Skip to main content

That's not finished, is it?

Reading A.J.'s post about tact got me thinking about the whole subject. I've never been a candidate for any awards in this department. Whenever I have been asked for my opinion, I have always tried to offer it honestly. I know there have been times when what I had to say was not what the other person wanted to hear. And I know that, sometimes. I was not really being asked for my opinion but rather for praise.

I have been on both sides of this. There have been many times when I proudly displayed a piece of work, expecting to be lavished with praise, only to be told, in one way or another, that my efforts had not produced a masterpiece.

The worst time to receive such an opinion is when you are delivering a project and expecting to be handed a check. At that point, any expression of anything less that ecstatic joy on the part of the customer can pull the rug right out from under you.

I remember once building a large cabinet that held a Murphy bed but was supposed to look like an armoire. The design called for a very dark, rustic looking piece. I had worked with the client's designer and had matched both the color and texture he had specified pretty closely so I was expecting that the client had been clued in on what to expect. But when I proudly uncovered the piece in the client's driveway, she simply (and literally) burst into tears. Needless to say, my ego was instantly crushed like a stepped on aluminum soda can. And in the same moment, a vision appeared in my mind of my check sprouting wings and flying away. I ended up refinishing the whole thing and eventually I got it to where the client was happy with it.

Learned a lesson there. Actually I learned a couple but I'll go into those later.

Other things you don't want to hear when you deliver a project (I have heard them all at one time or another):

"That's not finished, is it?"

"Is that what I'm getting?"

"Wasn't that supposed to be lighter?"

"Oh, my husband/wife is going to have to look at this."

"Maybe you shouldn't bring it in just yet."

"Uhh … umm … err …"

"But what about the …?"

Feel free to add to the list.


Related Articles

That ain't workin'

I’ve been getting more and more frustrated in my attempts to find people who know how to work.

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.