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Forum topic by cathyb posted 08-07-2011 07:21 PM 1731 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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768 posts in 3243 days

08-07-2011 07:21 PM

I received a call from a client yesterday. She had seen one of my newest rocking chairs in a gallery and decided that she wanted to trade her chair for a new chair. The chair that she owns was a commission piece 5 (that’s right FIVE) years ago. She likes the new one better since it has curly koa and extra details that her chair doesn’t have-but she claims that her seat is now too big. She paid $2400 for her chair the new one is $3800, which is a steal.
“We can just swap out the chairs,” she said. “Since the price difference doesn’t matter and you whip these chairs out all the time.”

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I said,”If you don’t like your chair, sell it. It’s worth a lot more than you paid for it and you could get your money back and someone will get a great chair.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t give up my beautiful chair and just figured that since you make these all the time…” and she babbled on for awhile. Until I reminded her that if for any reason her chair wasn’t a perfect fit five years ago, she could have told me then. Since I’m not demented just yet, I remember delivering that chair and how much she thought it was just perfect. I still can’t believe that conversation ever happened and I wish it were fiction and not the truth…........but life goes on.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

29 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4096 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 4076 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 3674 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 3014 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 3159 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 3721 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 3077 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 3243 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 2822 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 2608 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 3302 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 4217 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 3243 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 4217 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 2797 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.

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