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 Post subject: Help with being patient
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:42 am 
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Getting tired of the disappointment every day returning from work and not seeing a package in the post. What is the longest past the promised delivery date you folks have patiently waited for a handmade instrument (after an agreement has been finalized and payment or barter concluded)? The last thing I want to do is rush or bother a custom instrument maker, but I'm now working on 7 months from the first promised delivery date. I have gotten two general distribution e-mails during that period where he indicates that he has been very busy with other activities and will get to his backlog when he frees up, and have seen posts on those other tasks and I'm sure they are more interesting and exciting for the maker than just grinding out another production instrument.

I suspect I should just try to forget about it altogether, then be happily surprised if it ever appears. I certainly am not at a lack for instruments to butcher music with.

Wish my clients were similarly flexible about the schedule deadlines I need to meet...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:02 am 
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Hi Latticino,
I had seen you mention this situation in passing elsewhere too and had just been wondering the other day how you were getting on.

I myself am waiting for an instrument. I'm 10 (almost 11) months into the original 6-month estimate. (To be fair, I originally expected it might be 6-9 months instead of 6 months, and I placed my order a month after the original inquiry... so lead times could have changed.)

Regarding our own client's deadlines, I know exactly what you mean. :) I work in the aviation industry and any delays risk even greater delays down the supply chain and so timeliness is important. So waiting a long time after the original estimated date is a little bit of a stretch for me too.

In my experience, I've also contacted the maker for updates and gotten new suggested lead times that haven't been exactly met either. So I also try to balance between bugging the maker and waiting patiently.

So in short, my answer is 2-4 months so far depending on how you count.

I'm interested to see what others have to comment too.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:34 am 
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Judging by your posts, I'd say that the maker needs to re assess his/her lead times to be more realistic, we all know that life sometimes gets in the way, but I would expect to be kept informed; with the option to cancel as well. (That's pretty much how it seems to work with the luthiers in my uke forum.)

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:35 am 
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On time, every time.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:04 pm 
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This sort of stuff from makers is complete BS, don’t put up with it. Request a full refund and move on. Name the maker here if they won’t refund your money. IMO, as a public service, people should name chronically late makers regardless, because these behaviors are only encouraged when buyers stay silent. Few, if indeed any, really good instruments come from makers who behave this way. Think about it: If someone can’t muster the self discipline and attention to detail required to keep up with orders and deliver on time, how are they going to muster enough of those qualities to craft a fine instrument. And this is to say nothing of how little they must think of you as a customer if they can’t be bothered to meet their commitments and communicate with you.

Now, please don’t anyone start up with that “but they are artists and they can’t be rushed” or some such nonsense, because that’s also complete BS.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:33 pm 
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I've been in both the position of waiting forever for a maker and in the position of dealing with a maker with great communication and having an accurate wait time. The former is definitely frustrating, and I can understand your position. I once dealt with a maker who would take a month to reply to message, and I wondered if I would ever see my instrument. In this case it was for a repair that I had already sent. At least in the end the maker mostly came through, though not all promises were kept. In retrospect would I have purchased that set and gotten it repaired by the maker? I mean no if it was today, but at the time getting that instrument helped me progress on my instrument.

If that happened to me today when ordering a new instrument I would request my money back. Keep in mind I allow a couple months wiggle room, since I know obstacles can come up in making anything, but I would also expect some amount of communication during the process.

Loren wrote:
Now, please don’t anyone start up with that “but they are artists and they can’t be rushed” or some such nonsense, because that’s also complete BS.

As someone who grew up around artists, I agree that this comment is bogus and somewhat demeaning of artists. Most of the artists I know are extremely responsible and know that delivering to a customer by a deadline is part of their reputation.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:40 pm 
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dyersituations wrote:

Loren wrote:
Now, please don’t anyone start up with that “but they are artists and they can’t be rushed” or some such nonsense, because that’s also complete BS.

As someone who grew up around artists, I agree that this comment is bogus and somewhat demeaning of artists. Most of the artists I know are extremely responsible and know that delivering to a customer by a deadline is part of their reputation.


Well said.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:01 pm 
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I've bought two sets of pipes new; in both cases, I did not have to make full payment until the instruments were finished (though I did put down a substantial deposit ate the time of order), and I received them both very quickly after the final payment. One was estimated to take 12 months to make, and took 14 to finish as I remember. The second one was finished on time.

I'm self-employed; I couldn't get away with missing deadlines for my customers.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:00 pm 
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While there is certainly a significant element of art in the instrument-making profession, would not most reasonable people view it as a craft first and an art second? Crafting a beautiful tool is still crafting a tool, yes?

Would we tend to hold a craftsperson to higher standard of 'normalcy' regarding deadlines etc than an artist? In essence, aren't we hiring x person to create y product by z date? Or are we hiring an artist to do his/her own thing?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:46 pm 
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awildman wrote:
Would we tend to hold a craftsperson to higher standard of 'normalcy' regarding deadlines etc than an artist? In essence, aren't we hiring x person to create y product by z date? Or are we hiring an artist to do his/her own thing?


I hope it's a little of both. I'd prefer the craftsperson have the opportunity to utilise their skills to also produce an artistic result, if they have it in them. I personally happen to be willing to accept an extension of deadline if necessary to achieve that result. However, good communication is a must.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:41 am 
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If you agreed a time, sometimes a slight (and I stress: slight) overrun can perhaps be justified. However, if you have paid for the instrument on the understanding it's (nearly) finished and maker posts blatantly (s)he's busy with (apparently) more important business, don't put up with it.

Problem is, you have paid. Once the other stuff the maker is doing is done, the money you sent will be spent and there will be a need to take on orders that will bring in cash and yours is moving towards the long finger.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:02 am 
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Thanks for all the feedback on this issue. It is gratifying to see that most folks here agree with my reaction to the situation. Under normal circumstances I would certainly be clamoring for a refund, but this was a special case and it wouldn't be practical (barter involved).

Part of what has been holding me back is that I've followed and respected this maker for many years, and after getting to try one of his instruments at a class I attended really coveted one. I've seen posts from him online complaining about being pushed by customers with incessant e-mails that take him away from the business of instrument making to have to respond to same, so I've tried to be very careful not to apply any pressure in that fashion. But now I'm getting the feeling that not being a squeaky wheel has worn down my bearings too far (if you will bear with the extended metaphor). Of course I also don't want to push so far that he rushes the job and doesn't produce an instrument of the quality that he is capable of either. As noted elsewhere on this site, a expert maker like this one has to work on the fine nuances of cut and finish to optimize the final product.

Another disappointment is that I'm a hobby smith with some good experience in toolmaking, and was hoping to forge and finish a custom turning chisel for this individual as a expression of gratitude for working with me. Needless to say I won't be doing that, but I was looking forward to the challenge and hoping to establish a connection with this person (who was one of my heroes in the instrument making field). So it goes...

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:40 am 
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I do recommend at least sending an email, it sounds like you’ve waited decently long and it I think it would be hard to think you are being too impatient. When I recently inquired about mine, the maker seemed very understanding. I would just hedge the email a little bit and say something like:

“Hey, I’ve waited a long time for this and haven’t written to you even though it is far past the original due date. What can I expect regarding delivery?”

In my situation too, the maker is my preferred flute maker, so I still want the product. My maker has been pretty receptive and has answered my requests for updates, but is unfortunately still behind in delivery after the latest update.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:00 am 
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Barter jobs are notoriously more informal than cash jobs. I'm not surprised that the maker is less diligent with this order. I don't agree with that approach, but not surprised that others think that way.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:03 am 
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By all means contact the maker. It's not bothering him/her, it's a perfectly understandable concern. Stuff happens, and things can get delayed, but you're entitled to an update. I get those emails from time to time and am happy to respond. I'm sure most other makers would feel the same.

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