Friday, May 7, 2010

No I Can’t

bottle trio sm4
A buyer asked if I could make 3 of a small vase that I had listed, and naturally my reply was ‘yes, I can. Oh, sure. Of course, ASAP! ‘ But after her custom order listing was up, she changed her mind. Hence ensued a long string of convos about what she did want, so I altered the original listing with very precise information about what set I would make. She bought her custom order listing.

When the set was ready, I gave her a preview in my FlickR account. Her response was that it was exactly what she ordered but she has changed her mind about the sizes. Could she pass on this set and just order another one? She would also like to send me pictures of her dining room so that I could reformulate my glazes to match her curtains exactly. I am not making this up.

There does come a time to say no, I can’t, and that time should have been before I actually felt like using more colorful language that I did.  I offered her a no-strings- attached full refund. It took 2 days to get her to agree to that!

This morning I got another fairly unreasonable request, and I actually had to stop myself in the middle of it, go back to the computer, and reply, very graciously mind you, ‘no, I can’t’.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of saying Yes! But sometimes saying ‘no,I can’t’ is a form of saying ‘yes I can’. As in, ‘yes I can respect my own time’; ‘yes I can choose to say yes or no.’ Gloria Steinem once said, “If you can’t say no, then yes doesn’t mean anything.”  I think she was referring to sexual harassment cases, but she could have been a great coach for customer service, too!

 Bottle Vase Trio on Etsy

15 comments:

  1. great post. so true, these is a time to step back and say 'no thank you'.

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  2. I'm smiling as I read this. I've had to say no a few times. In the long run, it has saved me time and energy. It feels good to read this, because it means a lot to be able to say no, and you put it so eloquently.

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  3. what a nightmare - am glad you are through it and having learned the power of 'no'... not that i am any good at it, mind you... but this post made me think about it more...
    orders like that sound like ones that don't really want the artist in them, just a product that 'matches'...

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  4. Lee, on my studio wall, I have a sign that says, "no, is a complete sentence". It came about becasue I was asked to match the color of vintage map cuff links to someone's wedding
    colors. no. no.

    xo sherry

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  5. Lee, they are so Beautiful and yes, you are so right, totally agree,
    sometimes we have to say no. Just happen to me Yesterday, no I can`t.....:)

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  6. Been there, done that! I love Sherry's sign...No is a complete sentence! Too good for words! And, the vases are too cute!

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  7. heh, I've been on both sides of this many times where as a customer if I would have heard a simple "no, I can't" it would have saved me a lot of time and eventually bad feelings and/or money. As a seller I almost always regret customizing my already very customizable listings, the little tweaks always sound so simple but invariably cause something else to tweak out.

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  8. Excellent post, Lee. It took me awhile to become comfortable with saying 'no', but I'm finding that the busier I get, the easier it becomes. :)

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  9. A great reminder, Lee. I need to learn to implement this more.

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  10. It gets tough in graphics arts as they do not respect your time and figure you are not dishing out materials. but eventually you have to say no or start charging for your time. I don't think you could have won with this customer no matter what you did, and you already bent over backwards. I always found you soooo difficult to work with...NOT! You are darling and they really blew the opportunity to have some great work from a great artist. Sheesh! Just goes to show you cannot make everyone happy all the time. Next!

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  11. Oh please let me create you a header for your beautiful blog!!!

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  12. This is great reminder Lee, Thanks!!

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  13. I hate to admit it, but I've had more than one potential 'paton' ask for help in purchasing paintings. Specifically to match their living room walls or furniture.
    Like the other artisans who posted here, I don't paint to match anything. I paint with my heart and soul - if that's not good enough, I'm not sure anything would be.

    So I'm with Ms. Steinem and you on that one.

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  14. Wow, very difficult to stay polite in these cases, It can ruin a day. Great post, Lee, loved the quote from Gloria steinem:)

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