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Wisdom

WISDOM FROM THE SADDLE

  • Sales, real or phony, and other
    bits of wisdom from Honest Paul

    Ant with magnifying glass The bicycle
    Bicycles are the type of product that intrinsically contain a large amount of value for the price paid. One can break down the bicycle into its individual components or look at the entire unit. What is to be seen is that a bicycle that can be purchased for approximately $320 today will have equal or better quality than the bike that cost $500 twenty years ago. Adjust that $500 in 1992 to today's dollars by factoring a mere 2% per annum inflation into the equation and you have $743 today. Today, the market for bicycles and the industry itself is expanding and changing rapidly. An area where the quality has really increased is in shifting mechanisms. Indexed shifting has revolutionized the industry. Index shifting can be found on all multi-speed bicycles. This is definitely an area where prices have remained approximately the same but the quality has increased considerably. One should expect that the same trend will continue as far as quality and prices. We do hope that it does because providing a good value year after year is good not only for us but the customer as well.

    In 1992 the competitively priced Bridgestone MB Mountain Bike I sold cost $500 and had alloy rims with alloy hubs, 21 speeds, indexed shifters, and quick release wheels. Now we have our Giant Boulder for only $320 and we have 21 speeds, indexed shifters front and rear, alloy rims and alloy hubs, quick release hubs front and rear, a quick release seat, much better brakes, a softer seat and to top it all off - a suspension fork! Good bicycles have never been so affordable.

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    Sales, real or phony, and other
    bits of wisdom from Honest Paul

    In the bicycle business, the manufacturer usually supplies a list of prices for suggested retail. These prices are good and honest prices for the quality of merchandise that the consumer is buying. Why buy something at more than suggested retail? A dealer who has inflated prices and then advertises a sale is not being honest. Don't be pressured by a sale, or high pressure salespersons who only want your money and are reluctant to explain what you are actually getting. Remember that most sales are phony in that an inflated price is used as the starting point for the discount.

    Take a look at furniture, appliances and stereo equipment for example. Have you ever wondered why or how it is always on sale? It is easy to do by simply taking the fair retail price and inflating it and then sale pricing the merchandise back down to fair retail. In Mexican border towns and the Middle East, you are expected to dicker and bargain. Don't ask us to discount bikes. Would you like us to discount or dishonor the warranty? The prices are set with a reasonable profit margin so that we can honor your purchase with good service. We prefer the way the Dutch do business by setting the prices at fair retail and that's it. At Honest Bike Shop we do business by the golden rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" — and it certainly applies here. Wouldn't you like to go out and buy an automobile and know you bought it at a fair price without being expected to dicker (fart around) with a sticker price? How many times have you heard someone say, "Nobody pays sticker price for an automobile." We at Honest Bike Shop don't like playing games and we don't like playing games with our customers' intelligence. Notice our price tags. We will not insult your intelligence by pricing a $400 bike at $399.99. It is you the customer that supports our livelihood and we respect you.

    Another bit of wisdom from Honest Paul is "Never buy anything from some jerk of a salesperson when they turn on the heat — excuse me — some salespeople call it closing the sale." I call it rude. Whenever the salesperson asks me (while I am thinking and calculating), "Would you like me to ring it up or would you like me to get an invoice or sales ticket going on that beauty," I just want to garp and walk out. Another good one is "Would you like to own that beauty tonight?" I will buy it when I am good and ready. At Honest Bike Shop we are confident in our product and will be happy to compare. We will listen to you, advise you and inform you and when you say you will take it, we will offer to write a sales ticket. We are not worried about picking your pocket for every nickel today. What we are concerned about is your confidence in Honest Bike Shop after you have made your purchase. We hope that when the subject of bicycles comes up — months or years later — you will remember that we were/are alright to deal with. We look at the long term value of treating you properly. One of the things wrong with this country today is short-sightedness.

    Another word about the golden rule and how I felt it applied to me in 1984 while I was shopping for a hide-a-bed couch. Not knowing anything about furniture, I went to every furniture store and department store in town to see and learn about what was available and asked each one primarily the same questions. Bear in mind I lived in an efficiency apartment above the old store and was intending to sleep on it every night and wanted a good one. I asked one furniture salesperson at a furniture specialty store why his couch cost $850 and others at department stores and discount furniture stores cost half of that. He immediately became huffy and rude and made me feel like I was wasting his time. When I asked the same question of another salesperson at a competitor's furniture specialty store, the salesperson said, "No problem" and went on to politely explain the quality of frame, material and mattress and construction technique and why it cost more to produce and sell. He explained the warranty and delivery policy and went on to explain the history of the furniture maker and the store he worked for. His hide-a-bed was over $1000. Guess which one I bought and where I went back to buy a bed four years later. I hope he makes a million!

     

    —Honest Paul

     

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