Double bonus: I unearth ancient thread, and don't have to start new one.
So I'm calling around looking for a particular bike. It'd be like super cool to actually see and sit on one first, especially as it's an unusual TT length concept.
Shop #1 says, "yeah man we just got one of those." I reply, "sweet, I'll come check it out. What size?" Dudebro: "Oh, no, it was for a customer and they picked it up. We can order one for you though." Which means I pull a few grand out of my pocket for a product I have never seen. And can't return. Cool.
Shop #2 left me on hold till I hung up.
Shop #3 was pretty cool, but again, nope, don't have one, don't know when we will have one, but will be happy to order one. Long as I pay for it first.
So I'm open minded, and in retail myself. It may not be the retailer's fault, perhaps the manufacturer has some draconian polices regarding returns. But then what's the damn point?
Bike maker builds shiny new thing. Sends demos out to magazines and web sites. Advertises. Responds to web chatter on forums. Creates interest. Consumer goes to shop to look. "Nah, we don't have any of those. Unless you buy one then we'll order it." WTF?
I can drive a $30,000 car before I buy it.
I can sit on a new sofa before I buy it.
Washer, dryer, fridge, TV, whatever.
Crap, the LBS complain about people buying on the web, but Backcountry, Jenson, Price Point, all of them will accept a complete bike return unless it's custom built. I'm not saying a shop should have an XXXXXXL version of some obscure model, but would it be too hard for the manufacturer to throw a medium or large out there for the kool kid shops? Not everyone has time to hit Sea Otter or Interbike.
I know. TL;DR.