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 Post subject: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:22 am 
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What is it with these flute makers? I ordered a delron flute from someone who I won't name way back in late October and he said he would get it to me by Christmas so I could give it to my teenage son. I am getting worried as it is the 9th already. I called him on Sunday afternoon on my day off and apparently pissed him off somehow and he hung up on me like a prima donna from Brooklyn. I don't even remember what I said. Then yesterday I get a notice from his website with a tracking number and when I check Federal Express it says that an Express Gold Shipping form has been filled but nothing else and no date when they will be picking it up actually. I tried calling early yesterday morning (this maker is somewhere on the west coast - Santa Cruz I think) as it is 3 hours later there and he wouldn't even pick up the phone. Now it just goes to voice mail and so I've left 4-5 messages with no return call. Federal Express tracking is the same. I was thinking of cancelling my order and going to another maker such as Sweet or Copely (or Copelund?) who is closer to Rhode Island but want to give this guy 24 hours to make good on the promise. I feel like he singled me out for this bad treatment. He has really bad business ethics.


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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:46 am 
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Your time zone math might be wrong. Early morning in Rhode Island, for instance 7am, would be 4 in the morning in California. I wouldn't be picking up the phone then either.

BTW, I wasn't aware of a flutemaker working in Delrin in the Santa Cruz area. Private Message me if you can share the info.

As to tracking of packages shipped, often one first prints the label at home/shop & it may take awhile before any package is actually scanned through the shipper's facility. Mail & other carriers can be quite slow these days. Took the USPS 6 days just to send a 1-day Priority Mail letter across town in Los Angeles.

Certainly, if you make any follow-up calls it cannot hurt to remain courteous & respectful while inquiring as to the status of your order.

Dave Copley Delrin flutes (Ohio) still requires some waiting time for fulfillment (although listed as 1-4 weeks on his website).
http://www.copleyflutes.com/current.html

Walt Sweet (Connecticut) makes a well-regarded acetal (similar to Delrin) polymer flute, but I don't know what his flute availability is during this season.
If desired, contact info is here:
https://wdsweetflutes.com/Contact-Us/Walt-Sweet.php

Other makers, such as Rob Forbes, have about a 2-month wait, so not an alternative for you at this time.

Best of luck with a satisfactory transaction.

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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:47 am 
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It's not Christmas yet and it's possibly on its way as agreed. Yes, it's rude to hang up on customers, but you do sound impatient here and we don't know what you said to him. And why 'these flute makers' (plural)? Are they all to blame for whatever's happened between you and him?

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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:36 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
It's not Christmas yet and it's possibly on its way as agreed. Yes, it's rude to hang up on customers, but you do sound impatient here and we don't know what you said to him.

Neither does he.

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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:15 pm 
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Just a guess, but it sounds like you pissed off whoever the maker is because you called him over half a dozen times at a time that's actually six hours earlier than you thought you were.


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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:23 pm 
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Whatever happened to the concept that the Customer is always right?


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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:33 pm 
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Charles Montgomery wrote:
Whatever happened to the concept that the Customer is always right?


This quote is a pretty good window into helping us understand why a maker would be annoyed at you. We don't exactly get our instruments from Mal-Wart.


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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:43 pm 
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Charles Montgomery wrote:
Whatever happened to the concept that the Customer is always right?
It's not a concept. It's "a motto or slogan which exhorts service staff to give a high priority to customer" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_customer_is_always_right The customer may in fact be wrong or "have unrealistic expectations"


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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:16 pm 
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Lots of people are having a tough time right now. Good to cut everyone some slack,
including oneself. I note that I am pretty short tempered these days unless I'm careful.
Deep breaths all around....


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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:55 pm 
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Charles Montgomery wrote:
Whatever happened to the concept that the Customer is always right?

It goes out the window when the customer is actually wrong.

When I worked as a service writer in auto repair, customers reacting negatively to the truth - even to the point of denial - were thankfully few, but still part of the job. I actually had one customer remind me, "The customer is always right!", to which I was ethically bound to counter, "The customer is NOT always right. The customer is always important, but if you want to make decisions that constitute a danger to you, yours, and others, I cannot say nothing. We are not here to skin you; safety is our priority. I tell you the truth; the rest is on you."

Not so much to do with flute orders, but the principle still holds. It takes two to tango.

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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:29 pm 
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I think it's important to remember that instrument builders, especially in a field that is so specialized as 'Irish Flutes" are craftsmen, and artists. They are not stamping out widgets, or assembling circuits, or doing anything that is automated.
They are building and sculpting a playable instrument from raw materials, one by one, then making decisions concerning aesthetics, tone, tuning, etc.

As you may have discovered, by and large instrument builders are not necessarily 'people persons', and they may have more concerns than answering phones or emails when they are trying to make one-off instruments. (Not to mention that, they, too have lives with real world problems.)

Perhaps, in the future, instead of going to a maker for a flute, you may have considered going to a merchant like McNeela, or Dusty Strings, or The Irish Flute Store, where the only issue with your purchase would be delivery, and not the actual building of the instrument.

I'd say, lay off this builder for a while and see what happens. Most people in this specialized field are reasonable and conscientious, (with a few exceptions). My guess is you'll be pleasantly surprised, but it will take some patience on your part. Maybe, rather, focus on how your son will learn to play this custom instrument by finding some books or websites, or getting him lessons on OAIM https://www.oaim.ie/?gclid=CjwKCAiAiML-BRAAEiwAuWVgguaIlLYJv56IddXFKCjUYLqUNd05fmHiK5V-z70KtiXe04CduzvlQhoClvEQAvD_BwE so he can get a leg up on what it's all about.

Best of luck

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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:22 am 
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When you order from a craftsperson working on their own, from the back of the shed or at best maybe a small industrial unit, it's usually counterproductive to pester them with phonecalls and emails, demanding attention. Dealing with that sort of stuff is a hassle and keeps them out of the workshop. It's good to remember you're not the only customer, you're not more special than anyone else. And pestering someone, mounting the high horse, before your order is even due won't be working in your favour at all.

With musical instruments I may have been lucky, never waited too long or had any problems. Early August I ordered a large non musical handcrafted item from the UK and delivery was promised around 15 October. Two weeks before that date I sent an email, asking how progres was, knowing full well that between lockdowns and everything else a delay would be on the cards. No reply. After another two weeks, same. After that I waited a few more weeks and asked if the person was OK, said I didn't want to push things but would appreciate a sign of life, some reassurance things are on track. That came, lockdowns caused problems with suppliers, very busy, my order heading to the top of the list. So that's fine, I let them know I'd appreciate delivery before the end of the Brexit transition, not keen on paying duties. I am waiting, in the knowledge something beautifull will come my way, eventually, in its own time.

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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:06 am 
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What everyone else said--if you're in a hurry there are several reputable delrin flutes available at the Irish Flute store right now and Blayne will ship fast.

The talents of a craftsperson and a businessperson are not the same. I've had my own somewhat sour experiences with small producers--I've also had many great experiences- and you have to go into the deal with a lot of patience


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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:21 am 
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I don't think it's unreasonable to be disappointed if someone engaged in business behaves in an un-businesslike way.

However, I wouldn't dream of phoning them outside normal working hours unless I was sure it was a business number that might be unanswered or go to voicemail. Personally - as a customer - I wouldn't unexpectedly phone anyone engaged in skilled work during work hours unless I was sure there was a mutual advantage in getting something sorted there and then. Having to put the tools down (even metaphorical ones) almost always reduces productivity. If you are the customer you are buying their time - why make it more expensive?

But then I am happy with asynchronous communication (email, text, postcard).


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 Post subject: Re: Promises Broken
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:43 pm 
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Torrin Riáin wrote:
We don't exactly get our instruments from Mal-Wart.

That's a good one! I must use it.

jim stone wrote:
I note that I am pretty short tempered these days unless I'm careful.

Same here. My low opinion of this time of year helps not at all.

I will add the following: in some cases, the seller may get shipments ready one day and actually ship them a few days later. I've had that happen a few times. It could be that the carrier only picks up once a week, or he only makes one drop-off run to minimize his time out of the workshop.

When I ordered my Becker whistles, I didn't pester James about when they'd be ready. Instead, I was surprised by his quick turn-around time. I've been in contact with Mack Hoover about getting one of his whistles, and haven't heard from him for a while. No big deal; I know he has a backlog, and I don't expect him to halt his production queue and get to work on one for me. The model car parts manufacturer I recently ordered from also has a backlog, and he soon goes on a three-week holiday break. That's how things work with cottage industries. Things don't always happen rapidly, and one must be patient.

Nanoherdon's example of "the customer is not always right" is a good one. I've never serviced cars for a living, but I have worked on aircraft. Say an aircraft owner asked me to secure his freshly overhauled engine with grade 8 bolts from Home Depot so he could save a few bucks, crowing about how "the customer is always right." I'd adamantly refuse. I'm not going to violate federal law over that old adage and someone else's skin skinflint ways!


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