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You won't take me alive
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Let me start off by clearly stating that in no way am I some angry man-hating mountain bike chick. I know that there are a ton of wicked cool guys out there. With that said:
I sort of recently moved away from home and away from my two favorite bike shops. As a girl I have found it VERY difficult to find a shop that treats me as an equal. A shop that does not look down upon me. A shop where the color of my bike and my eyes never appear together in the same sentence. A shop that does not try and sell me a bunch of junk that I dont need or want. A place where the salesperson does not smirk at me when I enter and does not snicker behind my back as I am leaving. I will admit that I can be ignorant at times and even mechanically challenged, but that doesn't make me any less of a rider/person. It has taken me almost two years, yup, two years to find two bike shops out of the ten that exist in my area that I deem worthy of my $$. That provide me with quality customer service. That treat me as an equal. Why oh why does it have to be this way? When did mountain biking turn into some elitist/sexist club? Anyhoo...I would just like to give it up for some of my favorite shops.
The Bicycle Rack in New Paltz, New York these guys totally ROCK!!!
Overlook Mountain BIkes in Woodstock New York Billy is the best.
The Laughing Dog in Amherst MA
The Competative Edge in Holyoke MA
 

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I know what you mean. I get this all the time in most kinds of stores. Bike stores, ski stores, running stores, music stores, electronic stores ... you name it. Ever try buying a car? Holy crap, that sucks. My strategy is to educate myself online before I go in. That way I can know when they're full of crap. Of course, this means I often know more than the salesman, and they don't like that very much. :)
 

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If it makes you feel better, it happens to guys, too (well, maybe not the comments about eye color). I've certainly received my share of condescending treatment at the hands of LBS employees...

seachicken11 said:
Let me start off by clearly stating that in no way am I some angry man-hating mountain bike chick. I know that there are a ton of wicked cool guys out there. With that said:
I sort of recently moved away from home and away from my two favorite bike shops. As a girl I have found it VERY difficult to find a shop that treats me as an equal. A shop that does not look down upon me. A shop where the color of my bike and my eyes never appear together in the same sentence. A shop that does not try and sell me a bunch of junk that I dont need or want. A place where the salesperson does not smirk at me when I enter and does not snicker behind my back as I am leaving. I will admit that I can be ignorant at times and even mechanically challenged, but that doesn't make me any less of a rider/person. It has taken me almost two years, yup, two years to find two bike shops out of the ten that exist in my area that I deem worthy of my $$. That provide me with quality customer service. That treat me as an equal. Why oh why does it have to be this way? When did mountain biking turn into some elitist/sexist club? Anyhoo...I would just like to give it up for some of my favorite shops.
The Bicycle Rack in New Paltz, New York these guys totally ROCK!!!
Overlook Mountain BIkes in Woodstock New York Billy is the best.
The Laughing Dog in Amherst MA
The Competative Edge in Holyoke MA
 

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Slothful dirt hippie
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I'm up with all that- the being female thing is one aspect of it, but there's a definate 'snob factor' in some shops as well. When you can find someone that says "you'll probably like this" simply because of the practicality and durability and confort-to-value ratio it's WONDERFUL.

A million thanks to Recycle in Ellensburg, WA... they are awesome at outfitting "real" riders, and Fred is a whiz at fitting, getting old weird parts to work together, etc.

A couple months ago we walked out of a large, very well known shop in downtown Seattle because no one working there would even talk to us- and I was standing around in tights and cannondale shoes ready to do some test riding. It was immediately obvious that they catered to far more image- concious (or just flat out more wealthy) folks, right down to the socks they were selling that said "YOUR BIKE SUCKS"... which so pissed me off I swore I'd never give them a DIME for the rest of my natural life if I could help it!!!

We slapped down over a grand that day in another shop that was curteous and helpful.
 

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roadie shops are the worst, for some reason.

i live in an area where the nearest bike shop is 20 miles away, but i drive about 45 to Tommyo Bikes in Phoenix-Paradise Valley. he sold me my last bike and really treated me as an equal. Tom Osborn is a great guy IMO.

really, the worst business concerning females, IMO, is anything automotive.

Rita
 

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roadie shops are indeed the worst... i ride a roadbike and a mountain bike... and just because i didnt walk in with a $3000 bike ... i am immediately sized up according to my components... :mad:

there are good ones at there though... but theyre awfully hard to find. :(
 

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My test: Walk in without kids, they show me a $1500 bike. walk in with kids, they show me a $200 bike. FYI: I have 7.5 bikes now (bought new/old one) cheapest being $15 (the "new" one) and the most expensive about $3000.

I use this example to explain to our employees that they can't make assumptions about people.

I wish I could tell you exactly why, but I think it has to do with the fact that the people in the shops are not trained in sales, they are there because they like bikes, not because they know how to treat people, sell to people, or deal in customer service.

I could go on and on and on, but I have a kid to pick up!
 

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Life's too short...

to be treated like a second class citizen. If I receive sub-standard customer service or am being disrespected in any way, I tell them how I feel and take my money and leave. I also let them know that I will tell everyone I run into about their stellar service. Don't put up with it. Retail is all about good service. I guess some folks just haven't learned. Sorry you ran into a bunch of clowns.
 

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boyRacer said:
roadie shops are indeed the worst... :(
That's pretty funny, because DH shops (in my experience) are the best. I've gone into XC and road oriented shops and had to deal with people who expect me to prove myself to earn their respect. Guess what - if I'm the one spending the money, you have to earn my business, not the other way around. There are plenty of shops in town and I'll keep going from one to the next until I find staff that I like.

But from the first day I went into Go-Ride and knew nothing about anything DH, I was treated well and got plenty of useful advice and assistance - and encouragement to try racing. Slickrock Cycles in Moab is great too - small shop but good stuff and the best employees.
 

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SNGLSPD
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chip on your shoulder?

I was riding this evening and see a woman stopped ahead in the trail fiddling with her quick release on her front wheel.
I stopped,smiled and asked her if she needed help.the same as I would for any man woman child I see on the trail.no condescending tone from me and I didn't assume she was a helpless girl,I was just trying to be helpful and friendly.

But for some reason she didn't see it that way and I'm not sure why.Sometimes people read way too much into a conversation or incident based on their own bias.
maybe your trying too hard.
 

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this whole thread makes me sad. I run a bike shop, and I'm saddened that so many people have had bad experiences at their LBS. I really really really hope that no one has felt this way after leaving my shop. We try to treat every bike that comes in for service as we would our own bikes - even if they are POS huffys :) . And we try to treat every customer as we would want to be treated.

pleeeease let no one feel this way when they leave my shop!
 

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the guys that work at the shops where I go are all really cool.. and at my favorite shop.. really cute. LOL.
 

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I think this statement from screampint nails it.

"I wish I could tell you exactly why, but I think it has to do with the fact that the people in the shops are not trained in sales, they are there because they like bikes, not because they know how to treat people, sell to people, or deal in customer service."


There are well trained folks and idiot snobs everywhere. You can't tell by looking how much money someone has burning a whole in their pocket.

Several months ago I was given a gift certificate for a shop I don't normally do business with. Why? Because too many times in the past 10 years I've been treated poorly there. So I decide what I want to buy and go to looking. I have actually seen and held in my hands the item I was looking for in this shop before. I look around and can't find it again. Some smart ass young guy asks if I need any help and I tell him exactly what I am looking for; make model and part number. His reply - "there's no such thing as that, what is it anyway". I left.

Same shop different location I know a very nice young man works there. This kid is 15, rides his bike for the pure joy of it, and is one hell of a good racer too. So I decide to go see him. I know he may not know everything, he's only been working at this place about 6 months part time, but I want him to wait on me. When I get there he is busy so I look around and wait for him to get free. Other employees ask if I need assistance but I tell them I'm just looking and wait. When this kid is free I go and start chatting and ask him about what I'm looking for. The butthead manager but's in and tries to take me away from this kid. I try and persist but I really don't want to cause this kid any trouble. I end up leaving empty handed again when I know very well this kid could have orderd what I want.

So, my impresions from years past are reinforced about this shop. And, I did eventually talk to a manager/owner about it.
 

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I also ran into the parts ordering game two years ago. Broke my derailleur hanger on my '00 RM9. I ordered one from Canyon in Draper, which is pretty good, but they said it might take a week or two, and I had a race that weekend. So I went to every Rocky Mountain dealer in the region and asked if they had one. I brought the old one with me but most techs didn't even want to look at it, despite me telling them it's a horizontal dropout and was only on this model and year and therefore is pretty unusual. No, they'd interrupt and tell me - they're all the same. I'd protest but they'd already be walking into the back and looking around for 10 minutes and they'd bring me a regular dropout derailleur hanger. I'd show them the one off of my bike and how it isn't the same and they'd give me the "It doesn't exist" routine. WHAT IS THAT! I'm showing it to you - obviously it does exist. You could at least offer a suggestion - like try "XX" shop or maybe we can order it for you - SOMETHING beyond "Huh. I don't think they come like that."

We ended up getting a little block of aluminum the right width and machining one ourselves with a drill and a dremel.

And I will say that in many of our situations it probably doesn't matter if we were male or female, it's just dealing with employees who don't care enough to make any effort to listen or really try to help. And to be honest, all it takes is one employee having a bad day to make a bad impression, so maybe some of us are generalizing off of a bad experience that isn't really representative of the shop. (Though I will say that when I've had occasion to revisit a shop I didn't like, things are usually the same the next time I'm there...) All I really ask is that salespeople take the time to really listen to what I'm asking for, and take a minute to learn what type of rider I am before throwing recommendations out that cannot possibly be based on anything beyond my appearance.
 

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KgB said:
I was riding this evening and see a woman stopped ahead in the trail fiddling with her quick release on her front wheel.
I stopped,smiled and asked her if she needed help.the same as I would for any man woman child I see on the trail.no condescending tone from me and I didn't assume she was a helpless girl,I was just trying to be helpful and friendly.

But for some reason she didn't see it that way and I'm not sure why.Sometimes people read way too much into a conversation or incident based on their own bias.
maybe your trying too hard.
Guys do the same exact thing. I've learned to ask "Do you have everything you need?" because if I ask a guy if he needs help (no matter what the tone)- you should see the dirty looks I've gotten from insinuating a guy needs help with something mechanical from a woman... I think some of them would prefer to be stranded than have their pride wounded.
 

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it's just baby phat..
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Unfortunately, this is a problem everyone at almost every level

hey seachicken. i am a hispanic male so my experience is not identical to yours but similar and it makes me equally frustrated. here is a question that was raised in the "new jersey" section. i then i posted my response.

Question:
Local Bike Shops

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Hi Guys, I was wondering about your opinions on the Local Bike Shop situation. I know the trend has been to utilize mail order as much as possbible to avoid spending extra $.

In the last year or so, I have noticed alot of shops that have either gone out of business (Get Outside), changed hands (Cyclecraft) or closed locations (Amber). It makes me wonder what the bike shop scene will be in a few years.

I have a shop that I have been going to for years and that I respect and never hesitate to recommend. I have bought 3 bikes from them over the years. I buy some accessories from him and some from mail order. I try to give him business when I can because I value the relationship. I have asked them to pull a rabbit out of a hat more than a few times when I had issues that I needed very quick resolutions too and could not afford to wait (broken rear triangle the week before a 24hr race and a broken front shock the week before a different 24hr race. I believe that type of service will always be reserved for the loyal customer. I dont want to loose that just to save a few bucks on some accessories.

For those of you that have bikes built by some of the relatively smaller companies (santa cruz, ellsworth,etc), do you find the customer service from the manufacturer good enough to never have to worry about dealing with a shop after you buy the bike from a shop? I have a Klein and having my shop manage that relationship makes my life easier.

I look forward to hearing your educated opinions.


My Response
interesting question.. my 2 cents (a bit long)

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the bicyles business is very difficult. it's not a business that you get into to make yourself rich.. you can make a decent living but unless you work on volume chances are that you're watching your income statement and bottom line very closly. additionaly, most bike shops that are run/owned by bicycle enthusiasts have very little experience running a business properly. cash flows, merchandising, inventory mangement, and employee training are all areas that could use improvement in the shops in the northern nj area.

because the bicycle industry works on relatively low profit margins most owners can't afford to hire and keep qualified individuals not to mention that overhead expenses are much higher in the nj area compared to most of the u.s.. that increase is almost never reflected in the retail price of a mass market bicycle. additionally, even though it's a business that primarily sells goods (bike and accessories) it really a service driven business and it's service where most shops drop the ball. i can't tell you how many times i've entered a bike shop and made felt like i was annoying the guys behind the counter reading the bike magazines.. when i'm finally acknowledged it's usually a simple "can i help you with anything?".. and when i respond "no thanks just looking" it's simply the end of the conversation.. what about asking if i ride regulary or what kind of riding i do or even what kind of bike i'm riding instead of asking simple "yes/no" questions? let's not even get into what they could be doing like cleaning the store, arranging the merchandise so that it's easier for the customer to get to or simply making sure that all sizes are out instead of having no clue what's even on the floor.. soooooo sad.

some shops decide to work on volume because the margines are higher on lower end bike than on high end bikes..Example: on any given weekend in spring or summer a small bike shop can sell ten $200 bikes that would gross $2000.. roughly half of that number is the cost of the bikes but it may take you a couple of months if not more to sell one bike with a retail price of $2000. considering that the dealer cost of that high end bike is somewhere in the range of 65-75% of the retail price it's no wonder why bike shops don't stock the high end stuff. it's much easier to pay someone $7-10/hr to sell the lower end stuff and not have to worry about explaining shock air pressure or rapid rise or frame geometry or whatever.. it's basic and easy.

a couple of shops have created a niche and hence a following in the high end market but most shops don't possess the customer service skills to attract and KEEP the consumer that is willing to pay top dollar for a high end bicycle.

i hope that bike shop employees read this and i hope they don't take offense but what they need to keep in mind is that everyone that walks in that door is a potential customer. educate yourself on areas such as customer service, inventory mangement. owners- take an accounting class and train you employees. i am aware of different training programs within the bicycle industry to address the weakness i have identified so it is within your grasp to improve.. take it as a wake up call.

myself, I WOULD LOVE TO BUY FROM A LBS but until i see improvement i will continue to buy most of my stuff on the internet.

phat
 

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Coors, the american beer.
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I have yet to find a bike shop in northern california that i like, so i hardly if ever go to one.

I buy all my stuff off ebay and a friend of mine takes care of my maintence needs, charging much more reasonable rates that a bike shop would. Hes pretty good too.

Edit: Note im a guy. I just noticed this thread is in teh womens lounge.
 

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I sort of recently moved away from home and away from my two favorite bike shops. As a girl I have found it VERY difficult to find a shop that treats me as an equal. A shop that does not look down upon me. A shop where the color of my bike and my eyes never appear together in the same sentence. A shop that does not try and sell me a bunch of junk that I dont need or want. A place where the salesperson does not smirk at me when I enter and does not snicker behind my back as I am leaving. [/QUOTE]

Kind of a related story, the local shop where I live employs mostly attractive ladies. They might not be condescending or try to trick me with techno talk, but they do try to sweet-talk me into stuff,which has worked (those shorts really make you look sexy!). I don't take offense to it, I just laugh at myself when they win. THAT being said, I've ridden with some of these ladies before and they are no manequins. They can jam on the trails.
I don't really mean for this post to solve anything for you SeaChicken, it just kind of reminded me of my shop in BackwardsWorld. I don't shop there anymore, all internet, and I do my own work and friend's work (which for the record are mostly women. But I charge them the same as the men, 1 sixpack of Michelob).
 

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It's about showing up.
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Working with the public

It is a very special skill and very few people appreciate that fact. It is especially awkward if you work from a technical perspective and have to interphase with a clientel where their grasp of these same technical issues is unknown or spotty, incomplete, or camoflaged in the client. Add to that a poorly developed set of social skills and the callowness which can be found in youth and shopping can be hell.

I might add that this is not limited to Bike Shops. Just try computer support people, auto mechanics, electronics sales people... the list gets really long. As clients we need to learn how to get the most from these sorts of people. Admittedly, sometimes it is just impossible.

In the last month I went bike shopping. I know a bit about bikes and won't trot out my bona fides here. I went to the local Chi Chi shop and just wasn't gnarly enough.I tried a number of different ways to get information, test rides, or good will and it just wasn't happening. I walked.

After a few shops I went to the LBS who sponsors my High School Team and told them I had a few bucks, wanted a new bike, and wondered what they had for me. In fairness I talked to the owner who I know pretty well. He said he had a deal working with brand X and had a nice duallie (I ride a HT.) He gave me a bike brand X supplied for test rides. I rode it and didn't like it. I rode a friends dualie and understood what a duallie was supposed to feel like. I talked to one of the kids at the shop, he explained a few things to me, and gave me the brand X to ride again. Based on what he told me and the test ride, I bought what they wanted to sell me with modifications to seat, bar, stem. I wanted disks and let them do it their way.
It is interesting that many people in my position would want to control every aspect of the pruchase and selection so that their bike would be PERFECT. I can do that. Some people believe that that is the only way to get things done right. It is not uncommon, however, to have that method make things perfectly awful.....I digress.

As I look at this diatribe it becomes clear to me that great service comes from highly skilled people and great relationships. There are no shortcuts to this. If, as clients, we are unwilling or unable to put in the time to create understanding and expect gearheads to bridge that gap, we are doomed to get what is given to us. I don't care what your gender is.
 
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