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Orny's Cycling Journal

F’ed by the LBS… Again


11 PMC Riding

F’ed by the LBS… Again

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01 PMC Standing

As if last summer’s pathetic travesty wasn’t enough, my local bike shop is at it again.

As noted here, a college student recently plowed into me head-on, breaking one of the brake/shift levers on my bike. After resigning myself to spending over $300 to replace it, I had to wait a week for the replacement part to arrive. Last Tuesday the shop called me to say it was in.

While waiting for a flight, I called them back to schedule the service appointment to get it installed. The conversation went something like this:

The mechanic said the first open slot was a week later, on Tuesday (today). After a moment’s hesitation, he must have figured that was a long time for me to wait, so he offered to come in and take care of it over the weekend instead. Knowing that I planned to ride on the weekend, I told him no, and that we should stick with Tuesday. We agreed and hung up.

Monday afternoon I got a voicemail from him that I’d missed my appointment. I figured he must have accidentally put my work order in the Monday pile rather than the Tuesday pile.

Tuesday (today) I brought the bike in as we had agreed. No, he hadn’t misplaced the work order; he repeatedly asserted that we had agreed to have the work done on the weekend. We eventually agreed to disagree.

The best part is that there are no open service appointments for another week. Thanks, guy. At least this time I got the service appointment in writing.

So now this is starting to feel like the whole farcial runaround they gave me last year, when they let another simple repair drag on for three and a half months.

Also, since the new shift/brake lever doesn’t look the same as the old one, he offered to give me a discount if I wanted to replace the undamaged shift/brake lever at the same time. First, I don’t want to spend an extra $200 on a part I don’t need. Second, we talked about this exact issue when the new part was ordered. And third, after last year’s fiasco I’m not about let you dick me around for another week while you order another another part.

I’m not a difficult customer. It takes a lot to make me mad, and more still to make me go out of my way to avoid a neighborhood business that is convenient and provides a service I need. But one thing that’ll drive me apeshit is repeated displays of this kind of gross incompetence paired with utter callousness.

I guess it’s time to give up and try a new shop, although I’m very skeptical that I’ll get better results. I’ve had equally outrageous experiences at two other local bike shops, so I’m thoroughly frustrated and discouraged. I know these shops don’t employ rocket scientists, but I also don’t see how they can stay in business, given the consistent incompetence I’ve been subjected to over the last ten years.

I hate bike shops.

  • If you want it done right, do it yourself

    Invest in some basic tools (a work stand and a basic Park tool kit for starters) and copies of the Bicycling repair guide and Zinn's road bike repair manual, plus a bookmark for Sheldon Brown's website (RIP, Sheldon) and do your own repairs. Find a shop you can trust and only take the bike there for things requiring expensive tools that you don't have (like headset replacements) or skills you haven't developed yet (like truing a wheel). Mike J
  • I'm nowhere near the hardcore cyclist you are, but I've had good experiences dealing with the REI bike departments in Framingham and Reading. Presumably the one in Boston is at least as customer-focused.
  • Here ya go


    Bike Repair and Maintenance for Dummies. ;)

    David From Central MAss
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