Friday, September 18, 2009

Worst Ever

Dang, once again its been an age since a post. By now, if you actually check this thing you probably realize a new post means that:
A. I have another freakin' race coming up and I'm trying to drum up some luvin.
B. I stoked because I actually rode my bike but completely destroyed from the effort.
C. I'm way pissed about something
D. All of the above

Today was actually going to be a little B. since I've actually ridden a bit lately, but no I had to go into Bikeline Bethlehem and ruin this happy little blog.

Here's the story:

A couple months back I went into Bikeline Bethlehem to make a purchase. This particular item was something I certainly could have picked up at one of the dozen+ connections that I have after having been in this industry for 20 years to get stuff cheap. However, unlike most of my years on this planet I'm finally in a decent financial position (note, this is mostly due to my wife) and I thought I could and should help out a local bike shop, admittedly in a pretty small way to start, by making a not inexpensive apparel purchase from them. I stopped by Bikeline Bethlehem and picked up a rain jacket that has a special treatment that allows it to breathe when dry and have a pretty significant level of water repellency when wet (note #2, this isn't just random information, stick with me, we get back to it).

So, I'm happy, I'd picked up a jacket I'd been wanting and while I spent probably twice as much or more than I needed to on it, I was cool with it. The shop had supported a friend and so I felt I could support them - and that I could continue to do so and I'd be glad to refer other folks that way.

I used the jacket once. That particular outing was on a mountain bike and I had the hydration pack on my back. When I got home I realized that the straps of the pack had rubbed the membrane off the jacket.

My first thought was, "That sucks." My next thought, because I've been in the bike business for a long ass time, was, "I wonder if the hang tag said anything about the potential for the membrane to wear off and I should have paid attention." My immediate response was not, "This is a piece of shit and it shouldn't have happened," because one thing working in shops teaches you is that the vast majority of complaints are user error and "Just riding along" doesn't really happen.

So, I'm assuming this is potentially my fault at this point. I don't have the hang tag of course so my first stop is the web. Nothing there telling me the pitfalls of using straps on the jacket. My next stop is the store.

I stopped in today to look at the hang tags on the jackets in stock. As I was doing this the shop owner approached me asking, 'Are you finding what you need?'

I responded, 'Well, I'm just checking the hang tags. I bought one of these a couple months ago and [had the issue described above]. I wanted to check to see if they mention that these jackets should not be used with a hydration pack or backpack and that doing so will ruin the jacket and void the warranty. I see that they (this bit is emphasized for you, I wasn't worked up) do not say anything about this possibility and so I'm thinking this would be covered.' Keep in mind here that I've zero reason to be upset. BTW, speaking in italics is tough. I then say, 'I know someone who can take care of this for me if you'd rather not but I thought I'd check here first since this is where I purchased the jacket.'

This is when things start to go south.

I'm thinking, "Cool. I'm probably good to go here."

The next thing out of his mouth caught me by surprise, 'I would expect anything that I wear to rub through if something else is rubbing against it.'

.......Wait, before I go on, I've done the research, I've been completely cool about the whole thing, I'm not demanding and even offered to take care of it in another way if he'd rather not be bothered with it. The easy thing here if you just didn't want to deal with doing your job would have been to just say, "I'd rather you have someone else look into it." Instead I'm being confronted with what is some really really poor logic and an attempt is being made to make me look and feel stupid.

'You would expect anything rubbing against something else to rub through it?" I respond (at this point I'm just needing to clarify what I heard because this was not the response I thought I'd get and I'm a little flabergasted by the reasoning or lack thereof.)

'I would expect something rubbing against something else to wear it out.' then very snidely, 'I don't think they would have to put something on their tag warning against something rubbing against the jacket. That should be obvious.' This last bit gets under my skin a little bit because now he's definitely calling me an idiot - it was in his statement and in his tone.

'This is a $100 rain jacket worn only once with pack and you would expect the membrane to wear off when make no mention that it could be damaged this way?'

Again with, 'I would expect something rubbing against something to wear it out.'

Now I'm kinda frustrated 'I certainly don't expect this to happen on a $100 rain jacket. It hasn't happened on my Gore-Tex jacket. It doesn't happen on my jerseys. It doesn't say it will on the jacket. Why would I assume it will? Have you ever seen it happen on any other jackets or anything else?'

'If something was rubbing against something I would expect...' (Good job here of not actually answering the question.)

'Seriously? You think this should happen?'

'You said you had someone else who could take care of this.' (This was a statement, not a question.)

'Yes and I will never be back here again' and I walked out.


In 20 years of working in shops and riding tens of thousands of miles I've never had or seen a single other piece of clothing worn out or through by the straps on a hydration pack or back pack. I'm not saying it has never happened, but it is an incredibly rare and unusual occurrence if it does. I have a hard time believing any reasonable person would expect this to happen on the first use of a piece of clothing.

I don't like being treated like an idiot or with disrespect. I spent good money in this person's place of business and had a legitimate complaint that I researched well before bringing it to his attention. Notably, through this experience not once did he ask to see the jacket.


If you should get anything with a purchase at a local bike shop it should be killer customer service. That should be a major reason you support local stores rather than just shop by price on line; you take care of the local guys because the local guys take care of you. I wanted to support these guys when I had literally no reason to. I was treated like shit. Lesson learned at BikeLine Bethlehem.

I'm completely disgusted.


Of course, seeing as how this is the worst thing that happened to me today it is pretty apparent my life ain't so bad. I realize that. Maybe this is just whining. You can decide that for yourself.


brett said...

man, you're a whiny cuss.

Anonymous said...

Was it G. Geibel? Sounds like a visit to Busheys.