Shortly after lunch on Tuesday Ulla Öderyd and Eveline Olsson cycled to their local charity shop in Gävle in eastern Sweden.
After parking the bikes in the bicycle stand outside, they entered the shop and stayed there for about an hour. Upon their return it became evident that one of the bikes were missing.
”When we came back out I couldn’t see the bike anywhere,” Öderyd told local paper Gefle Dagblad (GD).
After searching for the bike the women asked an employee if she had seen it. The answer they got was ”It’s been sold”.
”I asked them; ‘Do you sell locked bikes?’ I didn’t get what they were saying,” Öderyd said to GD.
It turned out that the bike for which Olsson had paid almost 5,000 kronor ($758) and lent to Öderyd had been sold by the charity shop for 350 kronor.
Both Olsson and Öderyd were disappointed with the initial response they got from the store’s staff.
The shop assistants expressed regret but did nothing more to help them.
”We had to walk home,” Öderyd told the paper.
It was the manager of the store, Göran Lofjärd, who had accidentally sold the blue bike.
Öderyd and Olsson had mistakenly parked the bikes in a stand which featured bikes for sale and was not supposed to be for customer use.
”We should have marked the stand with a sign saying those were bikes for sale,” he told GD.
Selling a locked bike, however, is not that uncommon an occurrence.
Most of the bikes donated to the charity shop come from the estates of deceased people or have been handed into the recycling unit and are very often locked.
All the same, Lofjärd found the whole incident both regrettable and embarrassing.
”The customer was upset and had every right to be. It was clumsy of us. We have never experienced anything like it,” he said to GD.
However, after reading about the incident in the local paper, the person who had purchased the bike from the shop brought it back.
”We were able to do a return purchase order,” said Lofjärd to the paper.
The shop also sent flowers to Öderyd and a gift voucher for 500 kronor.
Öderyd was just pleased that the expensive bike she had borrowed from her friend was returned to its rightful owner.
”Thank goodness,” she said to GD.