See the bike in the picture above? That’s a Fuji Finest-AL — a bike that my mom and I purchased in 2003. And we bought it at Performance Bike in Walnut Creek because, well, they were the local bike store and my neighbor (Grant – who is a big biking enthusiast) suggested I buy my bike there because they had a good selection and low prices. It was a birthday gift from my mom and she wanted me to have a good starter road bike that was a real step up from my old Schwinn Varsity that I bought with money I made from being an extra on a sitcom pilot back in 1979.
The thing about the Varsity is that they are tanks. You cannot bend the frame and it was designed to withstand, well, petty much any punishment from the road — except maybe being run over by a bus or large truck. The bike was in decent shape, and I had it repaired in 1997 when Maya was a baby so I could take her for a ride (I bought a baby bike seat). I used the bike on and off for the next few years until Grant suggested I upgrade to a better, lighter bike. So after talking with my mom, she said she would help me pay for a new road bike. The Finest-AL is a good road bike. The frame is aluminum, the components are decent, and it looks good. I haven’t had any problems with the bike and it’s been a good vehicle for a several years. Fuji has changed the model now and the Fuji Finest-AL is bike made for women, but the one I have was built for a guy.
Today, I went back to Performance Bike to buy some new shoes and cleats, and had the worst customer service I’ve received in a long time. I won’t go into too many details, but I will say this: It took one hour and four clerks to sell me a pair of shoes and cleats. Yeah, one hour. Why? Because the guy who was essentially the MOD (Manager on Duty) decided I was not a priority customer. He kept asking me to wait while he attended to other customers — even when I was next in line! I was fuming when I got home, and called the store to complain. I also wrote the CEO of Performance Bike a letter detailing what happened and why I wouldn’t step into their store ever again.
I’ve been a pretty loyal customer at Performance Bike for almost a decade. I’ve purchased a bike, jerseys, bike pants, a bike trainer, water bottles, lights, tires, inner tubes, shoes, cleats, helmets, and a few other things I’m probably forgetting. But now it’s time to say: I wish you the best, with a f**k you.
[Update: I got a letter from the store manager: “I would like to apologize for your poor experience in our store on Saturday, there are no excuses for poor customer service and I understand we may lose you as a valued guest, I would like to invite back to the store or when you have a free moment to call me so that we could speak in person.
I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to resolve this situation and keep from happening in the future.”
I wrote him back to basically say that there was very little he could do to keep me as a customer since I vowed not to go back. Maybe it’s sour grapes on my part, but I think customer service is crucial. That’s why I now give my business to Livermore Cyclery. They have great customer service and they are eager to help me when I walk through the door. Their prices are more expensive than Performance, but I’ll gladly pay it if it means I get good customer service — which I have been.]