Sunday, September 19, 2010

Test. Test. Test. Is This Thing On?

Awright, let's see if any of the few that ever read this manage to check back on my sorry ass from time to time.  A lot has went down in the last couple a years, job wise that has made it tough for me to bloggy blog blog.  I used to use this as a bit of a forum to spout off and vent, but when the employment world keeps going in the shitter, sometimes I found it easier to maintain radio silence than spew out something on the inner-webs that I soon regret.  Fuck it though, I figure I wanna spout, so Ima gonna.

I used to work at a bicycle parts distributorship.  We were the middle man for a lot of manufacturers and put the goods in dealer's mitts.  When I was hired, the business was partially owned by a large online retailer and was completely disfunctional.  I started in sales, and proceeded through various ownership changes to do absolutely everything there was.  After a few years, I was fired.  I was told to meet my boss before work and we'd grab breakfast.  I shoulda seen it coming.  Here's a month's pay, and don't bother coming in anymore.  At least my in-laws were visiting.  That was a great conversation.  I was let go because the business was continuing to slide away and to sell it, the owner needed to trim every last bit of payroll possible.  I was doing sales, warehouse management, purchasing, and shipping and I had developed and implemented a new inventory control system.  But I was expendable.  Only the book keeper made more than me due to seniority and he knew where the skeletons were buried.   Trust me, it was really fucking hard to keep my mouth shut.

So I tried to buy a local small shop.  She wouldn't sell.  "It wasn't making enough to support my family".  "I couldn't sell it to you like that".  No shit.  I didn't have the coin to buy a fully profitable shop.  Although it would have been if it had been mine and not run like an insane asylum.

The new owners of the old distributorship are also importers of some off brand stuff.  If you had Planet X or any of the Taiwan/Brit shit in your stable, they imported it.  They would then sell it to distributors to sell, or maybe directly to shops, or consumers.  Maybe that's why they bought a distributorship.  All the others they had done business with stopped working with them for undercutting their sales by going direct to the delaers and consumers.  Also, as importers of frames and bikes, they could get OEM pricing on parts from various manufacturers.  These were supposed to go on the frames they were bringing in.  Most of those boxes were re-labeled and put back on a truck to various mail order companies.  You ever wonder why you can get an XO derailleur online for damn near the same price your local shop pays?  It's because SRAM sells at OEM pricing to importer, importer passes along a sweet price to the internet guys and they sell it to you for better than full margin.  The dealer and distributor get left out and fucked by the gray market.

Anywhoo, the new bosses had a little side job, online retail site and they hired me to run it.  Problems were many.  Most inventory was old and incomplete, the site sucked, and I had no ability to forecast when new stuff was coming.  I was expected to "pre-sell" it without knowing pricing and availability.  No advertising budget was never good.  I was also tapped to help out with all the other shit they had their fingers in.  So basically I was being set up for failure.  I was technically working for company A, but always was assisting with companies B and C.  None of which had clear direction.  It made it really hard to go into work knowing your boss who was almost never there, was going to come in an chew your ass for slacking on projects because he forgot to tell you that focus had shifted or something else was now a priority.  Fuckers.

At the end, they had me and another guy interview for one sales job to cover all companies and then compete for it.  He quit and I rode it out until they fired me.  At the same restaurant the previous boss had.  At breakfast.  No, I've not eaten their since.

Tried again to buy local shop.  Yeah, the same one.  Same response.  Fuckit.  I'm moving on.

Got a job at a local shop.  Wound up basically running it with the owner.  But that  person had lotsa personal debt and cash was really tight.  Hell of a salesman though.  I was convinced that I was gonna buy in and we were gonna dominate.  He kept stalling and hemming and hawing and I finally figured out that any money I put in was gonna be swallowed up by his debt and we'd still be cash poor as a shop.  How cash poor you ask?  When I left, I hadn't been payed in a month.

So that pretty much brings me to now.  I'm starting my own shop with a partner that worked with me at the last one.  It's gonna rock.  It feels like an eternity to get this bitch up an rolling, with all the lawyers and accountants, and property managers, and city, and state, and everyone else, but it will be worth it.  I'll slap a few more when I have more to say, but now I'm going to bed and then flying off to Lost Wages for Interbike.

C-Ya, suckers!


A C said...

Holly Crap Man...congrats.
Keep me posted.
Your still the CX mentor....
More CX tricks and Tips!

Il Bruce said...

Go get'em.

il Bruce

unotache said...

Oh, hey there.

unotache said...

And now that you are opening a bike shop - I want my cranks!