On a trip to my local Tesco recently I noticed some childrens’ bikes on display near the store entrance, but something wasn’t right. The forks were on backwards.
I could have gone with a more tabloid headline, I guess. TESCO IN DEATH-TRAP KIDS BIKES OUTRAGE, or something. Not really my style though.
But the bikes, as displayed, were dangerous, so I contacted Tesco Head Office Customer Services to flag the problem. The store manager emailed me back early the next day. The edited highlights are as follows.
Following your email may I assure you that these bicycles are used only for display purposes. Unlike some stores ours does not sell any of our display bicycles, these are routinely returned to our centre and then back to the manufacturer once they come off display in our store.
The policy is that the store doesn’t sell pre-assembled bikes, it’s up to the customer to build their own (which brings its own problems). It’s not a bike shop and whoever built the display bikes clearly aren’t trained bicycle mechanics, so I guess that’s fair enough.
So long as no badly built display models like these aren’t actually sold. Ever. Even when it’s the last one in the shop and the customer is standing there, cash in hand? Hmm. Sceptical look.
Still, I was pleased to note that, on a return trip to the store, the display models had all been fixed so that the forks were on the correct way around at least. Kudos to Tesco for that.
Putting a bicycle together isn’t as easy as it first appears and there can be real dangers with the final product if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re unsure of your skills, or of the skills of whoever built the bike, the sensible option would be to get some help from an expert. Your local bike shop would be only too pleased to help you.