Columnists, Tyler Mahan, V3I4

The Customer is Always Right…

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage about customer service, which eloquently states, “The customer is always right.” If you’ve been delivering sheds for a while, you know that rule can be broken.

Vance and I headed out early one morning to a nearby city to build a building for a customer in an Orscheln’s parking lot. This was back in the early days of my experience, so probably around 2005 or 2006. The days of Redbox-like DVD rental was in its infancy, and our customer wanted to build a drive-up DVD rental building. In order to house the machine he had purchased, he needed an 8 by 8 with a 9-foot sidewall. Talk about a goofy looking building!

Before I go too far in this saga, let me introduce you to our customer. (Name is withheld to protect myself from any kind of legal action.) He was the son of a local oil man. His father had quite a lot of money, and the son was allowed to “invest” it in several different ventures.

As is the case with anyone investing someone else’s money, he wasn’t nearly as concerned about making a profit as he was with doing cool new stuff. Some might call him a spoiled brat. I didn’t say that, but some might.

So, our customer met us in the Orscheln’s parking lot early that morning and showed us where to begin. Vance made sure he knew exactly where to put the building, because we were going to anchor it to the asphalt.

After reassuring Vance that it was indeed where he wanted it, he asked us if we could build it without the floor so it would be as low as possible. No problem, right? Except, remember this is on a parking lot. It was sloped quite a lot. Vance explained to him that we would just build the frame and shave it so the corner on the uphill side would sit right on the ground and the downhill side would level it out.

The customer left and we began the work of fitting the floor exactly to the asphalt. It took some time, but we got it setting pretty and anchored down before the customer returned. When he got out of his vehicle, I could tell something was wrong.

“That isn’t going to work right there,” he said. What?!?

Nope, he wanted us to move the floor over about 2 feet. Seriously. Out in the middle of a huge parking lot, he wanted us to move the floor we had just spent a couple hours on about 2 feet.

Of course, being the company that we are, we did it. He was a happy camper, and we’ve done work for him since then.

The moral of the story is that customers are not always right. Even though we put the building right exactly where he wanted it, it wasn’t right. You, too, will probably run into the occasional wrong customer. Be alert!


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