Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If it's Custom, it ain't CHEAP!

For whatever reason, I was a little impatient with some of my "potential" clients yesterday. One of the girls in my office claimed it was probably because Mercury was retrograde, but I just think most of the people I had to deal with were a bit moronic for the most part. By the end of the day, I had a pretty short fuse and a phone call was directed to me from an inquiring (no) mind. His accent put me off from the get go, as politically incorrect as that seems, but there are certain cultures that are stereotypically and notoriously CHEAP and I knew as soon as I heard him start to talk where the conversation would lead. He wanted to know how much it would cost to make a custom made valance box for a 4 foot window and he expected the answer to roll off my tongue as matter-of-factly as his asinine question had rolled off his. Well, I said, in my forced patient tone, that depends on quite a few variables. What type of fabric are you considering? That will influence the cost. Silk or burlap? He did not know. What about the design? Are you thinking a simple rectangle or something more decorative and intricate? (likely simple like him I thought). He did not know again. And would we be doing the installation, or was he capable? So I told him that I could not really give him a price without knowing a little more about his project and that the sky was the limit really depending on his choices.
This was not good enough for him however. Still he insisted on an estimate. OK, fine, I thought - you want an estimate - here you go. "You're probably looking at a minimum of fifteen hundred dollars for a custom treatment of this nature but it could be much higher depending on the things I mentioned a moment ago."
"FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!!", he shrieked into my ear. "Why so much?" Did I not just finish explaining why to you moron? At that point I wanted to tell him he could go buy some plywood from Home Depot, a mitre saw and a few nails and some fabric from some place like Fabricland and make his own and install it himself if he felt paying a fair price for custom treatments was too much.
However, in my ever diplomatic fashion I told him it might be a good idea to come into our showroom and have a look at the type of things we do and we could discuss his project in more detail.Where in his experience did he ever associate the word "custom" as a synonym for "inexpensive"? He told me a friend had referred him to us as a good place to have this done. His friend obviously understood "custom" but was unaware of his friend's limited budget and ignorance regarding such things. I hate time-wasters like this. Like the woman the other day who wanted to be able to finish off her living room with an assortment of tables and accessories for 2K including taxes. She was obviously in the wrong showroom. No matter how I tried to work it out for her, it was not gonna happen. I told her I would contact her when some floor models went on sale. It was the best I could do. Maybe these bargain-hunters are new at the game. Maybe they don't know the first thing about bargain hunting. Don't get me wrong - I love a bargain myself, but I know where to shop for them and where not to bother. And I would never waste the time of an employee of a higher end retailer with my idiotic questions that would never give me the miracle answers I was looking for. I don't go into Hermes and ask which scarves are half price or Prada to find a purse for under a hundred bucks. I know better. It's not rocket science. Someone needs to tell them. Please.

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