March 14th, 2005 10:43 AM
A Moral Dilemma
A guy walks into the sporting goods store about two weeks ago with a duck under him arm an a brand new Nimvarus. He had just bought the knife and the edge was not to his liking. He was looking for someone who could sharpen the knife, but not scratch the black finish.
No problem, my fixture allows me to only touch the bevel, and I tape the machine thoroughly with blue painters' tape.
He tells me to begin work and he'll be back in one hour. I quote him a price of seven dollars.
In two hours, he has not appeared. I then get a panicked call that he had taken his wife to the doctor and now they were rushing her to the hospital.
(All the while the bone-head kept asking if the knife was sharp and if the black-ti was scratched.)
Like I said, two weeks have come and gone. He has not called, and I have not been paid. I am in a dilemma.
In Wisconsin, we have what is known as a 'mechanics' lien.' That is, if you secure a workman to fix your car or whatever, and you stiff him on his wages, he gets the car or whatever to liquidate. Usually the mechanic must wait 30 days.
However, he did tell me his wife was extremely ill, hence the rush, and for all I know he has been at her bed-side since the incident.
The knife is worth +150 bucks, and he only owes me seven dollars--but still, I operate a business.
I plan to wait 45 days to be fair. If I have not heard from this guy by then, I think anyone would assume that he's not coming back, he's not going to pay me or his affairs are of more importance.
What is your view? Be honest, it's an expensive knife. I'd like to also hear form people who own their own businesses. What about the duck?
March 14th, 2005 10:45 AM
I see nothing wrong with what you are planning you did the service and didnt get paid doesnt matter if its .25 or 100$$
March 14th, 2005 02:27 PM
Personally, I'd put it aside for at least six months before seizing it. I mean, it's seven bucks.
March 14th, 2005 02:38 PM
Got to sort of agree with this. Figuring it's not a big problem to store, you know you have something worth more than your services. Maybe you can split the differenced so far and make it at least 90 days.
Originally Posted by Erich
EOD - Initial success or total failure
March 14th, 2005 04:49 PM
Here I thought you were having a dilemma over the guy having you sharpen the knife he was going to use to cut up the duck.
Stuff happens. Could be his wife is fighting for her life. Maybe she is home but in hospice and the guy is overwhelmed. Maybe she died and he is overwhelmed. Who knows.
As for asking about possible scratches on the knife. People in shock will focus on the oddest things. I had a troop lying on the ground bleeding profusely from a head wound. All they were worried about was their M16 was getting dirty on the ground. One of the EMTs/Doctors on this site can certainly give more bizarre examples. Shock will do strange things to people.
Personally, I'd just keep it as part of my collection.
March 14th, 2005 05:08 PM
All this over 7 bucks??? you must be kidding.
Hold the guys knife for at least two years. Me, I would just hold it period.
March 14th, 2005 06:40 PM
ok, I'm still waiting on the punch line about the duck under his arm. Or am I missing something?
March 14th, 2005 06:54 PM
Ditto on the hold on to it (wrap it up and stuff it). You didn't say, but I assume he didn't leave a phone number else you would have tried calling him....right? I personally don't want anything I didn't pay for myself. If you want, it would probably be reasonable to tack on a storage fee!
March 14th, 2005 09:28 PM
You should post a large and easily visible sign at your location stating your exact policy for unclaimed & unpaid for merchandise. It should give an exact number of days that you are willing to wait before any unclaimed items will be sold. It should also state that you are not responsible for any hidden or unseen damage that may be present on any item brought to you for sharpening.
When a customer brings in an item they should be given a copy of a dated receipt with your letterhead at the top. You should (naturally) keep the other copy. They should bring that receipt with them when they pick up their item & there should be a place on that receipt for their signature after they inspect your work & judge that the work has been satisfactorily completed by you.
In addition it should include a Caution that your finished blade edges are EXTREMELY SHARP and need to be handled with extreme care.
Every person in business these days needs basic CYA insurance to help prevent possible problems.
I believe in Pennsylvania the "default" time for unclaimed items is 60 days from the time the item was left at the business location.
But, you need that DATED reciept to prove exactly WHEN that 60 day period had begun.
Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ
March 14th, 2005 09:32 PM
I realize this might sound callous, this is why I mentioned the wife. It is also not the first time.
A group of clients was standing in front of my set-up area at Gander-West. A man who identified himself as a 'returning solder' gave me a knife to sharpen. It was a six dollar job. I returned the knife, and began the next job. When I looked up again, the 'soldier' was gone.
A client asked me to sharpen two knives for 13 dollars and he would pick them up the next day. I left the knives in Gander-East only to find out his sister picked them up the next day--without paying for them. (To the guy's credit, when he found out his sister had failed to pay, he did return a week later with the money.)
A man who identified himself as a police officer had his knife sharpened and asked to go to the front of the store to make change for a twenty. Guess what.
I now hang onto the knives as collateral. But the issue remains, that is, no payment.
Now I suppose that to many of you it means, "Hey, a free knife."
Well, I also sell knives. Knives to me are 'items for sale.' Sure, I collect knives, but this job is my job. I worked and got stiffed. I will not recover money unless the knife is sold or he returns. And BTW, I usually have four or five knives in my case, for sale, every day. The Nimvarus might be a good knife, but 'unsold' it's just a black hunk of steel I have to lug around.
Due to the story about his wife I more apt to wait longer and hope all goes well for her health and his honesty.
But think of your livliehood and your clients. You do a job, and they pat you on the shoulder and say, "Catch you real soon." I was a bill collector, and I tell you from experience, unless you collect in full at the completion of a job, you will have losses.
So there it sits, one black knife, a reluctance to sell it for money I legitemately have coming and a hearts and flowers story about his wife. Should this be my standard response? At this rate, I'll soon have a six months unsold stock of used knives and no cash.
I should have grabbed the duck...
March 14th, 2005 09:40 PM
Where i work its cash and carry you show me the cash or i carry my butt back to the service van sure its rough but we are a bizz same as you..
We used to do payments recourse billing etc etc when ya stop getting paid and you have to figure out how to keep 147 van with parts and the guys in them on the road daily..
Kind of like gas you pay for it before or after you pump most places wont let ya pump and leave for free..
The Tourist is a busisness man i used to do side work and ended up with stuff sitting here becuse after i told them how much they said fix it ad never came back to pay for it and pick it up 30 to 45 days is a reasonable wait...
i under stand the guys wife might be sick i say might be becuse ive heard it all when it comes time to pick up and pay ... i know i sound like a hard ass but ya only get burned so many times
March 14th, 2005 10:17 PM
And 'burned' is the way I feel. I made this deal because the wife was sick, and to tell the truth, I don't even know if the wife exists.
What benefit does this shell game have to the client?
Most likely he doesn't have the seven bucks. Sounds silly, but he bought a cappuccino, a lottery ticket, a tank of gas or another knife and realized he was a tad short. Rather than penalize himself and cut back a donut or two, he hangs me with the knife (hoping I'm honest and don't sell it) while he gets an interest-free period to kite his credit.
The dilemma is mine. There might be a wife. I might be a sucker, but there just might be a crisis.
The dilemma is 'when' not 'if' to liquidate the knife for my family. Who knows, if the knife sells I get to make 150 bucks for a ten minute job. Yeah, I wish.
Oh, don't worry, I'll ship it to Bumper so the bidding is fair...
March 14th, 2005 10:45 PM
March 14th, 2005 11:09 PM
Be careful what you wish for.
I have a mercurial and intense rage, built over long-suffering. I do reach a limit. This guy may indeed finally get my goat.
And you may eat your words.
One day you might get an invoice from Bada Bing Cutlery Emporium for 14 bucks, plus 5 for S/H, and 5.5% for tax.
On the bright side you get a Nimvarus with a mirror edge.
Of course, if that blessed knife needs a re-sharpening, you'll pay in advance!
1, 2, 3.
Once burnt, twice shy, triple tap.
March 15th, 2005 01:32 AM
Originally Posted by Erich
Ditto, I would wait for quite awhile. If his circumstances were not pretty serious he would have come back for it. Why add to his misery?
Originally Posted by rstickle
Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.
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