Fifteen years ago, Chris Zane, owner of a $1.6-million bicycle shop in Branford, Conn., stopped charging customers for anything that cost less than a dollar. A customer who wants, say, a master link -- an inexpensive part that holds the chain together on a child's bike -- gets it for free.

"The cost to me is virtually nothing," says Zane. "We're not going to chase the pennies -- we're looking at the long-term effect of giving someone a master link. And you should see the look on people's faces." The annual cost for Zane: less than $100. The lifetime benefit: a satisfied, repeat customer.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing