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Do I know you?

Every now and then I run into someone I did a job for. Usually it's someone who is instantly recognizable. Maybe it was a job that went really well or one in which we were treated with respect and paid well. But sometimes, it's just the opposite.

The other day, my wife and I ran into a client from way back. She was so glad to see us and we exchanged pleasantries for a minute or two before she launched into a lengthy update on her kitchen. She said the cabinets are still looking great, but she had yet to replace the plywood countertops!

As she spoke, I began to recall the details of that job. I would be hard pressed to remember a job on which the client got more for their money than that one. Or one in which the client had so many issues with the job. I remembered the whole deal with the countertops. They insisted on having granite which was completely out of their budget range. But rather than compromise, they decided to wait until they could afford what they wanted. Apparently that did not work out too well.

What I recall was that they installed plywood covered with vinyl shelf lining. That did not work out too well either, especially since they cut the tops flush with the cabinet faces leaving no overhang. Of course, water and crud constantly dripped down onto the cabinet faces. The finish was adversely affected by this, a fact that they attributed to a "poor quality finish" even though I had warned them at least a hundred times. They began to pressure me to refinish the cabinets at no cost.

As we stood there listening to the client, I began to remember the other issues one by one. As I did, the sense of camaraderie one experiences when meeting an old friend began to vanish and, as is my nature, I backed off. Fortunately, my wife has social skills that are vastly superior to mine and she deftly extracted us with no further damage. She saved her venting for the ride home.


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That’s for me to know …

There have been numerous times throughout my woodworking career when people have asked me how I do this or that. Sometimes it’s just curiosity. Sometimes it’s some who wants to do it themselves and is in need of guidance. And, sometimes it’s a competitor who has underbid a job he doesn’t really know how to do.