Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Recycled Bicycles

Recycled Bicycles...the next stop.



I didn't get to spend a bunch of time in here, as I wasn't allowed to. More on that in a bit.

Some reviews of the shop from Yelp.com (another jargon word-turned-hostage name). There were only three reviews, and two of them looked like this:
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-The owner is extremely rude and hostile. He excuses himself saying that he has a big enough clientel (sic) to not have to impress you if you rub him the wrong way. Do not come here to buy a recycled bike seat. You will be coaxed into buying a new seat despite them being available and then have a wrath unleashed upon you when you insist on buying used. Save your time and go somewhere else.
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and
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-I agree with some of the others...the owner is challenging. Lucky we dealt with the nice guy that works there and he compensates a lot, plus the owner wasn't there for most of the interaction.We got a very nice bike for my daughter for under $100, which was less then Target, etc. for the same type.Love the concept, just unfortunately it seems you have to deal with some unstable personalities when you want to be green.
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The third, judging from her pic on Yelp, looks like it might be the nearly topless, nose-ringed girl I ran into in Spin. She apparently found true love. I did not.
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My visit went a little something like this... I walked in the store, which was a neat little joint packed to the gills with old dusty crap either piled high on the floor in milk crates or hanging on cheap pegboard on the walls. Thinking I've hit heaven, I kneel down and begin to look through the milk crate nearest to the door, filled with filthy 20 year old hubs. I am in heaven. For a moment...
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Until Robert Smith comes up and says, in a very condescendingly impolite 'polite' tone; all sentences ending in whimpered trailing inflection suggesting questions, "Um, we actually, like, have signs hanging all over that say, like, no rummaging.....? If there's, um, like, something you, like, are looking for, specifically, then, like, I can find it for you.....? That's, like, um, my job.....?" I just stared at him, this skinny-jeaned androgynous little twerp with jet black dyed hair draping over his pasty pock-marked face. Was he serious?
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Apparently, yes. You see, Recycled Bicycles isn't a real shop. It's an excuse to not succeed as a business, veiled thinly with the premise of making some altruistic sacrifice for the benefit of modern man. All people, even those college kids in &%$-Box with as yet established credit, deserve access to affordable transportation, and to that end, Recycled Bicycles intends somehow to only sell to those folks that seem to them to warrant their help. I did not look destitute. I was clearly an enthusiast looking for a good deal on a funky old part or two...I even said so (why hide it? Who knew it was such a faux pas!?!) I could not tell the punk what I was "um, specifically like, looking for", so I was altered in my misdirected behavior and told to stop rummaging. They apparently would rather not make any sale, than maybe waste a sale on somebody who wasn't next heading down to the food bank.
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Here's the part I don't get. If you want to build and assist a clientele of financially challenged folks in dire need of cheap transportation, then great. But why have a store stocked with parts, unappreciated on any level by the general public, that you refuse to sell to individuals who understand their value? Stocked with parts that represent a missed opportunity to make more money, and then be better capitalized to help more people in the long run in support of your socially conscious and admittedly admirable goal? No poor college kid is going to care if a Syncros Cattleprod stem is fitted to his commuter, but I'll pay you enough money for that one part, to allow you to buy three complete $15 bikes at garage sales around town to fill your parts bins of need. Why keep the valuable resource just for the use of those uninterested in the real market value of your stock? If you operate a food bank, and somebody donates beluga caviar to you to feed the hungry, wouldn't you sell that and by hundred pounds of turkey breast and maximize your effort?
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I'll never know. I stood up, brushed past Robert Smith, and took a quick turn through the shop. It was an interesting place loaded with retro goodness, a place that probably could have made a few hundred bucks off me alone in just that one afternoon. Too bad. Maybe that Syncros stem will find a place on some poor kids beater fixie townie bike. Maybe not.
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On to the rating!
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Stuff!

- 5 Flaming Babies. Packed to the gills, much like Spin, with retro goodness. Some shops don't trade on stocking their halls with new crap, and they should be respected for that. Sell what you want and commit to it. Spin wants to sell, Recycle does not.
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Bikes!

- 1 Flaming Baby. Frames hanging from the ceiling, and dusty old relics on the rack in the middle of the shop. Nothing to write home about, and none of it a particularly good deal.

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Merchandising!

- 1 Flaming Baby. You gotta love a joint decorated with milk crates and peg board. On the merit of the shop alone, this score would be a 4, but considering that the stuff apparently isn't actually for sale...

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Staff!
- Zero Flaming Babies! ERRRR! Robert Smith gets a big fat zero for being the most obnoxious excuse for a polite salesman I've ever experienced. Like, you know? I mean, like, that is his job?

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Fuzzy Feeling!

- Zero Flaming Babies! ERRRR-AGAIN! It does no good, no mater what your contrived business model is, to deal with customers the way I was treated in this place. I get the premise of the shop, and it's an admirable idea, but the crew behind the counter needs a lesson on how to explain the goals and purpose of the business.
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Grand total, 7. Divide by 5, 1.4. 1.4 Flaming Babies, rounded DOWN... As in, customers should just head 4 blocks east, DOWN to Spin Cycle.
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- 1 Flaming Baby! I hear Mr Limbaugh trudging up the sidewalk, looking for a rebuilt Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub for his banana-trike. Good Luck.


Recycled Bicycles
805 W University Ave

1 comment:

Steve said...

I hate stores that care more about the merchandise than the customer.