The comment section of our article, “Yelp Reviews Reveal 8 Ways Bike Shops Fail Customers” was loaded and enlightening, and we thank you for well-thought input. Here is what we gleaned from our insightful readers:
At best, Yelp (and any other online review source for that matter) is unreliable. You know from personal experience there are good shops and good people, bad shops and bad people, and every one of them have good and bad days. So, before you go run an online smear campaign putting any and all shops on blast that won’t “hook you up,” give the shop a chance to rectify the problem, try bribing with beer instead of holding them hostage with your 1-star review, and learn to be a better and smarter customer. Unless, of course, it’s a Wal-Mart review.
Sifting through hundreds of online bike shop reviews also meant running into many a frightful, funny, and creative encounter, so we thought we’d share those as well.
So, without further ado, here are some of the horrific and hilarious bike shop Yelp reviews.*
Not a lot of room for bike testing (upstairs). Some bikers may be happy with that, but three other people I’ve talked to agree with me! My salesman keeps walking to the outlet for the bike I should be testing, but none of them are short enough for me! He went back and forth in the rain about four times. We were ready to leave when I spotted a bike that I really wanted, but I was worn out after spending too long testing bikes.
Shame on that selfish, impatient salesman for dodging the Portland puddles, searching for that Townie to match your floral-pattern skirt, wasting so much of your precious bike buying time while you waste away in the climate-controlled confines of the bike shop. The only thing more shallow than this reviewer’s measured height is her understanding of good customer service. What more do you want, an indoor test track? Oh wait…
Jamaica Plain, MA
My dude, Mark, set me up with a sick bicycle situation back in July. He hung out with me for hours while I fell off various bikes and decked out my selection with a basket and lights while I waited for my catalogue-ordered jazz to come in. There’s also an awesome blind dog that’s always hanging out here and I still hear from Mark about getting free tune-ups. They take extremely good care of you, have memories like a rolodex, and seem to have an excellent sense of where the good yard sales are (unrelated bonus).
Yo, Nate Hills, my dude! It looks like we found you a Follow Cam Friday situation on the Jersey Shore, featuring Pauly D and Mike Sorrentino!
I bought a bike from this shop and it never did shift right. I brought it in several times… The owner got pissed this was cutting into his profit… and told me there was nothing wrong with the bike, rather it was the way I rode it. I worked for a local Phoenix news station, you know, the one who does all the investigative reports. I wore my station hat to the shop and the owner became all sorts of friendly and helpful. He called Kona, found out there were issues with the geometry of the frame and components, and installed a spacer which solved the problem.
Chris Hansen, is that you?!
When Kmart had Huffy bikes on sale, I jumped at the “deal.” My second time riding it, my front gears wouldn’t switch and it wasn’t until 30 days after purchase that I got my butt in gear to do something about it. At that point, I was already past the return/exchange period, but I knew there was a guy who came into the store periodically to fix bikes. When I called to ask about it, the employee who answered was clueless. When I asked to speak to a manager, I was stuck on hold for 15 minutes before getting frustrated and hanging up (the struggle of cell phone minutes!). Lesson learned: Kmart doesn’t sell quality bikes and they barely offer customer support when it comes to fixing those poor quality products. I would have been better off buying a used bike from Craigslist.
Wait, wait, wait! So, you’re telling me in the same discount department store where I can get diapers, Metamucil, and banging bargains on all of my back-to-school needs all while enjoying a slice of Hot-N-Ready doesn’t sell quality bikes? GTFO! And here I thought backwards-installed forks on a fat bike running 50psi with 620mm-wide riser bars was à la mode.
I called for a tune up and the gentleman told me he had too many bikes in the shop and couldn’t possibly take another until some were picked up. He said to call in two days to see if things looked better.
Two days later I tried and got the exact same answer–too many bikes, can’t possibly fit another, and he gave the same advice–call another day.
I called a third time a few days later, and it was the same deal and no willingness on their end to try and make it work or give any indication that maybe, perhaps they might be interested in my business.
About two weeks later, I happened to be in the neighborhood and thought I’d pop in and ask how things were looking. I was told they do not accept walk-ins. That’s great. I didn’t even have my bike with me so I wasn’t a “walk-in” customer except, technically speaking, I did walk in the door (perhaps he meant; I was not allowed to walk in the door).
I asked again about the tune up and was told to keep calling. I was really trying to make this work and asked what time of day might be best to call. Maybe I should have been aloof and acted as though I really didn’t want to get my bike tuned. Is that how hipster bike shops operate? Should I try mornings? Afternoons? Closing time? He pretended to think about it for a second and then said, “1:00pm. Try 1:00pm.”
I took my bike to another shop and was greeted with a friendly “hello” and a “we’d be happy to look at your bike”. My advice to anyone looking for a tune up, go somewhere else, but if you really, really want this place, try calling at 1:00pm.
Sounds like a familiar Seinfeld episode… Cartwright!!
I saw a used bike and tracked down an employee to ask about pricing. He said he’d check, but then wandered off and never told me the price. I then decided on a new bike, but wanted to test ride it first. Finding the same employee, I was told it wasn’t ready and, again, he walked away. I followed by asking what he meant and he just repeated–it wasn’t ready. I asked, since I was looking to buy now, if it could be ready sooner than later? He supposed it could and, again, turned his back to me.
I gave up and found another employee to find out who was in charge, only to discover it was the same guy I was talking to before. Lovely! I explained that I wanted to give them money in exchange for a bike and, again, asked if someone could help me. He said the bike was ready, that I could ride it, but they were closing, so maybe another day. The owner interjected, insisting the bike wasn’t ready. I got angry at this point and said I wanted to buy the bike, but wanted to ride it first. They all just stood there, shrugged, and looked at the owner, who couldn’t be bothered to try to make a sale.
It’s the reincarnation of Abbott and Costello. Who’s on first?!
Jamaica Plain, MA
It’s my significant other’s birthday and he just got a bicycle. Bicyclists irritate me. They are always coming up behind me and almost hitting me. You cyclists out there, did it ever occur to you how disconcerting it is to have someone buzz you from behind on a bicycle when you’re trying to take a peaceful walk in the park? Of course not, because you ride a bicycle, you own all paths, and you’re saving the world and baby seals with your courier bags and sense of entitlement. I also love it when cyclists take their lives into the hands of unsuspecting drivers. Yes, you could die of a subdural hematoma, and the driver of that pickup truck could go to jail just because you think your sense of self importance will somehow shield you from two tons of hurtling steel. Not that I side with cars. Boston drivers are awful. But that’s a story for another critique. But I digress, lest you not think this is about my frustration with hipsters on fixed gear bikes. Anyway, my significant other, it’s his birthday, and he just got a bike…
Either dump the Hater-ade or read our article, “The Impact of Cycling on ADHD.”
SUPER BAD experience I am having at Walmart. I bought a Genesis Saber 26″ online and chose “store pickup,” as Walmart offers complimentary bike assembly. The next day, I drove to the store to pickup up the bike and, to my surprise, was told the bike isn’t assembled and I have to give 24 hrs notice. Although I wasn’t happy about this, I agreed to come the next day. The store associate took my number and said I would get a call once it is assembled. After about two and a half days of waiting, I decide to visit the store, as I was pretty confident about the pickup this time. I was wrong. The store associate mentioned the associate who previously took my request did not notify the right people to assemble the bike. I was given two options: wait for two hours or come back the next day. I chose the former as I wanted it badly that day and was told to call the store before arriving. Three hours later, I called and after about 10 minutes of waiting I am told to call back in another hour. I called again after 90 minutes and the same story repeats. Two 12-mile round trips to Walmart, several phone calls, and you still don’t get your bike. RIDICULOUS!!! What should I do now. Clueless!!!
Dear “Clueless” from Sunnyvale, I’ll give you 10 other options: Sports Basement, Walt’s Cycle, Cognition Cyclery, Calmar Bicycles, Evolution Bike Shop, Chain Reaction Bicycles, Summit Bicycles, The Bicycle Outfitter, or The Off Ramp, and anywhere but Wally World.
I tried to sell them a bike which I (actually my brother, who left) bought for $150. The bike had a minor brake issue which had a very small repair cost. My brother insisted that I sell the bike. I went there and the guys offered me $5(!!!). I told them it was ridiculous and they told me this was a really crappy bike. Because of the special occasion I did not even bother to negotiate and gave it to them. A few weeks later the guys were selling that bike for $170!!! Even more than its brand-new-condition cost. That’s pretty much the summary of my experience with this service. I really hope Stanford students will stop overpaying for services…
So, this shop gets the one-star short shrift from someone who walks away from a clapped-out department store bike he inherited from his brother because he didn’t get top dollar? Sorry, not buying it (get it!). As for imploring the student body to stop overpaying for services at a BIKE SHOP–bro, you go to Stanford!
And finally, another from “The Farm”…
I asked the Asian man at the sales counter two questions. 1: Do you sell used bikes? He said “yes, outside.” So far so good. 2: Do you take the Stanford Card Plan? “No, no funny money.”
WTF? What did he mean by that? Because I’m a woman of color, I don’t pay off my credit or my bills? SCP works the same as a credit card except the charges are put on your university bill. How is that so different from any other credit card which I’m sure the store accepts?
Not everyone at this school is rich or has parents who buy everything for them. Funny money? We use the card to buy textbooks! I know I don’t look like the majority of students on campus, but would he have said this to a parent or a white student? I don’t think so. It’s not the first time I’ve experienced racism on campus, including being followed by two people at the bookstore while wearing a Stanford t-shirt.
Says the person who, for no apparent reason, refers to the bike shop man as Asian. At what point did the guy who doesn’t accept meal cards from snobby college kids in exchange for fixies become a racist? You also forgot sexist, ageist, and monopolist. Also, “Asian” is not the preferred nomenclature. “Asian-American”, please.
*For the sake of clarity and succinctness, all reviews were either paraphrased or modified.