Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bike Shop Tales: Policies

I'm going to interrupt the Bike Acquisition stories for a bit that I was reminded of recently having to do with shop policies.....

Every shop has certain policies for operating that probably are as numerous as there are bicycle shops. Advantage Cycles was no different. Of course, being that it was a single store operation run by a low key, (normally low key!), guy, there wasn't much for a manual containing these policies and procedures. No- Like so many other small businesses, you learned what you needed to know when you needed to learn it, and no more.

So it was that when the time came that I was asked to allow someone to borrow some tools to work on their own bicycle right outside our doors, I found out what our policy was on that. Tom, the owner, happened to be there at the time and caught wind of the request. He wheeled around and flatly said, "No, we don't do that." Well, the fellow insisted, which was a huge mistake for him, and was a hilarious moment in the end for me.

Tom looked at the young man intently, leaning forward slightly, pointed to his forehead, and said, "Do you see Salvation Army written right here anywhere?"

The young man looked at him dumbfounded and said nothing.

Tom continued, "No, you don't. Now I'm in business to make money. If you want it fixed, we can do it, and it will cost you. If you want to borrow tools, try down at the Salvation Army!"

Needless to say, the young man didn't have us fix the bike and he walked away. A bit less happy than when he came in as well.

Tom had another variation on the theme that went something like this: "Do you see the word free written here?", said also while pointing with conviction at his forehead. Tom did this in a very animated fashion, which was rather humorous once the initial shock of hearing it the first time had worn off. I had a few times where I had to turn away to hide my smile-soon-to-be-busting-out-in-a-laugh look from the customer.

Maybe Tom could have been more diplomatic, but he couldn't have been more to the point or humorous.

Next week: Back to Bike Acquisition Syndrome.........

1 comment:

Landon said...

As a business owner I understand the problem of making your point without losing a customer. Sounds like he was a "character" .