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LBS rant....(55 posts)

LBS rant....namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 10:58 AM
I have supported my LBS as much as is reasonable since I have been into riding (over 15yrs). Heaven only knows how much I've spent there over the years but its safe to say - a lot! Anyway, most of you have probably seen that I am looking for a stem to adjust the fit of my bike. Well, I decide to start at the LBS naturally. You'd think they have something that might work right? Afterall this is a huge shop with four other locations around Cleveland and enormous inventory. Turns out all they have, and all they carry is a small parts bin with about 6 older model stems in it. I wasn't rally that shocked since the owner really has never been that focused on customer service, only selling bikes. His mechanics have been great to me over the years if I have needed their help and have gone out of their ways at times. It's just that the owner seems to have forgotten the customer. Recall what I said about shopping there for years...well, the guy still charges me for things like cable end caps and stuff when I add them to the other things I have bought that total good amounts. I know that is his right but it really rubs me the wrong way. One time, I even complained after two and a half weeks about a wheel repair that was promised in a week. He basically tells me to go elsewhere if I don't like it. Huh? Nice way to treat a long time customer (in the end, I told him I was picking up the wheel and not coming back to which I got a call 10 mins later from his mechanic saying the wheel would be done that day - what a jerk that it comes to that).

Well, I think I just hit the straw that broke the camel's back. After telling them what I was looking for and hearing they had nothing I asked a simple question..."could you swap one from one of the bikes on the floor?" There was silence on the other end of the phone. They were dumfounded. The reply came "you want us to do what?". Now two of us were confused, my question was simple and not unreasonable in my opinion. Afterall, they claim to custom fit new bikes, how can they do that using only the stem that came from the mfg.? I decided to reiterate the question. This time I got an abrupt reply, "Absolutely not, what if the stem I swap is the size the customer needed?" WTF? I AM the customer Mr. Duhmas! Besides, what's the chance that stem is spot on anyway? Needless to say, I was (am) po'ed!

Now I'll admit, maybe it's because of a lot of pent up frustration with his mgt. in the first place but it's clear to me that my business doesn't mean squat to them. In my defense, I know of very few riders who will use the shop unless it's an absolute emergency and I know of several former employees that think of the owner as nothing short of the antichrist. If he wants to rely on new business only, that's his option but I don't think that is a model for success in that industry. Foruntately, it's now his problem, not mine.

That said, adios Century Cycles. I just got off the phone with the boys at Pricepoint and frankly, I think CC should give them a call too and learn a little bit about today's bike buyer. It's not the old days anymore, and they aren't the only game in town. I can get parts faster and cheaper online, the rest is pretty easy math!

Peace and thanks for letting me vent.

Scott (going back to his happy place now)
I propose a new rule,TJeanloz
Nov 21, 2003 11:16 AM
I don't think any shop with more than 2 locations (really, any with multiple locations, period) qualifies as a LBS. While Performance has stores - they aren't really a LBS. A "LBS" in my mind, at least, is a proprietership where the owner is one of the main employees. This is clearly not the case of a 4 shop chain.

As for swapping stems with a new bike, that is completely unreasonable (unless you are talking about fitting a similar bike that you just bought from them). Bikes come with specific stems - and if you swap one out, you're just as likely to have somebody post on-line that you cheated them because the bike was supposed to come with XYZ stem in black, and it came with XYZ stem in silver. Not to mention that depending on the stem, there could well be an hour of labor involved in the swap. Completely unreasonable.

However, I do believe that any decent shop should have a full range of stems available for purchase - but unless the shop has "fit" you, you purchase the stems at your own risk.
swap out?DougSloan
Nov 21, 2003 11:21 AM
Couldn't the shop give you one off a floor bike and then replace that with another from a distributor? The bike may be unsellable for a few days, but I doubt it would be a big concern.

swap out?TJeanloz
Nov 21, 2003 11:28 AM
For a really good customer, we would have, no question. But the rule with good customers is that people who really think they are good customers, usually aren't.

The issue with swapping stems out is that bikes often come with stems specific to them - not many bikes come stock with a stem that you would buy from Excel or Colorado Cyclist. The stem is one of those items that purchasers tend to go cheap on, because they know people will replace them anyway. But if it's not a removable faceplate, and the bike has Campy, you're talking about unwrapping the bars, pulling off one shifter, reinstalling everything - only to find that the cables are now too long or too short. Re-doing the cables, thus re-adjusting everything. So you've done a full tune up on a bike, just to make a sale on a $20 stem. Pretty unreasonable.

For a good customer? In a heartbeat. For a customer who had just purchased a bike, and we're trying to fit right? No problem. For a guy off the street, who comes in once a month? Not likely.
what's a good customer?DougSloan
Nov 21, 2003 11:35 AM
Is "good customer" based mostly upon money spent, or other things like attitude, club membership, activism, racing... those types of things?

what's a good customer?russw19
Nov 21, 2003 12:00 PM
It's like Porn.. I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.

A "good customer" of mine may ask me to do this, but would certainly never ever ever rant about how "wrong" their LBS was for NOT doing something crazy like butchering a new bike on the showroom floor. There is customer service, and then there is a customer taking advantage of the shop... I am of the opinion that what was asked would qualify as the latter.

Good customers usually get to that status by being kind friendly and reasonable people, just like a good shop gets to be that way with you as the consumer. It's not how much you spend there, just as it's not how big a discount a "good" shop gives you. It's about mutual two way respect.

what you mean is being a pushover, right?namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 12:22 PM
expecting nothing that isn't offered to you. ask for nothing other than what you see on the shelf, and, by all means, require no one there to do anything that would resemble going out of their way.

reread my post. I never ask for anything special, never complain about price, or even suggset a price match, and never put my needs ahed of other customers. There, one side of the two way street, any clue where the other side is because I sure don't ever see it.
what you mean is being a pushover, right?russw19
Nov 21, 2003 12:47 PM
OK, and I really think you should reread my posts as well. Asking them to pull a stem off a new bike is outrageous. If they offer to do it, that's REALLY REALLY COOL of your LBS to do so, but for you to ask it of them is just plain wrong. If you run out of milk, do you go to the supermarket and ask them to just loan you a cup for your morning cereal until you get some more in? Say you are sitting around the house and decide you want a new TV. Do you go to Best Buy and ask them to loan you a Plasma TV until the one you ordered comes in? If you want a green Ford Explorer but the lot only has black in stock, do you tell them to just give you the black one and have their body shop paint it green for you? No, because all these things are stupid and you shouldn't ask that of anyone. Just because you are a good customer (in your eyes) at your LBS doesn't mean the guy is obligated to treat you special. What if the guy has a policy against showing favoritism to customers simply because he doesn't want to alienate those that don't get treated better?

I think your above post actually spells out more than you wanted it to. You seem to imply that you do in fact EXPECT things that aren't offered to you, that you do in fact ask for what you don't see on the shelves (as if there is this big conspiracy to hide things from you in the back room) and that you require the shop to go out of their way for you. Why is that? Is it because you truely to believe that you are to be treated special from them? I only can see what you post here, but that may just be the problem. You are seeming to imply in this post that to not be so demanding makes you a pushover. I think I just may have a clue as to what the other side of the street sees. I hope I am wrong, and I just may be, but you seem to be getting very defensive about people trying to help you out in your situation with your LBS.

Just so we are clear, yes, I do think it is right to go to your LBS and expect nothing that isn't offered, ask for nothing other than what you see (unless you are asking them if they can order it for you) and require absolutely nothing special. I don't go to any business and require that the staff goes out of their way to help me. That's just ego feeding... and my ego is big enough as is. I am getting a picture in my mind, and if it's inaccurate then I am sorry, that you are much more demanding to your LBS than you think you are. I just think you are subtle about it, and I think the shop charging you for cable ends is being subtle in letting you know that.

I know it will be hard not to, but please don't take this as a personal attack. It is not intended to be, but it may just be an eye-opener about your relationship with your LBS. Again, as I tried to say in earlier posts, go to another shop and stop fretting over this situation. Life is way too short to let something so trivial as this bring you down. Change shops.

Again, I am just trying to help, not offend, but take a deeper look at just what your expectations are of your LBS and ask yourself if you would expect others to treat you the same way if you were the shop and not the customer.

Funny story, in retrospectTJeanloz
Nov 21, 2003 12:57 PM
"(as if there is this big conspiracy to hide things from you in the back room)"

I once had a customer come into the shop who believed this was the case. She was a little overweight, and asked for some weird, but common Wal-Mart type bicycle product, that we didn't carry. I said I was sorry, but we didn't carry that product, and I could try to order it, but I had never even seen one available from any of our distributors. She sighs, and then asks for some other weird thing, like a purple helmet visor (I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was in the vicinity of the helmets). Again, I explain that we don't have such a product, but I could try to find one and order it for her. She asks for one more weird thing - I think it was a reflective vest - and we had just sold the last one we had in stock, so I explained that we didn't have any, etc.

And she stares me down, and says, "You don't have any, or you don't have any for ME? I can tell when I'm not welcome." And storms out. I was stunned for at least five minutes, replaying what had just happened, and what I could possibly have done to so irritate her. My co-workers assure me that she was a psycho of some kind...
Just wondering...ACE-
Nov 23, 2003 11:19 PM
What does her being "a little overweight" have to do with anything?
I think it had everything to do with everything,TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 6:16 AM
My feeling at the time was that she felt like we had singled her out as "not a bicyclist" and hence, nobody we would want to help, because of her physique. She clearly felt like she was being discriminated against, and her weight was the only thing I can possibly think of that made her feel out of place.
Nov 24, 2003 10:32 PM
I guess I was just not catching on.
what you mean is being a pushover, right?shopclass69
Nov 21, 2003 1:09 PM
well said. I think some shops are bad, BUT SO ARE SOME CUSTOMERS !!!
what you mean is being a pushover, right?russw19
Nov 21, 2003 1:24 PM
But I think it's often something stupid where certain customers and certain shops aren't willing to meet the other half way, or a third of the way or whatever. I also think part of it is that no shop wants to think it's OK for a customer to treat their shop like it was a used car lot and yet some customers think that's exactly how you treat a bike shop. I don't know how many times I have explained to customers that the shop I work at doesn't haggle prices. It's unfair to those who don't know that we do or that don't know how to negotiate a deal. But I will tell a customer that and then they will try to start the bargining, like I wasn't just telling them we didn't.

Communication is not always the best between shop and customer. And sometimes lines are crossed and gruges are held when they shouldn't be.

really great points of perspective Russ...namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 1:26 PM
and no offense taken at all. I didn't expect full agreement on this post but I wanted opinions and a way to get it off my chest - I got both.

"Life is way too short to let something so trivial as this bring you down. Change shops." This really sums it best btw.

I did, in this case, expect a little extra help in return for the loyalty I showed through all the years. What I learned is A) they don't like me afterall or B) my loyalty really means little to them. Either way its bad so I'll move on. I still think a shop this size should stock items that are common like stems. Im not even saying high end stuff, just enough to allow even potential buyers to try different ones out before they decide on fit and a potential bike purchase. This way, they'd also have some stock on hand in the event someone else had a fit problem which can be common. I'm not saying they should stock esoteric stuff but stems certainly don't fall into that category any more than tires do.

Again, I appreciate and respect your feedback especially since you can offer it from the "other side". Thanks for taking all the time to respond as much as you did. Frankly, that is the customer service I was hoping for all these years from the shop. Kinda ironic, isn't it?

Peace and light Russ,
Scott (checking the yellow pages for Eddy's #)
Getting back to Seinfeld.........:-)Dave Hickey
Nov 21, 2003 1:30 PM
Now when you two address each other it's going to be:

Hello, Scoooott

Hello, Ruuuuss

Great discussion guys........
LOL!!! yeah, I love a good debate...namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 2:34 PM
and this wasn't just meant to stir up the troops.

See you soon man, ith my new stem too ; )
Nov 21, 2003 2:39 PM

And I am a product of the Eddy's system. My first job when I was 14 was working at the Montrose store. About 3 months after they opened it, my dad was gonna buy me a bike for my 14th B-day. I went in ahead of time and explained to Gene, the head mechanic at the time, who was really a great guy, that I had saved $600 that summer mowing lawns and my dad was gonna buy me a $400 bike. I was going to take it home and bring it back the next day and buy a better bike. They said great, no problem. I knew my dad thought of a bike as a toy and wouldn't understand my having a $1000 bike when I was 14. But they were cool and I got a Bianchi Super Corsa with Campy Super Record. From that first contact with that shop, I have never had a negative thing to say about them. I worked there all thru high school and the summer of my freshman year in college. I love that shop and I would use that shop as the ideal if I were ever to open my own.

They are good, fair, honest, and they know their stuff. You will like them.

It's multivariate.TJeanloz
Nov 21, 2003 12:03 PM
(1) Money spent - though this can be worked around

(2) Treating all of the employees like people - thanking them when they do something that, though expected, is nice anyway. The difference here is between the random guy who pokes his head into the service area and says: "do you have a pump back there," and the guy who says: "hey guys, could I borrow your pump, thanks a lot, this is a big help." It matters.

(3) Understanding that when we're busy, we're busy, and while we would normally love to discuss the merits of brass nipples over alloy, we would prefer to do it sometime other than Saturday morning.

(4) Weekday customers. There's nothing better than regular customers who you can give 100% of your attention to because you aren't that busy. They appreciate it, we get to know them, it works.

(5) Refer people to us (and make sure we know it was you that sent the customer in). We've had one customer who brings in more business than any yellow pages ad would, and we like that.

It's mostly attitude - all the money spent in the world can't buy it, and, in fact, spending a lot of money could keep you out of FOS territory, because losing the income would be tough.
great points...namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 12:28 PM
I have referred several people this year alone who have bought bikes there too as well as other things. I always make sure they let the guys know I sent them in.

There are a ton of Cleve. area riders who would not only echo my comments but wonder why I went easy on this shop in the rant. Believe me, I've tried to make it work as best I can.
One issue I have,TJeanloz
Nov 21, 2003 12:33 PM
One thing I pointed out in my original post, that hasn't been followed through on, is that I don't believe the same relationship develops with a multiple-store shop. I think the rules entirely change with a multiple store layout, because there invariably has to be some kind of "corporate" control and policy over those shops - the owner can't be at any of them more than 25% of the time.

The beauty of the LBS is that there is no policy or corporate issue beyond what the owner/manager/lifelong employees dictate. We have rules, which we can break. Bigger shops can't do this, and to lump them in the same category with sole proprieterships is unfair to both.
Also, mutiple shops means multiple inventory basesrussw19
Nov 21, 2003 12:58 PM
In a case like this, Scott's stem may have been a phone call to another store away, rather than a call to a distributor and a week's long UPS ride away.

also a great point ....namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 1:12 PM
and in this case, pretty true. this shop is much more of a small corporation than a true LBS.
has it occurred...don440
Nov 21, 2003 1:59 PM
to those making the distinction between "good" and "bad" customers that if you treat every customer as if they were the "good" customer, you might actually end up with more of the "good" customers. some schmoe off the street better take a class in "bike shop etiquette" prior to stepping foot in some of these joints. it's nice to know that prior to entering a lbs for the first time, i have not yet achieved the "good" customer status, and am not yet eligible for anything more than average service.

as far as asking about swapping a stem, you need to post a message on a bulletin board first and do your research before asking such a preposterous question. the nerve. better yet, consult your "bike shop etiquette" textbook. it is your responsibility to behave properly in an lbs, that way you won't get pissed at their attitude and leave, and be held partially responsible when the joint closes up. remember, it is your duty to keep them in business, not theirs.
I see your pointTJeanloz
Nov 21, 2003 2:04 PM
Believe me, anybody who has ever been on the other side of the counter would like to treat everybody well. Good service should be the minimum standard - but going out of your way to lose money is something reserved for a very few people.

I just can't see a scenario where swapping a stem off a new bike is anything short of extraordinary - unless you'll let me charge $75 for the $20 stem - then it's good service. You can't seriously expect the shop to lose money on every transaction with every customer. You can expect that, from time to time, the shop will lose money to keep a friend/long time customer happy.
not even close to what I am suggesting though...namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 2:33 PM
lose money? no way! I'd never ask them to lose money on my behalf. Taking a generic or low end stem off a bike and swapping it for a similar stem of a different length just isn't that extraordinary unless you don't happen to own a hex wrench. Like rt said, it's a 3 minute job max. Perhaps, the shop should consider having a couple of stems of varying lengths there anyway. Call me crazy but it seems reasonable for a big shop. Also, and trust me here, this shop has never been afraid of charging the proverbial $75 for a $20 part and I have paid them those kind of prices since day one. Got me far, didn't it?

I think it's one of those, you had to be there situations but like I said below (or maybe above, Ive lost track at this point) my complaints are tame relative to some of the stuff that goes on there.

I'm not trying to be a defensive jerk but seriously, are shops, in your opinion, to be held accountable for nothing other than themselves? Seems to me that the case. In my line of work, and most, I know of, you do go out of your way for your clients to make things right for them, your deliver your goods and services on time, and strive for repeat business - even if it means doing the "extraordinary" once in a blue moon. Never has that happened here. I figure I spend roughly $50-75/month there consistently. You spoke of losing money for a customer, but do you think that $35 stem is worth the $600-900 annually that I will no longer be giving to them? Not to mention, I would have wound up paying more than it was worth anyway. This is one of the reasons many bike shops have a tough time keeping the lights on. Short sighted personal economics. They may have good bikes and even sell a few but in the end, bad business practices will kill you - almost ever time!

Just my opinion but I still think the situation stinks.
swap out?russw19
Nov 21, 2003 11:51 AM
Doug, more like unsellable for a week or more. Not an option for most shops. That and as soon as you do that, Murphy's Law says the customer that wants that bike walks thru the door the day after you pull the stem. I am all about giving the best service I can to a customer, and if you have read my posts about how I try to treat people, you know that already... but that said... it is NEVER worth it for the shop to toss a bike sale, a big ticket sale and big profit item too, just to make some random (sorry Scott) customer's bike fit them right.

And to add to this, Scott never even mentioned if he actually bought is bike from the shop in question, just that he asked them to pull a stem off a new bike for him. If he didn't mention it to us, do we know that he mentioned it on the phone to the shop too? If he didn't they thought he was some crackhead just trying to fix the fit of his bike and had no concept of why the shop wouldn't pull a stem off a new bike, making it unsellable. Now that part I will admit is speculation on my end, since it wasn't covered in the post, but it sounds like they went the extra step to look thru everything they had in stock as well as the junk bin for him. So really, they did everything a reasonable shop should, short of butchering a new bike and possibly costing a sale of said bike for a random customer who had no concept of just how unreasonable that request was.

It's like going to the Honda dealership with your 2 year old Prelude and asking them to just toss the seats out of a new Prelude on the lot into your car because you ripped the seat and don't want to wait to order one yourself. It's completely unreasonable.

If you have to go that far, try other shops. Cleveland is a MAJOR city! They have a bunch of shops to try. If there is nothing in Cleveland, Akron, another MAJOR city is just 30 minutes down the interstate. If that doesn't work, Youngstown, home of Bike Nashbar is only 45 minutes away.

Just tyring to make this a little more understandable,

I've seen this kind of behavoir from the local LBS'sScot_Gore
Nov 21, 2003 2:05 PM
However, I'm in the twin cities. Order and ship of components isn't required, most shops around me have a less than 10 minute drive to the QBP will call window. I've even considered asking if I can pay them and stop by the QBP will call on the way home, but, never have. I'll wait for them to offer that as an option versus attempt to impose myself on the wholesaler/retailer relationship.

I managed a retail store for one year (hobby/craft not an LBS). I was fortunate enough to have a local wholesaler. One AM before the store opened, I was at the wholesaler cherry picking the good stuff from their bins (something you can do if you're a local), I look up front and see 3 of my regulars walk in and begin to speak to the owner about buying stuff from him. He proceeds to tell them that he needs a $20,000 minimum first order, and a letter of commercial credit from their bank. These poor dejected souls left the shop and showed up at my store later that day with money in hand. I was grateful to my supplier for protecting my business.

An hour to swap a threadless stem? C'mon!BowWow
Nov 21, 2003 11:32 AM
It is a new bike we're talking about here, not one with a 1" threaded quill.

I'd have bailed on them LONG ago, like the first time they charged me for cable ends included in another purchase!
Nov 21, 2003 11:43 AM
My statement was: "depending on the stem, there could well be an hour of labor involved in the swap."

It could well have been a Campy bike with 1" threaded quill stem - and that would take at least an hour to swap. If it was a removable-faceplate, threadless stem, no more than 10 minutes (assuming the cables still work).

Charging for cable ends is a subtle way of telling a customer you don't like them - it's in the "this guy is such a PITA, I'm not going to do him any favors" department. I can tell I'm about to get in trouble for my "attitude" from the "customer is always right" folks...
that's the thing...namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 11:57 AM
I don't generally ask for anything special. I've never asked for them to price match or complained about their prices. I bought everything from bikes to tubes from them for a long time and I get along with pretty much everyone there. I always spend some time time just hanging out with them when I am there shootin the breeze. I have gone out of my way to be a good customer and I'm there fairly often (more than once a month) for things like tubes, CO2, bars and gels, cables, and stuff like that. I mtb mainly so there is a lot more maintenance issues that require me to purchase things, tools for instance. Point is, add taht up every month, and I am spending a fair amount of loot there. As much over a year, Id argue, that any of his mid level bike buyers spend on a bike. Thing is, I am there year after year, not like the guy who buys one bike and disappears.

There is no reason I can see that he wouldn't like me and that certainly doesn't come across in his employees treatment of me. If he does have an issue with me though, I say, show some stones and confront me on it, otherwise, treat me better.

This isn't a rant on all LBS's btw, just this one so I hope you don't feel I am putting you on the defensive.
that's the thing...russw19
Nov 21, 2003 12:17 PM
Scott, I read your first post and I didn't think you were sounding like a PITA customer, but I will tell you that your request to pull a stem off a new bike is unreasonable. Read my reply's to Doug's post as to why. It's not something I would do for anyone but real friend's of mine at the shop. And those are the guys I ride with on my training rides. They are also the last people who would ask me to do this anyways, and wouldn't mind waiting the extra week for me to order them the right stem. What I may do for them is order the stem, if it was in stock and on the way and we just happened to have the exact stem on a stock bike, then maybe I would pull it. But only after I had confirmed that the replacement was in transit to me. That's it, period.

Now, all that said, it sounds like you have a pretty good case that your shop isn't measuring up to your expectaitions of what they should do for you. Reasonable or not, it's not important, what is important is that you find yourself another shop. Like I said earlier, try Eddy's. There are 2 locations in Cleveland (although I haven't been in either) one on the east side and one on the west side. If you live on the south side of Cleveland you can just hop on I-77 and drive down to the Montrose (West Akron) store. It's about 20 minutes south of Gund Arena. Take I-77 to Route 18 (Medina Road, West Market Street) and it's just off the interstate in a strip mall that has a Click's supermarket in it.

Hope this helps,

thanks Russ...namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 12:25 PM
I go by the Montrose shop once a week in the summer on the way to Akron BMX. Otherwise, Im northwest so the North Olmsted shop is clsoe enough. Nice people there too from what I have gathered in the few times I've been there. Looks like I need to get to know them better huh?
They are a good shoprussw19
Nov 21, 2003 12:52 PM
And they have the resources to stock lots of high end stuff. They have never had an inventory problem that I know of in the last 20 years. It sounds to me like you just need to get away from that other shop and try a new one. I just replied to another of your posts and I will admit it sounded harsh, but I was not trying to offend. Just trying to help.

At this point, with the other shop, I am willing to bet that no matter what happens with them, you will forever have a sour taste in your mouth about that shop. So don't waste anymore of your time thinking about it. Just move on. It's just one shop out of like 10 in the Cleveland Akron area. There is no need to let it get you down... just go to another shop and be happy again.

Hope it all works out for you. And again, sorry for sounding harsh in the other reply. But see the message I was trying to get across, as it is a valid one.

that's the thing...MShaw
Nov 21, 2003 2:57 PM
I used to run a shop too. Swapping parts of stock bikes just ain't done UNLESS you're buying the exact bike and need a slightly different size, say, stem.

The minute you start this, all of your stock bikes are going to be no longer stock... People look at the pictures in the catalog, see X stem. They come in to the shop, and there's Y stem on the bike and they're confused. Better? Worse? Why isn't the stem in the picture on the bike?

The shop that truly fits its customers to the bikes they are buying will have a fair number of stems somewhere in the shop from various swaps.
If they don't, ya gotta wonder.

So, yes you are probably right to go elsewhere, BUT asking them to take a stem off a floor bike was a bit much. Getting upset about it isn't going to help any. You may try dealing directly with the mechanics. They may have ideas, or know someone that has a used widget like what you're looking for.

Stems left from various swaps.Spoke Wrench
Nov 22, 2003 5:25 AM
They're all going to be long stems. I can't ever remember ordering a stem for a new bike that was longer than what came with the bike. I've sure special ordered a bunch of shorter ones.
i thought the same thing._rt_
Nov 21, 2003 12:07 PM
i can swap out a threadless stem in under 3 minutes if necessary.

yup, they sound a bit arrogantDougSloan
Nov 21, 2003 11:18 AM
My shop would pull anything off a floor bike to help me. I go in for cables, and they just hand them over, N/C.

My brother, with his 10 and 13 year old boys were coming for Thanksgiving. I thought it would be great if we all went for a mountain bike ride. I asked the shop owner if he ever rented bikes, and told him what I needed. He said, "No, but I'll loan you some."

I can take saddles, stems, handlebars, all that stuff home, even bikes, now that I think about it, and try them out for weeks before even paying for them or returning them.

As far as I know, everyone in town loves the shop, too. It's not just me.

The only gripe is that if I want to special order something, it can take a while.

You must spend a bundle therepmf1
Nov 21, 2003 1:45 PM
No offense intended, but you do spend ALOT of money on bike stuff, and from what I've read, mostly at your LBS.

They should treat you like royalty and its good they do.
yes, and we go back 23 years nmDougSloan
Nov 24, 2003 7:43 AM
long past time for a new shoplaffeaux
Nov 21, 2003 11:32 AM
I don't think you're being unreasonable at all. It's definitely time to find a new shop.

The shop in my area with the best customer cervice (IMO) will do what ever it takes to make you happy. I was looking for a new rear shock for my FS mtb. I asked them if they had one in stock and they said they did not. They asked if I'd like them to order one. I said, "no." They then asked if I'd like them to pull a rear shock off of a frame hanging on their wall. I said, "yes." Ten minutes later I was out the door with the new shock, and they ordered one from their distributor to replace the one on their frame. To me that is customer service.
Scott, go to the Clev. Eddy's location.russw19
Nov 21, 2003 11:37 AM
I don't know exactly where it is since they built it after I moved from the Akron area, but I used to work for Eddy's and I can tell you they are one of the best shops I have ever been in. They have a location in Willoughby Heights on the east side and one in North Olmstead on the west side. Go talk to them and see what they have. If they don't have anything in stock they will get it from the Stow store, which is huge, an old supermarket. If need be, just call the Stow store and ask for Jim. He's the owner. Tell him Russ from Florida who used to work at the Montrose store says hi, and help you out. I guarantee he will give you all the help you need. They are nice people.

Ditto, Eddy'sDave Hickey
Nov 21, 2003 11:58 AM
I go to Eddy's Willoughby Hills store when I visit my mom in Mentor. Great service and people
After hearing this I think I will go drop someandy02
Nov 21, 2003 11:52 AM
porter and coffee beasn of at my LBS!
Take some to TJ's shop too! nm.russw19
Nov 21, 2003 12:23 PM
Any shop that starts pulling parts off of bikes, won't be...MR_GRUMPY
Nov 21, 2003 12:20 PM
around too long. If you bought the bike from him, he should order the part, and sell it at a discount.
On the other hand, maybe he just doesn't like you.
I gotta say...ochsen
Nov 21, 2003 12:56 PM
When you order your next bike on-line to get the personal customer service you're looking for, don't expect them to give you free cable end caps and swap out stuff when they're out of stock either.

I will say the shop owner's customer service was poor. I'm sure he's heard stuff like that before--he could've handled it a little better. I'm guessing that's the real underlying issue. Anyway, that's why you need to find a shop that suits YOU and not that place in particular.
Scott what side of town you on? I live in a 'burb of ...jmr986
Nov 21, 2003 2:19 PM
Cleveland and I deal with a small LBS that is very service oriented. I stop in, need a tube, here ya go no charge.

When I was looking for a new bike I hit em all in the Cleve area and found a lot of variety between (and within)the same stores. The manager at Eddies Montrose was very good. CC in Solon was good too. Hubbub in Cleveland Heights was good also.
Im a west sider, Bay Village to be exact...namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 2:36 PM
who are you thinking of? SPIN? Marty's?
re: LBS rant....redglobal
Nov 21, 2003 2:29 PM
My LBS would swap out a stem in a heart beat, for free if you bought the bike from them. I have recieved great service free slime, loaner bikes, free adjustments I even had a seat rail break on my fat ass and he let me pick any saddle I wanted free. It's all about the service to me, By the way I ride 20 miles out of my way to get to the shop, they always fix my bike on the spot while I wait. That's service.
Right on!namaSSte
Nov 21, 2003 2:38 PM
and I bet they have a lifetime customer who will never complain and will send more business their way too! Good on them for being that way.
Where'd you buy the bike?hackmechanic
Nov 21, 2003 10:26 PM
Maybe after years of putting up with your smaller purchases and treating you well as a customer you showed up with a fancy new road bike that you didn't give them a chance to compete on for a sale and decided that after years of you coming in every couple of weeks for some crappy little part that they had spent half an hour educating you on that you weren't worth their time because you didn't give them a chance to sell you a bike.

You make is sound like you give them your blood but $75 every month amounts to jack compared to the customer that comes in once every 6 months and buys a Record carbon crank and then a wheelset 6 months later, and a bike once every 3 years. And the LBS would more than likely take the stem off their own bike as a loaner until the stem with the right shade of graphics came in on special order from Italy for the right customer who didn't waste their time with dumbass questions about the latest John Cobb position of the month or some lame review on a product that has had zero testing made by some fly by the seat of their pants company producing left hand thread chain ring bolts because they stay tight.

I don't know what YOUR story is but every story has 2 sides and I've heard both sides of the same story often enough to suspect that there's something amiss here. If you bought your bike from them then they are screwing up. If you didn't why not ask the mail order internet company that sent you your bike to swap out the stem for you? Maybe dig out another 10% off code for SuperGo and get the stem of your dreams via the Brown Santa without dealing with the unsympathetic LBS. WalMart has some good deals too.
"if you bought the bike from them"TJeanloz
Nov 22, 2003 7:53 AM
I think every shop defender here agrees that IF you bought the bike from them, this is not really an outrageous demand. If you just bought the stem, or didn't buy anything at all (yet), it's ridiculous.
Bike Authoritygala7516
Nov 21, 2003 3:23 PM
Scott, try Bike Authority. They are the road bike pro's in the Cleveland area. They are very patient and helpful. They have a lot of cool bikes to drool over too.
Customer Servicebiketillyapuke
Nov 21, 2003 5:10 PM
I am sorry, I think the LBS owner was out of his mind. The postings on this link as well. "Joe off the street who comes in once a month?" That is your definition of a bad customer!!!? If I had a steady once a month customer I would treat him like royalty.
The future of the LBS is in CUSTOMER SERVICE. That means you have to put up with the guy who talks to you and buys his stuff elsewhere. Eventually your service will rope him in. If you refuse to be flexible to your customer needs then they will buy their stuff online. The nature of sales is that, hey, sometimes you don't make the sale and it goes to Megalomart or whatever.
Yes, it stinks that you dont always make the sale or that customers can be unreasonable. But you must realize that one bit of bad word of mouth will poison 100 customers. Look at Namaste. How many hundreds of people have read that post?
My opnion, drop the attitude and you will be a happier person.