New Policy @ AdvantageLumber

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This has been a most interesting thread.
I live about 85 miles away from Advantage Lumber in Rochester. I've been giving serious consideration to driving out to Advantage and loading up the car with lumber for my next few projects. I can get the lumber locally, but the prices aren't as good as Mr. Pelc's.
After reading this thread, I've decided not to make the trip and will spend my money at Pittsford Lumber instead. Even though I'd be picking up the lumber (and wouldn't be subjected to the $500 limit), I now won't consider making the trip based solely on principle. If Mr. Pelc wants only high-volume mail order customers, then that's his choice and I personally have no problem with it. But to start talking smack about a potential customer because she doesn't like your new policy, and then rip into Lee Valley for no good reason? I *do* have a problem with that. It leaves me with the impression that although you might sell me my lumber, my business would apparently be an inconvenience to you.
Enjoy your $4.75 canarywood, $3.95 Paduak, and $3.95 purpleheart...I suspect that it'll be sitting on the shelf a lot longer than it used to.
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I cannot believe the attack on Lee Valley. If a company wants to sell wood at $7,500 per board foot, that is between them and their customers.
I have had good luck with the folks at: http://www.hartzellwoodstock.bigstep.com /
I do not know what their minimum shipments might be because my order was fairly large. However, the wood quality was great and the board footage was generous.
--
dbchamber at hotmail spam dot com

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I purchased one order from your company, Rob. I was very happy with it and especially the ability to deal with smaller orders, have it delivered to my house at a reasonable cost, and even the way you dealt with me personably when I called with questions. I even recommended you to several of my friends, and pointed in your direction on this newsgroup.
Well, you make it sound like you're the best game in town and if we don't like it than "neener neener". That simply isn't true. For example, about 2 hours drive from me is the Connecticut Wood Group Hardwood Outlet in Enfield, CT. They have a very good selection of hardwood, although I admit it isn't quite as diverse as yours. Their prices are perhaps a bit higher than your listed ones (maybe 5% or so). The thing is, they don't have a minimum order. They have expensive milling equipment. They have hardwood plywood, moldings, etc. etc. And they bust their butt to help you when you come in to look around and buy lumber. Sure, I have to take a half-day to get my lumber. That's the only reason I ordered from you before - that and you had a special on the wood I needed at that time. You sure aren't going to get my business anymore, as you probably can tell (and likely don't care, considering your attitude shown here).
Honestly, it seems that you have lost touch with what a service business is about - the customer. If you wanted to avoid alienating people, why didn't you just raise prices to cover the costs on smaller orders? 5-10% for orders under 100 bf, or something like that? I generally understand the value of scale, and don't get too bent out of shape when I run into that. But, closing the door on your smaller customers completely just means we won't ever come knocking again.
Mike

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2
Wow. I went to woodfinder (www.woodfinder.com) and found out that CWG HO is 69 miles from me. I have gone out of my way to Highland Hardwood in Brentwood, NH for great selection and pretty good prices, but to save 50 miles and an hour's time sounds like a plan to me. I have an excellent lumber yard about 45 minutes from my home (Curtis Lumber in Ballston Spa, NY) that sells many exostics and domestics, but you can't buy it roughsawn. It's all S4S. Great if that's your thing, but I will not but S4S lumber, so I have to find it elsewhere.
At this point, I'm even way beyond buying lumber. I'll buy exotics like cocobolo, purpleheart, jatoba, etc. as long as I can get roughsawn, but for domestic species, I have loggers actively searching for species I want so I can saw them myself (on the Wood-Mizer) and air-dry. (meep-meep - vroooom!)
Note - blatant plugs for wood sources here are the findings of a satisfied customer. No affiliation, no SPAM, etc.
--
Jon Endres, PE
Reply To: wmengineer (at) adelphia (dot) net
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admit
But includes milling to thickness if desired.

They do expect you to buy the entire board. ;) Ed
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Rob Pelc wrote:

Hi Rob,
I have to say that I really didn't read Renata's post as bashing your company. If you noticed, it didn't take me very long, after reading about your change in policy, to see how I, as a walk-in customer, would be affected. Had your new policy included walk-ins, I too would have been upset. Not because I didn't understand the change, but because it would have become more difficult for me to take advantage of the services you offer.
I know that a business decisions like the one you've made is not easy. I also think you are over reacting to the criticisms this decision has generated. Although the comments may appear negative, perhaps they should be viewed as an indication of how your customer(s) have valued doing business with you.
Offering suggestions such as "couple an order with a friend or neighbor" is constructive. I can see you being defensive of the business decision you've made, but in my opinion, making disparaging remarks to potential customers and other retailers is extremely counter productive.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Definately.
But, if the policy is so new that the web site doesn't yet reflect it, and if *I* were the business, I'd fill *that* order and let them know that the policy has changed, and that they could pick up or combine future orders with friends.
That approach would show that 1: you honor your written (even if it's electronically so) word and 2: that you've thought enough about it to offer possible solutions and alternatives.
but then, i'm not a business owner... so what the heck do i know?
--
be safe.
flip
Verso l'esterno! Verso l'esterno! Deamons di ignoranza.
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Philip Lewis wrote:

You know enough to avoid starting a business. :)
I'm not a business owner either, and I like it that way.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Silvan wrote:

Oh? Not long ago you were discussing the difficulties of getting a dental appointment... And not knowing your work schedule... And having to get a load of yuppie furniture to its destination, no matter the weather... IIRC I got the impression you thought your bosses valued your life less than getting the cargo to the destination on time.
<g>
<eg>
I humbly suggest you *DO* *NOT* like it that way!!!!!!! ;-)
I had lunch today with someone whose friend got out of the stock market in January 2000 and put the money in treasury bills. It was just dumb luck. Never has to work another day of his life. Another guy at the table, in his early 40's, is apparently getting somewhat close to being able to spend his time sailing around the world. The oldest person at the table (early 50's) mentioned being owed > $300K by an internet company that had difficulties in the .com crash. Unlike many companies, they are still in business and have a settlement package on the table with him > $100K.
There are trillions and trillions and TRILLIONS of dollars out there. The question is, how do you get your hands on the amount that lets you live the way you want to live?
If you want to amass $1M & live off the interest you probably have just three options: - The lottery - Starting a business which becomes successful - Study & emulate people who "made it." I have met and talked with just one billionaire in my 44 years on this planet, Peter Daniels. He claims to have read and taken notes from over 500 biographies. (IIRC. He could have said "> 5000 biographies" in his talk. In 40+ years he could very well have done it.) http://www.peterdanielsonline.com /
BTW, I have read of bus drivers who were able to meet their financial goals. Instead of wasting time when they weren't driving they studied companies & made appropriate investments. Sure, they started small. Over a period of 25+ years, they paid off their homes, put their children through college, and built up a retirement nest egg.
------------------------
I have dreams I expect to achieve. My contributions to the "The Perfect Shop" threads indicate some of my expectations... <g>
-- Mark
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P.S.

To rub salt in an open wound <g> there is a tiny minority of people who have such services come to them at their convenience. Remember in the early days of the Clinton administration when a haircut aboard Air Force One shut down LAX?
What separates the CEO from a contract janitor?
-- Mark
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It is not I.Q. Mensans have scrubbed toilets of people driven away by chauffeurs.
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Anyone?
I have met people who lived in California and: - Flew from CA to the east coast of the USA on Monday. - Worked Tuesday - Thursday - Flew back to CA on Friday. And the company they worked for paid the tickets.
Why are most employees interchangeable at minimum wage or better, but a tiny fraction worth paying > 200K per year to only work 3 days per week as in my example?
-- Mark
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On Fri, 19 Dec 2003 06:45:53 GMT, "Mark Jerde"

Details.
I never made 200k a year, but in a past life flew all over the place to work. In one instance, I was a network guy, and another case I was a sound engineer. In either case, many average people could have developed the skills needed, but _I_ had the basics, and the specifics needed for the particular situation. For instance many people can mix live sound, only I knew the details for certain shows. In the case of the network stuff, much of the work can be done from afar, so if someone has to make the trip, something's in serious do-do.
One time, a three day weekend consisted of Boston to Hamilton, Bermuda, to Miami. Customs just loves you when you're there for one day. <G>
FWIW, I consider the travel _WORK_ when required by the job. The guy in the example above really did work five days. Not to mention the fact that on-site network days, and show days for the sound gig, were often 12-14 hours long. If I can't do my own thing at a specific time due to my boss's requirements, I consider that on-duty! <G> It's not the guy above could mow his lawn or go bicycling on Monday and Friday.
Barry
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Mark,
It's a matter of having specialized skills that are in high demand in a specific situation. High enough demand to where people will pay a lot for them. Toilet scrubbers are a specialized skill, but not in high enough demand to be worth that much, there are too many of them around.
I spent the first 18 years of my work life traveling over 100K miles a year. My record was while living in NY, I went to Salt Lake City for lunch on day and returned home to NY that night. I didn't do much, but I had the technical knowledge and the skill to explain it to the customer if needed. That's why the salesman justified bringing me along.
If I had children I would encourage them to be the best at what they do, and make sure that what they do for a living is in high demand and not a lot of people do it on the level they do.
Bernie
PS: On the flip side, there was a gentleman selling snow balls on a street corner the other day for $1. He did sell 6 of them, but I'm not sure that is a unique product with high demand. At least not in NYC when it's snowing, hahahaha.

tiny
my
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Sometimes it's smart to be the toilet scrubber. Comes the revolution, it's not the toilet scrubbers who tend to get strung up.
Did you ever see/read "I, Claudius"?
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Mark Jerde wrote:

Yeah, I do to. I may not love my job, but I have no desire to go into business for myself. As long as I'm working, I'll be working for someone else. Letting someone else get ulcers and pull his hair out and work 100+ hour weeks.
I hate risk. Going into business is like playing Russian roulette with five bullets in the cylinder.

You forgot
- get discovered, make a million bucks as Silvan the Schlong
<BSEG>

Bus drivers... Sure, but self-employed bus drivers? What does being self-employed, or an aversion to such, have to do with retiring at 35?
Anyway, set all the other arguments pro and con aside. The bottom line with business is that if *I* don't wholeheartedly *believe* I can do it, then I can't. There's never been anything I was prepared to put my ass on the line for. If I have doubts, you can bet my investors will have doubts too.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Rob,
Unfortunately, your response here has not helped your cause. While I can understand your postiion regarding making a profit, even the small order customers can make money for you. There's ways to do it. Your price structure should (and has, IIRC) reflect quantity discounts. For small orders, institute a handling fee, or raise the price per board foot.
I have been a customer of yours in the recent past, both mail order and walk-in (although the eight-hour drive for the walk-in was a pain), and while I have been satisfied with the service and the helpfulness of you and your staff, I guess your new policy will not allow me to be a customer of yours again. There's no way I can justify $500 worth of anything for the amount of woodworking I do, and I don't find myself in Buffalo very often.
FWiW, don't make it sound like you need to be self-employed for someone to understand your position. I have been running my own engineering company for several years, and the small jobs and short consultations are truly the bread and butter - they pay the bills, and allow me to concentrate on quality.
--
Jon Endres, PE
Reply To: wmengineer (at) adelphia (dot) net
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Jon Endres responds:

Reminds me of the good old days when Popular Science & Mechanix Illustrated were both open for shorts, one page or less, often one column and one photo. Used to love those things and they paid a lot of bills. Sure, I'd have made a lot more money if each article had been a feature, but that wasn't the way the world worked back then. If I pitched a feature idea and the editor wanted a short, I did a short. Next time around, he might have been more agreeable to seeing something longer from me, possibly even felt obligated for my helping him fill a hard-to-fill spot.
It works the same way today, much of the time, though with different magazines.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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You didn't do yourself any favors with this post, buddy. I've not been a customer of yours in the past -- and you may be assured that I won't be in the future, either.
Have a nice day.
snipped-for-privacy@iplogics.com (Rob Pelc) wrote:

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Dear Sir,
I'm surprised that you'd be so foolish as to "respond in kind" in a public forum that gets archived. Sounds like your company is privately held - as if it were public, you'd have been called to task for writing such a missive. If you were in my organization, you'd be dismissed for exercising such poor judgment.
We'll let the market dictate what happens next to your company. You may find respite, if the majority of your customers don't use Usenet.
In the spirit of trying to be helpful, I'd like to suggest a common, but effective, technique should this happen again. Next time you're irked by such a complaint, write a response with all the acerbic/caustic/vitriolic venom you can muster. Then put the response in your desk drawer (or save it in your "drafts" folder) unsent for 48 hours. After time expires, review your epistle and then decide whether you send it or delete it.
You're welcome.
In closing - you've not lost any business from me. But you've created quite an impression. One that I'll share should I overhear a potential customer asking about "Advantage Lumber".
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