Training away from local

You hear a lot about the decline of the local bike shop. Somehow it’s the customer’s fault that they are struggling. But perhaps it’s not quite that simple.

Today I visited Wilmette Bicycle (my local bike shop), asking about a part, only to be told on the first ask that the worker didn’t know what it was, and (most importantly) didn’t have time to deal with me. “Come back tomorrow, maybe someone can help you then” he said. Obviously, not the best experience, so I asked another person. “We’d have to order that” was the response after a quick glance at the photo of the part.

Understandably, the shop can’t stock every part, so that’s not a problem per se. But besides the incredible rudeness of the first interaction, this isn’t the first time my local bike shop just didn’t have a part, or wasn’t very helpful. Maybe the problem is less that customers aren’t willing to frequent the shop, but that the shops, which used to have an exclusive hold on knowledge and kit, don’t anymore, and they are training us that the online bike shop is faster, politer, and cheaper. Unfortunately, this visit, like too many of my previous was just a waste of time.

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10 months ago

Well that is pretty crappy customer service. I wonder if there is a difference between larger and smaller shops. With my LBS, I am basically always dealing with one of three people. Generally very knowledgeable and helpful, especially at suggesting alternatives and why those alternatives might be better.

Reply to  Andrew Van Til
10 months ago

I didn’t get that from the post. I was just wondering about smaller vs larger LBS. My local one is small and I am usually talking with one of three people (one of which is the owner). I can’t image any of them putting out the type of customer service you mentioned.