The bike shop that I work at, like most bike shops, has a set price for repairs. Be it as easy as a tube change or a full blown overhaul, which is the complete disassembly/rebuild of the fork, wheels, crank, headset, derailluers, brakes and bottom bracket. NOTE* Knowing what all of that is is not necessary to understand the rest of this story so don't get discouraged-read on.
Almost every day I will have at least 1 person come in and expect me to fix their bike for free or try to haggle me down on the price of a new bike. "Can you do any better on the price of this bike?" While it's on sale, mind you.
This is why I then constructed a price list on a 3x4 foot dry erase board. The most common response when I tell people how much their repair will cost is that they think I'm "tryin ta play dem". This gets under my skin because I am overly honest with people, I have even been known to do some pro-bono work when I think that someone is really having a crappy day or just down on their luck in general. Much to the dismay of my employer, but what he doesn't know won't hurt him. (If you read the last guest blog you're probably thinking, man this guy is going to make them go out of business). That couldn't be further from the truth, I hibernate in the winter and only give hand outs on rare occasions. Don't judge me.
I started to get tired of people trying to make me work for free and complaining when I charged them. I don't work at a pawn shop people. Try haggling with an auto shop, its not going to get you anywhere. So I decided to write on that big 'ol price board in BIG capital letters "IF YOU WANT TO PAY MORE, ASK FOR A DISCOUNT". Now, please re-read that. Ok, assuming that anyone that reads this blog has above a 3rd grade education, its pretty cut and dry.
I had a lady stand in front of me at the cash register while I was tallying up what she owed and look me in the eyes right after she read my sign and say, "Can I have a discount?" WHAT? 'Did you actually just read that sign and ask me that?', is what I thought. I slowly turned around to look at my sign in case one of my lackies played a joke on me, while keeping eye contact with her for as long as I could and I, the one who wrote the sign, re-read the sign. Nope still the same as the day I wrote it. I proceeded to read the sign to her. She, looking me straight in the eye, mind you, nodded her head and said "yeah, can I get a discount". What the shit? At this point I pictured what I must have looked like. My face showing multiple expressions; disbelief, shock, confusion-to name a few. I re-read the sign to her, (this time slower because that helps when you talk to people that don't speak english). I enunciated every word I could and used my hands as stage props. A good 10 seconds of silent eye contact, then all of a sudden "Ohhhhhhh". It finally sunk in. I then sloooowly told her the total of her repair, didn't make any sudden movements, slooowly handed her the change and sloooowly told her to "haaave a niiiice daaaay maaaaam".
Wheew not getting that 20 minutes back, ever.