Working in a bike shop is not like working in most other retail shops . In a newsagents and similar shops people come in , get what they need ,and leave . There may be a brief comment on the weather or just a simple ‘thanks’ . Transactions are undertaken in a brief business like manner with the prime objective being to have as many transactions as possible .
The bike shop however , is a totally different scenario . It sits in the middle ground between a shop ,a pub and a confessional . Very few people come into a bike-shop , stay thirty seconds and leave . They are more likely to stay a few minutes , have a chat about Paris-Nice , The tour , The Des Hanlon or whatever current race is on .
Even if they are not cyclists ,people will chat about any variety of things which are happening in their lives . The guy in the bikeshop will often know about births , engagements , medical ailments and whatever else comes to mind often before close family or friends . This is where discretion is important ,as it is for barmen and women .
Also because cycling is such a time consuming and dedicated hobby ( although many see it as a profession) many of your customers are also your training partners and team-mates . This is where your job becomes your hobby and your hobby becomes your job , which is a nice position to be in . In a bike shop hours pass like minutes , which is the opposite of a lot of jobs .
We hear all sorts of stories , one such as when a regular customer was telling me last week about a leisure centre attached to a hotel up the country which he worked in for a while . One day as he was riding into work he passed the owner standing looking up over the main door . He stopped to see what the object of attention was . There above the main door was a huge hive full of wasps . The owner pointed them out and said ;
I’ve sent the young fella (new bellboy on the job) up to smoke them out with a rag .
Our customer said ;
Sure you can’t do that , he’ll be eaten alive !
Ah he’ll be grand , I’m just waiting to see some smoke .
And smoke he did see ,not from where he expected it , but from the lobby of the hotel when the ‘young fella ‘ came crashing through the ceiling and landed in the lap of a guest who happened to be reading the newspaper . But that wasn’t all to come crashing through the ceiling . Next came thousands of wasps and filled the reception area before making there way all around the hotel . The poor ‘ young fella ‘ took off running to get away from the marauding wasps but unfortunately headed in the direction of a very busy main road . So busy in fact that he was stuck there unable to get across the road and away from his pursuers who proceeded to seek out revenge for their disturbance .
Meanwhile back in the hotel guests were running left right and centre trying to escape being stung . One chef who had a fear of wasps ran out the back and jumped into a large water tank ,whilst the owner locked himself into his car until he was sure that the wasps were no longer a threat .
This episode was not a one off but rather just one of a catalogue of ‘Faulty Towers’ like incidents to take place under the owners watch .
Perhaps there’ll be more to follow !