Thursday, February 01, 2007

Quote of the Day

Occasionally, I read the Bicycle Retailer website. Today's quote of the day brought back lots of memories.

JANUARY 31, 2007 -- "It's no secret to anyone who has ever endured an encounter with a grease-stained, eye-rolling, heavily sighing bicycle shop employee that customer service in this industry has historically ranged from sullen to supercilious to overtly hateful. (It's one of the few retail industries where a condition for employment seems to be utter contempt for the customer, says one industry executive)."

-New York Times, Nov.6, 2006


I worked with some of these people who seemed to hate the customers. Not all bike shop employees show this contempt, but most shops employee at least one of them. I suppose this same thing happens in most retail businesses, regardless of the product they sell.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Sometimes customers in bike shops have committed themselves to peculiar methods and equipment that is incomprehensible to people who work in bike shops. I once had a customer get mad at me because he expressed concern that the 53x12 high-gear on a certain bike wasn't big enough because he was "spinning out" on level ground. I suggested that, in fact, the gear was too big for general use, and that he should instead work on spinning at a higher rpm in a lower gear. Though I was trying to be diplomatic and polite, I think he might have described me as "supercilious to overtly hateful". He was visibly angry and distrustful. Certainly he felt that I was not taking his desires seriously. I guess I could have found him a 62t big ring and increased the gear ratio, and perhaps I would have made a sale. But it wouldn't have been in the customer's best interest, ultimately, for me to have done that.

Now that I have my own shop, and that I'm a weirdo, I find myself in the reverse position of having customers who think my peculiar methods and equipment are incomprehensible.

I'm sure master chefs occasionally have to tolerate restaurant customers who dump a pile of ketchup over some flavourful gourmet dish that took hours to prepare from a recipe that took years to perfect.

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