I can see that my point was totally missed. My intention was not to
bash anyone or attack any company. Although I clearly see how it was
taken that way given the high strung enthusiasm here including my own.
I have always enjoyed dealing with the smaller customers for a $5
sale, $100 sale or whatever. But the truth is that we cannot make a
profit on wrapping up a small order and shipping it out with the
current system that we have. We still welcome small walk in sales.
I was upset at Reneta accusing my company of not caring about the
That was my loosely used definition of "bashing". For 10 years I have
always been polite and helpful to a ton of small customers that have
ordered mail orders or walk-ins. We have been forced to put in place
the $500 minimum for orders shipped out because of the time it takes
to pull a order, being that we currently have too much wood in too
little space.....NOT because we do not care about the "little guys".
Because in all honesty they are much more fun to deal with, chat about
woodworking, and buy small woodworking projects from. For us to
package & ship out a order under $500 cost us money at the small
margins we operate at, given our current setup. It was explained that
the $500 minimum was most probably temporary until we get a better
system in place for handling the smaller orders, which includes adding
more space. We have not "forgotten about the little guys" as we still
and always will welcome walk-ins. I got emotional over the issue
because of my high regard for the "little guys" and for that I am
toll free 1-877-232-3915
email@example.com (Renata) wrote in message
This is a tough crowd here, as I'm sure you've noticed. Forgiveness
isn't one of it's virtues, I'm afraid.
Why not add a S&H charge to cover expenses for smaller orders? Wouldn't
that be a win/win solution? If you product prices are comparatively
low, then additional charges for S&H might be palatable to the small
There are a number of methods for charging:
1. Charge 'actual' shipping charges
2. Charge a set fee for handling (Ignoring your actual shipping charge)
3. Charge a set fee for handling, plus actual shipping charges
3. Charge a set fee for handling, based on several purchase total ranges
, with the higher fees charged to larger orders.
4. Charge a set fee for handling, based on several purchase total ranges
, with the higher fees charged to SMALLER orders.
I've never figured out why some companies charge MORE S&H for the more
expensive order, while others reduce or eliminate the S&H charge
entirely for larger orders.
Many places provide charts based on the customer's address so that they
can see what "zone" they will be charged for...
Look at Amazon: orders over $25 - no charge
To keep the "little guy" happy, perhaps you could ship ANY size order,
as long as everyone is aware of a fair, SET pricing structure for S&H.
I've ordered items totaling as little as $18 and gladly paid the
shipping charges, because I need the items. IF the company said, that
no we can't send you those things, because it's too small of an order,
I'd be pretty frosted! Percentage wise, I know I'm taking a big hit on
S&H for a small order, but that's MY DECISION. Don't take that option
away from your customers, is my humble suggestion.
Rob Pelc wrote:
In fairnes I am sure you know but I will mention it. Rob was not the
first ot bring LV into this. (Renata) He was not even the second. (Mike)
And his response was limited to the scope of this thread. And RL
himself pointed out they do not try to be a wood supplier. It was
unfair and wrong to bring them into this. If you want to compare apples
to apples, compare his customer relations to other wood suppliers. (Oh
yeah, newsgroup mentality.) They are few and far between. It is a tough
business, look at all the cheapos they get. Tough because wood is not
exclusive such as your own branded tools and selection. All RP has to
compete on is price. And it is the customers who pushed it on him. Or
would you all agree to pay 40 dollar handling fee on any order under 150
dollars. Thought not. And sure people can suggest RP institute some
shipping and handling policy. But look at what gets said about others
who did, they have been bashed about. No matter what somebody does, if
it comes up in a newsgroup, and it is an extra charge, your fried. Any
other big mail order store come to mind not yet mentioned? Duh! They
were losing too much, on too many little orders and had to do something.
Cheapos. And I don't mean the store.
This is like a high speed race through a city and a pedestrian getting
But there are reasons why things cost less and why things cost more.
Deal with it. And it is nice, LV at least has this stuff in stock. And
it is all nice "select" stuff worthy of the price.
Heck this is a newsgroup. I am sure that only one out of ten people
vowing not to go to AL for wood, will so in the end. The other nin will
work around the limit. Newsgroup mentality. Scheese.
If I won the lottery I don't know if I would be a bigger nut opening a
tool store, or a lumber store?
What would you do?
Customers, gotta love'm.
Actually, I was the first to bring LV into this as an example of good
customer service (outstanding more like it).
I don't care if a company is selling lumber, tools, widgets, or
watchamacallits, good customer relations are good customer relations. In
that sense, I feel the comparison is valid.
As I always enjoy a good argument, I finally finished reading this
string and have the following comments.
I think y'all have been a bit rough on Rob here. He's trying to run a
business, plain and simple - and to stay in business he has to make
choices which may cut several ways. Anyone can understand that small
orders that require shipment are labor intensive, and either he now
has the pricing, processes and employees in place to make small orders
profitable or he doesn't. It appears he doesn't. One of two things
will happen as a result of his decision on minimum order size, (1) his
sales volume/profits will decrease materially and he will change the
policy or put in place processes so he can profitably handle small
orders, or (2) he won't miss the small order business, and can
concentrate on being, and remaining, profitable and competitive in
price on the business he is prepared to accept.
This is America, a great country, and neither Rob, or anyone else out
there who is a consumer of hardwoods, has to do business with each
other. Frankly, I don't think a minimum mail/shipment order of $500
is unreasonable at all. That's about 100 bd ft of 4/4 cherry, maybe
15 twelve foot boards. There are other internet operations that do
have the shipping/employee/process capability to fill 1 or 2 board
orders so I don't know what everyone has their knickers in a knot
over. Come to central New Jersey and see what the local suppliers get
for 4/4 cherry - how about $6.75.... that, to me, is unreasonable, but
its my choice to buy or not to buy. So I didn't, I saved up my money
for a few months, rented a box van and drove to central PA and bought
a mixed load of 1200 bd ft of 4/4 kd lumber - hard maple @3.50/ft,
cherry @4.40/ft and poplar @1.55/ft from a sawmill that has a kiln and
now I have an inventory to work off. Its called a free market, so all
you whiners make your choices and stop busting this guy's chops and
acting like victims on Jerry Springer or Oprah - everybody is a victim
nowadays. I think Rob's prices are competitive, I hope he continues
to be successful in his business so he can stay competitive and I wish
him well. If my pickup ever gets up to his neck of the woods, I'll be
sure to stop buy and get some of his quarter sawn white oak.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Pelc) wrote in message
You make some good points except you kinda missed the target. It was not
about the new policy - it's about his attitude and publicly bashing
customers and the way he handled the situation. He got zero points for
We are not whining - we're telling him that he can make his business
decisions and live and die by them (and he will) but with an attitude like
he's expressed here, well.... let's be kind and say he didn't fare well.
He's now publicly set the tone for the way he wants to do business and many
of us don't care to deal with that kind of attitude. It's Jekyll and Hide
time if you read his posts.
He'll be lucky if this little diatribe of his isn't picked up by the local
newspapers. I doubt he's gained any customers from this, surely he's lost
some and that was by his own hand.
Right, Bob! This is the FIRST time in the annals of history that
somebody has made an unpopular statement in a newsgroup! I'm sure that
he'll be the focus of this week's Sixty Minutes, entitled, "I had the
audacity to tick off the denizens of the Wreck". The follow-up show
will show him living incognito in a small villa in Spain. GET REAL!
Bob S. wrote:
Snip self-serving drivel...
If you've read the whole thread, then surely you've found very few
criticizing Advatange Lumber's business decisions to have a minimum
order amount. Some might quibble about the cut-off point, but that's
OTOH, this thread has been almost entirely about a diatribe against an
established customer. In a public forum, no less, which certainly does
nothing positive for expanding his customer base. Not to mention
denigrating a businessman who has shown an outstanding devotion to
customer service, including stocking very low-profit, small quantity
Maybe it's a simple matter of finding a way to reduce the repetitive work
required to fill the small orders, rebuild your price accordingly and
continue to service the little guy as you've done all along. For as long as
I've been playing in this sand box, you're the one aimed at as the place to
get wood when there's not a local supplier....you're reputation ('till now)
was hard earned and highly respected.
I know for me, the majority of my purchases are 10 bd ft here, and ten
there. I'm a hobbyist after all, I don't "turn out work". I expect to pay a
bit more for this and I don't expect to be serviced the same as a guy who's
buying thousands of bd ft/month. But I do expect to be able to buy wood and
I don't expect there to be a minimum order. The place I buy my wood now
isn't geared for the little guy and has to move entire lifts for me. I try
and go in with a friend who's also buying in order to justify their
overhead...You can guess where I go when it's time to buy 100 bd ft (or
Like I said, maybe it's a simple matter of re-packaging the portion of the
work that actually costs money and seeing if you can't continue to provide
the service you've become known for.
Remove CC for email and please visit our web site:
One last beating of the dead horse...
(who still hasn't made it to Exotic Lumber for her cherry because the
neighbor who offered use of her truck got tied up yesterday, and my
annual holiday get to gether with the plumber (dang drain clogged
right on schedule) is today. See, this is why I like mail order -
order it and it arrives on your doorstep, no fuss, no muss).
On 19 Dec 2003 06:11:26 -0800, email@example.com (Rob Pelc) wrote:
I that case, you blew it.
Perhaps in the heat of the moment you did read more into my responsce
than was actually there, but there's no doubt your reply was an attack
And, as a business owner you have more to lose when you let loose,
than someone casually posting some diatribe about politics, etc.
My posting simply stated your new policy on a forum where I know a
number of folks woulda been interested in the info. In that posting I
also let your casual dismissal of small orders be known because I had
a bit of an issue with that. (Remember when on the phone I said
"There are gonna be a number of folks on rec.ww'g that are gonna be
unhappy". and you (or your assistant) replied, "I don't think so" in a
sort of condescending tone?) <-crux of my issue
Your subsequent posting on this group attacking me (and Lee Valley)
made clear your disregard for us (wRECk'rs) as your customers. Your
trying to back pedal out of it is kinda disingenuous and doesn't
really fit your words from before. Perhpas you should heed the advice
someone posted about filing away your response for a couple days,
** To be clear, one last time - my issue was with your attitude, not
your business decision. You compounded that bad attitude in your
It's very nice that you've gotten so successful that you can only
afford to deal with large customers. I presume you're more careful
with your words around them since they're quite important to you.
Because you apparently no longer can afford to care about them.
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