Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Knuckle-powered go kart...

Yeah, found this over on the Kemosabe site, and I don't even want to know what they took it home for... Something about right times and right places and chicken coops.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Oh yeah, Motorcycles!

I love shop time. It's therapeutic and productive at the same time. Much better than a psychiatrist's couch for sure. After searching all over for an electric carving knife, I finally got down to biz on the Pan seat. Came out just like I pictured, and it's even comfortable. Wow. Go figure. A custom seat that you can actually sit on and ride. I'm losing my mind for sure. Now, just need some final clean up on the shaping and off to the upholsterer. A good day for sure.

The pan for the Pan.

Actually got the bends right on the first try. That never happens.

This is where the magic happens!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

And We Wonder Why...

Just saw this. Pretty much says anything one could say on the subject and does so intelligently and succinctly. The day America died wasn't the day a salesman stood up and said "Nothing gets done until a salesman sells it," it was the day Americans started to believe it. 

We've declined from a producing nation to one of near-pure consumption. We're all at fault. We've got to start learning the trades that made us great once again, and not rely on "somebody else" to do the tough things. We've grown complacent and lazy and require this unknown "someone else" to do just about anything of importance for us these days. Too bad that we're running out of "someone else". 

Baby Boomers were the last generation to really understand and invest in the trades, and they are retiring in droves. Who's going to pick up the torch? Who's going to fill the jobs that are out there? It's not going to be the ones who think higher learning is all about keeping their hands clean, I can assure you that. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Today ought to be a good day!

I get to heat some metal, melt some metal, bend some metal, tap some metal, grind some metal, file some metal, hammer some metal, cut some metal, and listen to some metal. Does it get any better?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Death of A... no, make that All Salesmen!

You know, I guess I've got it all wrong. When I look at the state of the "union" around us and the economic strife that's mowed us over in the last few years, I want to believe that we all want to band together to change our practices and do our part(s) to make it all a little better. Right? Hello? Is this thing on? I guess not, because lately, all I see, hear and get to partake in is crappy-to-non-existent customer service.

That's not entirely true. I've had a few, rare occasions pop up where the people at the other end of the situation did their best to make everything good. The funny thing is, that when we face people like that, we tend to do a better job ourselves. You know, not be such an enormous dick when the other end of the line is being nice. Funny thing, is that rather than realize that relation, and try to be better regardless of which side of the equation you're on, a ton of people expect good, but refuse to act good. Don't check my grammar, I'm doing this for effect.

For example, I just did what for me, was a major transaction with a person named Dan, who brokers campground memberships. I looked all over for what met my needs and finally found what I thought was the best bet. I contacted Dan and asked him a bunch of direct questions about what I would receive, since I was purchasing a "used" membership on transfer in order to get old-time benefits that are no longer available. Had to make sure I understood exactly what I was getting for the money.

Dan proceeds to tell me all the details and seemed like a good guy. This was all over the phone, of course. I have an enormous problem with taking people at their word, so I believed he would deliver and closed the deal. He even did an eBay auction for me and I paid up right then and there. Now for Dan's part. In the end, I got what I paid for, but it took more than paying the man to get it. I don't remember living in a world where not only do you pay for the product you need, but you also do all the work to create it. Dan lives in that world. I had to call the guy a million and one times to even get updates. Had to call the membership company to see what actually transferred and find out what I needed to do.

I was promised 3-4 weeks to get the deal done. Timelines are kind of important when you are trying to build a calendar and get things moving. After 8 weeks, I finally have what I ordered. Almost. You see, Dan also lives in a world where it's OK to swap product A for product B without telling the customer. When I received the membership papers, it wasn't what I bought. Close, but not quite. No call from Dan. No email explaining the difference and offering a discount since it was less than expected. Nothing. Imagine buying the eight cylinder vehicle, only to be shocked when you look under the hood to see a six cylinder motor, and not being told by anyone at the dealership. No refund, no explanation, nothing. It's not like they don't know. They just hope you won't notice or that you'll be too tired of the deal by then to do anything about it.

I call the guy and get voicemail. I email and he finally gets back to me. He half-heartedly apologizes and here's what he says -

"I am working with a supervisor to try and rectify the situation. I can't promise anything except that we are trying. The problem was that the original seller had eight and backed out on us. The one we replaced it with only had six. Like I said, we are seeing what we can do to satisfy you."

Good. He's trying to get it right. Bad, that I had to contact him when he already knew he was screwing me over, but at least he'll try and make good. When it's all said and done, yes I got what I paid for, but his next batch of correspondence was the clincher. He went on to say that he was surprised that I was upset, because he had gone to great lengths and pulled a ton of favors to get me the extra things I asked for. 

Excuse me. 

Extra things I asked for? No. Things I already paid for. Get it right Dan. He simply responded with "you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time. Sorry you feel like you need to blame me." Blame the man who delivered six cylinders for an eight cylinder price, and never let me know? Shame on me. I should go to live in the world Dan lives in, because it must be much easier to just do the business you want to do without regard to what the customer actually buys or wants. 

Let me finish this rant by saying that if I ran a business this way, there would be no business. Suck up your false pride and take it on the chin when you screw up. People will respect you for it. Hell, I'd recommend buddies to people who take their lumps and get past it. I won't ever send anyone Dan's way. Delusional salespeople, who believe that it's alright to underdeliver and expect to be overpaid can all go die in a fire. That's robbery in my book. You want to yell at your customer or try to make them feel sorry for your mistakes? You want to try to make them feel bad over your shortcomings? You need to close up shop and go work for someone that actually knows how to run a business. Sad thing is that these people get rich off of those who just don't have the fight in them. Dan went so far as to say he didn't have the time to deal with someone like me who had such "deep issues". Thanks for the cheap counseling Dan. I guess that's an extra he tossed in. 

You want to stay in business even in tough times? Offer a good or service and do it with pride. Give more than your customer expects and you'll get more in return. Be early, not late. Don't sell excuses that they didn't order from you. Treat them with respect and kindness, and that's what you'll get back. Yeah, sometimes there are people you just can't please, but I run into very few of them, because I practice what I preach. I hate screwing up too, but when I do, I fix it. Be proactive and let the people know you messed it all up. Then get it right. Even the worst situations can be remedied by following these simple rules. 

See ya out there!