This happens so frequently that I long ago just excepted the phenomenon as just a pleasant aspect of doing things the way we do, but for some reason it just struck me as rather odd, yesterday. Oh, humorously odd, but odd no the less.
More than a few times this week we have had some real nice folks bring us in some much needed repairs, and in the process, informed me they had been referred to us by one of the local bike shops. We get a lot of that over the last few years from many of the "new" bike shops around (at least the ones who don't hate us 'cause were such neat folks!) and are thankful for it. The customers tell us one of only three reasons why they refer them to us, that either they're told their bike is "not worth it, and they'll sell them a NEW one", or "we don't work on box store brand bikes" or the more frequent, they were just WAY to high priced! Now, for the record I am SOOOO not looking a gift horse in the mouth and I hope for our sake some of these other shops "stay snooty" and don't get the picture that customer service is EVERYTHING, but I just have to ask; "is your business doing SOOO well that you can afford to not only turn away a paying customer, but to alienate them from ever wanting to patronize your establishment again?" I mean, sadly, the amount of bicycle riders IS finite in this state, AND most bike riders have FRIENDS who are bike riders. Those friends might even be more inclined to send MORE business your way, so does it really make sense to denigrate the Huffy rider because your only wanting to tinker on Trek's? Not to mention, simply, it just ain't right to treat someone disrespectfully because they can't shell out BIG bucks for some flashy carbonataniumpolymodulatedchromiumnated road bike! I mean, seriously! You're a mechanic, dude, don't fear the grease, man!
No, no, no...I'm serious about that last one folks! Funny story: back when we had the shop at the old plaza, I was looking for another part time tinkerer to help put out rides and do repairs. Had this one, middle age gent come in and apply for the job, and I took a look at his resume, and he had EXTENSIVE experience in the field of bicycle mechanics, and had worked for some time as lead tech for a couple of racing teams! Why the heck you HERE, man?! We're a bunch of wrench turning, shade tree grease monkeys! I tried to dissuade him, the hours were light as was the pay, but he insisted he could handle it. So, the next day he came into start, and brought in his rolling tool chest. Cool. My very first hint of reservation was how he was dressed. Oh, look, I aint gonna mock someone's personal taste of attire, and where as a pair of Khaki cargo shorts, and a navy blue polo shirt may be nice, appropriate attire? TOTALLY out of place in OUR shop! No...you HAVE to wear clothes you have little money invested in and care nothing about! SO, as I am in my bay, rummaging through my scattered tools looking for a crescent wrench, I kept one eye on him as he prepares to work. At least he had enough snap to put on a workman's apron...like THAT would help much! Then he opened up his tool chest (black foam padding with the shape of the tools cut into it...Oh boy) and methodically place his standard stuff on the work bench provided for him. Once his ritual was done, he clapped his hands together and eagerly asked "what do I start on first?" I nodded my head to Miguel and asked him to dig out a rebuild from the pile. Miguel grabbed an old Huffy MTB and handed it to him, and I watched as his nose wrinkled briefly in disdain. Now mind you, he was totally briefed on how we did what we did, and this was a baptism of fire. I'd told Miguel ahead of time to start him off with the worst one in the bunch to see what he could do. Heh, this one was BAD. Having sat in the elements for some time, it was...icky. If the weeds growing through the wheels and chain were not indication enough of some of the stuff we bring back to life, when he flipped the bike upside down on his stand and a small cascade of stagnant water spilled down his apron, I'm sure that gave him a clear idea! To his credit, he really did do a good job of refurbishing it (albeit taking twice as long as we would normally take) but the whole time his bay filled with muffled expletives and heavy, frustrated sighs. The real kicker was, like every five minutes he was washing and sanitizing his hands! Once he finished, it was near to closing and I thanked him for a good job. He acknowledged appreciatively as he scrubbed furiously to get his hands clean (he had a FINGERNAIL brush?! Really?) then, once satisfied all the filth was removed, he started, with the same meticulous manner, to pack up his tool box. I told him it would be fine if he just left his tools in his bay until tomorrow, but he stammered out a "oh, that's Okay, I may need them at home"
We never saw him again.
Sad thing is, I've visited many of the local shops...and...THAT'S pretty much how most of their mechanics are! "not that there's ANYTHING wrong with that!" (insert Jerry Seinfeld nasal whine)
Nope, you can't do this job if your a germaphobe!
Yesterday was all about organization and trying to get all of our marketing ducks in a row. Heavy internet usage, you know. Today, more of the same, but I will be taking some time in a wee bit to get on the Clown Bike for tomorrow! Yea...I'm a procrastinator! And Elijah is bringing up the truck for some much needed TLC.
SO, until later, see ya sooner...then later!