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Bying online or supporting local dealers: How much guilt?(29 posts)

Bying online or supporting local dealers: How much guilt?rgass
Aug 29, 2003 3:55 PM
I'd love to support the local bike shops in my area. The people are friendly, competent, and willing to help. The dollars I spend go back in my community. The problem is that every time I'm in the market for a new component, either my local dealers don't have it in stock, or they charge the retail price for it. I don't want to wait a week for an item, then have to pay the list price.

I can get the same products online for much less, so I usually do. I buy less expensive items at local shops (bar tape, water bottles, etc.) because they are cheaper than the shipping charges for online purchases. I support my local dealers by taking my bike in for repairs and maintenance, but that's about it.

Do any other folks experience cognitive dissonance over this?
I feel the same, repairs and tune ups only. nmMKD
Aug 29, 2003 4:01 PM
how much are you really saving?moschika
Aug 29, 2003 4:37 PM
i know the answer depends on what you're buying. most things i need i can get at my LBS for roughly the same price as online when i include shipping, i'm usually only looking for a couple of things at a time anyway, and it's something i usually need right away. fortunately there are many LBSes in my area that are pretty good. prices vary so i shop around. one local shop is a mail order house but they aren't always the cheapest anyway.

if i'm only saving around $10-20 thru mail order, i just end up getting it from the LBS, $10-20 isn't going to break the bank, and i get what i want from people i know and if i have a problem with said item, i can take in for their help.

and i don't ask for price matches, except for the shop that doubles as an internet mail order sight but even then...
hundreds of dollars/year!Jeff Rage
Aug 30, 2003 7:17 PM
No joke. For all the stuff I buy, the difference really adds up. I would support a good LBS and pay more for components, but there's none in my area.
IMO: What you're getting / what you pay isn't always worth whilepitt83
Aug 29, 2003 5:03 PM
AT the LBS, yoiu get some re-assurance and knowledge (assuming you have a worth while LBS). Some brnads and some items can only be practically bought there. But, when I'm asked to pay substantially more for an item than I can but on-line, I'm not going to be held ransom. Wheels are a fine example. I doubt you'll get a wheel at most LBS for what you can pay on-line. If you consider blowout sales, no way. 10pack of tubes for $17. Let's see, I'm asked to pay $4.50+tax each at the LBS, that's $47.70 versus $17+5shipping.

I patronize my favorite LBS only because of how I'm treated there and will scour the on-line retailers for best price or selection of exact items. I particullarly don't care for one of the majors, so I check there last and rarely buy there (I didn't say never though)

Don't feel like you owe them blind loyalty. You're entering a fresh contract every time you go in the store. Every purchase is weighed by many factors. Sometimes price is the only one you care about; sometimes the least of your considerations.
Feel about like you do, but I don't think we're saving...cory
Aug 29, 2003 6:16 PM
...as much as it seems. Used to be better when shipping was three bucks, but the last order I had shipped cost almost $20.
Am I the only one who feels DOUBLE guilt when I order by price alone? I'm guilty because I'm not supporting my local guy AND because I really like Rivendell and want to help them out.
Feel about like you do, but I don't think we're saving...TNRyder
Aug 29, 2003 6:49 PM
After going for years with my "local" shop being an hour drive away, let me tell you how good it is to be in a town with a good local shop again. It's amazing how much you miss out on w/out a local shop. Do I buy everything there? No! But I will gladly pay a small premium for items that I do purchase there as the sales staff and owner treat the customers with respect! Good service means alot!
Convienance...asphalt assault
Aug 29, 2003 7:23 PM
On the way home from work today...stuck in rush hour traffic...I phoned one of my favorite web retailers and ordered a stem and bars. Next week it will be on my doorstep, you can't beat the convience of mail-order...or the selection.
Feel about like you do, but I don't think we're saving...rwbadley
Aug 29, 2003 9:13 PM
I agree Cory, I went through the same double guilt with Riv and LBS.

I worked it out a bit tho. If I need little stuff I go down to Great Basin, only three blocks from the house, and I really like Ray.

Other roadie stuff I may get at Bike W on Lakeside. I'll also give College a chance and Bike Bananas too. There is a small shop on 4th at Morrill that opened up. I don't know how he's makin' out, it's a tough location for a bike shop.

Tires I will almost always mail order. I have bought a few other items off e-bay.

I try to show my face at the local shops, and buy a bit from all, hopefully they'll do ok, and I feel better about it too.
Think about it this wayInspector Gadget
Aug 29, 2003 6:58 PM
I certainly would like to buy 10 tubes for $17. Actually, I might seriously consider that, but I'm too much of a weight weenie to run regular tubes anymore.
Anyway, let's say that your LBS stops carrying brake pads because no one wants pay a ransom for them and they all turn to mail order. What are you going to do if you have a big event on a Saturday at 7 a.m. and you discover on a Friday night that your pads are too toasted to safely ride? Don't think it can happen? It happened to the BMX scene some years ago. Everyone went mail order to save $. They got burnt when it really counted as shops stopped carrying BMX parts.
Besides, you still have to wait a week from mail order, as well.
Additionally some mail companies are rip-offs when it comes to customer service. Example, and I'm going to trash a company. I don't care. They pissed me off that badly. I had ordered Gore cables from Jenson USA a few years ago, and paid for two day shipping. My order didn't arrive on time. When I called, I was told they were OUT of Gore cables. On backorder. No one ever bothered to tell me that when I placed the original order. These shmucks let me pay for two day shipping on an item they DIDN'T HAVE and they WERE out when I placed the order. So I had to purchase regular cables to use for a week only to be replaced in another week by my two day Gores. Now I only mail order what I absolutely cannot get at my LBS, and I ask first to make sure there is nothing comparable. I am well taken care of there.
Zero guiltterry b
Aug 29, 2003 7:28 PM
I don't know about you, but I work hard for what I earn and I'll be damned if I'm not going to work just as hard to get as much for it as I can. If people want to spend too much for bike parts so bike shop owners and employees will like them, then that's their choice. I do my own wrenching, I buy almost exclusively on-line and I don't feel like I owe anything to the LBSs.
Ditto. Guilt? None.KG 361
Aug 29, 2003 7:55 PM
I do buy items at the LBS, such as tubes and bar wrap. They give me a 10% discount (I bought my oldest daughter's bike there) so it makes some prices competetive. However, as another poster noted, you can literally save HUNDREDS of dollars on wheels and other big ticket items. Why should I spend that much extra dough? Just to give myself a "warm, fuzzy feeling inside? " I don't think so!
Zero guilt and other thingsTNRyder
Aug 29, 2003 8:37 PM
I'm not buying at the shop so that the bike shop people will "like" me. I am buying at the shop because they provide a good service, have parts in stock when I need them, and offer those parts at prices competitive to mail order! If the price is too much over what it costs me to purchase mail order, I will not hesitate to go that route without a scrap of guilt.

I do most of my own wrenching so the mechanic thing is not such a big issue. But it is nice to be able to call up and ask a ? while in the middle of cleaning a headset and get a solid answer as to what my options are. Does the mechanic there have to stop what he is doing to tell me what to do, but he does. Try that with a mailorder house. Your lucky if the person answering the phone could point @ a headset in a lineup.

Also, if your LBS sucks, don't shop there! I lived with that for 2 yrs in TN until they went out of business. I did not shop @ that place because they never had any parts in, and wanted too much $$ for them if I were to special order them. Surprise, they went out of business!

So what it comes down to is this. If you feel like you are getting value for your $$ where you are shopping, you are! Even if you pay a few $ more. You pay for the convenience. If you have a few days to wait, then go mail order and save a few $. Join team performance and you even get 2 day shipping for the same price as standard shipping. Great bargain as it only costs $20.00 a yr to join. They even give you a 10% credit towards future purchases.
NIL, nmc722061
Aug 29, 2003 7:54 PM
I would love to support my local bike shop more. But he only has three parking spots. And there always full. No kidding.(No Message)firstrax
Aug 29, 2003 8:41 PM
it's my moneymohair_chair
Aug 29, 2003 9:31 PM
I earn my money, the hard way, and I'll decide where I'll spend it with no guilt attached. I don't understand why anyone has a problem with this simple setup. If the LBS or any other business competing with online sales wants my money, they'll make spending it there more attractive in some way. Simply existing is not good enough.
Mohair said, IT'S MY MOENY!!!Canidraftyou
Aug 30, 2003 12:46 AM
Bike geeks go and buy at the shop. Geeks must have more money than I. I detto Mohair...IT'S MY MOENY!!! "Why make one person rich, spred the money around."

peace out
Don't get all co-dependentLeroy
Aug 30, 2003 4:37 AM
on your lbs. It's just business. They can't match the price - buy from who can. I draw the line at what is less considering sales tax and shipping - and factoring in how bad I need the part right now.
None whatsoever...merckx56
Aug 30, 2003 4:43 AM
if the guys who run the shops around here weren't such complete and utter a-holes, I would go in and buy stuff. I feel absolutely zero guilt for buying stuff online. I actually quite enjoy showing up on new stuff and seeing their faces when they realize I didn't spend the $$ with them!
I'd feel guilty if I didn't get the best deal for my moneyContinental
Aug 30, 2003 4:59 AM
Money equals security and opportunity for my family. I'd be irresponsible to waste it. I buy where I get the best price. If LBS goes out of business, it's their fault for not having a profitable business plan and then executing it. That's the way our economy works and it's why we have the highest material living standard in the world.
Let me guess: You think Bush is a FINE president, right?retro
Aug 30, 2003 6:44 PM
The true appeal of conservatism: It lets people justify their selfishness.
Let me guess: You think Bush is a FINE president, right?Tom C
Aug 30, 2003 8:28 PM
I don't know who exactly you directed this comment to but if the making of a welfare state for bike shops is some kind of implied conservatism on the part of the guiltless (selfish?) then count me as selfish. You can further count me as more libertarian than anything else. As such businesses should be free to fail or succeed as businesses. As far as George, I don't think anything of him at all.
Be generous, buy a YugoContinental
Aug 31, 2003 7:11 AM
If buying from the most efficient and competent vendors makes me selfish, then I guess wasting money by purchasing from inept or inefficient businesses would make me generous. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. Thanks for the laugh comrade! Do you own a Yugo?
re: No guilt at allhudsonite
Aug 30, 2003 5:50 AM
I really enjoy my local LBS. They are great people and I like to do business with them.They are always my first choice, but there is a limit.

Lets talk about selection. My local store carries Cannondale and Giant. They focus on mass market bikes that are equipped with Shimano. Tubular tires, forget it, same with Campagnolo.

If I want to purchase something other than a mass market product, they do not have it. If they order it, the mark up is too high and there is really no support on these special order items.

Internet and mail order companies offer selection, convenience and service. I can order something today and have it delivered to my home in a couple of days. This is a lot easier than driving across the city to look for a hard to find item. I can also save lot of money. Sometimes as much as 50% less than buying locally.

We hear over and over about supporting our local guy. But many of the Internet dealers are small business people trying to make a living by offering good product, good selection and good prices. They deserve to be respected and supported as much as a local brick and mortar LBS.

The Internet retailers have made more great product available to the high-end consumer than any brick and mortar retailer. There are lots of small and medium size companies in Europe and Asia making great and innovative cycling products. Without the Internet our choices would be further reduced and the selling price would be higher.

Our choices for bikes and components is now better than it has ever been. There are many LBS that are doing very well. Some are not doing so well, but that has more to do with their selling and service practices than anything else. I can name many LBS that market their product and service on the Internet. They are benefiting from the expanded marketing, and yet, complain about on-line sales practices.

I work very hard for my money. It is a very competitive market. If someone wants to sell me something, they need to work hard to give me value – period.
No guilt at alllemmy999
Aug 30, 2003 6:24 AM
I went to all of the LBSs the other day looking for a tube for a 700x23 with a long valve. They all had tons of 650 tubes, but very few 700 tubes and none of them were long stem. I waste my time going there. My wife bought Pearl Jersey and shorts for me in May for a bday gift and they were the wrong size. They didn't have ANY Pearl jerseys or shorts in my size. They kept stringing me along all summer saying that they would get some in and then finally said they would place a special order and it would be in the store in 2-3 days. 2-3 weeks later I called them and they said they wouldn't be able to get it. So after 3 months, I took them back and bought some on the web....saved $$$ and had it in 3 days.

I do ALL of my repairs and maintenance myself so my LBS sees very little of me.
you owe nothing to any business...Tom C
Aug 30, 2003 8:46 AM
foreign or domestic, bike shop or bank. If the service they provide does not first promote their own profit motive (and there is nothing wrong with that) whether they provide fine service or not, they won't survive. The perceived promotion of cycling is secondary and it has to be: it's a business. Where peoples guilt lies is in their perception that some shop is, number one, promoting cycling. I don't believe that that is compatible with surviving as a business. Also possibly that if they don't support their shops, the shops will disappear leaving them to fend for themselves for repairs. It's kind of like going to church to secure entry into heaven Just for the record, I do all my own wrenching, wheel building etc. but had a frame repainted through a shop about 7 years ago. It was good work at a decent price.
Here's my simple plan.DERICK
Aug 30, 2003 12:28 PM
I buy everything from online sources and save a ton of money. Usually from Performance. As a team performance member I get %10 credit for every purchase and free upgrade to FedEx 2 day shipping. Shipping is not much of a factor because I would have to pay sales tax if I bought it localy. I can order on Wednesday and have it by Friday.

They offer price, Selection, fast service and will let you return anything you buy for any reason no matter how long you've had it. I believe they've earned my business.

The trick is this. I never buy only one item. When I buy something big I order some small things as well. Whether it's tubes or socks or anything else that I wouldn't bother ordering buy its self. This way I don't pay retail for anything and save shipping.

If I do have to use the LBS I gladly pay their price and don't haggle. I am considering a frame purchase and will go through my LBS for that. They're good guys but the simple truth is that I couldn't afford as nice a bike or gear if I relied only on them.
As an LBS employee...Tig
Aug 31, 2003 10:12 AM
As both a consumer and an employee, I have to admit that not all bike shops are made the same. Some have everything in stock, but you'll pay full retail or even more! They tend to be shiny, polished retail outlets that fall short on good ol' fashioned customer service.

Other shops may not have it in stock, but will order it for you and you'll get it in the same time as you would have gotten it over the internet. They might even match or beat the internet seller's price.

Mine is the latter. Our manager will cut prices to an indecent level just to get the sale and gain a new/keep an existing customer. Not many will do that. He realizes that we are in a global economy and must compete to stay alive. However, most LBS's can never beat a price that an online business gets after buying at OEM prices. LBS's buy at higher wholesale prices through a distributer/middle man.

However, don't go to an LBS to pick their brains about parts, compatibility, etc., and then turn around and buy it online. We smell that foul odor quickly and will not help past a basic level once detected. ;-)
Guilt = zilch.Synchronicity
Aug 31, 2003 4:27 PM
Here in Australia, compared to buying on-line from the US, the parts are a rip-off. If you do ask a local shop to order a part in, they hardly ever get back to you. Even my favourite LBS has done this recently. Some bike shops that do have things in stock charge a small fortune for them.

Buying small things like waterbottles & innertubes is no good either as a lot of the time we don't even get the choice of styles & colours of bottles. AUS$20 for a tacx bottle? I don't think so.

On more than one occasion, one bloke at my LBS called me "crazy" for riding in traffic. As it so happens, two years later I agree with him & now stay away from traffic BUT he didn't have to insult me!

I took my dream bike in there once, NOT trying to impress anyone or anything, actually hoping no-one would notice, they crowded around it, and started picking it to pieces saying that they'd all prefer their own bikes. I feel too self-conscious these days about buying from local bike shops.

I have ZERO guilt about buying from overseas. I know the profit is going out of my own country, but I'm not going to just throw my money away.

Over the years, I have saved HUNDREDS of dollars, if not THOUSANDS.