It’s been a while since Back Alley Bikes got a bad public review (the last one was a couple years ago on Yelp), but our winning streak ended last week with this review on Google:
“Terrible. I walked into this place looking for a reasonably-priced bike. Three or four twenty-something guys dressed like death metal fans gave me a “you weren’t invited to the party” look, and then continued to ignore me. I had to ask who worked at the store (all of them did) to get any kind of assistance, and then I requested the cheapest bike. I got one for $250 (reasonable; I just wanted to get around campus). However, it didn’t have a kickstand, which really should have been on there anyway. They offered to put one on for $15 extra, and I agreed. After waiting outside for twenty minutes, I go inside to see what’s going on. Again, I just stood in the middle of their shop like an idiot for another five minutes while they gave me these looks that said “bro, what are you standing there for?” I got their attention again, and they eventually told me that they didn’t have the right kind of kickstand. Another guy told me about serial numbers, tire pressure, warranties, and so on, and then I bought the bike and left. I don’t know why this place has 13 perfect reviews; maybe they’re better mechanics than they are salespeople. A few of the other reviews share similar phrases and syntax, so it could be a few people writing multiple reviews, but that’s just my speculation. Overall, it was probably the most unprofessional place I’ve ever been to; I only purchased from them because I didn’t feel like navigating Craigslist for something a little cheaper, but looking back, I kind of wish I had. Would not recommend.”
And, here’s the response I posted (that has been very slow to appear on Google):
Thanks for your feedback.
I will readily admit that we’re much better mechanics than we are salespeople. In fact, none of us are salespeople, we are all mechanics who do our best to help people find the right bike (whether it’s here or somewhere else).
Most bike shops have dedicated salespeople with clean hands and smiling faces who are trained to make everyone feel welcome as soon as the walk in the door.
We, on the other hand, are usually very busy fixing an endless string of broken bikes, so it is common to walk into the shop and find all three of us immediately involved in repairs. As such, it is not always possible to greet someone as soon as they walk in the door.
At the same time, I assure you that no one intended to make you feel unwelcome, and for that I apologize.
Three quick notes in closing:
1) You’re right, I love Death Metal, but I think we were listening to Wolves in the Throne Room and they’re Black Metal, not Death Metal.
2) Bikes don’t usually come with accessories like kickstands. Maybe they should, but they don’t; not here or at any other bike shop. For what it’s worth, the kickstand that will work with your bike is back in stock if you’d still like one installed.
3) I assure you that all of the reviews that you’ve read here are genuine. We may not always be friendly and pleasant, but we are honest. In fact, being unfriendly because you’re having a bad day or things aren’t going well in some other part of your life is a particular form of honesty that American shoppers are very unaccustomed to, and maybe we should work on our attitudes, but for now, it is what it is. I’m sure you’re not the first dissatisfied customer (in fact, I know of at least one other bad review of our shop posted on Yelp), but I am sure that we have way more happy customers than unhappy customers, and I like to think that the reviews that folks read here (including yours) will give them an honest view of what our shop is like. So, again, thanks for your feedback.
Owner, Back Alley Bikes
Feel free to weigh in (good, bad, or otherwise) here and/or on Google reviews