Sunday, March 4, 2012

Two quick things: A bridge & bike shops

Large Marge
Try as you might, it's impossible to take a
 bad picture of the MHH bridge
while standing directly below it.
The biggest thing going this weekend is the celebration of Santiago Calatrava's span connecting, more or less, Uptown with Oak Cliff. The Dallas Morning News has a gang of coverage — not all gushing, glowing, gee-whiz look at our lovely bridge. Some stories are quite critical, and others are fun, like this marriage proposal at yesterday's 5K/10K race.

Last night's celebration was superb. I can only heap praise. It's a beautiful piece of architecture, which I appreciate more having launched the Architecture Executive Briefing. And the city of Dallas put on a great party — even parking and traffic were headache-free. Seriously, no long lines to wait in when we arrived a little before 8 p.m. It was shocking. My hope is that the city finds a way to turn the Trinity River into a destination, because last night was too cool and fun for it to never happen again.

Lousy service at bike shops
First, I am withholding names. Alhough the customer service at DFW local bike shops leaves much to be desired, I still have to shop at them. I don't want to give reason for each to offer even shittier service (if that's possible). There is one shop I really like. So each can assume it is the shop that is A-OK in my book!

Second, I understand that weekends are crazy. I've worked weekend retail gigs. They're nuts. Better service is guaranteed on weekdays.

So, yeah, here are some descriptions of the offending shops and their style of service:

• At this shop you will receive crap service unless you're best friends with the shop owner, you wheel in a $5,000 carbon fiber Cervelo, you ride every group ride, you own the shop's racing kit, you walk in with $5,000 cash in hand to purchase aforemetioned high-end bike and/or you are the former president of the United States.

• At this shop you will receive crap service because it never has enough people working. You will stand alone at the cash register; the shop employees, who are busy taking care of customers, will not even acknowledge your presence at the register. Yes, they totally see you; but no, they totally will not say, "I'll ring you up in just a second." You will stand there for 5 additional minutes until someone finally rings you up (if you're lucky) or you opt to leave without your gear.

• At this shop you will receive crap service because the staff is stoned. Not functionally high. They are baked beyond usefulness at this shop. These dudes are cool if you want to shoot the shit about how awesome cyclocross is or how you totally want to drop everything and live in the woods of Whistler, B.C. Otherwise, you are screwed.

• At this shop you will receive crap service because you ride a bike brand it does not sell. This shop is a licensed "fill-in-the-blank" dealer and is awesome working on those bikes. If you bring in a rival brand for repair, you will receive negative/confused/resentful looks.  

I'm not alone either. I know longtime cyclists and newbies who have experienced the same treatment. As much as we want to shop local and support the LBS, they aren't making it easy. It's why I tend to purchase gear online and only frequent an LBS for repairs or to buy gear I gotta have now.


That Pink Girl said...

I can see the bridge from my office - its a great addition to the Dallas skyline!
I was at my LBS today (sigh, it's in my can I NOT?) And yes, waited forever, asked for help a few times and eventually rolled out of there sans purchase. (and yes, I DO ride a bike brand they don't carry)
They are however, very helpful on the clothing side of the store. So there's that. However, I'll be purchasing my aero hydration from amazon. Boo.

Robert Tracy said...

Sheesh, what a mess at your LBS! You darn-near hit for the bad-service cycle (pun absolutely intended). But seriously, cycling is so wonderful. It's a shame that frequenting shops is like a dysfunctional relationship.