When I first started working at Destinations, part of the pitch was that, even though the wages were low, you got the Employee Discount on goods. Many people work in bike shops solely for that discount, and I have to admit that it was an attraction to me.
I had to go through a 30-day probation, before I could order anything, and all through that time people were asking me what I would order as my first Employee Purchase. That's the kind of thing bike shop employees talk about, ad nauseum, during the slow times. I wouldn't tell the other guys, so they engaged in speculation, smugly assuming that I was going to order a new bike, or some other high-end item.
That is, after all, what had attracted them into shop life.
When the day came, I went to Scott and asked him if I could make the order, myself. He was cool with it, so I dialed up Quality Bicycle Products and made the order. I still didn't tell the other guys what I had ordered.
The day came, finally, when the QBP order arrived, with my stuff in it. Everybody gathered around to see what sort of blingy item I had ordered. They seemed somewhat confused when I pulled out...a Park Tools wheel truing stand.
My next item to order? I bought a Silca Super Pista tire pump, the next week.
Both of these items were things I had been lusting over, for quite a while. But, as a consumer, paying retail, they had always been out of my price range. I was very excited to be able to buy professional-grade tools, much more so than getting a discount on bikes.
That was in the early Spring of 1993. Both the Silca and the Park stand have been in constant use for 18 years, and both are still great. I've replaced some expendable parts on the Silca, and the park stand is getting fussy about staying centered, but both have been used thousands of times throughout the last 18 years.
I would say they were both good investments.