Ran into a situation last weekend...

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G.S. Monroe
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Ran into a situation last weekend...

Post by G.S. Monroe »

Under the heading of "practical & political" issues, I had the following scenario...

I'm tending a vendor booth at a local weekend arts & crafts market, I was approached by a woman who was carrying a treasured family heirloom. It was a very old hand crafted hourglass mountain dulcimer that had been in her family for many generations, the instrument appeared to be about 100 years old, the frets were wore flat, and the wooden tuning pegs were very loose in the peg head. She asked if I did repair work and if I could make the instrument playable again. I confirmed that I could make it playable again, and she then wanted me to take in the instrument right there. I looked around at the crowd, and then at my vendor booth, and thought about my truck parked 4 blocks away. I then offered her my business card and asked her to give me a call later in the week and I would take the instrument at that time. She didn't seem very happy about that and walked away with her dulcimer. Was I in the wrong about not wanting to take responsibility for a customers valued instrument during an event where I could not reasonably secure it? Is it a common practice to receive in repair work while away from the workshop? I'm feeling like I just lost a potential customer.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Ran into a situation last weekend...

Post by Bob Gramann »

But, she didn't lose her dulcimer. In the long run, you acted in her best interests. In the long run, what's a better deal for your customers is a better deal for you. In the short run, you might have lost a customer, but maybe not. If you plan to live past next month, it's best to look after the long run.

Brad Heinzen
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Re: Ran into a situation last weekend...

Post by Brad Heinzen »

I haven't found that potential customers who act unreasonably at the outset get better once know them. I'm assuming you probably did, but if you didn't explain your reasons for not wanting to take in an instrument on the spot, that might be the only thing you could have done differently.

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G.S. Monroe
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Re: Ran into a situation last weekend...

Post by G.S. Monroe »

I did try to explain to her, even gave her my contact info and told her I would meet her to pick it up. I just didn't want to babysit the thing in a busy craft show all day.

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Hans Bezemer
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Re: Ran into a situation last weekend...

Post by Hans Bezemer »

Greg,

I think you did the right thing.
When I'm contemplating on a decision I've made, I always try to image a couple of "what-if"-scenario's. What could have been the pro's ( a paying custumer?) of taking the dulcimer? What could have been the cons (a valuable dulcimer broken or stolen? What would that do with my reputation as a instrument repairman?)
Next I try to distillate a rule of thumb out of the situation, which I can use for a future situation (which will come!). I think Bob said it nice: What's good for your custumer is (in the long run) good for you.

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