Volume 40,   Issue 5                                  May 2005


More R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Dear USG:

I have read R-E-S-P-E-C-T (February 2005, page 8) by Dez Farnady twice now. I have to agree with him on a majority of his issues, but not all. I feel that “Courtesy” would have been a better title. He appears to lump homeowners in a group with high intelligence. He has used a very broad stroke to get to that point.

It appears that Dez hasn’t spent much time working with end users recently. The Big Box stores have destroyed any ability to reason with the retail customer. I would like to know the last time a car dealer gave him a new car after a recall was issued for a small part on his six-month old car. In our industry the homeowner expects that. I will agree that courtesy should be used with any customer, but the saying “the customer is always right” has its limits.

I have spent three decades in the glass business. His highlighted comment “I know what my needs are and I expect my supplier to address those issues” scares me. I have heard that too many times.

During my career, I have had customers request that I sell products that I know will fail or be unsafe. After explaining the problems, the customer says that he will find someone who will do it the way they want it. Dealing with different colored anodized aluminum, our industry has had issues arise where the metal changes colors in locations where cleaners have hit the metal and caused the metal to discolor. Customers have informed me that we have defective metal. “The color is washing off” is the response. After explaining the problem, I have been told that it is still my problem and the homeowner still demands a replacement unit plus labor at no charge. If you refuse, you get the threat of a lawsuit.

Professionalism is needed when dealing with the homeowner, but when the customer refuses to listen to sound reasoning, the glass professional needs to just let it go and wish the homeowner the best of luck in finding what he wants. Then leave.

William W. Furr, Jr.
Coastal Industries
Jacksonville, Fla. 

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