Garris Matthews assaulted me after I returned a bicycle to the Cycle Center in Columbia, South Carolina. A guy named Derek sold me the bike, and said if I didn't like the bicycle, they would gladly take it back. But when I returned it, he came up with a "restocking" fee of $300, which he deducted from the amount I was refunded. He indicated that he thought misrepresenting the terms of a sale was part of "business."
The Cycle Center deserved to have the bicycle returned.
I had explained what kind of terrain I ride on, emphasizing that it included steep hills. They should have suggested that I purchase a touring bicycle, but the deceitful jerks tried to convince me that the main issue regarding hills was the weight of the bicycle as opposed to the gearing. They were determined to sell me a high-priced, Lance-Armstrong-style racing bicycle which of course turned out to be unsuitable for my purposes. The gearing was so high, I couldn't get up hills as easily as I can on my '73 ten-speed. Then they tried to turn the racing bike into a touring bike by improvising lower gearing (creating an aesthetic nightmare), and the thing still wouldn't climb hills as easily as my '73. Furthermore, the racing bicycle was so light it felt unstable going down hills.
I never felt good about the deal. I even made a special trip to the Cycle Center to express my uneasiness while they still had time to cancel the order. I offered to let them hold my deposit while I thought more carefully about the purchase.That's when Derek assured me that if I didn't like the bicycle, they would gladly take it back. He further stated that they were planning to order the bike anyway, and that they would have no problem selling it..
After Trek - longtime bedfellow with the Lance Armstrong gang - refused to intervene on my behalf, I picketed in front of the Cycle Center until my $300 was refunded, But before I got my refund, Derek, who was livid because I was demanding a full refund, threatened to blacklist me with every bicycle shop in the area.
I didn't immediately pay any attention to Derek's threat.
The next bicycle shop I dealt with was Bike to Nature in Lexington, South Carolina. which was nearest to my home (they've since gone out of business) for a shift cable replacement, new handlebar tape, a tightening of the headset, and a tune-up. When I got my bicycle back, it had been vandalized. The aluminum handlebars had been scratched into, the handlebar tape had been replaced such that the ends of the tape extended over the housings for the bar-end shift levers, the top-tube had been chipped and sloppily touched-up, the headset was still loose, and the nut that holds the rear wheel quick-release lever in place was missing.
I had to picket in front of Bike to Nature to be reimbursed for the damages to my bicycle. and settled for the amount I initially offered to settle for, which was $300 plus a refund of Bike to Nature's"service" charges. I also filed a formal complaint against a City of Lexington cop - an officer Myers - who got belligerent and violated policy by involving himself in the dispute. He worked out a deal with Doug, the owner of Bike to Nature, which Myers tried to badger me into accepting Myers seemed to be a friend of Doug's, and I found out later that Myers was a bicyclist. I was notified by mail that "appropriate action" had been taken against officer Myers.
Not long ago, I found out that the guide for the shift cable for the gears on the rear wheel had been placed out of alignment just barely enough to interfere with shifting the gears on the rear wheel. This made it unpleasant to shift gears, and caused a new cable to break.
Conduct on the part of the businesses I've mentioned is outrageous. I'll never forget the bewildered, pained look on my dad's face as Earth Fare's "manager" - an overgrown, bullying thug - jerked away the plate of food my dad was preparing to eat. That was after Matthews jerked a tray of food out of my hands. Matthews no longer works for Earth Fare and left South Carolina years ago. Best I can tell, he is now "managing" the Robert Fresh Market's branch in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Good riddance - I'll send his current employer a link to this post.
Garris Matthews' behavior was so outlandish that nobody can be blamed for wondering if there's more to the story.
"Every bicycle shop in the area" covers a lot of ground. My dad accompanied me when I looked at bicycles at the Cycle Center and when I got their "restocking" fee refunded. I drive a red sports car, and drove it to where I picketed in front of the Cycle Center. The fact that I took my dad to lunch at Earth Fare was quite conspicuous, especially since I always stopped in front of the entrance to help my dad get out of the car and help him get seated inside.
Businesses blacklisting people for anything imaginable has become so commonplace that at least one website is now offering to help. And as any consumer-savvy person would have foreseen, lost revenue associated with the idiocy of blacklisting customers has become an industry nightmare.
Considering the lousy service I recently received via Craig Friedrich at Ski Country Sports, I'm now wondering if I've been blacklisted with at least one bicycle shop in North Carolina.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that businesses blacklisting customers - the exact opposite of the way it should be - has become the latest fad. America has spawned a generation of cowardly punks, stripped of the capacity for rational thought.