Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Crazy

Hello, how can I help you out?

Hi. I think I want to buy a bicycle to ride around...I want to test-ride that bicycle (road bike) and ooh, look at that one, I want to test-ride that one (too big), and that one (fixed-gear), and that one too (comfort bike). And I like that color (white), I want to test-ride that one (town bike, too small).

What do you think you'll want to use the bicycle for?

-blank stare-

Do you have a bicycle now?

No. Why do you think I'm here?

Well, there are different bicycles for different uses, for example, a road bike like this is for long or fast rides primarily on pavement, mountain bikes are for off-road use, and comfort bikes like this one for short rides around town and are also a good choice for people new to cycling. And they all come in different sizes; I fit all my customers to the proper size for comfort and performance. I'd like to start by showing you a bicycle that is the right size, and most importantly of the type that might meet your needs.

Well, I just want to test-ride a bunch of bicycles, to see if I like them.

OK, what bicycle would you like to try?

All of them.


Uh, well, where will you be riding your bicycle?

-blank stare- (aroundyoustupidmanhaventyoubeenlistening?)

Do you think you'll want to just ride around the block, or to the market, or perhaps commute? Triathlons? Will you be riding with other people? Ideally, you should have similar bicycles for riding together. Would you like to test-ride around the parking lot or go on a longer ride on the Platte River Trail?

I just want to see if I like riding a bicycle. (imheretowasteasmuchofyourtimeaspossible)

Here, how about if we start you out on one of these, it's a pretty versatile machine, good quality and easy to use...let me get one ready in your size.

I don't like that one.

What don't you like about it?

What's your problem? I just want to test ride a bunch of bikes.

(what's going on here?)

I'd rather not waste your time with test rides on bikes that aren't the right size or type-if you could give me a little guidance, I'll try to move you toward a bicycle that you can like.

-incredulous stare-

-pregnant pause- (I'm looking at her, waiting for some sort of coherent information. Something? Anything? What now? Hello?)

All I want to do is test-ride a bunch of bikes, and I don't know what your problem is but I don't think that this is going anywhere and I just don't know why I can't just ride some bikes I haven't ever been treated like this ever I just can't believe you won't let me ride some bikes I just wanted to test-ride some bikes I'm never coming here again I have to go now I don't think I can buy a bike here I (sob)....

I think she's crying. What the?

And then she turns away and leaves.

And I'm dumbfounded. There's a factory rep (who will remain nameless) who has witnessed the whole thing, and he asks, "What was THAT?"

I don't know. I don't think she's herself today.

And a minute later, she runs down my sidewalk, pushes open the door and yells, "You're an AsshxLE, FxxK you, I hope you DIE you ASSHxLE!, etc. etc." And then she's gone again.

This has been a couple of years back. I seem to get one of these people every season, or maybe two in three years, for the whole time I've been working in a bicycle shop. Seen it happen to other salespeople, too. Boy, I could tell you some stories...I don't know just what to do about it, maybe nothing can be done. Study sales technique? Take a counseling class? Talk less? Listen more? Is it possible to be more understanding with incomprehensible people? I don't think I'm a scary or rude person, or insensitive necessarily, or a bad salesman, and I definitely don't call people names or swear at them. I'm just trying to help...where do these poor people come from? Do I need them as customers? Can I help them at all? Is it worth the effort?

The rep and I look at each other, and neither of us knows what to say. What can you say? Maybe I should have let her test ride a bunch of bikes.

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