Oysterville touched on an interesting subject. I must say I've had the same general experiences in all sorts of business, all of which I refuse to frequent. But certain bicycle shops do seem to consider themselves 'elitist' for whatever reason. Usually the more ignorant the person the more snobbish I find.
About 16 or 17 years ago when I was starting college as a present my father bought me one of those 'name-brand' $1500 mountain bikes with the fancy front suspension and quick release everything. A couple of months later I was doing some maintenance and lost one of the little springs that goes on either side of the quick-release mechanism of the front wheel. So happy as a clam and thinking I was a valued customer I went to the place where we purchased the bike and asked the shop owner (the same guy who rung in the sale originally) to buy a replacement. He was nice as pie until I told him what I needed. Seeing that I wasn't back to lay down another $1500 the guy tried to sell me the entire quick release assembly. When I said I only need one spring he got all snobbish and instead of getting a new one he gave me a rusted one from the repair shop out back and said that'll be $5. So I put the spring back on the table, told him no thanks and told him from now on I'm taking my business elsewhere. And I haven't been back there since. God forbid I were to go in there now and tell him I went over to the dark side and am building a motorized bicycle. LOL
Then there are one or two other places that I frequent even though they're out of my way and maybe even pricier because of the customer service I get and don't get judged no matter what I'm working on. There used to be a small hardware store in my area that closed a few years back when the owner died where the old guy even let me take some fishing reels apart right at the counter when I was sourcing stronger gears for a radio controlled model dragster I was working on, without looking at me like I had three heads because I needed the reels for something else rather than fishing.
Wally Mart and other huge conglomerates aside, it always amazes me that a lot of these small locally owned bicycle (and other) shops somehow manage to stay in business treating customers the way they do.
As for Harleys (and I'm generalizing here...no offence at all meant Harley's dad
or any other intelligent Harley owner) because of the real or perceived 'status and bad boy reputation' that Harley's seem to have they also seem to have a certain percentage of ignorant redneck owners who think the world begins and ends with a Harley. Personally I can appreciate a Harley for its rumpety-rumpety sound just as much as a classic Japanese bike from the 70's or an old english thumper. Different machines, all have their specific charm. My uncle owned a 70-something shovel head (I think, maybe it was a pan head, whatever) and did nothing but work on it, a lot of ignition issues if I recall. The newer Harleys are no doubt more reliable. But if my $$$$ allowed I'd get a vintage MV Agusta, Van Veen or even a vintage Honda 500 GP machine over a Harley.
This is FUNNY--->There's a guy I used to see last summer around my city with a motorized bicycle and a sticker on his gas tank that said: "Hardly Davidson". I haven't seen him around this year. Maybe the Harley guys killed him and buried him somewhere for revenge.