Saturday, 4 February 2012

Bad business acumen

I bought a violin last week.  It kind of came upon me all of a sudden like.

I used to play the violin when I was a teenager, I don't remember enjoying it much but was evidently good enough to pass Grade 6.  I never had the natural flair that my brother had with music though so didn't carry on; and my niece (who has inherited her father's natural flair) inherited my grandmother's violin from me.

I can't remember why now, but recently I suddenly decided that I wanted to play fiddle (rather than classical violin) so borrowed a friend's violin.  It hadn't been played for 25 years and was in dire need of new strings, and wasn't a particularly good instrument (she didn't risk her best one on me!).  But I found that the sound I made was not as awful as I thought, and ended up bidding for and winning an old violin on eBay.

When it arrived, it turned out to be 3/4 sized.  Oh....  First I thought I'd send it back but then it looked up at me and pleaded to be kept and loved.  Things tend to do that to me and Mr H, it's a nuisance but we can't help it.  So, having decided that I'd still be able to play it, and negotiated a partial refund on the price because it was advertised as full size, I decided to take it to a local violin lady to look at, because it looked to me as though the bridge and strings were set up wrong.

Mine is the one on the right

She is an esteemed expert in her field (according the website), but when we met her she was the most inconsiderate, uncaring person, and seemed to be only just holding herself back from being downright rude. She didn't listen to what I said about why I had a 3/4 size instrument instead of a full size one.  She then quoted me a ridiculous price for sorting it out but obviously didn't think it was worth it, she was the sort of person who would completely put me off trying to play. Mr H and I both took an instant dislike to her and we were there about 5 minutes before leaving with a polite "I'll think about it", knowing very well we wouldn't be back.

Mr H then suggested asking the chap who he sometimes goes to for guitars and associated bits and pieces.  "Oh yes," he said, "I can sort that out for you no problem."  No tut-tutting that it was too small for me or looking at me as if I couldn't possibly have ever played the violin.  We discussed what was needed and how much it would be, I left it with him and I should have it back next week (I'd better warn the neighbours....).

Sometimes being a long-time 'expert' doesn't get you the business, however superior you believe yourself to be.  If you piss off the customer, your credentials don't matter a bit!


  1. *sigh* Some people's kids, huh?

    Now, granted, I don't know what kind of day she was having or what's personally happening for her. Now, that's no excuse for acting so pathetically awful, but one never I found out once upon a time when I sniped at a waitress who was doing a cruddy job and made her cry only to discover she'd lost her mother earlier in the week AND her cat that very morning. Dunno what was happening for the gal you crossed paths with. Maybe it's simply a case of being full of herself. Regardless--things work out as they needed to, methinks! Sounds like your fiddle is going to get well loved, caringly put into shape and given life--which is a very cool thing.

    Personally, I already like the fiddle! It radiates 'character' from the photo you posted!!

  2. Hi Mel, I am always ready to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I later learnt that this lady has a reputation for being rude!

    Yes, it's cute isn't it - I just couldn't send it back ;-)


  3. I love the 'sure, no problem' people of this world.

    Good to see that you are starting a 'collection' alongside Mr H. And if you got to Grade 6, the neighbours won't mind the practicing either!

  4. Rosie, I don't think it will come back that easily! ;-)

  5. Oooh I think it looks rather beautiful! Your right...It needs to be loved and I think you are the woman for the job!

    Urgh, I can't stand it when people are all superior and snooty. I used to play the flute and turned up at my first lesson (i could already Dad taught me) and the guy walked out of the room about five minutes into the hour and didn't come back till the hour was nearly up. He clearly didn't want to be there or to teach. I went back a few times and every time he did the same...I stopped going and stopped playing not long after that.

    C x

  6. Hi Carol,

    How awful, did you just carry on playing without him there?!? Teachers should encourage young people to play music, not completely put them off. I think if I'd more enthusiastic encouragement when I was young I might have kept on playing, but as it was I didn't bother because it was just a chore.



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