However, I came to learn that there were a few who, no matter what, came through the door with their dukes up, convinced that my job was all about separating them from their hard earned cash by whatever deceptive and nefarious means I had at my disposal. After dealing with one such customer as best I could, I said to my boss, I’m going to have a t-shirt printed and wear it to work that says: "I’m a person, just like you! I don’t want to get screwed and neither do you! THAT’S NOT WHAT I DO!!!!"
He laughed and said, go ahead. I never did but I wish I had. But the lesson I learned was that certain customers will never, ever be satisfied with a purchase no matter how honest, forthright and amicable I am. Sad to say, I encountered this attitude again a couple days ago. Here’s what happened.
A guy emailed me about a certain guitar I have for sale. He wanted to know all about it in spite of the fact that I’d listed every detail I could think of in the description. He immediately jumped on the fact that I’d put in the company’s list price incorrectly. Well, shame on me for that – it turns out that the company had raised the list price since I listed the guitar and after our first communication I immediately checked that and changed it. Now, understand – the price I had listed was LOWER than the present list price, and in any case, no one every pays full list price for a new guitar, which this is. I think what he was mostly concerned with was winning a “gotcha!” moment. OK, my bad on that.
Then he called me and the real fun began. It was obvious from moment one that no matter how many times I told him that the guitar is in perfect condition he was not going to believe it. I then made mistake number two. What year is it, he asked. Well, I should have checked and I confused it with another guitar I had recently and said 2010. Ah HA! He all but shouted. You say on your site it is a brand new 2011!
Please wait a minute, I said, and went out to the studio to look at the guitar and check the serial number, also going to my web site to check the description. Sure enough, listed as a 2011 and the serial number confirmed it. So very sorry I said. It is in fact a 2011.
Well, he said, I checked you out and the company doesn’t even know who you are! No, I said, I am most certainly NOT an authorized dealer of that brand of guitar but this one is in brand new condition. It includes an unused warranty card and, I said, the company only offers their warranty to the original owner. You can do with that card what you wish.
He then said that he knows there are unscrupulous dealers who put out old stock and list it as new. Was I one of those?!?
I again reminded him that even though this is for all intents and purposes a new instrument, I am not nor have I been an authorized dealer for this company who (I repeated) only warrants their guitars to the original owner. You can do whatever you want with the warranty card, I said. Use it to light your fireplace, for all I care. By this point I knew what I was dealing with, to say the least.
Well, he said, I think I want it but I need to do some more research. Fine, I said. You probably are not someone who should buy a guitar without playing it anyway. I figured that was the last I’d hear from him.
But no. A few hours later he emailed again. He wanted the contact information for the first (original) owner from whom I’d bought the guitar so he could find out why the person would sell it (was there something wrong with it???!) or…. Now get this…. If it was STOLEN!
That tore it. One of the nice things about being self employed is that you have the option to not deal with someone when you know in your heart of hearts that this particular person would NEVER be happy with his purchase and only bad things could come of that. I wrote him back saying I was not willing to sell him the guitar because I’m certain he would find something wrong with it and then the situation could only get worse.
There were more veiled insults and innuendos from him throughout these communications but I won’t bore you with the details except to say that I did everything I could to reassure him that my description and information was accurate. Yes, I should not have quoted a year of manufacture without double checking and I should have checked the company’s site more frequently to confirm the list price – but again, the price I listed was LOWER than the current list price!
He wrote back with more insults and all but called me some kind of rip off artist and said he was going to purchase one from a certain well known dealer he could “trust” ! I couldn’t press the delete button quick enough.
And now a postscript. On one of the guitar forums I follow someone asked an innocent question about this particular model of guitar. Well, my buddy chimed in that this model has a lot of problems and in any case doesn’t sound as good as a similar model (one he happens to own….). Another person responded with the obvious question: have you ever owned or played one?!
Mr. Paranoia Strikes Deep did not respond.
And this, my friends, is the type of customer I was talking about at the beginning of this entry. Good luck & God bless to anyone who sells him a guitar….or a car….or a washing machine….or anything. Because he is absolutely certain that the whole world is out to screw him. How very, very sad.
Peace & good music,