This story (and most of my stories) are from when I owned Ponier Music.
Ponier Music does repairs on just about every type of instrument. For woodwind and brass instruments, we have an excellent repair person who lives very close to our Kennesaw location. If you drop your horn off at the Marietta store, it gets shuttled over to the Kennesaw store. Our repair guy picks it up/drops off over there and then it’s shuttled back to Marietta. Ponier Music employees are trained to say “Our repairs usually take one week or less, but we can’t guarantee the time.” I’ve been told this is about two weeks faster (and cheaper) than our local competition.
Friday afternoon several years back, a customer walks in with a clarinet repair. I help fill out the paperwork at the counter and off he goes. Now let’s fast forward to Monday morning……
I get a phone call from a customer asking if his clarinet repair is ready. I head over to the completed repairs shelf and ask for the name. I don’t see any completed clarinet repairs and tell the customer “It’s not back from the shop yet but we’ll call you just as soon as we have it.” The man begins to get agitated and tells me he was promised the repair by Monday. I asked his name again and asked him “When did you bring the horn in?” His response was “Friday morning.” A little bell went off in my head. “Wait a minute” I said, “I remember you. I was the person who helped you Friday morning. I wrote that repair up.” “OK.” Was his reply, “Then you were the one who told me it would be back by Monday morning.”
“Sir, I hate to argue with you, but perhaps you are remembering incorrectly? There is no way I would have said that. I’m the owner of the store. I know the policy because I’m the one who sets it. If you spoke to anyone else, I’d be saying I wasn’t there. I don’t know what was said and I wouldn’t doubt your word for a moment, but since I was the one that helped you, I’m pretty confident I didn’t tell you I’d have your repair back by the next business day.” The customer wasn’t having any of it! He started getting loud on the phone. “YES YOU DID!!! YOU PROMISED ME YOU WOULD HAVE MY CLARINET BY MONDAY MORNING!!!”
That’s when a 2nd little bell went off in my head. I had a great idea right at the exact moment when I needed a great idea. “I know how we can figure this out!” I said. “I’ll make a bet with you. Behind my counter we have a camera that records all the conversations. You and I, we can watch that video together. If I promised that horn repair by Monday, your repair will be free. If I didn’t, your repair will be double. What do ya say?” Well guess what readers? That changed his tune real fast. “Uhhh…..perhaps I’m not remembering correctly. Just call me when the horn is done.” He said and hung up.
And boy am I’m glad he did! Because the thing of it was…………I was bluffing. Back then, our cameras only recorded video, not audio.