Sunday, 4 January 2009

Bikus notus gous

That's Latin for "bike not go". After making big plans to do a lap with Chook, he chickened out and did a 6 hour ride up to Brooklyn instead (if I had done that, it would have been "body not go").

My excuse is that the bike had to go back to the shop for some work. I have long been a fan of Renegade Cycles, and have probably spent about five grand in their shop over the years. When you add up the bike, major and minor services, jerseys, knicks, shoes, helmets, gloves, pumps, tyres, rebuilds after crashes, computers and so on, the bill gets rather large.

I go there because I like the place. The range of goods is large, the shop is attractively laid out, things are easy to get at and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable. It has its downsides - it's expensive, it's a long-ish drive from home and parking near it is a right bastard. I don't mind a long walk if I am going there to buy a tube, but over the years, I've had to carry broken and un-wheelable bikes from my car to the shop, and that is no fun at all.

After the latest malfunction (brought about thankfully be wear and tear - I don't mind it if things on the bike wear out, as it means I am getting plenty of miles out of it), I decided to try one of our local shops instead. Call it a fit of madness if you like, but I really couldn't face the trek back up to Renegade.

I have tried all our local bike shops in the past, usually for buying small bits and bobs. I don't like any of them - they are cluttered, the parking is not very good (for both cars and bikes), they are badly laid out, with merchandise scattered in an aimless fashion throughout the store (I think I'll put this box of stuff down here and, oh, that one over there); but worst of all, the staff are just not very engaging. It's possible to walk into a local bike shop and stand there with a fist full of cash and be ignored for 10 minutes.

There's nothing more frustrating than wanting or needing something, having the money to pay for it and then finding that badly trained, disinterested staff are completely uninclined to take it off your hands.

Economic times are likely to be tough over the next year or so. The companies that get my business will be the ones that stand out from the others. The local bike shops aren't going to get it, that's for sure. After getting the bike checked in for a workover, I was told it would be ready the next day, and that they'd ring when it was ready. I got a phone call at lunchtime, but I missed it, and no message was left. If they had left a message to say the bike was ready for pickup, I would have collected it after lunch. As it was, they rang me again less than 10 minutes before closing time, and told me I could come get it. Many other things were less than satisfactory, but I'm sure you don't want to hear about them. I've had more fun having an ingrown toenail removed.

The only upside is that they fixed the problems, and probably for half the price of Renegade. But I'm buggered if I want to ever go back to them again. This little episode has re-incentivised me to drive to Renegade in order to have my wallet emptied next time I have a problem. If nothing else, when someone takes my money, I want them to look like they are enjoying the process of fleecing me, and to make my part of the transaction as painless or pleasurable as possible.

If nothing else, a recession should drive an awful lot of crap businesses to the wall.

1 comment:

what's an agronomist? said...

A quibble: "disinterested" = impartial, "uninterested" = couldn't give a f$%^.