And now a horrible customer story ....

oldryderMay 18, 2013

We all see a lot of posts about fabricators that do a rotten job. I thought I'd share what can be like to be on the other side of the fence.....

Costomer picks her stone. I accompanied her to the slab warehouse (like we usually do) and helped her with information on the properties of the various slabs she was considering.

She picked a beautiful color (Tropical Green) and her job went exceeding well. The parts were beautiful and it installed perfectly.

The day after we installed it she called to tell me "she was NOT happy!" I told her I didn't hear that very often and asked what the problem was. She informed me "It doesn't look like I thought it would and you should have told me I wouldn't like the color I picked out."

Noi kidding, she really said that.

I asked her how I could possibly know what color she would like better than she did and she responded: "you would have known if you had asked more questions."

She then proceeded to berate me because we didn't call her after she laid out her parts until the day before the install. We told her thats when we would call and we did ... and we installed on the day promised.

She then informed me that she wanted a discount. I said no. I told her if there was a scratched piece or something that didn't fit I would already be fixing it but I would accept NO responsibility for her not liking the slabs she picked. I asked her if she would expect a discount from a guy that painted her house if she didn't like the color when it was done.

anyway after 30 days I sent her a nice note saying I would waive the finance charges if she paid immediately and she paid,

Sometimes the fabricator doesn't do anything wrong.

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Sophie Wheeler

Yeah, it's not always the tradesman that's the problem. I seriously can't imagine anyone not liking Tropical Green. It's one of my favorites. Especially with medium to light cherry cabinets.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 5:16PM
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When I was much younger I worked at an ice cream shop and got cussed out by a middle aged man because I wouldn't give him a free refill on his waffle ice cream cone. He slammed it down on the counter and left. Nothing like rotten customers.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 6:08PM
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"It doesn't look like I thought it would and you should have told me I wouldn't like the color I picked out." that is one of the best I've heard! Worthy of framing and hanging on the wall ;)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 6:14PM
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Funny she didn't ask for a different granite to be installed that would be a color she liked but rather just asked for a discount. Sounds like there was a budget problem not a granite problem.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Not as good as yours, best quote I've had-"if I tell you what I want you'll just give it to me". Enter Karnac.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 11:13PM
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I always wonder what kind of crazy stuff our delusional pharmacy customers demand of other places. Now I know!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 8:53AM
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People who work with the public are saints. I work alone in my home with my computer, which never complains.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 9:27AM
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This is why I sell to companies and not consumers! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:16AM
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Well,the new ad campaign by the Borg is offering paint customers a free second color if they don't like the first one. Chalk it up to the creeping insanity of unreasonable expectations.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:47AM
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That paint thing is crazy! It's stuff like that that is causing problems. I could understand a small discount to encourage people to stay with your line of product, but the complete lack of personal responsibility is discouraging.

We have a huge problem with people failing to understand there is a difference between customer service issues and legal issues. While you can get refunds, exchanges, etc for almost anything, in a highly regulated healthcare setting things don't work that way.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 12:13PM
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OMG - sounds like my neighbors. Some people in this world are just rotten

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 2:17PM
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It's the same in every profession or every interaction for that matter. There will always be "victims", people who blame others for their own choices or decisions. That's life, just try to brush it off.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 3:15PM
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What a loon!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 4:44PM
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How sad for the client, and how frustrating for you, oldryder! I can understand her frustration--I was also worried that I wouldn't like my granites once installed, because it can be difficult to visualize the countertop installation against the cabinets. But to blame it on the fabricator is simply outlandish, and I hope she realized that in time. She probably just turned to the nicest person she dealt with for her kitchen redo, and that was you, oldryder.

Hopefully one day she'll realize how lucky she is to have a perfect installation, plus a beautiful granite!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 6:54PM
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I've always said that when you interview young people for a job and they gush "Oh, I love working with people!" or "I'm a real people person!" that's a sign of innocence. Obviously, they never actually worked with "people."

The sad thing is, you may have 20 positive experiences for every negative one, but the negative ones carry 20 times the weight. You always remember them.

Sounds like buyer's remorse. Sorry it was directed at you, oldryder. Tropical Green is gorgeous.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 9:37PM
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Holly- Kay

Sounds like several customers of mine who complain about having to pay a pro ration on a battery. They use it for five out of six years and complain when the new battery is not totally free. Some people aren't happy no matter what. I wish you were my granite fabricator!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 9:53PM
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Oldryder, I'm real sorry to hear of your experience, I'm sure being a fabricator, just like anyone who deal with customers face to face, you deal with a lot of nonsense from people. When I picked out my slab, my fabricator actually didn't even go with me, it's not that he wouldn't have, I'm sure he would of, so, she was lucky IMO. Anyhow, the thing that people need to remember IMO & from my experience, you are looking at an unpolished or only lightly polished piece of natural stone, which can very greatly in color, flow etc..depending on when it was brought to the slab yard. You are also looking at something that is "vertical" & when it's installed it's "horizontal" which gives it (sometimes) quite a different look. Also, you are looking at something that is under different lighting, sometimes it's the warehouse lights, sometimes it's outside, which also effects how slabs look. When I got my countertop installed, I loved it, but, also noticed that under My kitchen lighting, it was actually a bit darker & more gold than it looked when I picked it out, you just never know 100% what the final "look" will be, until it's in your house, under your lights, so, yes, word of caution to anyone, look look & then look again at something you're seriously considering getting & know that it's not really up to the fabricator, but you to know what you like, they are only there for "guidance" not to pick something out for you. I'm sorry she had a bad experience, but, personally, I don't feel you had anything to do with it oldryder, it sounds like you did what you were paid to do. Some people are impossible to please.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Sorry to hear it. She sounds like a GW poster if you ask me. The person who picked up on that she asked for a discount to keep a stone she just discovered she didn't like instead of asking about getting a new stone is on to something.

BTW, that was a great way to get your due payment. Smart. And I'm glad she paid.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:07PM
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OldRyder -- What I'm hearing between the lines is that she wanted a discount and thought that she might intimidate you or shame you into giving her one.

Ginny20 -- Young people say, "I'm a people person" because that's something anyone can claim. They can't yet say, "I have this much experience", or "I accomplished this at my last job". They fail to recognize that this is just fluff, filler, and it actually sounds negative to those of us who've been in the workplace for a couple decades.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:31AM
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Reading Miss Sunshine's post, I have a feeling she meant you should have told her "it wouldn't look like the color I picked out" not "I wouldn't like the color I picked out" which, of course, makes no sense!

I had no idea the color could change during fabrication, that there was more polishing done than what's seen in the yard that would deepen it or change the flow. I was told a color will change with if it's honed, lighter as I recall. Just as some people might not realize a sealer will darken something.

Maybe that wasn't the case, but I think it was probably a misunderstanding of what she said or meant.

Thanks for the heads up Miss Sunshine! It is always a learning experience, even when you think you've got something covered. We were really at a loss before the internet! Ignorance was bliss, lol.

As far as lousy customers, they are in every field, and it's often due to ignorance. I think that's different than a "professional" delivering shoddy workmanship -- and charging top dollar for it. Or trying to pull the wool over a customer's eyes when something came out wrong or there is a problem.

But I agree, the discounts that are expected and for every little mishap or disappointment are out of hand. We pay for it all in the end anyway, with rising prices for the cost of doing business.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Mon, May 20, 13 at 12:38

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Holly- Kay

The colors on some, maybe all definitely changes. I originally chose Autumn Harmony because the lovely netuno bordeaux that I loved was sold. The Autumn Harmony was outside as they just picked these bundles up. It was so pretty and seemed to be just what I wanted. Then I saw a fellow GW'er who had a lovly typhoon bordeaux. I went back to the stone yard thinking I may change to the Typhoon. I am so glad that I did because the Autumn Harmony was now inside. Ugh, what looked so pretty outside looked garish inside. I saw Typhoon Bordeaux in the first section of the warehouse and I liked it but wasn't crazy about it. When we entered the next section up ahead I saw a slab that I loved! It turned out to also be Typhoon Bordeaux but was from a different lot. I fell in love with it and changed to the TB on the spot.

I know when it is installed it may look different but I really think it will look great! If it doesn't it isn't anyone's fault and I will either live with it or change it out in a few years but hopefully I won't have to!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:02PM
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"As far as lousy customers, they are in every field, and it's often due to ignorance. I think that's different..."
Wish that were even close to true, that all the bad guys wear black hats. Just not the case. Not talking about difficult, demanding, uninformed, neurotic, PIA or the like. Dealing with any of that is just day to day work. No problem.

Most of my life was spent working for businesses, far fewer problems. Only had to do this for a little while to discover that there are dangerous clients (there are a few books, even a database now that businesses can subscribe to.) Serial litigators are particularly fond of the remodeling business.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:18PM
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I realize that not everyone has the option, but it's great to be able to take a sample chunk of granite home to see in place. Maybe we could because our granite yard also did the fabrication so there were scraps available for many of the slabs on site. At the granite yard, I saw a slab I thought would be great. DH saw another he thought would be better. We took chunks of each home. My piece, which was a lovely green outside, turned to an olive drab in our space. Not my cup of tea at all. DH made the better choice, and that's the one we went with. I can see how a buyer might be surprised, but I can't see blaming it on someone else.

P.S. When my daughter was a teenager she worked the counter at a chain pizza place in town. People regularly came in and got mad at her because they called in their order to the one across town, thinking it was the one where she worked. It was a learning experience for her as she still had to be polite to the jerks - not an easy lesson.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 3:50PM
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REgarding color change during fabrication; this is actually not a common occurrence at all unless you are including the darkening from water that goes away as soon as the stone dried out (normally before install).

A normal sealer does not change the color at all. "Seal & Enhance" does darken the material and brings out color in honed materials and soapstone. A good fabricator will provide a sample that 1/2 sealed and 1/2 enhanced.

We always recommend the customer take a sample home and look at it morning, afternoon, and evening since the lighting can change dramatically and therefore the look of the stone..

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 4:27PM
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You seem to be very responsible with your projects and for your customers, oldryder (ie, experienced with the pitfalls and have pride in workmanship and customer satisfaction!). There are a surprising number of (seemingly avoidable) problems shown here with stone installations.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 4:33PM
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I can appreciate the story Oldryder. Try working in a public position for the feds. That building is also next to the main IRS building for the area that the public can't get into so they come to you. I refer to those years as a growing experience.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:02PM
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