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The truth is stranger than fiction

by cathyb
posted 08-07-2011 07:21 PM

29 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#1 posted 08-07-2011 07:26 PM

Amazing. Seems to me that this is fostered by the consumer economy we have. If you look at the retail model, people return stuff all the time. People do not think carefully about what they buy these days and they expect to be able to make up for this lack of planning by going back to the merchant. Everything is mass produced and is designed to be disposable. This is really a sad trend.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4077 days

#2 posted 08-07-2011 07:27 PM

Of course, to the uninitiated, (non-woodworker) you “whip them out all the time”! Good for a laugh to say the least. Based on that you should be able to trade in her last stupid remark for this latest one at no extra charge!
It takes all kinds for sure.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3676 days

#3 posted 08-07-2011 07:31 PM

You really have to wonder how some people are able to function at all in society, don’t you? The ones that amaze me all the time cut off semis with thier 500 pound plastic cars. Guess they didn’t take physics in high school. Maybe it should be a part of the driver’s test to get a license. Either way, 80,000# vs 500 is not a fight I want to try to win ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View michelletwo's profile


2735 posts in 3016 days

#4 posted 08-07-2011 07:32 PM

Fascinating, but I can’t say I haven’t heard stuff very like it over the last 25 yrs of woodworking & selling. They believe we all have machines that make all the pieces and we just whip them together. A little glue & 10 minutes of sanding and they have a perfect replica of a windsor/contemporary/rocker/dining chair, etc. Hang in.

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3160 days

#5 posted 08-07-2011 07:42 PM

> “her seat is now too big”

Give her the address of the nearest gym. Or did you mean the chair’s seat? In that case, give her the address of the nearest dessert shop.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3722 days

#6 posted 08-07-2011 08:03 PM

Unbelievable! You could tell her that when the car dealership takes back the 5 year old car for a new model (with no loan or cash involved), you’ll gladly swap the old for the new chair too.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

331 posts in 3078 days

#7 posted 08-07-2011 08:07 PM

Educating clients come with the turf of designing and manufacturing. Unfortunately, some people do practice selective reasoning and understanding of things that would benefit them. Irritating she may be ….You’ll just let it pass because you’re a kind person with a good heart Kathy….. It’s just sad that she never really deserved to own your work in the first place. She does not even know the present value of the rocker she acquired 5 years ago! Poor soul…...take care my friend!

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines,

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3244 days

#8 posted 08-07-2011 08:20 PM

Thanks all for your understanding and kind words. If I weren’t slogging through a chair as we speak, maybe I would forget how demanding, precise, challenging and difficult it is to make a handsome rocker with Maloff elements. This is my eighteenth chair and it never gets easier. With each chair I try to add a little change in the design, which in itself is harrowing with a rocker. I have a few stools in my shop that I thought would be fantastic until the very end, but I don’t like them. They will be cannibalized one of these days, but first I have to get past that pang in my gut. It will happen…..

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View DrAllred's profile


137 posts in 2823 days

#9 posted 08-07-2011 08:21 PM

I can believe it, I got a call for two love seat gliders and I gave them the price for them and they ordered them. When I delivered them to the client they wanted me to reduce the cost as they can get them cheaper somewhere else. The quality of my chairs are better than the ones they looked at and they finally paid the price.

It is irritating that they look at the BIG BOX stores as great products and not the hand built custom furniture made with superior products and finishing done to their exact specifications, one that will last for generations.

Oh Well… I guess I’ll just have to keep working away at it. I just hope this economy picks up soon…

-- David, Mesa Arizona

View Towtruck's profile


70 posts in 2609 days

#10 posted 08-07-2011 08:53 PM

Last week a man walked into my yard to look at my Adirondack chairs, he didn’t look like a typical tourist or other stranger that would be walking the streets of a small town in NewEngland. He was dirty, unshaven, and looked like one of those homeless who push shopping carts with everything they own. I don’t make a habit of berating people I don’t know but this one started off all wrong for me. He asked the price of one of the chairs, then asked “how much for a disabled veteran?” I said the same price for everyone. “Well” says he, “I used to make a lot of furniture and I can see that in a couple hours and some scrap lumber, I could build that chair for half that much.
I turned, walked in the house. He stood there 3-4 minutes and figured out our conversation was over.

-- I cut it off 3 times and it's still too short!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3303 days

#11 posted 08-07-2011 08:54 PM

cathy, it never ceases to amaze me in what people say and do and think, most people have no idea as to what it takes to just “WHIP ONE OF THESE OUT’’......its almost hard to believe that one of your customers is the one saying this, a lot of times if there is anyone who understands custom made, its our customers…but this one got by the dumb meter..well…it would not bother me at all if this customer decided to not continue to buy from you…in fact i would almost wish for her to drop off of my list of preferred customers… me its really an insult for what she said to you…well it takes all kinds to make the world go round…and if you do have any of these chairs just laying around that you can whip it into the mail and get it to me..i would love to have it for my porch…or to sit out in the yard…getting rained on would not hurt it would it…:))))......well take solice in knowing there are over 30,000 of us here who understand what goes into these works of art…and i would be beyond thrilled just to have one in my home…take care cathy…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#12 posted 08-07-2011 08:59 PM

Wow! I don’t know what is more amazing. Her gall, or the fact that you can actually find a market for $3,800 chairs. :-)

Don’t get me wrong, I have seen your work and there is no doubt your chairs are worth it in terms of craftsmanship, artistry, and the time you put into them. I’m just surprised you can sell them in today’s economy.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3244 days

#13 posted 08-07-2011 11:26 PM

Charlie the gallery sells my chairs for over $7,000 and they move! Everything is relative. I enjoy watching “House Hunters” on HGTV. On that show people hesitate before placing an offer on a place that costs $230,000. In Hawaii you can’t buy a livable house for that amount! Take in consideration also that koa cost between $30 and $70 a board /foot. Today the raw materials in the chair will easily cost $1200 to $1800 dollars, which is almost shocking, if I weren’t living that reality every day….

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#14 posted 08-08-2011 12:07 AM

Yeah…. I confess to forgetting you were in Hawaii.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2798 days

#15 posted 08-08-2011 12:29 AM

Cathy, Are you familiar with the ancient Latin expression “Non illigitimus carborundum”?
(Ok, so it’s not really Latin)

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3244 days

#16 posted 08-08-2011 01:04 AM

Funny! “Don’t let the bastards grind you down!” And you are absolutely correct. We don’t create pieces that will outlive their owners and be fought over when relatives pick apart their estate, without expecting some level of appreciation for what we created. Still the joy was all mine in knowing that what only exists in my mind can be created by my hands and a spirit that God gave me to breathe life into that thought…........

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2923 days

#17 posted 08-08-2011 01:24 AM

You could have just told her you could “whip her one out” but delivery was about 10 years down the road.
Me being the type of old geezer I am, I would have probably suggested a fit for her old chair….(I know,not good for business)

-- Life is good.

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3246 days

#18 posted 08-08-2011 01:45 AM

I think you should start a trade in program for your ‘expanding’ clientele. They get to give you their old chair. You can give them credit of say $1200-$1800 (cost of materials). You make them a new one for going rate – trade in + jerk factor=profit from aggravation. Annoying client is happy because they have another work of art chair that’s all theirs, with a ‘discount.’ You can sell the trade chair for whatever you want, it’s all gravy now. : )

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3308 days

#19 posted 08-08-2011 03:38 AM

It definitely takes all kinds of wierdos to fill a world. Do you remember her as being this goofy when you sold her the first chair? Where has sanity gone?
I recently had a person buy a jewelry box from me to give to his wife and he wanted to tell his wife he made it.

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3244 days

#20 posted 08-08-2011 04:01 AM

Hmm. I had an experience like that. Back when I was making really cool mailboxes. I made a box that sat on the wings of a bird, which was at the end of a curved laminate post. It was a gift to a friend. Their neighbor was a bowl turner that I’ve known for years. He said her husband told him that he had made the mailbox. My friend, Bob, said,”I knew that was a lie because you had that mailbox at the Wood Show last year.”
These are the times when it’s too bad that the earth isn’t flat, because if it were a good swift kick it the pants would get those losers out of this place!

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 2597 days

#21 posted 08-08-2011 04:23 AM

Never hurts to ask I suppose.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2552 days

#22 posted 08-08-2011 04:53 AM

Meh.. deal with it day in and day out. It’s always the rich bastards too.

Not trying to be all “class warfare” here, but it’s true. Had a “working middle class” woman spend $100 in the shop on small stuff, and then no less than an hour later some rich older couple, with the woman wearing at least $2000 in NICE jewelry try to haggle me down on a solid wood $250 end table….

EVERY DAY it happens in one form or another.

You just need to have thicker skin.

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2562 days

#23 posted 08-08-2011 05:16 AM

@SSMDad – sometimes it does hurt to ask, especially when the request is insulting like the above examples.

I’ve known far too many people like the one Cathy describes. They believe the world exists to serve their every need, that they come first because no one else matters, and then they get confused when you deny their requests. It’s almost always the same. They make their outlandish requests as if they’re asking for the correct time – it’s all so normal to them.

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2693 days

#24 posted 08-08-2011 01:29 PM

It’s too bad we have become so Politically Correct. What I wrote and posted and got deleted was the truth, thats the stuff that first came to mind. Politically Correct-ness has caused many of these problems being wishy-washy, namby-pamby people. Sometimes people have to be put in their place in no uncertian trems. So since I have been put in my place I’ll hold my tongue, for a while. You remember the saying WWJD, well think about this WWMTES the next time you want to be Politically Correct.
And this one will get deleted too – SO WHAT.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 2597 days

#25 posted 08-08-2011 01:42 PM

Frankly, aside from the irritation of having to explain to someone that you won’t go down on price (I had to do that several times when I was a full-time photographer), I don’t see the big deal. You price your work at what you want and if it’s valuable enough to someone then they’ll buy it and if not, it’s not. Each of us is responsible for how we react to a given situation. Hurt feelings, frustration, anger, love, etc.., none of it is “caused” by someone else. It’s just our own reaction to an event.

Everything is relative. With any kind of work, people will have an idea of it’s value. Someone may really like something and thinks it’s worth $7,000 and others may think it’s work $70. The disconnect comes from how it’s valued by the individuals in the transaction.

Just don’t let it get to you and it won’t be a big deal. It seems more comical to me than anything.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4006 days

#26 posted 08-14-2011 12:00 PM

””Take in consideration also that koa cost between $30 and $70 a board /foot.””

Now i’m depressed. A frickin tree has a larger net worth than most people. I wish i had a branch i could saw off and make a few thousand dollars. Of course there is that selling a kidney thing in India i’ve heard about. :)

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View RonWoods's profile


18 posts in 2488 days

#27 posted 08-14-2011 12:58 PM

Glad you came out of there in one bit. and with your chair still in the gallery. Some customers are just not possible. Why didn’t you proposed to her that you will take her chair and sell it and when you do, she can come and add up some cash to get the new chair.

And after she agrees you just take the chair and keep it there and wait till she kicks the bucket and then own the damn chair.

######Just kidding of course######

-- I need your woodworking ideas and questions on a Woodworking Survey. You can find the survey on my profile page. Earn a reward after filled up.

View helluvawreck's profile


31096 posts in 2867 days

#28 posted 08-14-2011 01:26 PM

She’s a hard case.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2923 days

#29 posted 08-14-2011 02:10 PM

I retired from heavy construction. Traveled a lot and met a lot of people. Thought I knew a little about people.
Wrong!!!! after retiring I went to work in retail part time to pay for my “toys”(wifes description for tools) I found out for the most part people are okay..but I also found out there are Ogres and Beasts and in general some real idiots.
It gave me a whole new perspective on the person on the other side of the counter. I also believe this politically correct crap only goes so far. Sometimes it takes a little something extra to get peoples attention.

-- Life is good.

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