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
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:
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
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.
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
I have to say that I really didn't read Renata's post as bashing your company.
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
been upset. Not because I didn't understand the change, but because it would have
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
negative, perhaps they should be viewed as an indication of how your customer(s) have
doing business with you.
Offering suggestions such as "couple an order with a friend or neighbor" is
can see you being defensive of the business decision you've made, but in my opinion,
disparaging remarks to potential customers and other retailers is extremely counter
Buffalo, NY - USA
(Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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?
Verso l'esterno! Verso l'esterno! Deamons di ignoranza.
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.
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
- 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
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>
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
What separates the CEO from a contract janitor?
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
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
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.
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.
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,
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+
I hate risk. Going into business is like playing Russian roulette with five
bullets in the cylinder.
- get discovered, make a million bucks as Silvan the Schlong
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 < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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
Jon Endres, PE
Reply To: wmengineer (at) adelphia (dot) net
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.
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal."
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
Have a nice day.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Pelc) wrote:
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.
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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