So this week was fun.
Man. I barely made it into the shop that morning and, already, big drippy gobs of a special kind of weirdness superabounded. (Yes, it's a real word. < Please click that link. Google's usage example is amazing.) So there's your fair forewarning, kids.
Now on to the weirdness.
I get it, man. It was still early in the day; everyone was tired and cranky because, obviously, all mornings suck.
And it was a Tuesday, and Tuesdays have been scientifically proven to be the worse day of the week. So any strange behavior or offbeat street-character that breezes through your door on any given Tuesday morning is naturally going to feel all the stranger simply because it's Tuesday, and the universe is totally out to get all of us.
Maybe you were having a particularly terrible Tuesday, guy-who-shall-not-be-named, and I suppose some of us could have been at fault, too. Maybe our weird Tuesday clashed with your weird Tuesday, compounding the sinisterness into a gigantic hydra-headed Tuesday Monster that just kept feeding on itself in an infinite cycle of Tuesday-fueled super gross misery.
Close. More (and ickier) heads.
I guess it did happen before some of us had our coffee. Maybe it was our bad. Maybe we just took the whole thing too seriou—
Wait, what am I saying?
Yeah. No. I take all that back.
I know I'm burying the lead here, but short, short version?
MBR got half-assedly-but-not-quite-burgled on Tuesday morning.
Basically, some completely unintimidating goober waltzed on in and proceeded to attempt to unintimidatingly intimidate us into "giving" him a free bike.
First off, that's called attempted robbery, guy.
And it doesn't suit you. Pick a new hobby.
You don't want to end up like this:
It's stuff like this that keeps me reading the news.
There was more to the conversation, but the less said, the better. Just know that it satisfied the Tuesday-weirdness quota beautifully.
Second—and this is the important part—it illustrated one of the many examples of ways people try to rip us off, and I'm not just talking about money.
The aforemenioned Tuesday shenanigans, as you might have guessed, showcased some of the more direct methods.
But one of the subtler—and arguably more insidious—ways is something that your average bike owner might never consider at all, much less realize is a huge faux pas at your local for-profit shop.
I'm talking about borrowing bike tools.
You may be the girl who left her Allen set at home. Perpahs you're the guy who forgot his tire lever in the garage. Of course we're happy to help in these kinds of situations, but unfortunately, we can't go about it by lending you tools.
And, despite what you may think, it's not just because we're dicks.
So today we're going to set up some ground rules. Here are the biggest reasons why we, as a full-service bike shop, do not lend out our tools:
1. We're going to do it better than you. Blunt, I know, but true. We've been doing this a long time. We know what we're doing.
2. We are not a volunteer bike shop. As much as we love and respect our fellow volunteer-run community bike shop brethren, it's simply not what we do here are MBR. We're same day, full-service, and every one of us brings pro-quality knowhow to the table. Letting you borrow our screwdrivers for adjustments is essentially giving away our best product for free. Maybe that's too capitalist a notion for you (and on some deeper level, we might agree), but a mechanic's gotta eat.
3. It's a slippery slope. As much as I hate using that phrase, it's absolutely true. It's the classic mouse/cookie scenario: if we let somebody borrow a crescent wrench, the likelihood of that person returning to our shop for free services/tools/assorted moocheries increases by, like, threefold or something. And that's not even counting how many new folks would start showing up because word got 'round that we loan out tools. This all comes from years' experience working a shop. As much as we'd like to help you guys out, we just have to say no and put the proverbial cleat down.
4. Liability. I know, I know. Now we're getting into soulless and lifesucking legalese territory. But this concept is really important. Say we loan you some goods, you make an adjustment, and you take your bike back out into busy streets full of cars, other bikes, and people participating in an ancient, low-adrenaline activity known as "walking". Then let's say, for the sake of argument, that you happen to get into a wreck, smashing up yourself, a car, a bike, and—perish the thought—one of those poor, slow, innocent "walking" people. In addition to the calamitous effects of bike and body, MBR would now be in some seriously shaky legal territory. We want to keep you guys safe, and we want that privelege for as long as you'll let us have it.
5. We have tools for sale! If you'll allow me to be the materialistic weasel for a moment—we are ALWAYS happy to sell you fresh tools! We can't make money on them if we simply loan them all out. But really, more important than the dollar value is that we want people to take active roles in their own equipment. It can be a truly enlightening experience to tune up your bike yourself, and we hope you guys might someday take the time get the right tools for the job and learn how it's done. Plus, if you buy stuff from us, you're free to work on your gear just outside the shop.
6. We love our jobs. We wouldn't be doing the work if we didnt' truly dig it on some basic philosophical level. It genuinely satisfies us to fix up bikes. You let us work on your stuff, and we get to be fulfilled as humans. I think it's a fair deal. We want to do our jobs well. We want to keep you safe. So please—let us do it.
For our own sanity.
There is one shoptool, however, that we have no qualms about letting you borrow. Frankly, every street corner ought to have one of these bolted to it.
It requires little-to-zero expertise to use properly and runs on air (literally) and your own sweat:
Mooch away, friends.
Til next week.