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Wrenches / Shop Employees, What's Your Biggest Pet Peeve?

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4/29/2016 2:50 PM

Working at a bike shop was definitely one of the most fun jobs I ever had. Most of the time we had a rad crew of employees, the job was rewarding and at a few shops we'd all enjoy a couple beers once the doors were locked and just shoot the shit. We'd all ride together, from trail to night time road rides with plenty of beer stops between miles, generally it was all good times.

But, it's not always that way... There's always that one customer who thinks they're right, no matter how wrong they are. Some shops get a steady flow of "skizzles," who were basically drunk, crazy homeless dudes who smelled like pee and needed tools to work on their own bike in front of the store. One shop I wrenched at had this old mean-as-hell lady that would come in on her motorized chair, pull her hemorrhoid cushion out from under her and tell me to air it back up. This happened every week or two. And then there's the backyard bikes that sometimes come in for repair... you know, the ones rusted to all hell, covered in dried leaves with black widows jumping out from under the seat and shifters... the stuff nightmares are made of. Oh, and tri bikes... covered in electrolyte goo, piss and salt build-up from being drenched in sweat.

So, I'm curious, as a shop employee / wrench, what was your biggest pet peeve while working at a bike shop?

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I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

4/29/2016 4:57 PM

Mine was mostly the other employees and the management who always wanted to set up appointments and put off simple adjustments that could be done in minuets. If it's not a bike build, why make someone wait?

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4/29/2016 5:09 PM

-When a customer, who is looking to purchase a bike, has their friend, "who knows about bikes", tag along. Usually, the "knows about bikes" friend only knows about their bike, or the bike they bought severalteen years ago, or whatever they remember from the internet. You say something, they look to their friend for validation, etc. It's like selling one bike to two people. Drags the process out a bit most of the time.
-The customers who think they're sly by wanting to try on shoes, or find out what their "bike size" is, so they can buy out online. I'm amazed I can sniff these people out now.

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4/29/2016 5:25 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/29/2016 5:26 PM

- When other employees don't put away their tools so you spend 15min looking for a star nut installer.

- When customers watch you doing your work - I don't want them me seeing performing my "art" as i slam a hammer into a BB removal punch on their $8k carbon fibre wonder machine.


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4/29/2016 7:15 PM

I worked for the big national bike store and we always had people bring their Walmart bikes that were almost destroyed and wanted to get it fixed. I would go over the problems and tell them it would be cheaper or easier to buy new or return it.
They always say 'how much?'
"About $200 for parts and labor"
'I only paid $150 for it"
Well its a piece of shit.

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4/29/2016 7:30 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/29/2016 8:12 PM

Mashira wrote:

-When a customer, who is looking to purchase a bike, has their friend, "who knows about bikes", tag along. Usually, the "knows ...more

This has happened to me. The shoppers pal was a self proclaimed bike expert who explained that the bike in his price range with the best rear derailleur was the one to buy. So essentially he was shopping for a rear derailleur and whatever else came with it didn't matter, as long as it was the bike was the right color. blink

I also once worked for a super skeezy "pro shop" where the first meeting I had at the shop, one of the deranged owners told us how we "need to suck the customers cock" and then proceeded to fellate an invisible dong. He also spray painted spokes white and sold them to a customer for a "custom" wheel build. I also once watched him have a 16yo female try out a bike for size as he balanced the bike by the seat so that his thumb was in her ass crack when she sat down, and this was right in front of her father. He also sold dozens of Santa Cruz bikes illegally and internationally to "friends", violating contracts, avoiding customs duties & taxes, and subsequently had his dealer license revoked because of it. Eventually he lied his way back into dealing that manufacturers bikes. He also insisted on having the largest college club team possible, many of whom would openly showroom products like shoes, and then brag to me about what a great deal they got online, even though we were giving them almost as good of a discount. They would also come in to the shop and start helping themselves to tools and workspace, and when I suggested that this was hurting the shops margins and productivity, I was chastised for not understanding how critical it was to have them as customers. I'm not going to say the name of the shop but it rhymes with my personal nickname for the place - "Life Psycho"

I've also worked for a shop whose owner installed numerous surveillance cameras so he can creepily watch over his employees via his computer or cell phone, Big Brother style.

Besides the megalomanic shop owners who treat their employees as indentured wage slaves and use fear or threats as "motivation", my biggest pet peeve has to be customers who insist on watching, distract me with extraneous questions, or those who want to receive instructions as I fix their bike so they can learn how to "do it themselves next time". Then there are those who want to stand right next to you, hover around, or offer to "help", as if this is a normal thing to do at any business you patronize. Imagine how a cook would react if you walked into the back of a kitchen to ask if you could watch them make your souffle to your specifications or to learn how to do it yourself. Throat punches would ensue.

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4/29/2016 7:53 PM

damn sales guys always taking my 3 ways, and wealthy euro tourists always asking for me to "make special price on bike"

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4/29/2016 8:21 PM

The out of touch owner.

The out of touch owner's spouse that comes in and thinks it's their shop too.

The Service Manager that thinks they don't have to take out the trash or perform simple repairs because it's below them.

The Sales Manager that thinks they don't have to change tires or take out the trash because it's below them.

The kid who only works there because their big brother worked there and got them the job, but the big brother has left and you're stuck with the kid wondering what you did wrong to deserve it.

The former employee who comes back to the shop expecting current employee treatment.

Any triathlete ever.

The "what time is the noon ride" customer.

The "I bought this online, can you install it for me" customer.

And lastly, THIS GUY, who instead of realizing how great working at a shop was, spent time to recall all the annoyances of what was most likely one of the most fun jobs ever.




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4/29/2016 8:53 PM

The guy who brings his bike in, covered in mud.

The people who don't understand, you need to wipe off the excess chain lube, and their chain looks like its covered in motor oil ( oh and that guy who actually does use motor oil)

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4/29/2016 10:00 PM

Mgruehl wrote:

The out of touch owner.

The out of touch owner's spouse that comes in and thinks it's their shop too.

The Service Manager ...more

Hahaha - "Any Triathlete"

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4/29/2016 10:31 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/29/2016 10:31 PM

I would say famous people, but a friend pointed out that some of these are essentially my own personal "Charlie Murphy True Hollywood Stories…"

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4/29/2016 11:33 PM

God where do i start i could rant all day but he BIGGEST way to peeve me of is taking a tool from my bench and either not returning it or just throwning it back on the bench....
lucky for me i have now trained them all ( i have stripped any ones bike that has done this and since they are useless with tools had to beg another mechanic to build there bikes back together as i refuse to )
that and moron sales staff that cant/dont fill out job cards with dates properly

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4/30/2016 2:19 AM

Well I don't work in a shop, but I do a lot of wrenching, and here's my word of warning to anybody with a well-equipped workshop and the know-how to fix bikes: don't tell the neighbors.

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4/30/2016 6:48 AM

Knsgti wrote:

The guy who brings his bike in, covered in mud.

The people who don't understand, you need to wipe off the excess chain lube, ...more

Yup, dirty bikes. Charge 'em through the nose for that shit. A shop I used to work for, the head mechanic would make the customer wash his bike out back before he even looked at it. It was great.

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4/30/2016 7:59 AM

The guy that buys a bike from you then comes back with it completely F'd and gives you his JRA story. Years ago, I had a guy bring back a bike with severely bent rims and bent crank arm. He actually told me he thought the cold from keeping it in the garage is what bent it. Wow. I asked him how he stored it in the garage. He said "I just had it leaned up against the wall in front of my wife's car." True story.

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4/30/2016 8:50 AM

Nasty ass tri geeks that piss on themselves and horribly neglect their bikes.

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4/30/2016 9:14 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/30/2016 9:30 AM

- The customer that never come in untill it's time to get something warrantied.

- The customer who says "take your time, I don't need it till next week", then calls the next morning and says "I am in the neighborhood and I was wondering if my bike was ready".

- The customer who never cleans their road bike because it doesn't get muddy. I'd rather wipe down a bike covered in mud then a bike covered in sweat.

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4/30/2016 2:38 PM

The customer whom you try to help by alignin a bit their rims and pulling a bit their brake cables so he or her could actualy have brakes (or something equivalent)and does not die in the next corner, even though he or she did not pay for it. And then complains about the price of your high end store, argues that his or her bicycle is the best there is, there for years of rust; abuse, and cheap parts should disappear without a dime. And on top of it, threatens to never come again and would tell everybody to stay out because your shift adjustment price is too expensive and the inner cable was not included. I think people do not realize that a mechanic has to live, and has to have ethics to not neglect the fact, that a badly adjusted bicycle could provoke an accident.

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4/30/2016 3:20 PM

- The phrase 'whats your best price'.

- The guy who inflated his tubeless tyre to 60psi to get it to bead, then left it in the back of his car on a very hot day, to which the tyre eventually exploded and warped his rim. He wanted us to buy him a new wheel.

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4/30/2016 4:41 PM

"Can you re use my spokes?"

"It costs how much? All you're doing is turning a couple screws!"

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4/30/2016 4:43 PM

When people act like customers owe shop hands something more than just the money

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4/30/2016 5:43 PM

The worst for me is toxic sweat 6 year old freakin bar tape that has penicillin growing under it... I am also a Paremedic and have had my fair share of brains in my lap and fully ripe dead body recoveries...but holy shit it makes me gag every time! Asshat dickholes that want their shit fixed right now so they can go Strava then don't say thank you when you drop everything for them makes me want to murderface someone with a pedal wrench...guess it's a toss up between the two!

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4/30/2016 6:16 PM

The customer whom you try to help by alignin a bit their rims and pulling a bit their brake cables so he or her could actualy have brakes (or something equivalent)and does not die in the next corner, even though he or she did not pay for it. And then complains about the price of your high end store, argues that his or her bicycle is the best there is, there for years of rust; abuse, and cheap parts should disappear without a dime. And on top of it, threatens to never come again and would tell everybody to stay out because your shift adjustment price is too expensive and the inner cable was not included. I think people do not realize that a mechanic has to live, and has to have ethics to not neglect the fact, that a badly adjusted bicycle could provoke an accident.

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4/30/2016 6:20 PM

Forget dirty/muddy bikes, how about bikes covered in cow shit? I've had this happen multiple times. (customer) "Why did the tune up cost more this time?" (me) "It was an extra $15 for the bike wash". "But I didn't ask to have it washed". "Yeah well, if you don't want to pay to have it washed, don't bring it in covered in FECAL matter!"
I had one guy bring a wheel in for a flat fix, who neglected to tell me his tire had dog shit on it. When I pointed it out he actually told me, "I know. That's why I brought it in, otherwise I'd have fixed it myself".

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4/30/2016 7:13 PM

"I'd do it myself, I just don't have the tools" followed quickly by "Can you show me how you did that" and finished with the always classy "Pay? What? It only took you a second."

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4/30/2016 11:57 PM

"You could get a car for that", "what are those big fat tires for?" And of course the classic "I know the owner, is the owner here?"

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5/1/2016 9:51 AM

iceman2058 wrote:

Well I don't work in a shop, but I do a lot of wrenching, and here's my word of warning to anybody with a well-equipped ...more

god help you if you did!!!pinch

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5/1/2016 10:39 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/1/2016 10:46 AM

Scooter kids that come in and ask you to shorten their bars then get bent out of shape cause you ask for a contribution to the coffee fund...

Don't get me wrong there are are good kids out there who will get there wallet out and give you their last bit of cash but most expect everything for free!

Bad manners..... Manners cost you nothing, bad manners cost you extra!


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5/1/2016 12:31 PM

I "wrenched" for 6/7 years whilst at uni and honestly the thing that annoys me the most (and this wont be popular), is bike mechanics who think this is some sort of god given talent and that good customer service isn't required because you can build a good wheel.
Ill never understand the strange elitist attitude some guys have as if they cant be replaced at the drop of a hat

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5/1/2016 1:37 PM

My Top Ten... kinda...

1. Customers that don't want to pay for you to fix their flat and decide to fix it right there in the shop. Eventually they need help, tools, or a new tube; usually the later.

2. INSTALLING ANY BIKE RACK ON ANY CAR

3. I've heard other wrenches don't like working with me because I keep a dozen tools in my pockets.

4. Grease on every piece of clothing...

5. Packing bikes for shipping...

6. "Can my bars go higher"

7. "Your seat can't go any higher, it's past the safety mark"

8. Having to watch kids so they don't steal

9. Installing babyseats and lights...

10. Having to work on a **PERFECT** day after multiple days of rain.

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