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#615873 - 02/11/09 08:26 AM The things you will do for a customer
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
I manage a rather successful pest control company in the Chicagoland area. My technician treated a customer's home for a severe infestation of cockroaches. As with out typical service program he assured the customer that if she was still seeing cockroaches in 5 days to call us back otherwise we will stop by in two weeks for a follow-up inspection. Sure as shootin', I got a call, from a very angry customer stating the we made her problem worse and now there are roaches all over the house. When I arrived to investigate this problem... she was right. There were cockroaches all over. DEAD COCKROACHES. I looked at the customer as said, your roaches are all dead. The program is working. She then looked at me as said.. "Your man told me that if I see any cockroaches in 5 days to call. I see cockroaches. Get rid of them. (She was serious and to keep the reputation of our name, I spent two hours vacuuming and sweeping up dead cockroaches.

Just curious...

In the world of a piano technician, what has been your most outragious customer story?

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#615874 - 02/11/09 08:52 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I've told this story before in another thread a long time ago.

Many years ago, I went to an old farm house. The lady had a Story & Clark Studio that had been tuned by a flake. It was 1-2 keys flat.

I warned her about possible string breakage during pitch raise. She said, go and and tune it. Well, strings broke. She came into the room asking "WHAT HAPPENED?" I said, a string broke. 3 of them actually. She started accusing me of setting it up so the strings would intentionally break. Just then, (I've never had it before or since) but, all on it's own, while we were standing there talking, another wire broke. In fact, two of them broke. I said, see? They are rusty and can't take the pitch raise.

I've only had 2 or 3 instances where clients literally screamed and swore at me and this was one of these times. I mean, literally screaming and cussing at the top of her lungs!!! She was accusing me a F****** her over, repeating this over and over and over and over again...

15 minutes later of trying to explain it I'd had enough and screamed back at her to SHUT THE HELL UP!!!! I fixed those wires, for nothing, I didn't want to be held accountable for anything in this woman's house, stopped tuning right then and there, leaving it horribly half raised in pitch and terribly out of tune and walked out having the total satisfaction of telling her off face to face.

Turns out, supposedly, somebody dug up her septic tank system and screwed her out of $25,000. Someone else screwed her our of some money for her roof. You know, everyone's out to get her.

I said as I walked away well ma'am, that doesn't give you the right to try and screw the next guy or place blame on an innocent person such as myself and you are dead wrong and have some very serious issues to address in your life but, lucky for me? I'll never come back to service your piano again EVER...and left. She apologized asking if I would finish the job? I laughed out loud and said, You have GOT to be kidding right? I hopped into my car and drove off.

I don't take crap like that from anyone. The customer is NOT always right... :-)
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#615875 - 02/11/09 09:48 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4936
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Jerry:

Thanks for explaining again what you are really like.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#615876 - 02/11/09 10:09 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
JDelmore Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 634
Hmmm...that's rather enigmatic, Jeff...

I think Jerry was spot on. Just as we should not abuse clients, we're not obligated to suffer abuse simply because we provide a service.
_________________________
PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)

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#615877 - 02/11/09 11:02 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4936
Loc: Bradford County, PA
There are ways to deal with abuse without becoming an abuser. That is what "turning the other cheek" is really about. It takes two to tango. We all have a choice to act, or to just react.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#615878 - 02/11/09 11:12 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
-------------------------------------------------
quote:
Thanks for explaining again what you are really like.
-------------------------------------------------

Jeff, I know we have had our "moments." So I am not going to call you out in as strong a manner as I would probably like to. But I swear, can you tell us exactly what prompted that comment?
Jerry Groot certainly does not need me to defend him in any way, but I personally take offense to a personal attack like that upon him or anyone else here.

I think that demands an apology, but since I was not directed toward me, I suppose I have no right to make that kind of demand.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#615879 - 02/11/09 11:29 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4190
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Wayne 723,

I know from having a friend in the pest control business here in Canada, the service contract states whether or not the rodents or other pests are picked up and disposed of. I hope you billed her for the disposal of the cockroaches, especially if the service contract did not state removal of such items………..…..

Well which nightmare would you like? How about the one 10 yrs. ago where I sold an upright to a family and they filed a BBB complaint because the upright only had 65 dampers and they thought I ripped them off……..

Or the fellow that received a 6ft. Kimball player grand from his mother as a gift. This instrument was restored here; he then locates it in an open dining room 8ft. from the open air kitchen where they do a lot of cooking. After multiple calls to service over a 4 yr. period, calls that went un-answered, I then get a complaint that the keys stick. Pulled the action and all of the action parts felt like they had been oiled or something. Flanges sticking everywhere and bent center pins all over the place. After 3hrs. of work I still can’t get it to function correctly. I am then told by the customer this is now my fault because the instrument never played correctly to begin with……….I bid him good day and walked on a $429.00 bill. He came running down the driveway trying to write me a cheque…….never returned…….

Had a couple that were looking for a nice Heintzman upright. I didn’t have one at the time. I suggested they take a small “starter piano” for 500 bucks and get playing while I searched high and low for the right instrument.

I have a couple of beaters here used for temporary instruments while theirs is fixed or I am looking for something. Kind of like a loaner car.

They took the “starter piano” for$ 500, plus the move and the tuning, …. Two months later he calls and complains about the condition of the starter instrument………………… I went over the whole file with both of them in written form……….six months later I get a small claim document in the mail for Provincial Court. The claim was I sold them a faulty piano….

Consumer abuse is not something technicians need to tolerate.

Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#615880 - 02/11/09 12:44 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
I have a three strike rule.

Rude at arrival, first strike.

Complain about the cost work after ordering it and agreeing, second strike.

Continue to complain, rag, abuse, or try to treat me like the help...third strike and I calmly pack my bag and walk away, with no further comment.

I've only reached three strikes a half dozen times in all these years, but it gives me a way to deal with iffy clients.

Jerry's story doesn't sound like he "abused" the client AT ALL!! And, knowing Jerry a little, I'd be disposed to trust his approach. FWIW

RPD
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#615881 - 02/11/09 01:35 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Tooner,

I don't know who in the heck you think you are to "judge another" but, you have shown your true color's time and again in this piano forum for who YOU really are. A troll and a trouble maker. You left once. Time for you to leave again.. Get lost. We don't need or want trouble makers in here.

I put up with an awful lot of verbal abuse, swearing and screaming from this woman before I finally let loose. A full 15 minutes worth.

As a "part time tuner" yourself, you have had a fraction of the experience in this field that I have had in my 40 years of tuning, 35 of them, full time.

I rarely have problems with clients. There isn't a full time technician out there that HASN'T had problems at some point in time. Generally, these clients have some sort of mental issue going on but, that is no reason to take it out on another HONEST person that was called in to do their job.
And, I stand by my statement. I will not take verbal or mental abuse from a client. Nor, will I take it from some smart alack know it all like yourself.

If you don't like what I wrote. Well, TOUGH. Go troll some place else and stop starting trouble!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#615882 - 02/11/09 01:40 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4936
Loc: Bradford County, PA
As I said before:

 Quote:
Originally posted by UnrightTooner:
Jerry:

Thanks for explaining again what you are really like. [/b]
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#615883 - 02/11/09 01:45 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
As I also said, thank you too for showing what you are really like Jeff. Are you having a bad day today or something?
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#615884 - 02/11/09 02:05 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1080
Loc: PA
 Quote:
"I've only had 2 or 3 instances where clients literally screamed and swore at me and this was one of these times. I mean, literally screaming and cussing at the top of her lungs!!! She was accusing me a F****** her over, repeating this over and over and over and over again..."
This put me in mind of another thread about providing references...

When someone calls you, you really have no idea as to just who the person is on the other end of the phone. You could be giving some maniac the phone numbers of some of your nicest, most decent customers. I don't provide references to strangers.

I haven't advertised since about 1983. When someone calls me, they were already referred by someone else. There's no other way to get my phone number. The referral works both ways.

It's not that I'm such an overwhelming financial success; It's that I'm proud and stubborn and I'd sooner work midnight shifts at WalMart stocking shelves to support myself if need be, rather than put up with this.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#615885 - 02/11/09 02:58 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
Heck, when I use to work in my garage on cars, I had replaced a timing chain and gears for a customer. 3 days later he calls me up and asks me what I did to his transmission...come to find out, the tangs on torque convertor that drive the trans front pump broke...it's on the opposite end of the motor...
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#615886 - 02/11/09 03:24 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
WOW! I thought this kind of stuff only went on in the pest control industry. Didn't mean for this to get personal. How about you other guys and gals. What unusual tuning stories do you have to tell, and please, I know what customers can be like... and they all don't deserve respect. In my 25 years in Pest Control, I've had a gun pointed at me, threatened with a knife, robbed, had a Doberman take a piece out of my hind end and was even threatened by an ex-employee. Being in business doesn't always mean you meet the nicest people and sometime you get ****ed at the way they treat you. That's understandable and I certainly understand Mr. Groot's position. What's your story?

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#615887 - 02/11/09 03:28 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4190
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Nope Wayne this stuff goes on in every service business. In yours of course, you can decide who the pest really is, and sometimes it might just be the customer….. ;\)

Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#615888 - 02/11/09 04:24 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Torger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 45
Loc: MN
Here is a story,
I was asked to tune an old upright in a church basement so a theatre company could rehearse for a show.
It was about a note out of tune, Pitch raise and tuning complete the piano sounding fine, I go home.
I get a call back in about a week saying it is a note flat*.
I ask when I can get in to check things out and "touch up" the piano is a half step sharp….
Come to find out the heat was off during the week in the basement (got to about 15 degrees) and by power of observation, the pianist was using a radiant space heater pointed at themselves and the piano.

Call me crazy but all bets are off if that continues of how long the tuning will last…

*The standard for comparison was a tape recording of a keyboard at home, played back on a cheap boom box. – which I’m suspecting played fast (and sharp)
_________________________
Torger Baland
Piano Tuner / Technician
Minneapolis / St. Paul
www.PapagenoPianoTuning.com
Find us on Facebook

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#615889 - 02/11/09 05:19 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
Silverwood Pianos,

Absolutely agree with you. It really doesn't matter where your problems come from. When you are in a service industry, a portion will come from customers. That's business.

Papageno,

I guess this proves that if common sense was so common, everyone would have it. In the works of Ron White, "You can't teach stupid!"

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#615890 - 02/11/09 05:59 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2097
Loc: Maine
"Jerry's story doesn't sound like he "abused" the client AT ALL!!"

Agreed. Abusing her would have been pulling out the Uzi and giving her a lead tattoo - mafia style.

Shouting at her, by that measure, is pretty mild.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#615891 - 02/11/09 07:53 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
It is has been my experience that 1 in maybe 500 or so piano owners are jerks like Jerry described. Maybe that depends on the area where you live and work. But some people are just paranoid, and when they feel they have been wronged, their paranoia just becomes stronger.

Obviously Jeff has been wronged at some point in his life, and perhaps that is why he was "stung" by Jerry's story.

But, we all run into situations where people have higher expectations, or maybe better described as low expections of service people. We have all been in situations where we feel like we were taken advantage of. But that is no reason for flying off the handle and suspecting someone is screwing us, and especially there is no reason for yelling and verbal abuse.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#615892 - 02/11/09 10:18 PM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3866
There was the piano teacher with two pianos who rescheduled once, calling me the night before, costing me 1/2 days income, then six months later, rescheduled again the night before, again a loss of 1/2 days income, and rescheduled a third time! The third time I got the cancellation message after driving 45 min to her house.

I'm parked in her driveway, listening to her "I'm not home message" when she drives up!

I told her to find another tuner. She told a few people I yelled at her....poor baby!! \:D
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#615893 - 02/12/09 07:35 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4936
Loc: Bradford County, PA
OK, I’ll spell it out. Any service professional will encounter abusive customers. Since we are all humans we will react emotionally. Sometimes we will act abusive in return. At some point we should just “walk away” as many that have shared on this topic have done. If we don’t, we should examine what we did instead and come up with a plan so that next time we just “walk away.”

Jerry bragged about how he did not walk away. He bragged about how the customer is not always right. In this case, when all was said and done, there was no customer. It really bothers me that no one else sees what happened in the way I do. An appointment to tune a piano resulted in the piano being worse off than how it started, which Jerry took delight in! It seems that Jerry might have been able to learn something from the “flake” (a demeaning term he used) that tuned it before.

Jerry also made a post trying to bully me off this forum. This type of arrogance is displayed by a few of the regular posters here, and accepted by most. I try to warn hobbyists away from here so that they will not receive this sort of abuse.

If I leave this forum again it will be for the same reason that I did last time and for the same reason I lurked for so long before first posting. I do not not like being part of this kind of arrogance. But, I have to take the good with the bad to stay here. If it gets bad enough, I will leave because I[/b] choose to not be part of it, not because anyone else does not want want me here.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#615894 - 02/12/09 09:02 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4190
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Good one Bob,

I have had several variations of that scenario……. I especially like the one where you can hear them moving around in the house but they don’t answer the front door……

Sold a piano to a customer once that just wouldn’t stay in tune. I would tune the instrument and then 2-4 weeks later the customer would call and complain. I attended the residence and the piano was way out. After several attempts at correcting this situation I started to ask questions about the lifestyle here. It turned out that every day when leaving for work they would change the heat from 72 degrees down to 60….and then back up….daily……….

My final tuning was the day I learned this fact. I could not for the life of me get this fellow to understand that changes of this type made the instrument run out of tune. I guess in the end he did not want to understand……….

Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#615895 - 02/12/09 09:23 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
What he saved on heat he gave back to you... to tune the piano...

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#615896 - 02/12/09 09:29 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2097
Loc: Maine
Somewhat in the same vein, I once had a customer who ran a Bed and Breakfast establishment who would not pay his bill. He disappeared after showing me the piano, and never paid despite repeated billings. Incredibly, a couple of years later I got a call to the same address. Thinking the establishment had changed hands, I went to the place, and there was the same dead-beat!

I'm sure he didn't recognize me, and again he showed me the piano and again disappeared. I waited a few minutes, then knocked on the door that he had gone through. 'No answer after several knocks. It wasn't a big place, so I knew he could hear me.

A nicer person would have simply left. I did leave, but not before detuning the piano a bit. A couple of weeks later another tuner in the area that I hardly knew called laughing and told me he had been called to repair my work. The B&B owner had stiffed him earlier, and he said, "I improved upon your work a bit. The thing sounded really horrible when I left!"

I noticed a year later that the B&B had closed.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#615897 - 02/12/09 09:35 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
I don't think anybody tried to bully you off the forum. We may have tried to find out if you were for real or just one of the snipers. Email does not convey the appropriate body language and tone of voice so to take something like that as a personal attack isn't right. Unright obviously violated his own principles by sniping that comment at Jerry. After saying all that flowerey stuff about having the choice and how he is better than Jerry because he walks away, he certainly isn't following those princples now. The abuse delivered to Jerry in the previous post is in no way any less than the abuse Jerry gave back to the client and was far less appropriate. I think Jerry did the right thing in reacting as a human being in the face of an unreasonable person. Chances are she was an alcoholic (It takes one to know one)and sometimes there is no good way to deal with one.

So Unright, it seems there was only one reason for your post and that reason contradicts everything you said in the explanation...
I don't get it. Why did you post that in the first place?
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#615898 - 02/12/09 09:43 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4936
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Ah, yes. When you point out abuse to an abuser, they usually claim that pointing out is abuse in itself. But then wouldn’t the claim also be abuse?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#615899 - 02/12/09 09:44 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4190
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Bob Newbie,

You are correct.Good point!

But I did give up on that one.Working with customers should not turn into a war, maybe someone else would state it differently to him but I am not so sure......

Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#615900 - 02/12/09 09:59 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Pointing out abuse is one thing. Sniping a comment like that is an abusive way of doing it. It was no different than Jerry's way of dealing with the customer. It had no tact and was just another shot in the war.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#615901 - 02/12/09 10:19 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4936
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Keith:

Thanks for keeping this going. I thought you would. I am going to assume that the snipe you are referring to is “Thanks for explaining again what you are really like.” If there was nothing shameful, only honorable, in Jerry’s actions it would not have been considered a snipe. I see it as a good thing that Jerry took offense, which was my intent, to show that he did not feel completely OK with his actions. What I did was chastisement, not abuse.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#615902 - 02/12/09 10:31 AM Re: The things you will do for a customer
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4936
Loc: Bradford County, PA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Keith Roberts:
Pointing out abuse is one thing. Sniping a comment like that is an abusive way of doing it. It was no different than Jerry's way of dealing with the customer. It had no tact and was just another shot in the war. [/b]
Oops, I missed the forest for the trees! If you think that what I did was abusive and you think that it was ”no different than Jerry’s way of dealing with the customer” then you must also think that Jerry was abusive. Perhaps you misspoke. I hope not…
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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