Nov distance: 283 km
Woodlands, 51 km. According to my log, chain change is overdue. Yesterday, I returned to the shop where I'd been scolded. The scolder isn't there, but mechanic A is. He installs the chain one way. I show him the manufacturer's instruction I'd brought along and he cheerfully installs the chain the other way after failing to persuade me it made no difference.
I complained about chain suck too. He said the chainring was worn. To replace it, he removed the crank without any fuss, though I said it wasn't necessary (he said he gets better leverage when the crank is off the bicycle). He finds that chainring bolts are a bit too long and files one bolt by hand at first, then all by machine. Without me asking him to, he cleans the jockey wheels. He washes the crank so much till it gleamed, I didn't recognise it at first. He tuned my front and rear gears until, as he says, shifting is "crispy". As I waited, another mechanic offered me a cold canned drink.
I enjoy the fruits of his labour today. No more spongy shifter. It's the same bicycle I cycle, but it feels different with a new chain and chainring, and crispy shifting. Same shop, different mechanic, different experience. Give life a chance too; most things may not change, but one person can make the difference.