I love my second job. I sell bikes, share my knowledge of cycling in general and do the little tweaks to peoples bikes that kept me making dough during my messenger years. Life isn’t sweet, but it’s sure ain’t sour.
I run into all types in the store. Those that haven’t ridden in years, those that look like they haven’t ridden in years and those who are about to embark on their first voyage into the world of biking. Sales is an art form. Because no two customers are identical, the spiel has to be adjusted to fit the moment. Not every customer appreciates humor or as it may seem much else in life, but for that moment in time, I crawl beneath that cloud with them. I’m a sales guy, not a therapist. After that moment has passed, I wring out and move on to the next. The guy that sounds like he knows where a few bodies are buried gets specialized attention as well. I grew up in Jersey. My mob may be a little rusty, but my diction is still pretty sound.
Today I had the most annoying customer ever and not for anything she did, that was disrespectful. She simply had allergies and refused to blow her nose. Like clockwork the mucous would cascade down her nasal cavity every 5 seconds and she would breath in deeply to avoid an embarrassing mess. She’s a grown woman. I’m not offering her a tissue. I kinda hoped that she would just figure it out. I couldn’t outfit her son fast enough.
My other favorite customer was a Jewish family. Not like New York Jew, but like Israeli Jew. Probably European Jew and not like “Let My People Go” Jew. The kids and parents were cool. The parents wanted me to fit their sons helmets over their yarmulkes. Those holy “doo-rags” are a dickens to size. I’m funny about touching other peoples kids as well I should be. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve used the word, “yarmulke”. I fumbled over asking if it was ok to remove it, mainly because I didn’t want to misspeak. Our helmets are pretty solid in the case of an accident. I don’t know of the safety tests performed on yarmulkes. I asked the mom to remove it and then braced myself for a theological thumping. Didn’t happen. I didn’t know if “yarmulke” was an outdated word, but it was all I had to work with. I wouldn’t want somebody at the coat check asking me if I wanted to check in my dashiki. Bad example, but sale or not, I don’t want to be too much more insensitive than I already am.
All’s well when the shop is clear. I wash my hands of the grit, grime and sticky stuff from a muffin I tried to swallow whole only to discover, a cut that the Park Tools Polylube has thwarted from gushing all over some child’s brand new bike.