Friday, November 29, 2013

Dear bike shops, cut the shit.

Dear shops with berber carpet and "bike shop bathrooms".
It's time to cut the shit and start growing up. Almost every shop I go into is thoroughly unimpressive. I go into a lot of shops too, big  chain shops, independent shops and boutique-y douche bag shops, I go into shops that have employees that are "too good" to make eye contact. I make it a point to go into different shops -always announcing my presence- and look down upon my industry peers. Almost every shop follows the same bullshit pattern.  Lazy merchandising with as much shit crammed per square inch as possible, while letting halo product like $11,000 Project-S-Black-California dictate the overall impression your shop makes. Typically the shops are staffed by a few knowledgeable people and a bunch of total clowns. Guess what? You can sell S-Works and PinaGucci but your sales floor still looks like spandex diarrhea. 
I've left shops thinking to myself: "what a crap-hole, I've kept captives in nicer places" then proceeded to go home and feed my detainees dog food, Purina dog food.
So who cares? I'm just some asshole on the internet that pissed off CervĂ«lo. You care Mr bike shop owner. If you have ever even once price matched ANYTHING  to the nashbars or had one customer bring in a 90% assembled bike in a box, YOU BETTER FUCKING CARE. In the 90s when internet porn was still dialing up at 28.8 kbps and Ross was still bangin' Rachel, shops could be grungy holes where so-called "master" mechanics could build your wheels in solitude, that doesn't cut it anymore. It's 2014 (model year) and you can stream coaching sessions directly to your power device in the comfort of your home. You can buy parts from China at damn near dealer cost and watch a YouTube video showing you how to install it. You can even download an app that will tell you how to fit your bike. (Side note: internet bike fits DIRECTLY cause erectile dysfunction.)  Did the internet kill bike shops? Yeah, the internet killed off more than 1000 really shitty bike shops nationally between 2008 and 2012 and, it threatens to kill the remaining 4000+ shops too if you don't cut the shit and be better.

Don't try and be the best bike shop either, that's like being the best Cincinnati sports team; climb a bigger mountain.Look for inspiration at successful companies that don't sell bikes. I went into Lululemon to check out their merchandising and, cute girls in tight pants. After my rager went to a half-chub I also went to Anthropologie. The first thing I noticed in both places is that they SMELLED good, not like tires or body odor. The second thing I noticed was the merchandising was nothing like bike shops. Both Lulu and Anthropologie  have stacks of things, which means you see a thing on a size 2 mannequin and think "that's what I want to look like" then pick up the folded pants that correspond to your actual ass size, brilliant! As a matter of fact I went to lots of stores with stacks of things and, EVERY one was staffed with employees that made eye contact.
So basically if bike shops are going to survive you need to stop acting like bike shops for "bikers" and start providing concierge service to everyone.  If you want your bike shop to keep on existing do simple things like: opening the damn door when someone is walking up to the shop with a bike, taking a heavy box out to the car for the double-amputee single moms or even, just acknowledging my existence when I come in and start flipping shifters on $10,000 bikes. You don't have anything better to do, I don't give a shit if you are eating lunch and I assure you that my credit card is as good here as it is in the bike shop a mile down the road.
The easiest way to get into the habit of not being a total prick to the people that are keeping food on your table is to just pretend they are all your grandmother, "oh let me get that for you grandma, you shouldn't be carrying that" or "let me explain how all these buttons work, this technology is fairly complex". Don't fall back on"The internet won't fix your bike" mentality either, it only means that when your customers go to ANOTHER BIKE SHOP you have no one to blame but yourself because you didn't merchandise better, you didn't sell better and you smelled like a bus station bathroom.

I don't have a good end to this rant so I'll end with a picture of a kitty instead

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