Sunday, September 13, 2009

Flat Tyres

I’d like to begin today with a public service announcement. Please listen carefully.




That’s it. No matter what you or I do, if your tyres roll on the ground, you will eventually get a flat. Furthermore, there is a law of statistics, I forget its title, that states that every event exists as its own entity. For example, let’s assume there is a 10% chance that on any given ride, you’ll get a flat tyre. So you went for a ride today and got a flat. This DOES NOT mean you will ride nine more times without getting a flat. Every time those tyres kiss pavement, there is a 10% chance of getting a flat.

Why, oh why, is it so difficult for dumbass customers to understand this?

Woman, probably a student at the local U, came in several weeks ago with a flat. My associate, who is good but young and inexperienced, fixed the flat and told the woman that her tyres were getting dry rotted and cracked, but that she could probably finish this season without a problem. I don’t know that I would have said anything different, but she was wrong. Last week, same customer came in with her mother and a flat and a heaping helping of indignation. The tire had blown out at one of the cracks. I looked at the tyre, told her she needed new rubber and told her how much everything would cost. I could tell they were dissatisfied, but as I have very little patience for adults who still need their mothers to fight their battles, I didn’t give a shit. They informed me that they would just wait until next year to get it fixed. Fine. Just get the fuck out of my sight.

They make motions as if to leave and make it as far as the back door of the shop. Three minutes pass and they come back. Here we go.

“We’re really just not satisfied with the solution you proposed. She’s already paid the eight dollars to have the flat fixed once, and we feel we got some misinformation when she brought it in the first time. If we’d been told she needed to replace the tyre, we would have done that. Is there any warranty on flat tyres? This Other Bike Shop advertises a 30 day warranty on flat tyres.”

OK. There are several issues here. First, OF COURSE you would have replaced the tyre if that had been recommended. You’re here quibbling about eight fucking dollars, so I’m certain that had we recommended a new tyre, you would have forked over the money without so much as a second thought. Now that we’ve proven the tyre to be worn beyond use, it’s easy to say you would have had it replaced if we had recommended it.

Second, I DON’T GIVE A GOOD GOD DAMN HOW OTHER BIKE SHOPS RUN THEIR BUSINESSES. How the fuck do you warranty flat tyres? Consider the variables that must be taken into account. I promise that, if we had a warranty on flat tyres, for any given situation, if the customer was intelligent enough, he/she could make a legitimate claim that his/her flat tyre was subject to warranty replacement. I’ve gotten up to eight flats in a given 30 day period. That $64. I can’t give that away. Furthermore, the level of service offered by a given shop is directly correlated with the amount of money that shop makes. I’m as good a mechanic as any, and I command pay commensurate with my knowledge, skill, and experience. A shitty shop that gives away labor cannot afford to keep me on staff, and somebody that makes less than me is not going to offer the same level of service.

I tried to explain this to the women, and to their credit, they nodded in the right places. I offered to sell them a new tyre, a tube at half price, and in this situation, I’d eat the labor. They were satisfied with that solution, and we got it taken care of, but it left me with a very sour flavor in my mouth.

I’ll tell you one thing. If/when I finally open a shop of my own, there’s going to be a big fuckin’ poster on the wall of the shop. On one side of the poster is going to be a steaming pile of shit. On the other, a flat tyre. At the bottom of the poster, it’s just going to say, “Both of these things happen. Get over it.”

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