In the mid 90s, while working in a bike shop in Southern California, I had one of the funniest bike shop moments of my 20+ years in the industry.
It was a Monday and things were quiet. The staff is down to three: myself, a sales guy, and a mechanic. A customer came in whom I recognized from the past weekend. He had been in on Saturday and talked at length with one of the sales guys about a sweet Trek 5200. Today, he was prepared to test ride the bike he was after. After some small talk and and a change of clothes he realized he had forgotten his license. Test ride policy clearly stated that a license was a must and there was no way around this. Well, the sales guy working that day was also a roadie and a bit of a hammer so he thought it would be fun to tag along with the customer to talk with him about the bike, answer questions, and, ultimately, sneak in a ride on the clock.
In a short time, both riders were suited up and ready to go...it was time for a test ride. It was just before 11:00 AM when they rolled out of the shop. At 1:30 PM, our ego-maniac, hammer, sales guy came riding back into the shop, alone and looking troubled. The test rider and the new Trek 5200 were gone.
Dejected, sweaty, and embarrassed, our sales guy went on to tell us the story: They had ridden into some of the smaller hills just outside of town. There, the customer was doing some hill repeats to get an idea of how the bike would climb. First in the saddle, then out. Now our sales guy was quite the racer, fast and aggressive when on the bike, and fiercely competitive and after a few climbs, got in on the action, first keeping pace with the customer, then pushing it a bit, and eventually trying to out sprint the customer. Somewhere between the bottom and the top of the climb and probably just below our sales guy's lactic threshold the customer (and the 5200) had simply hung a left and disappeared. Our sales guy had spent the remaining time speeding around the area, up hills and down hills. Everywhere. There was no sign of the 5200 (or the customer). Evidently, Mr. Sales' ego had taken over, taking with it an expensive machine.
Who knew if the customer had originally set out to steal the bike or if the opportunity was simply to great to pass up. Either way, to me, it was so damn funny. Even though his ego got the best of him in this situation, he certainly wasn't an accomplice to the theft, and he was really sorry, and really embarrassed. The shop felt the cost of the bike was certainly worth the rights to tell the story repeatedly, and to never let him live this one down.