Friday, February 17, 2012

Shop Competition

I worked at a small bike shop on campus owned by a local couple. After we'd been repairing flat tires and replacing stolen seat posts for a few years, a bike shop chain took interest in an open retail space next door. A few months later they were moved in, and they owned advertising and name recognition in the area. Every few days after that shop moved in, a customer would come in and talk to us for an hour or so, and then they'd buy a bike from us. We'd sell them a lock and a cable to lock up their seat, and talk to them about not using WD-40 and not locking the bike up by its front wheel. Then we'd ring them up and they'd pay, and it was always with a check made out to the huge bike shop right next door to us. The first time caused a bit of handwringing in the shop when we realized the error after the customer had left with the bike. But it turned out not to be a big deal. It's surprising what kinds of checks banks will let you cash.

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