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Double Standards Bike Store Rant
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Sorry, but I need a place to vent! Recently, I decided it's time to be a grown up and save up some money for a road bike that actually fits. I've been riding a much-too-small Specialized Dolce since college when I swapped my hybrid (ugh, what was I thinking) for it for free through Craigslist. Although having a road bike is far superior than a hybrid, my cycling skills are finally to the point where bike size actually matters.

So far, I've been pretty disappointed in my bike shopping experience. I'm used to getting treated like I don't know anything when I take my car to the mechanics, but I never expected the same kind of treatment from a bike shop, especially where I live. Women's Cycling is HUGE here. However, my shop visits are all turning into the beginning of a very bad joke: "So, a girl walks into a bike shop, and...."

Here are my caveats when it comes to the bike I want to buy. Also, I make sure to tell the salespeople this up front:
1. I am not interested in Women's Specific bikes. I typically dislike the colors they are available in, and even if it comes with a "women's saddle", I can almost guarantee you that I'll be using a different one.
2. I want a bike meant for racing - not for endurance or beach cruises, etc.
3. Not a caveat, but my current bike is 49" Women's Specialized and is too small.

Here are my experiences so far:
Shop #1: After telling the salesguy what want and don't want, he walks me right over to the Specialized Dolce. Um, how about the Amira right beside it? In our conversation, he suggested that I would probably fit perfectly on the Specialized Men's 49". See caveat #3 - this dude isn't causing me to have any faith in him, but I go along with him because I'd like to find out my size. He puts me on a 51. Still too small, but the salesguy was very reluctant to put me on a 54". It felt like pulling teeth, but eventually he did. What do you know? The 54 is a pretty good fit, but hey, this is a women's bike. I had to ask, ask, and ask again to be sized on the Allez.

After trying out the Allez, I all but sprinted from that store. If that salesguy were paying any attention, he might have seen the steam coming from my ears. After telling him exactly what I wanted and what I didn't, he put me on the exact thing I said I did NOT want.

Shop #2: I'm going to be a little more forgiving of Shop #2 - they didn't have anything much in stock in my possible sizes. However, when discussing sizing, the salesguy said (and I quote),"It would blow my mind if you fit on a 54." Then, much like the other salesguy from Shop #1, he started showing me women's bikes in the catalog. I repeated how uninterested I was in Women's stuff, and promised to come back when they had something closer to my size in stock. Follow up: At another store, I tried the 54 in the brand we had been talking about, and if standover height hadn't been an issue (sorry, but I prefer to be able to get on and off my bike without hurting myself), the 54 would have been perfect.

Shop #3: We'll call this the Everyman's Bike Store. They have everything. They aren't really an LBS. I had 2 salespeople that day - 1 guy and 1 girl. The girl was new, so the guy took the lead. I repeated my spiel, and off we go. I wanted to see how a 52 CAAD10 fit, but it was in the window display. I tried a few other bikes. While I was waiting for the bike in the display to be retrieved, the salesguy starts leading me around to other bike options. First stop? The Specialized Women's Bike section. At this point, I was fed up with the girl treatment from other stores, and I interrupted him as he was singing praises of the Amira to say, "That's fine and such, but there's one problem with this. It's a Women's Specific Bike. I said specifically that I did not want a Women's Bike. Haven't you been listening?" He got flustered but was smart enough to take me over to look at the Men's Specialized and Trek bikes. I secretly got a high five from the saleslady when he wasn't looking.

I've been to ONE shop so far where the salesguy wasn't immediately trying to sell me shrinked-and-pinked bikes. Have you all had similar experiences? Do you call them out on their sexism? I don't want to be the cranky lady, but my goodness, I can't imagine I'm the only one with this mindset. How much business are they losing?
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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This has happened to me and told the dumb dudes that I was not born yesterday, have done my research and will not by a bike from them. I walked out and took business elsewhere. Another clown stared me in the face, never offered to help and waiting for a female to assist me. I let her know what happened and that if she were not such a pleasant employee that I would have walked away. She apologized several times over and said she would tell the manager.

It is good you were straightforward with them and did not back down as more people should be this way especially when wanting something that serious to you.
People always talk about supporting local bike shops but when business consist of being a deaf ass, the internet will always win.


_____________________________________
DISH is how we do it.
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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Oh god I have way too many stories about being treated like a 2nd class citizen in bike shops. I think my last experience of buying a replacement cassette (11sp DuraAce) was probably the worst. I call the LBS from whom I have bought 2 bikes, and always had good service, to see if they have said cassette. Yes they do, ok I'll be there this afternoon, cool, click. I arrive and walk up to the counter, say "I called about the DuraAce cassette" to which I get a "you? what do you want that for?" (DUNH isn't it obvious? at least I think it is...) Deep breath, calmly explain I wanted the different gearing for an upcoming hilly race (IMC actually - although I don't mention the race specifically). "Do you even know how to install a cassette?" Wow, this guy's really going there? "Do you have someone to do it for you?" Yes, it's ME, I do all my own wrenching (jackass) now gimme the damn cassette. "Are you sure you don't want something like a 12-27?" (it was a 12-25, I usually run an 11-23) Um no, that's why I called and specifically asked for this one, I get the concept of gears buddy. And then the worst bike store etiquette - no gender bias this time but bike bias - "Can I ask what you are installing it on?" (with the real snooty look). Um yeah, no not gonna bite on that one. Wish I had said something like "my tourer with triple and the panniers" haha but I didn't. Actually wish I had said something to the manager. Bah.

Now I have a few shops (2 specifically) that I know the staff well enough that if they are not there, I just come back another time. There is nothing worse than sales people who do NOT listen when you give explicit information like max budget, or "do NOT show me the pink gear just cuz I'm a chick". I get enough of the "there there, you are a girl, you don't know anything about X Y or Z" in my job that I don't need to go looking for more of it in my free time.

Sad thing is there are always some really good LSB staff people but I swear they get overshadowed by these types of goofballs.

AP

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"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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I guess I am really lucky, the shop I use is a triathlon shop first and foremost. It's owners are great, and the owner that is the pretty much the face of the shop is female, so if one of the staff were to behave like any of the above examples, she would surely hear about it (she is frequently in the shop more than 40 hours a week and is their fitter).

check out my blog http://theswimmingtriathlete.blogspot.com
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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 uch, so annoying.

I get this same treatment in some of the specialised running stores, where I'll want to try on different brands, they always default to the women's specific lines (never mind what my foot is actually shaped like, nobody ever looks at that), and then tell me nothing is in stock in my size. Ummm, DUH, how about the mens' versions? Blank stare because how could a woman possibly want a shoe that's not in pastels? It's like I'm asking to try on a jockstrap.

There's a thread up recently on the tri forum about a guy who recently realised that he knows more than the standard retail operative about what he needs. I think lots of us are in that same position . . . Is there a mechanic in any of the shops who's sharp? He/she will have seen lots of different bikes and could be a good ally in helping to find something that works . . .
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [SDCali] [ In reply to ]
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I've only had good luck too. A shop where the guys were very involved in their customers, the bike shop that sponsors my SF team and now a shop here in TN.

OP: I'd call them on it flat out right there when it happens. "May I ask why you are showing me x when I specifically said I was NOT interested in X?" Then stand there and see what they say.

Is there a shop listed in the ST list you can try?

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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These stories remind me of a scuba shop that wife and I used to frequent. It was not at all female friendly. You'd walk into the place and you could almost needed a knife to cut through the testosterone. One guy who worked there even thought that women shouldn't be diving. My wife is an experienced diver and her girlfriend was an instructor. After being treated as nobodies they refused to deal with that dive shop. How stupid is it for any business to fail to accommodate 50% of the population. They eventually went out of business. Hmmmmmmmm........I wonder why.
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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I have this problem a lot, too, but not at my "regular" LBS, which is why they are my go-to shop. The more I know about bikes, the less likely I am to get mainsplained or armtwisted.

My funny story: I answered Slowman's call for volunteers for a free bike fit at his advanced fitters clinic. On their recommendation, I ordered new cranks at a different length. I just got email that, on reflection, John Cobb thought I'd do better with yet a different length, so he sent those instead to try out. I may argue with a LBS, but I'll try what John Cobb recommends, without question!
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [AndyPants] [ In reply to ]
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Not that it's any reason to treat some like that - but in the defense of many bike shops women who know how to work on bikes are actually pretty rare. There's a whole group of women where I live that basic matinence is an unknown skill - half of then don't even know what size cassette they have or if they have mechanical or hydrolic brakes. It's very annoying to those of us who can do "complex" repairs like changing cassettes but in some ways it's safer for the bike shops to assume we can't. Because if they sent someone home and they wrecked a durace cassette there would be a whole different rant.

As for the pink - well, luckily most bikes are moving away from pink for women's bikes. Even with that, I know plenty of women who were super upset when Yeti discontinued the pink women's bike. And there are some differences between men's and women's bikes that make me want a women's bike even though I fit on the men's. the suspension for the women's bikes is tuned lighter for the lower body weights and the brake levers tend to be closer in. BUT - they always seem to spec the women's bikes with lower level components and crap suspension. And no option to just get a frame set and do a build.

So I think the best option is to kill me with kindness and after a few trips in even the goons understand that I know what I'm talking about.


Vale!
Tracy T
http://www.thelencoaching.com
Some light reading::: http://www.tracythelen.blogspot.com
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe go in with a plan of what you do want, so they aren't trying to fit you on something you don't. I'd do some research ahead of time and come up with a list of bikes that fit my criteria and find local dealers where I could try them out and get fit properly. For instance maybe you'd like a Felt F4 or a Bianchi Infinito. If you go in armed with specific models in mind you'll be a step ahead. They'll see you've done your homework and (hopefully) will be less likely to treat you like you don't know anything.

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Awww, Katy's not all THAT evil. Only slightly evil. In a good way. - JasoninHalifax

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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry to hear this. It sucks. :-(
I just got an Amira. Decidedly UN-Girly like colors. Black with red and white accents. It's sweet. I'm going to make it look badass. I ride a men's saddle too.

I like the response of the one post about calling the shop employees out on their not listening to you. I'd do that. If I was really steamed, I'd ask for the manager or owner and express my displeasure.

Do you know your dimensions? Torso length and inseam length for starters? I'm a typical female 'short torso & longer legs' build, so personally I do fit better on 'women's' stuff if it's sized as such.

I can't really offer anything else but 'hang in there'. You'll get what you want.
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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Just curious and slightly OT - why are you so opposed to the WSD bikes? As another poster mentioned above, it's about more than just a different paint color. They are designed specifically for the different dimensions of a women's body.

Now, I understand, that doesn't mean ALL women. Some definitely fit better on a men's bike. However, it's not clear to me that you are ruling them out due to fit issues.

It's not an insult to ride a women's specific design.
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [Elsa] [ In reply to ]
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I'm opposed to WSD bikes because my geometry is not typical for a woman - I don't know the exact numbers, but unlike most women, I have a long torso and short legs. Therefore, the shorter top tube on most WSD bikes isn't helpful to me.
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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lindsayonthego wrote:
I'm opposed to WSD bikes because my geometry is not typical for a woman - I don't know the exact numbers, but unlike most women, I have a long torso and short legs. Therefore, the shorter top tube on most WSD bikes isn't helpful to me.

Yes- this is the argument you should make when you talk to bike shops, don't bring up the color schemes. I imagine they'll take you more seriously, I hope so anyway, after your experiences.

I bet that salesperson just had no idea how to proceed after you stated you didn't want to look at WSD.

Frankly, I'm of the opinion that the bike companies would make more money if they stopped genderizing everything, and just made DIFFERENT GEOS for different bodies, gender-aside. Some men would fit better on a WSD, but are turned off the flowers and stigma attached to that (which is rooted in the problematic way society sees feminine things, but I digress). Just make a line of bikes with different geos, offer in a few different colors and fit the person to the bike, not the man/woman to the bike they're "supposed to fit on."
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [determination] [ In reply to ]
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That sounds very badass. Not that it truly matters, but I was happy to see some less girly colors on the Women's bikes. Personally, I am a "bright" person - but bright as in orange or green, not pink or purple. I don't like WSD bikes for more legitimate reasons that "colors", but I figure if I'm going to pay for a nice bike, I should probably like how it looks in addition to how it fits and rides.

I did start calling the salespeople out during my whole bike-shopping experience. I'm a typically easygoing person, and I didn't like having to go in to each bike shop up in arms, ready to prove that I mostly do know what I'm talking about.

After test riding a few bikes and seeing what was in my price range, I ended up going with a "Men's" Cannondale CAAD10 in a 52". As I said in my other reply, I'm atypical - short legs, long torso. I've reserved some money for getting good bike fit once it arrives. Now, all I have to do is wait patiently for the end of February. :)
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [npda] [ In reply to ]
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npda wrote:
Frankly, I'm of the opinion that the bike companies would make more money if they stopped genderizing everything, and just made DIFFERENT GEOS for different bodies, gender-aside. Some men would fit better on a WSD, but are turned off the flowers and stigma attached to that (which is rooted in the problematic way society sees feminine things, but I digress). Just make a line of bikes with different geos, offer in a few different colors and fit the person to the bike, not the man/woman to the bike they're "supposed to fit on."

Amen. If I could have afforded a bike from one of the companies that believe in different geos, not different genders, I would have.

If also saddens me that the WSD bikes typically come with worse components, etc.

I'm happy with the bike I chose -I will have to swap the handlebars for a narrower set and swap to saddle out, but that is no big deal. I'm still learning about bikes, but I think from now on, I will ask my fiance to educate me before I go to the bike shop for anything.
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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I've found with my short legs (have the same body type as you) the women's bikes are often better for stand over. Granted, I'm short as well, so the 49cm Roubaix fits me just fine (thats what i have for a road bike) But with the mountain bikes - I have to be really careful. The small Epic fits and I can ride it - but I can't stand over it. But the Fate - which has very close actual top tube and and seat tube demsions to the Epic - has a lower top tube and thus allows me to actually get off the bike. Just something to consider when looking at the bikes - despite the names, sometimes there really isn't much difference in effective top tube between the men's and women's.

The first step to buying a bike - regardless of men's or women's - is getting a solid (and not bike shop employee unless they are certified fitters) bike fit. Then find the bike that matches your fit the best. It might be pink, it might not be.


Vale!
Tracy T
http://www.thelencoaching.com
Some light reading::: http://www.tracythelen.blogspot.com
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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lindsayonthego wrote:
If also saddens me that the WSD bikes typically come with worse components, etc..

Tell me about it! Back to the MTB since that's what I do - but the men's mid-level bikes come with the components of the women's race bikes! Want X0 and a Pike? Gotta go with the men's. Light weight wheels? Hah! Most women's mountain bikes come with boat anchors - even worse with 29er. Dropper post? Once again, mostly men's bikes. It's a huge complaint with me and one of the reasons I was very happy to figure out I could fit onto the men's bikes.


Vale!
Tracy T
http://www.thelencoaching.com
Some light reading::: http://www.tracythelen.blogspot.com
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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"also saddens me that the WSD bikes typically come with worse components, etc. "


Yeah, this is just poo. Another reason I'm doing my own build. ;-)

I have been very fortunate to have a husband who is one of the best fitters in my area. He's got a long torso and "short" legs. He found that a sloping top tube really helped with the standover issue.
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [determination] [ In reply to ]
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The last bike I had was an Orbea Diva and I loved the color scheme. Pink with a little bad ass thrown in. At least I think so. Had to sell in a couple years ago when I was unemployed.

(not my bike but the same model)



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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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GORGEOUS!

As a girl who LOVES pink and black, I had to "settle" for a dark purple/black scheme on my beloved Gandalf (Specialized Ruby).





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You. You make me stronger.
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [lindsayonthego] [ In reply to ]
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lindsayonthego wrote:
I'm opposed to WSD bikes because my geometry is not typical for a woman - I don't know the exact numbers, but unlike most women, I have a long torso and short legs. Therefore, the shorter top tube on most WSD bikes isn't helpful to me.


IMHO you can't go bike shopping without knowing your fit first. And you can't rule out all women specific bikes based on the above.

Example - check the measurements of the Trek Speed Concept 7.0 WSD sizes vs non WSD. The ONLY differences are that the WSD has an XS, and between the other sizes, the only difference is the head tube length.

Now I'm not defending these shops because let's face it, it can be like buying a car and women don't know what they're talking about ;)

....but my advice to you is to know what really fits you and shop that way. Do lots of homework before you even step foot into a shop.

You went from a women's 49 Specialized (which was too small)
to a "unisex" 52 Cannondale? WOW that's quite a jump and could be as much as 2 frame sizes (I don't know what the numbers look like side by side). Good luck. I hope it works for you.
Last edited by: MtnBikerChk: Jan 15, 14 7:54
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [AndyPants] [ In reply to ]
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AndyPants wrote:
Oh god I have way too many stories about being treated like a 2nd class citizen in bike shops. I think my last experience of buying a replacement cassette (11sp DuraAce) was probably the worst. I call the LBS from whom I have bought 2 bikes, and always had good service, to see if they have said cassette. Yes they do, ok I'll be there this afternoon, cool, click. I arrive and walk up to the counter, say "I called about the DuraAce cassette" to which I get a "you? what do you want that for?" (DUNH isn't it obvious? at least I think it is...) Deep breath, calmly explain I wanted the different gearing for an upcoming hilly race (IMC actually - although I don't mention the race specifically). "Do you even know how to install a cassette?" Wow, this guy's really going there? "Do you have someone to do it for you?" Yes, it's ME, I do all my own wrenching (jackass) now gimme the damn cassette. "Are you sure you don't want something like a 12-27?" (it was a 12-25, I usually run an 11-23) Um no, that's why I called and specifically asked for this one, I get the concept of gears buddy. And then the worst bike store etiquette - no gender bias this time but bike bias - "Can I ask what you are installing it on?" (with the real snooty look). Um yeah, no not gonna bite on that one. Wish I had said something like "my tourer with triple and the panniers" haha but I didn't. Actually wish I had said something to the manager. Bah.

Now I have a few shops (2 specifically) that I know the staff well enough that if they are not there, I just come back another time. There is nothing worse than sales people who do NOT listen when you give explicit information like max budget, or "do NOT show me the pink gear just cuz I'm a chick". I get enough of the "there there, you are a girl, you don't know anything about X Y or Z" in my job that I don't need to go looking for more of it in my free time.

Sad thing is there are always some really good LSB staff people but I swear they get overshadowed by these types of goofballs.

AP

maybe it is my old ladyness showing but I would have stopped at the very first question and informed him i was there to purchase and not chat. If he was unable to complete the transaction he would be free to call the manager over. Anything beyond ringing up my purchase would have been met with a demand to speak to the manager and a further request to make it worth my while now (as they have pissed me off) to purchase teh cassette before buying it off the internet.

If the LSB is staffed by idiots and good guys, again, I would be involving the manager to point this out and allow them to make coming to their shop and suffering their idiots versus using my computer to achieve the same result.

http://harvestmoon6.blogspot.com


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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [kathy_caribe] [ In reply to ]
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Bike shops live and die on service and it's sad to hear some of these stories. I worked in a shop when WSD was coming out and it was very hyped by the bike companies as a blow AGAINST discrimination of women, who always were stuck with ill fitting bikes. It is unfortunate that pink and lower end components are part of this, as opposed to only geometry and different sized components. Most all the employee training is from company reps, so they're probably just acting on what they heard from the reps, not that that's an excuse. Hopefully it moves more from men vs women sizing to whatever fits best, as mentioned above.

PS. Just for future reference it's 49cm, not 49"
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Re: Double Standards Bike Store Rant [avatar78] [ In reply to ]
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Although most training comes from company reps, I found huge differences amongst employees amongst the same store. When my husband and I were looking for bikes together, he was waited on hand and foot while I was usually ignored. I got used to it and was able to scope out the bikes unattended and reject any stores that didn't wise up in time.

Eventually someone would come by and ask if they could help, I would say "Why yes, I'm looking for a road bike with a carbon frame, Shimano 105 components with a top tube length of 51 cm. What would you have available?" That usually got things rolling in a hurry.

My personal pet peeve was when I identified a mechanical issue with a bike I test-rode and the salesman blew it off. Not a bike shop I'd support. To this day I support LBS's that treated me well, even if I didn't buy my bike from them.
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