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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Filenes Bargain Basement! Mind the Snares!

OH...the lessons in life we learn...or not.
Before I begin, let me preface this entry by saying, I am aware it may come off as slightly self serving, and perhaps as if I may have taken a wee bit of gleeful "I told you so", but take it for what it's worth, and try to see it in the spirit it is recited, as a "warning tale"
Two days ago, when I was out and about running the gauntlet, Elijah was watching the shop.  As per usual, whenever one of the boys takes the helm, I look for a detailed synopsis of everything that went on in the shop while I was away, upon my return. This particular day, was a relatively quiet morning. He had done a couple tube changes and had a few Looky Loo's.  One gent, in particular, was looking for a BMX for his young son.  We have the older Mongoose we rebuilt, looking quite sharp, but when it was brought to his attention, he looked it over, sniffed and in a rather derogatory tone stated "I'm not paying $70.00 for an old Mongoose! I can get him a bike cheaper at the Pawn Shop!"  According to Elijah (who, yes, may be slightly formulaic and stiff when doing customer service, but is still not a rude boy) he remained pleasant and wished him well, and should he need any help with service on his purchase, to not hesitate to bring it to us.
I met the gent yesterday.
First, as a Side note:  Yes, Mongoose's ARE a Wal-Mart, but back in the day (the tail end of which, being, when the one we have was made) Mongoose's were the BOMB!  ANYONE who was a BMX'er in their day HAD to have a Mongoose!  They were built well, and had competitive styling. 
Anyway.  The gentleman came in, dragging a very ragged looking Hyper.  You know, the TRUE Wal-Mart BMX, black and blue with the el-cheapo nine tooth rear, that holds up for about two weeks after buying it.
Here's the story.
After leaving here that Wednesday, he hit a few Pawn Shops, until he found this "GREAT DEAL!" of a Hyper, for ONLY $50.00!!  Yes, granted, it looked very clean, and almost new (when he bought it), but now, it had some fresh scratches, and a thrashed out front wheel, and slightly bent fork.  Well, of course it had looked new, because, quite frankly we have found, in many of the ones we have rebuilt and sold, that the kiddo that gets one of these rides, may have a week or two to ride it, before the rear end (or any other of the inherent seven weaknesses this bike has) fails.  Therefore, doesn't get to ride it and beat on it any.  However, that's not the truly sad part.  Seems he picked it up and brought it home and presented it to his excited tweenager, who immediately got on to put it through it's paces.  According to him, on it's third trip down the big hill, in the neighborhood they reside in, about midway , the young man stood up to crank...and the rear end locked up, chain slipped and the young man and the bike suffered the consequences of it.
Luckily, the boy escaped with only a couple of bruises and road rash (I say only, because as a father of a reckless BMX'er, if it isn't a compound fracture, you can write it off as lucky!)
The bike did not fare as well.
The story takes an even sadder turn, however.
After cleaning the boy up (who apparently took it all in stride, with admirable strength) the incensed Dad, went to return the bike to where he bought it, only to be told, there was no returns or refunds on bicycle purchases,  especially when the child "beat on it"  Apparently, the exchange became somewhat heated and perhaps colorful after that, however, they remained reticent.  Begrudgingly, he dragged the bike away.  At this point, he had the thought to just have it repaired, so went in search of a shop to do so.  He hit two others, before (I can only assume, reluctantly) came here.  The first place informed him the repairs would be in excess of $200.00, the second shop, refused to work on it, sighting they "don't do Wal-Mart bikes!" (sadly, that is, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, a rather common theme around these parts.  Although...Side note yet again, I will say, I happened upon an opportunity recently to talk to the owner of one of those shops that doesn't work on box store brands, who sighted the consistent failure of components on those bikes. I will acquiesce, that if your working on, say, a drive train, where the derailleur has failed, and replace only that, then two weeks down the line the chain gives way, their experience was, the customer retuned complaining it was their work that was the cause.  They avoid working on them to avoid the inevitable liability) So, he trudged it to us, as would appear a last choice (I think pride was tugging at him there!) I checked it out, and in order to get it up and running it was going to cost $83.00 to replace the rear wheel (with a standard size freewheel) upgrade the chain ring to normal size, replace the front forks and wheel  and put on a sturdier chain.  He paused for a moment looking at the Mongoose, but opted to just pick up the parts and fix it himself, in respect to the money he already had invested in the bike.  Hey, were all about promoting DIY, so no worries. 
The lesson here, folks, is clear and concise, and I feel a little pandering to even denote it, but "sometimes a Great Deal, is not all that good"
Thanks to all the repairs that came in, post haste, and snagged up their rides yesterday, even given the state of the weather!  ICK!! More rain and dark gray skies!! Even got in another two just before close, and the poor souls bringing them in were drowned muskrats doing so! 
Of course, there are a couple hangers on, but that's not their fault, as is the case, in too many summers, having a kiddo each day with me, a couple of them are prone to walk off with pages from my notebooks for drawing, and sometimes fail to check and make sure there isn't anything written on the pages they swipe!  ARRGH!! Needless to say, I can't find their numbers! 
As we are surprisingly back up to speed on all that needs a doin', I took the time to do the pedestrian chores of parts sorting and cleaning  (STILL finding pockets of sawdust everywhere!) and banged out a few kiddo bikes (like we need anymore!  SHEESH!) and Boy, if it's not looking like Toys R' Us around here!  Also, had to do a "Bone Row" return yesterday.  Had a gent come in over a month ago, paid for a bike, then asked to have a couple modifications done, and he would be back later that day to pick it up...and we never saw him again?  Yes, oddities happen, my friends!  I sure hope nothing bad happened! 
OKAY, well going to jump on the last couple repairs in hopes that someone, some kind soul, brings me more to do today!
Here's a Hoping! 
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18" BOYS BMX!!
ONLY $40.00!!
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ONLY $30.00!!
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ONLY $20.00!!!


  1. You know, to tell you the truth, I don't care to work on Walmart bikes, either. The bolt threads aren't as clean as they should be, the metal not as good. I guess, as bikes, they're okay...

    As long as you don't actually ride them.

    1. I will always acquiesce to your superior experience when t comes to bikes, no doubt. But my opinion on a Wal-Mart ride is this; If you're fortunate enough to be able to afford a top notch ride, or have the knowledge and skill to BUILD a good ride, go for it, but, if you're like 85% of the riders out there that have a budget, a Walmart ride is not ALL that bad. If you have the inherient defects addressed before you put miles on them, you'll be ok. As far as the threads and metal? Here's a tip: dress the threads with a light coat of bearing grease before putting them together, and if you have a three piece crank set up (like most of the MTB's and such nowadays) PLEASE use blue locktight on the left hand crank arm AND install a lock washer! It solves 80% of your problems on most of these rides.

  2. Walmart bikes do look really cool on the shelf, shiney and new. But I don't recall any photos of old school mongooses on here. I always kept mine covered in filth as a badge of honor, much to my moms disapproval. =)

    1. Well, before Mongoose went FULL ON Wal-Mart, they produced a few towards the tail end of their Heyday. I may be mistaken, but the yellow and silver one we had, fit the bill, as there's no record of it in the Wal-Mart archives (yea, dig on the internet long enough and you can find ANYTHING!!)

    2. My apologies, I didnt mean to offend. I was under the impression "old school" meant pre-x games and gyro style brake headsets. I was amazed the first time I saw one of those handlebar spins. It seems like that component single handedly ushered in a new era of bmx. And aluminium was an exotic metal. =)

    3. Oh, think nothing of it! No offense taken, at all, truly. Truth is, you may be right. My knowledge on BMX is limited to what I can gleen from the Internet, so it's anybodies guess if the sucker was pre or post!

  3. I don't own a Mongoose of any age or vintage, but I must admit, the head tube badge is way cool. I don't think I even have a "Big Box" Schwinn, now that I think about it...

    Lucky me.

  4. Ummmmm. Yes you DO sir! Remember the Schwinn Cruiser you bought the lovely Ms. Joanne. Or was that a Huffy?