When we came back from Bangkok I was afraid I would have to buy new wheels for the stroller.
One of our strollers is a twin Airbuggy stroller, Japanese designed but made in Taiwan. It has a very sturdy aluminum frame, and pneumatic tyres. Which is why I needed help. I was not going to complain about the frequent punctures (it is still beyond me why they do not use foam tyres).
But this time, the wheels were not working right. They were not rolling smoothly, the stroller kept bumping and cringing. So I went to the Airbuggy store.
The store person looked at, me, looked at the kids, and looked at the stroller. I described the problem in my halting Japanese.
"Left wheel, is it? Well, let's see." And she took the wheel off (the Airbuggy has wheels that are very easy to remove).
"Oh, you need to center the tire on the wheel. See this circle? It should fit into the rim of the hub. Let me fix it for you."
And she emptied the air out of the wheel, centered it, and pumped it again.
"Let me check the other wheel. Oh, you have the same problem there. Let me fix that."
And she emptied the wheel, centered the tire, and pumped it up again.
"But you have mixed up the right and left! See these arrows? They are supposed to sort of roll forward. We need to put this wheel to the right, and this one to the left."
And she put the wheels back in their right places.
"Do you want me to pump the front wheels for you?"
I thanked her politely as she added air to the wheels. As we rolled out the door (much more smoothly), she said:
"Do the brakes work OK? Allright? Well, drive carefully and safely and have a nice day! Thank you so much for patronizing our humble establishment!"
This is actually the kind of service you usually expect in Japanese stores. The tyres are getting smooth, so it may be time for another store visit soon. For once, I actually look forward to go shopping.
I am Wisterian Watertree, recently moved from Bangkok to Tokyo, with a brief visit to Honolulu on the way. I write about travel, especially with our three beautiful kids (two girls and one boy, soon turning four and a half - yes. they are triplets). Travel is education and fun rolled into one, and if you are like me, that is something you want to give to your kids. If you want more tips and want to find out when I will publish something, get it from my email list. If you want to be personal, drop me a note on email@example.com, or if you want general tips, follow me on Twitter @wisterianw.