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Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Crawling Hand!!!

Oh, I know, missed a day!  Sorry! 
No, came in yesterday, sat at the 'puter to do my morning sh....stuff, and was suddenly struck with an idea for a short story.  Beginning, middle and end formed complete in my brain and was burning a whole in it with the incessant need to put it down.  As yesterday, turned out to be, probably the single most deadest day we have had in eons, it allowed me the time to type, undeterred for close to ten hours.   I've only got to wrap up the last little bit then do a final read through (and spell check of course!) BUT, not wanting to get to far behind, thought I'd pop in and bring everyone up to date. 
Aside from picking up a couple of bangers yesterday and one really nice (or soon to be) classic Cannondale triathlon bike, as mentioned it was all but "rigor mortis" yesterday! 
On to Thursday!
A little better (but not by much) as we sent home one new ride and a few repairs, but what stuck me as desperately, sadly, funny is a little thing we'll call "THAT HAS HAPPENED FOR A WHILE!"
In the middle of the day a young gent came into the store,  I gave him the traditional greeting, asked if there was anyway I could help him, and although polite with his response, remarked he was just looking around.  No worries, we get that all the time.  But, as I puttered, keeping one eye out should he appear to have a question, I couldn't help but notice he was taking an inordinate amount of time studying not so much the items, but prices.  He moved from the parts to the bikes, and again, not so much the bike but the price.  Yea, there was one bit of evidence available that informed me of his true intentions, but wait for the dramatic reveal on that one!  So, patiently, I waited, then the expected questions began.  For the next couple of minuets, he struck up what was to appear to be a friendly conversation, then started to question the prices on repairs.  He really was becoming more and more obvious, but I SO did not have the heart to inform him, his ruse was not well thought out.  Now, by the time I had listed the cost of a tune up, bearing repack, and tube change, I have to admit I was getting a tad bit giddy, because he seemed to be becoming more and more, well, concerned.  Once we got to wheel truing, he was clearly agitated and simply stated (and nope, no kidding here) "you cant DO these things so cheap!"  HEH, HEH!  GOTCHA!!! 
Look, I am not to proud to admit, when we first got into this gig, years ago I too, would occasionally "comparison shop" other bike shops (granted, I did it over the phone) but it was because I really had NO idea what to charge for any given repair, that would be a fair price.  We really had never originally intended on doing repairs, just sell bikes.  Thanks to Dave Foot from Canada for changing all that!  What I found, when shopping around was, there was NO way we could or would charge the prices that other bike shops charge.  Two reasons, let's be fair, they use NEW parts (which are bloody expensive) and primarily we use used.  Second "Minimum Shop Hour Charge"?  Come on!  Nope, keep it simple, keep it cheap!  And as far as going into another bike shop to clandestinely check them out?  Nah.  Dem's not kosherized rules!  I have visited several of the local shops, but before even checking out their stock, introduced and identified myself, for one reason only:  we do have folks coming into visit us who want new parts and bikes, and once they realize we don't do that, we need to be able to refer them, in confidence, to someone else.  And there's no way we're going to do that if we don't even know the shop.
So, in an attempt to calm the young inquisitor, I reassured him, yes we could, but for the reasons mentioned above.  We're not in the business to compete with other shops in the area, we're here to represent a portion of the population who are not so at other "new" bike shops.  It's definitely a niche market, but we are very happy to work for them.
And, to any other bike shops in town, who want to know how and what we do, and have the brilliant idea to "send in a scout"?  Well, just tell him one thing before you do,  "At least make sure they remove your work shirt with the company logo on it, before they come in!"  BWA-HA-HA!!!!
On to another "awkward" sit-ye-a-shun!  Pulled in this morning to notice a car parked off to the corner with a bike sticking out the back, figured that was fer us. Opened up, and after a few mo's they came in.  Nice enough couple, but..well, one of the few bad parts about this job is when some folks have a different value system in regards to their own ride.  The gentleman was looking to sell, and even before I got out from behind the counter, he gave me the run down of the bike.  it was an old Murray five speed cruiser.  Now to hear him regale me of it's worth, and how pristine it was, truly, filled me with a bit of dread.  I SO did not want to be put into the position of having to burst his bubble, and here's why:  MOST bikes will only sell for a certain top price.  That's it!  Oh, you have variations in total dollar figure, but only below top price.  For instance (and I'll use one we see ALL the time) Next Power X Dual shock MTB:  Top Price $85.00.  Now that's if it looks NEW!  You could sink $150.00 into it in new parts, replace and upgrade everything, but it will STILL only sell for $85.00,'s a Wal-Mart Next. That's it!  SOOOOO, an older Murray five speed cruiser, in TOP condition will ONLY sell for $75-80.  To hear this man rail on about how perfect, waxed and shiny it was, well....I was looking for an "out".  Fortunately, I had one, or so I thought.  It being first thing in the AM, and not having brought any cash with me, save coffee money, I explained I wouldn't be doing any buying today.  I thought I made it.  Nope.  "Well, would you at least look at it, and tell me what you'd pay?" 
*sigh*  "wasn't gettin' outta dis one!  With my most polite "going to the gallows" smile, I said sure.  But not unlike a teasing first date, we got half way to the door and I was given the false hope, yet again, of a way out.  He stated in passing, that he "already had an offer, but it was in Saint Pete"  HO HO!  Looking hopeful I said "How much was the offer?" 
"Fifty Five"
BINGO!!!  "Well sir, I would definitely snag THAT offer!"  And , assured I had made it out, unscathed, prematurely pivoted to turn back to the desk when he said plaintively "But I don't want to drive all the way to Saint Pete, I'm sure you could sell this thing for over a hundred bucks, she's PRISTINE!"
SOOOOOO close.......!
With what I hoped was not an audible sigh, an unseen rolling of the eyes, and a hidden slumped shoulder, I acquiesced and made the march to the firing squad!
Yep...SOOOOOO wish I hadn't had to go out there!
What I was faced with after a dramatic reveal, and much hype and hyperbole, was in fact, a frame with a variety of chips and scratches in the paint, a chain of burnt umber, with matching stains on almost every inch of chrome and bald white walls with so many fault lines of dry rot they made the surface of Mars look as smooth as a marble! 
OKAY, how the heck do I get through this without seemingly insulting the guy.
Well, in a weak attempt, I just smiled and said "you'd be a lot better off taking the fifty five?"
"But how much would YOU offer for it?"
Well, propriety out the damn window, I had no other recourse but to give it too him straight, ran through the list of defects then informed him it was only worth ten bucks to me.
Heh....yep.  Completely expected response.  Incensed and insulted, he rallied on about how much work he put into it... "IT WAS WAXED!!!"  and how valuable it was, how much I could sell it for, how "we had parts anyway to fix it" so it "wouldn't cost us anything!" (???????) and of course, how much we were trying to screw him, then drove off in a huff.
Great way to start a Saturday!
WELL, recouping, I rallied my strength , and am determined to make it through the rest of the day, without any further scars!
(I'll be hiding under the desk if you need me!)
Here's what we built Thursday!
image 1
ONLY $85.00!!!
image 1
ONLY $80.00!!!


  1. Oh, you know I gotta say it:

    You know why Murray bikes exist?

    To make Huffys look good.

    Okay, my work is done here...

  2. The only true value I've come to understand in bike terms is in the quality of the ride and durability of the total whole bike. If your not riding it, it's of no use or value to anyone. And if you are riding it your gonna try and keep it up to snuff, giving it more value. If the bike was maintained and ridable to St. Pete he probably wouldnt want to sell it at any price. You are correct to hide under the desk, lol =)

  3. Value is, as with anything, subject to the individuals desires and opinions (me? I was willing to pay in excess of $1200.00 for a $15 Shirt worn by Alan Tudyk in the movie "Serenity" but got outbid at the last moment!) , agreed. As far as "ride" to Saint Pete? Doubt it would have made it on those tires, no way to know as it was jutting out of the trunk of his Citation. Thing is, through trial and error over the years we have come to determine what a general price, for any given ride, is expectable to the general public at large. Most of the time we get it right, but sometimes we're a little off, and that's usually in lieu of higher end bikes. Now THERE are values NOT agreeable to most folks we have come in and peruse our wares! Probably why we don't take many in! And thanks' for the kudos John, hope you got recognition as well!