Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Millennials, Mischegoss, & Belp

I don't even know where to start this one. I was HOT last night. Not the weather, not "in heat", but HOT, more, "under the collar". I needed to calm myself, and I had real stuff to do, since free time isn't given away like condoms at the pride parade.

I need to first thank my seniors, as in senior citizens, for being the great clients they are. I need to make my appreciation known. That's our main clientele in our store, Shades of Soho. I've explained why this is before, but for those who just happened to catch this entry, I'll give you the Cliff's Notes. Seniors respect quality and craftsmanship. They're actually patient. They get what we do- they know we make things. Made in the USA actually MEANS something to them. They're willing to pay and they are appreciative when they pick up their lamps and lampshades.

What is a Millennial? The majority of researchers and demographers start the generation in the early 1980s, with many ending the generation in the mid-1990s. That's what I'm going with. I hate to use blanket statements, and we've had SOME lovely clients in this demographic (like my friends), but I have to tell you- almost every time, they are a problem. They don't come in often, to be quite honest. They shop online, they want what they see on HGTV, and they don't think they need to pay for quality. Nor do they really care if it's quality because they'll just throw it away when they're tired of it.

We've had some real head-scratching, bile regurgitating moments lately with people in this age group within the past week. So I'm calling this entry "My Belp". Instead of Yelp, which, to me, might as well be the online mafia, I only have my blog as recourse for crazy or asshole. Yelp gives a voice to people who are angry and only can spew venom behind a computer screen. There is no trying to manage a situation face to face- it's just- smile in your face, then go home and type out some kind of maligning commentary. 

For instance- Robert Dawson: He's around thirty-three and married. I don't think he has kids. He came in and asked B to fix a plastic socket casing that broke and to recover an old lampshade. It cost around $200 which was 95% cost for the lampshade. The plastic piece was to be glued. He never said the electrical needed to be looked at. He handed B a plastic piece and said to fix it. B did that. And Sam made a stunning lampshade. Yadda yadda, Robert went home and expected the electrical to have been worked on, when that's not what was discussed or paid for. He called and was angry and B told him to bring it in.

B fixed it on the spot when Robert came back. He doesn't really have the time to do that, but he did it to be nice. Robert took the lamp and just left. No- "Hey, THANK YOU, what do I owe you?". He literally just took the lamp and walked out the door. B didn't go after him, even though that's a $25-$50 repair, and HOW WE PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE. B just felt like he did a nice thing and left it at that.

Robert then called B and berated him for not fixing the electrical the first time. Said he had to waste his precious free time, in traffic to come back, when it's "Lamps101" to just know what has to be done, and it should've been done right the first time.

Someone who left a review after Robert made a great analogy- Do you go to a mechanic for an oil change and expect them to have also checked and changed the brake pads? Of course not. He never said the lamp didn't turn on. So B just fixed what he told him was wrong. Robert then said HIS FREE TIME IS WORTH MONEY. His free time is worth money?! What the what now? He wanted us to PAY HIM FOR THE TIME HE HAD TO TAKE DRIVING HERE AND BACK. Ok, if that's how things are supposed to work, I'm going to start sending bills to CVS, my doctor's office, and the supermarket, every time I'm not taken or seen right away. Because my time, sure as hell, is certainly worth a decent dollar! He said that he is planning on writing us a bad review. However...if B pays him $25, he'll write us a good review. #thatscalledblackmail

B refused to be blackmailed. B was so angry, he called me at E's swim meet to ask my opinion. Since choking Mr. Dawson out for his entitled blackmail request, was not an option, and neither was giving him money we didn't owe him, we would have to take the review.

I'm telling this story not just because Mr Dawson needs to be called out, but just to illustrate that this isn't an isolated event. As this was going on, we were dealing with a similar situation. A young woman, somewhere between twenty-eight and thirty-five, asked B for a quote on chandelier work, through email. B gave her some options, all with prices via email back. She then had someone else bring the chandelier in, with no instructions and no payment. He emailed her to ask what she wanted to do and she proceeded to tell him she got "four other quotes, all less than his..."

This email from her was after her public post that her local lighting store COULD NOT do the work. B has been doing this work for over twenty years. We KNOW there is no one else that she could've called for what he was going to do, let alone even know what it meant. She blatantly LIED just to get the cost down. If the cost was an issue, she should've SAID something. How about coming in, like an adult, discussing what she needed done, what would be the best option for her budget, etc. Instead, she tried to do it all behind a computer screen, wasting time, instead of saving, for all of us.

Further- another problem we encounter is people NOT reading emails or there's a serious lack of reading comprehension. I think I know why this is too- Mr Dawson put "TL:DR" before his bad review. As a woman of a particular age, I had to look this letter combination up. THIS, tl:dr, is an abbreviation to let people know a post/comment is long so the summary is right there or they can skip to the end. #howfuckinglazyisthis #slanderquicklyandtherestisirrelevant

B sends out emails with how we do things, estimated time frame, and any other pertinent information. It's just about guaranteed that he's going to get emails back with questions he's already answered in the body of the email(s) he already sent. It's happened with young designers or designer assistants in NYC, to people like the woman I wrote about above.

I knew that woman was lying about her four quotes. I didn't even consider working with her on price. She also low-balled so much, it wasn't worth it to do the work for that low. Her whole way of going about the situation, AND the lowballing was so insulting, it feels like we're being fleeced. We aren't a big box store and won't be treated as such. I told her that unfortunately couldn't meet her price and she could pick up her chandelier any time. What do you know? She said - "she'd like us to start the work". Of course, that's not how we do things, which B had TOLD HER IN THE EMAIL. You come in, we work together on what you want to do, make decisions, we give a price, you pay, we start. No pay, no start. On top of it, her chandelier is sitting here, taking up room, like we're a storage facility. #entitlement

We had another guy, recently, who was a little older. Not a senior, but in his late 40's I'd guess. He came in with a thirty-year old craft paper lampshade. It's a brown, paper, water-stained looking kind of thing. Back in the day- a cheap shade that went on everything in the 80's. Sometimes people want them now. We don't make them but we can get them. This guy came in like a bat out of hell from another lighting store that sent him to us- because we're the ONLY ONES who could help him. He wanted them yesterday, for cheap, and they had to be the same size or as close as possible. We didn't have the lamp, pictures of the lamp/room or anything. He was a little annoyed we didn't just magically have shades matching his old ones, but we said we'd get them within days, for the day he'd be back in the area.

We did that. We got them, early, called him, and he came. Complaints only. His issue was that the holder, the metal that keeps the lampshade on the lamp, wasn't the right color. Well, we'd need a time machine for that. The actual lampshade was almost an exact replica of what he had, but his holder was aged and rusted. Ours was new brass, because it is a NEW LAMPSHADE. He made B crazy with painting it, making it closer to his old one. He was rude and petulant. He came to pick up, grabbed the shades, didn't say thank you- not for getting them so quickly OR painting them, and didn't ask if he owed anything extra to paint the holders. It took B time and it wasn't easy. Further, it took him away from doing other work he needed to do.

Something like this but older, dirtier and uglier

B doesn't mind doing extra work, at all, even for no pay, but where is the common courtesy? Where is all this entitlement coming from? Why do people feel like their free time is worth more than our work time? So I don't know if it's an age thing, or just a jerk thing. Trust me, I have had crotchety seniors. I had a lady scream and curse at me, telling me we ruined her lamp and took advantage of an old lady because B fixed her lamp and now she can see the bulb. Well, she legit put her lampshade on upside down. So there was that. That happens way less often then problems with younger people.

We want to expand our business and make things that appeal to a younger market. However, I can't say that we're not a bit fearful. We don't need the headache of people who run to social media vs resolving things face to face. I'm only writing this HERE because I have no other recourse. I can't get the review taken down, I can't stop him from slandering my husband- what Mr Dawson wrote on Yelp was an outright lie. Nothing I can do. B tried to appeal to him first by being kind and saying not checking the electrical was "miscommunication" when really it was this customer never asking him to check the electrical. B was willing to accept some of the responsibility because he knew, he KNEW his "type"- the type to run to give a bad review.

We are ALWAYS happy to keep working with someone until they're happy. It's the attitude that it all goes down with. It's the interaction. We'd just like to be appreciated for the skills we have, the work we do, and how we hard we work to make sure people are happy. Mind-reading isn't one of our skills and we aren't in the habit of accepting blackmail- so if that's what we're going to have to deal with, I don't know how much expanding we'll be doing.

We LOVE what we do. We want to keep doing it. Really connecting with clients and making stuff they love is our passion. People who act like dicks dampen our day but not our spirit. So, here's my Belp review, and now it's out of my system....Suck it, you entitled douche, Mr Dawson. I think you owe me $25 for having to take the time to write this.




  1. amazing! not surprising the way people are today...

  2. I didn't even need the label after taking one look at that photo. #DOUCHEBAG