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Sept. 14, 2016, 3:10 p.m. -  David Mills

#!markdown Oh, but this is timely… A friend asked me to take her bike shopping. She's super-new to mountain biking, and doesn't know anything about modern bikes. No problem. I asked her to swing by my house first - I went through the various parts of the bike from front to back, explaining why the tires are so knobby, why a bike has suspension, why disc brakes are better than cantis, etc. I had her take my wife's Ibis out for a quick spin to get a feel for the size of bike, as she and my wife are the same height and leg length. 20 minutes of Q+A later, off to the store we went. It was 10-something on a Wednesday morning - today, in fact. At the first shop, we walked in and were greeted within 20 seconds, which is about the time it took us to walk from the door over to some hardtails. After about a minute, the sales guy came over and asked what brought us in. I told him "she is looking for a mountain bike". He pivoted to her, and engaged her in a conversation about what kind of bike she was looking for, etc. I pretty much became irrelevant at this point, so I eavesdropped on his questions and her answers as I wandered around the store. Right away, she stated her price range, and also that she wasn't buying today. At no point was he condescending, pushy, or trying hard for the upsell. Within 10 minutes, he was arranging to bring in a bike from the warehouse in her size and have it built up by Friday afternoon, or at the latest next Tuesday. She walked out with a quote in her hand, lots of information, and he had her contact info for a follow-up later this week regarding the bike. She was pretty stoked. We moved on to the next shop, about 10 minutes drive north. I've had generally good experiences with this shop in the past. As we walked in, I could see 2 customers and 4 staff, plus I could hear the shop guy. I tried to make eye contact with ANY of the staff - no dice. We walked the 20 feet to the women's bikes, up on a raised platform. My friend saw that they had one model up from the bike she had been quoted at the other shop, and it was on sale! She was up on the platform in seconds, trying to extract the bike from the display, shoving the carbon bikes around and such. This goes on for a couple of minutes, and I fully expected "Hey, can I give you folks a hand?" to be the next words I heard. Nothing. I looked around to where the staff were doing… something… and couldn't get a glance from anyone. 2 guys behind the counter chatting to each other, one guy trying to find tires, and a 4th talking with a customer. My friend saw that the frame on the display sale bike was the wrong size, and stopped wrestling with it. We chatted for a minute about the cons of going with a wrong size frame, and made our way over to a rack that happened to have the correct size bike, and in my friend's favourite colour. She grabbed the front wheel and tried to pull it down from its perch 5′ in the air, but it was in there pretty tightly. I could hear somebody coming up behind us and turned around, but it was just the tire guy looking for tires. I stared at him as he walked to within 6′ of us, fished a tire off a high hook and walked away. He aggressively avoided eye contact. We were too surprised to be mad, so we slowly walked to the front door and out, holding the door for a customer struggling to get a bike in. Another annoyed-looking customer left at the same time [he might have had RBF - hard to tell]. All told, we were in the shop for about 10 minutes, same as the first place. No acknowledgement of any kind that we were even in the store. They weren't busy - it wasn't even the lunch hour yet. It was a level of indifference normally restricted to government bureaucracy. Both shops carry similar lines of bikes, and their main brand is the same [Trek], with largely identical pricing. The only difference to the potential customer is the quality of customer service. I worked in retail for ~10 years, selling everything from chinos to computers, and yes, even bikes for a while. I understand what it's like - the job is harder than it looks. However, there's a right way and a wrong way to do the job. Mike at Pure Cycle in Calgary - you're doing it the right way.

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