not in a hurry I'll order online. If I want a new frame or complete bike I'll go the LBS route unless there are problems.
sounds like they don't need or appreciate your business nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 28, 2003 9:29 AM
Get over it.cory
Aug 28, 2003 9:29 AM
Here in Reno, we had about three too many bike shops BEFORE the REI store opened. Since then--four years, I think--a couple of old-time shops have failed and I keep hearing others are barely hanging on. It's really hard for small businesses to survive when all anybody cares about is getting the lowest possible price. Just for example, I have a friend who ran a camera shop here when Costco opened. They day they cut the ribbon, he knew he was out of business: Costco SOLD cameras cheaper than he could buy them wholesale.
San Diego has a ton of bike shops, plus every discount chain known to man. An LBS owner has to be struggling there--his margin is small anyway, and he can't possibly match prices with a company that has lower overhead and buys 5000 of things he orders individually. If the father is the owner and paying the bills, he may have a perspective his son doesn't see, too. The guy's looking at a $2000 rent payment, and you're in there trying to bang him out of 20 bucks.
Up to you whether you shop there again, of course. But if something breaks, good luck getting Colorado Cyclist to fix it in time for tomorrow's ride.
ya gotta look long term...MShaw
Aug 28, 2003 9:39 AM
as a shop owner. He just ticked off a meal ticket. Here's a good customer that is shopping AT YOUR STORE instead of mail ordering his parts. How much more money is he going to spend there in his cycling career? Is is worth cuttiing a good customer some slack every now and again to keep him/her coming back THE REST OF HIS LIFE?

Now what you've got is someone that will probably go elsewhere to spend his hard-earned money, AND just told the world via the internet that you're a hard-case that can't see past the immediate profit to look at the long-term benefit of keeping a customer.

There are lots of good shops in town, which area of SD do you live in?

Mike
Get over it.Mg1
Aug 28, 2003 1:04 PM
Get over it? the customer? You're saying because the LBS owner can't match price on product, he should piss of the customer and lose any opportunity to sell service? How does that help him make the rent?
The Wal-Mart shopper has dealt a death blow to thousands of small businesses with that attitude. The survivors have found ways to deliver value to, and capture value from, the market. Like knowledgeable, courteous sales staff that you don't have to tackle in the aisle for service, decent selection of parts at reasonable prices, custom fit services etc. etc.
So, you expect knowledge & courtesy for the Wal-Mart price? (nm)TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 1:06 PM
So, you expect knowledge & courtesy for the Wal-Mart price? (nm)Mg1
Aug 28, 2003 1:32 PM
No, I buy from business that give me the right mix of price / selection / service. Everyone knows the rules - like good / fast / cheap, you get 2 out of three. This guy had what...selection? I'm struggling to find #2 here.
So, you expect knowledge & courtesy for the Wal-Mart price? (nm)hackmechanic
Aug 29, 2003 5:40 AM
He had the bar the guy wanted when he wanted it. No shipping costs either.

Why don't you offer to take a pay cut to make your company more competitive? Even for just a couple of months. No? Now you understand why the shop owner was pissed.
Let me clarify my pointMg1
Aug 29, 2003 9:28 AM
Yes, he has time & place utility. Definitely value there. That was my point about selection. I don't get the connection to the rest of your post, so maybe you misunderstood my point.

I'll try again. Sure the marketplace is tough. I have a fair amount of experience with small/medium sized businesses, mostly business-to-business but some retail. I have picked up the pieces of several businesses (that is, fixed or sold on the cheap) that had a similar attitude as the bike shop owner. And I've worked with others that are quite successful even in the face of difficult competition (often they are the ones buying on the cheap). My experience is, the winners study the market, figure out who their target customers are & who they are competing against, determine how to differentiate themselves in the market, then fight like hell for each and every customer in the target market.

They do what they can for customers, like Sirius, on the fringe of or outside their market, but would never ever cop an attitude and piss them off. Losing Sirius isn't the problem. Problem is that Sirius is now going to piss all over his reputation with his pals, some of whom are target customers. The LBS in this story needs to adapt his strategy or he's going to have to charge his shrinking customer base even more to pay the rent.

And FWIW, taking a pay cut is cake compared to laying off dozens of hard working employees. I've done both and there is no comparison. Even worse is seeing an entire business shut down.
In my neck of the woods....Lone Gunman
Aug 28, 2003 4:41 PM
W.Pennsylvania, I would probably prefer to have CC fix it in a weeks time or longer 'cause that is what my LBS would probably take to correct the problem. Case in point; Just bought (online) new DA F&R derailleurs, BB, and a rt. STI shifter. Chain (SRAM) has about 1600 miles on it and alot of bad weather. Thinking about swapping out the chain before a weeklong tour for a DA and connex link. Call the LBS, ask for a DA chain, the best they have is a 105 grade chain. Call another LBS, they have the DA chain for $32 and performance, nashbar or CC have it for $22? Even with shipping, I get the DA chain plus the connex link for the price of the DA from the LBS with change left over in probably the same amount of time, plus eliminating a 50 mile round trip to buy.
Make it easy on yourselfFez
Aug 28, 2003 9:34 AM
FWIW, most LBS in my area will price match. They say so verbally and it is also in writing (store sign or advertisement).

Whether you want to bother is another story. Why go there, and then have to ask for a more competitive price and be at their mercy? Maybe its no big deal for one large item, but to do that for 5 or 10 smaller items?

I laugh as to why you and others say you are buying stuff to "help" the LBS. There is nothing wrong with buying merchandise from the source that offers best combo of value and convenience. My LBS doesn't stock most items I want, so I would have to place an order there, place a deposit, and then go again to pick it up. Its actually cheaper and easier for me to order it online from home.

I give the LBS plenty of business in terms of service. I try to do many things on my own. But I also take my bike in for periodic services as well as an occasional overhaul. And I buy plenty of stuff from there when I need it fast or when it isn't worth paying $15 or so for shipping.

On some level, many LBS' do not want to compete with big bike chains. They would have to invest heavily in the inventory and it would also require more square footage and more employees, and they still have to remain competitive in price with big retailers. Most LBS are happy providing what the big chains can't - QUALITY BIKE SERVICE!!!
That is one serious idiot shop owner.No_sprint
Aug 28, 2003 9:43 AM
No way I'd go back. I surely wouldn't have bought that bar at any price. You could've beat that price with Next Day Air shipping online.
10% off is easy at our LBSsPdxMark
Aug 28, 2003 9:58 AM
The main bike shops give 10% off all goods, other than bikes, for members of either the local cycling club or the local bike advocacy group. After ordering tons of stuff online, I've decided that the 10% discount, together with the absence of shipping charges, makes my LBSs reasonably competitive with most online prices.

Do LBSs in other places do this sort of thing?
Mine does.Scot_Gore
Aug 28, 2003 10:53 AM
10% off anything that's not a bike or not already on sale when you show your regional park card. Show it once, they log it on their database and you get it forever without asking.

Works for me.

Scot
I think it is...TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 10:05 AM
It is a slap in the face. Few things annoy me more than customers who want to haggle on price. This is a retail establishment, not a Turkish Bazaar. There's a price tag for a reason. If you don't like the terms of sale, or know of somebody who will give you terms that are better to you, buy it from them.

The slap in the face is that you are telling the owner that the service he is providing is not worth the extra money - which it might not be to you - but it's like going to the barber and telling the guy: you don't really give a $15 haircut, why don't we make it ~$7 this time.

The bottom line is that self-obsessed road cycling enthusiasts think that they are good customers for LBS's, while they are actually the least profitable segment (maybe second least, after the BMX kids who steal things). Do the bike shop a favor and don't ever shop there again.
shop owner blaming the wrong personColnagoFE
Aug 28, 2003 10:18 AM
he should be giving his distributor hell for charging him so much more for parts than a high volume mail order place gets it for. i agree though. unless the owner is obviously gouging customers you should shut up and pay retail in a full service bike shop. if you are a good customer or making a VERY large purchase you might have some reason to haggle, but for a stem I don't think so--unless the owner states that he accepts price matching up front.
i agree completelyThe Human G-Nome
Aug 28, 2003 10:20 AM
would you walk into a K-Mart and haggle over the price of a slurpy? how about walking into Sears and telling them you only want to pay such and such amount for a powersaw? i don't know why people get the idea it's ok at an LBS as if it's a car dealership or something. they're a retail business just like everyone else. pay what's on the pricetag or feel free to shop elsewhere. just my opinion of course.
i agree completelyFez
Aug 28, 2003 10:35 AM
I personally would not bother. I face plenty of confrontation in life, and I don't need any more when I am simply trying to buy bicycle merchandise.

However, that's not to say that people don't do it. People are constantly trying to haggle the prices on just about anything. It seems like as long as there is a "manager" or "owner" around, then people will try to do it.

If a retailer automates everything and just has low paid robots to work the checkout, then that solves most of the problem, but as long as the whiners have access to a person of authority, expect the haggling to continue.
yes, but...gtx
Aug 28, 2003 10:28 AM
I worked for a few shops that DID price match, which always pissed me off as an employee. I hated dealing with that. Maybe that's why I was a wrench. ;)
My LBS (and most independaent business people)...Len J
Aug 28, 2003 10:34 AM
would rather have a shot at the business than just have people not ask, at least they then have a choice. Sears employess don't own the company, the LBS does.

Len
My LBS (and most independaent business people)...gtx
Aug 28, 2003 10:50 AM
From the pespective of the employee, it is annoying. If a shop owner wants to wheel and deal, that's his business, but I sure didn't want to do it, and I hated talking to the kind of people who wanted to price match some purple Kooka cranks or whatever--I always wanted to say, shouldn't you be out riding instead of wasting both of our time? This is why I like companies like Speedplay--the price is the price is the price. I also don't get the whole concept of a stem that retails for $120, but that's a whole other thread...
biting tongue nm --->JS Haiku Shop
Aug 28, 2003 10:31 AM
I Disagree.......Len J
Aug 28, 2003 10:31 AM
a Bike shop is in the consumer service business. They have the choice to lower prices or not. The posters question about price matching is perfectly OK and anyone dealing with consumers should expect such. Likewise a yes or no answer is OK. What's not OK is a tirade at the consumer because he asks the question.

I an LBS told me calmly that he doesn't price match, I would probably continue to do business with him for selected things where it made sense to me (its called free enterprise), however, if an LBS responded the way described above, not only would I never do business with them, but neither would anyone I know.

In this case the LBS is taking his frustration about Internet competition out on a customer, not a great way to stay in business.

Len
I Disagree.......Len J
Aug 28, 2003 10:32 AM
a Bike shop is in the consumer service business. They have the choice to lower prices or not. The posters question about price matching is perfectly OK and anyone dealing with consumers should expect such. Likewise a yes or no answer is OK. What's not OK is a tirade at the consumer because he asks the question.

If an LBS told me calmly that he doesn't price match, I would probably continue to do business with him for selected things where it made sense to me (its called free enterprise), however, if an LBS responded the way described above, not only would I never do business with them, but neither would anyone I know.

In this case the LBS is taking his frustration about Internet competition out on a customer, not a great way to stay in business.

Len
well said nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 28, 2003 10:35 AM
Agreed, go ahead and askDrone 5200
Aug 28, 2003 11:00 AM
don't be rude, just ask. If the shop owner is rude, I'm gone for good.

Anytime you can talk to the person who sets the prices, you can always ask for a discount. Nothing wrong with it.
There is a line,TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 10:39 AM
In my mind, it's no big deal if the customer asks: "do you guys match prices?" And the answer is no, then the answer was no.

In this case, the customer asks, "will you match XYZ price at Colorado Cyclist", the answer was no, and he says "well, do what you can for me."

What are you some special god that I should be inclined to give you a lower price than the sticker to? If you were a regular customer, and I wanted to reward your loyalty, I might do something - but probably not if you asked for it. He's taking his frustration out on a customer who's not putting any value on the service that he works hard to provide. And then, when you convince him to put value on it, he haggles about how much it's worth.
Win the battle & lose the war.Len J
Aug 28, 2003 10:51 AM
If the LBS had just said no, we don't match. and then answered the second request with, no we are not an internet retailer, our prices are our prices, plesantly, this wouldn't even be an issue. What he has said with his tirade is, not only won't I match but you (the customer) are an idiot) & I don't want you back.

Like I said before, hell of a way to stay in business.

Len
ExactlyCHRoadie
Aug 28, 2003 12:53 PM
You can buy merchandise a hell of a lot cheaper than at an LBS. You know it, the shop owner knows it. The only way the LBS is going to stay in business is to make the markup worth while. Yelling at the customers is not exactly making the trip worth their while.

Frankly, I'm surprised that TJ is being an apologist for such crappy customer service.
I'm not an apologist for crappy customer service,TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 12:59 PM
I think crappy customer service is one of the downfalls of many bike shops. I don't see this incident as bad customer service. I respect the right of the shop owner not to sell a good to somebody who is rude and or insulting (even if they don't think they're being rude).

I don't see that there was any poor service here - the issue is all about price. Do I think the owner handled it in the ideal way? No. Do I think the "good customer" handled it in the ideal way? No. In fact, I can think of few worse things than having the owner politely decline the price match, and then you have the audacity to ask the son to "do whatever he can".
I'm not an apologist for crappy customer service,Sirius
Aug 28, 2003 1:23 PM
The issue was not price -it was the attitude I got. Please explain how I was rude. I politely asked and all he had to do was politely decline. The hundreds of other times at other shops had no problem with me asking - I guess they have learned to expect it. The funny thing is that he asked me "How much do I want to pay?" I said $ 100.00 he replied 105. I really wanted to get the bar. CC had it for $79.00 but I still bought it. I did not think the rude lecture was part of the deal. Will I go back there? Perhaps not. Will I tell all my buddies about this - probably.
That's the bigger issueCHRoadie
Aug 28, 2003 1:29 PM
If you don't go back to that shop even for two tubes, the owner has lost money. He's losing sight of the fact that the $5 he saved on the sale today is worth a whole lot less than the goodwill he lost.
How were you rude?TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 1:42 PM
It's funny that most people don't realize when they are rude.

You don't find it rude that you asked the owner to come down on price (via the "price match"), and when he politely declined, you tried to convince his son to "do what you can for me"? That's like the "if mom says no, ask dad" routine, and it is rude to the owner. I'd be pretty upset if you put my employee (son) in that position - of being asked to contradict what the boss said.

If you had asked once, and at the mention of the internet, he went off, that would be one thing. But you asked, he said no, and you still made an issue out of it. That's rude.
He already started...Sirius
Aug 28, 2003 1:59 PM
I guess you had to be there (or were you?). He already started coming unglued saying loudly No! Not interested! And asking why he should price match Colorado Cyclist and that he has a business to run ya di ya di ya ... That answered my question. I still needed the bar and had my wallet out debit card in hand still willing to buy the handlebar and said "well whatever you can do"as he was ringing it up and the son walked over to his dad and asked his dad if he can give 10% off. I did not ask for a specific amount or percentage. If the son would of told me that he could not that would of been acceptable to me but at least I asked. What is funny is that on previous purchases I was given 10% off by the son and another employee. I half always asked retailers politely for discounts and I have never "demanded" any discounts from anyone.
Well pal, if it makes you feel any better hearing fromdjg
Aug 29, 2003 11:26 AM
more and more anonymous Mr. and Ms. Manners consultants, this guy, contra TJeanloz, doesn't think you were necessarily rude at all.

You know, at some point you notice that most posts are in your favor and that a signifcant minority are not, and that nobody seems to be changing or even modifying his or her mind.
I'm not an apologist for crappy customer service,CHRoadie
Aug 28, 2003 1:25 PM
Anytime an employee (even the owner) of a shop is dealing with a customer, that is customer service, good or bad.

I used to work in a mom & pop car stereo shop. It was very common for a customer to ask "what can you do for me on the price." Not once in all the time I was there did any employee get mad at a customer for asking the question. Our margins were tight, and we had a hell of a lot more competition from large chain stores under-selling us (Circuit City, Good Guys, Al & Ed's, Best Buy, Fry's, etc.), but we understood the game and we gave great service. That's what brought our customers back. We'd do what we could on the price (even a couple of bucks off retail makes a big psychological difference to a customer), but we never once got angry with a customer over asking "what can you do for me." To me, that's just plain arrogant.
Do you WORK in a shop or OWN a shop? nmMShaw
Aug 28, 2003 2:11 PM
Do you WORK in a shop or OWN a shop? nmSirius
Aug 28, 2003 3:29 PM
If you are asking me - I have worked in a mom and pop shop for several years. Not a bike shop but car audio and cellular phone shops. Now that is a competitive market. The difference with a car audio shop and cellular phone store is that you can really offer a "service" such as custom installations that are better,custom,trick or more innovative than others and that is what can justify a higher price.
No, I'm an investment banker,TJeanloz
Aug 29, 2003 4:33 AM
But I used to manage a shop. Which is somewhere between WORKING and OWNING.
Rethink your position53T
Aug 29, 2003 5:43 AM
As a finacial professional, you clearly know the difference between working and owning, the difference between being a stakeholder and a stockholder. There is no middle ground, your capital is at risk, or it is not. You know this, why do I have to point it out?

Raising you voice to a customer is NEVER acceptable customer service. The behavior of the customer is a red herring since the customer has no obligation to do anything with respect to "good customer service". If the customer calls you an ass, and you call him an ass, you are providing BAD customer service. If you have anything unsolicited to say to the customer, it had better be "thank you", or something really nice.

This is fundamental stuff. I don't know what kind of cutomer service training you get as an investment banker (of course as a bike shop manger you got zero), but you might help yourself to seek some out. It will help you better inderstand the relationship between service provider and parton that is important in your business. Investment banking, and banking in general, is an industry where the relationship between seller and buyer is often blurred, to the detriment of the indusrty.
Rethink yours, have you ever worked in retail?TJeanloz
Aug 29, 2003 5:56 AM
I'm not getting into the difference between working and owning, because it really isn't as different as you might think. In addition to being an investment banker, I sit on the board of several companies, and have a significant equity stake in several more. I know what it means to own, and I know what it means to work.

Here's the distinction I draw - I don't see this guy as a customer. If you want to tell me I was bad at my job as a bike shop owner, because I threw some customers out of the shop, and told others we never wanted to see them again (which was EXTRAORDINARILY rare), fine. But unless you have the basis of retail experience, beyond being an "always right" customer, you have some lessons yourself.

And if you think that investment banking has anything to do with "banking in general", you also have some lessons to learn about finance.

But back to the question at hand, which was: "was I rude in asking for a lower price"? I am merely pointing out how this could be construed as rude - I'm not saying, and never have, that the shop owner played the situation as he should have. But I respect his right to make his own business decisions.
Actually, I have worked retail...MShaw
Aug 29, 2003 10:18 AM
...lots of years actually.

I ran a Performance shop, and worked at an LBS. Both places had their good points and bad points. At PBS, my hands were tied tighter in regards to discounts and doing favors for good customers. At the LBS I worked at, the margins were tighter, but the wrenches made most of the money for the shop anyway, so it balanced out. At Performance, we had guys driving out to Fairfax, VA from DC (a 40+ min drive for them) just to come to my shop 'cause we took the time to take care of them. Yes, we gave them a discount (10-15% off retail), but the gas and time spent getting there made that pretty well moot.

On the way out of DC, they passed the Pro Shop in Georgetown, the shop right next door, a few more shops in Arlington, and several in Fairfax. They could have spent their money at any one of the shops on the way, but drove all the way out to see us instead. All because we took the time to take care of their needs.

In this situation, the owner of the shop displayed inexusable behavior. I suspect that the OP happened to be the straw that broke the camel's back and received a tongue-lashing that he didn't deserve.

As a service industry, shops need to remember that they're there to provide a service: access to professional help. The customer doesn't really NEED the LBS for much any more. There's online shops, catalogs, etc. for most of the parts, the only thing that's left are emergency supplies, bikes, and service. Service is the place that the LBS should concentrate. Both customer AND for their bikes.

Yes, I've had guys pick my brains for hours just to leave and come in the next week showing off the parts they've gotten at XYZ mail order house. Yes, it aggravated me. Did I let the customer know? Nope. All I could do is grin and bear it, and praise them for getting the widget of their dreams. BUT, for every one of those, there are a dozen people that are going to take my advice and buy whatever they need in my shop, AND need help putting the widget on!

If we'd had the bad attitude towards "difficult" customers that you seem to display, we'd have been making a lot less $$! Yes, the customer is always right. Even when they're wrong! The minute you start to argue with them, you've lost them as a customer. Yes, there are some people you just don't need as a customer, but what about their friends? and the friends of the friends? They probably know that Joe is a PITA, so if you can deal with him, y'all must be OK...

I heard once that a satisfied customer tells 3-5 people about the good service, but a dissatisfied customer will tell 10-15 people about the bad service. Which sounds better to you?

BTW, that works in investment banking as well.

Mike
THAT explains the attitude. nmMShaw
Aug 29, 2003 9:37 AM
Exactly. nmNo_sprint
Aug 28, 2003 10:40 AM
Some follks are too sensitive for retail.djg
Aug 28, 2003 11:05 AM
And they shouldn't try waiting on tables either.

I wasn't there. I can imagine a customer being rude under all sorts of circumstances that might piss somebody off. I can imagine all sorts of stripes of argumentative behavior in dickering over price. At some point, I would think, the "no"s get firmer. At some point further, you just have to turn your back. But merely asking if there's some kind of discount possible? Every shop around here I know of cuts a 10% break on parts and accessories to at least one club and I've never gotten a rude answer or a funny look when I ask whether the club discount is available. Shops generally seem glad to oblige. And it's real easy to say "no."

Customers may be absolutely clueless about the guy's cost structure or what somebody may perceive as inequities in the bike parts distribution system. If the LBS cannot price match Colorado Cyclist that's fine or too bad or whatever. The customer might well think he has good reason to patronize the shop in any case, supposing he thinks they add value to his purchases. But expecting everyone who walks in the door to know and be sensitive to your business costs and higher prices is unrealistic. And the fact is that there's no uniform practice on discounts in the business--not every shop does it but plenty do and its amazing to me that there are shop owners who don't know this or simply aren't willing to filter their perceptions of customer behavior through this fact. You don't have to go to Turkey to find bargaining, or even to Morocco. Besides car dealers, it's pretty clear to me that the appliance store down the street has negotiable prices, as do many stereo stores, as do--at least to some extent--many bike shops. Scolding a customer who asks for a discount politely--knowing full well that many shops respond positively--just seems like a bad way to run a retail business that sells consumer goods that people use for recreation and fitness.
The father is losing it...hudsonite
Aug 28, 2003 11:07 AM
I try to frequent my LBS. I buy small items at the price marked. If they have what I want in stock and the price is reasonable I pay the man and that is it. He bought the inventory and he has a price, I like what he has and I buy it.

On big value items I do my research and figure out what the best value is. It could be local or it could be an mail order. I then talk to my LBS and ask them what they can do. Most of the time on bigger value items they do not have it in stock and would have to order it themselves. If they can get close to the mailorder price I buy it locally. If they can not, then I buy it somewhere else.

Unlike your crazed LBS/Father my local guy appreciates the chance to compete. It is better for him to make some money than nothing at all, especially if he is not carrying inventory on the item.

I learnt this after buying something remotely. The local guy asked why I did not talk to him. I told him that I had asked the price, and it was too high. From that point forward, I always ask first if they can give me a better price. Sometimes they can, sometimes they cannot.

The LBS/Father was having a bad day, maybe a bad month. It can be frustrating for a small business owner to compete against the big guys. It is normal for them to be 'unhappy' about pricing issues. But he should have really just said, "No, this is the selling price" and smiled. As the consumer you can then make the value decision, price vs time vs shipping headaches.

I am a busines owner (B to B) and a deal never happens without the other side trying to get a better price. This is normal and I do not think anyone should take it personally. It is business pure and simple. We need to respect our merchants, but they also need to respect the consumer. Both can go too far the wrong way sometimes. If you like the store and the service they give, another chance may be appropriate.
What service was the owner providing in this case?NatC
Aug 28, 2003 11:36 AM
Handing the stem across the counter?

"The slap in the face is that you are telling the owner that the service he is providing is not worth the extra money"
What service was he providing?TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 11:40 AM
1. Instant gratification, you ask for it, 30 seconds later, you posess it. I have yet to see an Internet retailer pull that off.

2. Knowledge. Maybe the bar isn't right for you, and the shop will tell you why you should look at something else. Maybe it's fine, and you don't even realize that they've provided this "service".
"I'd like this bar please."NatC
Aug 28, 2003 4:00 PM
NO! Not for you! No bars for you!!!
wow, all he did was askhokie_biker
Aug 28, 2003 11:45 AM
but don't worry, if I run across your shop, I'll avoid it if that's your attitude and I will tell all my riding buddies to do the same.
Stupid......270bullet
Aug 28, 2003 12:26 PM
This is the information age. As a consumer, we are more educated about our choices than ever. If you want someone's business, you must be competitive. If I can buy a stem for $80 you are charging $110 for, then I will - unless you price match. You don't care about me - you want my money. I don't care about you, I want what fits my needs at the time.

Service? Service is treating a consumer with respect.

That LBS will be out of business. Good riddance. Self obsessed shop owners need to take a course in customer care.
Good for you,TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 12:50 PM
I'm proud that you are a savvy consumer, and will scrimp and save to get every last dollar. I have good customers, who value my advice and will pony up $110 without thinking twice.

See, so I have good customers, who value what I do. And I have customers like you, who are angry because I "overcharged" them. And then they go on to say that they would be very good customers if my prices were just in line. If my prices were in line with your expectations, you might be a good customer, but I would be out of business.

The sad thing about bike shops is that the people working there DO actually care about you. We DON'T just want your money. If we just wanted money, we wouldn't sell any high-end parts.
Angry? No270bullet
Aug 28, 2003 1:38 PM
Sorry, not angry, just been around long enough to know that no matter what business you are in, compensation drives behavior. You write you DON'T just want [my] money. What do you want? My friendship? for me to hang around the shop all day shooting the sh**? No, you want me to pay and leave so you can help the next customer who will pay and leave.

You are nice to customers to get them to come back time and time again so they spend more money. You may like them, you may not. You may be friends, you maybe not. But you are nice because people like nice people - which means they will come back more often and buy more stuff.

But don't try to sell anyone on the idea that your motivation for being in business isn't to make a buck - and the more the better. If a shop owner treats a customer like in the original post, he will not be in business long. I agree with the other posts: "Will you match this price?" "I'm sorry sir, I can't. But if you buy from me I'll set it up for you"
That's this business,TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 1:46 PM
The thing that you don't understand is that providing the high-end product is not the bread-and-butter of the business. We aren't selling ham sandwiches or air conditioners here - this is stuff we're really passionate about.

Yes, we want you to hang around and shoot the sh**. Not on a busy Saturday, but some other time. What most people here fail to grasp is that unlike many businesses, bike shop owners do it because they love it first, and they hope they can make enough to stay in a business they love. They aren't out to make every last dime in the process.
The guy that installed my air conditioner...NatC
Aug 28, 2003 4:21 PM
was pretty damn passionate about air conditioners. He couldn't care less about bikes though. He didn't understand the fascination with bikes at all. Don't think you're better than the next small businessman because you sell bikes. They're kids' toys to most.
Did you hassle his son for a discount?russw19
Aug 28, 2003 6:49 PM
Or did you pay the asking price? Did you ask him to instal it for free because you bought your last A/C unit from him 12 years ago?

It's funny how seriously some people are taking this thread... there are two things I want to add in. First, everyone of you knows that there are two sides to any story and no matter how exact and honest Sirius is trying to be, the story didn't go down exactly like he says. He is telling you and I a story on the internet... I am 100% positive that his perspective is changing the story. We all do it everytime we tell stories like this. Does that mean we are dishonest? NO! It means we are human.

Second, TJ is trying to tell it to some of you how this incident looks to a shop employee or owner and some of you are seeming to get angry at him. He's trying to show you the other side of the coin... nothing more. If you can't see his point of view, then you can't see it. But you will also never see the other side of this story as the shop owner did. And that is to be expected. Most people work for someone else and are not directly responsible for the bottom line. We are buck passers and we deal with other buck passers most of our days. We don't see the business owner's perspective even when we are face to face with him/her, like Sirius didn't. He just wanted a better deal. And the business owner wanted to provide a better life for his family. Can you really fault the owner for that? None of you (except TJ) find fault with Sirius, but he's the one telling the story... how can you really fault the guy in the shop for saying no.

Sirius even says that if the guy just said "No" he would have walked away, my only question, and I mean no disrespect by this, but how many times did you need to hear "No" before you lived up to your own words?

I agree that if things went down EXACTLY as written, Sirius was more in the right than the owner. Maybe an 80/20 split. But no one won here, both of you lost. But if Sirius asked for a discount, and was told "No" then asked again, he deserved a lecture. Anyone who says they could have taken "no" for an answer and doesn't deserves to be lectured. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't there, and I am not standing up for anyone... but I am sure that the side of the story that we have heard is not the exact way things happened.

My 2 cents (3.5 if you live in Canada)

Russ
The bottom line is...Sirius
Aug 28, 2003 8:19 PM
Thanks for your input but the one thing I may add is that there have been several times that I have walked into a bike shop and other types of retail places and asked about their price matching policies and if I feel that I can purchase it significantly cheaper elsewhere, I have walked away.
I did not hassle the son - just asked whatever he could do and if his answer would of been nothing so be it I asked he answered .I was still bought it the bar willing to pay the sticker price because I wanted it. Just as he said no to price matching I could of walked - I had a choice. I understand that they dont price match but I guess I wanted to see what they could do perhaps meet them halfway and that's what ended up happening - he (owner) asked how much I wanted to pay and he counter offered. We negotiated we agreed -I just didnt need to be treated the way I was. During his venting he even admitted that he was pissed off - totally unacceptable behaviour in my opinion
The bottom line is...russw19
Aug 29, 2003 4:29 PM
Let me first say.. I do believe what you say... but what does the owner believe you said and did, and what does he believe your intentions were? That's most likely a more important issue to consider on how this got out of control. You may have had the absolute best of intentions, as may have he, but when you get right down to it, he and you are both simply looking out for your own best interests, and not the other's. I can easily see how this got that out of hand too, because I work in a shop, yet I am still a consumer. I see both sides of this everyday.

And Sirius, I was trying to offer up a possible and plausible reason for what the owner was thinking and why he acted that way... please don't think I was trying to disrespect you in the process. I hope this all works out in the long run for all of you.

Russ
Actually Russ...NatC
Aug 29, 2003 3:16 AM
I got bids from several different a/c installers and asked if he could beat the others' price. He did, included installation, and I have a/c. He's happy, I'm happy. Not once did he lecture me about how hard it is to make a living these days (who doesn't know that?). I therefore chose him to do my gas fireplace.

Same deal with my landscape. I got several bids and asked if they could beat the other guys' offer. They did, I have a backyard, and they have my money. That's how business works, you have to be more attractive than your competition. Sometimes it's by having a lower price, sometimes it's by doing something else. Scolding a customer is not the way to do it.

I've never much cared for self-obsessed shop employees that elevate themselves above the customer, assuming they know more than the "ignorant schmoes" who shop there (not all shop guys are like that, I know). What are they, some special bike god, put on this planet to guide the masses to bike salvation? If that decribes you, then get over yourself. You are a retail salesperson, not a sage. It's not as if you need to be board certified and state licensed to sell me a handlebar. You need to be knowledgable but so does every other salesperson in any other business. I can't count how many times over the years I've had to endure the priveledge of watching the shop employees strut around like roosters, swinging their dicks at each other. You all have seen it before, you know what I'm talking about.
Very well said, and I totally agree!russw19
Aug 29, 2003 4:32 PM
BTW, I started out replying to your post, but it was really only intended as a reply to Sirius as a possible explanation about how I would have thought the shop owner was feeling, and why.

Thanks for your input, because it really does put a lot of things about this thread into proper perspective. Very well said!

Russ
Stupid......hackmechanic
Aug 29, 2003 5:57 AM
Lowest common denominator shoppers like you need to take a step back and look at the big picture. Spending your money locally keeps your money local. You spend money at the local hardware store, the owner of the hardware store buys a house built by your friend the construction worker, the construction worker can afford to buy a TV from the local electronics shop, and so on. And each one of these local businesses thrive in a strong local economy providing jobs for people like you, or your kids, or your friends. But you've managed to save $30 on a stem by sending your cash to Colorado Cyclist. Congratulations, your such a "smart" shopper.
Hear that?270bullet
Aug 29, 2003 1:58 PM
That's the sound of the world passing you by as you hold on to your 1950 economic beliefs.

I saved $30 on the stem that allowed me to by a new set of tires, which allowed a laborer in some factory the opportunity to come to work, to collect his pay, to feed his family, to drive his car. Had I paid the mark-up, I wouldn't have been able to buy the tires, the factory worker would have lost his jobs, his kids wouldn't get into school, they'd drop out, become welfare recipiants because the tire factory had to shut down because people were "supporting" thier LBS by paying too much for a stem when they could have used the savings to buy other products to keep other worker employed.

Oh, your such a smart man with your 1950 beleif of the world. Wake up. It's 2003. It's a global economy and the consumer has more buying power than they ever have had before. Further, there are refined business processes and tools that help take the cost out of business making all more competitive. You can sit on your park bench and long for the days of old, but those days are gone forever, you should just let them go.
The $15 haircutMel Erickson
Aug 28, 2003 8:41 PM
People tell barbers their $15 haircut isn't worth it all the time, just not exactly that way. I used to get my haircut at my wife's trendy hair salon. The prices started to rise but my haircut stayed the same. When the price got to $20 for your basic trim I took my business down the street to the local barber shop and got the same quality haircut for $11, didn't have to make an appointment and got in and out faster. I told the salon I didn't think they really gave a $15 haircut by taking my business elsewhere.

It's always a struggle, whether you're a consumer or a businessman. The trick is finding the right balance. Sometimes it means you lose a customer or do your business elsewhere. One of the reasons businesses fail is because they misjudge their clientel. They miss the mark. It could be harder for people in the bicycle shop business than other small businesses to hit the mark. I don't really know but from the sounds of this admittedly biased and painfully brief sound bite of a story I get the feeling the owner may be missing the mark.

I also get the impression you probably wouldn't harangue a customer in the way Sirius described, even if he insulted you in the way you feel Sirius did. I'm in the service business too, only mine is government service. I work for a county and if I yelled at a client as described I would probably have more time to ride my bike and fewer dollars for upgrades. It's plain old not the way to do business, even if there may be a reason.
I would never dreamjtolleson
Aug 28, 2003 10:39 AM
of walking into a small business and asking them to match an internet price. Never.

He shouldn't have blown up, but I personally think the request was pushing the limit and it clearly touched a nerve with him.
And why would you "never" ask an LBS to meet an internet price?newridr
Aug 28, 2003 11:02 AM
I hardly think it's out of line to inquire if the store would meet or at least bring a price more in line with an online retailer's. Are you trying not to hurt the owner's feeling's or do you have so much disposable income that you don't mind wasting it on higher prices?

I have no problem asking a shop (LBS or otherwise) if they would be willing to bring the price of an item more in line with an internet price. To be fair, however, I always include the price of S/H and don't just quote the item's price.
And why would you "never" ask an LBS to meet an internet price?jtolleson
Aug 28, 2003 11:13 AM
They are in totally different markets. Different volume, different service levels, different overhead. Even those internet businesses that have a brick-and-mortar location have efficiencies of scale for internet shopping (and thus wholesale buying power) that give them a pricing advantage.

I don't ask a small business (I didn't say "LBS" because I wouldn't include my local REI or Performance Bike Shop) in my statement because of the factors I outlined above. I either pay their prices (for convenience or to reward them) or I don't.

I assume that your reference to "so much disposable income" is kind of a snipe, which this debate doesn't require. There are some businesses I "reward" because I think they are great shops and want to see them around. So I'll pay full retail for the occasional accessory. Sometimes I'm price conscious and hit the internet. It varies, with no hard and fast motive or methodology.

I don't ask restaurants to price match the guy with the hot dog cart, either, even if I'm just buying a hot dog. I decide if I want to pay their prices, and they decide if their prices are competitive enough.

I especially would think that haggling on accessories is kind of an insult. It is one thing to see if there is some room for movement when shopping a $3000 roadbike, but quite another to seek a price discount on accessories that you aren't even paying them to install.

One gal's opinion. YMMV.
"Save your LBS"TJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 11:10 AM
And do it by not shopping there any more. I guess it's time for my semi-annual discussion of why everybody reading this are really lousy customers.

The bike shop business, as should be apparent to everybody, is not one that is easy to maintain. Margins on most commoditized products are no more than "keystone" - i.e. the retailer is selling it to you for double what they paid. Less commoditized products - anything 105-level component and above, have progressively lower margins. Dura-Ace and Record have margins around 30% (bike shop charges you 1.4x cost). As a result of this, shops make about the same amount of money on all components, regardless of whether it's Record or 105. One issue is that the more exotic stuff takes more time to sell (because "enthusiasts" ask 1,000 questions) and has less profit.

Tubes are probably the biggest profit center, with margins in the 400-500% range (we charge $5-$6 for something that costs <$1).

Cycling enthusiasts are the biggest pain to deal with - they notice when things aren't just the obscure way they left them; they complain about paying to have a wheel trued ("but, it's so simple..."). Give me a mom, dragging in two kids and three bikes with flat tires any day. That's like a $60 repair - and the mom is so grateful that her husband didn't have to do it that she brings in cookies. The enthusiast buys a tube, sprawls out in the middle of the sales floor with his wheel, asks to borrow a tire lever, and complains that I overcharged him for the tube. Enthusiasts, from a business perspective, are not worth the effort.

From another perspective, they're why we are (or were) in the business. I had a lot of good customers become good friends. But they were good customers first. It's fun to chat about the possibility of electronic shifting with a regular who drops by on a snowy January day. Enthusiasts aren't profitable - but they make the job more interesting. And they cannot save the LBS...
Perfect!MXL02
Aug 28, 2003 12:23 PM
Absolutely hit the nail on the head. My LBS deals with me only because I am not only a customer, but a friend. The wrenches that work in the place are also high level riders, and we hang together chatting about riding etc. But they have made it abundantly clear, that dealing with high end cycling equipment is basically a pain in the A$$, due to the demanding nature of the customers, and the low return on their investment. That is why my LBS deals mostly in hybrids, cruiser, and kids bikes...and enthusiast level bikes by special order only.

Yes I pay retail for parts from them, but I get all kinds of services and advice free of charge which more than makes up for the extra amount I pay. If I do buy parts on the internet they will help me with the installation at a nominal fee.

Most small retailers pay wholesale what we pay for parts on the internet, because of their low volume. To ask them to sell them at the internet price is asking them to sell the parts at no profit. I think the owner described in the original scenario was over sensitized because it is my understanding that this issue has become a real problem for small LBS's, causing them to either a) join the growing list of etailers in order to increase volume and thus decrease prices, or b) become less of a parts supplier and more of a service center.

You can't have it both ways...you can't have a quaint Mom & Pop atmosphere-type LBS, and low prices. It's like asking a small hardware store to compete with Home Depot. On the other hand, ever try getting someone to help you at Home Depot?

Customer/Retailer interaction is a two way street. Become a good customer and in my experience you will be treated like one...
Naive270bullet
Aug 28, 2003 12:35 PM
"My LBS deals with me only because I am not only a customer, but a friend"

Your LBS deals with you because you let them deal with you. They may be friends outside of the shop, but the bottom line is they care about your $ when you come to the shop - not you.

There is no such thing as loyalty to the customer, and consumers should not dedicate blind loyalty to a shop just because they are the LBS. The shop must be competitive in a connected market - or find a way to justify higher prices. Example- auto shops that provide free loaners, or free shuttles during service, hair-cutters that offer free scalp massages or shoulder massages when you get a hair cut. Something more has to be given to justify premium pricing. Being a "local" is not value enough.
Now that's naiveTJeanloz
Aug 28, 2003 12:42 PM
"There is no such thing as loyalty to the customer"

Remember that next time a bike shop overnights a new wheel to you at IronMan, because yours was broken in transit. Or the next time a mechanic stays late to fix something for a good customer.

The fact is that good customers are good friends, and there is a huge amount of loyalty to good customers. There is very little loyalty to customers who mistakenly think they're "good customers", because they've spent "a lot" of money. A lot of money to them is usually ~$1,000.
Disagree completely.MXL02
Aug 28, 2003 1:40 PM
and I pity you that you haven't experienced this kind of customer/shop owner relationship.
Don't pity me..270bullet
Aug 28, 2003 6:18 PM
there is no need. I have not missed out on anything special because I'm not buddies with a local shop owner. I have a simple philosophy. Provide good service, at a competetive price, and I'll do business with you. Expect me to pay a premium for no reason other than you are a local shop owner? Sorry, there are 60+ LBSs within 40 miles of my home and 3 online that I can shop at to get the part I need.
Perfect!Sirius
Aug 28, 2003 12:42 PM
I could not agree with you more. The LBS that I normally deal with automatically gives me 10% off all the lubes,jersies, and all other accessories with me even having to ask. I like that. Sometimes I can still save a few bucks but gas is expensive around here and this shop is 2 miles away. But when I purchased some framesets I did politely ask if the price was negotiable. He said that I was already getting a good price and I accepted that. I would do more research and found it to be true - the price was very fair but if I really dug deep I probably would of found a better price elsewhere but I chose to pay his asking price -no problem. My whole point of this thread was just the earfull of crap when all I did was politely ask. All he had to do was politely say NO. First thing I told myself as I was leaving was that I will never buy there again. Probably no loss for them but word travels fast in the bike community around here.
No doubt the guy should have handled it better, butMXL02
Aug 28, 2003 1:39 PM
I have seen my friends at the aforementioned shop get real touchy when this internet price issue rears its ugly head. I'm not excusing his behavior, just providing an explanation.
well...gtx
Aug 28, 2003 12:51 PM
In my experience there are actually quite a few rich goofs willing to spend $7k on a Serotta, or pay full retail on a $150 helmet or $100 shorts. And a lot of those moms come in with Huffys. I always had a policy against working on department store bikes cause they are so crummy you can't gaurantee your work, so then I'd take pity and make the repair on the spot for free...
re: Slap in the face ???Sirius
Aug 28, 2003 11:12 AM
It appears that there is a variety of opinions which are all valid. It is just that in today's marketplace many of us have become accustomed to places advertising that they will "Match any Competitor","We will not be undersold",or gauranteed lowest prices. Not just bike shops but everything especially in consumer electronics. Other stores,restaurants and products may not offer such price matching but may offer coupons or rebates. Maybe shops that don't like to price match should put up a sign or something to prevent peaple from even asking. Like I said previously all I did was ask and all he had to do is say no. When I asked the son "If there is anything he can do that would be cool" I feel that is a harmless request. In any case, they could of just said no and that would of been the answer to my question. I have purchased many things at the regular LBS that I go to and others and I would ask if the price is negotiable/or price match and the answer would be no and I accept that with no offense taken. But with the attitude that the shop owner had I will no longer buy things there and will also advise my riding buddies of my experience. Someone stated earlier that they laugh when someone tries to help the LBS's well I for one do for several reasons. I like to go to different bike shops and take a mental note of what they have cuz you never know when that day will come when you need that one part.Also I avoid online shopping because I fear credit card/identity theft, and usually when I want something I am impatient. I will drive 50 miles one way to Supergo to get a part if I have to. Plus I really would hate to see the bikes shops fade away.
Men of principle.......surly357
Aug 28, 2003 11:18 AM
the thing about this that kinda cracks me up is that both parties are unhappy about the deal, but it was made anyway! The owner feels insulted, yet was willing to sell out eventually for a few points of profit margin. The customer feels insulted, yet still bought the part from a shop owner who's attitude he detests after he grudgingly gave him a couple bucks off.....
The definition of successful mediation...MXL02
Aug 28, 2003 12:28 PM
when both parties walk away unhappy.
re: Slap in the face ???John445
Aug 28, 2003 11:26 AM
Let's make this easier on all of us; shop owners and customers. If you are a shop owner who is insulted by customers patronizing your establishment but asking the wrong questions and you don't want to be bothered, please post your shop name and location, so no one will be wasting the others time. Then and only then will everyone be happy.

John
you support the shop, the shop doesn't support youhokie_biker
Aug 28, 2003 11:28 AM
they need you as a customer or they don't have a business. it's that simple. It's noble of you to support the LBS (same as buying CD's at LRS (record shop) not best buy), and everyone should try and do it. With that said, they should go out of the way to treat you kindly.

My response if I was the shop owner "Sorry Sir, we can't go down that low, but I can go to this, and throw in some excellent personalized service and a story and a chuckle or two that you won't get through a computer ." Then you should have been able to leave with a smile and told all your friends about the great service and they would rush over there. Everyone would be happy, especially owner because his great service helped him gain/keep a bunch of customers.

The problem is you needed the part, so you have to support them no matter how crappy because of a need. I would give the shop one or two more chances then find somewhere else to shop.

As an aside, I work retail PT at an outdoors store (a local REI type chain) and just being able to talk to people about all the sports/trips/places they've been is the best part. I know what it's like to get crappy service, like you did Sirius, so I know what not to do. I hope you just caught them on a bad day and things will improve.

I would also voice your displeasure, at least privately to the owner if it happens again. Say 'I've shopped here for x years and might not come back because of this' People can't fix problems they don't know are there.
cut the shop owner a breakWhoWasThat
Aug 28, 2003 12:35 PM
Maybe he was having a bad day. Competition from the Internet is a sore point.

OK for you to ask for a better price, OK for him to haggle with you. Yeah, he was probably too abrasive, but all of us are sometimes.

It's your business, to be sure, but if it was me I wouldn't badmouth him to my buddies.
What ever happened toMel Erickson
Aug 28, 2003 12:28 PM
the old adage (coined looooong before the advent of the internet) "The customer is always right."? Think what you want, seethe inside, but put a smile on your face and act like a gentleman. You may not be able to satisfy the customers request, but decline with grace. Surprise, he might just decide to buy anyway, 'cause you're such a pleasant fellow. I hope dad was just having a bad day.
"The customer is always right"The Human G-Nome
Aug 28, 2003 2:03 PM
honestly, i always found that adage rather confounding. everyone knows the cliche, so they use it as an excuse to be an absolute arsehole to anyone behind a counter. i love it when i see obviously well off folks walk into a store and then demand "the customer is always right" to some poor schmuck making minimum wage and then proceed to be absolutely rude and insulting to the kid because we all know the kid has to just sit there and take it and he can do absolutely nothing about it. sometimes, it's downright sickening what people get away with when they know someone can't fight back or take exception to something stupid they've said.

i've always thought that if i opened a restaurant, it would be "The Customer Is Always Wrong". as long as they knew what they were in store for before crossing the threshold, they'd just take it... maybe even be amused by the over-the-top rudeness. we have a liquor store ownere on my block who uses this to perfection and folks frequent his store just for the novelty and the show. it's funny really, how often the real cliche is dead wrong and just how wrong a "customer" can be.
Who says that?ochsen
Aug 29, 2003 5:03 AM
The customer!
Consumer expectationsSirius
Aug 28, 2003 1:07 PM
Perhaps it was my habit of asking because most other shops ask if I have an ad or printout of a better price and most shops have met that price or came halfway because of S&H charges.Sometimes I get a good price because they already have it in stock and don't need to special order it. Most consumers do shop around and if a retail establishment can accomodate the request that both parties are winners. If not the consumer has the option of walking away. Both parties have thier options. If you go to a "Good Guys" and say you saw the same TV at Costco for less they will tell you they don't price match Costco or the Internet just local stores. To me that is fair and a customer can choose because he was given his options.Everyone has thier options but regardless if a shop owner is having a bad day, is bitter about price matching or whatever, they should still treat a customer that walks through the door with respect because it may start as a small item but can lead to a bigger or more purchase down the road. Word of mouth is sometimes the best advertising a shop can have.
Sounds like a frustrated and immature manKristin
Aug 28, 2003 1:51 PM
Perhaps he is not able to price match large retailers without losing money. He certainly can't afford to pay out of his own pocket for your bike parts. However, his reaction sounds as if it was over-the-top. I had an experience like this yesterday at a local camera shop. The lab screwed up a roll of film--lightening shots. They didn't look carefully and assumed it was an unexposed roll. It was not and they subsequently ruined the film because they assumed it was blank. I demanded a refund from the shop owner--who did not do the processing himself. Well, I was subjected to 20 minutes of whining and griping and yelling about how he would never get that money back from the lab. He tried 3 times to blame me for it. Hello? It was a $7 refund, and I did get it from him. In the end, his ranting only proved that he is a little cry baby who will likely go out of business (if $7 is such a big deal). All it accomplished was to lose another customer. You didn't do anything wrong. Just walk and let the guy handle his own misfortune.
it is in their culture...LinuxDude
Aug 28, 2003 5:37 PM
Sirius, don't sweat it. You have to understand that rudeness arrogance is deeply ingrained in the bike shop culture. Here in NYC, where we have the highest concentration of LBSes in the world, you can literally count the pleasant ones with one hand. The majority are quite simply rude, arrogant, intolerant and quite bad at running business. They don't think they need to earn our business, but rather think that we owe them our business.

That's why I long ago decided to become independent of the all the LBS. Now, I do all my own wrenching with a great deal of satisfaction, without having to put up with the abusive LBSs. Not to mention all the hard earned money I saved buying online or elsewhere (fellow cyclists, classifieds).
LBS ShoppingHENRY K
Aug 28, 2003 7:07 PM
It's hard for a LBS to match the mail order or internet prices a lot of the time. I always feel that my LBS is giving me a fair deal if the purchase price is about the same as the on-line price including the shipping. That way I helped out the LBS and I didn't have to go through the aggravation of ordering, and dealing with shipping not to mention if the wrong item or a broken item is shipped, I have to send it back and wait another week or two.
LBS ShoppingLinuxDude
Aug 29, 2003 6:56 AM
Sorry, but i have had much better experience with the Online/mail order companies than with LBS. when I try to return a defective item back to my Local shop the next day they blame it on me. On the other hand when something breaks down or doesn't hold up even after 6 months I have been able to return that Item to Nashbar and Performance without a problem what so ever.
MSRPSirius
Aug 28, 2003 8:31 PM
Funny how after reading all the replies I actually checked the MSRP of the Deda Newton bar and the MSRP as stated on this site under reviews is $95.00. The shop's price was $119.00 . CC price was a sale price of $79.00 and other sites average $89.00. I still paid more that MSRP only because I only knew internet prices and I did not previously check the MSRP. So I guess that was my mistake in not checking first.
Sirius, you ought to go return that bar today!NatC
Aug 29, 2003 3:19 AM
That would put the owner right in the hospital, wouldn't it?! Weezie, this the big one!
agree 200% nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 29, 2003 5:50 AM
As a recent shop owner..............Vamoots
Aug 29, 2003 3:18 PM
We kept the latest copy of Colorado Cyclist with all of our vendor catalogs and would ALWAYS match a price from it. Even if it meant only making $7-8 on a Dura Ace derailluer. Worth it in the long run.
Bud
Let me try an analogy.Ian
Aug 29, 2003 5:08 PM
TJ seems to be defending the shop owner, not so much the way the owner handled it, but why he got angry. And I think many of you who have not worked in a shop do not understand why the shop owner got angry.

Look at it this why. Many of you are internet / mail order shoppers. You shop those channels to try and save as much money as possible and keep as much money as possible in your own wallet. And when you have to go to the LBS and pay full retail, you feel ripped off.

Well, look at the other side of the coin. The shop owner is trying to sell the item at full retail because he wants to keep as much money as possible in his own wallet. And when you ask him to discount it, he feels ripped off in much the same way you do when you pay full retail.

Now, I think the shop owner did not handle this situation very well, in fact it sounds like he handled it badly. But, it is an emotional situation, so many times it will not be handled well. Whether the consumer or the retailer, it is the same feeling, just from different sides of the counter.

Ian