Hello! A long post ahead!

I received an email from a chap who wanted me to setup a secondhand Sigma he'd just bought. He is in quite bad health, so I offered to pick it up and drop it back off as he is quite local to me. At his home, I check over the guitar and he said he'd experienced some buzzing on the plain strings. The high-E slot was cut quite low and he had quite a heavy flat-picked technique. So, I took the guitar away, set it up, filled/recut the high E slot, and returned it to him. I did this for a very reasonable price (and no charge for drop-off/pick-up), as I felt it was a good thing to do for someone elderly & housebound.

A few days later he sent quite a grumpy email saying that I'd done very little, in fact had just spent a long time playing with the truss rod. He wanted the strings raised up. I called on him and took a look at the guitar. I played it. He played it. It was fine. I mean, these things are all subjective, I know. He said he could hear this definite buzzing sound on the plain strings. He was used to playing nylon strings. My guess is that he didn't like the tonal difference between the wound strings and the plain: it wasn't really a buzz at all. I offered my opinion and asked him to play the guitar in for a little bit and see how he felt.

A couple of days later, another email. He said he really thinks we should replace the nut. That I should do this for £10. And that, in his opinion, the treble strings needed to be raised 2.5-3.0mm at the nut. Alarm bells are going off! Klaxons are wailing!

After some thought, I emailed back saying I didn't think the guitar needed any additional work; that raising the nut would make it considerably harder to play (bearing in mind he's quite a frail man); and if he wanted it done he'd need to find someone else to do it.

He wrote back saying that he felt like I'd ripped him off and that I should do what he asked. That is when I really knew I'd never ever be able to help this guy out. I said no. I sent him a refund cheque and I've not heard from him since. Thank God.


Looking back, I can see how I could've been better. Not in terms of the actual work, but in communicating and actually getting to the heart of the problem. It's difficult to gauge other person's knowledge and when you might actually be talking at cross purposes. Sometimes, If I explain things in very basic terms, the customer might feel like I'm talking down to them.

And, in the end, it's very hard to say, "Well, if someone who knew what they were doing asked me to raised the nut 2.5mm, I'd do it. But not for you, sorry."

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Sometimes there's no winning.  It sounds as though you did the best you could do under the circumstances ...including refunding the gentleman's money.

In this case, the guy (being elderly and ill) sounds lonely. He didn't particularly want (or need) the guitar work as much as just some human interaction.  And whether it's good conversation over a coffee or a railing against your efforts... it's all one-on-one to him.

If life had permitted, it might've been interesting to raise the strings (as he requested) just to see the reaction, and it's probably fairly predictable: it still wouldn't have been good enough for him ...but it continues the dialog.  

You've cut your losses and escaped with your sanity! 

Keith don't kick yourself for being a good guy!

It's been my experience that it's pretty common in our business for Luthiers to hurt ourselves often by not knowing when to say no to someone.  We reject work daily.  The reasons could be something that we don't want to do, something that we don't do such as full refinishing, and even at times we reject work because our read of the client is that they resemble a certain part of the anatomy.....

It's been our experience that if we suspect that something is going to stink down the road it likely will.... and then some.

What's made the difference for us in a huge way and made use more profitable too is to stop trying to be all things to all folks.  If someone acts like a jerk coming in send them out the door....  OTOH there are plenty of people who respect our abilities and what it took to get here that they are a pleasure to work for.

Thanks, Hesh. And you're right about people who do appreciate what we do.

In fact, a day or so my last conversation with this fella, I had a call from a regular who'd just been given money by his record label to get a new guitar from a custom builder. They'd set up it up in the shop, but he said he'd bring it right around as he knows and trusts my work, and if I'd be able to give it a once over. In the end, very little needed done but it was a nice boost at a time I was feeling a bit low about all this!

Very cool Keith and good timing too.  We get compliments from our clients at times and I always really feel fortunate when that happens!

Hi Keith,

I'm in business,I don't need to seek approval nor need to feel loved by my clients and customers, I do however need to be respected.

So, they, the customers  are here because they need me to work for them.  I do not apologize or genuflect for other's ignorance, faulty work or the disasters which are cheap Asian guitars or the work of well meaning amateurs.   I do not ask why people treat us or our skill sets like we are below motor mechanics or plumbers in the pecking order. 

In short, use your good judgement, acknowledge your training and don't pay for idiots to abuse you.   If you did good work and and a fool refuses to accept that, it's their problem.    Every time you roll over to the ill informed, or basic  idiot,  you encourage them to breed.

Enjoy being disliked by the 1% of the customer population that make up our bad customers and act accordingly.


Keith, I have a few thoughts raised by your thread.

Some are directly related to the thread, whilst others come from discombobulating memories, strongly prompted by it.

Never the less, the lessons learnt, will I trust, prove to be equally of both illumination and benefit. Furthermore, many of the thoughts are factors that hitherto have not been raised at all, so I trust will amplify and extend the practical usefulness of the thread.



Producers, Recording Engineers, Mastering Engineers, Record Company Executives, Artist and Repertoire Personnel, Act Managers, Concert Promoters, Conductors, Musical Directors, Artists, Band Members, Musicians, Musical Instrument Manufacturers, Bespoke Instrument Luthiers, Instrument Retailers and Musical Instrument Repairmen...   


Will eventually face the  paradoxicality of this axiomatic truism.

The most deeply burning issues and the most perplexingly difficult problems one faces in the job one does professionally, are in reality, nothing whatever to do with the actual job at all.

They are people problems, dealing with inter-personal relations, and come down to how to deal with specific characters, personalities, individuals and situations.

In others words the technical and practical skills one has trained and honed, have little to nothing to do with this.

It's really all about the HOW of dealing with individuals in exceptional circumstances.

In particular "problem" people in problem situations.



Hest and Rusty have as one expects from experienced experts of their calibre, delivered the best answers, straight from the shoulder.

However, these approaches and stances are largely contingent on being able from the very outset, to smell a rat, assess, detect and determine all the potential pitfalls involved, both with a specific task, and just as important (perhaps more so) a specific person.



The problems I want to write about are somewhat different from that, being rather more subtle.

That is what I mean by extending and amplifying the thread. Its the problem of when you are experienced, have immediately smelt all the rats, and been satisfied you exterminated them from the outset, dealt with all the potential pitfalls possible.

Yet ultimately, you find yourself having been quite deliberately deceived, sucked in by someone, perhaps someone in a highly respectable position, and now find yourself in a position where you need to perform the task, but under circumstances you would have never, ever  normally accepted. The people involved of course have realised this from the start, so that's why they don't deal with you honestly, in a straight forward way.

They enact ploys to manipulate and manoeuvre to get you to do what they want!



Obviously, difficult personalities are readily indentified, so easy to avoid, if unpleasant to deal with.

It's the seemingly needy, seemingly reasonable, seemingly straightforward individuals that are not obvious at all, but none the less, extremely subtle and deeply manipulative that are initially hard to identify as such, that will usually catch one out and will more often than not, leave one, feeling burned, long after the encounter.

This thread brings memories of working on Projects for Registered Charitable Organisations, where I have done thorough feasibility studies and laid out clear plans that were fully agreed to by all. Only once one was fully on board, involved and committed, (where to pull out would have had a highly detrimental effect to many dependant volunteers and of course Concert Ticket Purchasers), did clearly laid out goal posts suddenly get moved, always at the very last, most crucially critical moment, and without any proper consultation and discussion at all.

This practise, repeated again and again by certain individuals but spread broadly over many years, (which is why it can be hard to clearly detect and often involving money)  when trying to help a good cause one believes in, could only been properly understood once a clear pattern of behaviour emerged over a sustained timeframe. Because, of the seeming plausibility and seeming reasonableness of the people involved, the trust you place in them and the fact that we by nature, tend to attribute the sterling values we ourselves possess, projecting them onto others, assuming that they too, have the same values as us.

This is a huge mistake, as particular individuals (sometimes in highly responsible positions) often don't share the same values, which are common to most people, and that's probably why they are where they are. Thus you can more easily than its possible to imagine, eventually find yourself manipulated in such a way to find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Whatever you do, in such situations, you could easily  be painted as the bad guy, if you appear to let everyone down, simply by withdrawing.

So in regard to the thread theme, don't be surprised if your Client portrays that view. It's a psychological lever such people use to get what they want. Whereas, coming back to the personal case I was describing, in point of fact, the Organiser/s knew from the outset I would have never taken the task on, if they had honestly made their eventual intentions for particular aspects of the Project, crystal clear at the outset, as of course, I had done myself.

So from the outset they knew they would need to deceivingly, manipulate me. They did  eventually find they would pay a high price indeed for carrying on in such a way in the finality as things would fall out, but in the meantime, all one can do is the Best Job one can in the circumstances, and as Professionally as one can with one's head held high.

And without disturbing the many others involved, as collateral damage, people who have come to depend upon you to fully deliver, for a really good cause. Ensuring the Event is a Great Success! (A side effect of which is that the people that messed things about want to keep on working with you).



Here's the thing.

Such people trade on Goodwill.

Playing on the fact that you were well brought up.

That you possess deeply instilled good values and are a straight arrow.

They use all the Best Qualities of your natural humanitarianism against you for their own ends.

A good cause, helping needy others, a strong feel good factor are all usually elements involved with these people.

Often, where some individuals are concerned (and may be so perhaps in the case of your client), in the finality, there is a revelation that emerges, there was plenty they could have done to help themselves, with in fact, plenty of resources available to them.

But all that was hidden from you at the time and they gave an impression that made them appear to need far greater help, than they really did. So feeling Burnt, Manipulated and Used, and eventually distancing oneself and wanting nothing whatever to do with such people in the future, is the common end for those like both you and myself who genuinely try to help such Individuals or Organisations.

Hence you wrote: "I sent him a refund cheque and I've not heard from him since. Thank God." Which the latter of those (Large Organisations) are of course, run by seemingly successful individuals, that none the less appear to need substantial help, in a noble, worthy and very good cause indeed. 



The thing to note here is... 

Your Natural Good Will, all Your Best Human Qualities.

Are the Actuating Hinge Pin that Swings Open a Door that allows such people to Take Advantage of You.

The Best, Kindest most Helpful People are the ones that get most easily taken advantage of, so that says Something Wonderful about YOU!



That's the positive you can take from this.

Let's now focus directly on this singularly, solipsistic, customer.

Reading your original post, my instinctive hunch was that from the outset, the Repair the client thought was appropriate, genuinely expected and actually wanted you to make, was to Cut a New Nut.

Although the Repair you enacted, was completely effective, less time consuming, easier and as a consequence, much cheaper indeed for the client. My guess would be that "in his head" there was some distance between his closeted, undisclosed, expectations, and what he ended up with.

Thus, after you had done the job, he found himself thinking about it and somewhat frustrated by that. The more he dwelt upon it the more unacceptable he found it, so started to try to find fault and reason to complain, where there was indeed no fault whatever. This is the clue to a "head problem". For all the problems were actually within himself.

Usually with "people problems" they always are. What's the lesson here?  Doing what you believe is the best thing for the Client is not necessarily the best thing for you or your business. Better to give a range of options, at a range of likely cost, from the simple "Quick Fix" to the "As New" Solution and Very Clearly Present Them, then insist the Client Decide and Choose for themselves what they want.




This isn't always a easy thing to do, especially if you are in a Master / Novice situation.

Where it appears obviously clear to you with an old, cheap, second hand Instrument, what is the Cost Effective Solution.

The thing is, if the customer is given clear a choice, he may chose the more expensive option he really wants because he can afford to (even if appearances on the surface seem entirely to the contrary) which is a direct financial benefit to your business.

You would have probably gone for the easiest, cheapest Solution, (and did) so have nothing whatever to lose here. You can only gain in this scenario of available alternatives. But the Client has the Freedom of Choice, which psychologically, is a Big Thing.

It Empowers the Novice, in a situation where they probably feel at great disadvantage in experience, (so often keep their mouth shut instead of declaring what they expect or want) but deep down inside they may indeed strongly feel they do know what they want, what is the best, lasting Solution, and may indeed be right about that.

If you really think about it, the Best Most Perfect Solution to this job, is indeed to Cut a New Nut. The customer may well know this, even if they don't want to pay for that extra work. Directly asking them, "what would you like me to do?" Provides an ideal opportunity for them to be entirely open and clear, if they have something at the back of their mind. Which they may indeed have and often do.

So this point is really about being a Great Listener. An all too rare personal quality and trait. It's about providing an obvious opening and opportunity for what may be a complete muddle in their head, to be given a proper voice.



Giving a Choice, places the Critical Onus of a Clear Decision upon them.

If at the end of the day they are not happy, you can say, "Hang On, I have done the job YOU CHOSE out of the available alternatives that you were presented with. They are responsible for the choice they made!

Making clear recommendations is Good Practise, but allowing the Client the Opportunity to Say what is in the back of their head, (which they will often have difficulty in elucidating clearly) is also Good Practise, as is affording the Freedom to Choose Different Options, at a wide range of varying Prices.

Often Clients will want and try to Delegate the Responsibility for making these choices to the Luthier. Knowing the Client, their Preferences and Playing Attack can help enormously where there is a long standing relationship. If you don't know the Client, placing them in a position where after giving Advice, Guidance and a Clear Recommendation, THEY are forced to make the Significant Choices regarding the Repair, and choose the concomitant cost, and where you simply enact their wishes, is a great safety net.

If they subsequently want further work, you are starting again from the position of a completely new job, as they chose what was done earlier and you performed what they requested, not from the position of them accusing "you have decided to do X and Y but I need Z done, to be happy with the Instrument."

They are given the Privilege of Choice, and bear a Direct Responsibility for its perceived and subjective, success or failure, by themselves, after the fact.



I could tell many Great Stories regarding the benefits of Directly Empowering the Customer.

Even when you know what you are going to sell them. Exactly what is going to happen, from the moment you encounter them. It's strange how that sixth sense, seems to work for me.

But Giving the Power to the Customer also gives them the Full Responsibility for the Result. If they have been given Clear Alternatives and Personally Made the Choice, in my experience they are far less inclined to ever find something to complain about. For you simply did the job they chose to be done.



And after all.

To do so, would be to call into question their own judgement.

Having ones judgement called into question by others, really riles with most people, in my experience.

Calling one's own judgement into question is thus tempered and counter balanced by the wish at all costs to avoid appearing in the blinding glare of a powerfully, negative light of their own decision.



So Make Recommendations, and Provide Alternatives  where ever it is possible.

But always allow the customer an opportunity to expose what may be completely hidden away in the back of their head, and for fragments of that to gradually tumble out. Often if you listen to people well, they will tell you interesting things, that are useful and helpful to you to know and understand.

In reality what they really want may already be clear to them, albeit they are hopelessly insecure and hesitant in giving voice to it. Ultimately, their sense of satisfaction  with the Guitar, with the job you have done and with your yourself, may all hinge on actually discovering at the start of the job, what is going on in their heads, scrambled and somewhat muddled though it might be.



The very best Record Producers (and I myself) use what we call "Pre-Production Meetings" rather than going straight into a Recording Studio.

It's at such meetings that an opportunity is afforded to find out what's in an Artists Head. What they are all about. The Expectations and Directions they want the Sessions to take.

The  Producer can also share in a similar manner. Hopefully, by establishing a reciprocal understanding and finding solid common ground. A clear path forward emerges that provides a united confidence in one another, a boost in morale and a psychological boost that can make all the difference to the Success of the Sessions.

If all that makes sense, then what I am  commending is a very basic, hugely scaled down version of what is essentially the self same scenario. There is listening and sharing and a respectful interchange of thoughts where the emergence and establishment of an agreed path is possible.

One that possesses the lasting beauty of a bilateral symmetry of understanding and agreement.



An Artist can have a Hit without a Big Producer.

A Big Producer can give an Artist a Hit regardless of their Talent.

But the Best, Sustainable, Lasting Results, with Lots of Hits come from a Mutually Respectful Collaboration.

I think it's the same with Instrument Owners and Luthiers. The Best Setups are enacted after you heard the Player a while and saw their Style of Attack!

Sure you can do a Good Set Up without the benefit of that time being spent, but usually the Optimal Results most pleasing to Clients come from a Collaboration that involves More Listening.



Some of my lifetime friends happen to be amongst the Finest Public Speakers, and indeed widely recognised as the Best Speakers in the World.

Some are Politicians, but whilst they are brilliant at Speaking, what as a broad generalisation they are not so good at, is Listening.  The Best Politicians and Speakers are those that Collaborate with their Audience, and Speak with Charismatic Dynamism and Power.  Having First Listened!



Another aspect of the original  post that struck me.

Was that from the outset, although the customer was new to you, it appeared that you actually more about the customer, his problems, illnesses and limitations, than you did about the Guitar.

Some problematic individuals have a definite conscious Agenda, and others, a somewhat subconscious one, but the common factor to both is that they Play Upon and Take Advantage of Genuine Human Emotions. They exploit the Natural Goodwill of people they interact with, to benefit their own ends.



I was passing by neighbours house one day and they called me in, asking if I could help them?

I was happy to and it turned out they had an item that was a little heavy for them that needed to be carried upstairs.

I chatted with them for a little while afterward and it came out that they were expecting their son and his wife and family of big lads (all of working age) to come within the hour.

Now although I said nothing about it to them, I strongly pondered why they simply had not waited and asked their closest relatives to do the job? I eventually concluded it was because they were simply to proud to do so.

As older people they did not want their family to think that they couldn't do such simple things themselves. My neighbour (the Father) and his Son always struck me as being extremely proud, so possibly would have thought the job beneath the Son, thus they turned to a neighbour to do the job so  their closest Family would not have to. To my way of thinking this was all wrong.



Does the client really have no family at all who could bring the Instrument to your workshop?

No friends at all? No neighbours that can help? I find it hard to believe that is the case. if it is truly the case, in my experience there's a probable reason.

Family, friends and neighbours alike have had encounters and experiences with the individual in the past that have made them deliberately decide to stay away; to protect themselves from selfish, unreasonable and demanding situations that cause them stress.



Just as you sent back a cheque, deciding you didn't want any further interaction  with this customer.

Older people in particular are always quick to condemn both family and friends because they never bother with them.

They never seem to stop and assess whether they are behaving, acting in a way that has a highly negative impact of those that interact with them.

Ultimately people are lonely and left alone, because they are better at building walls than building bridges between themselves and those they meet and encounter every day.



I had a Great Pianist that worked with me for four years.

He had a repertoire of 2,000 Classics and Standards and formerly been a Ships Musician playing a Steinway Grand in the First Class Restaurant of Top Cruise Liners.

The problem was that travelling by Ship for so many years,  he now didn't have a Car. So for the next four years, I had laid on, Personal Transportation for him. Having him run about in style by a Driver, both locally to Rehearsals and all over the Country for Major Concerts.

Finishing working as Musical  Director for  Large Events for that particular Organisation after four years, I made representations to Leaders of certain Organisations I knew and attempted to fix him up with a Full Time Pianists Job. That appeared to be successful and I was happy for him, but of course, now, he still, had No Transport.

Suddenly, it seemingly miraculously emerged he could in fact Drive Himself. He lived (having travelled the world for decades by Cruise Liner) in his sister and brother in laws comfortable home, and they had a little used Luxurious Car that was able to placed entirely at his disposal for his use. Of course, none of this was ever mentioned, over the space of the previous four years in which he worked for me.



The point I am making, is that based upon my experience, people invariably have family, friends, neighbours, and all sorts of practical resources available to them, which they will never disclose.

It's just a question that if you are genuinely kindly, helpful and the most giving of folk, that they will not bother to use any of those alternatives, which they may prefer to reserve for the most vital necessities, they may need to depend upon.

The bottom line of all this is that you are highly likely to be very deliberately taken complete advantage of, or at the very least, end up feeling that way. If this Client wanted you to fix this Guitar for him, in reality, he probably knew one or several family members, a friend or neighbour who could have delivered and picked up the Instrument, without you needing to run about, doing this for him.



Empathetic and Sympathetic Personalities.

People that are Problem Solvers have a kind of Magnetism.

Good people continuously give out unconscious clues as to what they are.

They set themselves up to be taken advantage of by their very natures, and they inevitably attract a sort of self centred nemesis, that will relentlessly take advantage of them, if once afforded the opportunity.

I have worked with other individuals who have this or that ailment, which is a genuine issue. But daily working with them, you find that they increasingly become widely recognised as "passengers" and as its quicker and easier to do things yourself than rely upon them, you end up doing much of  their job for them.

All the time, such people as this, attempt to cultivate strongly sympathetic relationships wherever possible and befriend kindly individuals whom they depend upon to do many things for them that help them through their lives. The problem comes, when they have done this to too many people. People that know each other, who talk together and come eventually to feel the same way and then it becomes a self defeating life strategy.

Everyone who knows them, starts to say the same thing, that they are trying to have an easy time at your expense, and then, people refuse to help them at all. Furthermore people start to distance themselves from them and avoid them completely. Then, they are really in trouble, because suddenly they have to do what they were employed to do, all by themselves, and work for a living, despite their problems.

Most of all people in reality carry some kind of problem or another somewhere within their lives whether it seems so or not. Having to carry another's, perhaps even despite one's own difficulties or helping someone else, is not the issue here, for most people are happy to help one another, in life.

Rather, it's the creeping feeling that one is constantly being systematically taken advantage of, with no real respect or recognition for the help they are being given on a continual daily  basis.

There are Givers and Takers, and no one likes anyone who by Design, Constantly and Deliberately, Takes.

But that is just a way of life for some people.



There is a tiny minority of individuals that make up the bad customers, difficult people, and problems that we never figured would be part of whatever scene we thought we were getting into.

However the Negative, Soul Sucking, Damaging Effect of such people can be so discombobulating, that if you allow these people into your lives, where they will affect you.

I believe Rusty's complete and utter contempt towards such folk, is the Best Shield to Prevent the Upsetting Impact they Invariably Have.

Which is completely out of proportion to their importance, significance or the time that they have spent interacting with you.



Here's something to give you a laugh!

Many years ago I did a lot of Repairs on a wide variety of Musical Instruments for the Shop of a friend of mine.

One day A Sharp Looking Well Dressed individual came in that worked for "Watches of Switzerland" a couple of hundred yards away in the dead centre of Town.

He had a Hollow Body Archtop he wanted to be completely stripped of Finish. I explained I thought  it better not to do this. In any case was I personally inexperienced at that time, in the type of task he wanted. At that stage, we didn't have the facilities to do Spray Finishes in that Shop and although we Refinished Pianos there downstairs in the Huge Basement, didn't take on that type of work, for Guitars.

He was a Salesman, pressing, insistent and very persuasive,  and I was young and over confident. Against my better judgement I accepted the job as a personal favour to him, (but clearly not anything to do with the Shop itself). I stripped and refinished the Instrument, but though I did the job, I really disliked the result and it was clear to me that the Instrument would have been rather better simply left as it was with its Original Finish.

After some very considerable time, he eventually came back for the Guitar, which by now was an embarrassment to me. He was very apologetic and stated that though he desperately needed the Guitar returned now for some pressing reason, but that he was completely unable to pay for the Refinishing. He was of course, a Con Artist through and through. I replied politely that  I didn't see that as a problem, and I was glad he was picking it up, but somewhat unhappy about the way the job turned out, and felt apologetic about that myself.

I was somewhat dissatisfied at the final result which was not as satisfactory as I  had hoped and expected, and was thus happy to put the job down simply to hard earned experience and we could part company, that being that. Of course, he very willingly indeed, agreed. But as I gave him the Guitar, upon seeing it, his grim face told the whole story. He would indeed have done better to have left the Instrument as it was originally. Frankly it was far, far worse than what it had been when he brought  it in.

But there was nothing he could say about it and so he didn't, and kept his mouth tightly closed. Though he looked completely nonplussed! After all he had now told me that he was completely unable to pay for the work that had been done. He could hardly argue successfully that the job wasn't completely to his satisfaction.

Without putting too fine a point on it. Frankly, I had managed to make a complete mess of his Instrument, is the way I saw things from my perspective and should never have allowed myself to be persuaded to take the job on.

He was a Con Artist, and tried to screw  me over. But as he walked out the door with the Instrument, I'm sure he most strongly felt, that in reality, he was the person, who had been Done!

Looking back, I can't help but have a rye smile to myself about this individual that never, ever darkened my door again.

I was young, inexperienced, over confident and too willing and  eager to be of help to him.

But he was a very Bad Man. Lying, Deceitfully Twisting and Manipulative.

And in the finality of things came off far, far worse than me.

That's how all Good Stories should End!



Hi Peter,

Wonderful stuff there and spot on.   I certainly beat my self up about:

"The most deeply burning issues and the most perplexingly difficult problems one faces in the job one does professionally, are in reality, nothing whatever to do with the actual job at all.

They are people problems, dealing with inter-personal relations, and come down to how to deal with specific characters, personalities, individuals and situations."

and consequently have put up a wall to prevent my empathy causing me grief.   I also note that often my friends will question whether I still have a passion for the work - mistaking my lack of overt enthusiasm for a waning interest.  My standard reply is I still love the job and all that comes with it and my approach of not getting too excited or engaging is my way a making sure that my attraction to the work remains strong by not feeling the occasional disappointment or crushing self doubt.

I think you spoke well to identify our "own goals" whereby our dedication and perfection seeking often blind us to trainwrecks heading our way, or how our own good nature and personable manners are sometimes an invitation for unscrupulous customers to take advantage.

However, to also end on a positive note I recently did a job for an occasional client who is absolutely charming - she is so warm and friendly and engaging that I thought she was doing a number on me to get a good deal - which I gave her as a result of her irresistible flattery and compliments anyway!  I attended one of her shows as she also asked me to plug her show on our facebook and it was immediately apparent that she was everything and more than she appeared to be at face value and absolutely adored by her audience.  This resulted in a complete renewal of my faith in human nature - excellent.

Thanks for your efforts Peter


Russel, your positive note reminded me of a young woman I did some work for. She had a cheap guitar, I don't remember what but it had the bridge glued straight down on a poly finish that came off. I did the repairs and she picked her guitar up and went away happy. A few days later, she came back. She brought me a pie that she had baked that morning!  I was on top of the world the rest of the day.

The few bad ones that come through the door sure make me appreciate the good ones even more. There is no up, without down. No left without right... I could go on. Anyway, it's good fodder for conversation. What would we talk about without the good the bad and the ugly?


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