Of course there is a story behind this--you don't think that I simply walked into one store and immediately found exactly what I was looking for, did you? Not in this universe.Our saga begins last Saturday, when I hit Northlake Boulevard to see what the local discounters had on display. I had already done some research online and the prices had been all over the place; plus, nothing had really jumped out at me, so I hit Sports Authority first. Practically all they had were mountain bikes and the cheapest thing was $247. Then I tried Target; they had more of a selection but the bike I liked best there was $229. Knowing full well that if I didn't at least check Walmart, I would regret it later for sure. One version of this was on the floor and it was $159 but it had a tear in the seat. Thus the plot thickened.
They didn't have any more in stock and the woman I spoke with told me Walmart wouldn't sell a bike that was damaged because they can return it to the manufacturer for full credit. So I went home and ordered another one off their website for site to store pickup, because they wanted almost $25 to ship it to my address.
This was Labor Day; four days later, I tracked it by FedEx to see it was delivered to my local Walmart. I tried to call the store to confirm it was really there; twice no one answered the phone. Twice.
But I checked my e-mail, and walmart.com had sent me confirmation that the bike had indeed arrived, much sooner than advertised. So I decided to take a chance and traveled, most of the way by bus, to the store.
There complications continued as the young lady at Site-to-Store Pickup came out twice to apologize for not being able to find my bicycle. Twice I related to her who had signed for it and at what time. Again she disappeared into the vast entrails of the cavernous stockroom. Meanwhile, countless other Walmart associates coming by kept asking me if I'm being waited on. I even began telling my sorry tale of woe and treachery to another young guy who worked there who was suitably incredulous that this was taking so long.
Finally the original young lady appeared with my bicycle and profuse apologies for the wait but, as I assured her, all's well that ends well. There were bike assembly people there in the store and they kindly put it together for me for free when they didn't have to.
What's the moral of the story? Well, having worked in retail for many years, I can tell you that even the largest boxes can hide, sometimes right in front of your face. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes.
Of course I did get caught in the rain on the way home but haven't since. Now I'm waiting on some baskets for the front and for the side in the back that I also ordered online; according to the latest tracking information on ups.com, both are scheduled for delivery tomorrow, as in Monday. Yesterday I rode it to the beach; in my erstwhile car it took me 15-20 minutes to arrive six miles away to Ocean Reef Park. The bike took me an hour and a half. Each way. But it was beautiful at the beach yesterday and I haven't wrecked yet; so all in all good news.