Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Perhaps I'm just spoiled

I've had the same Specialized-brand computer on my bike for about five years, but about a month ago it finally gave up the ghost. I figured since I was happy to get five years out of it, I'd do right by the maker and replace it with a similar model. Unfortunately, one of the buttons got stuck on the new one, so I had to return it.

When I returned to the Specialized dealer in Draper to make the exchange, I was a little surprised by the reaction. Instead of "sure, I'm happy to exchange that for you." It was "do you have your receipt?" (No--I vacuumed it up while cleaning my car earlier that day.) "Okay, let me look it up on the computer." (Where they'd never find it because they didn't ask my name or other identifying information when I made the cash purchase a few weeks earlier.) I had clearly purchased the item there because the package still had the price tag with the name of the shop on it.

I stood there for a good fifteen minutes while the girl at the counter went back and forth to the manager's office between searches on the computer system before they finally, reluctantly, exchanged the computer head unit. This is a large shop in a new building with lots of inventory and numerous employees. You'd think that to get that big, the shop would need to have good customer service. But the most likely explanation I can come up with is that they're big because they're the only shop for miles around and located in an affluent area where high-end bikes come after the H2 but before the younger, better-looking wife when 40 and 50 something men are having their midlife crises.

Contrast this with Revolution or Racer's, who may not have the largest inventory but will get whatever you need, make sure it's installed properly, and most importantly, actually remember who you are when you walk through the door.

Perhaps I'm just spoiled in thinking that the places where I spend the majority of my disposable income should treat me like a friend. After all George's (on Fairview) and Meridian Cycles and Reed's always treated me that way when I lived in Boise. In fact, the first time I went to Reed's Cycle over five years ago, the owner, Bill Reed, asked me my name. Bill has greeted me by name every time I've entered the shop since, and even at the grocery store or at the movies. (He's also given me valuable advice on teaching kids how to ski and typically asks about my family.) If I needed to exchange something at any of these shops, they wouldn't ask for a receipt because they'd remember me and remember that I bought the item there.

Tell me, where would you rather shop?


  1. I live very near this shop and I have had this same unfortunate experience. I stopped shopping there about 3 years ago and will drive to Revolution every time.

  2. i can't believe you even went in there. it's a supermarket. go there for tubes. don't go there for other stuff.

    always (ALWAYS) go to a shop where they know your name.

  3. Every once in awhile I make the same mistake, usually out of a perception of convenience. It always ends up being less convenient than shopping where I really WANT to shop.

  4. This is a prime example of big box vs local store. It's one of the biggest problems in our country today. We all want the lowest price, but we all want the best service. We have to ask ourselves, what's important, the price, or the buying experience?

  5. Just some guy: for what it's worth, I didn't go to this shop for price. I get better pricing at Revolution. I went out of loyalty to the maker of a product that had served me well. The shop didn't deliver on any level nor did the product this time around (hence the need for the return).

  6. Yes CANYON BIKES in Draper SUCKS. Not sure why no one is willing to name "that shop"? I have had so many bad experiences in there I can't bring myself to go back. The last straw was when I made a significant purchase that had to be special ordered. On my way out the door the owner said "oh wait I forgot to ring you up." I asked if they needed a deposit for the special order items. He told me no that he had forgotten to ring me up for the water bottle screw I asked for. That will be $.64. I threw a dollar on the counter and told him to keep the change. That shop is for people that want to talk about bikes not for people that actually ride them.

  7. Huh Freakin' Larrious. We also have a shoppe here in G,ville that specializes in folks who lack a mid life identity. I was once one of their (Carolina Trathlon's) customers and after two bikes and two sets of Zipps they refused to warranty a $30 blinky light. I was, needless to say, pissed. Not another dime spent there and after five or so succesfull years of treating customers this way, they are feeling the effects.