Charlie the Bikemonger takes on the keyboard warrior!

What’s got Charlie the BikeMonger, aka Mr Bum Butter, frothing at the mouth this month? Why it’s the oh-so-business-savvy consumer. Not one to let nonsense slide just because it’s online, Charlie entertains the ideas of a few entitled shoppers attacking businesses on Facebook and crunches the numbers one bargain hunter at a time…

Work hard, six day weeks, fixing other people’s problems, having enough money to buy a new Jaguar and a KTM motorbike tied up in stock… and then rather than thanks, we get called every name under the sun for daring to charge almost the recommended retail price.

This has been a constant niggle in my business life, and no doubt other people’s too. This week on Facebook, a popular nationwide car parts and bicycle chain were called “robbing b@st***s”, because they priced a Schwalbe 27+ freeride tube at £9. The consumer was furious as he believed the tube was £4.50 at Wilkinsons. Facebook users joined in en-masse, calling the store thieves in one form or another.

I commented and asked: “When evaluating this and labelling them thieves how much did you allow for staff, VAT, corporation tax, legal, marketing, rent, rates, distribution, storage, electricity, training, and toilet roll? And hey it’s a £11.50 ‘freeride’ tube, so what are you actually moaning about”.

Where does this complete lack of comprehension come from? Why don’t they teach this at school; a basic break even point analysis, a simple profit/loss calculation? Every kid is taught how to
calculate the area of a triangle, which after 30 plus years has proved to be thoroughly useless. Teach them how to make and retain money instead.

Then there is the “But it’s only £8 at…” a mail order outfit that is not on the same island, several days and a £3 postage charge away. They have a flat tyre right here and now. My response to that: “Look here sunshine, you are standing in my shop, and it’s going to cost you £11.50.”

That’s the ranty bit over. So, what can be done? I now have a print out to hand that shows example costs with numbers, and the total stock value. A loose mock up of that you’ll see on these very pages; feel free to cut it out and staple it to the tyre of the next customer asking silly questions.

“Hey, take a moment, sit on the sofa and let’s absorb this,” I may say when confronted with this customer.

They can now see the £8 end of the day margin on a £100 handlebar and can see that I have spent thousands on stocking the bars. Simple things like breaking out the VAT on receipts and mentioning it helps too. Ranting and shouting might work… I should of asked the ill-informed Facebook guy “Oi where’s my bloody KTM, you robbing b@st***?””

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