Friday, January 25, 2013
Now, I immediately gravitate towards an older employee, one who might have been born before the 80s and possibly understand—not to mention, seen—early mountain and touring machines. This usually works in my favor. Flattery goes a long ways too. "They made great bikes then. Keep replacing parts and this'll last you a long time."
Either that or I get shuffled onto two or three sales people before my needs are met, which doesn't make for a satisfied customer. I have to bite my tongue, sometimes with a big sigh. My bikes may be old, but I've toured in places they can only dream about, I grumble to myself. So, I spread my bike wings among five LBSs, hoping for change, for that one retail place where I can do all of my business.
While this has been my first positive experience at one establishment, I often have good vibes at another shop, teaming with younger mechanics/sales people. They are mostly helpful, though the aging owner—ironically—can be cranky, depending on his mood, so I often shop elsewhere for a while. I attribute the shifting attitude to the trend in fixies and single speeds. Bike lovers are retrofitting 70s and 80s bikes for commuting and playing bike polo. It also allows practically anyone—this includes the lower wage bike shop clerk—to own an inexpensive bike. I believe this exposure has renewed interest in older machines. The "cool factor" not withstanding, clerks are becoming more knowledgeable and unafraid when a customer with a vintage bike walks through the door.
I've often wondered if my gender has anything to do with my treatment, but that's information for another blog post.
What has been your experience at bike shops?