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I took delivery of my new bike a couple of weeks back (MEKK Potenza 5. A fantastic piece of kit - but with the same obvious problem as most of the bikes on sale today.

White bar tape...!

And as everyone knows - it gets grubby very quickly.

So I thought I would have it changed - to red - the bike is black and red.

Then I thought, what about a bit of bling - matching red brake hoods !

But brake hoods in red are not easy to find... but a diligent search of the net found a pair at Discount Bicycles (http://www.discountbicycles.co.uk) of Park Hall Rd, Dulwich.

I eagerly dropped them into the shopping cart, along with some red bar tape.

But then I thought, just before I flashed the credit card - I'd better check that they reasonably matched in colour. So I sent the following email:

"Hi Guys

I have a couple of items in my shopping basket…
1 x pr One23 Brake Hoods for Shimano 105 - Red
and
1 x roll One23 Bar Tape – Red
Quick question – are these two items the same colour? – the same tone of red?
Many thanks"

I received the following message back:

"Hi. Thank you for your message.
I am not based in the warehouse and so I can not check. Also I am uncomfortable in giving this sort of subjective advice and so I can only say that in my opinion they are similar.

Kind regards. Henry Obuabang.

Sales Dept."

I didn't think that was overly helpful, so I replied:

"Henry

That’s not exactly the best customer service is it…?

Ask somebody in the warehouse…? Walk to the warehouse…?

Check with the manufacturer…?

The question is simple – are they the same colour red from the same manufacturer….?

Or is one a deep pink and the other a maroon… both of which could be classed as red.

I’m not asking that they are exactly the same pantone colour – but as they are going to be next to each other, they need to be at least as close as possible.

Rgds
Customer with money to spend….

Paul Ashbury"

The reply came this afternoon:

"Hi. Thank you for your message.
Perhaps you may want to shop elsewhere you patronizing so and so

Kind regards

Henry Obuabang"

So my question is - am I a "patronizing so and so"

Or as a customer - have I a right to reasonable customer service...?

20 comments

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robert.brady [155 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I'd have left out the line about not being in the warehouse but the rest of his answer is fine in my opinion.

If you'd asked him a question regarding, for example, compatibility then there is a right and wrong answer. Your question, as he points out, is subjective and there is no correct answer. If he gave you a definite answer and you disagreed with it when you received the goods, would you hold him at fault?

I don't like the tone of your reply and wouldn't too willing to help if I got an email like that. So yes: you a a patronising so and so.

Rob

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Leviathan [2276 posts] 3 years ago
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Pot meet Kettle...

Seriously, opening with "That’s not exactly the best customer service is it…?" ie, 'you are not doing you job right' wasn't a good move, not that he actually answered your question. Believe it or not some companies are not short of customers and can view you as a load of hassle, so diplomacy is always worth while. Just rant at your keyboard then compose something really clear and PUSH for the information, let politeness be your revenge.

Escalation doesn't get you what you want, honestly I had some guy today say he would get me fired because he would not give me two letters from his Mothers Maiden Name even though he knew the answer. It took him 10 minutes to do something that should take 2, he talked to my Manager, who later just said 'He was just on one today.'

PS: Sticking (sic) in any quote is instantly patronizing (American spelling might be distasteful to you, but is not incorrect) and definitely will get anyone's back up on the internet. Especially as you don't know if it is a genuine spelling error or just a quick typo as, you know, people are always in a hurry.

PPS: umm... just, Yes.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Using (sic) isn't necessarily patronising. It just indicates that the error was made by the person being quoted, and not the person using the quotation.

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Leviathan [2276 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rumpo Kid wrote:

(sic)(sic) isn't necessarily patronising. It just indicates that the error was made by the person being quoted, and not the person using the quotation.

Your first word should have been capitalized; how does that make you feel?

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700c [981 posts] 3 years ago
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Not patronising, just a bit rude, IMO.

Surprised they were rude back though, they obviously don't want your custom.

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Simon E [2855 posts] 3 years ago
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I'd echo robert.brady's comment, you probably got what you asked for.

The warehouse may not even be in the same location.

If it's important to you then visit a bricks & mortar shop.

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dave atkinson [6262 posts] 3 years ago
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[sic] should really be in square brackets, not parentheses

 26 4

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Stumps [3415 posts] 3 years ago
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What does (sic) mean by the way ?

As for your reply, yes from that reply i would say you are a bit patronising.

But then again none of us are perfect are we  3

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 3 years ago
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If that had been your reply to me, after me saying I couldn't really advise you on that.

My reply wouldn't have been as nice.....

You would have been better giving them a call, where you can get your point across without sounding like a rude so and so  3

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Timbo13 [264 posts] 3 years ago
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Sic is Latin for "thus" but here is shorthand for the full Latin phrase "sic erat scriptum" (thus it was written). It indicates you are quoting from another source verbatim and in the knowledge that it may contain eg spelling or grammatical errors, but that such are not of your own making.

Hope that helps

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Stumps [3415 posts] 3 years ago
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Timbo13 wrote:

Sic is Latin for "thus" but here is shorthand for the full Latin phrase "sic erat scriptum" (thus it was written). It indicates you are quoting from another source verbatim and in the knowledge that it may contain eg spelling or grammatical errors, but that such are not of your own making.

Hope that helps

Cheers mate, but its all greek to me  40

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:
The Rumpo Kid wrote:

(sic)(sic) isn't necessarily patronising. It just indicates that the error was made by the person being quoted, and not the person using the quotation.

Your first word should have been capitalized; how does that make you feel?

Rather smug, as I noticed and corrected it before you got your reply in.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 3 years ago
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I'd say more than a little rude. Would you speak to someone in a shop face to face like that?
His original reply seemed pretty reasonable to me.

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 3 years ago
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Oooh, a tarring and feathering...

First, there is no excuse for the salesperson's second reply. A customer may be patronising and annoying but unless he has actually been offensive or abusive there is no call for a response like that. It's unprofessional.

Having said that I sympathise with the salesperson's position. Look at the second email you sent to them, you are asking are the two colours "as close as possible" but also are they "the same red". So which is it, the same, or close ?
And you suggest that he should ask someone in the warehouse - so he has to transmit your vague and subjective question to a third party and then get a possibly vague and subjective answer, for which you will blame him.

His first answer was perfectly reasonable and he should have just repeated that to you.

Finally I think the fact that you've apparently left his name on the email trail here is pretty poor form.

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Leviathan [2276 posts] 3 years ago
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Rumpo, you are a cunning linguist.

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SammyG [275 posts] 3 years ago
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Hold on red brake hoods and red bar tape? He probably thought you were having him on !

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billyman [148 posts] 3 years ago
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the customer is always right, that's something I have been taught from an early age in the service industry, still being rude will not get you anywhere.

move on, learn your lesson, shop elsewhere.

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davecochrane [142 posts] 3 years ago
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I only have this to offer....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVEmlyqDgFk

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 3 years ago
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In earlier days I used to work in retail, involving customer emails and so on and I received far more offensive/patronizing/unpleasant emails than yours (with far less justification).

Their first response was a bit flaky - if they want to do business selling stuff to cyclists, they need to know that we're quite an exacting bunch, and your question was reasonably worded.

I think their second response is unacceptable to be honest. Really unprofessional - your reply was moderately peevish, but then their first response wasn't helpful to you. So yeah, I think you're in the right here.

Only bad on your part is printing the name of the individual here - you should probably edit it out of your post.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 3 years ago
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I'd go for black bar tape and hoods.