Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
  Performance Bike Shops vs. PerformanceBike.com

I love to support my local bike shops. I bought my Softride from Bonzai Sports in 2001, I even worked at Bonzai for about a year, but I still buy stuff from Trinergy. Trinergy is a competing shop in Sterling, Virginia. I also buy stuff from Performance Bikes, a large chain. I mostly buy from Performance because they have great deals on Powerbars, they are the closest shop, and they have a killer loyalty program.

Here comes the BUT: But, In preparation for Sebring, I needed to order a few things. I called my local Performance first to see if they had the lights in stock, but no dice. SO, I went online and ordered. When I went to check out, I tried to enter the Gift Certificates that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. No Dice. So I called and placed the order. The inside sales rep tried to enter the gift certificates into her computer and it wouldn't work, so she put me on hold to check it out and then hung up on me. I called back in and placed the order AGAIN. Again, the cift certificates wouldn't work, so they processed the order and passed me over to customer service.

Customer service worked with me to figure out what was wrong. Apparently, if you buy a gift certificate at the store, you cannot use it online or on a phone order. You can only use the gift certificate at a store. Here's where it gets fun. Customer service told me that if I wanted to use the gift certificates, I had to go to the store and place the order AGAIN over the "red phone". I couldn't just show up at the store and pay, I had to place the order again with the exact same people I was talking to, but I had to actually be calling from the store.

So I jumped on my bike, rode down to Performance and placed the order. I had placed my first call to the shop at 1:30 and the order was finally accepted and paid for by 5pm.

I wish that was the end of the story, but it isn't. I received the order and I had a set of $10 dollar lights in it. The batteries were dead in one of the lights, so I went to Radio Snack and picked up two new batteries for $4. I went to check the lights on Monday and the new batteries were dead again. I called Performance and they said they would send out a new set. I told them I was leaving for an important race and needed it by Wednesday. She said it wasn't a problem, she could overnight the lights and I would have them by Wednesday. I asked if she was sure and suggested that she send them to my hotel in Florida just to be safe and she said they would be here by Wednesday. It is Wednesday - No Lights.

Now, I've screwed up orders before and I generally have sympathy for other small businesses that screw up my orders, but Performance is a big company. The stores and website should be interchangeable, its basic, its fundamental, it should be core functionality.


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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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