The Chainlink

ill start by saying that i love REI. i am a member, i take advantage of the scratch and dent section, i have always had awesome customer service getting help with gear for some of the best trips of my life including backpacking the adirondacks and the grand canyon.  but yesterday, on wednesday, i had my first negative but impactful experience.  i say impactful because it still lingers with me to this moment and i feel the need to share it. it still angers me. 

im going away this weekend on a fun trip. but i had to get some basics - freeze dried food, a new fuel canister, a new pair of swim trunks that didnt "dig-in in unfortunate ways". while running in, i figured i could take care of a minor issue on bike while i shop around for a bit. you see, i hate brakes.  not because of their function, but because i always seem to have a difficult time with their maintenance.  when i purchased "the joker" from my girlfriend in late winter/early spring, the bike was ridden for the first time in about 10 years, maybe more. the brake pads were completely dry rotted. so i replaced them. yeah, its an easy fix. heck, ive built entire bikes, i built my own wheels with the guidance of west town bikes, ive maintained my year round ridden bikes for 6 years. but them brakes, GAH! i couldnt get them to stop squeaking.  yes, ive adjusted them, yes, i sanded them, yes, i rode on them, yes, ive cleaned the rims.  i'll just let REI deal with them while i shop.

back to the situation.  i walk up to the bike service counter.  a nice lady approaches me. "do you need any help?" yes, i do my brakes SQUEAK. they work fine otherwise, they just squeak. she asked me to recreate the situation. i asked if i can ride it there in the aisle to demonstrate. "sure".  the brakes need the velocity to show it.  the brakes stop the wheel fine if you hold the bike up, spin the tire, pull the brake. i rode and she quickly acknowledged the squeak and accepted the bike for service.  we wrote up a ticket after a few more questions, and she determined the service was "brake adjustment". i clarified the brakes were fine as function, just the squeak. but "squeak" is not an option in the book, so sure, brake adjustment it is.  i leave the joker with the service team and go shopping.

i spend the next 20 minutes or so shopping for camp food, picked up the fuel canister, found a slightly too big but ok pair of swim trunks, and found a really cool button down on sale. i checked the returned gear section for a possible foam sleep pad (my inflatable big agnes has a leak, and they had one last time i looked) but no dice.  back to the bike service desk.

i find my bike leaning against the counter. but no employees, no maintenance techs, nothing. i think, ok, someone can grab the bike and leave with it.  i stand around a minute and decide to check the work on the bike. i get on it to ride it 10 feet or so to get that velocity, pull the brakes and SQUEEK. god damnit!

i put the bike back against the counter and wait for someone to come by. no one. i walk to the walkways to hope to be spotted by an employee. a guy towards the front of the store sees me and slowly walks towards me. "can i help you?" in a tone that came off as if he was annoyed he had to help. not sure if i just read it wrong, but whatever. i explained my front brake still squeaked and now the rear brake, tho it didnt squeak anymore, it barely gripped. and then he went a bit defensive on me. he said, well, you know your wheel is a bit out of true and the brakes arent rubbing. my brakes were never rubbing, my brakes worked fine other than the noise. then he said i need to clean them and my rim. i had to explain i came here to fix the squeak. i still have a squeak and a less functioning rear brake now.

i went to demonstrate as he continued to dismiss my repair needs and expectations, got on the bike to show him the severity of the squeak. the pitch does hurt eardrums now. he said "uh, you need to get off that bike, you cant ride in here, a customer might come out of the isle and you might hit them". i clarified i just tried to show him that i still have a problem, showing him the same way i showed the other employee.

he said "hold on, ill call the tech", still in his fussy attitude and tone. calls him, and says - still fussy - "the customer is complaining about the work you did, the front squeaks and the rear squeaks worse. can you come back here. he is still complaining". i corrected him about the rear brake, he rolled his eyes at me and remitted the correction to the tech.

the tech comes and adjust the brakes without talking to me.  now, speaking with him for the first time explained why my bike is in the shop. not for rubbing brakes, but for the damn squeak. i thanked him on the rear rim, but explained it wasnt gripping properly. he adjusted both brakes. he said "here, go try it now".

i grab the bike and head outside, but i quickly get stopped by fussy attitude guy saying "uh, you need to pay for that!". i explained to him im merely going outside to test the repair and the rest of my purchase is right behind him, ill be right back.

i go test the bike.  SQUEAK!

back in. maintenance tech asks if he can take for a test. by all means, please do.

he comes back saying "i wasnt really able to recreate it unless i really pulled hard on the brake. i dont know, it is what it is. just give yourself more room to stop. and so you know a brake adjustment doesnt cover squeak."

i underline to simply remind the reader that i HAD A DAMN SQUEAK, the whole reason i handed them my bike.

by that time, i was rather irritated. i spent way more time than i had there trying to resolve the problem, my girlfriend was awaiting my help to move boxes, and i just needed to get back home. i paid $130 and change for the camp gear, some clothes, and the damn "brake adjustment". oh, and i cashed in my $17 dividend. 

the more i thought about it today, the more irritated i got about the situation. i didnt like the unnecessary attitude, i didnt appreciate being talked to like an idiot, i didnt appreciate the "not covered" part. i would have been fine if they told me they were just going to replace the pads. but instead, they said i could do that if i wanted to install it myself. i actually entertained that thought for a moment but quickly remembered thats what brought me here in the first place. i asked the employee ringing me up to set aside that pad set from my pile. i wasnt buying it. 

i should have gone to comrades like i planned in the first place.

so...anyone have a good experience there?

Views: 5993

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

are you sure that they just did not recognize you?



Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) said:

Hah, that's nothing. I once took in my bike for a flat fix to Cycle Smithy and the tech forgot to re-engage the brakes! Good thing I always look my bike over before riding after getting work done! I made a point of telling the manager about it.

I strongly suggest you watch igz's video if you haven't already.  That's a there's-something-wrong-here squeak.  Or he could keep the squeak and have a built-in horn when braking.  (It's quite the squeak.)

Dirke said:

Well, you agreed with me at least on one point, and you did it with mere words!  Kudos! ;-)

notoriousDUG said:

I cannot express how WRONG you are in mere words...

Brakes should not squeal, if a brake is properly adjusted and set up it is going to operate quietly; this is especially true of rim brakes. 

Yes, squeaks can come up after short periods of riding under certain conditions but it should not be a chronic issue if things have been done properly.


Dirke said:

Devils advocate statement... All brakes squeal, it's a fact.


igz said:

pads did get toe'd in, rims did get cleaned. the only thing at the shop that wasnt done was the sandpaper - that i know of anyway. but i did that a few months ago.

Ridiculous and dangerous.

Serge Lubomudrov said:

REI Lincoln Park bike shop does have great mechanics. And it does have terrible mechanics (I'm not sure those stay for long). The worst experience I had with the latter kind, newly replaced brake pads fell off the very next day on my ride to work on April 14, 2011.

So, if communication doesn't matter, then every time someone drops off a bike for a "brake adjust," they should expect the tech to take the bike for a test ride--at speed and under load--to ensure there's no squeaking?  Is this standard practice at the shops with which you're familiar? 

I guess, if that IS standard practice for a "brake adjust" then REI was at fault.
 
notoriousDUG said:

It does not matter what he communicated.  Part of a brake adjust is having an effective brake that does not squeak and if they delivered a bike back to him that had squeaking brakes they did not preform the work properly.

Why would you not; they are a professional, their job is to be able to fix priblems like squeaking brakes no matter how much of a pain it is.  If a mechanic lets a bike leave with the brakes squeaking they did not do their job right.

Jeff Schneider said:

Sqeal is sometimes tough to cure without a lot of trial and error.  I wouldn't expect a mechanic to be able to adress it any better than I can.  Low profile cantilevers can be a pain.  

william said:

I dont like using those kool stops with the flared ends as it makes the toe-in adjustment less than precise, in my experience. they always squeal. I prefer normal straight pads. maybe that's just me. 

I'm using yokozuna & swiss stops. I recommend them both. VO pads are junk. 

Squeals are basically from lack of proper toe-in and off-center adjustment (and sometimes greasey rims). Sometimes cantilever adjustment can take many different attempts to get 'em just right. Maybe that's why the REI mechanic didnt fix the problem. Sometimes things look centered and the toe-in is just right (about the width of a business card folded up), but the squeal persists upon the test ride. Sometimes a mechanic working by the hour just doesnt have the time or ability to spend an hour or two micro dialing cantis or sometimes that time-suck is not worth the shop's time unless you're paying by the by-the-hourly labor rates ($60 or so usually). 

I don't always test ride a bike in for a brake adjust with no specific noise complaint but I at the very least drag the brake and spin the wheel to see if there is a squeak in the stand.  Tune ups and more major work I test ride a bike at the very least in the store (rainy days like to day make real test rides difficult).

The bigger point is that while yes, sometimes a squeal only happens under specific conditions it is still part of a brake adjust to make sure the brake are quite.  Even if they did not get the brakes silent on the first adjust, that happens you don't get it right every time, when he pointed it out they should have, with no attitude, but his bike back in a stand until they had the brakes properly adjusted.

No shop, no matter how good they are, gets it perfect 100% of the time; we all make mistakes or miss something.  The important part is how you deal with those times you do not deliver 100% up front.  A good shop will work to remedy the problem.

Joe M said:

So, if communication doesn't matter, then every time someone drops off a bike for a "brake adjust," they should expect the tech to take the bike for a test ride--at speed and under load--to ensure there's no squeaking?  Is this standard practice at the shops with which you're familiar? 

I guess, if that IS standard practice for a "brake adjust" then REI was at fault.
 
notoriousDUG said:

It does not matter what he communicated.  Part of a brake adjust is having an effective brake that does not squeak and if they delivered a bike back to him that had squeaking brakes they did not preform the work properly.

Would totally agree.  I think igz was short on time which forced a bad hand but it seems Elliot from REI is working towards such a remedy.
 
notoriousDUG said:

I don't always test ride a bike in for a brake adjust with no specific noise complaint but I at the very least drag the brake and spin the wheel to see if there is a squeak in the stand.  Tune ups and more major work I test ride a bike at the very least in the store (rainy days like to day make real test rides difficult).

The bigger point is that while yes, sometimes a squeal only happens under specific conditions it is still part of a brake adjust to make sure the brake are quite.  Even if they did not get the brakes silent on the first adjust, that happens you don't get it right every time, when he pointed it out they should have, with no attitude, but his bike back in a stand until they had the brakes properly adjusted.

No shop, no matter how good they are, gets it perfect 100% of the time; we all make mistakes or miss something.  The important part is how you deal with those times you do not deliver 100% up front.  A good shop will work to remedy the problem.
 

Joe,

You've stated twice in this thread that igz is somehow at fault (or at least unfortunate) for being time constrained. I don't understand how having more time would have made any difference. It seems to me that igz spent ample time explaining the issue, even demonstrating it to the intake person. I don't see how time is a factor or how this situation would have been any different if igz had spent any more time explaining the issue. In fact, it almost seems to me that REI is the party without enough time as they did not have a mechanic available to understand the issue and they chose to have someone else take in the bike.

As for Elliot from REI, he's doing the appropriate thing that any company would do when faced with social media criticism: try to change the venue to a not so social one. They teach this in colleges now. I haven't seen him do anything more as of now. I would love to hear him address some of the larger issues addressed here like what is REI's policy for securing a customer's bicycle when taken in for service, what are their policies on customer's being told they can/cannot demonstrate issues in the store and how this impacts my safety when shopping at REI, and why they felt it was appropriate charging igz for the service even though they did not fulfill their obligation to complete the repair he requested.

I understand you're fond of REI and I think they are a great chain as well. I also tend to side with you that they are not miracle workers (my words). However, I do think there is something to be learned here by both igz and REI.

Joe M said:

Would totally agree.  I think igz was short on time which forced a bad hand but it seems Elliot from REI is working towards such a remedy. 

My take judging by the way Elliot signed his posting is that he's moved on to a role that is not store-specific and has no actual stake in this complaint, or responsibility to work towards a resolution. All he suggested was taking it to the managerial level.  Seems like it would be way outside his position to comment any further here.

Tom Dworzanski said:

Joe,

You've stated twice in this thread that igz is somehow at fault (or at least unfortunate) for being time constrained. I don't understand how having more time would have made any difference. It seems to me that igz spent ample time explaining the issue, even demonstrating it to the intake person. I don't see how time is a factor or how this situation would have been any different if igz had spent any more time explaining the issue. In fact, it almost seems to me that REI is the party without enough time as they did not have a mechanic available to understand the issue and they chose to have someone else take in the bike.

As for Elliot from REI, he's doing the appropriate thing that any company would do when faced with social media criticism: try to change the venue to a not so social one. They teach this in colleges now. I haven't seen him do anything more as of now. I would love to hear him address some of the larger issues addressed here like what is REI's policy for securing a customer's bicycle when taken in for service, what are their policies on customer's being told they can/cannot demonstrate issues in the store and how this impacts my safety when shopping at REI, and why they felt it was appropriate charging igz for the service even though they did not fulfill their obligation to complete the repair he requested.

I understand you're fond of REI and I think they are a great chain as well. I also tend to side with you that they are not miracle workers (my words). However, I do think there is something to be learned here by both igz and REI.

Joe M said:

Would totally agree.  I think igz was short on time which forced a bad hand but it seems Elliot from REI is working towards such a remedy. 

You're right and that's a very good point h'. We shouldn't assume it's his role to represent REI here or to be responsible for resolving this. He may have just been trying to give some advice which I think is great.

I do think someone at REI should care about what is said about the company on forums like this though. Hopefully they don't just monitor Facebook and Twitter.



h' 1.0 said:

My take judging by the way Elliot signed his posting is that he's moved on to a role that is not store-specific and has no actual stake in this complaint, or responsibility to work towards a resolution. All he suggested was taking it to the managerial level.  Seems like it would be way outside his position to comment any further here.

Tom Dworzanski said:

Joe,

You've stated twice in this thread that igz is somehow at fault (or at least unfortunate) for being time constrained. I don't understand how having more time would have made any difference. It seems to me that igz spent ample time explaining the issue, even demonstrating it to the intake person. I don't see how time is a factor or how this situation would have been any different if igz had spent any more time explaining the issue. In fact, it almost seems to me that REI is the party without enough time as they did not have a mechanic available to understand the issue and they chose to have someone else take in the bike.

As for Elliot from REI, he's doing the appropriate thing that any company would do when faced with social media criticism: try to change the venue to a not so social one. They teach this in colleges now. I haven't seen him do anything more as of now. I would love to hear him address some of the larger issues addressed here like what is REI's policy for securing a customer's bicycle when taken in for service, what are their policies on customer's being told they can/cannot demonstrate issues in the store and how this impacts my safety when shopping at REI, and why they felt it was appropriate charging igz for the service even though they did not fulfill their obligation to complete the repair he requested.

I understand you're fond of REI and I think they are a great chain as well. I also tend to side with you that they are not miracle workers (my words). However, I do think there is something to be learned here by both igz and REI.

Joe M said:

Would totally agree.  I think igz was short on time which forced a bad hand but it seems Elliot from REI is working towards such a remedy. 

That's true, Tom, but I don't believe I've presented anything new which wasn't revealed in igz's original post:

by that time, i was rather irritated. i spent way more time than i had there trying to resolve the problem, my girlfriend was awaiting my help to move boxes, and i just needed to get back home. 

If igz didn't need to get back home, he might've been able to give REI additional time to fix the problem rather than leave and pay for sub-par service.  More time wasn't necessary to explain the issue, it was necessary to resolve it.
 
Tom Dworzanski said:

Joe,

You've stated twice in this thread that igz is somehow at fault (or at least unfortunate) for being time constrained. I don't understand how having more time would have made any difference. It seems to me that igz spent ample time explaining the issue, even demonstrating it to the intake person. I don't see how time is a factor or how this situation would have been any different if igz had spent any more time explaining the issue.

Not sure what you're getting at here, Joe-- seems like you must have read this too:

he comes back saying "i wasnt really able to recreate it unless i really pulled hard on the brake. i dont know, it is what it is. just give yourself more room to stop. and so you know a brake adjustment doesnt cover squeak."

You're saying Iggy should have become insistent after such a statement that they fix his squeak?

RSS

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service