Small change: the economics of charging for trivial things

I got thinking about this subject because Fred Baker Cycles had the temerity to charge me 50p for the use of their bike pump.

This was definitely adding insult to injury as I was confronted with a flat tyre after having visited the dentist. No problem, I thought, I’ll just go to a local friendly bike shop and at least be able to ride the damn thing home.

Maybe I’m too sensitive to petty things, but charging 50p for this service (I grudgingly handed over my equilateral curve heptagon – I had no other choice) generated a huge amount of badwill (the opposite of goodwill) towards this shop.

Contrast this approach with Orange retail stores (disclaimer, I once worked for them), who will charge your mobile phone, gratis – you don’t even have to be a customer.

Maybe it’s something specific to bike shops. So many of them have a reputation for being rude and unhelpful, and if these Google reviews are anything to go by, this one is no different.

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One Response to Small change: the economics of charging for trivial things

  1. matt burns says:

    I agree. It’s hard to imagine their thought process:
    – If we charging 50p to borrow a pump we’ll be rich.
    – We must charge a nominal fee otherwise our pump loan service will be so popular we’ll go bust.

    I suspect it hasn’t been thought about at all.

    I’ve only been in that shop once and it was to buy a new bolt to hold the saddle in place. I got free use of an allen key to fit it but I had to ask and he didn’t look to pleased to be lending it to me.

    No doubt Fred Baker has a Google alert set up so he’ll read this post and review company policy before the day is out…

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