From Apoplectic To Apologetic

, , , , | Right | August 11, 2017

(I used to work at a bike rental place at a popular tourist location. Occasionally people call us if they’ve had a problem with their bike and we will drive out to replace or repair their bike for them. Earlier in the day a customer had been through with his family to get bikes.)

Me: *answering the phone* “Hello, [Company]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “It’s [Customer]. I need someone to fix my f****** bike right the f*** now. I was supposed to go for a ride with my wife and my kid, but because of your s*** f****** bike I can’t go.”

Me: “I’m very sorry about that, sir. I’ll have someone out there straight away. If you could just tell me your location and what’s wrong with the bike so I know if we can repair it or if we need to replace it?”

Customer: “I’m at [Location] and your stupid f****** bike’s brakes lock on whenever I try to turn right.”

(At this point I realize that he’s just twisted the handlebars around which took all of the slack out of the brake cable, so when he turns the bike it pulls the cable and the brakes lock on. All he needs to do to fix it is turn the handlebars around the other way. It’ll take about two seconds, compared to over half an hour for us to drive out to him.)

Me: “Oh, it sounds like you’ve just…”

Customer: “I haven’t f****** done anything. Just get someone to fix my f****** bike” *hangs up*

(I told my coworker what I thought was wrong and she drove out to him. It turned out I was right, and she just turned the handlebars around the right way and it was fixed. The next day he came in the store to apologize for being rude.)

A Sheety Service

| AB, Canada | Working | February 26, 2017

(I borrow my mom’s bicycle, and in the process of the bike ride, the front and rear brakes stop working. I go into the repair shop. The following conversation takes place.)

Store Clerk: “So, if you just sign here on the white sheet, the signature will also copy to the pink and yellow sheets beneath it. After you do that, please take it to the front desk. After you pay, they will take the pink and yellow sheets. We’ll call you when the bike is ready to be picked up.”

(I go and do as he says, and go home. Once home, I realize I still have all three sheets — which means they still have my mom’s bike and no way to contact me, as all my information is on those sheets. So, I go back to the shop and explain what happened.)

Store Clerk: *looking kind of puzzled as I’m standing there* “Well, it’s a good thing you came back, because now we can actually start working on the bike.”

Me: *facepalm*

The Wheel Always Comes Back Around

| Charleston, SC, USA | Right | December 8, 2016

(I’ve been a bicycle mechanic for over 10 years and have heard my share of JRAs (I was Just Riding Along when my frame broke in two… etc), but this customer stands out for some reason. He enters the service door with a bike he has purchased from us, clearly agitated.)

Me: “Yes, sir, how can we help you?”

Customer: *mumble* “Warranty work…” *mumbles* “…shoddy workmanship…”

(He kind of mumbles this under his breath as he keeps striding up to the service area, and then actually pushes the bike into me, physically. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s pretty aggressive.)

Me: “I’m sorry; you’re having an issue with the bike? What’s going on?”

Customer: *grunts and points toward the rear wheel*

(I kneel down and notice that both the brake arm and the housing for the three-speed hub are disconnected, meaning the bike cannot shift or brake. These are the two things you would need to unfasten to remove the rear wheel, by the way.)

Customer: *scowling and standing over me as I kneel* “You ever hear of Loctite?”

Me: “Yes, sir, I have heard of Loctite.”

Customer: “Well, maybe you should USE some.”

Me: *incredulous* “Sir, I’ve been doing this for 10 years. This is my job. The brake arm already uses a nylock nut. Anyway, it looks like the shift pin’s fallen out, too. Let me see if I have a spare.”

(This gives me a chance to go in the back and look for the part, and for him to get out of my face and cool down. Since I was 99% sure this was a case of him (or someone else) removing the rear wheel and then being unable to reinstall it, I thought I’d offer him some tips.)

Me: *wheeling the bike out of the service area* “Well, I got it all hooked back up. Thank goodness I did have one of those pins.”

Customer: *silent, pensive, already looking a bit sheepish*

Me: “It’s the darndest thing, really, for both that housing bolt and the brake arm to have loosened up at the same time, but they’re both up to proper torque now. I can’t imagine that happening again. If for some crazy reason that housing does loosen up, or if you’re removing the wheel, take care not to lose or bend that shift pin though. Anyway, I’m sorry you had to deal with this, but of course that’s why we offer a warranty on all new bikes for the first year. If there’s anything else you need or if something goes out of adjustment, don’t hesitate to bring it back.”

Customer: *mumbled thanks*

Me: *cheerily* “…and have fun out there!

Not A Very Bikeable Person

| Beverly Hills, CA, USA | Right | October 6, 2016

(My boss, the owner of the shop, has been working with a customer who has visited a few times now. Each time, just before he makes his purchase, he calls a friend who contradicts — incorrectly — everything my boss has said. On this visit, the same is about to happen, and my boss has had it, so he asks to speak to the friend.)

Boss: “Hey there, I’m the owner of the shop and I’ve been helping your friend here for a while. Before he talks to you, I was hoping to ask you a couple questions. What is it that you do for a living?”

Friend: “Well, I’m a financial advisor. I help people with their investments, stocks and the like.”

Boss: “Cool! I actually do a little of that for myself, too! How about next time you’re advising a client, I swing by and let them know what I think?”

Friend: “Absolutely not! Don’t be ridiculous. This is my livelihood, my career. I’m the one with the experience and knowledge about this stuff. You own a bike shop!”

Boss: “Well, when you put it like that, it makes sense. Can I go back to selling your friend a bike now, without your interference?”

Friend: “…”

Boss: “Great, thanks!” *hangs up*

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A Little Extra Goes A Long Way

| Los Angeles, CA, USA | Right | February 12, 2015

(Customers are often upset by the turnaround time we quote — up to two weeks during the busiest season. They almost always point out how easy or quick their repair should be. As we are standing within the repair area, it is easy enough to point at all the bikes all over and explain that all these people were here first. On occasion, a customer would drop this one on me:)

Customer: “Well, how about I pay you extra, and you skip me ahead of all those people to the front of the line and you do my repair right now?”

Me: “That sounds great, but first let me call all the people ahead of them and ask if they’d like to pay extra to keep their place in line…”

Customer: “ALL RIGHT, fine.”

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