My experience of Triathlon Lab is a testament to the power of blogs and Web 2.0. I just completed my first season of triathlon, racing 5 events including Boise 70.3 and Santa Barbara Long Course. I started blogging at the beginning of the year, discussing my immersion in the field including training, product comparison, and my own personal growth. The triathlon community in Southern California is large for such an iconoclastic sport, but it’s still a tight-knit community of intelligent, opinionated people. Which is why it felt out of place that I had several bad experiences my first several times shopping at Triathlon Lab. I felt brushed off, ignored, and not taken seriously. Eventually I took it personally and blogged about my negative experiences. It came as quite a surprise that one of the owners personally reached out to me via Facebook (linked from my blog page), apologized for the way I was treated, and asked more details about my experience so she could address it as a customer service opportunity with her staff. I sent her a detailed report of my visits and spending experience, contrasted this to my positive experiences at Triathlete Zombies in Santa Monica, and thanked her for reaching out. That began a dialogue that has resulted in my purchase of a new 2008 Cervelo P3C triathlon bike. For those who don’t know, when you buy a bike you’re buying the shop as much as the bike itself. A good shop will do a proper fit, and then a follow-up fit to make sure the bike is right. Also, there is maintenance, tune-ups, and the never ending list of STUFF that gets added to the bike over time. The way the owner reached out, accepted responsibility, and then made up for the initial negative experience was enough to encourage me to forge this new relationship. The store is well stocked with a wide variety of gear, clothing, and staff. They have a considerably large bike shop and a solid spread of brands from entry-level and road all the way to pro level. I suggest talking to different staff members and finding someone you get along with and then coming back to them. Going in alone and browsing might not yield immediate gregariousness, but asking questions and getting to know the staff will make your experience better.