judgment week is upon me

March 31st, 2009

bloody knuckles!!   everyday I am cutting my knuckles on spokes, bottom brackets, or whatever gets in my way when the wrench slips under a lot force..   need to pickup up some bandaids and neosporin tomorrow morning.

Last week a guy came into the store, with this awful rusty/corroded mountain bike. it was actually half a bike because the rear wheel was gone — stolen overnight. Well I know that sucks, it happened to me once when I was out in Berkeley for a summer. sucked, for two days until i got back in the saddle.  Anyway this guy comes into the shop the other day with the same situation.  incredibly, we had no used tires/cassettes, so even with a used wheel he was going to be looking at upwards of $80-100 to get his wheel back. not worth it for this bike, but he said OK just do it and I’ll be back next week.  (tho today i found a whole pile of used tires and wheels. i think the manager is in such a peak-performance mindset that he didnt consider that a janky wheel is all this guy needed.) Well over the weekend in the process of moving into a new apartment in Cambridge, I found an old salvaged rear mtn wheel in the basement.  I brought it into work today, bungeed to my back as I finally got ride to work instead of taking the T (!),slapped it on the guy’s bike, and it worked just fine.  didnt even have to adjust the derailleur save for the high limit. Called the guy and said, Good news, I found a wheel for you, and its free.  his girlfriend wife companion came by and rode off with it today. happy ending, i would say.

I almost built my first wheel today!   Mavic Openpro on Phil Woods, I laced it under direction and supervision from the manager, though i still managed to mess up pretty badly. for one thing I was putting in the spoke nipples upside down!  Boss said, with a smile, “I have never seen that.”  yeah well neither have I ever seen spoke nipples,  practically.  not too much experience with spoke nips under my belt yet…. then as I was almost done with the 3-cross lacing, it was brought to my attention that I managed to lace the last quarter (or maybe third quarter) set of spokes into the wrong accompanying  rim holes, so that had to be redone.  Then I got distracted with customer with a  flat fix and the manager just took over and finished the build as I watched.  so not exactly a home run there at my first at bat, but its ok he has been patient and great with me so far.

its Judgment Week because this is supposedly the final week of my trial employment, at the end or middle of which The Man will tell me if i am staying or not.  I think I’m doing about as good as someone with no previous experience can be expected do to.  I am definitely still slow on some jobs and that’s been ok so far but soon it will get busy and become noticeable if my pace doesnt pick up.  But I think the decision about my employment is mostly out of my control — there’s not much I can do to make up for not having experience yet, and it will just be a matter of whether the shop decides it has the patience to tolerate me, or would rather just bring on someone with some years of experience already.  I definitely like the place where I’m at, I like the neighborhood ( its the South End, hint hint) the diversity in the customers and their bikes, the possibility to train and apprentice with the owner/manager, and I think I like the immediate work environment, though they could use another light source out near the workbench; my eyes get a little bleary.  So I’ll find out soon enough i I’m staying on or not, and hopefully if the answer’s yes we can hash out the details, like seasonal/year-round, benefits, and perhaps most importantly, SHOP DISCOUNT!! I’m ready to talk, boss 🙂

I did do an interview with another shop last week, its got a ‘hip’ reputation but to my surprise I didn’t like  their vibe  much at all.  getting paid on a per-unit and/or commission basis??  any student of marxian economics can identify this as alienation and exploitation of labor to nearly the grossest degree. Personally i would not want to shop at a place, bike shop or otherwise, if i knew that the salespeople received commission.  how can you trust them?

Apparently there is a new bike collective starting soon in boston, called free wheels.  don’t know the details or timeline but sounds like good news and I’ll looking forward to following the progress there.  link

One Response to “judgment week is upon me”

  1. danpugatch Says:

    working for commission is lame because half the people are trying to sell you a more expensive product to make money and aren’t selling you what suits your needs. and those who are there cause they love what they sell are getting underpaid.

    customers love me because I usually get them to buy something cheaper than what they want because I find their needs and then meet them.

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