Well, if you read Ride 24, you know that I’m way, way overdue for some new tires. My old tires have been on my bike 15 years and seen who knows how many miles. I by no means road all those years but I did ride some. I think dry rot was the biggest factor in their deterioration. Regardless, I had to have a new set.

Friday I had called around looking for a new set and getting some prices for comparison. I had been to a shop ‘A’ earlier in the week and they had some Bontrager Selects for $18 per tire. I called shop ‘B’ and they had the Bontrager Select K for $19. The difference between the Select and Select K is that the Select K has a kevlar belt to help with flat protection. While my gut told me to go to shop ‘A’ (because I liked that shop better, the people were nicer, and the prices good) I decided to go to shop ‘B’ to get the Ks. I was willing to pay the extra $1 for the kevlar belt.

I show up at shop ‘B’ and tell the guy at the counter I need a pair of Bontrager Select Ks in 700×23. The guy leaves and comes back a couple minutes later. He asks me again what I need. I tell him and he proceeds to look at me like I’ve got two heads. I tell him again. He leaves, can’t find’em and gets another employee to help. I walk over and they’re looking at tubular tires that are folded up on a rack. I think some of them are even MTB tires. They turn around and ask me again. I tell’em again and emphasize that it’s the one with the kevlar belt. The room immediately became brighter as two light bulbs came on. They turned around and headed to the back where the clinchers were hanging on the wall. While they’re gone I head over to look at the new Trek Madones and Cervelos. I’m sure I left a puddle of drool on the floor.

A few more minutes has gone by and one of the employees comes up to me with two tires. They’re the Selects not the Select Ks. He proceeds to explain to me that even though the computer says they have six in stock that, in fact, they don’t have any. He asks if I want the Selects or if I want them to order the Select Ks and I tell him, “No. Thanks.” I head over to Shop ‘A’ and pick up the Selects from them. I show up at Shop ‘A’, tell the guy what I want, he’s back less then a minute later with exactly what I need and I’m done. Amazing.

Why didn’t I just go ahead and buy the Selects from Shop ‘B’? Well, because this is the second time Shop ‘B’ has demonstrated themselves to not be organized or helpful. The first was a couple of months ago when I went in to have myself measured for a new saddle. The guy that came out to help made me feel like I was interrupting him, he couldn’t figure out how to make the sit bone fitting tool to work, and I left with having wasted 30 minutes. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and gave them a chance at redemption with the tires. They again showed they weren’t ready for my business.

I’m now committed to shop ‘A’. Why? A few days ago I was in there and found CO2 cartridges that were half the price of another shop (call it Shop ‘C’), last week they treated my wife good when she was in there to surprise me with some new tubes, their customer service is good, and they have in stock what they say they have. They take care of the customer. That’s 99% of running a successful business in my book.

Well, now I have two new tires that I’ll install today and be ready to ride come Monday.

(Jaxgtr, Shop ‘A’ (my favorite) is the same one we talked about via email.)

I’d be interested in hearing your stories about choosing your favorite LBS.