Dear Mr. Mellow Johnny
I am writing to complain about the service I recently received when I came to your store, shopping for a bike. I have no complaints about the decor or cleanliness of the store itself; it seemed quite pleasant.
My complaint has to do with the service I received.
As soon as I arrived, I saw one of your employees and approached him. “I’m looking for a bike, Lance,” I said.
I knew his name was Lance, by the way, because his name tag said so.
Well, I don’t mind saying that Lance looked me up and down with the coolest, most appraising look I have ever seen. “What kind of bike?” he asked, after an uncomfortable silence.
“I hear good things about the Specialized brand,” I replied. “And I’d like to get something really nice, so I have as much as $450 to spend.”
You will be as shocked as I was, Mr. Johnny, to learn that this Lance character turned around without saying another word and walked away.
I am not someone to be trifled with, however, so I followed him, grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him around to face me. (I was surprised at how light he was and, frankly, he seemed a little thin.) “Don’t make me talk to your manager, young man,” I said. Although, to tell the truth, “young man” seems a bit of a stretch. This Lance employee of yours looks like he’s pushing 40. I find it a little sad that someone that old hasn’t found better employment than working as a bike salesman.
But I digress.
Lance told me that you don’t sell Specialized bikes in your store (don’t feel bad, Mr. Johnny’s; perhaps someday, after establishing credibility with the bike industry, you’ll be able to get more than just the Trek brand in your store) showed me a nice Trek “Lime” as he called it, though he winced noticeably when he touched the bike, as if he were too good for it, somehow.
“I’d like to take it on a test ride,” I said.
Lance seemed to grumble under his breath a bit as he adjusted the seat height for me, though to be fair he did a perfectly adequate job. In fact, he seemed like a fair mechanic in most respects. I think he may be more suited to working in the back of your store than in the front room. Just a thought.
As soon as I got in the parking lot, this Lance character, on a matching Lime, rode ahead of me, taking off at an ungodly speed. I could only barely keep up!
I’m quite sure that, as we rode up a hill, he once looked back at me, held my gaze for a moment, and then stood up and pedalled away as if it were some kind of race.
I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say that I just don’t think that was called for.
It wasn’t long, Mr. Johnny’s, until Lance actually lapped me on the city block course we were riding on, smacking my butt as he went by and asking: “How do you like them apples?” Well, I don’t like those apples one bit.
I’m certain it will not surprise you to learn that after this experience, I was absolutely not going to purchase a bike from your store. I wheeled the bike in, put down the kickstand, and was just about to storm out purposefully when this Lance character walked over with a pen in one hand and a large photo of himself in the other. He signed it and proffered it to me. Not wanting to agitate an obviously deranged man, I took the photo and got out as quickly as I could.
You’re new in town, Mr. Johnny’s, and I truly want your bike shop to succeed. But if you don’t start being more careful about the help you hire, you’re almost certain to go out of business in short order.
Elden Nelson blogs as The Fat Cyclist most weekdays, where he’s been known to occasionally miss the whole point of things.