Touchy Velvet: How Not To Deal With A Client
Submitted by Stephen Winters on Sat, 07/28/2018 - 12:44
One of my earliest memories was that of my dad telling about when he was in the dairy business and was leasing a 1000 acre ranch from an Italian person. According to my dad, this Italian would come around on to the property regularly and stick his nose into everything my dad was doing. This Italian also add a domineering angry personality. My Dad tried to treat him nice for a long time but then he had had enough. So dad just jumped all over the Italian and really told him off in a big way. Dad said that following this time the Italian always was a nice person. As my Dad told the story, he never again had a problem with this guy. So, (according to my dad’s mindset) the moral of this story is that with some people you need to tell them off to make them start acting better.
Now, jump forward a bunch of years, I have been working for a few years in my Dad’s upholstery shop.In his shop my brother, my sister, my dad and I each had our part of the job that we did. my dad would cut the fabric, my sister would sew the fabric together, and I would staple the sewn fabric onto the frame. In my dad's shop he had many many rolls of fabric. there were various upholstery fabric sales people who would stop by his shop and show him samples of discontinued and upholstery fabric seconds. He would buy them at a very cheap price so that he could sell them to his clients
I was still a very young adult and I hated dealing with conflict. I had never had any training about how to deal with difficult clients. my dad was my only example and he had a hot temper and would often overpower people who wanted to argue with him
During this time we had recovered a sofa in a very finicky cotton or cotton blend velvet, which bruised very badly with any type of rubbing or handling.(That velvet was probably a fabrics second that Dad had purchased cheaply to sell to his customers.) in recovering any piece of furniture there is a lot of stress and pressure and pulling that is put on the fabric. for this particular piece of velvet, it showed every place that any type of stress or pressure was put on it in the form of bruise marks. as much as I would try to be careful it kept leaving bruise marks. by the time it had been cut, folded, wrestled around in the sewing, and pull and stretched to get it on the sofa, it looked like it had been beat up, it had bruise marks all over it. Back then I was very naive about what customers would accept and what I should expect of a fabric. In addition, I was very timid and my dad made all the decisions. When the sofa was finished I delivered it, got paid and came back home. within a short time, whether it was hours or days I don't remember, the client called us up and was very unhappy with the fabric.
My dad sent me out to deal with the client without any advice or any training. the only example that came to me about dealing with difficult people was my dad's story of how he dealt with the Italian man while he had a dairy.
Not finished: here is where I write the description of what happened.....
Although this incident happened over 40 years ago, the memory still Remains with me. I doubt that I will ever forget it. Even to this day, whenever I get a velvet, and Especially a cotton type velvet, I do a knuckle rub test on it to see if it is going to mark up as soon as I get the Velvet.
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