A Tale of Customer Service


I’m going to tell you a little story about customer service. It’s long, but it’s worth it – and it seems that though the message has been passed on before, it still bears repeating.

The History

Two years ago, I began a new hobby after years of dreaming. I picked up a bow and learned archery. I loved the sport immediately.

I immersed myself in with the sport. I bought a beautiful Bear recurve bow (or as James calls it, a traditional “Robin Hood” bow), an Impala breakdown recurve (disassembles into three pieces), and my first compound bow (the high-tech hunting bows that use pulleys), a Reflex Timberwolf.

I became a regular at the local range and even set up a target in the backyard for days when I didn’t feel like trekking across the city to practice.

I wanted something special, though. A work of art. While watching the Scorpion King one night, I decided to see if I could buy a replica of the bow used in the movie.

I found a site owner who made fantastic replicas of movie and historical bows, rattled off an email and asked if he had any Scorpion King replicas.

The Barter

I received an instant response. No, he didn’t have any Scorpion King bows. He had never made one before, but he was interested in the project. He asked if I would be interested in a trade: a custom bow in exchange for a print catalogue of his site.

This sounded great. I saw the potential for future work, so I agreed.

I knew it would take a few weeks to craft the bow, and I was willing to wait. After all, it was going to be a one of a kind and absolutely beautiful.

The Wait

While the craftsman worked on my bow, I worked on his catalogue. This was no small project. The catalogue had many pages, required images on every page and involved copy from the site that needed a heavy amount of editing.

In terms of hours, the catalogue probably cost more than the bow was worth.

At first, the craftsman answered my emails and kept me updated on the bow’s progress. I kept him updated on the catalogue’s progress.

Then one month went by. Two… three… four…

The catalogue was complete. I was awaiting the client’s approval on proofs. He suddenly revived to ask about how to have the catalogue printed, requesting my help. I answered.

And another month went by…

By the end of the year, I received an update that the bow was in the stage of finishing touches. I was heading to Canada for a visit with James and I asked the craftsman to hold off on shipping until I returned.

Something’s Really Wrong Here

I came home and emailed the craftsman. Months went by. Emails went unanswered and phone calls only gave me busy signals and voicemail boxes that were full.

I managed to reach the craftsman. I wasn’t surprised to hear that the bow was in testing and that he was still working on the final touches.

Then the excuses began. The first excuse was that his van holding bow-making supplies was destroyed. I thought to myself, doesn’t this guy have a shop? Who keeps all their supplies in a van? Okay, whatever. I let it go.

The next excuse was a termite infestation, but not to worry – my bow was fine and I should have it shortly.

Sometimes I’d reach his wife. “Oh, he’s not here. He went to get some toilet paper. I’ll give him the message that you called and have him call you when he gets back.”

He must have traveled to Mongolia by foot to get that toilet paper. That was the last I heard.

Now I’m Pissed

The catalog sat in my archives. I had fulfilled my end of the bargain and was left holding an empty bag.

Now, I’m not one to make waves. Hell, I hate going to the store to return an item. I’d been patient, I’d been understanding, but I’d had enough.

I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. They couldn’t get a hold of the craftsman either. I was told there was nothing they could do except keep his business on file.

I gave up. I would never have closure on this and had to cut my losses. I hadn’t invested any money, but I had put time and effort into the catalog.

Wait, that’s not entirely true. I had ordered some handmade arrows to go with the bow – I had never gotten those, either. My credit card was never charged, though, so I really wasn’t out any money.

Still, it was a crushing disappointment.

Out of the Blue

A month ago, I received an email from the craftsman. Not a personal email, but a newsletter announcement from his site. Can you believe this? He screws me over and has the audacity to send me a newsletter about a sale?

I sent him an email telling him to take me off the list. Just when I had reconciled the matter, he’d torn my disappointment open like a half-healed wound.

Yesterday, a package arrived. I wasn’t expecting anything (except those nifty new Spawn figures). The address was from the craftsman’s shop. The package was too small to be the bow, but…

Sure enough, it was a set of handcrafted arrows – and man, are they ever gorgeous, with beautiful dark-wood shafts, handmade iron points, and orange fletching. Stunning.

My anger melted away. I wanted to email the man and thank him. But why should I thank him? He put me through hell. Was this a peace offering? My credit card hadn’t been charged. Did this mean that the bow was on its way?

I could hope, but I don’t want to.

Customer Service is Everything

One contribution to our business success is our customer service. We meet our deadlines, we update our customers often, and we deliver on our promises.

I still don’t know the craftsman’s reasons for reneging on his part of the bargain. I can’t say that I care. I knew many other archers who would have given him business, but he obviously doesn’t want it. He does beautiful work, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to spread his name around among the bow-hunting niche.

Word of mouth is far more effective than any ad campaign a marketing department schemes up. You screw up once and I guarantee that it’ll spread faster than Britany’s latest escapade on the evening news.

Deliver what you promise. Your reputation depends on it. Don’t leave your clients hanging. Don’t blow your deadlines and disappear into the sunset without so much as a courteous good-bye.

And certainly don’t disappear and then come back months later expecting to be welcomed with open arms.

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.

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  1. The guy is an artist. Many artists don’t think about time and commitment the way you and I do. They are in a very different world.

    Never contract with an artist. Let them create on their own and then buy it if you like it. For some artists, the very fact that a contract exists is going to dampen them and make them incapable of producing what you want. They need to be unfettered to be creative.. it’s just the way they are.

    If I were you, I’d just give him the catalog, making it plain that there are no strings attached. Freed of obligation, he *might* at some time actually produce your bow. It’s a long shot (because your “gift” may cause him to feel beholden), but what have you got to lose? Your work is already wasted and gone..

    Tony Lawrence’s last blog post..Using Skitch for support by Anthony Lawrence

  2. Harry,

    Your story makes my heart ache for you. I half agree with what Tony says about arTEESTes “dampened,” “fettered,” but that doesn’t make it right, it makes them spoiled, and dishonest, too, because if he knew himself he should have told you he couldn’t work with constrinsts rather than suggesting the constraints to you.

    I 100% disagree with giving in to a bully, even an artistic one. The guy enjoyed stringing you along, in a perverse way. His codependent, excuse-making spouse ought to start telling the truth instead of letting the guy hide behind his pretense.

    Word-of-mouth? Yeah, it’s everything and then some. For artists, it’s even more important. They can’t exactly put an ad in the local rag, so they need far-flung enthusiasts to spread the word like zealous Propheteers.

    He passed up a real opportunity. Fans willing to rave about you don’t come along every day. Customer service is critical to creating those fans, no matter what your profession. (I’m kinda passionate about WoM.)

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..Inspiration Points: No Regrets!

  3. Wait wait wait:

    SOME arTEESTes.

    Not all, not by far. Just ones that are looking for an excuse to be enfants terribles. (Did I spell that right?)

    Kelly’s last blog post..Inspiration Points: No Regrets!

  4. Wow, that sucks, Harry. Trading services is a great idea when the opportunity is right. But there’s just something weird that happens when people don’t actually see money coming to them.

    I also had a similar experience. I want a patio slab in my backyard. So I got on Craigslist and advertised that I own a web hosting and development company and I will design your company’s website with 1 year web hosting in exchange for a small patio slab.

    Got a couple responses. One guy I spoke with on the phone and it looked like it was going to be a done deal. Then one day – he was gone. It’s like he just changed his mind and decided to ignore me.

    Some people I just don’t get.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..Fear Can Ruin Your Business From Within

  5. Brett Legree says:

    arTEESTe or not, I figure if you say you’re going to do something, you should do it, and if there are *reasonable* delays, tell the person about it…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..eight random facts about me. no kleenex required.

  6. “if you say you’re going to do something, you should do it,”

    Ayup. But that’s you and me.

    Let’s say you hire me to write some piece of code for your website. I run into technical problems and can’t deliver the product I wanted to deliver. What I have is OK by you, but I wanted it to be better. What do I do?

    I give it to you, of course.

    Some artists will produce something less than what they wanted, shrug their shoulders and deliver it to you just like I would. Others will take a hammer to their creation or burn it in the back yard if it fails to meet their standards. Like Kelly said, maybe those are the artEESTS. But they exist, and really, you can’t put chains on them – it won’t work.

    And yes, yes, yes, “if he knew himself he should have told you he couldn’t work with constraints” he should have said so. But they don’t think as we do. They don’t know themselves.

    Shrug.. as I said, I’d let it go. But I’m easy. You have to live in your own head, and if it is going to tick you off forever, well, there it is.

    Tony Lawrence’s last blog post..Using Skitch for support by Anthony Lawrence

  7. My gut tells me that the guy just couldn’t do the job, or else he felt that it would be too much bother, thus he avoided the commitment. He may have felt that it would tarnish his reputation more if he delivered you a bow that didn’t satisfy your expectations, but he didn’t want to admit it.

    Doesn’t excuse his behavior, but that’s the only explanation that I can think of. Or else he got caught up in some work that would generate cash flow and didn’t have the courtesy to back out of his commitment to you.

    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..The Broadcasting Brain Seldom-Seen Sampler

  8. Brett Legree says:

    @Tony,

    True, there are people like that, and what can you do? You can carry it around in your heart until it burns you up, or you can move on.

    Personally, I’ve moved on from these kinds of things many times. I’ve got better things to do…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..eight random facts about me. no kleenex required.

  9. Based on the other comments this seems pretty common in the barter world…

    Personally, I’ve had this happen several times with websites. I agree to help someone build one in exchange for some service. The site gets built but during the process the other party starts to fade.

    After this happened a few times, I figured out that the best way to deal with it was to have a conversation right up front. Some people look relieved because they’ve had it happen before too (those are the ones you want to work with). Some people get indignant (those are the people you want to send packing).


    There’s something really primal about archery. I love it too. Have you read Eugen Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery?

    Jamie Grove – How Not To Write’s last blog post..It’s All in a Name: Getting Past Being Anonymous

  10. Donetta says:

    It is always disappointing when things like this happen.

    Dwelling on these events is an energy drain. We can all mutter and speculate but none of us knows what has gone on for this guy. He could be living on a spectrum that stretches from plain dishonesty to some form of stress related disorder that causes him to retreat.

    Eckhart Tolle tells a wonderful story of two Buddhist monks. One carries a Geisha across a muddy road, breaking his vows of having no contact with women. 5 hours later his colleague comments that he really shouldn’t have done that. The monk who did the carrying replies that he put the Geisha down 5 hours ago and was surprised to find his colleague was still carrying her.

    My feeling is that to carry these things is a burden which holds us back. There will always be situations in life where people do not perform either as agreed or as expected. Yes, there can be serious ramifications for us at such times but we make the situation doubly worse by ‘carrying’ it.

    James, I’m really glad you received your arrows. My story about the event is they represent a peace offering from the guy. He will know that he let you down and broke an agreement. He possibly doesn’t know how to say sorry, lots of people don’t.

    Your post is a wonderful cautionary tale to all of us about how not to behave. Thank you.

    Donetta

  11. I just have to throw in this story, not only because it helps defuse the bitterness we feel when we get shafted, but because it might help everyone understand others better.

    I had some terrible customer service once – something happened that wasn’t my fault, and I was going to be massively inconvenienced over the next 30 days – basically 2 hours of my day eaten up for a month because of some stupid misunderstanding. The customer service person was zero help. Zero sympathy. Zero engagement. It pissed me off to no end that this person just didn’t seem to care about the crap I was going to have to go through. As if I was just a faceless number, an imposition on her time.

    I left to get some paperwork to give to the rep, and when I came back I was still furious. Except this time, instead of indifference in her eyes, I saw a hint of sadness. Casually, I asked her if something was bothering her (even though I was pretty mad that she didn’t care how much I was bothered by the mess I had too deal with).

    Something *was* bothering her. She had just come back from the funeral of her brother. Who had killed himself.

    Suddenly, my problem seemed … trivial. A temporary inconvenience when compared to her permanent loss.

    I’m not trying to justify what your craftsman put you through. I’m just saying consider another perspective, another reason why he let your work slide. Perhaps he wasn’t just sloppy and careless.

    Perhaps his son was dying of cancer, and he was falling apart inside.

    Perhaps his marriage was falling apart, and his sense of self with it.

    Perhaps the test results came back from his own doctor, confirming his greatest fear.

    Who knows what led your craftsman to the behavior he’s exhibiting. Tragedy? Depression? Overwhelm? Is his response truly indifference, or could it be that he’s living in reaction to life situations he just doesn’t know how to deal with?

    Someone cut me off in traffic today, almost running me off the road, and I was pissed – for a second. Then I thought, “What if this guy is rushing to the hospital to say his last goodbye to his wife before she goes?”

    We don’t know what’s going on in other people’s minds … so we have to be careful how we react to their behavior. That doesn’t make things better; but it does keep up from becoming bitter.

    Someone once said that “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

    Life’s to short to be bitter. Shit happens. We roll with it, and you undoubtedly will roll with it as well, ’cause you rock and all. Will you give him future business? Probably not – why bother? But don’t carry around frustration when it’s unnecessary in the the grand scheme of things.

    That’s my 2 cents. Keep rocking, Harry. Dave out.

    Dave Navarro’s last blog post..How To Start Getting Balanced When You?re Too Damned Busy

  12. Donetta says:

    I meant Harry, not James…….:-O Have been twittering with James all morning……I am embarrassed……….!

  13. Brett Legree says:

    @Dave,

    Amen, brother. I will tell you a story someday about a nuclear engineer who lost a child, and had trouble focusing at work for the next year, and beyond. How his employers, who at first seemed sympathetic, forgot about that at performance appraisal time. We’re all human. Thanks for reminding us.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..eight random facts about me. no kleenex required.

  14. I can usually be like Dave and look through the eyes of compassion and realize that something must have happened to cause the other person not to be able to handle whatever I expected them to do. Sometimes, my temper gets the best of me and I just don’t care what the other person’s circumstances are. I want what I want when I want it. We all probably have those days.

    Something that I don’t understand is why so many people have a problem with just admitting that they can’t or won’t deliver what they said they would. If you can’t do it, just say so. Don’t leave me hanging, waiting. That makes me angry.

    Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker’s last blog post..Processing Life’s Journey

  15. @Patricia –
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint, and I get pissed off plenty.

    I just try to kick my ass back into perspective … sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t …

    Dave Navarro’s last blog post..How To Start Getting Balanced When You?re Too Damned Busy

  16. @Dave: I do that all the time. I do take into consideration that something else might be going on behind the scenes that I’ll never know about. But you know what? There’s a part of me that says I have my own set of problems at times, I deal with them and as the saying goes, the show must go on.

    I can, and usually do, sympathize with people and sometimes it’s reciprocated, but the bottom line is when you have a job to do you have to get it done. Very few people in the world care about *your* problems. Case in point: James’ problems last month with his toddler and the flood. Some clients understood, others couldn’t have cared less, but both sets of clients still needed their work delivered.

    What it comes down to is professionalism. If he didn’t want to do the deal, fine. Say so. I wasn’t the one who offered the barter to begin with, I was perfectly willing to pay for the product right off the bat.

    I had also put it behind me as a lost cause. Yes, the arrows were nice and it’s cool he sent them, but when I see he’s offering to make the same exact bow I had requested and advertising that on his site and in his newsletters, it kind of pisses me off.

    @Patricia: That’s it exactly. Just say something, usually I’ll take that into consideration and understand.

    @Donnetta: I thought of it as a peace offering, although I still have that cynical part of me that thinks of it as “Now shut the hell up and leave me alone.”

    @Tony: This post was written over a week ago and I’ve since gotten over it. I might just bundle up those files and give them to him.

    @Jamie G: I read that book many years ago. I may have to read it again since I just found a dojo near here that teaches Kyudo, traditional Japanese archery.

    @Kelly & Mark: Yes, it was immature of him. Be a man, step up to the plate and say you can’t do it and then renegotiate.

  17. @Harry –
    I’m with you. Didn’t mean to justify anything about the craftsman’s behavior. A deal is a deal is a deal, and excuses don’t get the job done. Just a comment on how bitterness doesn’t make your life easier.

    Typing very fast this morning, so my “how will this come across” filter isn’t active. If it sounded like “quit yer whining,” that wasn’t the intent 🙂 I’m sure James can attest to how I come across when I do drive-by typing!

    Dave Navarro’s last blog post..How To Start Getting Balanced When You?re Too Damned Busy

  18. Donetta,

    I first read that story in a wonderful book called Zen Shorts. I love the idea of putting the lady down, and I try to live that every day.

    Dave,

    I heard Richard Gere in an interview once saying that if the first thought we all had as we looked at a person (from traffic to the DMV) was “I wish you peace,” the rest of the conversation or interaction would be much different. That one sentence is with me every minute of every day, and I’ll never stop trying to live it. I’m extremely mindful of the fact that there are humans behind actions, not just some force that’s out to get me, which is a pretty selfish way to look at the world–and plenty of people do look at it that way.

    That being said, I don’t think this is about the guy’s humanity or his potential personal problems, it’s about his lack of communication and honesty, and how bad service is only shooting yourself in the foot. Harry’s both an artist and an empathic guy who stood for a lot and would have stood for more, if he’d had some communication to listen to. Anger’s pretty useless, but a well-placed raspberry seems just fine.

    Later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..Inspiration Points: No Regrets!

  19. Brett Legree says:

    Harry,

    That might be the thing to do, you know – as Tony says, the fellow might come through in the end. It sure does look like a nice bow.

    -Brett

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..eight random facts about me. no kleenex required.

  20. @Dave: It’s cool, I fully understand where you’re coming from. There’s 3 sides to every story, after all. I always look at people and wonder what’s going on behind the scenes to make them do what they do.

  21. Word of mouth referals will make or break your business. I believe that with my whole heart. It is the golden rule of small business.

    In fact I will go as far as to say it is the only real rule of small business.
    You can get all of the rest of them wrong if you get that one right.

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..Listening

  22. @Harry –
    Indeed. “Understanding is a three-edged sword.” (Kosh)

    Dave Navarro’s last blog post..How To Start Getting Balanced When You?re Too Damned Busy

  23. @Kelly: I think only Richard Gere could get away with telling the DMV clerk “I wish you peace” without getting a funny look. I know if someone said that to me out of the blue I’d be looking for the rest of the Hare Krishnas behind them.

    However, if you think that while dealing with the person, it will show in your actions and your voice – like the receptionist that smiles when she answers the phone, or the writer who finds the love in their work.

    @Brett: Yeah, when I saw the movie I thought it was a sweet bow too. The ones in the picture of the post are all mine and they’re just as sweet.

    @Wendi: I would have to agree.

    @Dave: Amen, brother.

  24. Brett Legree says:

    @Harry,

    I figured those were yours… I had to go look up the pic on Google. I really liked that movie, I have a thing for ancient Egypt. A very interesting time in our history.

    -Brett

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..eight random facts about me. no kleenex required.

  25. LOL! It’s supposed to be your thought, not your words.

    From the day I heard that I’ve rarely skipped it in any interaction. You just breathe in before speaking, think it, then start running your mouth off. It changes what you were about to say, I guarantee it. It’s given me more peace than you can imagine, in worse situations than I hope you can imagine, too.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Inspiration Points: No Regrets!

  26. We’re on the same wave length–I just wrote about an unsatisfactory customer service exchange that left a bad taste in my mouth, too.

    And–Dave’s comment about a death in the family? There is a woman who runs (used to?) a hand-painted yarn company who apparently simply stopped servicing orders altogether. She would send people emails telling them that they must have been lost by the post office and would send replacements, and this would go on multiple times. (And, sorry, the US post office is definitely better than that!) Then, she wrote emails–using her husband’s name–telling people that the service had been slow because she was sick in the hospital with leukemia … and later, told people that she had DIED. How’s THAT for appalling?? Things are still falling out from that one….

    –Deb’s last blog post..Good Writing Equals Professionalism

  27. Oh, man. I used to WORK with a guy like this one. He’s probably not an Arteeste. He probably has the same problem my friend does, which is constantly being broke and making excuses for taking too much time to do work.

    It’s because he’s afraid of his clients. He’s afraid they won’t understand. He’s afraid of failing them. So he hides.

    It’s a horrible problem, because some people simply do not get that they’re not going to be ‘caught’ when their project doesn’t get done on time. That it’s better to call, ‘fess that you’ve underestimated the amount of time it’s going to take you, apologize, and try to work it out. That your client feeling respected is going to make all the difference in how they react.

    If they find out five months later you’ve been doing smoke and mirrors to keep them from finding out the project isn’t ready, they are going to feel yanked around and they are going to be pissed about it.

    If you call them up regularly to tell them that you screwed up, you’re very sorry, and you’re doing your best, they’re not going to be thrilled, but they also aren’t going to feel yanked around. And hopefully, they won’t be pissed.

    I feel like I should call my buddy right now and give him this talk again . . .

    Tei – Rogue Ink’s last blog post..Cussing, or Why Rogue Ink is Not a Business Blog

  28. “Never contract with an artist.”

    Tony, Tony Tony. At first I thought I was going to have to call you out on that. Literally. Glove across the cheek, pistols at dawn. Saw my hard earned respect being shouted outta the room.

    “Just give me the check and let me do what I do” actually is the best way to be with me. This IS the phrase I am thinking when I deal with a client who wants to micromanage the process. They DO get more value when they put faith in why they come to me in the first place.

    But I do a careful intake. CAREFUL TOTALLY PRESENT LISTENING TO NEEDS WANTS DESIRES from the client before I go into that magical place. And that includes a deadline and a budget…with wiggle room. It is one of a kind. And yes, usually we have a few things going at the same time. and yes, life happens. But if the experience of working with me ( here’s a nod to Kelly) is not a maximum one, I am not doing it right. And no repeat clients. Word of mouth will come with a disclaimer.

    But , and this is a huge but. NO ARTIST gets away with the kind of shabby treatment to a client that Harry is experiencing. Deadlines are part of the design, just like budget and impact of the art. Courtesy and civility. Yep. Right up there. Well, except for those bad boy rockstars…and male sculptors.

    DO NOT send him the catalog. DO NOT reward the bad behavior. Send a note. ” I have your catalog ready. What’s the status of the bow? Don’t corner him, give him a little “wiggle” room, a way to succeed with you. Then if he is evasive or won’t step up…write it off and let it go. I have no idea what the difficulty could be because it could be many things. He would rather be making that bow than any one of a hundred of those things. Unless it is the bow itself that presents the problem. He may have hit a snag, not known how to resolve it just yet. Maybe it doesn’t work. Get him back in that process if you want to spend any more time and effort on this. If not, find someone else.

    And Tony. Contract with me. 🙂

    Janice Cartier’s last blog post..First Rule- Don’t Panic

  29. Janice,

    Amen!

    Kelly’s last blog post..Inspiration Points: No Regrets!

  30. You bet!!! He’s so wrong for that! ; -)

    Janice Cartier’s last blog post..Naked In Public?

  31. Hi Harry…first time commenting here. 🙂

    I’m an artist myself, but the responsible, professional kind. Very similar to Tei’s post, my EX-BOYFRIEND was this type of guy. He made replicas of Freddy Krueger gloves. I kid you not. And they were amazing and all the horror geeks loved him and his work. Whereas I spent my days pulling shards of metal out of my feet…but anyway…

    He took good money from these people and for the most part, delivered. Then he got later and later. Until people were waiting months for their gloves that they already paid for. Then he just stopped doing it. Call it procrastination, flakiness, or he just couldn’t handle the pressure anymore. Like Tei’s friend, he was always broke (yeah, I sure could pick ’em) and then he ‘hid’.

    He wouldn’t answer their calls or his email or just plain lied to them. It was pathetic and so against the way I work. But the strange thing is he didn’t set out to screw people over. He wasn’t a horrible person, just arrogant. Arrogant and a lousy business person.

    He’s hiding to this very day somewhere in New York and there’s at least 4 people he screwed out of $400. It’s sick and it’s sad and I just didn’t know what to tell these people when they ended up calling ME.

    Anyway, no real lesson here. Just that sometimes it IS the person themselves and not their circumstances when these things happen.

    Don’t give him his catalog though! I’m with Janice on that one. Good luck.

    Karen JL’s last blog post..Really Showing You the Money

  32. Ok, I just have to chime in with something that boggles the mind.

    “Hey, there’s this guy Harry who did a bunch of work for me, who invested a bunch of time … and I’m basically going to screw him over by not doing what I promised for him. I know he’ll be pissed, but oh well, what’s the worst that can happen?”

    “Hey, that guy I screwed over? I hope he’s not still mad at me. I think I’ll send him SOME SHARP, DEADLY ARROWS! What’s the worst that can happen?”

    (death wish?)

    Dave Navarro’s last blog post..How To Start Getting Balanced When You?re Too Damned Busy

  33. Harry examines arrow passing his thumb over the tip….looks at the bows up on the wall. Picks up the phone, “Dave, road trip. ”

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..Naked In Public?

  34. Donetta says:

    Dave you do make me laugh………(and cry sometimes but that’s another story!)

    I don’t know if this says more about Harrison’s temperament or the arrow maker’s stupidity. Or neither!!!

    If we’d had this post a week ago we could have won that silly competition for you!!

  35. @Karen & Janice: He won’t get the files. That was a moment of early-morning-not-quite-awake-yet generosity.

    @Dave: If he (or anyone else) knew the extent of the inventory of my small armory here in this house I doubt very much he would have screwed me over.

    @Donetta: Just ask James, I put up with a lot of crap before I lose my temper or my patience.

  36. Dave and Harry

    That is an excellent point. You know how most companies if you fail to pay them will threaten with a lawsuit?

    No lawyers for us. We get our vengeance the old-fashioned way. Pound o’ flesh, baby.

    Tei – Rogue Ink’s last blog post..Cussing, or Why Rogue Ink is Not a Business Blog

  37. @ Harry- Phew, don’t you dare. I was thinking small arsenal too. And he wants to tick you off ??? Not bright.

    (my last two comments are stuck somewhere. could be the name of today’s post. is naked red flagged ?)

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..Naked In Public?

  38. I’m not a believer in vengeance.

    In 28 years of business, a lot of money has passed through my hands. A LOT. In all that time I’ve been stiffed two or three times – no more than $1,000.00, so it’s completely unimportant. I didn’t sue anybody; I sent a few statements, called a few times and then just let it go. I figure there had to be a reason: they didn’t like my work, or they just didn’t have the money or whatever. I’m not going to spend any of my time worrying about it – water under the bridge, forget it.

    Tony Lawrence’s last blog post..My SCO Knowledge (and interest) is fading fast by Anthony Lawrence

  39. @Janice: Yup, you got caught in the spammage net.

  40. Oops. Sticky things those. Well there are naked ladies on my site today. Outrageously overt plug for moi…: )))) Hugs Harry.

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..Naked In Public?

  41. Dave made a great point about not knowing all the facts. In this guy’s case, he had plenty of time to clue you in, though.

    You should break one of the arrows and ask for a replacement in the mail LOL! Maybe send him one page of the paper you wrote.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..Fear Can Ruin Your Business From Within

  42. @John: Even so, my point is, when it comes down to the bottom line does anyone *really* care what your personal problems are? I hate to sound cold, but the answer is no. We can sympathize and say that’s too bad, but at the end of the day clients want their jobs done and providers want to get paid.

    I have a huge soft spot and I understand life gets in the way. But that’s life. Life happens and we can’t stop it from happening. When your new baby arrived, that was a great event, and I’m sure it was hectic for you and your wife, but you still had jobs to deliver on. Two years ago my mom went into the hospital for major surgery, and last year James’ mom broke her hip. Did the clients wait? Did we leave them hanging? No, not at all. We alerted them to the issues, they worked with us as much as they could, and we all came through on our promises.

    This guy did have plenty of time to communicate issues to me. In the meantime (if you could see how big his business is) he was still fulfilling other orders and sending out newsletters on sales and specials. He was announcing deals made with movie studios for prop weapons. He was answering questions to other readers on his site’s forum. I know, I checked the dates of the responses.

    Should I be penalized for not knowing all of his facts? As I’ve said before, my good nature only goes so far.

    Maybe you’re saying the same thing I am here. My point is, it’s all about common courtesy, whether that job is for barter, a $1 or $10,000. It’s about integrity and follow-through.

    @Tony: I’m not an advocate of vengeance either. I joke about it a lot, but I don’t have it in me to be vengeful. I went through all the proper channels to resolve the issue and now it’s done. I reached that point a while ago. What prompted me to post about it was the fact I kept getting newsletters from his business telling me about his fabulous sales and how wonderful his product is.

  43. No I’m totally with you Harry. I was just saying if this guy in fact did have a personal problem – he sure had enough time to grieve and then come back to you . . . at some point at least. It’s as if he just wrote you off.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..Fear Can Ruin Your Business From Within

  44. James,

    Swoops down and shows that customer service is alive and well at night during shiraz time.

    Pen Men are soooo cool.

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..Listening With Ears Wide Open

  45. Late to this party…

    Vengeance is for pissed-off Quebecers, not Las Vegas hunters.

    Always remember there’s a reason behind what people do and say. Never take anything at face value.

    The craftsmaster was a fuck. Plain and simple. He has no excuse.

    Sweet as I am, I would write the craftsman a wonderful, glowing email about the arrows and mention how excited you are to receive the bow. I mean, really play it up.

    This is like the clients who “forget” to pay me and I send them thank you emails because they confirm that I’m teaching my kids the right thing: there really are bad people out there waiting to screw you. That method of the unexpected has ensure that I have been paid for every single job we’ve ever taken on. Every one.

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