Working at a bike shop has resulted in some of the funniest interactions with human beings I’ve ever had.
-Last month a triathlete became absolutely livid when we couldn’t find his Cervelo P2. After spending a good 10 minutes going back and forth looking for the bike and being threatened with legal action (we often have to store tri bikes in a different location because the disc wheels can’t be hooked into our racks), we found the problem: his bike was a P3. 9 minutes before, after seeing the P3 and not the P2, I had asked him if he was sure it was a P2 and not a P3. He was sure.
-This weekend a man got quite angry with me for telling his wife that the braking on her brand spanking new Magna was never going to be good and that we could replace the toy cantilevers with cheap V-brakes and levers for less than $75, including labor, since a new bike was “absolutely out of the question.” As I clocked out for lunch, I saw them stuffing their matching Magnas back into the trunk and back seat of a BMW with dealer plates.
-We generally do 10- to15-minute jobs for free, on the spot, especially on weekends. On one particularly busy Saturday, a customer walked back to the shop, handed his Cervelo to one of my coworkers, mumbled something and started walking away. My confused coworker asked him if he could please clarify what the hell he was supposed to be doing. The customer responded: “I don’t know, grease my bike or something” and was walking away before he even finished his sentence.
Earlier this year, while working in bike rentals, I sent out a road bike with a tall (6’+) 20-something woman who told me not to bother putting on pedals because it was for her dad. He was going to put on his own pedals and “he really knows his stuff.” OK. Cool. An hour later, she comes back with an older gentleman, her father, who is walking the bike I had sent her out with and carrying a shoe with a Speedplay pedal attached.
Daddy: I want a refund on this bike you rented me!
Me: What’s wrong with it?
D: The pedal threads are stripped!
Me: Really? They didn’t look stripped when I rented it out. Let me take a look.
I put the bike on the stand and see that the pedal threads are indeed stripped.
D: I tried putting my pedals on, but there was a lot of resistance about halfway through, so I stopped threading them in. Then we went for a ride and when I unclipped at a red light, the pedal came off with my foot.
Me: how far did you thread your pedals on before you felt resistance?
D: about halfway.
Me: You went for a ride with your pedals halfway on?
D: The threads were stripped!
Me: Well…they are now.
D: Do I get a refund?
Me: Because you went for a ride with your pedals threaded on halfway?
at this point his daughter interjects
Amazonian woman: He’s been working on bikes for a long time.
D: Yeah, I’ve been working on my own bikes for 20 years.
Me: And you went for a ride with your pedals threaded on halfway?
The whole time this has been going on, these two have been walking further and further back into the shop every time I turn around to look at the bike. I turn towards the bike and when I turn around, they are less than a foot away from me, inside the employees only area. Keep in mind that they are both over 6’ tall and I am about 5’5".
D: do i get a refund or what?
as he says this, he leans over me, trying to be as ominous as possible.
Me: Are you joking? You just told me that you destroyed these cranks and you expect a refund?
He steps closer to me. At this point he is about 6 inches away and pretty much addressing the top of my head.
D: Are you trying to tell me how to put on pedals?
Amazonian woman: Excuse me, but my dad knows how to put on pedals. He’s been working on bikes for 20 years!
Me: Excuse me, but I work in BIKE RENTALS. I probably put on and take off more pedals every day than you have put on in your entire life. Now please stand behind that “employees only” sign while I assess the damage you’ve done to our rental bike.
D: I’ve been working on bikes for 20 years! I know how to put on pedals and I know that this is not my fault. Those cranks were stripped!
Me: You went for a ride with your pedals threaded on halfway. There is no way that this is not your fault.
Amazonian woman: So do we get a refund?
Me: No. Definitely not.
Me: Get out of here. Just go.