Buying a Bicycle… More Thoughts on Service… Or The Lack Thereof

So, yesterday’s post about poor customer service at McD’s got me thinking.  Recently, we’ve been on a hunt for a new bicycle for JuniorBean.  He’d outgrown the expensive but not particularly well-made bike Teta and JiddoBean had gotten him.  He learned to ride without the training wheels, so his reward was a new big boy bike.  El 3atal and I know exactly what we were looking for, we wanted a larger bike that was high-quality enough to stand up to a big boy riding rough.

Those who shop in Jordan know that one of our bigger plagues is cheap items sold at very high prices. We didn’t want another bike that would suffer from constant flat tires, falling off pedals, breakages, etc.  So, we looked… and looked… and looked.  We found a few bikes that were quite high quality (with a corresponding price tag I assure you).  But it rather felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears… the one was too big, this one was too small.  Then we found an excellent bike.  It was cheaper than our front-runner, slightly smaller and thus more comfortable for Junior Bean.  it had only one problem… it was black.  Junior Bean loves red.  Always has, that one, he’s a red-o-holic.  So we asked the salesman.  Well, he said, we have had it in red and a new truck is coming next week.  Excellent, El 3atal asked him to call whomever would know what would be on it and ask about red.  He called (I presume the owner) and found that no, there wouldn’t be a red one.  Just a blue one.  Unfortunately this blue couldn’t even be called a cool blue.  As a woman’s shirt it’d be okay, but on a bike… blech.  They had one in the store like it.  It’s sort of a very light turquoisey blue.  Not a bike color…. at all.

Now, as an American, my first thought would be… order one for the customer.  If it were my shop, I’d offer to order a red bike for the customer immediately.  I would likely ask them for a downpayment and might even add on a service charge (if I would get charged one).  In Jordan, retailers seem to feel like if they have inventory (no matter how old or how much it isn’t what the market wants) they have to sell it first.  There is a belief that the Jordanian customer will buy what you have rather than what you want.  As a result of this attitude, the retailer lost a fairly sizable sale.  Instead of buying from them, we went back to the first place we saw a bike, bought a red one that was larger and slightly less comfortable… oh yes and a good 25% more, and JuniorBean is adjusting just fine.  It’s just funny how Jordanian retailer work themselves out of sales buy clinging to outdated merchandise and acting as if it will remain the same value, today, tomorrow, and next year.

Happy Substitutions!


4 thoughts on “Buying a Bicycle… More Thoughts on Service… Or The Lack Thereof

  1. The black bike might be made more attractive with red stripes added on after the sale. Red on Black (or black on red) is quite catchy and attractive. Just a thought.

  2. I understand your shopping frustrations, believe me! We undergo the same thing in my part of the Middle East. A long time ago, a friend said to me, “If you see something you want, buy it! Because the next time you go back it won’t be there, and you’ll never see it again.” So I always remember that while shopping. (Doesn’t help my economy minded husband!)

    Of course that probably doesn’t apply to red bikes!

    • Olive, I totally agree with you. We have something of a shortage mentality on other items as well… Although we missed the red bike day, I stockpile things like Saltine Crackers, chocolate chips, Hershey’s Kisses and (believe it or not) Glide Floss. When we get to moth 3 or 4 I often run out. Poor El 3atal’s teeth are crying for Glide Floss ;). He is not happy about having to use another off-brand substitute. Happily it keeps him from complaining about my stockpiling ways ;).

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