04 September 2008

North of Nowhere

I invited a friend to lunch with the hope that if I paid for her food she'd drive me to North of the Border Bicycles so that I could pick up the XTR Hub Nut. She agreed, so after eating an over-priced burrito at Wholefoods, we headed over to find the tiny little bike shop tucked away in the corner of a nondescript business park. It's not a place you'd expect to find a bike shop, and upon entering the store the first thing I noticed is that the space isn't set up to really be a showroom. But, they had the part I need, so what do I care if they're in a bad location.

When I walked in I saw a man in a mechanic's wardrobe in the back room. He walked out looking like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and greeted me. I assume that this was the owner of the shop who is also the salesman, mechanic and everything else. It's a pretty small space, so I can't imagine more than two people being in the stoe at a time. I told him I was looking for the XTR hub nut, and he instantly knew what I wanted and retreated back to the workshop to grab the part. I asked to use the bathroom, and as I pushed open the door, he asked me how many hub nuts I wanted.

I asked him how much they cost, expecting to maybe hear $1.50 since I could kind of tell that this shop wasn't a high-traffic/high-sales sort of place and I'd pay a premium. (Trek said that they should be about $0.80-$0.99 each). Instead the guy tells me that they are $5.00 each. What the fuck!?! $5.00??? I forgot all about needing to pee, certain that he was quoting the price for some other part. But he held up the bag and said, no, they were $5.00 each (he had two left), and that the reason the price was so high is because 'my buddy only bought one spoke from him and he had to order $100 in parts.'

Not having this part really screws with my riding abilities for the weekend. However, based on principal alone, there was no way I was going to give this guy $5.00 for a part that should cost less than $1.00. His attitude and blaming my friend for his lack of profit was unacceptable.

I won't be going back to that place.