Bit of background to this: I’ve previously run tubeless on a ztr 29er rim with Gorilla tape and previous tyres were a Ground Control and then a Nobby Nic. It has been absolutely fine and so I know there’s no issue with the wheel. I recently bought a Purgatory tubeless tyre from the lbs but was having a nightmare trying to fit it as it as it wouldn’t seat properly. Phoned the lbs and they said that as I would be providing the valve and it was already taped, they’d fit it for £10, which was fine for me.
I took it to the lbs and they said they’d put new tape on it (Gorilla tape), a new valve and fresh sealant. I didn’t ask how much that would cost as I figured it would be a reasonable amount as it was in their workshop.
They fitted the tyre, pumped it up and all was well again. Until they presented the cost: £28.50. I was surprised by that but paid out of good grace, walked out the shop, decompressed, had a think and then decided it was an unreasonable amount and returned back to the shop.
When I queried why I had been a) been charged for a full roll of Gorilla tape and b) why £5 when I could get it from B&Q for half the price, the bike shop assistant stared at me with the kind of “Why are you still here?” kind of look. Total indifference and CGAF. I asked to see the manager and was introduced to the owner. The shop has recently changed hands so this was a new owner with new staff.
The owner explained the breakdown like this:
– Charged full 8.1m roll of Gorilla tape because the workshop mechanic double-wrapped the rim and told me the rest of the roll was no use (although I’ve always single-wrapped as Gorilla tape is fairly heavy duty);
– Charged full rrp for a sachet of Muc-off sealant from the shelf;
– The valves were, according to the owner, ‘cheap’ (not the £22 Muc-off ones);
By this stage the shop was filling up with customers so I decided to leave as the owner was clearly getting very defensive and a bit shouty. It’s been a week since that incident and I’ve been mulling over a few things for further ‘wwstw do’ discussion:
1. Is it standard practice for bike shops to charge a customer for a full roll of Gorilla tape for one wheel?;
2. Is it standard practice for bike shops to charge a customer for a sachet of sealant when presumably the workshop must have larger bulk-buy versions of it?;
3. Do/should bike shop owners/operators calculate what is fair and reasonable wastage, and at what point does the percentage of the product use constitute passing on the cost to the customer?
These are my alternative calculations (happy to be sense-checked):
1. A 5 litre bottle direct from Muc-Off: £120. This equates to = approx.£2.40/100ml. So for 140ml, say around £2.70;
2. 9m roll of Gorilla Tape from B&Q (couldn’t find 8.1m rolls): £2.95. This equates to approx. 32p / metre. If charged £5 at the lbs price = approx. 62p/metre;
3. Fitting tape:
– external rim circumference of a 29″ rim is 77″ (rounded up);
– double-wrapped the rim, so the total length of tape needed would be 154″ (392cm)
– an 8.1m roll is good for 2 x 29″ wheels double-wrapped;
– £1.28 based on B&Q price/metre; £2.48 based on lbs price/metre if it was charged only on tape used for the customer;
4. Therefore, price based on usage from 5l bottle of sealant and only charging the customer for what they use on the tape at reasonable price per roll:
£2.70 + £1.28 = £3.98 + £5 (valve) + £10 (labour) = £19 (rounded up).
On the subject of bulk-buy: do Muc-off sell larger bulk-buy items direct for use in workshops, because I presume workshops would get through 5l pretty quickly? Gorilla tape is also sold in much larger rolls, therefore price/metre comes down. In that case, the bike shop owner could still charge c.£19 for a tyre fitting + rim tape, valve and sealant, but take a larger profit.
Instead, it seems to me that the workshop are charging me full rrp for individual items and charging me for their wastage. This seams unreasonable. Take things a bit further: if they’re using this same approach for every customer, they’re grossly profiteering and not managing their waste.
I appreciate that this is a matter of pennies and pounds, but it’s the principle which arises out of paying what is reasonable and fair and returning to the shop v what is unreasonable and never going back to the shop.