16 July 2017

Sound Repairs

If a restaurant doesn't post its prices on its menu, I probably can't afford it.  

I learned that lesson the hard way on my first trip to Europe.  On a wonderful day of riding through the Loire Valley, I was ready for a nice meal.  So I stopped at an utterly charming restaurant where the staff were oh-so-friendly and attractive and the food was even better than I dreamed they'd be.  I would have enjoyed the meal and the ambience, I think, even if I hadn't been hungry and spent the day pedaling.

I was in Nirvana or paradise or whatever you want to call it...until I got the check.  That meal didn't cost much less than my budget for a whole week!  At least I didn't have to worry about a tip:  In France, that's included (service compris). 

Now, I must say that the rule about menu prices doesn't necessarily apply to bicycle shops.  Some post "menus" of repair prices.  Of the shops in which I worked, none followed the practice.  The reason was that, very often, repairs turn out to be more complicated than they seemed at first glance:  The flat tire might have been caused by protruding spokes, which means re-truing or re-building a wheel (or even replacing it) rather than simply installing a new inner tube.  Or that creak or other noise might come from a crack in a frame tube caused by a fall that the rider might not have given a second thought because he or she rode home after it.

(I can honestly say that, in spite of the fact they didn't post "menus", none of those shops charged more than others in their area for repairs.  Two of them, however, advertised "tune up specials" where, for a fixed price, cables were replaced, bearings and chains lubed and adjustments were made.)

I got to thinking about "menu" pricing after I came across this:

Imagine if we could determine what needed to be done, and what it would cost, simply by listening!   For all I know, at least one mechanic with whom I worked may have been doing that:  He used to work with a stethoscope hanging from his neck!  Then again, he took substances that may or may not have been legal at the time, so he may have heard things I never would have.

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