In this day and age, people are more likely than ever to do most of their shopping by mail order or online catalog. It makes a lot of sense to do things this way. After all, you can save a lot of money, and usually you can get a decent product as well. Sometimes, however, you are much better buying something from a neighborhood dealer. When I bought my new mountain bike, I found a discount bike store online. The prices were unbelievable, And the shipping costs were quite low. My family had always gone to the neighborhood bike shop before, but I didn’t really have the money to get what I wanted at a retail store. I figured that I would buy my bike online and use the money I saved for upgrades.
The problem is, when you don’t buy at local bike stores, you don’t get to benefit from their warranties. The neighborhood bike shop was an excellent place. The owner was honest, down to earth, and very friendly. He had been servicing my bikes since I was very little, and had taught me basically everything I knew about them. I felt a little bit like I was betraying him by ordering it from the bike store, but I didn’t have any other choice. His prices just didn’t compete, and I definitely don’t want to pay extra.
Unfortunately, I soon had problems with my bike. If I had bought at the local bike store, he would’ve serviced it for free. As it happened, because I bought it online I was out of luck. When one of my rims collapsed, I found out that it wasn’t covered by the warranty. By the time I was done fixing the bike, I had actually paid more money for it than I would have if I had bought it locally. Not only had I made a bad decision from an ethical point of view, but I had also ultimately ripped myself off. In the hopes of saving 100 hundred dollars, I had actually lost money while depriving a local business of a needed customer.
It just goes to show you that economic decisions can be more complicated than you think. When you’re trying to calculate the cost of your new mountain bike, you have to factor in bike repairs as well as retail. There is a reason that every neighborhood still has a local bike store. I discovered that reason the hard way.