Very weird experience with B. Nelson... What is your experience with them?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by cypi2, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    Thanks to 5991erd and Brax's recommendations, I thought I had found a quality cobbler in B. Nelson. But, before sending my shoes in, I thought I'd check with them if they perform the type of work I am looking for. So, I sent them a couple of emails with a few pictures to illustrate my words, and, since I was not getting any answer, i thought I'd send them a message through their website.

    They did answer this time, but, their answer was quite unexpected and left me befuddled.

    Below is the message i forwarded them:

    "Dear All at B. Nelson,

    I am a serious shoe amateur and I am desperately looking for a quality cobbler in the U.S. that could install some thin protective rubber soles (e.g. Topy Elysee or Topy Top Gum - or any other brand - 1 mm or a little more but less 2 mm thick) and some toe taps on some of my leather soles shoes (Rather expensive and precious Goodyear welted shoes such as Edward Green shoes, for example).

    You have been referred to me on a shoe forum as the one cobbler in the U.S. that could do the kind of work I am looking for. So, I thought I'd give you a more precise idea of what I'd like to be done:

    The added rubber sole should not just be glued right on top of the shoes leather soles. Rather, the top layer of the leather soles should be skimmed off (the same thickness as that the rubber soles but without completely cutting through the stitches) so that, once added, the rubber soles lay flat on the leather soles as if they were part of the leather soles themselves.

    The toe taps rather than just be hammered on top of the shoes soles should be flush with the shoes soles and screwed on (some little pieces of wood are inserted in the soles to receive the screws and brass screws are preferably used to avoid rusting after wearing the shoes on rainy days).

    I forwarded you 2 emails at [email protected] to which I attached some pictures to illustrate exactly what I mean but I have not received any answer from you.


    Could you, please, let me know if you would do this kind of work, and, if yes, for how much?"

    And, here is the message I received back from B. Nelson:

    "Sorry but I prefer to stay away from this order.

    Best
    ,"

    No answers to my questions, and, no explanation for turning me down??... I find this weird...

    Would you mind sharing your experiences with B. Nelson? Do you see anything wrong with the message I forwarded them?... I am all perplexed by their answer!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  2. Patrick R

    Patrick R Senior member

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    My experience with B. Nelson has been perfect. Great service.

    As a small business owner that has learned that a problem customer is never worth the fee, I wouldn't want any part of that order either. Whether or not you would actually be a pain in the ass as a customer, you send enough warning signals that it wouldn't be worth the risk.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  3. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    Knowing what you want, explaining it and checking if a shop does that certain type of work or asking for its price is being a pain in the neck or a problem customer?! Hmm... I don't know... Isn't this a hasty conclusion?

    I'd rather check upfront and know what I'll get in the end rather than have the wrong expectations and then have a problem. Just like you rightly mention nobody needs more problems. Neither the cobbler nor me.

    I have used several cobblers and never had any issues specifically because I had checked with them, they told me what they could and/or would do and I knew what to expect.

    And, I have sent the same message to other cobblers who have answered me very honestly that they do not do the exact work I am looking for, but, who invited me to stop by to check out their work and I will. And, we'll probably do business without any problem...
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  4. bdavro23

    bdavro23 Senior member

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    Never give business to someone who doesnt want it and never do work for someone who knows how to do the job better than you...
     
  5. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    OK. I guess you are right.

    Now, I would not pretend to know better than the cobbler how to do his job.

    I was just trying to be precise in my description of the job I am looking for since in this particular case I could not go see that cobbler in person to talk to him or see his work etc.. It would all have happened over the internet.

    Oh well,... What can I say except that I am sorry that the intention of my message to B Nelson was misunderstood?

    But, in view of your reactions, I guess I may have phrased it wrong. Strange...
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  6. Dandy Wonka

    Dandy Wonka Senior member

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    I think the shaving of the heel bit lost it for you.

    That would have set off sirens.
     
  7. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    What do you mean?
     
  8. Dandy Wonka

    Dandy Wonka Senior member

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    Someone that is so pedantic that they want you to do that to avoid an extra mm in height is definitely not worth the hassle.

    I see where you are coming from but that's a step too far.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  9. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    Oh you mean that: "the top layer of the leather soles should be skimmed off"

    I asked for this because I just came back from a long assignment in France and there most, if not all, cobblers do this.

    I guess it is not so much a question of height but it may have to do with aesthetics: It makes the added plastic soles look like they are part of the leather soles. Or perhaps, it may also make the plastic soles adhere better to the leather soles (but I am not completely sure).

    To be honest, I thought this was standard, and, I was surprised to find out that most cobblers don't seem to work this way in the U.S.

    Since I kind of like it, I was trying to find a cobbler who would also do it here in the U.S.

    Now, you are right in saying that I am rather meticulous with shoes. But, I was just checking and the cobbler could also have told me, we don't this like that like some cobblers have already told me.

    Hmm... I think I am starting to see why this message was misinterpreted.
     
  10. Dandy Wonka

    Dandy Wonka Senior member

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    Should send your shoes to France to be done.

    I do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  11. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    It sounds like you are walking into someone's bedroom and lecture him how he should fuck his wife.

    That said, if you already have working relationship with several cobblers it's best to stay that way.

    p.s., don't think it's usual to have wood inset for flushed metal toe plates.
     
  12. PipersSon

    PipersSon Senior member

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    I think B Nelson was within his rights to refuse this order and from all I've heard he does great work.

    But I wouldn't go so far as to blame the customer, as some of the posts here seem to to be verging on. Either Nelson can't or won't do the stuff OP asked for, or he has some other info not shared by the OP that helped him make a decision. The customer's not to blame. However, OP, I would have asked this question on a a number of other threads, instead of opening one

    In any case, I learned something new about topying.
     
  13. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    I think that is what I am going to do...
     
  14. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    Everybody's reactions help me understand how my email could have been misinterpreted. But, I am sorry, I think this is too strongly put: .I described precisely what I am looking for and my final question was: "Could you, please, let me know if you would do this kind of work, and, if yes, for how much?"

    I was not telling the cobbler how to do his job but rather asking: do you do the job that I described?
     
  15. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    Yes, I totally agree with that.

    The very short and blunt answer surprised me because all what i had read about B Nelson on this forum was very positive.

    So, I turned to this forum to try to understand what in what I had written could have elicited this cobbler's reaction.

    And i think i did to some extent.
     

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