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Not Handling The Mechanics Of This Business

, , , , , | Working | November 13, 2020

I have several bicycles that I maintain myself. Sometimes, I will visit my local bike store and ask the mechanics for advice on a problem or which tool to buy. The mechanics are well qualified and very helpful. It is a huge international store which also employs sales staff.

Unfortunately, a pattern develops. I ask to speak to a mechanic, and some of the sales staff tell me they are mechanics. However, they are unable to answer simple questions. It has happened several times, and I am tiring of it.

This time, I walk in carrying a bicycle wheel.

Me: “Hi. If you don’t mind me asking, are you a mechanic?”

Employee #1: “Yes.”

Me: “Great! Can you tell me which tool I need to remove the cassette from this wheel? I don’t think it’s a standard Shimano spline.”

Employee #1: “I’m not sure. Let me check the workshop.”

I follow him to the workshop.

Employee #2: “Let me try this tool… I’m sorry I’m not sure.”

Employee #1: “Do you want to leave it with us and I’ll ask [Head Mechanic] tomorrow?”

Me: “No, thank you. Wait… I asked if you were a mechanic. Which Cytech level do you have?”

Employee #1: “I don’t have one.”

Me: “Then why did you tell me you were a mechanic?”

Employee #1: “Well, basic stuff.”

I leave and return the next day. [Head Mechanic] is working. He is amazing. He can do everything a bike mechanic would ever need to do, including building wheels.

Head Mechanic: “Hey, [My Name]! How’s that bike build coming?”

Me: “Getting there! I need this cassette off, but the cassette remover doesn’t fit.”

Head Mechanic: *Lifting something off a shelf* “That’s a freehub system, but you’re holding a Shimano spline tool. You need one of these. Slide it in and turn anti-clockwise, like this. It’s £12.”

Me: “Thanks. By the way… are the sales staff entitled to call themselves mechanics?”

Head Mechanic: “No. Why?”

Me: “It’s happened a few times. I ask to speak to a mechanic because I have a complicated question. They then tell me they are a mechanic and they get confused by whatever I’m asking.”

Head Mechanic: “Really? We haven’t hired any new mechanics.”

Me: “A few sales assistants seem to think that because they can fix a puncture, they are professional mechanics. It’s also really disrespectful, because you have paid thousands for formal training. Would you tell the manager you have had a complaint?”

Head Mechanic: “Yes, sure. When did it happen?”

Me: “Yesterday. I don’t mind speaking to sales assistants if they stay within their limits. If someone who doesn’t know what they are doing works on a bike, someone could get hurt. All this because people don’t have the guts to say, ‘No, I’m not a mechanic but why don’t you try me and I’ll do my best?’”

I also complained by Facebook private message. [Head Mechanic] still knows the answer to anything I ask. I now ask for a mechanic by name, or I ask if they have completed a course in bike mechanics.

That Deal Came About Organ-ically

, , , , | Right | August 27, 2020

I’m picking up my bike after scheduled maintenance.

Me: “Will I have to sell my soul to pay the bill, or can I get away with just a few organs?”

Mechanic: “It’s not that bad. Rip off your dealer and you’re set.”

Time Waits For No Customer

, , , | Right | July 2, 2020

I work in a small bicycle shop where we repair bikes. Rather than an unreliable appointment system, we accept bikes as they come in and line them up to be worked on, with an estimate of which day they will be ready.

A female customer walks in and looks around at things before asking:

Customer: “If I bring my bike in tomorrow, will you be able to have it done by the end of the day?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but right now we’re a little full up on bikes. If you brought it in right now, it would be done by Saturday afternoon. But if somebody else brings their bike in, that will no longer be true.”

Customer: “Are you sure? I talked to [Owner] and he said that he could have my bike done tomorrow.”

Me: “It is maybe possible. But if he told you this a few days ago, then it would have been in relation to that day. We accept bikes first-come-first-served.”

Customer: “I don’t think that’s right. Go get him, you’ll see.”

I go and get the owner and he comes out a little annoyed.

Customer: “If I bring my bike in, you’ll be able to get it done tomorrow, right?”

Owner: “Absolutely not. We’re booked through the weekend. We wouldn’t get it done until Tuesday.”

The customer looked shocked and mumbled about waiting until we were less busy.

There Are Nine Million Bicycles In Beijing

, , , | Right | April 20, 2020

I work at a large “swap-meet” type market place for a vendor who sells beach-cruiser-type bikes. This area is largely populated by white, Republican people, and American pride is strong here. I’m helping a customer pick a bike when a trashy, middle-aged woman comes up to me and interrupts me mid-sentence:

Woman: “Excuse me, are these bikes made in China?!”

Me: “Yes, they are.”

The woman throws her hands in the air.


She turned around and left, mumbling about how the Chinese are taking all our jobs and we’re paying them, too!

A Mass Of Jerk Particles Just Walked In…

, , , , , | Right | November 2, 2019

(I am working at a bike shop in a college town. I have been working as a mechanic in some capacity for the past seven years; I know my s***. I also happen to be female and quite young-looking. Today, I am working with a guy about my age, explaining the difference between CO2 inflators and mini pumps. He’s been alternating between hitting on me and questioning my knowledge, which I am, unfortunately, used to dealing with.)

Me: “Mini pumps can take quite a while to fully inflate your tire. If your tire goes flat and you want to get going quickly, I would recommend going with a CO2 system. I do have to caution you that tires inflated with CO2 don’t hold pressure forever. When you get home, you’ll have to reinflate the tire with a floor pump. I’m not sure why it does that; I think it has to do with CO2 being more easily compressible than the regular gas composition in air.”

Customer: *scoffs* “No, it’s because CO2 is a linear molecule. If you were in my chemistry classes, you would know that. You should take classes at [University] instead of wasting your life here.”

Me: “You’re right, my chemistry is a little rusty. I didn’t realize that you were a student at the university; I’m actually about to graduate with my PhD in Political Science.”

Customer: “Oh…”

(He had no comeback for that. The transaction finished in embarrassment — from him — and tense — from me — silence. The guy ended up purchasing a mini pump which, by the way, kids, is the wrong decision if you are running your mountain bike tires tubeless.)