|Travis mulling over my dilemma|
In November I received an order for a CURVE neck rest for a Catrike Expedition, so I mailed one to the customer. Shortly thereafter he sent me an email saying it arrived without hardware. Well of course it did...it uses the stock Catrike hardware. No, he said, he needed the entire kit. So I told him I'd send him a kit, and asked him to return the original neck rest to me. When he received the kit I got another email saying it had no instructions. No one had ever asked before, but I created some illustrated instructions and promptly emailed them off.
Now it's January 28. As of today the original neck rest has never been returned, nor have I been paid for the kit. I've sent a number of emails without receiving a reply. And in spite of scouring the web I can't find a phone number for this guy.
So why would someone do this? Trikes aren't exactly cheap, and they're a hobby, perhaps even a toy. The neck rests aren't particularly expensive especially compared to the cost of an Expedition, so why would someone choose to skip out on an obligation? Is he sick and in the hospital? Has he died? I may never know.
Years ago I had a motorcycle stolen...my beautiful custom 1966 Triumph Bonneville. I'd spent the entire evening with this guy going over the bike, talking about the great review it had gotten in one of the cycle mags, taking him for a ride, even letting him take it for a test on his own. So when he said, "Just let me take it for one more short ride...I really like it and for sure I'm gonna buy it," of course I let him. When he didn't return I began to worry that he'd had an accident. I ran a few blocks in the direction he'd gone fearing he'd put the bike down and was hurt. Stupid me. My wandering around looking for him gave him so much extra time that by the time I finally called the police he was probably 3 states away.
So fast forward about 40 years and I start this micro business making neck rests for trikes. And despite my experience with the motorcycle (and a few others along the way), or perhaps because of it, I decide to run this business on trust. No pre-paying. Send me a check when you get the neck rest. And so now my trust gets tested again. Should I change my business and expect people to pay when they order?
I think not. I'll probably ask for a physical address and a working phone number with each order, but now that my trust has been tested I've decided I'm not giving into the few. No pre-payment required.
And on a totally unrelated subject (or maybe not), look what I saw on a cold, drizzly and grey day in downtown Seattle. Hard not to smile. Kinda reminds me of one of my favorite film clips.