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Taking This Down To The Lowest Gear

, , | Right | February 25, 2023

I used to work at a fairly high-end bike shop that sold really expensive road bikes, some in the ballpark of $8,000.

A regular customer, a man in his fifties, brought in his carbon fiber road bike for a tune-up. Before writing up the work order, I checked over the bike.

Me: “Sir, it seems that your chain is worn. It will require replacing.”

Regular: “Oh… Can you just replace the top half of the chain? Since that’s the half that takes all the stress.”

This guy was a regular cyclist with a bike that retails for thousands of dollars who had no concept of how a bicycle chain worked.

Switched Gears Very Suddenly

, , , | Right | February 15, 2023

Me: “Thanks for calling [Shop]. This is [My Name].”

Caller: “Do you work on electric bikes?”

Me: “Yes, but only e-bikes we have sold here. We are not able to service e-bikes that were bought from other stores.”

Caller: “Well, f*** you and [Other Local Bike Shop], too!”

I only regret that he hung up on me before he could hear me laughing out loud.

Pencil (Skirt) This Down: Listen To Your Customers

, , , , , , | Working | July 12, 2022

My bike needs a tuneup, and I’m too busy to do it myself. My usual bike shop is swamped, so I go to another one that’s close to my work. I get a slightly patronizing vibe from the guy who helps me, but they’ve got decent reviews online, so I leave my bike with them anyway.

A day or so later, I get an email from the shop, letting me know my rear wheel has a crack in the rim, and they can replace it entirely for [total]. I decline, since I have a spare wheel at home, and if the hub is fine, I can rebuild the wheel myself when I have time.

They call me a few days later to say the tuneup is finished. I go there directly after work to pick it up. The mechanic comes out to talk to me.

Mechanic: “I really think you should let us replace the wheel.”

Me: “It’s okay; I’m replacing it myself.”

Mechanic: “But you can’t ride it until it’s replaced.”

Me: “I know.”

Mechanic: “Look, I don’t think you understand. It’s not safe to ride on a cracked rim.”

Me: “I’m aware of that. As I said, I will replace the wheel at the first opportunity.”

Mechanic: *Starting to raise his voice slightly* “You can’t ride it out of here!” 

I glance down at myself, still in my work clothes, and back up at him. 

Me: “Dude, I brought a car to take the bike home in. Did you really think I was planning to cycle in a pencil skirt and heels?”

Started A Chain Reaction

, , , , | Right | November 5, 2021

I start my own business as a bike mechanic at home. I’m still learning how to deal with clients and set their expectations. I list clear prices on my website, plus a message that “bikes must be paid for before they are released.”

I live in an affluent town where most people think alike, so I have few problems with locals. A client is collecting his bike. He is about seventy years old and a member of a cycling club.

Me: “Hi, Mr. [Client]. Per my message earlier, your total is $220.”

Client: “Yeah, the money will be in tomorrow.”

That comment confuses me somewhat, and I don’t respond.

Me: “Let me talk you through what I have done.”

I run through his invoice.

Client: “What about my chain?”

Me: “I degreased and lubricated it; it is listed here. So, like I said, $220, please.”

Client: “The money will be in tomorrow.”

Normally, bank transfers are instant. Is he referring to when he receives his salary, or before he can pay?

Me: “I don’t follow?”

Client: “Yeah, maybe you weren’t listening.”

Later, I put the pieces together. He was telling me he had already paid by bank transfer. I didn’t understand, because I actually couldn’t believe that he expected to take his bike away before payment cleared. I should have told him to come back after it had cleared. I’m anxious for the rest of the day, but his payment later arrives. He texts me two days later.

Client: “You said I needed a new chain!”

I check back in my texts. He is right; I said he needed a new chain but I didn’t install it.

Me: “Hi, Mr. [Client]. I’m sorry, that seems to have slipped my mind. If you come round later, I can install one for [cost].”

Client: “I asked about needing a new chain when I collected!”

I’ve had enough of his attitude.

Me: “No. No, Mr. [Client], you asked about the chain, but not about a new one, and I explained that I lubricated it. Had you asked about a new chain, I would have installed one. I am sorry about having missed that, but we are both at fault on that one. You have still got your money’s worth because a new chain was not included in your itemised quote. If you would like one installed, you are welcome to make an appointment. Please bring cash. Payment must clear before the bike is released. I am sure you are aware of that after many years of cycling.”

He didn’t reply. I have since obtained a card machine. My transaction costs, 1.7%, is well worth it for the convenience and avoiding these awkward conversations with clients.

Gender Roles For Children: Where Everything’s Made Up And The Colors Don’t Matter

, , , , | Working | September 4, 2021

I have twins who just turned three, a boy and a girl. We are openly relaxed about gender differences and it helps us make ends meet when, for example, he wears pink pyjamas until he outgrows them and they fit her. When he demands to wear a skirt, f*** it; he is three. It’s just that his sister has one that sparkles, so he wants one, too. This gets us the odd look once in a while and even some comments, but this is the rudest we’ve ever encountered.

In celebration of the twins’ third birthday, we are shopping for bike helmets. We usually buy used stuff, but safety gear is nothing we want to buy used.

The shop we visit is having a big clearance sale, and [Daughter] picks a violet helmet with a princess on, and [Son] picks a green dinosaur one. Then, we spot a teeny tiny purple bike. It is HEAVILY marked down as it seems to be a floor model that has seen better days, but still, it’s a fully working bike that never saw the outside world before. Our son tries it and loves it. We decide to buy it and approach the worker at the till.

At first, he sees our daughter and smiles as we ask about the purple floor model bike. He then sees my boy on the bike.

Worker: “Oh, it’s for him? Okay.”

My hubby stays with the happy little biker doing rounds on the sales floor. I go with the worker to pay.

Worker: “So that is [price nearly three times what I expected]. We can load the box for you if you pull up your car to the back, or your husband can carry it out. Instructions to assemble are inside.”

Me: “Wait, what? We thought we would get the floor model as it is for [price]?”

Worker: “I’m sorry, but we have no boy bikes of that model on the floor.”

Me: “I thought they were unisex at that stage? And even so, he is getting on and off it fine as it is, so we are totally okay with it anyway.”

Worker: “Let me get my manager.”

I’m confused. The guy goes off and returns with another worker who says he is the manager.

Manager: “My employee told me you asked for a new bike for the floor model sales price? I’m here to clarify, it is that cheap because it is used and we can not sell new ones for that price.”

Me: “But I never asked for a boxed one. We could not pluck him off that one anyway by now, and I thought we could just ride it out of the door.”

Manager: “But he told me you needed a blue one and the floor model is purple.”

Me: “I never said anything about another colour. Why would I? I understand it’s the floor model you are selling. Can I please just pay and get this done?”

Manager: “Of course! I’m sorry. Please come over to the till.”

The worker is standing near the till, and as he notices me paying the low price, he pipes up:

Worker: “But it’s the wrong colour and you can’t return it anytime later for that reason. The sale is final. And if it breaks, then it breaks; it’s your own risk.”

The manager sighs and turns to the worker.

Manager: “[Worker], you know full well that we give a two-year warranty on anything that leaves our doors. And you need to stop making these ridiculous assumptions about what is a boy’s and a girl’s colour.”

Worker: “But it’s not healthy to have him on a purple bike! Everybody will think it’s a gay thing, and he will be embarrassed!”

Me: “Excuse me. He is three. He still has a lot of years in peace before he has to find out what goes on in his heart and pants. He is wearing Hello Kitty underwear right now because it was glittery and he liked it. Just relax, man.”

Worker: “I should call the police on you for abusing your child! You are trying to make him gay, just because you think it’s cool and real men scare you.”

We all fell silent in shock a bit, and the manager grabbed the employee’s shoulder. He started protesting but was wordlessly shoved through a door to the office. The manager closed the door and returned. He started to apologise but I stopped him. I knew it was not his fault and he thanked me a lot. He gave us an even bigger discount on the bike and threw in two novelty bike horns shaped like animals that the kids got to pick. [Daughter] picked a tiger and [Son] took an elephant. The manager told me the worker was his sister’s boyfriend and he only had him there because he wanted to help them out. I never saw him there again, but we still go get most of our bike gear there and are very satisfied.