Author Topic: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....  (Read 11288 times)

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Offline Geeto67

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Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« on: September 15, 2009, 09:10:14 am »
so I was in San Francisco this weekend and I was told the SOHC4 mecca there was a place called charlie's place:

http://www.charlies-place.com/

man was I disappointed. The place looks really cool with lots of SOHC stuff outside. Even a really cool mural of someone riding a cb750K and lots of art made out of honda parts (a dinosaur and a couple of guitars).

However, I got a really cool reception by the woman who was running the place. Basically the impression I got was that they couldn't be bothered to to help a walk in like me. Furthermore, I was turned away from buying a part from them because I was not a local, and I was flat lied to about another part I asked about. When I asked if I could speak to Charlie because I thought it cool that he made guitars form honda parts the answer I got was "he's busy" (meanwhile I could see him in his office not really doing much). The impression I got was he is too busy to talk to you.

Nevermind that I am a VJMC rep in my own state. Or that I freelance for motorcycle magazines. Or that I work part time at Hell for Leather motorcycle blog (hellforleathermagazine.com). I didn't identify myself as such because I wanted no "special treatment" - My first impression of a shop is how they treat their walk-ins and Charlie's place failed miserably because of his "gatekeeper staff". I hope those in San Francisco have a better expirence with him because frankly if I were to live in san fran I wouldn't buy any parts off of him ever again based on this one expirence.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 09:12:09 am by Geeto67 »
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Offline Jerry Rxman Griffin aka MuthaF'er

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 10:04:14 am »
Bummer. There was no "contact us" email link to forward this to them.
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Offline scondon

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2009, 10:09:10 am »
I've walked out of most of the shops in the area, never to return, precisely because of the attitude you describe. In fact, it's the reason I became a wrench monkey in the first place. I've been to Charlies on a few occasions to buy parts, and fortunately I haven't run into the gatekeeper yet.

I get that there is a need to assess things at the counter in a tightly booked shop. What I don't get is the line of bull#$%* and attitude that is used to turn people away. It's offending to anyone to be looked in the face and straight lied to.
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Offline HavocTurbo

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2009, 10:26:17 am »
Bummer. There was no "contact us" email link to forward this to them.

Found this...

charliesplacesf@yahoo.com

at the bottom of the parts page... and maybe every other page too. They seem elitist to me. But I'm wary of EVERYONE from CA...

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Offline bistromath

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2009, 10:45:06 am »
(careless post deleted by author)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 12:08:27 pm by bistromath »
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Offline Lights Out

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2009, 10:46:08 am »
Charlie and Rab where both really nice to us, since we were on a big trip they helped us out fast.  I remember the girl was rather cold, though. Best to talk to Rab if Charlies not available.  Search and you will find my post with pictures of the mural.
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Offline Geeto67

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2009, 10:58:48 am »
I have never been told by someone that a part was "too rare" to sell to me without me bringing my bike into their shop. Espically when they have it on the shelf under an inch of dust.  Since I live in NY and this is a San Fran shop they part about it being impossible for me to do so really didn't phase them and really drove home the point that I was unwelcome.

The part in question was a Flake Sunrise stock cb750 tank. I have a really faded fale sunrise tank that is basically silver on top and a really minty stock set of side covers.  I also had several hundred dollars in cash in my pocket when I walked into his shop. I was unhappy at the treatment but the wife was happy that I did not part with our several hundred dollars cash. I also had all my camera gear in the trunk of the rental car as we had been out shooting tourist attractions. As it stands I still got to shoot several cool pics of the shop with the EOS 20D, but had I gotten a warmer reception I would have at least convinced charlie to let me do a feature on his shop for HFL and def would have posted more positive things here.

BTW I have an NOS flake sunrise F tank in my basement that is probably 10 times rarer than a used K tank in ok shape. If someone needed it badly enough and I ran a shop that advertised selling parts, would I turn them away because they were not local? I doubt it.

I am not the only one complaing about his treatment of customers BTW, lots of people seem to like their work, but there is a common theme that the people running the place are just not helpful:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/charlies-place-san-francisco

http://www.insiderpages.com/b/3711212849

As far as being too busy: There were three people in the place two "lesbians" (I guess, really I didn't want to find out and frankly it doesn't matter) and someone in the office. All three of them were sitting around (acctually the one woman in the mechanics overalls was finishing up a job and sat down shortly afterwards) not really doing much. I think the one woman was actually bothered by me coming over and "making her get up" to talk to me. Everytime I asked her a question about charile or something charlie would know she would go into the office, talk to him for 5 seconds and she would come back out, give me the "get lost" attitude and then sit down again.

I didn't even know that there was a "Rab" to talk to. Here is my point: you never know who is going to walk up so why not be professional. I am someone who is always willing to help out the small shop with as much exposure as I can measure and rarely do I ask for anything in return (if there is an angle in it for me it is usually indirect like page views for HFL or advertising, or getting paid for mag content). However I do ask that people be professional and good people in this business. If it is your choice to put angry disaffected people as the face of your business then really how much are you helping yourself?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 11:08:20 am by Geeto67 »
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Offline BVCB650

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2009, 11:11:30 am »
Lesbians with attitude really piss me off!!
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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2009, 11:56:47 am »
Hello SOHC forum folks, This is Charlie O'Hanlon.
  Usually I do not bother to get involved in these web skirmishes, but I feel the record needs to be set straight on this one, this is not 'Yelp' afterall. First off I have been in this business for 16+ years. During that time I have always hired women, though it was a definite rarity in the industry way back when. People always assume they are lesbians. I really can't address the lesbian bashing on your site, that is another issue altogether... What I want to address is this. I did not meet the person who came by my shop as they happened to come when I was meeting with my web designer to update our online store. My web designer and I had a very limited amount of time, and we had acres of ground to cover. Many people come by my shop from all over the world to meet me, or just check the place out. If they want to make sure I can specifically take time to discuss something with them they usually call first. I do not have the luxury of dropping whatever I am doing at any given time. Additionally, we are in the mission district and because of the wide open nature of our shop people often want to wander in, and wander around. Insurance policies, and common sense do not allow this. Specifically regarding this encounter, the gentleman asked if the tanks on our wall were for sale. The response given was that because of the rarity of these tanks (all vintage Honda) we only sell them to people who have the exact model they are looking for. That is our policy. I have no idea what is referred to as being outright lied about. I can only assume it was a case of miscommunication. To the gentleman who wrote the review I invite you to call me next time you are visiting, I would be more than happy to show you a guitar, and talk bikes. I have many friends in our local clubs.
  A final note, My brother has lived in Vermont since 2001. He sold his shop, and our last name to another individual who is of NO RELATION TO ME OR MY FAMILY. at least get the story straight.
  Sincerely,
  -Charlie O'Hanlon

Offline BVCB650

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2009, 11:59:40 am »
For the record, Lesbians or anyone with attitudes piss me off. There. Record set straight.
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Offline bistromath

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2009, 12:07:36 pm »
I'd like to apologize both for my factual inaccuracies as well as my careless language. Won't spread either around any further.

Nick
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Offline Gordon

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2009, 12:09:28 pm »
This doesn't surprise me at all.  When I spent some time in SF several years ago, more often than not the treatment you received was the standard for any new face walking into any kind of business.  Mostly it seemed to be a side effect of the fact that there are so many people in such a small area that any remotely successful business has so much regular business that they don't really need to be polite to prospective new customers because they don't really need any new customers.  

"This is who we are.  If you can deal with the attitude then we'll be glad to take your money, but we'll still scowl at you while we do it".  

I have to admit, though, that I've worked in a few places that had the same kind of attitude.  It's nice to not have to be polite if you don't feel like it, but it's not the best business model, either.    

Offline BVCB650

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2009, 12:11:10 pm »
^^^ I think it is well know to many about the San Francisco residents and their agenda. No need to apologize for poor service and cold customer relations you suffered.
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Offline bistromath

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2009, 12:19:08 pm »
I'm apologizing for my poor choice of language and my assumptions about the history of the shop, not for the cold shoulder which, as Gordon points out, tends to be a SF hallmark.
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Offline Geeto67

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2009, 12:39:57 pm »
Hello Charlie,

I was the person you did not meet. Given the Professional tone of your e-mail I am sorry I did not get the chance to meet you.

I did not expect you to drop whatever you are doing, that is why you have other people to act as the face of your business. I cannot get around the fact that the woman you hired to be the face of your business was flat rude to me. I am not talking generally discourteous but actually gave off a vibe (in both tone and manner) of get lost. I personally do not care about "oreitation" or "preference" or whatever, a rude person is a rude person. I did not even ask for you until she was blatantly rude to me. Had your employee been "nicer" I would have left my card, and been happy at that.

I measure the shops I visit by how well they treat their walk-ins. I do it to shops where ever I travel. That is why I do not call ahead, nor do I talk about media affiliation. If you don't treat joe-everyman right then who cares if you treat someone in the "industry" (albeit on the fringe of the industry) right. the fact that you were too busy is only secondary to the fact that your employees drove (not let walk out but physically made it inhospitible) several hundred dollars worth of business out the door.

Regarding your policy, according to your employee this is an outright lie:

Quote
the gentleman asked if the tanks on our wall were for sale. The response given was that because of the rarity of these tanks (all vintage Honda) we only sell them to people who have the exact model they are looking for. That is our policy. I have no idea what is referred to as being outright lied about

I was told by your employee with the long black hair, that the particular tank on the shelf above the wall (not hanging) would only be sold to someone who had the particular bike AND THAT I HAD TO BRING THE BIKE INTO THE SHOP. This was after I informed her that I had the specific bike (a 1973 cb750k) and an original set of flake orange sidecovers (I even told her the honda factory name of the color so she would understand that I was somewhat savvy). When I told her that I was from NY and there was no way for me to bring the bike in I was told specifically then it was not for sale because it was "Too Rare" to just sell to anybody. I again stated that it really didn't matter then that I had the exact bike and a need, because I am NOT local it was too rare.

Charlie, I am not the person to tell you how to run your business, but your employees should know your policies. I am not calling you a liar specifically Charlie since we did not speak, but your employees are doing a great job of making it seem like your policies are selective to who ever walks in the door and not really policies at all. It also doesn;t help that your employees doen't really seem to know anything about motorcycles.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt that there were a lot of misunderstandings going on that day, and I really don't want to belabor this anymore. I came to your shop looking for a positive expirence and got a bad one instead. If I am back in San Fran any time soon, maybe I will give you a second shot at this.

If you want to talk more about this you can reach me through this board privately. If not, that is fine but your employees have soured me enough that really this is about all the reaching out I am going to do.

Let me be clear as to why I posted this at all. Because I feel that someone has to. I have not made a personal attack on you. Nor have I called into question your mechanical abilities in any way. I have expressed severe disatisfaction with the customer service provided by your employees, in the hopes that you will see to this flaw in your business so as to not further fracture the hobby. Charlie, you have a lot of nice stuff, and a lot of cool things, and I am sure you do a lot of great things in the hobby, but your employees lack both knowledge of the business and customer service skills to keep this reputation intact. For whatever reason you have choosen to hire this particular individual, and based on her attitude I am sure your reasons had to be good - but you need to make sure she is contributing something and not driving sales out the door.

I look forward to hearing from you in the future, should you decide my opinion has any merit.
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Offline BobbyR

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2009, 12:40:06 pm »
Hello SOHC forum folks, This is Charlie O'Hanlon.
  Usually I do not bother to get involved in these web skirmishes, but I feel the record needs to be set straight on this one, this is not 'Yelp' afterall. First off I have been in this business for 16+ years. During that time I have always hired women, though it was a definite rarity in the industry way back when. People always assume they are lesbians. I really can't address the lesbian bashing on your site, that is another issue altogether... What I want to address is this. I did not meet the person who came by my shop as they happened to come when I was meeting with my web designer to update our online store. My web designer and I had a very limited amount of time, and we had acres of ground to cover. Many people come by my shop from all over the world to meet me, or just check the place out. If they want to make sure I can specifically take time to discuss something with them they usually call first. I do not have the luxury of dropping whatever I am doing at any given time. Additionally, we are in the mission district and because of the wide open nature of our shop people often want to wander in, and wander around. Insurance policies, and common sense do not allow this. Specifically regarding this encounter, the gentleman asked if the tanks on our wall were for sale. The response given was that because of the rarity of these tanks (all vintage Honda) we only sell them to people who have the exact model they are looking for. That is our policy. I have no idea what is referred to as being outright lied about. I can only assume it was a case of miscommunication. To the gentleman who wrote the review I invite you to call me next time you are visiting, I would be more than happy to show you a guitar, and talk bikes. I have many friends in our local clubs.
  A final note, My brother has lived in Vermont since 2001. He sold his shop, and our last name to another individual who is of NO RELATION TO ME OR MY FAMILY. at least get the story straight.
  Sincerely,
  -Charlie O'Hanlon
Charlie, I could care less about the sexual orientation of anyone I do business with. I like Geeto am from NYC so we are fairly thick skinned. When I am looking at an item in a store and ask about it, I expect to be treated with some degree of courtesy. If I want to buy it the fact that I own that bike or not is irrelavant. I have the means to pay and the desire to buy. Therefore I am a customer.
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« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 01:27:05 pm by BobbyR »
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Offline BVCB650

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2009, 12:46:53 pm »
Felicity?? Generally, gayness doesn't bother me unless they are rude or have a huge chip on their shoulder. Then, any acceptance of mine goes out the door.
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Offline Geeto67

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2009, 12:47:29 pm »
Charlie, I could care less about the sexual orientation of anyone I do business with. I like Geeto am from NYC so we are fairly thick skinned. When I am looking at an item in a store and ask about it, I expect to be treated with some degree of courtesy. If I want to buy it the fact that I own that bike or not is irrelavant. I have the means to pay and the desire to buy. Therefore I am a customer.

Bobby, I met all the requirements of their "policy" in that I had a need, and the exact bike, and had cash in hand and still I walked away with no parts and a verbal kick in the ass.
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Offline BobbyR

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2009, 01:03:20 pm »
Charlie, I could care less about the sexual orientation of anyone I do business with. I like Geeto am from NYC so we are fairly thick skinned. When I am looking at an item in a store and ask about it, I expect to be treated with some degree of courtesy. If I want to buy it the fact that I own that bike or not is irrelavant. I have the means to pay and the desire to buy. Therefore I am a customer.

Bobby, I met all the requirements of their "policy" in that I had a need, and the exact bike, and had cash in hand and still I walked away with no parts and a verbal kick in the ass.

Ya know Gee claas will show and lack of class shows more. F him and the Horse he rode in on. I lived outside of SFO for 2 years, I moved back.

I went into the Harley Mecca over in Woodside Queens, asked for some points grease, when the hard core guy behind the counter asked me what I was riding, and when I told him he said "cool how's it run". Now that was class.
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Offline Inigo Montoya

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2009, 01:09:05 pm »
I like how he says its not yelp. I understand that customer reviews sometimes have to be taken with a grain but then you got a lot of people complaining about poor service, there is something wrong.
Very professional of you geeto, even after charlie's somewhat jerkish response.

Offline Geeto67

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2009, 01:34:41 pm »
I like how he says its not yelp. I understand that customer reviews sometimes have to be taken with a grain but then you got a lot of people complaining about poor service, there is something wrong.
Very professional of you geeto, even after charlie's somewhat jerkish response.

I don't think Charlie is being a jerk per se, but his employee certainly was. Like I said he wasn;t there for the exchange and so what he thinks went on and what I know when on are two different things.

I can understand people exeggerating poor service. still you have to wonder how much exaggeration is there when there are a lot of people complaining about the same thing and all have a similar story: piss poor customer service on the part of his employees. 
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Offline Gordon

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2009, 01:43:39 pm »
I can understand people exeggerating poor service. still you have to wonder how much exaggeration is there when there are a lot of people complaining about the same thing and all have a similar story: piss poor customer service on the part of his employees. 

Exactly. 

A couple of bad reviews tossed in can often be attributed to simple misunderstandings or the occasional impossible-to-please customer, but when you get that many negative reviews saying pretty much the same thing, then something is wrong on your end. 

From reading the reviews I get the impression that Charlies Place is suffering from some type of multiple personality disorder.  On most days they're helpful, polite, and do good work, but on other days they get a bug up their collective ass and decide to be dicks for the day.  Either that or the people who get good service and good treatment are the ones who have the right look and are riding the right kind of bike.     

Offline BVCB650

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2009, 01:49:36 pm »
What would the right look, look like? Tats, piercing out the ying yang, buzzed cut, BO? If they truly cater to folks that "look" a certain way, then are they being prejudice to folks different than themselves?
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Offline Sam Green Racing

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2009, 01:53:38 pm »
There are a couple of saying in business. One is, you can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time. The other is, bad news travels fast.
Both these are true, If Charlie had a good well run business, we wouldn't be having this discussion and just look how fast this thread has grown.
I don't think Geeto is out of order posting this as it only echos what the majority of people are saying on Yelp.

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Offline Inigo Montoya

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Re: Disappointed - Charlie's Place....
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2009, 01:58:35 pm »
I guess charlie's "tone" seems to be somewhat standoff-ish. I suppose easily attributed to being text which shows no emotion as we all know.