Monday, August 20, 2007
Denial of Service
At the bike shop we work on all bikes. Old, new, big, small, road, mountain, etc. We take pride in the fact that our mechanics are fully capable of resuscitating the dilapidated carcasses of long ignored metal skeletons and turning them into sparkling, working, bicycles once again.
On occasion, however, some folks of newfound ambition want their old, forgotten two wheeler resurrected for their wonderful, doe-eyed, grandchild that will expectantly take their money on holidays but never call or visit them in the hospital. Or, as a reminder of those good ol' days of yore when they could still get a boner and didn't have a 300lb wife that smelled like warm bologna.
I can usually spot the culprits as they pull into the parking lot because they all seem to drive the same squeaky Dodge Caravan with one working door that also serves as the family recycling bin. Hidden in back amongst half empty Pepsi bottles, paper cups, and old newspapers is a sad heap of rust and cobwebs that was once a bicycle but now more closely resembles the melancholy remains of a washing machine in the front yard of an Indiana doublewide .
The grave robbers that have delivered this corpse to the door of the bike shop never actually end up touching it because they recruited their 40 year old son that still lives in the basement to do the dirty work of jamming it into the back of the minivan. And they'll be damned if they're going to be the ones to pull it out. Firstly, because Junior was busy pwning 12 year olds in Halo online when he was told to get the bike, and in his rage, wedged the goddamn handlebars between the seat and roof. Secondly, because their arms are so atrophied from years of sloth that they couldn't possibly gather the strength to even lift the cob webbed leviathan's front wheel off the ground. Thus, it is the bike shop condemned to extraction. In such a case, I will call upon the newest employee within earshot and command him to bring me the sorry beast.
When we observe the remains of the once proud bicycle, we silently tabulate what it will take to get the damn thing out of there as fast as possible. As one who has seen these scenarios play out time and again, I have put together a list of sure fire strategies for repealing many hours of blood, sweat, and curses for little to no monetary gain.
- The formula 3x+100 is a good start. Thus, whatever price you come up with for the repair, multiply by 3 and add another $100 to cover band-aids, gauze, antiseptic, and beer. This will typically shell shock the poor bastards into seeking a more reasonable solution.
- "The soonest we can have this done for you is approximately fifteen to twenty weeks...probably longer." Make sure you stress the word "probably". When dealing with ridiculously long time frames, it's always a good idea to promote the possibility of being even more ridiculous long.
- "You know, Bill's Bike Shop across town is really good at refurbishing old bikes like this" That's right. Pass this loser off to another shop. Be sure to push the bike toward the door and offer directions when saying this.
- "We only work on bikes sold at this shop" Dishonest? Yes. Cruel? Yes. Effective? Yes.
- If pressed for a rundown on what it'll take to get it running, be vague. Throw in alot of "if's" and "maybe's". This will allow you to inject some serious doubts about your calculations. For example: "You obviously need a new chain, derailleur, and maybe shifters too. If the parts are available, which I doubt, they'll probably cost around $80. Maybe more."
- Be frank. "Sir, this is not a bicycle. It is a piece of shit".
- Humiliate them. "Are you serious?"