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I'm starting to wonder if it's me?!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mano, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. mano

    mano Senior member

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    A week ago I posted about a problem I had with a cobbler (http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=22450) and just yesterday I had a similar problem with my tailor of five years.

    Joe has been my tailor for five years and I've been to him countless times. His wife left him in Italy and here in the US, he does decent work for basic things like cuffs, taking trousers in/out and shortening sleeves, but if I needed button-holes cut I went to a fellow farther away who really appreciated and enjoyed that type of work.

    I always like developing relationships with people I work with and while we transacted business, Joe would tell me about his life, which was pretty lonely. I referred family and friends and during holiday time I'd give him an appropriate gift worth around $25. Whenever I came in, Joe would give a big smile and we'd chat and kid back and forth. I never asked for any favors with the single exception of asking if he could take in some pants in three days time versus the seven day turnaround he usually had.

    On four occasions during the past two years, Joe wouldn't have my stuff finished on time. He said he had a flu or wasn't feeling well, so I'd come back later. I was always empathic and always asked about his health. On a few occassions he forgot to sew in a button, but I let it pass.

    Yesterday morning when I come to pick up several items they're not ready, "I haven't been feeling well." He tells me to return at noon. I'm not thrilled about having to make a special trip to his shop, which has never been conveniently located.

    I return at 12:15 and some things are done but he hasn't finished the others.

    Joe: “I told you 12-1:00”
    Mano: “Joe, you said 12:00”
    Joe: “I got busy. Come back in an hour.”
    Mano: “I won't be able to come back for another week and don't want to wait. It's already been two weeks."
    Joe: “So what, some people wait three"
    Mano: “If the receipt said three weeks that would've been fine, but you said two, so that's when I came.”
    Joe: "You don't understand, I was sick."
    Mano: "I understand, but you didn't call and you said this morning to come back at noon."
    Joe: "I said 12:00 - 1:00!"
    Mano: "Joe, this is the fifth time this has happened. It's not fair to me."
    Joe: "You don't understand, I was sick!"
    Mano: "Joe, I do understand, but you didn't call and I came back when you said."
    Joe: "I said 1:00!"

    Joe had brought out the two items that weren't finished to show one was in progress and the other not even started. Throughout all this I'm nice enough, but Joe's getting really pissed.

    Mano: "Joe, I'm going to take these to someone else."
    Joe: "Fine, I'm better off without you!"

    Going to someone else is no big deal, and I guess I was about ready to cut bait with him anyway. Anyone else have similar problems with tailors and cobblers?
     


  2. stach

    stach Senior member

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    I'm thinking one of two things.

    A) Joe develpoed a drug/drinking habit.

    B) Joe expanded his business and doesn't need you any more.

    It's very tricky to foster a friendship with merchants. At some point you have to draw the line.
     


  3. Ed13

    Ed13 Senior member

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    I probably would have cut the tailor a little more slack. I wouldn't care about him being lonely and his wife leaving him. His life for him to deal with. This is business, not a personal friend.

    Being a small business owner I can understand how unexpected things come up (illness, exceptionally busy, etc.) and it is much harder to deal with them. If 10 people do the same job in a larger company and one is off sick, no big deal, the other 9 can cover. If only 1 or 2 people performe the task, and one is ill, production severely suffers or shuts down all together.

    I agree he should have tried to call if possible. Amazing how a quick phone call can avoid a confrontation.

    I would have tried to avoid the confrontation if possible. If you did not want to return I would have taken the items finished and asked for the unfinished items saying I would need them before I was able to return to his shop. If you decide to use another tailor, fine, no bridges burned. Who knows, you may want to use Joe again.
     


  4. Ed13

    Ed13 Senior member

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    Stach,

    I don't see where you came up with drugs or drinking problem. The correct answer is often the simplest one. Illness and busy, much more likely.
     


  5. lakewolf

    lakewolf Senior member

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    Being a small business owner I can understand how unexpected things come up (illness, exceptionally busy, etc.) and it is much harder to deal with them.

    I think this is the point.... here in Geneva, Switzerland, the tailors that do that kind of work are often late... they don't want to say no to new work and then is hard for them to finish the others waiting... they maybe fear of loosing you as a customer so they don't want to tell you they are delayed, or simply is not easy for them to calculate righ the time to do all the pending job plus yours that is new...

    Sometimes It happened that I come to the tailor and he's not finished my job, so he stops what he's doing to finish mine and tell me " will be ready in 30 minutes"... well in fact it is 45 but he gives me the thing... but don't forget that he stoped doing the one he was doing then... so now this other customer would be delayed...

    etc etc... I think is a standard situation for that kind of manual work made by one artisan alone...

    Fortunately I have 2 tailors in the neighborhoud so I don't have to travel far to see them...
     


  6. mano

    mano Senior member

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    I probably would have cut the tailor a little more slack. I wouldn't care about him being lonely and his wife leaving him. His life for him to deal with. This is business, not a personal friend.

    Being a small business owner I can understand how unexpected things come up (illness, exceptionally busy, etc.) and it is much harder to deal with them. If 10 people do the same job in a larger company and one is off sick, no big deal, the other 9 can cover. If only 1 or 2 people performe the task, and one is ill, production severely suffers or shuts down all together.

    I agree he should have tried to call if possible. Amazing how a quick phone call can avoid a confrontation.

    I would have tried to avoid the confrontation if possible. If you did not want to return I would have taken the items finished and asked for the unfinished items saying I would need them before I was able to return to his shop. If you decide to use another tailor, fine, no bridges burned. Who knows, you may want to use Joe again.


    Although a few people I do business with have become personal friends over the years, Joe isn't one of them.

    I'm also a small business owner; albeit in a professional capacity, and perhaps you're right about cutting him some slack as I had before. I did take the finished and unfinished items with me.

    Unfortunately, a bridge was burned. Joe was so angry I'm sure I won't be welcomed back unless I make amends.

    FWIW, I don't think Joe is involved in drugs or that he got busier. I suspect he may be a recovering alcoholic, based on several conversations and his refusal of a prior holiday gift of wine ("I don't drink anymore").

    Lakewood, good point. In the past I'd come by at least a day after the date on the receipt so he'd have extra time, just in case. Even then, things wouldn't always be ready.
     


  7. texas_jack

    texas_jack Senior member

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    I think if someone tells you a certain time it should be done. My tailors are allways on time. What they do is give themselves a ton of time to get it done. Then they call me a few days before to tell me it's done. I suggest you go to someone more professional.
     


  8. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    Call ahead to confirm the order is ready before you show up.
     


  9. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    Call ahead to confirm the order is ready before you show up.
    [​IMG]
     


  10. mano

    mano Senior member

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    Call ahead to confirm the order is ready before you show up.

    That's exactly what I should've done after the second time he didn't have my stuff ready on time. [​IMG]
     


  11. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Its a problem (or at least a potential problem) in any situation where you reduce an arms length relationship to something less, and that's likely to happen more often outside the corporate context (where corporate strictures and procedures tend to reduce this likelyihood).

    While I feel for you having lost a good tailor (and cobbler), I believe it was the right call. The saying "familiarity breeds contempt" is what you were living with. When people believe you've shown them kindness, they sometimes believe they can stretch a little more out of you and, in the process, tend to take you for granted. Sorry for your loss, but its a competitive marketplace -- and in the long run it is he, not you, who will be the true loser.
     


  12. EL72

    EL72 Senior member

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    The cobbler and now the tailor. Yes, it is you...[​IMG]
     


  13. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    if you are, or were, really impressed with his workmanship or at least his price, then i'd suggest you just retain the professional relationship and know its limitations from hereon. if he's just run of the mill for you, then just move on.
     


  14. kitonbrioni

    kitonbrioni Senior member

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  15. MrRogers

    MrRogers Senior member

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    One thing I cant stand is a lack of professionalism. If he was sick then he should have called. If hes to busy then he shouldnt take on new work. I turn down client's because I know that with the amount of time I have someone is going to get the short end of the stick should I take on more than I can handle.

    My tailor is good but as lazy as the day is long. He almost always will drop what hes doing when I come in and hem pants, etc while I wait. he and I both know that if he gives me a ticket and sets a date to return, itll either not be done by that date, or he wont be in the day I come in.

    Most items I can stand to not have for a few weeks but I must admit im as impatient as he is lazy.

    MrR
     


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